The FATE of Guilfort

Kel's Journal, Entry 1

I try to keep an open mind. I mean, you never know who or what I may be related to. But I’m really starting to hate goblins. Or, at least goblin bandits and raiders but really, I’ve never seen other kinds of goblins, have you? Oh shut up, I know you’re just a piece of paper. Saana always said to write in my journal like I was talking to it, so I may as well let you talk back.

And I’ll try not to let you end up like my previous journal. Stupid goblin bandits attacked while I was writing my last entry, thinking I was an easy target. I’m much stronger than I look, but unfortunately I look rather weak, and some like to take advantage. Or at least try. I kicked their butts mightily, but alas, after it was over I found my poor journal smouldering in the fire. Had to run into town (Guilfort if you want to know where you came from) to pick up a new one, and so here we are. I decided to take up the innkeeper on his offer of a room instead of staying out in the woods this time. I’m not a fan of sleeping indoors, but it beats cleaning more goblin gibs off my bedroll. And this way there’s no cooking fire for you to fall into.

Since you’re a nice blank book (well, mostly blank now) I suppose I should recap a bit. (Hey, recap is totally a word. Ancient orcish or something. I know more about this stuff than you, you’re just a blank book!). Anyway, I’m Kel. Raised as an elven ranger, but I’m not an elf, unless you’ve heard of elves with silvery-blue skin and unpointy (that’s a word too, shut it) ears. I sure haven’t, and as far as I can tell no one else has either. Heck, they haven’t even heard of non-elves with those features.

The elves found me when I was a baby. Well, actually it was Saana. She was 4 at the time, out for a walk with her family. When her parents came over to prove that the “magic silver baby” was just her imagination they were startled to find me there, giggling in the leaves. Giggling until they tried to take the small dagger in my hand away. That apparently made me quite cross. Saana immediately decided I was her brother.

Unable to find anyone nearby who could be my parents they decided to take me in. For the next couple years they kept looking for anyone who may have lost me, but Saana always assumed I would be staying. She liked having a strange silvery-blue little brother (she eventually nicknamed me “silue”, after deciding “bliver” sounded stupid). Her parents found they couldn’t separate the dagger from me (I was apparently a very strong baby), so instead they got in the habit of wrapping the blade in cloth so I couldn’t hurt myself. Of course I just tore it off as soon as they were gone, but as nothing bad ever happened they started only doing it when there was company over.

As I grew so did the dagger I was found with, until it became the sword I carry now (I really hope it stopped though, as I can’t imagine carrying around a greatsword as an elderly whatever-I-am). I also found that over time I could feel my sword. First I could always tell where it was (Saana liked to hide it when we were little), then later I could tell when someone was touching it, or if it was warm or cold. It’s like another limb, just one that can’t move on its own (trust me, if I ever figure that one out you’ll be the first to know. Well, unless I decide to show off first).

The elves in our forest were all very welcoming, and once they got used to me they treated me just like anyone else. I trained as one of the rangers, helping to scout in the forest and hunt for food. It wasn’t until the Path of Iron started to show up that things became difficult. They’re some crazy southern elf religion that thinks elves are just Better Than Everyone Else (thankyouverymuch), and they’ve been moving north for a while. No one who knew me growing up gave me any trouble, but newer elves to the forest gave me a hard time. Then they started giving anyone who was friendly with me a hard time. Never violent, but they made trade difficult, or were otherwise just snots about it.

My sister married a local craftsman (craftself? If that’s not a word I should make it one.) a couple years after my parents died (forest fires are nasty business). I had always wanted to go explore the world to try and discover what I am, and I figured that was a good time to go. My parents were gone, Saana had someone to look after her, and I figured the Pompous Idiots (what? I said Path of Iron, really!) would treat her and her husband better if I wasn’t around. So I sold most of my stuff, gave half to Saana as a wedding gift, and left to explore the world. (You thought I was going to say “left to find myself” didn’t you? I know perfectly well where and who I am. Just not what. I’m sure you’ll learn that as we get to know each other more, you stupid book.)

Recent Past: Nan
Dark Magic

It turns out that I had never used black magic in Guilfort. What I did to Mart is considered “gray magic”, and illusion. Illusions are really cool. You can draw attention to things, or attempt to get people to ignore things. You can make an image of a ravaging demon, or the humbling presence of an Angel. It’s all about understanding what someone will believe on their own.

I was good at illusions.

I’m now 16, in Tilith. I’ve been studying under Gramm for a while. While Gramm’s been focusing on defensive aspects of magic, I’ve shown some natural talent in Illusions. He’s let me learn a bit more here for defensive purposes.

Gramm was always telling me, “Be careful what you use your Gray magic on, Nan. It’s our responsibility to use our powers wisely. The worst thing we can do is loose the people’s trust.”

I was a teenager, I was out having fun. I met a group of kids who called themselves the Heralds. Yeah, they were really a bunch of petty criminals, but we had fun. When they realized I could use my illusions to distract people, there was no end to the antics. Drawing the guards’ attention was my usually “duty” in this gang.

I got really good at it. At first I tried things like phantom noises and shining lights. That would distract a guard for a few seconds, but was pretty risky. Eventually I learned to scout the guard and learn a bit more about them. If the guard had a fancy for a certain maiden, I could enhance her, err…. appeal such that the guard had a hard time looking away. This type of glamour usually turned out to be the best.

Magic turned out to be pretty natural for me. Gramm was teaching me the fundamentals of magic, but I didn’t have a huge amount of patience since I was getting results fairly easily. Life was pretty good. I had friends in this town, my lessons were going well and Gramm was a pretty decent guy. I doubt he knew the extent of my crookery, and I never felt the need to enlighten him. I’ll say it again, life was good.

That is, until Tulia arrived in town.

My father had decided she needed more formal training and sponsored her at the local university. University may be an overstatement. Tilith is a big town, and so it had an advanced school. Make no mistake though, this was no famous university. Good enough, though, for Tulia to train to be something like my father: A teacher, A doctor and a scholar.

Tulia sought me out shortly after arriving in town, and our friendship picked up right where it left off. Well, sort of. It seems Tulia wasn’t frightened of my magic anymore, especially after telling her about “gray” magic. However, it seems my teenage romantic dreams were still just that, dreams. Besides, Tulia deserved someone good, wholesome. I’d been pretty much a scoundrel since arriving in Tilith. Probably all the new found freedom.

So that explains why I got so angry when Tulia found me with the Heralds. Not only that, she startd hanging out with us a lot. It was pretty obvious she had a crush on the leader, Mason. Mason was sauve, debonaire and more of a scoundrel than me. Not only that, his interactions with Tulia grated. He acted the perfect gentlemen, but I knew who he was.

I tried to explain this to Tulia at some point, but she just ignored me. Claimed I was jealous. She was right, but he was still a bad egg, not right for her.

So, today was the first time I used black magic for real. That’s right, I used it. Knowingly, Willingly and I’d do it again.

I had caught up with the Heralds just after supper. I heard Mason bragging to the others before he noticed me. “Tonight is the night, my friends. If you hear strange sounds near Forgell’s park, make sure you stay away. Tulia and I will be indisposed.”

I couldn’t think. I did the first thing that came to mind. I touched a finger to my mother’s amulet and whispered a few silent words, feeling the power flow out from me.

I no longer lost consciousness when casting magic. You see, my mother’s amulet had become my focus. It allowed me to channel the magician’s energies through it rather than my own brain, leaving my mental process uninterrupted.

The spell I had cast, was a compulsion. When I first arrived at Gramm’s, I was worried about my use of black magic. I would secretly steal his tomes on it until I had learned the difference between black and gray magic. This is when I had come clean with him and described my encounter with Mart. Well, in that time I had also learned a bit about real black magic.

I used that now. On Mason. I put it into his head that Tulia was cheating on him.

Needless to say, their date that evening turned out south. I had no idea what I had done. Tulia showed up at Gramm’s crying. She had a black eye. Apparently, Mason turned violent. She had no idea what had happened. I wanted to comfort her, but I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach. That and the anger at what Mason had done.

The next day, I confronted Mason on his behavior. I was furious. I’m still furious, but I recognize a lot of this as anger at myself. I’ll skip the details, but suffice it to say this: I’m no longer a Herald, and I’m still alive.

Somehow Tulia found out about my fight with Mason. The bruises and broken ribs I had from that confrontation lasted quite a while. The upside was that Tulia wanted to nurse me back to health. The downside is that I felt so guilty about what I had done to Mason, and the harm it had done to her that I couldn’t look her in the eyes for very long. I think she realized something was up.

Over time, we grew apart. She was busy in School and I was spending more time in the Magician’s circles. That is, the community of Magicians is split into circles. There was one in Tilith. When an apprentice reached a certain level or appititude, he was farmed around the magician’s in a given circle for a diversity of training. In Tilith there were about ten of us at this level. Times were good again.

So here I am. 16 years old, estranged from my best friend, carrying around a dark secret, and getting more powerful every day.

Nan's Emergence

Today marks a new day: My first journal entry. Like most things I’ve accomplished in my adolescent life, this journal is all about impressing a girl. You see, this journal was a gift from a good friend of mine, Tulia, who I may not see much after today’s events.

Before we get into that, I guess I should introduce myself a bit. My name is Nan, son of Brett. I’m currently 13, and studying to be a physician. My father is a teacher at Guilfort, and is one of the most knowledgeable, upstanding citizens in the town. This has made my life hard.

You see, We live in guilfort, a small town of farmers, fishers and associated commerce for these. We don’t have any big trade. We aren’t known for our scholars. As such, only girls go to my dad’s school. That is, the girls in town that can be spared from daily work and myself.

It wasn’t always bad growing up in an all girl’s school. When hormones started to kick in, I was the only guy around for most of the day. The downside is that I was treated as a toy by most of the girls in school. It’s not bad, if you know who’s using you and how to manipulate them against each other. The problem was when school let out.

Mart was a town bully. I say a town bully because there were several. Mart just happened to be close enough to my age, that he liked to pick on me. While getting beat up for being a wimp might get some bonus points with the girls at school, it certainly wasn’t much fun.

Mart was the son of a mushroom farmer, and spent most of his time hunting through less-than-savory fields for exotic, foul-tasting mushrooms. Granted, these are the cream of the crop of guilfort exports. Mart was a rich stinky farmer.

Mart had an uncanny way of finding out what I cared about and crushing it. When I was 8, I had found a practice sword that my dad let me use. Mart found out less than a few hours later and I was once more without a wooden sword. Mart was even able to figure out what I cared for before I did.

You see, Tulia was my best friend. Tulia was the third daughter of a corn farmer. Corn is not a high-yield crop unless you have lots of teams of oxen and land. Her father had one ox and a cozy amount of farmland. Her sisters were responsible for helping make meals, and so she was free to attend school.

Being the youngest, Tulia was shy. She backed out of most sorts of conflicts, and didn’t spend a lot of time on her dress. Granted, she did have to wear the same tunic every day. The thing about Tulia was that she was silently beautiful.

Tulia didn’t flaunt herself. Her clothes were dirty, baggy and non-flattering. Those who knew her could still see through this though. Her face has no hard lines. Her eyes were a deep blue. Her skin, though grimy, was always soft. I guess I had a boyish crush on my best friend, although I didn’t realize until today.

The unfortunate events

You see today, after dinner, I headed over to Tulia’s to show her an amusing passage I found in one of our physician books (Yes, I’m also a nerd). When I got there, I found out from her mother that she had gone out with Mart.

“You leave those two alone now. Mart’s a good boy for Tulia.” said her mother.

“Ma’am, we’re just friends. Can you let her know I was here?”

Her mom made a non-committal grunt, and I moved on. Why would Mart see Tulia, and why would her mom think it was courting? I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. This was not going to be good.

I scoured the town, going over ever place where I knew Tulia liked to hang out. The courtyard was full of adolescents, as usual. Chandra told me that Tulia and Mart had been there for a while, but Mart wanted to show Tulia a hiking trail. The hiking trail. You know, the one where parents can’t find you, perfect for adolescent hijinks. I felt like I had a stomach ulcer.

I ran as fast as I could to catch up with them. I wasn’t very good at running, as I spent a lot of my time reading and talking. I made a resolution to be more serious about physical discipline in the future.

Wheezing my way down the trail, I heard a muffled yell. It was too faint to make out, but my gut told me it was Tulia.

I found Mart about 5 minutes later. He had one hand wrapped around Tulia’s mouth and the other was doing nothing appropriate. Tulia gave me a helpless look.

Anger consumed me. My eyes were blinded with it. I almost couldn’t see what was happening anymore I was so furious. It’s one thing if Mart roughs me up after school, but this was just too much. I was so upset, I kept envisioning Mart consumed by fire for his crimes today. Some part of my brain realized that I was just standing there, like an idiot and needed to act. I held out my hand and yelled, very eloquently, “Stop!”.

You see, studying really helps with the vocal parley, but I digress.

Something clicked in my head. The rage cleared, my vision returned and I couldn’t remember what had just happened. It was liking waking up after dozing off in class. I looked to see Tulia, face bruised and dress torn staring in shock at Mart.

Mart was rolling on the ground screaming, simultaneously trying to rip of all his clothes.

“Fire! Put it out, Put it out.” He was yelling hysterically. However, there was nothing on fire. He was having a private delusion. Tulia just stared in shock.

Again, something prompted my brain to act. I walked over to Tulia and said, “We need to get out of here.”

“What did you do to him?” she responded, never taking her eyes of Mart.

“I have no idea, but we need to go somewhere safe. I can’t protect you up here.”

Around that time, Mart stopped screaming. He looked dumbfounded. Then, realization came over him. “Warlock!” he screached. “Dark Magic! You messed with my head.”

My gut twisted. What had I done? Dark Magic was evil. Those caught using it were considered outside the law, not protected. I didn’t have much time to think as Mart got up and marched toward me.

“I’ll kill you, warlock.” A simple statement. My emotions were all convoluted. I had to get Tulia out of her. I had to get out of town, before anyone realized what I had done. While I was thinking this, pain exploded in my cheek.

I looked up from the ground. Mart had hit me. “Leave him alone!” Tulia yelled. Mart side-slapped her. She fell to the ground near me. The anger returned, hotter than ever.

“What kind of brute hits a girl?” I roared. Well, it was more of a squeak. Remember I was 13.

Mart didn’t respond, just pulled his arm back for the next blow against me. My mind raced. I had to protect Tulia. Nothing else mattered. Mart was a bully and someone needed to stand up to him. I held my hand out toward him, and uttered the one word I knew had power “stop!”

Come on, It’s not like I was a linguist.

Again, my brain just shut down for a few seconds. When my consciousness returned, my eyes took in the scene. Tulia was on the ground, dress torn, face battered and eyes wide with shock. I was standing now, holding my hand out in the air. Mart was buck naked, and he was punching… well, nothing really. He was punching the air and little sparks of light were appearing when his fist stopped, a few inches from my hand.

For some reason, I found this funny and started laughing. Probably not the right decision.

Mart was even angrying and just kept leveling punches at the invisible shield surrounding Tulia and eye, screaming.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but eventually the constable showed up, dragged Mart away. It was obvious from his state of dress and Tulia’s bruised face what had happened. It also got around that I had used magic to protect Tulia.

While you think this daring rescue would have made any girl fall in love, Tulia was nervous around me now. She never told anyone, but she was nervous about what I had done to Mart’s mind. While he tried to convince everyone how I was an evil warlord, most didn’t buy it and Tulia stood up for my honor. She lied.

While this held the constable off from passing judgement on me, things were shaky in the town. I started hearing rumors, and bad things started happening to my father. A few of the girls were removed from school and the loss of tuition was hard.

I managed to convince my father to send me for magical training. He had a friend in Tilith who was some fancy wizard or whatnot. Most importantly though, I had to get out of Guilfort before anything bad happened to Dad or Tulia.

Today is the day I leave Guilfort. I’m still 13, and I expect a lot to happen in the future.

I had a rather awkward, gut-wrenching talk with Tulia before I left. She’s still scared of me. This, of course, ruins any romantic dreams a teenager may have. At least she gave me a hug before I left and this jounral.

That leaves me on the road to Tilith. Afraid of what powers I may have used, tired of being bullied around and without my best friend or family. At least I have this journal.


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