Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Nina's Observations 17 - Caleb the wanderer

Journal Entry 68

The last couple of weeks have been pretty unusual for me. I’ve had to adjust the things I do a bit in order to get by, for several reasons.

The first is regarding a recent discovery I made when I went down into the basement workroom to retrieve some of my Master’s notes for studying purposes. I don’t think anything could surprise me more than finding a Goblin in the workroom, investigating the things I deemed were safe enough to leave down there in case of a Goblin invasion.

Except for the fact that it was Maxixe that I found poking around my workroom.

Ever the skittish creature, Maxixe attempted to flee as soon as he saw me. Fortunately I had enough sense to move between him and the door down to the Goblin Cave, preventing him from escaping. He was none too pleased about it, especially when I closed the door and blocked it off again, but he calmed down a little when I offered him food.

Apparently, the word “food” is understood, regardless of one’s culture or language.

As a result of my actions, I now have a skittish but very curious Goblin roaming about my Master’s Tower. I have taken precautions and set up spells around the second level workroom that were originally designed to gently dissuade younger apprentices and children from wandering into places they weren’t meant to go - they were one of the first spells Master taught me to both recognise and cast.

Maxixe has disappeared a couple of times - I assume to go back to the Goblin Cave - but I think he’s realised I’m not a threat to him, because he keeps coming back. Of course, he might just be coming back for the food. I think he’s been bringing some of the things from his hole with him, because I’ve seen him hoarding something in a place he apparently thinks I’m not going to look.

The second thing is regarding the High Priest. Because I was welcomed to the Temple so warmly, I’ve taken the risk of going back from time to time. It gives me the chance to worship again, which I haven’t been able to safely do for some years, and Priest Nicolas has granted me access to the Temple Library.

He says it’s one of the smaller libraries amongst the Temples. I don’t really have a basis for comparison; the only library I’ve been in is the one on the third floor of my Master’s Tower. It’s certainly smaller than that, but no less crowded with books.

Back to the High Priest - I feel like he’s following me. I’ve taken precautions to try and avoid him, and I’ve noticed him wandering around, looking annoyed as he searches for something, or someone. But there are places where I can’t avoid him - places like the Temple itself.

If he’s trying to catch me out, then he’s going to have to try harder. After sixteen years of living life on the road, on the run, I’ve gotten used to people trying to catch me out. I’ve gotten good at avoiding the obvious traps, and escaping the less obvious ones. Especially when it comes to Temple Folk. I might be young, but I am no fool.

Not anymore.

Villager Observation 17 - Caleb the Wanderer

Caleb is an unusual one. I mentioned him I one of my previous Journal Entries, when he first wandered into town. He’s a wanderer, and like me, he just showed up one day, rather recently.

However, unlike me, he’s known around Willowdale. This is apparently not the first time he’s wandered in. He doesn’t seem to interested in settling, but he stays for up to a few months at a time, and then wanders off again, from what I understand.

He’s a bit of an odd one, too. I noticed him in the market the other day. He seems to have this sad expression on his face most of the time. Some of the locals, especially the girls, seem to find it endearing.

It didn’t take long for him to notice me browsing the stalls. And when he did, he immediately stopped what he was doing and walked straight up to me. He started a conversation, and I quickly realised that he was attempting to woo me.

Apparently, he has that sort of reputation.

Apparently, he also doesn’t know how to take no for an answer, because he was quite insistent, and followed me when I tried to leave. I didn’t feel safe heading back to the Tower with him following me like a lost puppy.

He is quite a talker, though i’m not sure I believe all the stories he was telling me as he followed me about. Some of them seem more likely than others. I do not believe he ever stopped talking the whole time he was following me, even when he asked me a question - that he didn’t let me answer, not that I intended to tell him anything about me.

I have decided that Caleb is one to avoid. I do not wish to have anything to do with him, I certainly won’t be telling him about my magic. Anything he knows about me is going to be the stuff talked about around town only, because I have no intention of telling him anything at all. I’d punch him in the nose if I could.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to, during my encounter with him. I did not think I’d ever be glad to see the High Priest, of all people, but I was, at that time. I don’t recall ever seeing him looking so annoyed at someone that wasn’t me, but the expression on his face was the stormiest I’ve ever seen, when he rounded the corner and found me being harassed.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to actually thank him for his assistance, but I was thankful. I was able to escape to the Temple for the rest of the day while he dealt with Caleb - who, while I’ve seen him around town since that day, has not approached me again. He’s shot me sad, disappointed looks, but he’s not actually come close to me.

I’m almost tempted to be brave and ask the High Priest what he said to Caleb to get him to stay away from me. It must have been something serious, that’s for sure.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Nina's Observations 16 - the Temple Priest

Journal Entry 62

A stranger breezed into town today. He’s not the average traveller that passes through Willowdale. He’s not got a set destination in mind; I can tell from looking at him. He is like what I was; a wanderer, just following the road. I imagine he’ll be staying a little while.

I’ve been visiting the Temple more often recently, now that I know I’m welcome there - so long as I keep my arms covered, anyway. I don’t want to think about what will happen if someone sees what lies beneath my sleeves.

Those at the Temple are a strange bunch. The local Priest, Priest Nicolas, is a kindly grandfather kind of person, as I’ve said before. The Head Priestess, Priestess Shannah, is much the same, though she is more motherly than grandmotherly. The other two Priestesses, Celissa and Coris, are wards of the Temple, and Nicolas’ adopted daughters.

They’re like a family.

I’ve never been to a Temple like this one before. All the other Temples functioned differently. The Priest and Head Priestess were the most important people there. All the others were... underlings? I suppose? They did as they were told, they didn’t question the authority of the Priest or Head Priestess, even when what they were told to do was foolish or dangerous.

I think the way this Temple works is why Archcurate Felian doesn’t seem to like it much. Despite his much higher status than even the local Priest, none of them, particularly the younger Priestesses, seem to listen to him much. They have their own way of working, and no matter his protests, they’re not about to change them.

He’s too different to them - too different from the people here in Willowdale. The Archcurate stands out amongst the others in the Temple; a tall, thin, darkly robed shadow that lurks in the background as the people come and go.

Villager Observation 16 - The Temple Priest

The Temple’s Priest - the local one - is Priest Nicolas. He’s a friendly man, dedicated to not one, but all three of the Gods. I was surprised that he worshipped Taris, the Goddess of Magic, but he says he believes that all three of the Gods should be worshipped equally. Most Temples depict her, alongside the other two, but few of them worship her, due to her affiliation with Mages.

Nicolas talks of tolerance and acceptance, and seems willing to welcome even magic users into the Temple - I have seen a few of the travellers passing through Willowdale, some of them known magic users, allowed entrance without question. It still makes me hesitant to admit my magic, especially with the Archcurate around, but it comforts me to see.

Nicolas is the kind of person I wish I’d met earlier in my life - everything would have been so much easier for me. He speaks kindly - I’ve only ever seen him become frustrated with the Archcurate. He allows unrestricted access to the Temple’s library and lower chambers - something I’ve not encountered at any Temple in the past. To be allowed into such places was considered a great privilege, not a right.

I have learned that he adopted Celissa and Coris when they were still quite young, shortly after they became the Temple’s wards. He raised them as his own daughters, gave them a new family so soon after they’d lost theirs. It is not incredibly common for Priests to have children, even adopted children, so it is an interesting change.

The only thing that seems to get Nicolas riled up is Archcurate Felian. They have severely different opinions on how things in the Temple should be run, and the Archcurate’s disagreements seem to annoy him. However, in the end, the Willowdale Temple is Nicolas’ responsiblity; the Archcurate is only present to observe, or so I’ve been told. It is not his duty, nor his place, to interfere if things aren’t in need of fixing.

I will not tell Priest Nicolas about my magic, I have decided. With the Archcurate seemingly around every corner, I cannot afford to risk it, as accepting as Nicolas is. I shall, however, continue to visit the Temple - both to worship as I like, and because the library’s doors are almost always open.

And I know where to find the key if they aren’t.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nina's Observations, Entry 15 - Maxixe the Goblin

This is a little later than I intended, I will admit. I meant to have it out on the 19th, but at the time I'm publishing this, it's the 21st (though only by about an hour).

Anyway, updates will be back to normal next week, so enjoy this chapter!


Journal Entry 59

When I went down into the basement workroom today, I found that the door down into the Goblin Tribe’s Cave had been opened a little. It wasn’t much, because of the bookshelf, but it had been opened. One of them, or some of them, must know about the stairs. I’m afraid they’ll try and swarm the Tower one day, so I've increased my studies about Sealing spells, and have been practising them in town on the unsuspecting townsfolk.

Thus far, only a few of them have held past the initial attempt to open the door, but none of them has held for very long.

As a precaution, I’ve moved any important or dangerous experiments that I could risk moving up into the second level workroom, and keep the trap door down to the basement workroom locked and covered over when I’m not down there. I don’t want the Tower blowing up, or something equally bad, to happen because the Goblins knocked over or damaged things better left alone.

I’ve noticed the Archcurate around town a lot recently. I know he has the right to walk around town, same as anyone, but I wish that he would stop glaring at me whenever he notices me. It is incredibly disconcerting to look up and see him glaring at me from afar, and even more so when I look up and see him storming towards me, dark robes billowing, with the darkest expression I’ve ever seen on his face. I have had to retreat to the safety of my Master’s Tower more than once in the last few weeks because of him.

I can’t let him find out about my magic. I just can’t.

I like it here. I don’t want to leave.

Villager Observation 15 - Maxixe the Goblin

I’ve decided to nickname the skinny little goblin I’ve noticed when I’m observing them Maxixe. It’s likely a better name than whatever his tribe has given him - if he has a name at all. In some races, the “runt of the litter” don’t have names. Some don’t even have genders, in the eyes of their race.

If Goblins are anything like I think they are, then Maxixe is exactly that. A nameless, genderless thing that only takes up space. That he is even alive is a testament to something amongst the Goblins, I’m sure - whether it’s because he’s good at avoiding the ones trying to harm or kill him or, despite his apparent uselessness, he does indeed have some use that I’ve simply not seen, I do not know.

Maxixe spends most of his time hiding in his little hole in the cavern wall. If I can perfect the invisibility spell I found amongst my Master’s notes, then I’m intending to take the risk and investigate further into the Tribe’s land, and I’ll likely take a look at Maxixe’s home at the same time. I’m curious to see if it’s really just a small hole in the wall, or if there’s more room in there than even his Tribe has realised. It’s more likely the former than the latter, but I’ll simply have to wait and see to be sure.

Maxixe makes the occasional trip outside of his hole. Usually, it is when the main centre of the cavern isn’t too crowded. He makes darts for food, for water, and retreats back to his hole before anyone can catch him, stop him, take it away from him.

I know the feeling of having to steal and run away, find somewhere to hide before I could eat. I wish there was something I could do to help, but I cannot risk interfering before I perfect my Master’s invisibility spell.

From time to time, Maxixe is unlucky. From time to time, he is caught by the bigger Goblins, attacked and beaten while others watch, and I never stay to watch myself. I cannot bear it, and if I tried, I’d likely interfere. He always survives; I assume they let him go, or he manages to wriggle free and escape, but the state of him in slowly deteriorating. He looks worse every time I venture down.

I’ve noticed that he’s a curious one, despite the dangers that threaten him every moment. The tribe’s shaman doesn’t seem to mind his presence, at least not as much as the others, because I’ve seen him poking around her tent while she’s working on something in a big cauldron outside her tent that, honestly, looks poisonous. She occasionally chases him away, but not often. Mostly, he runs away himself when some other Goblin gets too close.

I wonder if they are related in some way. It’s hard to tell, with Goblins, but it might account for her tolerance of him.

I do not think I will be able to perfect the invisibility spell in time to be of any help to Maxixe, but I shall try my best. He reminds me of myself when I was a child, struggling to get by while everyone around me condemned me or ignored me. I do not even know if he will accept my help if I offer it to him, but there is no way for me to be certain if I don’t try.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nina's Observations, Entry 14 - Ruth Shepard

I missed last week's post, so this week there's going to be two chapters! One will be released today, the other will be released tomorrow. That'll make me up to date with my entries for Nina's Observations.



Journal Entry 55

My first visit to the Temple went surprisingly well. I guess I’m a little known around town if only because people don’t really know me, and I just sort of...turned up one day, because the Local Priest of the Temple greeted me warmly, and told me he’d been waiting for the day I’d arrive at the Temple’s door.

There was no mention of magic at all, which I found a little unusual. All the Temples I’ve been to in the past have rambled on and on about the “evils” of magic, despite the fact that the healing rituals they perform from time to time are technically a form of magic.

I kept my arms covered, in any case, just to be sure that nothing would go wrong. I’m too cautious to risk it. Not after the life, I’ve had.

The Priest is a grandfatherly kind of person. Not that I personally know what a grandfather is like - one of mine died before I was born, and the other was amongst the mob that chased me from my village when I was a little girl, so I don’t have much experience in that regard. I’ve seen other people interacting with their grandfathers, though. They can range from strict but fair, to downright kindly.

The Priest reminded me of a Kindly Grandfather.

He wasn’t the only person I met there, of course; I met some of the Priestesses and the Groundskeeper - who turned out to be the woman I’ve seen wandering around in the Temple’s direction a lot. None of them had anything bad to say about Magic. None of them even mentioned it at all.

It’s a first for me. I’m not used to being welcomed with open arms, by people who are actually as kind and friendly as you’d expect from a Temple. So long as I make no mention of my magic, so long as I keep it more of a secret than I did as a child, then I should be fine. I should be welcome at the Temple.

I wouldn’t mind that. It’s been years since I’ve been able to worship safely and properly.

The only person I’m a little more cautious about is the Archcurate. Where the Priest welcomed me warmly, the Archcurate was not so friendly. I’m not even sure what the Archcurate is doing in Willowdale - the Temple is small, not particularly notable or significant. The Archcurate is better off - and of better use - in a place like Fernsworth, or even better, Religren. The capital city was in some sort of turmoil, from what I’ve heard in the Hog and Heifer; surely the Archcurate would be of more value to the people there, than to the people in Willowdale?

I didn’t bother to ask him, though. He was watching me with narrowed, suspicious eyes, so I was only too happy to get away from him after the Priest had introduced me to him. If anyone is going to be a problem regarding my magic, it would be the Archcurate.

I can only hope I can avoid him when I next visit the Temple to worship.

Villager Observation 14 - Ruth Shepard

The Groundskeeper is a woman named Ruth Shepard. She is the younger sister of Alicia Shepard, a woman who lives in town and runs the General Store. I’ve seen Ruth a few times, during my trips into town to visit the General Store, visiting her sister and her nephew, Nial Shepard. I’ve never spoken to her, though, despite the fact that she seems very friendly.

At most of the Temples I’ve been to, the Groundskeeper is usually a man, and he usually has two or three people working under him to keep the Temple looking nice. Ruth works alone, and even though the Temple is small, it’s hardly an easy job to keep it nice. Yet, she seems to be doing a decent job on her own, because the Temple hasn’t employed anyone to help her.

Well, except the Gravekeeper, of course, but he tends to the graveyard behind the Temple, not the Temple itself. I think Ruth helps him out from time to time, but they mostly do their own tasks on their own sections of the Temple Grounds.

Ruth, I noticed during my first visit to the Temple, seems to be rather fearless. As I was entering the Temple, she was clambering up the wall like a spider, ignoring the ladder the Gravekeeper was carrying over to the Temple at that time. When I left, she was on the roof, scrubbing away at the tiles with a brush and bucket of water, while the Gravekeeper followed her down the length of the roof from the ground, dragging the ladder with him as he went.

I don’t think she used it to get down, though I wasn’t there to see.

Ruth seems cheerful, carefree, and apparently oblivious to danger. I saw the Archcurate glaring at her when he came outside as I was being shown around by the Priest. I don’t think he likes her, or her attitude, very much. I imagine the way things are done in Willowdale is not the way things are done in Religren or Fernsworth.

Because she works for the Temple, I’m against the idea of Ruth finding out about my magic. That doesn’t mean to say I’m not interested in talking to her, and getting to know her a little better, but I’m going to keep my magic from anyone related to the Temple - for as long as I can, at the very least.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Nina's Observations 13 - Andrea Wood

Journal Entry 51

I realised recently that I’ve never visited the Town’s Temple. I don’t know why; it’s quite hard to miss.

Perhaps it was because no Temple has ever offered me sanctuary from the dangers I faced, once they found out what I was. It never mattered that I’d been a child; once someone found out about my magic, I was either thrown out the door, or chased away.

Thus far, though, no one in town has noticed my magic - or, at least, they seem like they haven’t. Discomfort or not, I feel I should go over there at some point, and see what it’s like. I don’t have to stay long, after all; I no longer need the sanctuary of a Temple to survive. I have Master’s Tower, and the little house nearby, now.

I’ve noticed a woman going to the Temple lately, though. She goes that way almost every day, and I wonder if she’s the caretaker of the place. There’s a graveyard next to it, as well, though, so it’s possible that she’s simply visiting a deceased loved one.

I suppose I’ll find out when I go that way.

Andrea Wood has been hanging around on the road near the tower again. She actually left the town recently, disappeared for almost an entire day. But as the sun was going down, I noticed her returning.

Villager Observation 13 - Andrea Wood

Andrea wants to leave Willowdale. Judging from the direction she keeps wandering in, it seems she has an interest in the Arena. But she doesn’t seem like she possesses the willpower to actually leave.

And even on the occasions that she does leave, she always comes back before the day is out.

Perhaps it has something to do with her family. I do not know what happens, what is said, behind the closed doors of the Wood Family’s house. My task is to observe the townsfolk, and decide who I want to interact with, and whom I don’t - though I have already interacted with a few of them.

It is not my task, nor my right, to pry into the private matters of the people who have caught my attention.

Still, she has intrigued me, enough so that I followed her out of town on one of her recent wanders, simply to observe what she did when she went off on her own.

For most of the day, she just walked. She stopped briefly for a rest and to eat something from her pack, but mostly, she just walked along the road - careful to stay at the edge, so she didn’t get trampled by anything or anyone coming up the middle of the road.

At about mid-afternoon, she stopped and was silent for a long time. Then she yelled obscenities at the trees, before turning on her heel and sprinting back the way she’d come. I did not quite understand what I’d seen, but I followed her, all the way back to the Arrow-Wood Farm.

It appeared that none of her family ever knew she’d be gone. I guess they assumed she’d been with the sheep all day. Nothing was ever said about it - at least, not where I could hear it.

Andrea seems to have a bit of a short temper, though, so I can’t say i’d be too surprised if she started yelling or arguing once inside the house. There’s no need to make a scene in front of the Farm hands and her other relatives. In front of direct family, however, is another story.

I have continued to maintain distance from her, but I cannot help but feel like she might be someone I want to interact with. More so than the rest of her family, at the very least. However, I’m not sure if she’s someone I want to tell about my magic - i still don’t know her opinions on the matter.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Nina's Observations, Entry 12 - Alexia Moore

Journal Entry 47

I expected to have heard from Master by now. It’s been over a month since he left for Starfall City. It is a long journey, to be sure, but surely he’s arrived there by now.

I suppose I can only wait and hope he is alright.

Raven has been wandering around the Tower again. She keeps turning up at night, even though her home is almost an hour’s trek on foot from the Tower. As a result, she keeps setting off my wards. She has yet to find a way in; the spells on the Tower hide the lower windows from sight, and the door is magically sealed. She is determined, though; I do not know how much longer I can avoid her.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Jenna when I can. The markings on her arms haven’t grown stronger yet, but her magic is definitely beginning to show - fortunately, it continues to be the little things, things that the untrained eye would brush off as luck, rather than magic. I wonder if she is aware of her magic yet.

I continue to feel on edge in town, aware that someone is following me. I caught a glimpse of someone I think might be my follower, ducking behind a building as I walked through town yesterday. I didn’t really get a good look at them, though; they were dressed like any other townsperson, and they moved too quickly.

Villager Observation 12 - Alexia Moore

I have realised that I have done entries on all the workers at the Hog and Heifer, except for Alexia. I decided to correct this, but to do so, I had to go to the Hog and Heifer in the evening, when all the rowdy locals are there.

Alexia is the kind of person that doesn’t take anyone’s nonsense. If someone does something they shouldn’t - the most common of which is drunks getting a little too someone who is obviously unwanting of the attention - then she does something about it. Whether it means getting Jackson Hill to remove the offender, or doing it herself.

She’s a terrifying woman when she has to do it herself. I suddenly understand why she is willing to work in the evenings, instead of making the Fairwood sisters do it. Drunks cower under her glare, and yelp and wail in pain when she drags them out the door by their ear - she keeps her fingernails long and sharp for this exact reason.

Alexia is a little strict, and she has Opinions about magic users, but for the most part, I’ve found that she’s pretty nice. She doesn’t bother or harass any of the magic-users that come through town from time to time - she just treats them like any other customer. She’ll make her Opinions known if asked, of course, but she doesn’t go shouting them for all the room to hear.

The strictness, I think, comes from both her dealing with drunks all evening, and dealing with her husband, grown-up sons, their wives, and her grandchildren all day. From the way I understand it, she could not get through her days if she wasn’t strict with her family and the drunks. They’re all just too rowdy.

I’ve learned that she’s also protective of the Fairwood sisters. They’re at the age where people start to really notice them, which is why she doesn’t let them take the evening shifts. There are too many grabby hands looking for a skirt to slid up for her to be comfortable with them working in such a drunken, crowded environment. While I’m sure Alexia would happily deal with any problem the girls might face, she has other things to be doing, and can’t spend all evening keeping one eye on the two.

I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with Alexia knowing that I’m a mage, but I don’t mind interacting with her. She’s nice enough when she’s not looking like she wants to bash the loud-mouthed drunk at the next table over the head with a plate.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Nina's Observations, Entry11 - Lord Carlos Dawnstone

Journal Entry 40

I’ve been making a habit of keeping the door down into the cavern under the tower closed, when I’m not down there, observing the Goblins. There are no locks or anything on the door, just the handle, so I’ve been pushing a bookshelf up against it to keep it shut. I’m sure Master used Sealing spells to keep it closed, but I do not know how to cast them yet, so I’ve just been improvising while I’ve been studying.

I’ve made a few more treks into town lately, but I’m not too fond of going in. Every time I’m there, I get this odd feeling like someone is following me and watching me. I can never spot the culprit, and whenever I leave town, it goes away, but it makes me hesitant to go to town when I know I’m going to be followed.

The repairs on that little house I found are going well. Most of the overgrowth has been cleared away, the chimney has been cleared and repaired, and the door has been fixed. The windows and shutters are still broken, the walls are still filthy, and the floor is still a work in progress, but the carpenter says it shouldn’t be long before it can be used. The repairs have used most of the gold Master left for me to use so it might stand empty for a time before I can get some furniture put into it, but I think I might move into that little house when Master comes back.

It feels like home, even though it’s a filthy little hovel in a state of disrepair. I wonder what it will feel like when it’s finished.

Villager Observation 11 - Lord Carlos Dawnstone

This isn’t an Observation, exactly. Mostly because I’ve never seen Lord Dawnstone. In fact, very few people in town seem to have seen him. He never leaves his castle, built on the mountain, overlooking Willowdale. Occasionally, someone can be seen on one of the balconies, but it’s so high up and so far away that nobody's really sure if it’s actually him.

I don’t really know why he doesn’t leave the castle, and no one else does either. The rumours vary from paranoia to disinterest, to the King himself ordering Lord Dawnstone to stay within his castle. Only servants and guards ever seem to enter or leave, though they don’t really talk to anyone, and no one seems to know them. From what I understand, they’re from another town, or possibly another country.

A few of the miners are adamant that he has spies in town, watching anyone whom they deem suspicious. If that is true, then I believe they are the ones following me around. Others say that people have gone missing from town, dragged off in the middle of the night and into the castle, never to be seen again. While I do not wish to believe that it is true, I have noticed that some people - amongst them, people who I’d been considering observing - have suddenly gone missing, with no one knowing why.

One older miner that frequents the tavern claims that the dungeons under the castle, dug deep into the rock of the mountain, are full of townspeople deemed suspicious or dangerous by Lord Dawnstone’s spies, snatched over the years by his loyal guards. Some people are worried that he’s going to get snatched himself for spreading rumours without proof to support them, but he just tells them to “bring it on”.

I’ve been able to gather a little information that’s not just rumours from the people, mostly during my now regular visits to the Hog and Heifer.

Though no one seems to know what Lord Dawnstone actually looks like, there was a time when he left his castle - albeit rarely and briefly - and visited the town in his youth. He always wore clothing that was fancy but simple, making him stand out in a crowd but not overbearingly. He’d always looked his best, but he’d never tried to lord it over the people. He always wore a mask, for reasons unknown. A decorative, full face masquerade mask. The only thing people really know about him is that he has brown hair because that was the only part of him that wasn’t completely covered.

No one knows why he stopped visiting the town, but he did so shortly after his father died, and he became the Count. At first, people believed that he was too busy to do so and that he would come back eventually when he had adapted to his duties, but then he never returned, and more than ten years on, only a small handful still believe that he will one day visit the town again.

Another bit of information I was able to get was that he’d had a wife.


No one knew who she was, or where she’d come from. She arrived in a carriage that was completely closed off, and never stopped in town. Like Lord Dawnstone, no one ever knew what she looked like. Only a couple of people - invited to the castle for their wedding, to act as witnesses to make it official - ever saw her up close, and even then, she was as completely covered as Lord Dawnstone.

Whether it was by choice or force, she never visited the town. No one knew her name. No one knew the kind of person she was. She was as much a secret as her husband.

They were married just over a year.

The, one day, she disappeared. The royal guards apparently tore the entire town apart in search of her, though they refused to tell the townspeople why at first, and it was only after it had been determined that she was not hiding in the town that the people were told that she had disappeared - run away or kidnapped, they didn’t know - and her infant son had disappeared with her. The only place not checked was my Master’s Tower, because the wards wouldn’t even let the guards get close.

Some people believed that Lord Dawnstone had killed both his wife and child and that the hunt and announcement were simply coverups to keep the suspicion off him.

I am not sure how to feel about this ruler. He seems paranoid, disinterested, and cruel to me, going by the rumours. I know I shouldn’t judge him based on that alone, but as there is no way I will ever be able to meet him, I feel it safe to assume, unless he can somehow prove me wrong.