From the Journal of Kalven Raker:
- 6, Hilosday
Been a while, bit a dust on this old journal, but, well, Jori didn’t turn up for supper, and Maisey’s worried sick. So just thought, you know I’ll write it down so next time he wanders off, she can see this and not be so upset.
- 7, Koyneday
Maisey found him, up by the old fort. I heard the scream on the wind, and i knew right then, what it was and who it was, i’ll never forget it.
It ain’t pretty, the left arm is just danglin from some clean cut, maybe a sword, and then there’s a hole in his neck, and another in his chest, hard to describe, but like if somebody pushed a candle right through his body.
At least… at least it looks like it was a quick death. That’s all the good I can say. I told him to leave well alone from that place, over and over, but he never did listen.
Maisey’s beside herself. Wants to go into town and hire a bounty hunter to track whoever did it, but I know who did it, she knows who did it, and there ain’t no hunter who’d wanna tangle with them Preytorians anyway.
I told him, I told him, to leave well alone, why’d he have to go up there ~ why couldn’t you listen to your old man for once, Jori?
- 8, Dorheday
He’s covered and wrapped, Maisey used our old wedding linens. I got a canvas in the shed would do, but it ain’t worth the fight. We’ll bury the body tomorrow, after Jon and some other family get up here from Falchur. Haven’t heard from Paddy yet, she’s always the last to roost though. I hope they bring food for themselves, we got limited stores and I don’t think Maisey’s up for cooking, we barely ate today. Maisey’s still on about the hunter somethin fierce, and I’m a little worried her yappin might come back on us. Lotta ears around here
- 9, Haimsday
A man came near sunrise, I could tell by his dress that he were something official and it were about Jori. Then the man says ‘I need to take the remains’ and I said ‘over my dead body,’ and he said ‘it can be that way, but it don’t have to.’ He says there’s some kind of beast about, that it could be danger to everybody in the Hemlocks, and he needs to examine Jori’s wounds. So I says maybe we can help out, but we’re gonna need a fee for the rental.
And that’s when I felt it, couldn’t move. Couldn’t budge one inch. And then I see he’s got one of them verium trinkets in his hand and he’s clutching it. I tried to use my ora to break free but it weren’t no use, and I was never good at that stuff anyway. Then I see Jori’s body just lift off the ground like a plank and float behind the man as he walks away. All that ora to do somethin like that and he weren’t even breaking a sweat. It ain’t fair what they got with them trinkets they use, imperials just do whatever they want.
Finally I could move again, and called for Maisey. I expected her to be something mad and screaming, but she just got real quiet, hasn’t said a word to me since. My stomach’s chirpin but I still ain’t hungry.
- 11, Cortiday
Spent last night in Alstern, that’s right. Everything else goin on and I’m off in the big city, looking for Maisey. She slipped out in the morning, so I went into town lookin after her, and she weren’t there. Ol’ Riger said he seen her walk straight through, never even stopped. So then I’m off after her and by sunset I made it. Heavy fog off the bay made it right cold, and I ain’t brought no jacket, and I’m right miffed. So I go freezin my ass off lookin about for her – it’s cold, it’s dark, whole place smells like a saltwater outhouse, nobody looks you in the eye, nasty sneers from folks you ain’t have no squabble with, just awful. So I go peering in the tenth or so tavern I’ve searched for any sign of her, and then I hear her voice, from the street. “Kal,” she goes, ‘it’s done.’ And I’m like ‘what’s done?’ And she says we don’t need to worry no more, and I said ‘Mais, the only thing I’m worried about is you,’ and she takes my hand and guides me to some inn she’s booked, and I’m about to go off on what all this is costin us, but she just kisses me, I’m talkin like, when we were teenagers kissin. And so then she just drags me up to the room and I don’t know if I’ve ever… well I feel weird writin about this part, so… anyway, we got some biscuits for the road in the morning, and they were quite good actually, the baker put some spice in there, ‘sinamun’ he called it, and yeah no lie, it were good.
On they way back I tried to get Maisey to open up, at least tell me what we spent. And she says, “before Eclipse, a woman will come to collect a quarter harvest.”
A quarter harvest!!
But then Maisey just looked at me and goes, “Kal, your son is worth more than a thousand potatoes.”
And damned if that didn’t set the rains on me, just cryin and cryin. I don’t know why. I mean it weren’t the first child we lost, and we still got Jon and Paddy, but Jori, he was just our little explorer, and I gave him hell, but mostly cuz he would just worry Maisey so, and I’d be the one stuck with her mood. I remember, sometimes, he would find a dell with some right good berry bushes, or a spring where the water tasted better, and I just wish I ever told him that I was proud of him.
- 12, Moraday
Jon arrived this morning, and Paddy showed up unannounced after midday. Jon helped me dig a plot and we had a little service. I thought the kids’d be hollerin about the body, but seems I’m last on the news that this been goin around, a girl in Falchur got taken just the other day, sounds like the same imperial as wound me up. But I’ll tell you, one look in Maisey’s eyes and you don’t wanna be that guy.
Maisey says part of the deal is some Idi man’s gonna come by and help me with my ora, says since I’m alright with letters I might be able to channel better then I’ve learnt. I think she wants me to learn some better wards, well I mean I know she does, but I’m gonna see if the tree jumper might teach me how to rake the potatoes without a hoe instead – like where they can just float out the dirt and in the basket. Be nice. Then maybe i’d have time to haul back to the city and get another of them biscuits.