We’re alive. Even the ones whom we did not believe to be so, which is a relief to all of us. And Ganatari’ran is dead.
I returned to my room in the evening to find V in my bed. Reading a novel, for all the world like he owned the place. We…had a chat.
He did not mean to kill me. He confessed to being upset at the circumstances under which I had left him—the breaking of the Deal—however, he was not interested in claiming that particular debt. Apparently, he left the Heart shortly after I did. He’s as much of an exile from home as I am, now.
We have changed. Both of us. In some ways. Not all. It is odd to see him express emotion so readily. He admitted to missing me. We are tied together, the two of us. Blood oaths are not so easily broken.
He offered me the loan of his true-seeing monocle, making a point that he expected it back. Did he do so as an act of trust? Trust? From those who trust no one, Father Reaper’s hauntling children? But we are no longer his, either of us, and we may trust whom we choose. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that it was his leverage. A Deal to make me return. We have not changed entirely, after all.
The night, though it ended without a winner, was nonetheless most enjoyable.
I summoned Shale for a bit of advice regarding Ganatari. I figured that since he’s been around the planes a few times, he might have picked up a few tips. He described Fahrezz’s state as imprisoned, rather than dead, when I inquired, and confirmed that killing Ganatari should free all the eyes. He also gave the helpful tip to not let her touch you—her nasty little soul snatch attack, which he estimated to operate within a range of around 30 feet. He expected this range to diminish after we grated her soul.
I prepared 7 bombs, 1 extract of bomber’s eye, 1 shield extract, 1 true strike extract, and 1 invisibility extract. We landed in Dar Katan. The architecture was very angular. I had to resist the urge to go around fiddling with things. Psychological warfare is an excellent form of warfare.
Ganatari’s guards were waiting for us. They took us to the cathedral she was lurking in. I placed Varick’s monocle on my eye and followed the others inside. The first thing that greeted our eyes was a SHIT TON of Quori in Inspired bodies standing along the walls. Ganatari and four others were in the middle. However—through my other eye, with the monocle in place, the Quori along the walls vanished. Illusions only. I discreetly let the others know, upon which they looked much more sanguine about our chances.
I confess, the only thought on my mind at the time was killing Ganatari. Everything else was incidental. I drank a shield extract to protect myself, and set out to deactivate the control panels for the portal. The others fought off the Quori while I dealt with them. Cedric also destroyed one, and helped me to destroy the last.
Ganatari was yanked through. Unfortunately, so were the other Quori—whose Inspired bodies had been killed, thanks to Gareth being a badass. Pneu was also highly impressive. Deth’s true form also was pulled through, leaving Hal’Luque to his own devices.
I drank my true strike extract and shot her. It was very satisfying. I shot her again, and again, and again…
And Hal’Luque, of all people, finished her off. The kid’s grown over the past few months, clearly. Not the same shivering wreck of the land of cults and mosquitoes.
The eyes all flew off. One spun around Terra for a bit before leaving; another came to hover by me. Right between my legs, in fact. No question who THAT was.
Cedric took off to find Jaela—who had been kidnapped. I may have forgotten to mention. Last week’s entry was not up to my usual standard. We followed him down to the prison cells. On the way, Deth began fading—back to the dream world. Gareth pointed out that he would be in danger there, as we had just destroyed the Quori’s hopes of preventing their annihilation/change in temperament/whatever. Hal’Luque, Gareth, and I all set off to the dream world. I requested a sleep cracker of Pneu, but she decided to STAB me instead. Really, that girl is incorrigible. I’ll never know what’s going on inside that head of hers.
We didn’t have long to wait. Soon after we entered the dream world, Deth found us—seeking his body, no doubt. And…
Fahrezz found us too.
I may have been a trifle overenthusiastic in my greeting.
Deth took the opportunity to mock me, but really, HE can’t talk.
Fahrezz sent us off again before the other Quori could notice our presence. We awoke to find our bags stuffed to the brim with gold coins. Cedric had apparently discovered the treasure vault along with Lady Jaela. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM. Pneu was gone. No sooner had we inquired about her than the airship showed up. With her piloting it, no less. Varick had decided to be the figurehead on the ship. He has become frivolous in his maturity, I can see. I returned his monocle. I believe he was pleased to see me.
Our old friend Blacky flew by as we took off. I never did get his name. I will have to track him down in the future to ask.
The journey back to Thrane was uneventful. Much drinking and amusement were had by all.
Gareth took me aside one evening and asked point-blank what I was. I could have lied to him. He most likely would have believed me. But I did not. I am tired of hiding in the shadows. Besides, I am quite sure that he will tell no one. He understands more than most, I think, the ways in which people seek to use your advantageous qualities to their own benefit.
We were greeted by Shel and Seeker when we landed. Cedric ran to Shel, while Seeker ran to…Terra. Much my confusion. Then he—she—started speaking.
It was Anna! Anna had put part of her soul into a warforged! She is indeed more clever than I gave her credit for! So Ganatari destroyed her mortal body, but not all of her. Most ingenious. I was more pleased than I care to admit to see her well.
We reinstalled Jaela in her rightful place, upon which she summoned Shale’s employer and dropped a meteor on him. Shale appeared—he must have been keeping track—to seal our Bargain. We were able to make our payment in full, much to my relief. I do so hate being in debt. He got Deth and Fahrezz sorted out, and then we destroyed the diadem. It shall not trouble this world again. (That sounded properly heroic.)
I purchased Varick’s airship from Queen Dian. I need SOME way to keep an eye on that man, after all. Besides, I have found that the pirate life holds many advantages.
And so we parted. However, such is the nature of those whom you have granted…sentiment…that I am sure our paths will cross again.
Some, perhaps, sooner than others.