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Journals are player created messages about things in game. Most of the time these can be considered to be known things, as somethig your character heard via rumor, though they can also be flagged as out of character information that is really only meant for your enjoyment as a player rather than for use by your characters (unless they happen to know of it some other way.)

Sol Solus Lucet

Written by Asran The Light-Bearer on 42-11-5 (July 5, 2024 01:13)

"Filius canis!" I screamed, the glass chalice in my hand exploding against the wall near the Imperial Messenger. "What must I do to have competent and loyal vassals?" The honeyed notes of aged Telerian wine were my only reprieve from this maddening setback. It was midday, and instead of tending to my son and wife, I was ensnared in the fallout of a failed campaign.

"Look what you..." I hastily wiped the wine from my hands before it could stain my expensive and pristine toga. "Made me do! To have savages—filthy savages—starve out an entire legion after we've already taken the damn town? And the only ones who've returned to me were the..." I raised my hands in confusion. "The House of Kea?" I slumped back into the cushioned chair that dominated my study, my hands cupping my face.

Amelia Kea and her ilk ruled over such a backwater part of the empire that I hardly noticed their acceptance of the call to arms. Nothing but dust, desert, and cannibals who practiced blood magic. A place where entire villages vanished from the map, whether due to the harsh environs scarred by decades under " The Blood Priest " and his Sol-Forsaken kin or whatever ancient horror crawled its way out of the dunes. I never managed to slay the bastard.

I sighed internally. Nothing of real value was lost with the deaths of so many from Neankhar. The only problem was that instead of being fodder for my legions, the Néankharii decided to cost us an important campaign, and now bandits were sighted in our towns near the Falconreach border. Someone would have to bear the brunt of the Empire's anger, and I would do well to ensure it was not me. Bread and games could only soothe the masses so much before they started wondering why their brothers, sons, or fathers never returned home.

"I have generals refusing to advance... I have others taking irrelevant huts in the forest... By all accounts, the most successful was my sister Flavia, and to have these SNAKES make a separate peace deal behind my back—WITHOUT GETTING MY SISTER BACK? Has the Great Betrayer addled their minds?"

Moments passed, and all I could hear was the cowering of several mortal generals sitting across from me, presumably their heads held in shame as they should be for failing the Scion of Aeternum Solis.

"I should castrate the lot of you, considering I am no longer dealing with men. No... maybe I should pluck out your eyeballs first, then castrate you."

Moments passed as I thought of how my life had proceeded up until this moment. I had seen the fall and rise of my people, great legions of man clashing in battle from the Black Forest to the Southern Plains, the death of my family... the potential birth of a new one. Even when my people died fleeing across the western sea...

"Life was so simple back then," I sighed. My thoughts spilled forth, perhaps the wine talking. How foolish of me. I am Apotheon. I'm supposed to be perfect, to lead the world away from the machinations of fallen gods. Instead, I'm stuck dealing with setback after setback. It is unbecoming of me.

"Summon the House of Kea to Asraniae to answer for such foolishness," I commanded, waving away the fools before me. The signs of relief that they were not being held responsible were obvious as they made ready to fulfill my order. "And remind them that if they ignore my summons, I shall drag them back from Ashkeron to flay them alive along the salted winds of the Northern Sea... and they know I will," I warned as the oak door to my study closed with a thud, leaving me in silence.

"Useless... the lot of them," I muttered, swiping the bottle of wine and taking a swig of it like some common vagrant before setting it back down.

"My lord, are you alright?" a familiar voice spoke out, and I was soon greeted by a most welcome sight, his black hood doing nothing to hide his subtle disapproval.

"Yes... of course, Camillus, I am well," I started. "Can you believe it? The incompetency," I said, looking for another chalice from one of my cabinets.

"I see..." Camillus' voice trailed off into a relatively neutral tone.

"Come," he commanded with a gesture, and so I slowly obeyed my long-time mentor and walked towards him, the wine could wait.

"It is almost time," Camillus said, and the confidence I had moments ago evaporated. I knew what he was talking about.

"But... what if I'm not ready?" I said, an excuse already forming in my mouth.

"Trust me, Streidan, you can handle it. You are the Apotheon," Camillus tried to reassure me.

"It's... Asran now, Camillus," I corrected him in a rather juvenile manner.

Camillus slowly nodded before he continued, "Remember when you were but a child? Strolling along the hills of Vidonia?" Camillus said, the sounds of screaming men and women a distant echo.

"I got us through it, remember? Don't I always?" Camillus smiled with a knowing nod, bringing a shred of my confidence back.

"Always, you always did," I responded, knowing it to be true.

"I'll get us through this, as long as you"—he pointed at me—"and I stick together," he said, pointing towards himself.

"They are starting to turn against me... I hear the whispers," I tried to say, but Camillus shook his head in silent disapproval.

"The poisoned lies of Inanis are warping their minds, and I cannot seem to stop it no matter how hard I try," tears threatened to flow from my eyes.

"What will Aurelian think? How can I raise him in such a world where his lessers plot against him at every conceivable moment?" I argued.

"Why do you care what a bunch of mortals think? First or Second Ones," Camillus questioned.

"I..." I found myself not wanting to answer.

"Spit it out, boy," Camillus demanded, surprising me.

"I want to be a hero, to save the world, to... to have people love me and... and to be redeemed for what I have done," I whispered, my head held low.

"I thought I had a plan of action, first to peacefully convince them that their ways were wrong... to offer them salvation."

"But every time my machinations look to be succeeding it..."

"It never seems to work, does it?" Camillus said, and my head pitifully nodded before him.

"They all hate you, little Streidan," he said matter-of-factly. "Cailean, Aodhàn, Flavia, Helia, Grainne, hells, even soon Aurelian will grow to do the same as well," he said.

"So why do you continue to roll the boulder atop the hill only for it to roll back down again?"

"That's not true," I weakly said.

"What's good for a liar?" Camillus warned me like a nun at an old Ecclesial Scholae.

"Brimstone and fire," I responded.

"You see... deep down inside of you there is still a part of you that is of man, a babe that mewls for a mommy and a daddy and the acceptance of others. Ahh... boo hoo hoo." Camillus cruelly mocked me. A fleeting anger inhabited my chest, but I was too tired to act on it, instead choosing to close my eyes in shame.

"They are dead, the Hawks made sure of that," Camillus said, opting to stand beside my desk. "And mortals, whether first or second only remember what you do for them in the moment," he said.

"So why bother?" I heard myself whisper.

"It is time to cast away such weakness and be as the Lord of Light intended for you to be," he said, grabbing my shoulders. "To transcend the futile trappings of this mortal world once and for all," Camillus said. Moments passed, and the grip on my shoulders subsided.

When I opened my eyes, I was greeted by an empty room, absent of everyone except myself.

"As always, I'm alone," I whispered to no one.

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