The Darkening Tide
The rain. Passions help me, I love the rain. It falls gently now, here today in Buckland. A week has passed, and it has rained softly since the creature fell. I am thankful. The filth of that creature’s existence is slowly washing away. It will never truly be gone, however. Not while we that yet live still tread this earth. But still, it is good that the water falls. Drop by drop, the old mill will be cleansed. The filth of its memory still remains, however. My memory of it is still as raw and expose as the wounds on the swordmaster. Brave one, that is. I will not say I understand the hu-mans, but that one, at least, has my respect. She would make a great orc. I have no measure of knowledge of this beast, except to say that it was heinously powerful, and entirely shrouded in mystery and death. Of only one thing I am certain, though: it was merely a pawn. I am not sure what the others know of it, little has been said since the attack. The villagers, those pitiful few that remain, have had more to say than we. They, at least, had barely more than their imagination to describe the horror of what was. We, the damned souls who took combat to it, will likely be branded forever by this experience. For good or ill, I cannot say. But it was not more than a distraction, a token of malevolence left by a dark master. I am sure of it. I am not even sure I should divulge of it to the others. The alliance holds flimsily as it is. The others did not see the marks in the air, the signs of nethermancy that hung cloying in the air like a web of pain. I could not read them. Were it not for my astral sight, I could not have seen them, much less understand them. What would they say if I told them I see it still? Weakly, dimly, but still. I cannot trust them. Not yet. They are still like angry horses, ready to stamp and run. They have much to learn. As do I. I am not without need of experience. If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that I am pitifully unprepared for dealing with constructs such as this on my own. They are so powerful. So corrupt. So anathame. If I am to study this further, I must rely on the others. And they will need me. I know this to be true. We have not much to go on. We have more questions than answers. Half of everyone we have come across has disappeared. We tried to help a small girl in a farm short of the village. We could do little but pander to her. We fought and killed the beast, and when we returned, the girl is missing. We lose more girls in a week than some tribes lose all year. Some In the village have taken to interacting with me. They are not unwelcome, but I do not have much to offer them, so I wonder what makes them come to me for answers. I have not completely abandoned my tribal ways. I still wear some of the trappings of my old ways. My family’s fetishes still cling to my tunic. I wear the animal bones of my kills. I am not as far removed from my past as I should like. The longer I chase these horrors, I may never be. My arcane studies are what they are, and it is obvious to those who know I suppose. But the villagers, I am just a strange orc, bit less mysterious than the horror they have survived. I hope the best for them. They are worthy of protecting, I suppose. Echo said as much. She has little to say. Not for her to make a loud noise to be heard. She would like to go unnoticed. I do not know the full meaning of her name, it is a nickname, and she has not seen fit to divulge its importance. Maybe it has none. But these things, it has been my experience, do not happen randomly. But there is time. We must leave the village soon. I hope it rains.