I have no idea what is happening to me. I apparently spend my nights wide awake, dealing with unsavory types and promoting crime. I have no recollection of these events and have only seen the truth of them through the help of Brother Erasmus. He is a kind man, and has been a beacon of hope for the future of the church. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to fix this issue, nor discover its roots. I have my suspicions, as does Clemens and Sir Knut, but we do not know for sure. Was it that odd crater, or is it something deeper in me? Is it related to this urge I feel and fight, the one I’ve had since that day in the wilderness with the Hollow Song raiders? I have to accept what I saw and did there broke me irreversibly and there is only one way to satiate it, and it is unlikely to be the source of my night time wanderings. What am I doing to satisfy that urge when I should be sleeping? Who am I hurting? How am I violating justice? One person I know has contact with my other self, and that’s the doddering peasant Gor. His unassuming, simple demeanor has to be a mask, and I will break it. I will find him, and I will find out what it is I’m doing, and who else is involved. We will fix this and I will do my duty to Runeheim and House Dragomir, and most importantly, to my dear friends. Clemens, Sir Knut, Sigi, Thadeus, and God rest his soul, Viktor. I haven’t done right by The Grey Company by placing this burden upon them, and the settlement as a whole. I only pray that I can break this curse or whatever it is before someone I care for is hurt.
The voice fueled me today. Usually it was a nuisance, but sometimes it’s single minded desire to commit atrocities that would make the Hollow Songs cringe could come in handy.
“When I find Alexis, I’m going to take his other fucking eye and have Heimr preserve it.” I said to my self.
“Ah yes, We shall take our vengeance and our pleasure.” The other me said.
You would think I would be disturbed at the desire to enjoy the suffering of another human but today and many others, the thought was as sweet as the best wines of Sartois. The man had taken my sister, and he would pay for it.
The agent who worked for Alexis laid on the ground in front of me, obviously in shock from the skin I had removed from his forearms, and perhaps also from hearing me having a full conversation with myself about murdering his employer. Maybe it was also the fact that he could hear the replies.
“Don’t worry my dear man. We will be done with you as soon as you reveal your master’s location.”
I pressed the dagger gently into the skin of his exposed calf, going blue in the winter air.
“Either you will leave here with some skin left, or you will die as an anatomical presentation for the crows. The choice is yours. It matters little to me, but you and your mind will break.”
His sobs seemed to start to form words.
“Please. I don’t know where he is. I mean it. I was given orders for a delivery. That’s it.” He cried. “Please let me go.”
I believed him.
“Very well. I will grant you your freedom.”
The forest rang with the gunshot.
I stared at the little girl with gold ringlets sitting on my knee, she was a spitting image of her mother.
“Uncle Armand, why did the bad man take mommy?” Irinia asked me.
“He wanted to hurt me, sweet girl. He knows I love you all so much.”
“But you saved mommy and stopped the bad man!” She said with a huge smile on her face. “Uncle Armand is a hero!”
Uncle Armand is a hero. No I’m not. I am a villain through and through. A murderer and a thief and a torturer. A man who will do anything he needs to in order to secure his station.
“Maybe if you kill them all you won’t have to deal with this conflict.” It says with its oily voice. “Maybe you can embrace who you are. Who we are. Do it Armand, become one with me.”
I ignore the voice and stare at my niece, sitting there, innocence unshattered by countless lives staining her hands. What I would give to make sure she never feels what I feel, or make the decisions I have to make. What I will give.
“Are you going to kill the bad man, Uncle Armand?” She whispers quietly.
“I am. I will will protect all of you.”
I exit the small cabin into the brisk fall evening. How can I protect them if Alexis is still alive? What is he planning? It doesn’t matter. I will find him and I will do what I do best.
Uncle Armand is a hero.
This place is a frigid far cry from home, though it does have a distinct appeal in that it keeps my head attached to my body, and I am quite fond of that. I have been welcomed into The Grey Company by The Forgemaster, and he has proven himself to be a good friend, and a fantastic warrior along with being an acclaimed blacksmith. Sinclair is here as well, which has eased this transition a bit, though I still find his denial of perfect opportunities in combat a bit disturbing.
The thing that has concerned me the most after coming here was my encounter with the Shara’Qyn Luqa. While he saved my life multiple times, he turned out to be a traitor. He assaulted the Inquisitor multiple times on the grounds of avenging some friend named Rolf, who was apparently Lionized postmortem. I fought alongside the Inquisitor, and while he seems to have his secrets, I believe he means well. Luqa was initially given reprieve from being executed, but upon his second attempt on the Inquisitor’s life, his head was forfeit. Sister Solace seemed genuinely remorseful to have to perform the act, but she did it with grace and all the respect one could imagine being granted to a traitor. I’m starting to see that this religion is more than a pathway to justified annexation and look forward to seeing people truly following the teachings of the Lion. Luqa mentioned something of a Djinn as his last words which disturbs me a bit, given the stories I’ve heard from the desert people in regards to these Malefics. This place seems full to the brim with the unquiet dead, and I do not love the idea of more Malefic making their way into this community, especially with the incursions of the dissenting Njords. I watched Ragnar nearly fall in battle after several challenges to the rival clans, and while he fought well, a man is still only a man. All I can do now is make this home mine, and pray that my strength of arm is enough to keep myself and my new friends alive.