Such a short space of time for so many life-altering events to occupy that they must needs almost bump up against each other, rubbing off the sharp edges so the memories become blurred, indistinct, the feelings blunted until I am left with merely a jumble of impressions and the echo of emotions to mark their passing. In a feeble attempt to preserve their meaning I find myself here in the forests I know so well, listening to leaves fall, feeling the chitinous hum of ladybeetle wings in the vibration of air against my skin, and sifting through the occurrences of my life since my return to Waterdeep – or mayhap more accurately, since being made forcibly aware that I could no longer choose to hold myself apart from the happenings around me without grave consequences. . . but that is another tale which will unfold itself in its own time. For now I must capture each elusive image of the past few months so that I might examine them individually, adding flesh to the bare skeleton of my tale, giving meaning to my actions.
In determining to entangle my life with the many snarled threads that weave through the lives of others, I thrust myself into a chaos of lies, half-truths, misdirections, and evasions with very little time to find the answers I needed to make the choices I must. As I have ever tried to make informed decisions I began my journey, gathering information wherever I thought to find it, seeking the monoliths, searching for mortals who might add to my meager store of knowledge, beseeching the gods for any aid they might deign to send. Yet even with all my efforts I found myself ill-prepared when the moment came for loyalties to be decided, allies to be chosen . . . .I was made undeniably aware that the time for reflection was past on the day Ticarios approached me and invited me to escort the Priest of the Auzrom’tvorl in his journeyings to the northern monolith. But the escort was merely a ruse . . . an opportunity to weaken the Vile One’s power by removing his mouthpiece and one who supported him, a young mage, wise with the foolish wisdom of youth and inexperience. Given but a day to make my choice, I weighed all that I had uncovered before pledging my word to the cause of the Alliance. I fulfilled my part in the successful ambush, thus sealing my decision with my actions of that day.
There is a battle being waged for the very souls of men and I have a role to play, yet I have the opportunity to write my own part, script my entry and each line though I cannot determine my exit. All are given such an opportunity should they but recognize and grasp it. Ah, but I have watched men fall, blind to the hand they played in their own undoing, my heart grieving for them even as I knew I could not save them. The young follower of the Priest of Auzrom’tvorl paid a high price for the rash choices he made in his eager immaturity and I find it in me to sorrow for this harsh lesson learned, even as I recognize the weapon he crafted with his own hands. There is another from my past who weighs in my mind . . . a sometime traveling companion named Teflor. Our paths have crossed often over the past few years yet I never felt I knew this private man. And now he finds himself hunted, accused of betrayal of the grossest kind and desperate for aid I cannot offer, knowing what I know, hearing no explanations to satisfy my questions. My heart twists to look into his face and watch the hope die in his eyes as I leave him to finish this course he has laid for himself, his damnation or salvation solely of his own making.
There is more at stake here than my own small life and thus my decision has been made, regardless of any grief or regret I might feel for the actions such a choice might necessitate. I have studied the information available to me and considered the balance that must be maintained for the sake of all Faerun and from this, have drawn my own conclusions. I choose to stand with the Alliance, against the Vile One and will accept any consequences that will result from this decision. Choices of this magnitude can never be swayed by emotions, weak things so easily manipulated by others for their own ends. . . and yet I wish that by recognizing their very fallibility I could numb the sharp sorrow of trusts betrayed, erase the memory of friends forsaken. My choice has been made. As ever, I will do what I must however high the personal cost might prove to be.
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