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 are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.
* * *
You sacked a city. You now camp the charred corpse of its slums as provisions are dispensed. The houses loom large and broken, speckled with survivors.
It turns out you haven’t been reading this as much as you should be. Didn’t I tell you to read this when you wake? I leave two scrolls right next to you every night. How hard is it to read them?
Now read closely, Carth: there is talk amongst the Warlord’s forces that the monsters you chase have doubled back to hit you in the rear. The Warlord has camped in this city, in wait. You’ve heard talk monsters will chase their foes with great fury and vengeance until they’ve drank their fill of blood. You may have to endure a siege.
You’ve fought in a siege before, haven’t you? I’ll bet you can’t fully remember it, but your muscles do. You feel phantom pains where blades cut you long ago. What glimpses into your own past you can remember are frozen in time, without context. You’d just as well be hearing someone’s campfire legend, for all the sense it made to you.
After you received your provisions, Clarissant waved to you from the bones of an alleyway where she sat with Anthea.
Clarissant was cleaning her nails with a dagger, stopping every now and then to feed scraps of corn to her dog, or scratch him behind the ear (You didn’t remember she had a dog, did you, Carth? That’s what you get for forgetting to write).
She said that it was you who found the dog during your first raid with the Warlord. He was protecting some girl you met when putting the city to the torch.
I didn’t bother to mention it. Tinker Taker, remember? You told Clarissant as much.
“I don’t know how you could forget someone like that,” she told you before proceeding to compared her beauty to a few goddesses you’d never heard of. I’ll let you forget some of her choice descriptions (I wish I could). “I’d prefer a few northern horsewomen to a warband of monsters,” Clarissant said. “If we’re going to die here, they might as well be our final sight: a dozen bare-breasted horsewomen riding for us, tits bouncing.”
Your conversation lapsed and she went back to cleaning her nails. To break the silence she mused, “I’ll probably lose a finger one day. Won’t be able to hold a weapon after that. Won’t be able to fight.” She scratched her dog behind the ear.
“Why not do it now?” Anthea asked, “Get it over and done with?”
Clarissant grinned. She pet her dog, and its tail thumped against the ground. When she turned to look at Anthea, her grin was gone. “What do I look like to you? A coward?”
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