Entries from Paul's Journal Edit
First Entry Edit
Wow. So. It's been a crazy couple of months. We just landed in Giantopolis or whatever it's called and I can finally get these things down. Someone should. Someone from Earth should. Lazzier's a good guy, but he doesn't have our perspective. Dave's too busy contemplating the wonders of the universe, and Maggey's too busy making sure Dave doesn't destroy the universe while contemplating it.
I'm Paul. In our group, I am probably the strongest fighter, and also the least stable mentally. I'll warn you now, I am not writing every detail. I am not that kind of annalist. I will relate the things I think matter, as truthfully as I want. The facts will remain as facts, but the details may shift. Blame that on my mental instability. Maggey would say it's because I enjoy the idea of messing with whoever might read this. Dave would tell you it's because I don't care about unimportant details. Lazzier would likely chalk it up to humans being contrary, goofy-ass creatures (though I take some pride in corrupting his speech; he sounded like the biggest Fruit Loop you ever met when we first laid eyes on him). So your source and guide is a half-crazy brawler who has taken too many hits to the head and is not particularly interested in making sure you know all the facts.
As Jefferson used to say in the salons of Paris: tough apples. I'm not sure why I'm bothering. We're never, ever going home.
Still, I suppose someone should write it down. In case there are those who come after us, if we fail. Jeez, could I make that sound more melodramatic? I'm not even 100% sure we're on the side of angels
here. Well, I don't know about being on the side of angels personally anyway. They seem dull. And Hell has the best music.
(Curious philosophical question: If I believed in Heaven and Hell as discrete, actual places, what happens if and when I die on this...this...stupid, not-having-any-damn-machinery-worth-a-damn world? Does my soul cross those barriers? What if I have a near death experience?)
Like two months ago we were all at Max's getting ready to game. Max got up to get pizza (lordy, I miss pizza) and the next thing I know, I'm in some musty-ass room with my friends Maggey and Dave and a disembodied voice telling me that we're its champions and are responsible for piecing back together its soul. Which, hey, kind of a dick move there, asshole. I had plans for after the game. Lady plans.
Anyway, we get our gear. Dave gets a piece of felt that he claims is a hat. He puts everything in there. Everything. I don't know if anyone else can use it or not. If so, and we're already gone, go find that hat. Maybe wash it first. There's no way it's decayed; time itself is probably scared of it. Maggey gets a book that eats wealth and poops out spells. Honestly. It's also useful, although they might be in our own language in which case, ha ha, you're screwed.
Except I'm presupposing that you can read this. Whatever. You've got the stinkhat, the spell pooping book, and my bracers, which helped me a lot in the shadows. I am not, by and large, an up front fighter. I am without a doubt our group's frontline guy, but make no mistake: I try to dictate where the front line is, and then stand behind it. And you. (Oh, gosh, you're learning a new language as well as subtext and context. EXCITING!) It wasn't until Lazzier showed up that we could do anything more surgical than Dave's Magic Missiles. Since then, we've been able to engage an opponent without magic, which is good because I personally don't trust the big stuff. Something about five times burned by a friendly fireball, twice shy. (It's an Earth thing; we're pretty stupid at times.)
At first we <insert long rambling account of escaping the castle where we started>.
NEXT ENTRY Edit
Shortly after that, we met Lazzier. I wasn't sure about him at first, but it's hard to think of a better shot or a more generally honest guy. Sam was more honor bound, Erin blushed if she said the sky wasn't blue, and Dave and Maggey don't even recognize the purpose of a good lie. Lazzier, at least, enjoys what he does. Which is good. If anyone is going to mince around that much in the forest, they should at least enjoy it.
Then we <insert long rambling account of the castle, and turning it over to someone, I honest to god don't remember much>.
After that, we faced down a juvenile dragon. I still get nervous, thinking about that. That was one of my more grandiose fabrications.
The thing you have to understand, those who come after us, is that while we four are strong and dangerous, there are only four of us.
There were six, but Sam and Erin had to split off. I don't blame them, much. But they've got the power of Sam's faith and the versatility of Erin turning into anything she wants. The four of us working together are not much for scale. But we have faced down towns, we have quelled orc incursions, not through the might of our arms (though they're mighty arms) or through the sheer power of our spells (though Maggey can and will command you kill yourself and you'll laugh as you bite the blade) but because we are never, ever predictable. Dave and Maggey between them are brilliant strategic thinkers, as you've seen. Lazzier is tactically without parallel, which I don't need to belabor. I'm just a crazy madman who kicks over the hornet's nest to see what will happen. I turn to memories of books I read back home, and to memories from my own time in a war when I was alone, and had to convince a bunch of angry armed men that coming after me simply was not worth it. And so we do it. We play the game of position, we flash and blind, and then turn around to show you the knife we put in your back. We have no army. We have no platoons to command. We have two spellcasters capable of leveling twenty men in seconds, and two warriors that can go toe to toe with any foe.
For all that, an organized resistance, in the form of an national army or some duke's hireswords, could rout us with cavalry and sufficient infantry.
I worry that we are not being cautious enough. That we are broadcasting our abilities too much. That's my fault, as much as anyone's. The bluff called for it. I hope we've outsailed the reputations we built.
I'm getting maudlin. Shouldn't drink and write. Have to watch that.
NEXT ENTRY Edit
Saw some weird people here in Giant Town. Met some people at a bar I can't pronounce. I get the feeling we're being watched. I haven't talked to Lazzier, Dave, or Maggey about it.
I think they're all enjoying the downtime, and they've certainly earned it. I'll hold off telling them until I check out a few things out. There's three guys, all kind of big, and they look human. One does, anyway, judging by his ears. The other two could be half-orc or some ugly fucking elves or something.
The last few days have been good. We've all gotten some time alone, which means we're much more likely to kill someone else rather than each other. I know I've been getting on Maggey's nerves. In my defense, I really like getting on her nerves. Lazzier and the other elves from the ship have found something resembling an embassy here in town, and I think he's feeling like he's not totally marooned with three humans. Dave is...well Dave is Daving all over the place. He's such a paradox. He has an almost unfathomable amount and degree of power, and he's usually more psyched about meeting some halfling kid who wants to sparkle.
Where was I before I went gallivanting down Contemplation Avenue? I hate writing this shit out by hand.
Ah, yeah. The boat. Christ, the boat. If I never see another fucking boat for as long as I fucking live, it'll be too soon. That and a deck of cards.
<Insert long recounting of first half of boat trip.>
I'm hearing footsteps. Little footsteps. I've been hearing them everywhere I go. I know they're real because I'm only half-crazy, not full blown crazy. Every time I turn around, there's a twerp ducking around a corner. I can't ever get a good look at him.
I can just imagine Maggey's reaction to that. She'd be right, too, but I know I'm not crazy in this particular regard. Whatever. I'm probably paranoid.
<Insert long, rambling recounting of the Harrowed Realm.>
NEXT ENTRY Edit
I swear to god, that little twerp knows where I'm going before I do.
I've actually laid eyes on him. He's got that shifty-scared look of someone being paid to be quiet and observe. I'm pretty sure I've lost him each time I've headed back to the Inn, but I'm not 100%. Lazzier would track that twerp down without blinking. Maggey and Dave would make him talk without hurting him. Me? I'd just scare him near to death. Might do that anyway.
<Insert long, rambling recounting of the final leg of the ocean voyage.>
...and now we're here. I haven't seen Dave or Maggey for a few days. Lazzier is doing whatever it is that elves do, probably communing with a daffodil to find out how it got to be so tough.
God damn it. There's a knocking at the goddamn door.