The Journal of Vincent díAlkurk

An real-life account during the Shadows War

Interpretation by Dartanian Lestor in Dark Ages

 

Foreword

I do not think I happened by this book by chance. I do believe that it was handed down to me by the gods. Fiosachd must have been looking after me and granting me his lucky blessing because this is certainly a treasure of the ages. I was looking through the crypts of Mileth on one of me many chest raids, pretty routine. A centipede, however, slithered in front of me at precisely the wrong moment and I didnít see it. I stumbled over it into a sarcophagus. The lid slid off, seemingly of its own will. As I peered inside, I saw a moldy skeleton that looked like it belong to a former soldier because the rusted armor was fused to the bones. The skeleton was in poor shape though, almost fully deteriorated. However, it was holding something interesting: a sealed cloth-bound book. It seemed well preserved, because although it was obviously worn with age, it was nearly all intact and legible, though not in the tongue we now speak. Hastily, I ran up to grounds light to get a better look. The volume looked more worn than I thought at first, but it still held. Carefully this time, I brought it to my study and worked immediately on the translation and interpretation ye now see before ye before the book was completely illegible. I found this story both intriguing, enlightening, and inspiring. I hope ye find the same.

Herein lies the life of Sir Vincent díAlkurk....

 

 

Seventh Moon, Twelfth Sun, Danaan 3064

Well, this is my first entry in what will possibly be a long chain of events. Things do not look good for the Empire. The Dubhaimid are everywhere! The scum! I cannot see how they could spread so quickly and yet they have already occupied the entire isle that Rucesion calls home. How can my wife think about happy times at a time like this?? She gave me this diary for my birthdate. Hah. She is such a sentimental sort, I guess I cannot blame her. In sooth, it is quite a sweet gesture really. Thinking of me when she might be destroyed in the coming darkness. I am glad that we live far away in Suomi, away from the darkness in the east, away from the prying eyes of Ardmagh. We are free of them, but still, I cannot condone the movement of the dubhaimid any more than I can the actions of "her mighty Empress Ealagad." I just need to ignore it, I must, I must. For my children...and my wife. The dubhaimid will never reach Suomi, and even if they do, I shall protect my family with this mortal flesh.

 

Eighth Moon, Third Sun, Danaan 3064

Harvest time. All our crops grew quite well. We have truly been blessed by Danaan this year. As I planted the new grain, I leaned on my rake and simply had to smile. Despite these dark times, the gods seem to watch over some of us still. Methinks that the people of Ardmagh might have fallen for the trickery and darkness of Chadul and they are being punished with this plague of monsters. I pity them, but it is their own doing if this is so. Little Alenna has grown so fast! She is already 6 summers old. My eldest of 13 summers, Charin, seems to care little of this farm life. He wishes to be a soldier. Imagine that! A farm boy being a soldier. What would he do to attack his foe, a rusty pitchfork? I guess I cannot blame the boy for being a dreamer. Gets it from his mother, I guess. Melidara is such an angel to me, I cannot bare to part with her for even a second. She assists with everything: the harvest, the cooking, cleaning, taking the supplies to the markets in Undine. With them by my side, I try to forget the growing tide of darkness.

 

Eighth Moon, Twentieth Sun, Danaan 3064

I...I cannot believe this. My hand is quivering as I write. My brother, Victor, is dead. He has been living in Piet all this time without a word, and now... If only I have visited him more, if only he had told me something was wrong. Whatís worse is that although he joined the Loures militia to fight the dubhaimid, he did not die fighting his enemy. He...fell from a horse he was riding on his way to report from the castle. The other horses that were around him panicked. There was nothing that could be done. Trampled to death. But, I must go on...I must...

[Authorís note: I wish I could tell ye what fits into this space but there were dried splotches covering the rest of this entry. I assume that the tears from dear Vincent stained this area so badly as to make it illegible. Again, I apologize.]

 

Ninth Moon, First Sun, Danaan 3064

A package arrived today. In it was the formal armour that Victor was buried in. I still cannot believe he is gone. His sword came with it, a finely-sharped blade with the long gilded and jeweled hilt. It had a slight curve to it. Running my finger just next to the edge gave me a nasty cut. I never thought the swords of Ardmagh knights were so sharp. Also, his shield, the royal crest of Ealagad shone at me. A metallic swan stretching her beak out to glory, a castle behind her with brilliant ribbons illuminating the background. I cannot express how regal this all seems to this small town. I must hang it up. A memory to him. Over the mantleplace is a perfect spot. Iíll work on that tomorrow.

 

Ninth Moon, Eighteenth Sun, Danaan 3064

Melidara is complaining about the sword and shield again. She says she cannot relax with it over the mantleplace. Imagine that! Oh how droll that woman is. It should not frighten her that I wish to have a memorial of my brotherís honor around. I was proud of my brother for having the guts to do what I considered doing so long ago. Mayhaps it was my family that was holding me back. Or mayhaps the fields. I think it was concern for my family that made me stay. Seeing how I reacted to my brotherís passing into Chadulís accursed realm makes me realize what a gift I have here. What a treasure it is to have a family such as this! Our little Brent said his first words today. I am so proud of him! I always had a soft spot for my youngest, a mere 16 moons. He will grow up strong and able like his da. This I swear to.

 

Tenth Moon, Twenty-first Sun, Danaan 3064

I must prepare my fields for the winter. This is always the most difficult part, covering the fields up from harm. Alenna offered to help me with this. Such a sweet girl she is. She will make a fine wife someday. And an excellent farmer as well. I donít know what Iíd do without her help. Charin just gazes lazily out at the field, as if heís above that. I think that boy needs a good lesson in discipline. I hate to be harsh on my kids, but itís the only way he will learn how to behave proper-like. I honestly do not know how I put up with him. Anyways, with the fields covered up, there is nothing to do, but wait for winter. Fortunately, the winters have been mild as of late. I see no reason why they should be any worse than they have been.

 

Eleventh Moon, Fifteenth Sun, Danaan 3064

We got struck by a blizzard. My soil must be ruined. Two cows and three pigs froze to death. I do not know it will be possible to feed my family on this. I would swear, though, that something was creating this weather. I have survived blizzards before, but this one did not feel cold at all, at least, not a surface cold. When I tested it, it seemed as if my own body was generating the chilling cold that washed over me. It touched my mind rather than my skin. Iíve boarded up the door and made sure that weíre alright inside. However, with our food supply running dangerously low, it is difficult to hope sometimes.

 

Twelfth Moon, First Sun, Danaan 3064

It is a miracle, but the soil seems to be healing itself. Despite the harsh cold, a small plant has grown that I do not remember planting. Furthermore, some people, seeing our suffering, brought a basket full of goods to our doorstep. This village is filled with some wonderful people, Danaan bless. We will not starve this winter, but it has been rough. Brent, being the youngest and most fragile, is barely able to open his eyes. Hopefully, some of Melidaraís milk will help him gain strength. He just has to be alright. The rest of our family is recovering from the ordeal. I am glad this winter is over. After this trouble, I feel we can survive anything nature throws at us.

 

First Moon, First Sun, Danaan 3065

The dawning of a new year. It feels great. Rebirth, a chance at redemption and remodeling in life. A chance mayhaps to forget my brotherís untimely parting from this world. I have been driving my wife crazy with constant talk of him. I have resolved to put the arms in a chest in the basement. Brent fortunately recovered just fine. I am glad all my family is alright through all this. It has been a rough year. That is why I so look forward to the new one.

 

Second Moon, Fifth Sun, Danaan 3065

Well, it has finally come to pass, although I must say I did not expect this turn so soon. Charin has tired of the farm life and decided to fight for Ardmagh. I hate to say this to him, but the dubhaimid menace is not our fight. He should not waste his life recklessly over something that shall never hit the streets of Suomi. Duty means nothing if there is nothing left of you. I try to tell him that but he does not listen. All I can really do is wish him well I suppose. Ardmagh is getting a hard worker and good soldier. I hope they appreciate him.

 

Third Moon, Tenth Sun, Danaan 3065

Charinís letters that we receive almost every week are heartening. It seems that the dubhaimid are slowly being driven back from whence they came. This world is not big enough for this darkness and it is good that the flow is being stemmed. I knew that despite it all, we would triumph. What is even better is that no Suomi blood has been shed yet. This is indeed good fortune. The gods are with us. Alenna has been taking over Charinís work. She is such an angel, I do not know what I would do without her.

 

Third Moon, Twenty-sixth Sun, Danaan 3065

Curse their vile hides! Curse them! The dubhaimid were not pulling their attack off; they were repositioning themselves to assault Suomi! I cannot believe that the war has been brought here on my homeland. The people here were completely unable to stand up to this menace and were taken unaware. It...it was a slaughter. I hear the screams even now, crying for help. I managed to get all of my family down into the cellar but how long can we stay here? For the first time since that winter almost took my boy, I am afraid of the future. I usually look so cheerful towards it but now I do not know what I can think. This will certainly be a trying time for all of us as well as bloody. Olí Kelsior got killed valiantly at least. I shall never forget the look in his eyes, blazing with fury, reflecting the fire of the nearby town hall in his eyes. The light glistened of his pitchfork as he held it to face the invaders. I shall always remember what a tribute he was to all of us....

[Authorís note: The next few pages of dear díAlkurk have been singed by a deadly raging inferno. I tried to pull as much as I could from the words left but some parts were simply just too damaged. Iíll put the words "illegible" in place of any section that has been burned beyond recognition but Iíll try to do the best job I can to get the feel of Alkurkís emotions]

 

Fourth Moon, [illegible], Danaan 3065

They set fire to the cellar! I just barely escaped with my family and [illegible] intact. We were almost trapped down here though. Alenna....Alenna, how could you [illegible, possibly "leave me?"] My only daughter...I watched her go up in flames. Fuming with rage, I told my wife to cling to my [illegible] and I carried my youngest in my arms. Taking an [illegible, possibly "axe"] in my hands, I swung at the [illegible] all my strength. Bursting out, I hefted it in my hands and took a swing at the nearest [illegible] splitting its skull wide open, black blood spewing forth. [Illegible] more came to fill his place though. I swung in a large circle; that got them to back off a bit but they still tried to overwhelm me. I ran for [illegible] down a long twisting path, never looking back. I cannot stop. I must take the ship to Ardmagh. I must meet up with my son and fight along side. I cannot stay out of this battle any longer.

[Authorís note: Poor dear díAlkurk. It seems that in another fit of rage (which will be explained in the next entry) he tore out many pages of the story that is to come. This is why the next entry is so far ahead of this last one. I put these little side notes in so that ye, the reader, can get the feel of the trauma that was going through Vincentís mind as he goes through all of this. It would not do if I simply made up words to go in these places or the others where I said the writting was impossible. This writting is supposed to get the feel of Vincent díAlkurk and Vincent díAlkurk alone]

 

Seventh Moon, Fifteenth Sun, Danaan 3070

Well, Iíd swore Iíd never write in this wretched thing again. However, I have had time to mourn well enough. The pain is still there, but I feel to write in this to keep the memory of them alive. Nothing has gone well since that night that the flames licked at these pages and my skin...the night Suomi burned to the ground, the night my life turned into a living nightmare. My Alenna...she succumbed to the flames that night. And my dear wife...Melidara...She took my youngest with a glazed look over her eyes and, whilst we were on the ship, tossed him over into the mouth of a shark... She was about to push me over as well...she ran towards me, arms outstretched...I did all I could think and got out of her way. She went over the rail...I grabbed at her dress...I tried to pull her back, but it ripped. She never could swim. I dove in after her but without any luck. As for Charin, when I arrived in Ardmagh, I found that he had been killed. Not by the dubhaimid, but by treachery no less! He had achieved the rank of Captain of the Guard and was ordering his troop into battle. One of his crew, drunk and lusting for power, stabbed him in the back. He was tried and hung, but that does not save my son. I have nothing left but this fight. I write now not as a tribute to my wife, but a warning to any who might read this as to the horrors that war can cause. I have lost everything, Chadulís realm seems a comfort to me...

[Authorís Note: Again on this last page, tears stained the pages. Fortunately, they seemed to have dropped before the writting of this entry. The words had been written over this account and, whilst hard to interpret, where still semi-legible]

 

Ninth Moon, Third Sun, Danaan 3070

Ah, recruitment. All of those little ones seem so full of energy. I remember when I was like that. It seems like a whole other lifetime ago. They all look in wonder at Finach, the fine streets, the rows of buildings, the fortress we started about 4 moons ago. I remember when I was first told that I would be stationed here in the old capital. I had never look at this city in a friendly light. I feel that it is because of this place that all my family was lost. The city looks lively enough to outsiders, but do not be fooled. The evil is concentrated in this place. A fortunate thing did happen though. I have taken one of the new recruits under my wing. Merinda....she looks so much like my departed Alenna. Looking at her makes me at peace for the first time in a long while. I almost feel like smiling again in this darkness.

 

Tenth Moon, Twelfth Sun, Danaan 3070

Merindaís training is going very well. Not only is she a fast learner, but she has a lot of natural skill too. I like this girl. The sword has become an extension of her body, fluid motion turning around....slice, swivel, step back, draw the hand up to block, slip a stab under the defenses...I am watching her as I write this. She is the most graceful creature I have seen! The dubhaimid do not stand a bit of a chance with her on our side. She is a bit strange as well, though. She sleeps with her blade, coddling it as if it were a small child. I fear that war is her life, and she was brought up this way. She must have had a much stricter parent than I was. I can see the pain that it caused in her...

 

Eleventh Moon, Seventh Sun, Danaan 3070

Sword practice today. First time we have ever done it this way. We each squared off against one another but I guess Iíve never actually seen Merinda fight. She does well if thereís only air in front of her, but with an opponent, it is much more unpredictable. She got frustrated that I constantly blocked her offensive attacks. I tried to tell her to ease up and use equal time defensive but she seems headstrong and unwilling to listed. Each failed strike simply fumed her more. Finally she charged at me, while I sidestepped, so she skewered a barrel of wine, spurting it all over her uniform. I went over to her but she yelled at me to go away. I could tell she was hurt...but I felt it my duty to go over and help her up. Reluctantly she took my hand and I got behind her, holding her hand and guiding her sword carefully. She did well but something must be wrong with me. My hand feels all hot, like a brand was pressed into it where I touched her...this makes no sense.

 

Twelfth Moon, Fifteenth Sun, Danaan 3070

An underground fortress meant to keep the dubhaimid at bay. And it is a fine idea I believe too. The dubhaimid will be attracted to the darkness that is down below and when they do, we will be ready for them, bows cocked, blades drawn. I must say I have had my doubts about Ealagad before but she seems to have some good ideas in her yet. I simply wish she did not use slaves in order to do her deeds. Slave labour of occupied territories is not what we were put on here for I feel. No matter though, brick by brick, it will be a sturdy fortress against evil. Some townspeople complain about this abomination being built here but it is a necessary evil. We are trying to save these people, can they not see that?

 

First Moon, First Sun, Danaan 3071

I always enjoy the first of the year, even when utterly despondent. We get a break from our labours this day. The dubhaimid never take a break but fortunately it is quiet on this front. They mostly concentrate themselves on the eastern and western continents. However, I am worried. If the dubhaimid take both continents, then they leave us for a pincher. We can only hope that day will never come and that they are held at bay. Merinda got me an interesting ring. A gold band with a crest on it. She says that in Rucesion, they always give gifts to good friends on the first of the year. I am glad she thinks of me as such. I shalt cherish this ring. It is going on my right hand as we speak.

 

First Moon, Sixteenth Sun, Danaan 3071

I look at this ring every night when I go to sleep. Funny, I think of her face smiling at me when I do. Not Merindaís but Melidaraís. It has been a long time since I could think of my wife and smile. It has mostly been nothing but pain for me whenever I think of her dead. It seems lesser now. I am not starting to forget Melidara I believe. More, move on past her. I feel this is a great step for me. I wonder if Merinda is the cause. I have to think on this. I must be certain before rushing into this.

 

Second Moon, Twentieth Sun, Danaan 3071

I do not know this world anymore. It makes sense sometimes, and then sometimes it does not, I cannot tell which it is now. Is this what I wanted to happen or nay? I was descending the crypt with Merinda, to survey the slaves. There was so much clanking and grinding going on that I could not hear much of what Merinda was trying to say but she looked serious. Meanwhile I saw a slave struggling with a stone block so I rush over to help him. I hefted the stone nearly into position, when the clanking stopped and I could finally hear her words, like a bolt, shoot through me..."Wouldst ye love me?" I nearly dropped that stone on my foot at hearing that. Tears welled up in Merindaís eyes and she ran off, leaving me stunned completely. Mayhaps I should have ran after her but I didnít know how to relate after my wife. It has been far too long for this old man. What would she see in me? My head is sore....

 

Third Moon, First Sun, Dannan 3071

I finally saw her again for the first time since that day when we came to eat. She has been avoiding me all this time. As I sat down, she saw it meet to get up and storm out of the room. I did not think it over this time, I am usually so logical regarding things like this. I rushed after her as fast as I could, my bared feet slapping against the bricks. She heard my steps and started to quicken but I yelled out to her. She stopped in her tracks and said nothing, did not turn around, just held firm as a statue. I burst out with apologies to her. I did not know exactly what I was apologizing for, but it seemed to make things worse because she started sobbing harder. At least that is what I thought. She swiveled around with tears in her eyes, grabbed me around the neck and pulled herself up longingly to my lips. I was completely stunned; I could taste the salt from her tears running down her reddened cheeks as they ran across her pursed lips. I have never forgotten that taste. Whenever I put my fingers up to my lips, I remember it. That night we said we loved each other dearly...two comrades in arms that shared a heart.

 

Third Moon, Eighteenth Sun, Danaan 3071

We have been working side-by-side ever since that day, journal. I feel alive again. I plan on starting a new family soon. Not a replacement for my old one, merely a new start. I have not had many new starts in my life. I no longer see my daughter in Merinda, but I see her as a dear woman that I care for. Aye, in these dark times, we tuatha can still find love in our hearts. And with that, hope. I found hope again that this tide can be swayed...

 

Fourth Moon, Eleventh Sun, Danaan 3071

The fortress is nearly-completed this day. But that is of minor consequence. The joining of our hearts is fully-completed. The Guard Captain decided to perform a military ceremony. Not the most romantic, I agree, but it fit us both. With the state of these times, most priests went into hiding anyways. We do not even get a chance to rest and take our honeyed moon off. There are more pressing demands. The dubhaimid are on the move again, heading towards Finach. We must prepare for the invasion soon. Everyone is on alert to protect the fortress at all cost. It is sort of funny though. Merinda looked so...right carrying a sheath on her wedding gown. She just would not be the woman I fell in love with without it.

 

Fifth Moon, Seventeenth Sun, Danaan 3071

The moment we have waited for and feared is upon us. Although the fortress is completed now, we have not yet stocked our supplies. And the dubhaimid have finally reached us. Swords drawn, we raced out to meet the menace. We fought valiantly against the summoned menaces, a darkness unlike any abyss that I had seen before swept over the field. I did not think it could be any darker than it was. After the battle they started to retreat. I did not think them ones to do so. A few ran after, and I was one of them. They rambled chaotic motions, dancing to an unheard tune, then pointed at all of us as we had left. It seemed an odd experience and I felt myself a bit drowsy after it, but fine. Very cryptic indeed.

 

Sixth Moon, Twelfth Sun, Danaan 3071

I have...been having a slight headache ever since that day of the battle. Strangely, the dubhaimid have not returned since then. Merinda is by my bed concerned but I keep telling her that I am fine. I am not sure exactly what will calm her. Sometimes I analyze things too much and try to think logically. There is no logic behind this though. It simply does not make sense.

 

Sixth Moon, Thirtieth Sun, Danaan 3071

The ring! The ring! The ring is trying to swallow my hand! No! The crest is cutting through. The pain! The torture! How could she??? How could she torment me like this!? Merinda tricked me! Itís all a lie! Now my hand turns blackish-blue! This thing is poisoning my hand! Out foul thing, out! Get off my hand! Quit poisoning my mind! Quit talking to me! There...it is done. The foul finger is removed. The causer of this must pay. All this pain and suffering must end.

[Authorís note: Some drops of dried blood splattered over this page. Apparently from the finger that díAlkurk cut off. The madness caused by the dubhaimid is a terrible thing to behold. It makes me shudder that some suffered this kind of torture before we had the light.]

 

Seventh Moon, Fifteenth Sun, Danaan 3071

Hehehe...the scabbard told me. It tells me of their evil. Of their treachery against me. They are all against me. They all want it. My claurterince. [Authorís Note: I see no mention of a clauterince in any historical tomes. I can only assume that this word is something that díAlkurk has completely made-up in his mind due to the madness he suffers.] Aye, they all want it. Theywantittheywantittheywantit. Coveting is an evil thing. They cannot have it. I found it, it is mine to keep. Mine! My wife wanted it too. That is why she conspired to chop me up piece by piece and sell my parts in town as mongrel food. She will not bother me any more. Ludahc took her away to his realm. The dark little elves told me I must destroy her. She could not be stopped. They will not contain me. I canít be contained.

Moon the Tenth, Sun the Twentieth, Dubhaimid 0317

[Authorís Note: This is how the dates actually appeared in the original journal. As is the entry. Fairly easy to decypher but still a sign of madness.]

Not I will they capture. Them will pay price. Will I go hauck, hauck, hauck, smite and them will I. Ludahc ressurection seek. Help bring I will him here.

 

Moon the First, Sun the First, Dubhaimid 0327

Bury me alive they cannot. Clauterince will not they have. Stuff me in sarcophagus. Wife traitor nearby. Cannot succumb. Must destroy. Must something do. Must....[Authorís note: The entry ends in a collection of childlike scribbles, completely illegible.]

 

Here ends the journal of Vincent díAlkurk.

 

 

Epilogue

When I read through this first, I did not really foresee the descent into madness that Vincent suffered. Poor lad. The dubhaimid destroyed so much in those times. On a historical note, I think that he mentions several battles. The Siege on Suomi, where it burned to the ground, was only repaired just a few years before Deoch gave his light to us aislings. The First Battle of Finach (where díAlkurk noticed the strange jig) was where the madness effect of the dubhaimid was first seen, but unfortunately not noticed. Ealagad blamed it on the weakness of her soldiers rather than the dubhaimid and as they slowly descended into madness, locked them away in living tombs in the fortress that they had created which later became the Mileth Crypts. I do not know if díAlkurkís new wife went mad as well before she was needlessly slaughtered by the insane Vincent. The riot aboard the Saint Aingeal (the boat in which I believe that Vincent traveled on and watched his son and wife plummet into the drink) is also a tragic event during these times. Also, the glamourous city of Finach that Vincent described was destroyed in the Shadows War and then it was changed to Mileth. Mileth grew out of the rubble left by this destruction but the fortress a.k.a. the crypts remains as a reminder of the scars it bears.