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Written By Tesha

May 1, 2021, 4:42 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

I remember when I first spoke to my Uncle Arn about wanting to learn to lead the troops and the ways of war. He thought I was a little too soft. And he wasn't wrong when I was younger. I wish that he had been with us on the battle field. He might have been there in spirit and grumping at everything that I told our troops.

They were not my best moments. I stumbled. I was almost knocked over by a tree, but Marquis Kael managed to get me out of the way without there being an incident. We lost many and I hope that we can rise from this. I'm sure there will be other battles on the horizon for us to take care of.

Written By Lorenzo

May 1, 2021, 4:36 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

The battle at the Bay of Pieros was not the first time I had commanded ships to engage the Eurusi. The fight was fierce and bloody, but it seemed less desperate than the Battle at Sungreet, where I had a ship literally sunk beneath my feet and had to step onto the deck of another. I wish to praise the skill and heart of everyone who fought at Pieros, particularly those in the Northern fleet. I was impressed with how well everyone, across all the ships, worked together with one purpose: to protect Arvum. I witnessed many strange things that I cannot quite account for by calling them wild weather or unusual sea creatures. I can only say I am grateful that Arvum has many allies and its citizens have many talents.

Written By Denica

May 1, 2021, 3:51 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

Relationship Note on Thea

You know someone is a true friend when they agree to help with something with little information. Your sense of adventure and twisted humour never cease to make me smile. When our forces combine, it is like a raging storm, and I suspect there is nothing we cannot achieve. This should strike fear into the hearts of many, but in the end, I know they adore you, just as much as I do.

Written By Alarissa

May 1, 2021, 3:40 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

Relationship Note on Victus

There is a relief to stand in front of him after runners have brought word of the sight of him coming into the bay. It is one of the few times now that I get on a horse and make my way as fast as possible through the lowers to the docks with few at my back to guard me. I still have a hard time riding a horse after these years of loss. My balance has never been the same and so I avoid them when I can.

I imagine it brings him comfort, to see the whole of his family standing there and waiting for him. Astrid I think, missed him the most. She waved her axe in the air then squabbled with Danse over who would get to hug him first. I was just relieved. No strands of grey or lines on his face that were not there when we saw him last. I didn't realize that I had been holding my breath until the longship came alongside the docks and his feet were heard on the dock. That my heart started beating again. It felt like it had been still until now. Hung between beats until he returned.

Is this love?

I feel his hand in mine, and our children gather at our feet and for a moment we celebrate this victory even though we know that we must soon sit and write. To those of ours who gave of theirs. Who stand at the docks and will not hear the bootsteps. To acknowledge the gift that was given to the compact of their life, and to the Isles.

But for now, for now I will finish writing this and spend the evening as a family and prepare. We have enemies to rout out. We have letters of sorrow to write and of thanks. We have children to draw close and the Gods to thank for the further time we get with them. To thank them for bringing him home to me once more.

Written By Natasha

May 1, 2021, 3:10 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

Relationship Note on Venturo

You were right about me, just as I was also correct in our last conversation.

I think you may have indirectly, and inadvertently, saved my life, and in a manner befitting Fortune's favorite son.

Written By Oskar

May 1, 2021, 2:35 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

We sailed to the Bay, and we chastened those who thought to chasten us. Mangata favored us, truly, and I saw wonders and terrors the likes of which I had never even dreamt of.

But the deep draught of blood I sought turned to ash in my mouth at the end.

I look on my people, who they were and who they are. Clan Eswynd. House Eswynd. Which were they in that moment?

Is there a difference?

...Should there be?

I don't know. And it's the not knowing that weighs on me most heavily.

Written By Tikva

May 1, 2021, 2:02 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

I live to fight another day. My prayers are answered; my children will see their mother again.

Though I think I'll wait until they see me slightly less banged up. One of the healers - I think it was Rinel Tern? -- managed to get the arrowhead out of me without me hemorrhaging all over the floor but it turns out, being shot? It's not great!

Written By Alis

May 1, 2021, 1:19 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

It is never any easier.

You may learn how to expertly school your expression. You can learn to seem confident no matter what the odds. You can speak forever about knowing it is the best way forward despite what will be many losses.

And then when the moment is there, and you see people you care about fall, the tears still sting and there is still a lump in your throat, and the weight still settles on your shoulders with the burden it is meant to be.

House Valardin honors its promises and commitments. But those who fight in our name honor us more when they don their armor and they fight, knowing the odds. Knowing that we gave those orders despite the terrible cost. My vow as your Highlord is that I will never take such sacrifice lightly. And that your families will be cared for, and I will never forget your bravery and skill. It is little comfort right now, I know. But they have returned to the wheel with honor, having saved many more than were lost.

Written By Azova

May 1, 2021, 1:09 p.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

When you head into a war zone you know you might see things both wondrous, terrible, and both. This was no exception. And sometimes, rarely, you are lucky enough to be with a team of people who work together seamlessly. I was not with my usual fellows, a tent full of healers. But I was certainly privileged to be with a team that worked together flawlessly (bickering and shouting doesn't count).

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. And thank you, you know who you all are, for making sure we made it all home alive. It would certainly be my honor to help in any of your future endeavors; and, I'm sorry that sometimes the medicines taste like shit. But they /work/.

Written By Margot

May 1, 2021, 11:12 a.m.(5/23/1015 AR)

All of my life I have lived in the shadow of some man, be they dead or alive, and been raised such that my service to these men was my purpose. I believed this was right, and proper and satisfying - that their successes were my successes.

There have been times that I have been called to leave that mold, to lead for lack of other, or as required due to my position and each time the process of taking on the mantle was difficult, I felt as if I had to murder my old identity to be what was needed to lead, and each time I was done I was forced to put myself back in the cage of my upbringing for fear of reprisal if those rough edges that are so dearly needed in battle should ever creep out again in proper Margot, good Margot, appeasing and pleasant Margot.

Further, each time I have stepped up to lead in these roles many (not all by any stretch) of those who's political approval I felt I needed punished me for it, by withdrawing their support, or chastising me, or threatening to upset the one thing that they know I hold dearest; my lands and my people.

Sitting aboard my precious Dove, a ship that was built for diplomacy, and painted white so it would be acceptable for me to have freedom of movement and a small command even after I became Duchess of Tyde, I look at the blood on the blood on her decks, I look at the scars on her rails from axes and arrows, I look at the scorch marks on her haul and I love her more than ever, because she has finally gotten to do what she was made for.

As have I.

I recognize now that it is fear that fueled the actions of those who reinforced my ideas in the past, because I am capable of things they are not and I have done far greater things than they have or ever will be able to do. Hence forth, I will treat this as what it is; mutiny.

I am not going back in the cage. I don't know what that means, what that looks like from here on. The carefully curated path I thought I had ahead of me is no more.

I guess that makes it a bit of an adventure.

WE RISE.

Written By Lisebet

May 1, 2021, 10:40 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

Apart from praying, which admittedly I have been doing a lot of, I have had our household busy making bandages and collecting what supplies we thought might be of use to the hospital. Some clothing for those who have lost theirs, some salves and the like where we could buy them.

It has been an activity to bring our family together, working in the Forest Hall.

And today I delivered these supplies with those of the household who were available to the Saving Grace.

I do hope that it will help ease the workload somewhat.

Written By Lisebet

May 1, 2021, 8:42 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

Waiting and praying is not physically hard, though it is mentally draining. I wonder if I should take up medicinal arts and then be able to go help out.

I wonder if Olivia would help teach me.

Written By Gwenna

May 1, 2021, 7:42 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

It is hard to properly put to words my feelings, and all that occurred, in the Bay of Pieros. I thought I was prepared, which tends to be something I excel at in ordinary things. This was not ordinary. Nothing about the battle was, to be quite frank, and I was naive in so many of my thoughts while we sailed to engage the Eurusi fleet.

There were so many moments of sheer dread and fear, when I thought my heart might beat right out of my chest. Yet those were almost as often tempered with brief allowances of elation when things would turn in our favor, due to one unexpected thing or another. The losses were great and heartrending, which we may all think we are prepared for, perhaps, but can never truly be.

We sail for home on a battered Elira's Stand, now seemingly so aptly named, and I am both humbled by and grateful for the rallying of the Compact to face this threat. Together.

Written By Natasha

May 1, 2021, 3:03 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

Relationship Note on Romulius

The seas and sands of our world have tried to take you from me twice, now, and much of what I remember through each insufferable instance was the wait. The slow, interminable march of time and the passage of the days as I waited for someone to meet my challenge to personally deliver your bones to me in the first, or for your eyes to open in the second.

Now that war has reached our shores, and the guaranteed launch of you and your loyal and stalwart men to fight against it imminent, I wonder if the old adage is true in that the third time is the charm. That witnessing your return from yet another set of seemingly insurmountable odds would cement the idea in my mind, finally, that there is absolutely nothing that will prevent you from finding your way back to where you are needed and want to be.

And much like what I have done in these aforementioned moments in our long history, I will wait.

I will always wait for you.

Written By Natasha

May 1, 2021, 1:21 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

When I was a girl, I often dreamt of flying; to have my own wings, somehow, and let the sea winds carry me up to the stars so I might discover whether they were diamonds or sand, or both, or neither. Perhaps it is because Mangata was the first deity I have ever known - while my discipleship is with the Sentinel, it was she of the sea and sky who I prayed to since my childhood, and have grown to be just as enamored of what is above us as with the depths of the churning seas.

Now that I am to fly with my brother into battle, I waited for trepidation to fill me, the fear of it - I was raised in the traditions of the Mourning Isles, and so I have little comprehension of what a battle above the water is truly like. I anticipated plenty of of it, enough to riddle my fingers with tremors, and for ice water to run down my spine at the very thought of it, but much of it has been dwarfed by the exhilaration presented by the victory we mean to achieve, the crushing blow against our enemies that we intend to deliver, and the unpredictability of war's bloody calculus. In the end, I should not be surprised - I was born a Thrax, raised a Thrax. Chaos is the mount my family has always chosen to wrestle into submission, and ride to a decisive end.

I do not go to the waters of the Saffron Chain to die; I do so to live, and in the way my ancestors have always done. May the slavers of Eurus look upon the might of our Leviathan, and know within their black and brittle bones that they have made the deadliest mistake of their lives.

Written By Ivy

May 1, 2021, 1 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

I went to war.

Words I never expected to utter, ever. I am in the business of saving lives, not ending them. But it was for exactly that reason that I went. I made promises to people, and I do not break my promises. I am glad to say that I was able to keep both the promises made, and everyone aboardship was delivered back to Arx alive, if a bit battered and worse for wear.

I am not sure how I feel about the conclusion of the battle, but that is a matter for the Gods to sort out. My work continues at the House of Solace and Saving Grace hospital.

Speaking of which... I believe I need to go now, it seems another ship has arrived in the city with more injured.

Written By Tyrus

May 1, 2021, 12:11 a.m.(5/22/1015 AR)

It was good to see their weapons turned against them. Not as good as looking upon their broken corpses, though.

Written By Margot

April 30, 2021, 9:58 p.m.(5/21/1015 AR)

I am not going back into the cage.

Written By Alarissa

April 30, 2021, 8:37 p.m.(5/21/1015 AR)

Relationship Note on Victus

I watched him go. I did as we have done twice before when he sails to battle. It was no different this time, than it was the last. To stand at the docks after a kiss, the children standing there as well. We watch till the ship disappears across the horizon and then we return to the estate. To sit. To wait. To pray.

As it has been, so it will be in the future.

Come home to me, even if not in one piece. Lead the onslaught, show them the mettle and might of the Isles. We will be waiting for you at home, with the hearths warm and drink at the ready, bandages for your wounds. Send them back or send them to the bottom.

Tears in our wake, never at our wake.

Written By Sunaia

April 30, 2021, 7:50 p.m.(5/21/1015 AR)

Just in case.

IA: Keep the armoire. And the jewelry. Please keep the jewelry as a set. Give the bracer and the bangle back to Pasquale. You'll see why. There are a couple of other tokens there that I think you'll also see returned to their maker.

Pasquale: You get the hounds. In lieu of heirs. OOPS.

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