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Jadzia Grace Journal
Jadzia Grace's Journal
This is probably the first time I’ve written anything other than a field report in at least a year or so. I liked writing those. Very analytical, no middle ground, no grey areas. I think I’ll miss writing them. On the other hand, after everything that has happened in recent days, I’m worried that if I don’t find some clarity my mind may implode on itself. Leaving Overwatch, it wasn’t as hard as I imagine it should have been. My father is my only blood left so to speak, and I should be horrified and ashamed that I betrayed him like this.
But he betrayed me, didn’t he? That Aralove girl, the tiefling who was joining our forces. I don’t understand why my father would allow her to be at my side in battle. At anyone’s side, at that. Maybe Briahna is right, and the world isn’t as simple as I imagined. But if that’s the case, then what is the war really about? What is my father really fighting for? If evil is not absolute, how can we justify the lives we have taken?
I’m avoiding the one thing I really should be writing on, though… Gavin. Gavin was a good man, I think. Though I’m starting to wonder if the term ‘good’ can apply to anyone anymore. And I fear, deeply, that my words drove him to chose what he had. I regret what I said. Gavin was young, and he was trying so hard.
But when he hit Una, it brought back memories I try to repress. She was wounded. Maybe she didn’t really need my help, she’s much stronger than I am, but Gavin must have seen how injured she was, and that was the moment he chose to use violence against her. She’d given him plenty of opportunities before, but when he finally did raise his fist she was trying to do everything she could to save lives while bleeding and beaten and bruised. She was close to death, and his violence was too much for me to bare. I saw Darmock in him then. In a human. Maybe that was another moment when I realized evil exists everywhere.
But my reasoning does not matter. The words I used were too harsh, and it drove him to what he did. I don’t voice these thoughts, because I know Una and Fie feel the same and I feel that it would be insensitive of me to demand their attention when we are all hurting.
Maybe the reason I reacted so strongly was because Una has become somehow precious to me. Maybe that is unfair to say without her permission, but these are my own private thoughts which I hope she will never find. I see things in her I wish I could express in myself. Courage, mostly. A willingness to die for what is right. A genuine belief that Kord is out there. A belief in anything, really. Compared to her, I’m just a lost little girl desperately clawing away from the dark.
Meanwhile, Fie remains a mystery to me in many ways. After hearing his story, it feels like we have a lot in common. The moment before Gavin’s death, I thought of that night in the field where he had pit Una and Fie against each other. How he had mended their friendship. How I’d forgotten to behave like a soldier (though more because of the ale than Gavin, if all is fair). If that hadn’t happened, maybe Fie wouldn’t have strayed from the Overwatch. Maybe he would have decided to attempt to kill Una on the spot for being what she is.
But then again, I believe all three of us are just starting to realize how much grey exists in what we thought was a black and white world. And quite a bit of red, as well.
On another note, I did help slay a dragon today. And by ‘help’ I mean ‘missed about a half-dozen times but somehow managed to lay the final blow’. I found the most interesting of helms. It seems to be able to trap souls, and maybe that can help me with my current predicament. Even if the helm itself could be of no use, just being able to study a soul separate from it’s body might prove enlightening. Will report back later.
His last words, according to Po, were that he loved me very much.
Whenever I think of it, my chest tightens and I tell myself not to believe it, even though the logical side of me knows it to be true. I should be sleeping right now, but all I can think of are the public hangings. I’d attended a few, it was almost impossible to avoid them. You would go out shopping for something simple like some food or a new dagger and there would be some poor man being hung for stealing apples or being accused of treason. Now, I can’t close my eyes without seeing my father like that- neck snapped, hanging like a doll…
He had said he loved me, but how could that be? I barely knew him. Did he know me? He certainly didn’t trust me. How could he love me?
I remember when I was a child in Durnhollow, and I would look for my father in every human face who visited my mother. Young or old, dark skinned or light, sometimes I even looked towards the cruel ones in fear that they would be the one. I know wasn’t alone. I’m sure both my siblings looked for their fathers in the faces of their own respective watered-down races.
Many of the visitors would offer us candy or toys, and my mother forbid me from ever taking any of it. I know now what the innocent girl did not, and at the time I thought she just didn’t want me to have the candy. Now I know that those men were either at best trying to gain my mothers favor, or at worse trying to abduct us. There were few whore children about. The ones who weren’t sold off were usually given to their fathers to take care of or stolen in the night. The sheriff was kind and would do his best, but I honestly don’t believe they found many of them.
But one day, when I was seven and I sat in one of the many side rooms playing with a puzzle, my mother brought one of her suitors from the night before in. He was tall, and he had skin as dark as my mothers. He wore armor with the symbol of OverWatch painted on them, and he offered me candy. I looked to my mother, and she nodded. That was when I knew he was my father, because he could give me candy when none of the other men could. He called himself Patrick, and he played with me for a time, and then left. I didn’t see him again until he found me running from Darmock’s mansion.
When I was small, I imagined becoming a soldier to be like the man I knew was my father, but I was weak and sickly. I gave up that dream even before that beast wed me. It was almost mystical that my forgotten dreams were realized. And yet, so many questions. Did he know he was my father when he visited? Why didn’t he take me then, like the other men sometimes took their children? I would like to believe my mother wouldn’t let him, but only a handful of years later she gave me to a man hardly as gentle as Patrick Grace… Why didn’t he come back? Did he know about Darmock? Did he try to save me? I never asked, maybe when he found me, he was on his way to me. Why couldn’t he trust me?
The last sentence is barely legible, as it had been crossed out as soon as it was written
He was right not to trust me. Gods, I’m so ashamed. If he had told me, I would have probably betrayed him, just as I betrayed Una. He couldn’t trust me- he knew how deep my hate had nested. I wonder if that is why he tried to put Aralove by my side. He had experimented, attempted to show me that tieflings weren’t the monsters I thought they were.
In Aralove I failed. He must have been so ashamed, knowing I left the army not because of it’s evil, but because of my own bigotry. Though I like to believe it was a mixture of the two. I didn’t like looking into the darkness of my fellow soldiers hearts, or my own… Who knew how easily I could have overcome it? Not with Aralove, of course, but Vallus… In Vallus I see softness, even though he tries so desperately to bury it under his gruffness. He thinks I can’t see past the wall he’s built- but I know all about those walls. I’ve built mine much thicker.
When my father saw my burns, he flinched. I couldn’t read his face back then, but I thought I could. All I did was project my own feelings. In his eyes I saw disgust and shame. I covered myself from head to toe, wrapped away every scar even when the cloth hurt when it rubbed them raw. But now my eyes have matured, and my memory is strong. Those were not the eyes of a man who was disgusted- they were filled to the very brim with the guilt of a father who couldn’t save his flesh and blood. Admittedly, I still would have hidden the scars.
But Vallus sees courage in my scars. When he saw them, he didn’t flinch. He held me strong, and kept me in the moment. He covered me without blinking, and because he was holding me I remembered that it was all a farce. I remembered that Darmock did not have me back, that I was there with friends and it was just a… “game”, I suppose. It would have been so, so easy to plunge headfirst into delusional terror if it hadn’t been for his hands on my shoulders.
How can I hate an entire race now that I have finally seen the other extreme? I’ve seen all the evil tieflings had to offer, and repressed the good. I can not face what that means for Larren yet, but… I know now that it was not her blood that made her do what she did.
On a similar note, these Grimnas’s have started sprouting like weeds. Not that I hold his family name against him, it seems Vallus has no love for it. His brother is a sore spot, I can tell, and maybe I should not ask… Though I lost my father long before I had a chance to ask the important questions, maybe I should not give anyone the chance to leave me with so many again. I shouldn’t write on Vallus any longer, it feels disrespectful. After the battle, when the queen, and Briahna…
I do not know what to say to Una. I know she cared for Briahna very, very deeply. I saw the way their eyes met, and how they seemed to support one another without ever pandering or appearing weak. I don’t think anyone else could see that side of Una so quickly- a side I’m sure Briahna had seen more of then I.
I know Una will want to bring her back. I don’t blame her. If I had my fathers body, I would have done the same. I imagine anyone who sees someone they love die has delusions of finding a willing cleric, even if there really are not many. I’m worried that this task may not end the way she hopes. And not only that, but there are so many other hanging threads. That Warforged soldier, Vallus’s pathetic brother running away, the rest of the war. We are not even sure if Winterhaven will believe us when it comes to their king…
I wish I had his body. Even if it were only to bury respectfully. I know what they do to the bodies of hanged men, and there is nothing respectful about it… even if I have no idea who my father really was, I know he was too good a man to suffer the fate he did.
I will mourn for him. For the few parts of him I knew, and even more for the vastness of him I will never know.
Everything around me is confusing and alarming, but I do know this: I will kill Marcus Sana. I will burn his flesh to the bone, and then I will take his soul and keep it where I have now trapped the souls of many evil men. With Darmock, and Ian. I will find a way to destroy them. Though destroying them seems too easy. I have Darmock’s books, I’m sure I can find a more fitting punishment. Either way, I will make sure his suffering does not end when his life does. That would be too easy. I will have justice, and I will teach that miserable cleric the meaning of retribution.does not end when his life does. That would be too easy. I will have justice, and I will teach that miserable cleric the meaning of retribution.
I’m not sure if this letter will find you, but I hope it will… I woke up in terror again last night. I don’t know what happened, but I do know they are getting worse. Vallus woke me up. I was on top of him, hitting him with balled-up fists in the chest.
Thankfully, I’m not very strong, and Vallus is. I woke up with him holding my wrists and calling out my name. He promises me I didn’t actually hurt him- he compared my punches to insect bites. Not exactly charming, but it did help wash away some of the guilt. I know sometimes I lash about, wake screaming, but I’ve never attacked anyone in my sleep before.
I don’t know why it’s suddenly become violent. Maybe it’s because you aren’t here and that makes me feel sick to my stomach. Vallus tells me I used to just whimper and kick when I had a nightmare and he’d wake me up. I think that being in that house was getting to me, maybe getting away will help. If not that, it may be the books I am reading that have summoned these nightmares. Every moment I am awake I am reading tales and accounts of monstrous creatures from another realm. Each account calls it something else, but I know these creatures are from hell.
Sheldon is what I called the being I summoned. I think the ordinary name takes some of it’s power away from it. You taught me that. When you laugh in the face of an enemy, you take their power away. I’ve watched entire armies crumble beneath that laugh.
Now that you've gone, the aggression between Vallus and Calluna has mounted. I think for now I’ve thrown some water on the situation, but I’m not entirely sure the fire is out. . . . You don’t even want to know what a poor choice of words that is. Merrek, Fie and I are constantly trying to keep the peace. I’m not sure I’m the best at it, when you get back you’ll have to wrangle them up. They’ll quiet down within minutes.
I love Vallus, but sometimes his anger can be frightening. It’s never directed at me, but seeing it directed towards a Calluna was unsettling. She did throw the first punch, which everyone conveniently forgot the moment it came time to place the blame.
Even Fie lashed out against Vallus before the wilden, which is disconcerting. I understand his side. I’m not saying Vallus was in the right, but… everyone seems ready to cast him in a dark light, and I can tell it bothers him, even if he won’t admit that to me. I’m sure he’s become used to it- given his brother. However, knowing that a friend was so quick to demonize the man I love leaves me with a pit in my stomach. You and Fie are like kin to me. I want to be able to trust him like I trust you.
Everything about this past week has made me feel rather helpless- you being gone most of all. I wish you hadn't, though I understand your nature well enough to know I couldn’t have stopped you. I have faith you will return soon, you always amaze me.
I’m going to stop before we leave town tomorrow and send this letter to you. We never officially said where to meet. We’ll wait for you in Brightport. Vallus says we will find a home in “House Dragonkeep”, formerly House Darkspane. Meet us there as soon as you can. We’ll be waiting.
PS: Have you ever met the parents of a significant other? I find myself a little nervous and I don’t know what I should do.
(Character Journals #1) Time 7:25 - 16:10
Shortly after episode 100: Audio Journal - available to Patreon subscribers
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