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Posted by on 2004 Sep 18 |

A Hard Lesson

(143 Shorka 377)

Dear Readers:

Recently I was asked to record a tale for one who has no means to do so. After considerring what he had to say, I’ve brought it here to you. So read, and decide for yourselves what to believe. The story is as follows.

I am Ameshi. I am a Gorbesh soldier, or I was. What I am now I do not know.

I used to be a prominent member of my society. I had wealth, position, fine things- as warriors go. I had men to go do my bidding. One of these was a much-valued courrier. I did not concern myself with what he did as long as he fulfilled my wishes. I should have.

One evening my courrier was returning from an errand when a Kaldaran girl caught his eye. He decided that he was going to have his way with her. He did not expect that she would be able to slay him with a simple herb knife. That is what happened, though. I discovered his disappearance about two days later.

Needless to say, my reaction was composed of equal parts anger and arrogance. I did not wish to leave such comforts as I enjoyed, but I did not wish this girl to go unpunished either. I hired bounty hunters to track her down and either capture or kill her.

They were bumbling fools. She managed to lose them once in the Dark Hand where presumably no one could survive, and when they found her again she had gained allies in the city of Crossing. Among those allies were the elders among your holy people. She escaped that day too, and for some years afterwards lived in your temple.

Seeing that the bounty hunters were useless, I took thought to the situation. She was young, strong, healthy, and spirited. It would be a shame to waste her altogether. She would give me a son before I offered her to my gods, I decided. I took such supplies as I wished for and took ship to Kermoria, rather than dare the hazardous overland route.

By the time I arrived in Crossing, I found she had slipped through my fingers yet again: A Kaldar clan based in Therengia had learned of her and spirited her away. I did not know how to find her, however, I was not without resources. I spoke with a young bardess who could track rumors and had her followed. I did not tell her my intent.

So it was that I learned the location of the tribe sheltering her. I made my way to the city of Therengia and demanded that they turn the girl over to me. In my arrogance I assumed they would. I was wrong.

Instead, they refused to even admit they knew her while they sent word to their allies. The call was swiftly answered by a strong Kaldaran warrior named Rehmasyde. He swiftly sent me to judgement before the Immortals.

I was not ready to give up. After I returned to life and collected my belongings, I told the Kaldar and their friends that I expected them to return the girl to me on the morrow. I did not try to challenge again that night: I was in no condition to do so.

The next night, they had another surprise for me. One of their number who was a paladin challenged me in her behalf. And I, still being an arrogant fool, accepted the challenge. Again I lost. But instead of letting me die as he should have, he pleaded with me to go somewhere to begin a new life.

The idea of- mercy- was foreign to me. An enemy was anyone who opposed me, and was therefore supposed to either be defeated or slain. I was very much at a loss about how to proceed. Yet I had sworn not to return without the girl. And I found I had no means with which to travel anyway, so it made no difference.

The tribe had sworn to defend the girl, as had the warrior Rehmasyde. He slew me again- before the local guards came and arrested him.

I was defeated. Even I knew that by now. I could not return to my home as a failure, so I went to the gypsies for judgement as they seemed closest to my people. They did indeed send me to the gods. I did not expect to be returned to life. I should not have been. But I was.

The Kaldars were honorable and had kept my belongings inviolate until I could claim them again. I was badly scarred in both arms and hands, and in my neck- so I was in no condition to fight at all. I was stripped of my beliefs in my own superiority. Everything I had been taught was wrong. I could not continue as I had- and the Gods had made it clear it was not yet my time.

The moon mage Malzard and the bard Jycanth escorted me to Throne city where I could recover somewhat, and learn what the truth was. I cannot return to Alberia: That is true. So I must learn a new way to live. The scars I keep as a penance for the wrongs I have done, and have attempted to do. This until I am deemed worthy to be whole again.

I am Ameshi. The warrior mage.