Sitting here in the comfort of my new desk, I have the unexpected luxury to reflect upon the events of these recent years and consider the truth of the saying about humans. The mayfly does indeed live a frantic life. I fear that I may grow to become infected with a frantic nature of my own in such company, but who is to say that some urgency is not called for, times being what they are? And meanwhile, I am making considerable progress with my studies and performing ground-breaking work with regards to this matter of divine magic. I have traveled among these companions for only a short time, but my observations have led me to construct the basic foundations of a hypothesis. I have seen Gertrude, Kunegunde and Alaric make use of powers that are well outside the realm of arcane magic. There is no doubt that they possess abilities that humans have not had access to since the last Age. It was the old story of the King and his family that began this mental process in which I am now engaged. The old stories tell of how it was the collected will of the humans that transformed all of reality into the plane on which we now dwell. It is the power of belief that drives this divine magic. But we can say with certainty that this power does not obtain from an exclusively internal or external source. If it were the latter, then Alaric could draw upon this ever-flowing font of power and heal those around him without limit. But he and others who possess this ability can only perform so many “miraculous” acts before the reservoir is depleted. This indicates either that there is an external source and it is exceedingly small or that there is some internally-fueled aspect to the magic. We discard the first of these suppositions when we consider that as Gertrude and Alaric have pursued and explored their faith, they have gained the power to perform more, and more powerful, magics. But we can also determine that the mechanism is not exclusively internal or the loss of this type of magic would not have occurred when the “Gods” left. During the Forsaking, whatever phenomenon that maintained the faithful’s connection to their source of divine magic following the fall of Illios was severed. It is only now after 300 years that the connection has been reestablished. Cilka’s research tells us that, in the days before Illios, “demons and servants of the gods walked the land at will”. After Illios, the land was closed to these outsiders and magic was tied to the moons, but the Faithful retained the ability to practice divine magic. Then this too was lost. It was the Threshold that was responsible for this connection. Why then did it end? Was the Threshold destroyed? If it was, whence comes this new power? If it was not destroyed, why did the Forsaking occur? We know too little of the Threshold or the connection it served to maintain. And what is it that resides on the other side? What are these “Gods”? The humans tell that the gods created the land before the First Age and then departed. A motley collection of manifestations personifying the virtues and vices of humanity, entities of unimaginably vast power that have no inclination to intervene or assist on behalf of those who have dedicated entire lives to their service. Beings that no one in living memory or written record has ever seen, or spoken to, or interacted with in any way. Is it possible that they are an artifice, a manufactured structure which allows humans to access this connection to a removed font of power? That these stories of the gods and methods of worship are In fact a match for the symbols and formulae that I commit to memory each day? I believe that Alaric possesses the power to heal injuries; I have seen it proven time and time again. But to believe that this power derives from some benevolent outsider, bestowing its blessing upon the faithful? I have seen the finest facets of human behavior drawn out in the name of these gods. I have seen Bravery. Courage. Determination. I have seen the workings of a miraculous power that arcane magic cannot replicate and could never hope to equal. It saddens me greatly that these human think so little of themselves that they must attribute it to some greater power.
Arriving at the camp of Brother Engle, we find that there are no gallows or hanging bodies here outside the camp. The structures in the camp seem to be recently renovated or restored. We are quickly brought to meet with the Brother. He is a young man for one of his station. We told him about our travels and what had brought us to the Order of the Star. He seemed to be very interested in the matter of the Old Gods, and we described to him the particulars of the Divine Record. He was given the scroll and began to peruse the document. One of his men, a groom, was summoned to the chamber. After a short interrogation, he was presented with the scroll and despite his professed ignorance of the written word, began to read the text aloud. Brother Engle was quite interested and asked for time to study the scroll, which we left in his care. We were provided a place to stay while he reviewed the text. I offered to provide suitable lodging for our group, but the steward had other intentions. They forced a few of the soldiers to move to tents in the courtyard to make room for us. Gertrude visited to Infirmary to tend to the injured there.
We were offered dinner with the men, and there were stares but no commotion was raised. The meal was drab but there was fish. In the night, Engle came to speak to us. He said he had been troubled by dreams of stars in the sky, a cross, and terrible danger coming, the stars being blotted out. This forces me to consider the value to compiling a lexicon of the unusual dreams that we have encountered. Each of those in this company has had some type of significant dream/vision. Is this some expression of Divination magic? I should ask Engle when he had this dream and cross-reference with the charts of the moon to see if Celene was in ascendance or conjunction at the time. Likewise, I should remember to request that the others share any unusual dreams they might have, and record moon phases at the time. Regardless, he believes that the Order was founded to preserve mankind, not just protect land. He said he would need to consider his options for the future. He offered something to us in exchange for the knowledge we gave him. He produced a scroll that he had kept in his family for many generations. I was able to translate the scroll, which was a recording of travels of Pytheas, who ventured from Ilios to the frozen lands of the North and to the Edge of the World. I did not sleep, but others did, and awoke with tales to tell. Gertrude saw the stars fall from the sky to become a silver lance in her hand. With her lance, she slew the dragon. Cilka had a dream of a purple gem and many people fought over the gem, but anyone who took possession of the gem was transformed in terrible ways. I must remember to check if there are any unusual effects that might amplify the moon’s effect for that night. We decided to travel north to the Edge, with the chance of visiting the temple of Larani that Pytheas found there. We found a ship that would sail north and return for us after a month’s time for only 1600 gold coins.
We boarded our vessel and began our trip north. I considered fashioning a more suitable residence for us on the deck of the ship, but I refrained from doing so. I am pleased that most of my companions regard Cilka’s response to my magics as unfounded and irrational, but I am mindful that this is a singularly unique crew and others we encounter might be as close-minded or fearful as Cilka is. The voyage took 11 days and we found ourselves on the shore of a large bay. The captain put in at the nearest beach and let us off the ship with our horses. We found a small clearing where I created a small hut for us to stay in for the night. During the night, Gertrude heard something passing through the forest to the north, but it did not find us. The next morning, we made our way north and we shortly came across a group of ogres resting along the path we were travelling. We decided not to force an engagement with them and so we backtracked and found another route through the region. We saw many signs of other giants travelling in the region, and thanks to Kiki’s skill at finding paths, only lost about a quarter-days’ time. It was growing dark as we finally found a place where I could summon forth our temporary dwelling for the night. Unfortunately, we were not permitted a restful evening. A band of Ogres emerged from the forest and Kiki rousted us from our comfortable beds. The ogres rushed at the group but we quickly saw them off without suffering any injury to my person. These specimens were unlike previous orges I have encountered. They had a thick, rubbery skin and what appeared to be gills, though I did not observe the creatures underwater so cannot confirm that they were functional organs. It would explain why the ship’s captain was so averse to staying close to the shore. One of the creatures had a crude necklace fashioned with a poorly cut, or rather, uncut amethyst. Being as it was a large purple gem, this caused Cilka some degree of consternation (that means she was upset, Kalli). But cooler heads prevailed and Kiki took possession of the item. It is unusual that such an item would appear following a dream that seems to feature this exact object. I would expect a divinatory dream to be masked by some type of symbol or archetype. If I had thought that Divination was so straightforward and direct with the information it provides, I would not have neglected it in my studies. Perhaps I can devise an experiment to collect more information.