Jeric's Journal 04 - Dark Heart
At some point early in our battle with the giant air and wind creatures I heard the cleric reciting a passage from that holy book of his and I recognized the spell that was about to come.
I also knew that the spell would not work on me.
Santos explained once that it was a spell that requires the subject have faith in the Light to achieve full potency.
I have none.
Oh, I believe that the Light exists and He watches over us, as does Shadow and Darkness, however any faith I had in Him left me long ago.
It wasn’t always this way, in fact growing up in our home we did not worship the false gods as many of those around as had, so I was a perfect vessel, empty and just waiting to be filled with piety. So when The Awakening came and the Light filled our hearts we felt blessed. And inspired. The Awakening was our catalyst to take action and do some good beyond our borders. What better way to show our devotion to the Light than to help other’s affected by the Mages’ betrayal. It wasn’t long after that Major General Bron Talarra and a few of his men arrived in Eshher looking for volunteers to join his army. My home town is very small but still an ample gathering of men and women came out to listen to the Major General give a short speech about the importance of bringing justice to the mages and making sure all the lands of Shar were safe and protected. I’ve never seen a man so imposing, as if everything and everyone seemed smaller around him. At the conclusion of the speech I watched my father, full of pride, meet the General and shake his hand. We joined The Cleansing under his command.
It didn’t take long for our bright optimism to slowly turn to cynicism and despair by the horrors of war. The acts that I’ve seen men do to other men in the name of the Light absolutely sickened me. At the same time we were told by Talarra and his sub-commanders how proud we should feel by what we were accomplishing. Proud of torture. Proud of rape. Proud of murder. Talarra personally relished setting gruesome examples of lawbreakers in villages throughout our march. It wasn’t about mages anymore. It was about spreading his own brand of terror and fear.
We met nightly around one of the many fires spread throughout camp, just the four of us, and together as family we would talk. At least we had each other. Eventually our discussions always turned to quiet talks of leaving. How together we would desert from our company and tell people of the injustices and evil that was happening under Talarra’s banner.
One night I couldn’t find them. I hadn’t seen my father or either of my brothers since the previous evening. Although this wasn’t unusual as we spent the entire day marching and I was assigned to a unit that was separate from them.
I tried to appear casual as I went from fire to fire looking for them. By the time I made my way from the front to the back of the entire regiment I could barely hide my panic.
I saw three bodies through the open flaps of the large medic tent at the very back of the camp. As I approached the tent opening I saw the three of them, my father Bravin, and my two brothers, Bry’ and Verin lit by lantern inside the tent. They were laid bare side-by-side on a long table. Their eyes were closed and their chests were still. They were not breathing. I moved to enter the tent to examine them closer but my body started to violently shake. A moment later I heard someone call out my name from somewhere back towards the fires of the camp.
I took one last glance at the bodies and I ran. I ran into the night’s blackness, away from the Light.