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“Entry 8 ~

The fiery light of the sun offered fourth a new land to me those many years past. As soon as I discontinued trashing violently on the ground, clutching my eyes within their sockets as they burned with my first memories of daylight, I was met with a world of vibrant greens and subtle blues, of alabaster clouds and of rich, auburn earth. There were no walls to constrain the paths my feet chose to take. There was no ceiling to shield the broad and magnificent skies from my sight. Indeed, although I think humorously of it now, in my naivety I regarded the vaulting heavens with a paralyzing horror. “What if gravity suddenly gave away? How far upwards could I fall, without the comforts of hewn stone above me? How can the avian beasts fly oh so bravely without fearing all this unsecured space above them?” Then, as I lurched from tree trunk to tree trunk, clasping tightly those pillars of nature to prevent myself from losing contact with the ground and being cast off into the dizzying space above, I learned something else. The man who walked alongside me, Eltias, another apprentice of the lich I called ‘Master’, shared a small but significant secret with me. He had learned it from the necromancer who introduced him into this world, who in turn had first heard it from the necromancer before him…

He told me that I was evil.

He was also evil. My Master was evil. The ghouls that prowled the depths of the crypt I had called home, they were evil. The wraiths and specters, and other lost souls who were denied an entrance into the afterlife, they were all evil as well. Those who raised me from childhood, fed me, clothed me, befriended me, and taught me all that I knew… were, undeniably as the matter of fact extended it, evil.

To bestow vigor into a discarded shell of bone and meat once the soul no longer has a use for it is the vilest of crimes. A word that honors the living dead is heresy, and to exist past the point of frail, natural life is the darkest of sacrilegious acts. I bowed my head, still dazed by the onslaught of the midday sun. I bowed, understanding the meaning of the words, but confounded by their nature. But what did I know at the time? I was an insignificant droplet of water in the raging torrent of a river. Surely, this vast world, that watched the endless heavens and stared bravely into the burning light, knew better than I, the wretched mole.

Eltias laughed. Although our nature was surely a crime, rogues could still thrive if they were cunning and tact. Better even, he was yearning to show me how. Perhaps I should have stayed truer to his lessons of subterfuge and silence. Perhaps half-hearted bluffs were not the way to contain the bursting seams of honesty’s allure. However, perhaps if I did not make the mistakes I did, I would have never really learned how evil I was.

While basking in the rays of the sun, these days I glance back to my earlier rebellion with a remorseful eye. My geas, my manacles arcane, I was convinced they prevented a life of serene existence… but now that they are gone, where is this mystical serenity that I have sought? Men walk past me while bearing no fetters of enchantment coiled ‘round their necks, though their legs are still mired to the knees with misery. Was this enchantment my master has placed over my shoulders these many years back simply a feather in comparison to the iron spheres that many are chained with? Was my rebellion against him and the destruction of my home simply an ignorant spark of youthful bravado, bolstered by superstitious indoctrination of Markshire’s culture?

If anything, one article to comfort these thoughts is a gem I now carry so close to my heart. As emeralds go, it is hardly a faultless example of their luster. However, it was vibrant enough to act as a Jar for the Soul. Of all necromantic charms that exist, one allows to catch a passing soul on its path from this world to the afterlife within such a receptacle, and it is this gem I had held when the broken pieces of my Masters phylactery littered the stone tiles at my feet.

This secret, dear Eltias, is dedicated to you.”