The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden, so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.
Remember this if you can: your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You travel with a woman named Aos and a man named Desmon. Do not concern yourself with the torn patch of boiled leather on you breast, nor the ones on your companions’, nor the looks that the empty patch may garner. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.
* * *
I know you won’t remember the battle. But I must relay what I can while I do. I’ve given it thought and decided that these are memories we cannot let go:
Do you remember when we discussed taking up arms against monsters? This was what I meant when I said that. We fought against the monsters, garbed in steel and leather.
The leaders of the Warlod’s armies fought like something out the legends we’ve overheard at our campfires. They seemed to have the strength of half-gods and heroes as they slung their spears down on the enemy.
Their movements were taut; bronzed biceps growing as they hefted their weapons—and when they threw them, they did not seem concerned with the arrows hurtling toward us. They seemed almost lazy—after all, they were our leaders, and had made it this far. They seemed to know they wouldn’t die here.
The same could not be said of soldiers unnumbered, too young or unpracticed, or infirm. The ones could not raise their shields in time, pierced by arrow shafts, or spears, or swords; and littering the fields with eyes like their leaders—like half-gods and heroes. Eyes that did not seem to see.
We lost the battle all the same, fleeing the city with what few survived the onslaught.
Now you know you’re a warrior, don’t you? Only a warrior could hear that he had killed so many and not even bristle. You feel it don’t you? I feel it to. The nothing inside you when learning this news. That’s why you’re a soldier. That’s how you survive.
* * *
You were ambushed, Carth. It was only a small skirmish, but there’s more that I want us to remember, now. Though I can’t give you much—do you think anyone truly remembers fights clearly? Or do only you and I suffer from this affliction?
You need to remember Aos dragging a twin away from his brother’s limp body, leaving the corpse on the road for the carrion crows.
She herself would be dragged away later when she saw that her dog had suffered the same fate.
You need to remember Desmon spearing an injured horse—and the cavalryman whose leg it had crushed. He looked at you, then. Even through your fog of shattered memories, you knew what that look meant. And you know it now as you read this.
You and I both know how these men felt. I suspect we all know. We’ve all learned the guilt that comes with being alive.
Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron