Again I find myself in precarious circumstances, trapped underground in a crumbling fortress near the Mere of Dead Men with a motley band of travelers who have hardly a modicum of formalized military training between them. At least they know how to defend themselves in battle, albeit in unconventional ways.
I am…unaccustomed to fighting alongside a man wearing nothing but robes and wielding a child’s play toy unfit for even a squire, and yet I have not seen such alacrity in combat ever before. It is as though he had the ability to bend the space around him to his will, landing blow after blow against our enemies simultaneously with the gracefulness of a Calimshan ballerina.
I laughed mockingly as the bard strummed his lyre while I spilled the blood around me, and yet I could not help but feel oddly reassured by his presence. Is this some sort of magic I have not felt before? Either way, it is comforting to know that my prowess in battle has already inspired the creative mind of the minstrels, and I look forward to bringing more praise to Amaunator’s name.
The presence of a cleric is a familiar and welcome site for any paladin during times of conflict, and this one is no different. He is uncharacteristically aggressive in combat, and yet not without poise and awareness under duress. Graced by Selune’s power, his luminescent beams of radiance add a welcome vibrance to this dark place. However, I must say, I find his voracious sexual appetite rather unsettling. I am not one to pry into the private affairs of others, but it seems as though he shares the same affinity for women as he does for men. Light be praised, I hope that I do not have to bear witness to such debauchery in the future.
What’s more- There was even a shape-changer amongst the group who transformed from a Dragonborn to a Goliath before my very eyes- A strange sight to behold indeed!
I had originally thought to make this journey alone, but even I could not have expected the taint of this land to be so perverse, and I must admit, my divine strength would have been pushed to the absolute limit were it not for their assistance. Perhaps fate has intervened and brought us together for some greater purpose.
It may be difficult for me to get this group to accept my leadership, but if they continue to charge into battle wantonly, I feel more lives will succumb to the greater threats of this place. I can’t help but feel partially responsible for their presence, despite my initial insistence to press onward without them. With Amaunator’s grace, light will guide them peacefully from this forsaken place, and carry me one step further towards salvation.
Earlier in the day, I had hoped to slip away from the caravan unnoticed before the effects of the curse became more noticeable, but the road’s delay left me with little choice but to travel further in the company of others as we sought an alternative route through the Mere of Dead Men. The group thought that I had led them into some sort of ambush after catching a glimpse of my afflicted features in the swamp, and even sought to press me on the matter after I professed my uninvolvement. It is fortunate that the altercation did not come to blows, as I am uncertain how the codex would judge the slaying of innocents, even in self-defense.
To think that a Paladin of the Light would ever lead an unexpecting group of enemies into an ambush under false pretenses and the guise of peace for the sake of gaining advantage- the mere thought disgusts me. I would rather stand openly as one man against a thousand in glorious battle than experience such dishonor.
The writing is scribbled here, as though someone had written something and then angrily crossed it out.
The Curse is growing stronger. I can feel it- more now than ever before, and I sense that each step is carrying me closer and closer to the source. To what end, I cannot be sure, but I can no longer hide the deformities as well as I could in the past. My gauntlets grow more cumbersome with each passing hour, and it won’t be long before I have to remove them entirely. My boots have swollen to the breaking point, and I hesitate to even inspect them. Now that I reflect on the matter, it is truly a wonder that I managed to hide my features from the rest of The Order for all these years. Perhaps plate armor is as much a friend in battle as it is in keeping secrets.
It all matters very little now, so long as I am still able to grip my sword. Let the curse take me, or let me be damned for eternity- I no longer care. Give me the opportunity to dispense justice to those responsible with my last act of defiance. By Amaunator’s light I swear that I will endure this suffering for a thousand lifetimes if it means honoring my pledge to my father and restoring our family’s honor. One way or another, this ends tonight.