Post:Excerpt from Oane's Journal - 7/1/2010 03:44:44

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Excerpt from Oane's Journal · on 7/1/2010 3:44:44 AM 828
(Heyo! What follows is a brief semi-IC post to catch folks up on past paladin events, and toss out a few teasers about things to come. Please take it for what it is -- a combination of summary and teaser. The events will resume shortly after the Con, so be prepared. Things are about to the reality of what it really means to be a paladin in Elanthia finally begins to reveal itself)

Day 189, Year 398

The days seem to run together now. I cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. Running, always running. Always chased, always pursued. The nights are long, and the nightmares...the nightmares are always there, lurking in the darkness, waiting for sleep to come. And it rarely does now. Did it ever? I can't remember.

I have often wondered -- do madmen know they are mad? Or does madness require a degree of obliviousness to its own existence to be truly called madness? Can one be mad and sane enough to know it? Or is it possible that too much sanity itself is a form of madness? Do madmen see things that aren't there, and hear things that do not exist, or do they bear witness to the true reality while the rest of us stumble along in madness, not seeing the true reality?

I don't know, but I fear I have succumbed to madness. But if I have, how can I know it? Why does the possibility that I am not mad fill me with even more dread than the probability that I am?

The nightmares plague me. Day and night. Especially at night. Sometimes it is the baying of the hounds. Sometimes one, sometimes many. Sometimes I even see them in the corner of my eye, even while awake. In my dreams, I sense them lurking just beyond consciousness. Watching. Hunting. They are angry, I think. Or frightened. Perhaps both. I believe it is a message from Rutilor, but what does it mean? I have noticed a pattern, but I will need more evidence. Twice in history those calling themselves the Hounds of Rutilor have walked the world. Once they did great deeds, and gave their lives for what they believed in. What of those who bear the name now? Can they say the same? What are these nightmare hounds trying to tell us? Is it a warning? A threat? All I know is that they are growing louder and more numerous. Time is short. I can feel it in my very soul. If we do not decipher the meaning of the Hounds, we may be lost.

And then there are the dreams of Syal. I cannot say how I know it is he, but there is no doubt. He always waits in a dark, empty void, a noble paladin surrounded by countless foes. He fights on, never tiring, never giving up, despite the overwhelming odds. Scores of men assault him, and he drives them back, again and again. And then I see the faces of the men, and they are us! Paladins I have known, paladins that once were and perhaps even paladins yet to be. But they are paladins one and all! My greatest fear is that one day I shall recognize myself among them. And there is no doubt in my mind -- none -- that I am there among them, raging endlessly against the greatest among us. Each time he meets my eyes briefly, and each time he speaks words. Sometimes I cannot hear them, sometimes I can. Sometimes I can remember, sometimes I cannot. He asks why we have forsaken him. He pleads for our assistance. He calls for us to take arms and fight with him. And sometimes...sometimes I see hopelessness and fear in those haunted eyes, and hear a warning in the heart even when the words cannot be heard over the battle. A great doom has come, and if we do not stand united against it, we will fall. Every last one of us. And it will not end with us, merely begin.

Not often, but sometimes, there is a third dream. In this one I walk darkened stone halls, and before me looms a tomb. A Dwarfmaid stands before it, her armor gleaming even in the meager light. Come, she beckons silently. Find me. Learn the truth. Syal stands alone, and if he falls, all is lost. All. Everything that was and will be. Everything that is. I hear the words, but she never speaks. She just waits in silence, waiting for us to find her and learn her secret. I have tried! Oh, how I've tried! But I am at a loss. They have sealed her from me, and now I am hunted by those I have long served! I am lost, and mad, I think. Or mad and lost.

I know I am rambling. Madness, you understand. The hounds are howling in my mind. Emille the Fist beckons me, but I cannot reach her. Her secret lies with her, sealed away from us by those who should be seeking the truth. The Bonding is the key. I know it must be. What happened to Syal and the others that day? What was the great evil they fought, and why would they never discuss it?

And why do they call it the Bonding?

I visited a seer this evening. She spoke of a vision. She saw a lone dove, soaring above a field filled with countless baying hounds. In the distance, a lion roared, and when it fell silent, the hounds and the lion was gone. All that remained was the field, quickly falling into shadow as the sun set beyond the horizon. The dove circled the field, then flew towards the setting sun, vanishing in the darkness. Only a voice lingered, whispering a warning to the seer, which she passed on to me.

I know now who and what I seek. The heir of the dark paladin and the lorekeeper. I must find both before the enemy realizes what I am after. Before he finds them. Or me. Who can I trust? No one! Madness everywhere. All mad. All lost. All potential enemies! They are everywhere. He, it, they are everywhere. He, it, they can be anyone, at any time. Anywhere. Dare I trust anyone? I cannot do this alone, but...I dare not seek help. I pray to Rutilor each night to guide me, but the only answer I ever receive is the baying of the hounds. I fear that soon even that will betray me, and leave me in dreadful, lonely silence.

If you should find this journal, and should you be of good heart and noble soul, seek the answers I cannot find. I beg you! Find what secret the Fist guards. Find the meaning of the Bonding. Put an end to the madness, before more fall into its eager embrace.

By my hand, Oane

This message was originally posted in The Paladins (30) / Paladin Events (19), by DR-DARTENIAN on the forums.