Hugh Entry 0

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[On the road from Sunderland to Kendal Keep]

Cursed Shadows! It’s bad enough that Adara keeps asking me about myself, but when reality shrouds me in darkness when I move too quickly – and a regular walking speed is apparently too quickly – it’s even harder to deflect her questions. I feel guilty holding out on her when she has been nothing but nice to me. And her generosity with the wine – the only thing preventing me from reliving every moment of that night – is indisputable. She keeps insisting that she will not judge, but I doubt her sweet disposition would continue if she found out that I sold my soul and then murdered someone with the powers I gained.

So far, Petrus has remained mum on the subject of me, though he was open enough when confronting me with my sins. Then again, I’m not the only one the deva has been asking about, and he doesn’t seem too happy about her questions about him, either. Maybe that’s all it is, but I’ve never heard of a paladin keeping secrets like that. Of course, I don’t really know the man, but my gut tells me he’s at least on the level about our…arrangement. I have no idea how I might be useful to him, but I hope that I am. The alternative is unthinkable.

. . .

Adara won’t let up with her gentle but determined inquisition. It doesn’t help that I let things slip when I’ve been drinking, nor that it doesn’t take much wine to loosen my tongue in the first place. Perhaps just coping with the shame of the memories would be preferable to accidentally spilling all my secrets, like I did with Petrus. I could have tried denying it. He would have seen right through it, but I could have tried. There’s something about him, though. He seems to see through to the heart of things very easily. It made me confess then, but it makes me uneasy now. He is still very tight-lipped about himself. I wonder why…

. . .

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but I had hoped to stay quiet longer. Last night I spoke too freely, and let slip to Adara about the pact I’ve forged with The Stranger – which is what I’ve come to call my “patron”. And of course, the story couldn’t make sense without including the part about Elric’s death. The revelation did cause her perfect eyebrows to arch abruptly, but to her credit, she did not judge, just as she’d claimed. Tree, who had remained fairly quiet on our trip thus far, did gaze at me for a long time after. I suspect that after this, he likes me less. I wonder that it hurts a little to think I’ve lost the esteem of a mechanical man, but there is no denying it.

It shames me that I continue to disappoint – or horrify – those with whom I have tried to forge bonds of friendship.

. . .

The trip continues, though we have largely run out of the wine that Adara had stocked up on before leaving Sunderland. Tree surprised me this morning by engaging me in conversation. He said that he had begun to understand why I might envy him his lack of memory, considering the recent events in my life. He suggested that it was possible that he might have committed terrible acts in his previous “life” and that possessing the memories of those acts would change who he perceived himself to be. Without them, he was free to choose anew with this second chance Adara had given him.

I still count him lucky.

Petrus, who had been listening to the conversation, suggested that I was also being offered a second chance. If so, it is colored by the memories of what I have done, and I said as much. The paladin then said that perhaps therein lay the opportunity for wisdom. I think he meant well, but I hated him for saying that.


Hugh Entry 0

Primordium zero