Book Three: Slouching Towards Eudaemonia
CHAPTER THREE: Othersiders

Moradina Eosularday - Menteselunday

A letter home from Rin

Dear Mother,

Only four days have I spent beyond the Wall, and already I am grown eager to return home to Selunaport. I might even acquiesce to Old Rin’s desire and settle a birth aboard a lazy merchant vessel, if I thought it would expedite my return. (Though, in truth, I am probably not so forlorn as that).

Thus far, we have been set upon in the night by wicked fey, run afoul of a giant machine bent on slaughter, narrowly escaped an encounter with an otherworldly demon, and have been betrayed to those who would have us killed just on shear principle alone. Oh yes, and we were near burned to death in a windmill basement. It has been an exciting four days.

Drollery aside, Mother, the land beyond the Wall is every bit as terrible and cruel as its reputation heralds it to be.

The jungle is an oppressive, foul place. You are forever trudging in dank, humid darkness, until you come to a break in the foliage, only then to suffer the angry glare of a stark, pitiless sun. Even the wildlife would abandon such a place as this, as indeed, we have heard only a single birdcall our entire time here. And even then, I have my doubts as to the avian nature of the creature that made that call.

Imagine! An entire jungle, completely silent of any sounds of life! How is such a thing possible! Truly, this land is corrupted.

Even the earth bleeds here. A long, wicked gash slices from north to south, and in place of water, a river of tar flows instead. Despite all I’ve seen thus far, that managed to shock me into silence when I heard it.

I truly believe this land has suffered under the Monotheocratic Order, and has become to reflect their nature. The Order is vile and contemptible, capable of the most reprehensible and disgusting atrocities I’ve ever seen, let alone heard of. Not only do they enslave their populace, but they experiment upon them, twist and corrupt them into abominations. I’ve seen people deformed and disfigured into human cattle and hunting dogs. So altered that they walk on all fours and grunt and call as any animal would.

I near retched upon realizing these sad, twisted creatures were once human. With masks bolted right to their skulls.

The Monotheocratic Order must pay for what they’ve done. They must be held to account. The gods will not stand for such as this! If this is what their One god would make of the world, then he is no god at all, but a demon, more wicked and cruel than any I’ve known.

Enough of this.

Despite all of this ghastly account, some good has still transpired. We managed to rescue Janarl’s displaced people from attack. He has elected to remain behind with them, to see them to safety in this inhospitable land. I do not blame him for abandoning our initial quest. His people need him. And indeed, I do not doubt I will see him again before this quest is finished. I wish him well, and pray that Plentok Veris protect him and his people on their travels.

And indeed, even as another of our companions leaves us, perhaps another joins us. The faerie who did warn us of Janarl’s people’s plight then did point us toward a small, nearby village. It was left to Frankie, T’Self, and I to investigate, as Arek and Thalazzar went off in pursuit of Tiberio, who did wander off in despair the previous night. I cannot imagine how a bard must feel in such a tomb-silent, oppressive place such as this, especially after losing his wolf companion to the night raid by the evil fey.

Upon our arrival at Al-Gleasahl we were surprised to be heralded as saviors of the people by a man ready to be stoned as a false prophet. I have no doubt he merely claimed what he did to save his own life, and yet. . . his words carry many truths.

Mohadir is a self-proclaimed liar and a cheat, and yet there is an odd honesty to that. He is a peculiar contradiction. When first we did meet him and he was thrust upon us, I must admit, I did have no patience for him. But I have since come to reconsider my initial aversion. He has proven himself an honest individual, capable of eerily accurate divinations. He knew of our quest! But more than that, despite his obvious fear, he stood with us and did not balk when the twisted hounds came. That alone is enough for me to welcome him to our group, should he decide to accompany us on our journey. And frankly, we could use whatever help we might procure, especially from one with a talent for augury.

We certainly found no other help in the town of Al-Gleasahl. Indeed, it was here we met with manipulation and betrayal from a man named Ataraxia. He gave us little choice but to fight his fight against a miss-summoned demon that had been praying on the town (and that nearly killed Frankie!), and then sold us out to those who would seek our capture and deaths. We only managed to escape by setting ablaze the windmill in which we hid, and then fleeing down a long hidden tunnel in its basement.

I hope we do not run afoul of him again. I would hate to make a widow of his wife, and orphans of his children. They seemed pleasant people.

At any rate, the hour is late, Mother, and I must get some rest before we meet up again with Arek and the others in the morning. I will write again when next I have the chance.

May Plentok Veris guide us and protect us in this accursed land.

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