I tell myself that all of the bad things that have ever happened to us in Luisant were for the best, in some twisted path that brought us all together. I tell myself this lie because it lessens the sting of all my regrets. I tell myself I won’t make anymore mistakes, but it’s a lie. Is it a sin to lie to yourself?

We all almost died. Pascal is yelling for fighters in the next room as a man sized rat attempts to rot away my shield.

I stare at Hugo holding the line in front of them from behind a force fall I can not pass. I can not help them and I hope he can.

I am shoved backward into acid as Fabron holds the line in a corner.

I have never been so scared in my life. I foresee that in an instant the tide can change and half of us will be gone. These people trust me to protect them but the reality is, we are protecting each other. Barely most days. They all stepped up to survive and I am so incredibly proud of them. But I almost got us all killed because I thought we were stronger than we are.


“Sometimes I worry I would let everyone die for you. If I had to choose. And it scares me.”

“Me too.”


He walks in and I feel the nervous anxiety I get from Thomas. My chest tightens and my vision narrows. My hands tremble at the thought of killing him. Could I even kill him? Would I? Should I kill them both?

What the fuck has happened. How did I let this happen?

I regret telling the truth. I knew I should have kept it from him. I should have tried to do it myself.

Another regret to the endless growing list that is my existence.

… I just want to disappear. Instead I rest my head on the table in the tavern and try to push it all down for another day.

Tell me how to fix this without violence… they don’t.


I’m a shit leader and an even more shit boss. Alex and I don’t connect. I feel like I am constantly letting him down. He is a great guy and is out there doing great things. He takes the initiative and tries to check in. And I just… kind of shut down.

He lists all of the ongoing problems and asks what we are doing about them and… I just want to disappear. The list gets longer and longer every time.

I sit here arguing with a sword, who is a person, about how to succeed this time. They talk about sacred guns and cannons and castles and I am just not the person for this.

You picked the wrong person Mael Judoc. I push it off on Isabel. Again. At least this time I think she will enjoy it.


“You’re so brave. You saved us.”

“You’re such a good fighter.”

“You saved us.”

Each one a little cut.

You don’t even see me do you?


“I feel separate from everyone else,” I say at the table. Marinette and Sophie look at me like wounded animals. Like I’ve told them a secret that I should have kept to myself.

I drift further and further away each day. Each secret pushing me ever closer to the edge. It’s not even their fault.

I think about killing them both again. I think about killing Father Vellet. I think about killing Thomas. I think about killing Chiropoler. I think about killing my friends. I spend all of my time thinking about killing.

“You aren’t a person to me.”

At first it stings and then I realize what he means.

But I don’t see myself as a person lately either. I see myself as a sword and shield. A simple set of tools full of murderous intention. I don’t exist for anything other than to protect these people and I nearly failed.

I have failed. I failed my best friend.

I can’t even do what I am supposed to be here for… God must be so disappointed.

Little Secrets

“You’re an animal!”

His shoulders just find of slumped in defeat and his head lowered slightly.

“You don’t deserve to be with anyone.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him look this defeated before. Even when we were both laying on the floor unsure we would ever stand up again there was still a fire in him. Anger wells up inside of me soon to boil outward.

My mind wandered back to his dream, his constant worries, his confessions to me. He was right, his father was right. IF we managed to live through killing a Witchking I would probably die from a disease he gave me. We would probably be old decades from now, but it would happen.

But… I think that’s okay. I think just a few years would be okay. It would be enough. For me. I’m not sure it will be for him. And I think just for a moment that maybe it’d be best to let him pull away at these words his father yelled at him. Maybe if I withdraw just slightly in this moment he will spare himself this inevitable pain.

I will never abandon you.

And I’m not sure I could. I couldn’t keep these secrets myself. I wouldn’t be able to feel this separate and continue onward. Above all I mean what I say to him, you deserve whatever you want.

So I take your hand in mine…

The light barely shines through the window and I’m still tired from being tossed around by giant rats. I slowly get out of bed careful not to wake him and yawn in front of the mirror my eyes darker than normal. As I study myself blood drips from my nose. I wipe it away and stare down at my hand for a moment almost unsure of what to do. I should probably find Isabel or Henri but honestly I think it’ll be fine.

‘I have something I need to handle alone. I’ll be back tomorrow. Tell everyone I love them when they get up.
– Cadence’

The note flutters under the vase on the table as the door quietly swings shut.


“You are my temperance and he is my conviction.”

Love is vastly complicated and terribly simple at the same time. I weigh every interaction I have constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Careful considerations about longevity and trust wrapped up in self doubt and insecurity. The butterflies and pleasures of lust make convincing points in the moment but true commitment is something else entirely. It’s the forming of one soul, in all its flaws and indiscretions. The assumption of aligned ambitions on the things that drive you both. And beyond that, it’s the continuous active choice to consider the happiness of someone else alongside your own, a commitment to the endless effort to maintain a relationship when things are rougher than one hopes.

I was surprised when Milo asked if I would marry them. The jokes based on the rumors had somewhere along the line become, not a joke.

I’d be lying if I didn’t have feelings for them before this. That I had hoped it wasn’t just a fleeting joke but happy at the laughs none the less. But my feelings were not the feelings of a giddy school girl. This became extremely apparent when standing in front of Henri before our chosen family. I do not stand there smiling and giddy but rather concerned with my decision and slightly guilty for the burdens we will now share. But I am satisfied that I have made the right choice. I am happy and content. It’s a deeper love, something core to who I am, an endless spring of compassion for this person.

My love is that of respect, trust, and conviction. It’s the moment when I feel doubt when facing a foe only to turn to see him beside me. The feeling of safety washing over me as we step forward together. It’s the way he is always there when I am exhausted about to give it all up. Sitting beside me uneasy in the tavern for my sake. The way they say they believe in me when I feel unsure about my path forward.

I meant to say much more at our continuously postponed wedding. I wanted to say how I trust them, how I offer them my loyalty and how I will always be there when they need me. That we together are better than we will ever be apart.

Later, my oaths clash as I walk down these tunnels made of ribs. I worry that I will break my vows, that I will fall in battle and leave my family alone to pick up the pieces. That Henri will sacrifice too much without me. Alphonse won’t continue towards the person I know he can be. And that Milo will lose himself trying to finish what I started.

We speak about self sacrifice as though it’s easy and maybe it is when it is just us that we are sacrificing. When we don’t stop to think about the despair and void we will leave behind with our departure.

As the skulled face bites through my armor attempting to tear away my flesh while I can not pull away I realize I may have misjudged the situation, have I broken all of my vows so quickly? The world stops for the briefest surreal moment and I can hear the words,

“Spurn a man who would lie, who is lax, who is lazy; any man or woman who abandons a sworn oath is a coward and base; and shun he who rejects responsibility, and shun he who allows injustice to transgress unchallenged.”

So I plunged the dagger that Lysenna, who somehow must have foreseen this moment, gifted to me into its side unwilling to leave this injustice to my family unchallenged.

As the creature drops to the ground, he is standing there, my conviction, asking if I am okay.

Treading Water

There comes a point where you stop treading water and you just resolve yourself to sinking. The weight of the sword on your hip and the thousand squabbles pull you below the surface. For the briefest moment you hesitate, you consider just not anymore. Your head slowly slips below the water and the noise stops.
In actuality the noise continues it’s just muffled and this is all just some shitty metaphor I’ve attempted to spin myself while laying listening to Alphonse snore.

I don’t have any answers for any of our problems and I have reached the point where, if I am being honest, I don’t want to have the answers to these problems. I don’t want anyone to say the words, ‘Cadence what do I do?’ Because in the words of Isabel, there are no good solutions. Would you like blue shit or purple shit? It’s still shit but I can certainly choose the color for you.

No! The sword doesn’t have answers either! I don’t just march step to some dead person in a talking sword. Has it led me astray so far? No. But you never really know who’s voice is in your head and I wasn’t born yesterday. And that hunk of metal has zero answers, it literally said, I don’t know what you should do.

I drew my lines in the sand and passed the torch to Isabel… and I feel immense guilt. I know she doesn’t have answers either but I just can’t anymore. I am not a priest, I’m not a spiritual leader, I am the sword hand of the church and for the briefest moment I resigned myself to only that. I do not have a solution that isn’t death. Ours, theirs, hers, its. And everything but my own death doesn’t feel righteous. It feels… I don’t know… fucking awful?

I am filled with anger and frustration. I’m tired of broken promises and compromises. I am tired of being the better person.

I am so, tired. And I’ve realized, when I am tired, the façade falls away and all that’s left is immense hatred.

So I sit and imagine my head sinking beneath the water. Letting the water fill my lungs with nothing left to worry about… until I see Isabel’s tears. Feel Marinette’s head on my shoulder.

I kick and gasp for air above the water.

Just Good Enough

I am going to let you on to a little secret, I have no idea what I am doing. I have no idea how I ended up where I am, and I am beginning to believe my best just isn’t good enough.

I’m can’t remember the words Mael Judoc made me repeat, I wish I could. I wish I could verbatim tell you the oath I took. Instead a saint asked me to swear an oath and I did, does anyone say no to God? I’m certainly not here to tell God that I know better than them. That my actual purpose is to mother hen Henri, make sure Alphonse drinks water as well as wine, and that Milo doesn’t go back to being a bandit. If I’m being honest, a much easier job than any of my current tasks. Which are… stopping a witch king? Defending the town? Making sure we don’t make blind deals with Spider Crones? But, I think God may have made a horrible mistake because I do not have the judgement to be making any of these decisions. And the more decisions I make with any sort of conviction the more people keep asking me what to do.

Henri stands there weeping at the loss of his entire family and all I can tell him is, to pull it together and keep going. Gerard doesn’t think he can go on and all I can say is we keep going until we are dead or we have succeeded. I don’t know when I became so heartless…. Or optimistic? When did I stop seeing failure as an option? Who do you trust when failure isn’t an option anymore? Is it me? Is it a talking sword? Some combination of the two?

Nothing has ever felt as right as this sword in my hands, but I am starting to consider the cost. Can I continue to burn the candle at both ends? Maybe I can do it just long enough that everyone I care about will be okay.

Milo takes the sword from my hands, “The town isn’t going to die in the next 10 minutes, eat some food.”

An Announcement While Under Siege

(Posted and cried in the hours before forum)

Citizens of Stragosa,

Today we find strength within ourselves in these dire hours. Every single one of us will take up arms against the foul creatures that descend upon us. Those of you that can: protect those that can not. Do not recoil in the face of evil now, stand together and survive.

We – as a city – have survived the horrors of nights past, and we will survive once again. None of us will hand over Stragosa tonight, or in nights to come.

The wounded and the brave will band together in the tavern at the forum. Seek the Lurihim to tend your wounds – and Bards to mend your spirits.

We will see the next dawn together. And the ones after that.

Until My Last Breath,

Sir Kirsa Blackiron, Seneschal of Stragosa
And the ruling council

An Urgent Call fo Labor

Citizens of Stragosa and Allies,

Our city seeks 5 laborers to complete a project of utmost importance before next forum. The project aims to minimize casualties in the coming months.

I ask any who are able or willing contact me directly as soon as possible. Compensation is available.

In service,

Sir Kirsa Blackiron
Seneschal of Stragosa

Divergent Paths

There are some things better left unanswered don’t you think? The things we could have been, the things that can never be, the truth that our most feared mistakes are correct. And more importantly, where does one go with that knowledge afterwards? To feel such deep regret but no longer the agony of the unknown. I’m unsure which is the lesser evil… …

I step onto the blue glyph grasping the book so he can read it. “Ibatoran Hahm Put Halo Tahom Sois Oran de Ibat Fulos Kei Sei Fulos ibi Aran,” he shouted within the church.

-What sort of trust fall is this Kirsa? Who leaves their body vulnerable in Stragosa like this? Do you seriously believe Adrian isn’t going to leave you if shit starts rolling down hill in this room?-

The dark blue light darkens inward from my peripheral and I can feel my muscles give way under my weight. For the briefest of moments there is nothing just inky blackness and then I see her. My life progresses before my eyes just as I remember in such accuracy that this can not be some trick of the mind but reality replayed before me.

I leave my home at a young age to take up the blacksmith trade for my family and I sense my motivations are the same, to better our lives in the only way I can. As I watch myself grow older I wonder maybe if this spell has been cast wrong. That this version of me is simply going to be the same and the differences will be too minimal for me to see.

That is until she waivers in her conviction to become a knight. This Kirsa upon entry to the Black Guard lays down her spear and resigns. These people, the person I am, are too much for her. She recognizes them in a way I had pushed down and ignored in the same moment. That their monstrous nature would eventually consume her and their toxicity is not something she wishes to join.

My heart races and my chest tightens, terrified of seeing what comes next. The nights are nearly endless that I have laid awake thinking of what my life would be like if I had made this choice. That the worst decision of my life was becoming a knight to House Baines. That I should have said no knowing what these people were. It is too late and I am forced to see what truth surely comes next.

She rises within Blackforge as a blacksmith in a way that I am proud of. The path was not without its own injustices and trials but I am unsurprised of her ability as the sin of vanity pangs within us both. And I watch those injustices befall her, I feel the rage within her and a helplessness that strikes me too deeply. I pity her for I, in my life do not have to let people treat me in such a way.

Her injustices are championed by a knight named Thomas and I watch her fall in love with his kindness and support over time. My fondness for him is not in the way one might think. I recognize that Kirsa saw good in someone of the Black Guard enough to love them meaning, just maybe, there was a chance that I am the kind of knight he was. The weight of regret forces itself down upon me as he asks her to marry him. Her refusal that she will never marry resonates with me but he continues to ask her every year until it is simply a renewal of their dedication to one another.

I want out of this nightmare now, as my sole justification for my path is ripped from me. That I would find someone so capable of loving me that wasn’t Ulric. That this feeling of happiness still awaited me if I had just made one different decision.

Together she spends her time helping the children around her further their lives by teaching them. Protecting them in the ways she can. Their love for her obvious and her kindness unending.

Until everything stops. I can sense her there before me waiting but I don’t know what to ask her. Too shaken by what I have seen of her life.

There is a flaw with this spell, she has no concept of the life I live. I can not ask her what she thinks of me. So I am forced to ask her opinions on the things we both know trying to piece together the type of person she would want someone like me to be.

My eyes open and stare upward at the church ceiling and the tears my consciousness could not produce manifest now. Kaykavoos’s voice echoes out to me asking if I am okay and in that moment I hate him. The hubris a man has to inflict something he fears on someone else under the guise of betterment.

Adrian stands beside me in the cold and I do not have the humility to reach out to him. To press my tear soaked face into his gambeson and let out all of my regrets. Instead I slowly stifle them explaining what has happened, how I can not change my life now to be this person I yearn for. My hatred fades and my attempts at understanding how this new found truth will shape me begins.

I now know that I was not entirely broken by my experiences as a human but rather shared core beliefs with this other self. As I saw her distance herself from the people she loved, her strong beliefs in what was right and wrong, her vanity even. I knew we were the same person. While I had committed the atrocities she was unwilling to I gained the strength to help others. She had found a way to humbly help those she could. And while maybe both of these paths are valid… I just wish I had chosen differently.

The Worthless

My nervousness made me too blunt, too harsh.

He startled at the question, his scowl conveyed, surprise? No, anger? Disgust? I’m bad at this game of emotional judgement. As I’m unable to determine if his berating me about my incompetences is a deflection or actual concern.

He rambled about who he was as a person, trying to change my mind. And then back to yelling about how little I know about the world. Which clearly thrills me to the core. And steadily I become closer to being done with our conversation via force.

I’m once again disgusted by him.

And then suddenly interested again.

You see, I feel drawn to him. Maybe it was by the chase? To uncover what he is made of. If my disgust at his words are genuine or if he deflects because he knows I judge everything he says. Is that all that makes him clever, his ability to deflect my interest?

I shouldn’t have told him. I had sat on these feelings for so long though, not knowing if they were true. Every word he says blurred by the unknown. The constant questioning if how I feel about him is real.

How was I going to face him in public now?

I could see him trying to figure it out, trying to place my wants and desires. What answer would make me happy, content for at least a while so he could weigh his choices.

That’s the funny thing though, I don’t know what I wanted.