Smashing

My original journal was called [i]Tallying[/I]. It was a tally chart, embellished with vague notes to begin with. But the longer I kept it, it grew and grew.

It began as a way to record my fights with Zev. I tallied them off. Each of [i]his[/I] outbursts. Each time [i]he[/I] was unreasonable. Though now, looking back…

Upon reflection. It was me. It was me all along. I was passing the book. Worming my way out of it. Not taking responsibility. It was me. It was my tally chart of [i]my[/i] outbursts. [i]Mine[/I]. My own. Nobody else’s. And I admit to it now. The journal is lost and the tally is missing. But, I, [i]Mister Bifrost Janger[/I], do hereby claim that [i]naughty list[/I] as my own. My name is at the top. Circled and underlined thrice.

Misdemeanours. Offences. Delinquency. Misdeeds. BAD BEHAVIOUR. RUDENESS. Impulsive. Petulant. LACK OF DISCIPLINE.

IT READS LIKE MY SCHOOL REPORT FROM LALELDAN VILLAGE!

Twenty four Winter’s and I [i]still[/I] refuse to grow up.

But, for all of my [i]deficiencies[/I], the one [i]virtue[/I] I manage to cling onto is my complete and utter inability to lie. I am honest – to a [I]fault[/I]. A large fault. Huge. Some people say that they cannot lie because their face or eyes give them away. For me it is face, eyes, hands, mouth, shoulders… It is my body. My being. My tongue. My brain. My heart.

I cannot lie. It screams forth from my pit and my pores. I write it across the sky. [i]Mood lightening[/I].

So, I thought I’d start my chart again. Though, no falsehoods this time – this tally is [i]mine[/I].

I had rather a spectacular outburst yesterturn. Even by my standards. I had already resolved to throw the music box to the bottom of the Well. But I didn’t get that far. No. Everyone sent up their lanterns and then they started up their own boxes. And the symphony rose up around me; a [I]discombobulation[/I] of mocking chimes nipping at my ears. Unfortunately I have the emotional regulatory skills of a toddler. So, I snatched my own music box out of my pack, raised it high above my head, and brought it crashing down onto the cobbles.

I smashed it. I smashed it into a thousand pieces. And just to be sure of the fact that it was indeed [i]dead[/i], I stamped upon it’s ruinous body. Irreparable. It will never [i]sing[/I] again. I made sure of it.

I would start the tally at [i]One[/I]. But for the magnitude of my tantrum I’ll scale it up to a [I]four[/I]. I wouldn’t make it higher because I didn’t yell or cry or anything like that.

And then, I will also factor in the other outbursts/compulsions I have had of late. So… Seven?

No. No, in fact. Eight.

Actually, scratch that. Might as well round it up to a nice round [i]ten[/I].

[i]Ten[/i]. We shall start the count at [i]ten[/i].

Ghosts

I spoke of Draekyn last night with the Carpenter. And in doing so, I feel as though I’ve invoked his ghost. Fitting, I suppose, what with the time of year and all. It is apt that I should be haunted.

I tried to explain. But everything came out in a tumble of half truths. I don’t feel as though I told the full story. But then, how could I? It has been so many years. There are parts that I don’t remember myself. I suppose most of all I remember a feeling. I remember exquisite pain. I remember love and tenderness and nurturing. I remember longing that was all encompassing. I remember. I remember him. I remember that he touched me so deeply that he must have reached my heart. He stole a piece of it; though I do not know if he chose to keep it. Maybe he has discarded it by now.

Looking back at my old writings, it has been more than two years. Perhaps even three. Where is Draekyn. I haven’t seen Draekyn. I looked for Draekyn. It is an recurrent theme. I wonder what he looks like by now. There might be more silver in his hair. More furrows of worry upon his brow. Is there still a storm in his eyes?

I’ve changed. If only a little. I suppose in my person I look quite the same. But I’ve changed. I’m striving to be better. Though, still I feel guilt. A lot of guilt these turns. I feel guilt toward the Carpenter. I feel as though I’m feeding him breadcrumbs. And he is following the trail, so that he might find the house where Bif lives. It is past the bearcub in the woods; then along down into the Hollowed Tree. But who knows if he will even be home by the time he gets there? He might not even open the door. He might be hiding in the shed.

Last night, I spoke of Draekyn. Though, I have not yet spoke of Zev. He is a spectre for another night.

Stuck in The Hole

I’m no further forward. Not really. I’ve talked and planned and looked. My initial plan of moving the Gremlin’s entrance to the Big Hole – the one that was full of those large, horrid rats – fell through. Somebody has filled it in already. It is gone. Cody said it’s been filled in for awhile now. Bah.

So, that only leads me with the options of relocating the tunnel so the south or the east. So, either further down into the Plains; towards the sand dunes. Or, towards that lot of abandoned Guild halls. Though, I seem to recall that King Deeks statue might be over there? That would likely land me in even more trouble. I suppose I could tunnel right far west; and go beneath the World Builder lawn and up out where the guild lots where. OR. I could ask Low to utilise his hut. He might say yes…

I wound up having rather a bat spat with the Carpenter yesterturn. He surprised me, actually. Usually he is so amicable and easy. Yet, yesterday he spit fire at me. What was more jarring, was just how closely he hit his mark.

He accused me of Cowardice. And I knew that he was right. And the more I reflect, it just cements my knowing. And then I struggle to recollect; when did this happen to me?

For I can recall a time that I was reckless. Daring. I wasn’t afraid of anyone or anybody. I was in such a way inclined, that Draekyn feared for my own self preservation. He stole my shoes. He locked me up. He did all of these things to save me from myself. And yet, here I am now. Cowed, hiding and worn out.

I have grown tired of the fight, I suppose. And I have been alone for so long that I was void of anyone to lean on. So I bore the burden on my own. I suppose it grown heavy. Heavier than I realised. It is the same fight. Over and over. The same blows hit me in the same places. I suppose I’ve grown wearied. I need to find my stamina.

Because giving up is not an option.

Epiphany

I have been going about it all the wrong way. I see that now. I have a plan. Though putting such things into motion is another thing…

But, I am thinking. I am planning. I am scheming. It struck me just this morning, you see. I’ve been doing this the wrong way around. I’ve been approaching the problem backwards.

I wanted to keep the Initiates away from the Hollowed Tree. And thus far, I have been doing this by words, bribes and ranting. Lots of elder adventurers have grown cross with me. They say I am driving the new folks away…

But it is so simple! I can’t believe I’ve never considered it before. For, you see, the Initiates can’t bother the Gremlins, if they cannot get to them. If they physically can’t get to them. It would be easily enough achieved. A few shovels and a few good men. We could the entryway to the Hollowed Tree buried within an afternoon. Then, I will only need to relocate the Gremlin’s entryway elsewhere. Elsewhere where Initiates cannot tread…

Latest Project – Ethical Issues

I’ve a plan in mind. Something I’ve been working on in secret for quite sometime. I’ve discussed it all with Kaballoi and she supports my ideas.

Though bringing my plan into fruition is proving troublesome – Namely the locating of ethically sourced specimens for my display. I can’t even think of who’s expertise to call upon in order to complete this task.

I shall contemplate upon it further.

I’ve seen Aunty Bibi twice and we’ve set off fireworks. The first time, we went to the Hollow Tree – I wanted the Gremlins to see. Bibi took off her old garnet bracelet and gave it to the chaps. I thought that was very nice of her. I know how much she likes her trinkets.

The second time we set off fireworks on the pier. There’s fish down in the water now. But rods and tackle boxes are too expensive for an apprentice Enchanter like me to afford. I was supposed to learn how to fish. It was on my list.

I’ve seen Hyacinthe too – my pupil. He still calls me prof, but I’m no such thing anymore. Though he assures me that it is not my fault; he is a lost cause. Or so he says.

For now I’m thinking mostly about geology and Gnomes. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Caer library, rereading tomes and pouring over my Fieldguide. I need to get back to training again, but… Well, you know.

Necromancer

I haven’t felt right all morning. Sort of grey and drawn, like. But then, I did have my soul ripped from my body yesterturn, so I suppose it is to be expected. The sensation was awful. Hellish. Like being plunged into freezing water, dragged through thorns, and then jabbed with a thousand needles. It was violating and shocking and terrifying. When I came to, lying by the monument on Kilican, I felt as though my whole body had been raked through.

He didn’t even know me – the man who tampered with my very essence. Yet when I returned to Dundee he had reanimated a zombie in my image. A zombie that struck out with teeth and fingernails at those around him; struck out a my friends.

After he was slain, I found all I could do was weep. It reminded me of how I was when Drakon attacked – cowed and crying. I think maybe I am not cut out to be a hero. I think that I am not brave.

I am still afraid this morning. I am afraid to deliver breakfast to the Gremlins, like I normally do. What if the necromancer is watching me? What if he knows now that he has tasted my soul? Would he follow me and hurt them?

I wonder if the Gremlins will notice if I do not come. Are they hungry? What if they run out of food and start raiding the markets again…

I think I’d better have a cup of tea and try and feel better.

Home

I’ve been back for a few turns now – but I still haven’t been home, not really. I went to the guildhall once. I had intended to do some reading in Jam’s Ana. But a ghoul is still in residence (presumably left over from Fall Fest) and I found all of the wailing highly distracting. I dipped for a moment into the Observatory, but Draekyn wasn’t there. I’ve not seen him since my return.

Still, my training beneath the Wall has kept me busy. I advanced for the first time in seasons just this morning.

Good news – this means I can begin my study into Field Gnomes.

Bad news – it would appear that no literature on Gnomes exists.

Unfinished Business

Fall Fest ended. I found my black orchid, but I didn’t see the Crone. For the best, really. I still have much to think on when it comes to the subject of wishes.

Draekyn has been absent, so I’ve had no one to discuss the matter with. Though, I can easily imagine what he would say. It is as though my conscience has adopted his voice.

***

I realised a little while ago that it has been a whole year (thereabouts) since we met. We walked back to the tree house where he found me. I had been staying there with Chuck. I had a blackened eye. I remember him cupping my chin to look it over. Asking how I had obtained it…

The tree house hadn’t changed at all. Maybe it was even a little worse than it was back then – more cobwebs, more weather-beaten. Draekyn suggested that we restore it a little, but I thought it best if we leave it be. Did it really look so bad when I was sleeping there? I couldn’t imagine sleeping in such a place now. Now that I am cared for, and spoilt.

I remember, that first meeting, he gaveĀ  me food and money. He said that the money was to pay for me to do a project: I was supposed to visit all of the towns and cities and write a guide of them. I never did complete it.

Thinking back on it, the amount of unfinished projects I have is really quite outstanding. From memory, and looking back on my notes, they’re as follows:

Bif’s unfinished projects

* Complete a guide to all of the towns.

* Complete my geology collection.

* Learn to fish.

* Project Gremlin Ground Force.

* The Junk Golem repaired.

* Find a translator of Sea Dweller writing.

* Make a gift for the South Beach Sea Dwellers.

* Experiment with cannibalistic tendencies and Gremlins.

* Self awareness in Trolls.

* Attempt to contact the Gremlin Cleb.

* Locate and explore the Gnomeish workshop.

* Sponsor Hyacinthe into Enchanterdom.

* Compete a Fieldguide page: Mire Hags.

And then ontop of that I must find my spells and complete my training. In the meantime, I mustn’t take on any new projects.

Hyacinthe I seem to have misplaced. I’d best write to him promptly.