PnP:Liberation of Osoerde Turn Twenty four

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The Journal of Darkon Harkenwode

It is like I have woken up from a long slumber, a strange dream. This life I thought was mine is all a self-deception, a lie to hide my shameful actions from myself. Harker Graywind, the Velvet Night, Rudolph... all a fantasy. A fever dream. A construct born from guilt and a sense of morality I thought I had struck from my soul with the blood of my victims. But I know who I am again, the man hidden under the lie.

I am Darkon Harkenwode, the Velvet Night. I was an orphan on the streets of Kiedel, fell in with a guild of thieves and learned a trade. But picking pockets and second story work paid a pittance. And I saw no matter how successful I was, those of noble blood would always be my better. So I learned to blend in, be invisible in plain sight so I could slip a dagger between the ribs of the pompous and elite for coin. I was dubbed the Silver Serpent by my fellows because they said I had a forked tongue that could spin webs of deceptions. The nobility called me the Velvet Night because I was the shadow disguised as one of their own. My reputation grew alongside my body count, and the demand for my services was great. And I loved my work. I loved the kill. More than the thrill, more than the coin.

When I was contracted by Jaison Raenech to murder the duchess of Osoerde and her children, I did not give it a second thought. I was paid with a finely crafted dagger that carried an edge keener than any I had seen before, and I used it to do the deed. The duchess was like any other job, but the children... I had never killed anyone so young. That is what did it. That is what finally broke me. For years I would slice the throat of a man or gut a woman and think nothing of it. But after that, I was never the same. All I thought about was the looks on their face, the innocence that I cut short for the price of a nice knife. I think Harker was born then because I could not face myself anymore. Harker had a good heart, and he was loyal and true. He fought for a cause, even if it was a fictional one. Even though I remember it all like it was all true, I still can't believe the level of delusion my mind was capable of. And the ability I gained from stealing their bloodline, the power to change form, it allowed me to hide my true face from everyone.

Harker suspected that there was something wrong, but I think the deeper part, the dark part that I named "Rudolph," never let me understand exactly what was happening. But it all unraveled when William went looking for a way to kill the "Iron Priest." He set his mentor Peracain to divine a way to permanently slay this man, and the Swamp Mage determined that the best way would be to find something that could actually kill the priest's soul. The mage then went back to his home to attempt to locate a weapon of magic that was up to the task. The next thing I knew I found myself outside of a home that I did not know, but somehow I was convinced that the man who killed Harker's love Lisbeth was inside this place.

Blind rage overtook me and I entered the home, seeing a man working at a desk. He heard my approach and taunted me as I lunged at him, then attempted to slay me with magic while egging me on. Somehow I countered his spells with magic of my own, but it still felt so natural and normal. I could not see the man's face clearly, but it all seemed like it was real. It was then out of the corner of my eye that I saw Rudolph working some ritual in the corner, and that is when it started to unravel. The delusion faltered more when my target cast a spell that I had seen William cast, and with a supreme act of will I did all I could to see the truth. It was my target's lips that gave it away and broke the spell at last. I heard the words he said, but the lips did not match his speech. I managed to throw Eloele's Kiss past the man and into Rudolph's hand before he could finish his spell. He cursed me and vanished, and everything came into focus.

There was Peracain, bloody and shouting at me to stop. And then the memories started to flood back. He worked some magic to see if it was the knife that was my blood money, if it was something possessing me... It was none of those things. It was all in me all along. William and the others came there, drawn by the sounds of battle. He already mistrusts me, and sadly all of that was justified all along. But Peracain was more curious about what was happening to me, so he kept examining me. And somehow I held onto the guise of Harker, and my silver forked tongue convinced them that nothing had changed.

I know William still believes something is going on with me, but it seems he also still needs me. Peracain had also found the weapon he sought, a dagger known as Soulreaver that could pull a man's soul from his body. He learned that it was held by a tribe of Orogs in the land of Chimeron, and the next morning we set off to locate this weapon. Although truth be told, I had another motivation for finding it. While I am myself again, more or less, Rudolph did not leave when my memories were restored. It seems that with time he became more than an aspect of my delusion, feeding off the blood of Azrai that flows in my veins. And he wants to find a way to become the only one guiding my body. With luck, this dagger can purge me of Rudolph once and for all, or kill me and then it won't be my problem anyway. He lurks there, in the back of my head. He whispers to me, still tempts me and taunts me. I know he is reading this through my eyes as I write, just as he read all those letters I supposedly sent to him that I found in my chambers in the Aerenwode.

Our trip to Chimeron has already proved quite eventful. It was not long after we arrived that we were set upon by servants of the true Chimera, and even though they were lesser than their master they were still quite deadly. I must say it felt good to fight as myself again, without restrain and with swift and sure strikes. But I think we were all shocked at a change that occurred in Varg. I recall during the fight for the castle that his rage was different than before. During the fight against the chimera, the barbarian changed form into a werewolf and tore into the creatures like a pure beast. When it was all done, he managed to change back into himself and seemed to have control over it. I could see William's level of concern only increased at this revelation.

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