Posts Tagged ‘Wandering’

The Fifth Path (28/30)

November 30, 2016

Anatu’s Diary Entry for Tisritum 8th

Dear diary, I am sorry it has been so long. More than two months since I last wrote to you about the boring ride to the island that was to be the last on my former Baal’s Awakening. I had promised you then that I would write again soon. I was unable to complete that promise. Or rather, I did not choose to. I am sure I could have. But I had not been in the right mood for some time. I had to get everything sorted in my head. I still am not sure if I do have everything sorted. But I’m doing something now, so I guess its sorted enough. And now that I am doing something again I can write to you. As for having stuff to write about, at least I can deliver on that part. There is a fair bit to write about. In fact there is way more to write about today than is at all reasonable. I won’t be able to do justice to any of it. But I figured I should get it all out there now. Then I don’t have to worry about hiding it from you or something. I can go back and write more later. Now I shall just be writing the quick version, just to keep you informed of the happenings in my life. Lets get started, lest I get cold feet.

I guess the first thing to talk about is the island. It was definitely an exciting island. There was technology there like great en-jin as big as buildings that did more than propel a boat, but seemed able to do anything, like make light or open and close things or a hundred others things. They were terrifying and enormous, and the locals seemed to think they were gifts from a god, but they were quite impressive all the same. The locals also seemed in general to have better technology in most areas. Better hand cannons, better metals, better lamps. I can only imagine Nabua’s journal entries about the place. And in addition to being exciting in terms of new stuff, it also had nice clothing, pretty, but in respectable styles. I ended up in the military for a bit, as I’ll explain in a moment and the uniforms were very nice indeed. I kept the uniform, even though I was not supposed to, and just wear it some days as my normal clothes. Plus, the people were really nice. At least when they were not murdering one another. Any time I was not in a direct martial conflict with someone however, they were the very model of polite and attentive. Were it not for the whole civil war thing, it would have been one of the nicest islands on the whole adventure.

Lets talk about the civil war then. Basically, when I got there, the fighting had been going on for quite a while. I learned later that Nabua had kinda set it off on accident, though it would have exploded soon regardless most likely. I’ll get into the reasons for the conflict later, but suffice to say it was large scale. I ended up getting involved in it almost right away. As soon as our little boat touched down on the dock, a pack of rebels charged into the boat, hoping to commandeer it. I held them off for a while, with the help of some tight corridors and a miniscule amount of assistance from my scared stiff compatriots. Then the army arrived, routed the bastards, and since they saw me fighting and appreciated my skill, gave me a chance to join up right there. Considering their opponents had just tried to pirate the boat I was on, and I wanted an excuse to be on the island anyways, I took them up, leaving the crew behind terrified. I think they managed to actually make a decent profit before they left since the city was kind of under siege and really needed the supplies anyways. Didn’t really wait around to find out though. Just kinda joined the army and went off to war.

It was actually less than three hours after I joined before I was in combat officially. They had fitted me for a suit, gave me a hand cannon thing and taught me to use it, and given me instructions on the whole chain of command structure in that short interval. Still didn’t know why the fighting was happening during my second fight, but at least I was impressed by my side’s efficiency. I fought well, and I managed to get the attention of the leader of the ground based military for the whole island, one General Amkius, supreme commander of the homeland forces for Udisur Island. Ended up as part of his personal unit for the rest of the time I was fighting. Helped me get the big picture pretty fast. Learned the basic gist of the reason for the conflict. Seems like Amshur ended up on this very location when he passed out and started dreaming up the false lands, and the people of this island, as well as a crazy five headed woman defend the sleeping body in order to prevent almost all of reality from disappearing. At least that’s what I was thinking at the time. Some of the details ended up being a bit off later, but I’ll get to that.

In any event, the bad guys, or at least the guys we were all fighting decided the ancient task had been a trick, and that the best idea was actually to wake Mr Amshur up, and with it the world or something. They thought the five headed lady was in fact a monster that was trying to cause negative things to happen. In the end they don’t end up being totally wrong. Everyone was a bit wrong though. Neither side really nails it. But anyways, I fight for the side with the snazzy general and the tons of resources, mostly because I liked the people I was fighting with, and again, it gave me a chance to try and find my companions. Plus defending Amshur seemed like a good idea. Perhaps some priests might make the argument that the false lands are an evil distraction that should be ended, but having lived there and met people who were born and lived within the false lands, I could not in good conscious end its existence. That would include the peoples lives, and as much as they are not men and not women, they actually are men and women too. They are people, and wiping out their reality seemed like a really terrible thing to do. So I was on the side that did not want that to happen.

The fighting was intense. Lots of battles. Some were close, others were complete domination. Though we kept winning battles, we were somehow getting pushed back anyways, our positions being pushed in by more and more recruits on the enemy side. We were being pushed back to the temple where the god, Amshur, was kept, as well as where the five headed lady was often seen. As we got closer the battles got more and more crazy. Weird monster beasts started joining both sides, which was something I did not really understand. It was not so much our section of the campaign which had the monster allies, but other bits of the army commanded by others did. I ended up seeing glimpses of Nabua on the other side of the battle, which worried me. I could not really see how the other side was justified, but if he was over there then there was something I might have been missing. If I could have found time to go and talk to him I would have, but that doesn’t happen very much between two opposing armies. With the benefit of hindsight, I know I was in a couple battles with Uras as well, though I never did see him until the end. Did not know he was part of the other large military force fighting in the south while my General held the north.

As the battles got closer and closer to the great temple, General Amkius came up with a plan to decisively win the war. The other army would lure the rebels into the temple, holding strong at the deepest possible point, and then our army would flank around, and we crush them in a pincer attack. From what I heard the other army was not particularly happy with the arangement, but it was really the only way to ensure we could get enough of the rebels to end the fighting. If they were able to escape they would just recruit more and expand again. We needed to take them out decisively in a single blow, and this was the way to do it. We had to risk our most precious resource, the dreaming god, but with the other army as a shield within it did not feel like much of a risk. Ended up being a close thing on everyone’s parts.

There was a lot of fighting, we surrounded the forces, but they were able to use the terrain of the temple to hold our force with a much smaller one, while sending the bulk of their force in to try and break through the other army. It was a good plan, and I wondered if it was Nabua’s. (As it turned out, he inspired it, but he did not actually order it in that fight.) Our counterattack was focused attacks designed to force a couple units at a time through the defenses. I was one of those units, and soon found myself past the initial defenses of the rebels. I moved deeper and deeper into the temple, eventually reaching the deepest chamber where everything was going down. It was something of a standoff. A small group of defenders from the other army, including Uras and a well dressed woman I would eventually learn was the leader of the other army, was standing around something like a large stone bed with the unmistakable shape of a sleeping god lying upon it. I can’t tell you why it was so unmistakably a god, but it was. Or at least it was something non human. God is a word I don’t use as lightly any more. Anyways, standing with them is the five headed woman, each face more beautiful than the last, each pair of eyes a different color. And opposite them, was a large contingent of rebels, all heavily armed, with Nabua standing uncomfortable off to the side. I consider what to do. I was not sure if I had been seen yet, so I decide to wait and see what is happening.

One of the rebels talks to the leader of the army. It all seems relatively humane. But then they get to a part of the argument that they can’t agree on and it breaks down from there. It looked like a fight was about to break out. Before it can though, both Nabua and Uras speak. They talk about how different beliefs don’t have to mean combat, don’t have to mean death. Its pretty poignant, Uras’s for its elegance, Nabua’s for its raw nature. The fighting hesitates another moment. The five headed woman gets a chance to talk, but ends up aggravating everyone. The fighting starts. Nabua calls out some sort of scheme. I rush in to try and end the fighting as quickly as possible. The rebels drop fast, with me, the five headed lady, plus the other army people all together against them. But Nabua’s plan is clever. One of them just stood back and pulled out a trumpet, and blows it as hard as can be, hoping that she can wake the dreaming god with just a loud noise. All eyes turn to the sleeping god. He rolls over. Then he stretches. And while everyone is distracted with that, Nabua creeps up to the god and tosses a canteen full of water on the guy. Spluttering, the gods eyes open. I prepare for the end of all things, for the world around us to vanish in a poof of dream. The god rubs his eyes and stands up, yawns and looks around. He is very much awake. And reality, the false lands, are in fact still in existence. Everyone is quite surprised, even Nabua, who looks relieved. The five headed woman’s heads all retract down into one, and she rushes over to the newly awake god.

There is a few moments of almost comedy. Anshur is pretty confused about how long he has been asleep. When the answer turns out to be more than a millennium, he has a hard time accepting it. With Uras acting as something of a mediator, and Nabua inputting some questions and suggestions here and there, the story unravels. Long story short, Bel, the god that I had grown up worshiping as the one true god of the true lands is a super terrible person that ended up deceiving everyone for a thousand years. There was some sort of fight between him and Anshur as well as the five headed lady, who turns out to be named Tiamet, which is the given name of the Monster. But the Monster is not actually a terrible being hell bent on twisting the false lands into a hell scape and taking over the true lands. Turns out she was just a rival for power for Bel, and he had a complicated scheme to get her and Anshur out of the way.

Basically Bel ended up putting Anshur to sleep in a ways where he would never wake up naturally, only if woken up by another. Then he convinced almost everyone that it was somehow Tiamet’s fault, including Tiamet, and that their was a huge distaster that would happen if he was woken up early and did not wake up on his own. This got Tiamet to take him away and protect him. Once she was gone the story was able to be shifted even further, where Tiamet became the big bad of everything, Anshur became a victim who had made bad choices, and Bel became the only god/leader left in the area that came to be called the true lands because of further screwing around with stuff. Anshur being asleep ended up being associated with the continuation of all lands that were not controlled directly by Bel, and this trick held up for a thousand years. Tiamet took on the form of the five headed woman protecting Anshur because she was frightened of using her old name for fear people would try to hunt her down because of all the rumors. She believed Anshur would wake up on his own eventually.

Its quite a mess, and it had to be explained several times before I, and most people present got the idea properly. Kinda threw my whole concept of the world out of wack though. Baal are chosen by Bel to be rightful leaders. But Bel is not someone I want choosing leaders any more. Uras agreed and renounced his title. There was a lot of talks of what to do next. Somehow I ended up being tagged in as being the one that needed to go back and free the “true lands” from the tyranny of Bel. Got marked by Anshur and Tiamet with some special marks that makes me look like the Princess of Flame, a former goddess that Bel killed somewhere in this whole mess. It sounded exciting at the time, but after I got around to thinking about it, the idea kinda scared me. I was not sure at all that I was up for the freeing everyone from tyranny under Bel, the god I have trusted completely and totally my entire life. I was kind of a mess for a while. Ended up just kinda wandering across the ocean, island hopping, not wanting to think about what I needed to do to save my country. The marks that made me look like a dead goddess were good for getting people to give me rides and stuff, but they didn’t come with any special powers or anything, and with my language skills I ended up being quite confused and pretty lost real quick. I felt like I should have gotten an entourage. I had been a bit flushed with the whole, looking like a dead goddess thing at the time during the meeting and kinda missed a lot of the points. Then I walked out of the meeting and realized no one was traveling with me.

It turned out I did not get as screwed as all that, dear diary, Nabua met up with me about a month later, with one less hand, but with one extra pirate lady to whom he was now apparently engaged. Seems he had wanted to find her again, then was willing to help me get back to homeland. The whole losing a hand things seemed like a pretty big deal to me, but he didn’t seem interested in talking about it. He was so ecstatic about finding the pirate lady, he said it was a fair price to pay. It wasn’t his writing hand, which was at least good for him considering how much he liked his journal. He didn’t feel comfortable actually helping with the whole conversion of my people away from Bel thing, because he figured as a member of another religion he might actually make things harder, which made sense. He did inform me that I would be getting some help on that front though. Seems that Tiamet and Anshur were going to show up to help me out later, but they wanted a bit of time to spend together before going back to face the guy that put one of them in a coma for a thousand years and turned the other into an obsessed guardian hated by most of the world for that same period. Also seemed reasonable.

It was also reasonable for me to get a bit more help in the whole scenario then just myself and a few other humorists. And so, before I went back to my homeland, and faced that empty journey to the capital and the endless battle for acceptance that would begin at that point, I acquired a few more friends.

These friends were largely those we had met on our journey, who had stood out as being expectational and useful, as having gone over and above the usual call of duty. It was just such people that would be essential to beginning a revolution within homeland. There was some more than small amount of emotion shared between myself and Nabua, when we stopped on the desert island only days from homeland, and at long last reunited with Hadia. It was a good reunion, though one who’s celebration would have to be delayed, for we had to return to the boat, and head back towards land. And so, dear diary, I write to you know, telling you everything about my life in these last few months, and hoping that you too can help in my, yes dear diary, my, quest to save my people from the wickedness of our once thought god. So, we start tomorrow, wish me luck.