[A journal wrapped in leather that's been dyed purple. Many tabs of paper, folded corners, and a simple cloth bookmark organize its contents in a way surely only decipherable to the owner.]
[The first page reads: "Property of Morgan Faulkner"]
Inside the book is the following:
- Many pages of alchemical theory. In the margins are rough drawings of ingredients, reminders of related topics, self-depreciating jokes, and comments like "arrrrghhh why can't I get thissssss"
- Lists of prices for potions and elixirs
- Lists of potion and elixir orders with the filled orders crossed off
- Letters from Morgan's parents
- A sketch of Morgan with a warm and relaxed smile, leaning against a fence; signed by Penny Glimwater
- Amateur-level erotic poetry
- Some quick notes on 101-level sociology and philosophy
- A page titled "Law Enforcement and Akadian Principles: Alternatives to Prison" filled with hastily-written thoughts on the subject
[Several pages are used and crossed out to draft this letter. A copy is given to a messenger with instructions to deliver if it is not retrieved within a certain timeframe. Ultimately, it goes unsent.]
Dear Mom and Dad,
This is the most difficult letter I've ever had to write. I don't know how to say this. But...I've been learning lately that it's important to be honest with my feelings even when it's hard, even when trying to do so makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry. You deserve the truth. If I don't say this, I will never forgive myself.
I'm sorry that I haven't written you more often. I'm sorry that I haven't visited. I gave it a lot of thought and...I know that if I had seen you, I wouldn't be able to do what I've done. I wouldn't be able to risk everything for something so much bigger than myself, something I believe in so completely.
Ever since arriving in Arabel, I've learned so much. I've improved exponentially as both a wizard and as an alchemist. I wish you could see some of the things I've done. You would be proud. And...I've also learned a lot about myself. I've made peace with things I didn't even know were bothering me. I've met some wonderful friends and found a place where I truly feel I belong. And...I've fallen in love. When I'm with her, I feel things I've never felt before. Things aren't always easy--in fact, they rarely are. But I can face the hardships and I know it's worth it.
The truth is...right now, as I write this letter, I'm part of something more important than I ever imagined I could be a part of. It terrifies me. I'm so afraid that I just want to run. I want to be back home with you. But...I'm needed here. And I made this decision knowing that if we're successful, not only will an incredible wrong be righted, not only will unimaginable suffering end, but once the dust settles we'll be able to build something; something bright and beautiful and so important.
But...if you're receiving this letter, that's not what happened. I'm writing this letter in case we fail. And if that happens...
I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't talk to you about this. And now... Gods. I'm crying as I write this. If this letter has reached you, it can only mean that I'm gone. Please, please forgive me. I did what was right. If I hadn't done this, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself. The cost of my cowardice would have been too great. I believe our chances were better with me there.
Please know that I was happy. Know that I loved and was loved. Know that I found something that I believed in with passion and ferocity. Know that I died without regret. And know that my last thoughts were of you.
I've enclosed all of the possessions that I didn't bring with me to our last stand. You shouldn't have any problem finding a travelling merchant to buy the potions. Of special note is the stone wrapped in cloth. That is an incomplete Philosopher's Stone. It is my greatest creation, indicative of the skill level I achieved in alchemy. It's a very powerful item. Do not accept anything less than [a blank space] lyons for it. And please do sell it. I know you need the money and it was meant to help people in the first place, so I want to help you. I will be at peace knowing I've been able to give back and provide for you.
I love you both. And I pray that this letter will not need to reach you.
PS: There are two loose pages in my alchemy notebook. They are recipes for powerful alchemy that, as a gesture of trust and in order to emotionally prepare myself for the responsibility, I did not copy to my own notes. Please destroy those pages. Burn them and scatter the ashes. No one must have them.
[This letter is sent to Morgan's parents]
Dear Mom and Dad,
How have you been? I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. Things have been incredibly busy here, but it all just paid off in a big way. I'm sure rumours will reach you so I thought I should let you know what happened. Plus, I knew you would be worried about me.
First of all, don't worry, I'm fine. I'm better than fine actually. I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. Ever since arriving in Arabel, I've learned so much. I've improved exponentially as both a wizard and as an alchemist. I've also...learned a lot about myself. I've made peace with things I didn't even know were bothering me. I've started to find confidence in myself. I've met some wonderful friends and found a place where I truly feel I belong. And...I've fallen in love. When I'm with her, I feel things I've never felt before. Things aren't always easy--in fact, they rarely are. But I can face the hardships and I know it's worth it.
Speaking of hardships, I don't know if you've heard of Tilverton. It's a town near Arabel...or, it was. It's been cursed for a long time. "Cursed" maybe isn't the best way to put it but I'll spare you the magic mumbo jumbo. Anyway, I'd been working with the local Church of Akadi when I first heard of it. Long story short, we managed to break the curse and drive out the darkness. And now that land belongs to the Church. We're going to build a new town there. I'll tell you more about it next time I visit.
What we accomplished there...it was so much bigger than any of us. It wasn't easy. To be honest...I went there prepared to die. I know, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about any of this until now. I just know that if I had seen you, I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to do this. But it was worth it, I promise. I don't know how I can describe it. Not only did we put an end to unimaginable suffering but we're going to be able to build something; something bright and beautiful and so important.
We still have a lot to do. But once we get our feet under us a little bit and start building, I plan on coming home for a visit. It's been far too long. I can't wait to see you again.
Until then, I'll keep doing my best. See you soon!
With all my love,
Two loose pages are added to the notebook:
A sketch of Mistral Ophirae Miavyre helping Morgan at an alchemist's table with a smile on her face; signed by Penny Glimwater.
A highly detailed sketch of Morgan leaning against a stone pillar, smiling warmly; signed by Penny Glimwater. A note at the bottom reads: "For Morgan, a moment I stole, so you can always have a smile."
In this wretched place
I have quickly come to know
Love, hate, joy and pain
While the gods mend this land's scars
Why do our own destroy us?
Tried to go looking for alchemy ingredients. Barely got outside the east gate. Got chased by a crag cat, a bear and a mean as fuck bat. Forgot bats use echolocation and invisibility would be no good. Ran back to town. Bat and bear followed. Had to use 10 charges of my brand new Magic Missile wand to kill them while a guard distracted them. Guard healed himself. Wouldn't heal me.
I hate this city.
The number of letters exchanged between Morgan and her parents has grown as of late. She continues update them on the progress being made in Tilverton, talks about her hopes of completely the library/college and becoming a teacher, and expresses her regret that she hasn't been able to visit.
She also works up the nerve to tell them about her relationships with both Penny and Ophirae and tries to explain polyamory. It's awkward.
It's a simple matter for us wizards to wield negative energy. I myself know how to manipulate it in a number of ways, though I tend not to use it for anything but research, of which I have been doing a great deal lately. I've become intimately familiar with the process of focusing negative energy into a ray, feeling that creeping death coalesce at my fingertips. It feels dangerous, exhilarating to control that power. No wonder so many of us become tempted by the dark arts.
Yet for a wizard to wield positive energy... It shouldn't be that strange. Both types of energy are normal, natural, exist in their respective planes and have for longer than humanoid society. But I was never able to harness positive energy until recently. It required an expensive alteration and a lot of searching to find the reagent. I think I understand why it works (the "how" wasn't an issue), but I can't fathom why positive energy is so elusive to arcane casters.
It's clearly possible. Some whose talent comes naturally rather than from study know how to harness positive energy. And really, so much the arcane arts tampers with life, death and undeath...so why can't we use life energy to help others the way divine casters can?
Stranger still is the idea of divine energy, another type of energy I recently learned how to somewhat control, tenuous though that control might be. And what a coincidence that I discovered this power so soon after beginning my training to represent the faith of Akadi. Yet this wasn't a power bestowed upon me by my patron--at least, it didn't seem like it, and I'm pretty sure I would know the difference.
Why does divine magic work at all, I wonder. I understand that the knowledge is gifted to divine casters by their gods. But what makes it so different from arcane magic? Both can be used to create wands and potions. Both can be scribed as scrolls. So why shouldn't a wizard be able to translate divine spells into something arcane? Divine magic isn't something unknowable; the knowledge might be imparted by the gods as part of an exchange, but it's still knowledge humanoids can hold.
I am completely baffled. I'm going to keep trying to figure out the fire elemental orb, which means blowing up more dummies. Should be relaxing.