The Ashen Kingdom

The Illusion of Safety

The trap was sprung and all was lost. Where before all had been silence, the Forest sprang back to life. Freya and his men heard it then; the trees were laughing.
—The Parable of Freya the Foolish, final stanza

Diary of Amaranth, excerpt

The night was fitful. [NB: word scratched out] continues to follow us. Gillard and I continue to maintain the lie, but I think the others, especially the Count, are growing suspicious. It does not help that [NB: same word removed] has taken to picking off stragglers.

We were joined last night by Harold of Greystone, a mage with even more skill than the last. He came out of the woods at a dead sprint, wide eyed and covered in fresh wounds. At first we assumed him a creature of the Forest, but he did not react to applewood, silver or iron. Count Petras vouched for him, and we have reluctantly decided to trust the newcomer.

I write this as we set up camp on the cliff face. This leg of our journey, at least, is complete. Once a stronghold is built, there is hope that we could begin mining within the week. I am shocked that optimism still exists within the group.



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