Starday, 14th of Agruil, 4762 SR
Ugh. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve never had a diary before, and I never intended to. Manus once told me that all great leaders have a journal of sorts, chronicling the obstacles they face, the ideas they have, and other such things. I’m no great leader, but I would like to be some day. So now is a good a time as any to start. I’ve run as far away as possible from Nazca. I am at least in Alduria by now. I’ve seen trail markers for a town called Eastbrook another 5 miles east of here. I’ll try to make my way there tomorrow to procure some more supplies before heading on my way again. My journey thus far has been less than exhilarating. Many days spent saddlesore, many nights sleeping under the stars. That’s not to say I’m complaining. I’m not exactly seeking out any of the aforementioned obstacles encountered by great leaders, but I’ve barely spoken to anyone except my mare… and myself. Hopefully Eastbrook will provide a bit more exciting. Anyways, goodnight I guess.
Sunday, 15th of Agruil, 4762 SR
I’ve got to come up with something more dignified to call you. Diary sounds like musings of some trivial young girl. Maybe something like “The Daily Finn” or “The Chronicles of Finn.” Eh, give me some time, I’ll think of something. Well today has been sufficiently strange. I suppose I should start at the beginning. Bear with me, I assure you the story becomes more interesting. As it would turn out, coin does not go as far in Alduria as it does in Nazca. Regrettably, I ended up having to sell the mare. I figure as long as I don’t have a need to traverse the entire continent of Tellus, I should be able to manage on foot for now. The coin was barely in my hand when a ball of fire streaked the sky and shook the earth. I don’t know what I was thinking. But I raced towards the destruction as quickly as I could. Maybe it’s warrior’s instinct from all those years of training, I’m unsure. I just knew I needed to figure out what was going on. If I needed to protect myself, I needed to know what I was protecting myself from.
Just outside the town, through the dust and debris, I could see a deep, wide crater. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d heard stories of fire falling from the skies before, attributed to the anger of the gods. I thought maybe the gods were upset with Eastbrook and fired a warning shot, or that they intended to destroy the town, and missed. However, I’m pretty sure I can throw that theory out the window now. Just when I was getting ready to turn back to the town, I caught the outline of something emerging from the crater. It looked human, but it wasn’t quite. No human could still be walking after the injuries this man sustained. He was essentially a walking corpse, stumbling from the smoke. As myself and the rest of the gathered audience looked closer, we realized we was re-materializing before our eyes. He was healing himself somehow. As he came closer, I realized he was shouting incoherently, raving like a mad man. He pondered aloud as to how “they” found him. He seemed utterly astonished. He shouted at himself to flee. Then, much to my dismay, the lunatic grabbed me by my collar and pulled me off the ground with incredible strength. I have never been too keen on human touch, let alone the touch of a stranger. The heat of his grip made me shudder.
Looking into his eyes, I noticed they weren’t quite like any human eye I’d ever seen. I felt as if I was looking through the heavens, as if I could dive into his eyes and fall forever. He had no pupils, only, and as strange as this sounds, I know what I saw, something akin to a keyhole instead. According to him, I’m going to be his “salvation” whatever that means. I am to start running and never stop, lest “they” find me. I assume this is the same “they” he referred to finding him. Then the strangest thing occurred. He pressed his palm to my head and my world flashed bright white eventually fading to black. Then, as if he was communicating through my thoughts, he said, “Never stop running. You will save me.”
Bizarre, no doubt. When I fled Nazca to gallivant across the country in search of great purpose, I never actually expected it to be thrust at me. Though, I’m not entirely certain that this was the great purpose I was searching for. After all, despite all attempts to press the man for more information he simply continued to blither on about “them” finding him. For all I know I’ve just been given a quest by a mad man and will actually be saving him from no one, except maybe his inner demons. However, after an entrance like that, I have an inclination to believe that something bigger might be going on.
After the hatter let go of me, myself and the others near me must have lost consciousness. I found myself sprawled out onto the forest floor. As I found my bearings, one of the others noticed smoke in the distance, in the direction of the town we had come from. We raced back to the village and found it under siege. We did our best to fight off the intruders, but they were too many. We saved what villagers we could. The brutes had lit the thatch while people were still inside. We managed to pull a few to safety. We killed several of these invaders before being forced to flee ourselves. In our haste, we were forced to leave one of our companions behind. I am sad to say that I never even learned his name. I will make a mental note to do something in his memory once we reach some level of stability.
So, here we are fleeing into the woods, making camp for the night. Three strangers and myself have wordlessly agreed to travel together. This should be interesting.