To do good is not an event, but a process. The reflective life of virtue must consider an action both in its moment and in the moments that follow. Failure to consider what comes after can make us short-sighted and blind us to peril. We look without fear on the road behind us and before us, the Dawnflower’s blessed light illuminating our path, if we will but look.
When our comrades from Ursundova arrived in Varnhold, they immediately began the process of putting such things as they could back together. I believe this is a part of our best selves – our urge to mend what has been broken and right what has been knocked askew. At the same time, my definition of “right” or “mended” may not match that of my neighbor. When we take it upon ourselves to mend the lives (or even the trappings of the lives) of others, we must bear in mind those differences, lest we slip from rendering aid and hope to imposing our will. I like to tell myself that it is my abundant faith that grants me confidence in my own judgment; however, I must admit that sometimes I just have a swollen head. My mother always warned me never to stray so far into right that I would deny the possibility that I was wrong. I thank her almost every day for that axiom.
From Varnhold, we travelled to three dens of evil, each with a different window into the nature of evil. One was abandoned – the Spriggans that had infested a nearby cave had all gone to Varnhold and had been driven off by our efforts. Now their lair is an empty cavern, its dark corridors waiting for more who would embrace the darkness. There will always be those who prefer shadow to light, and I fear demesnes of shadow never remain vacant for too long. One lair was occupied by squatters – a pair of soul eaters who had appropriated the guises of men whose duty had been to see to the safety of their neighbors in Varnhold. The dark creatures exploited these men’s wish to protect their neighbors – to lift from their friends and family the burden of constant worry – and attempted to turn it against them. I cannot countenance their wicked behavior, nor their dire intentions. I am not sad that they are gone.
The third and final evil den is where we are just as I write this. A vast garden of monolithic stone surrounds us and speaks to a power dark and ancient. We have but crossed paths with one denizen of this dark and terrible place and the encounter was enough to give us all pause. But we can only pause, for it is not in my nature to see evil of this kind and allow it to remain, especially if I feel I can do something.
I very nearly wrote “godforsaken” in my description of this place, but that would be wrong. There are no places where the Healing Light does not touch, where her flame of hope and faith cannot batter back the darkness. Sarenrae is the blazing lamp set before us, able to pierce the most ebon of shadows and warm our hearts in our darkest hours. I fear that my darkest hour will be met somewhere amidst these cyclopean headstones or within whatever lies at the heart of this Valley. Though we walk now through the Valley of the Dead, I shall fear no evil, for the Dawnflower is with me always. I do not yet know what we might leave behind in the aftermath of this sojourn, but there is one things I am certain of as I wrestle to conquer my fretful nerves.
It is the evil that should tremble.