I hope this letter finds you still alive, both today and years from now. Your path has been a dark one, and you keep hinting that it won’t go much farther. I haven’t forgotten how we were told that my path might go farther than yours. Still, so much has changed since then.
My path has certainly changed. I cannot accompany you to rescue Mannaro and Lexa. You have your loyalty to Mannaro, and that counts for much. I have some ties to Lexa, but I wasn’t even present at her ascension to deific rank. This is your mission, and my friends’ mission. Normally, I would follow.
Today, however, I have a mission of my own.
How long has it been? How long have I been quietly following others? How long have I been hiding in the woods and shooting Undead in the dark? How long since my father’s blood truly ran through my veins? How long has it been since I stood for something? How long have I been a sword for hire? Not that I had no convictions. I just didn’t have a cause. I wandered aimlessly. I was a guide, but not a leader. I feel like I just woke up, Pilgrim. I hope I’m not too late.
I have to face this evil myself. I have to fight Rovagkuun in person. I know who I am now. I am my father’s son. I stand for resistance, for self-sacrifice, for life. Not just breathing-and-eating life, but abundant life. The kind of life that you rallied even the Undead to fight for. I’ve been wasting my hatred on a race and on a condition of the body, when I should have directed it at the evils around me and within me.
I don’t know if I will survive this. Gozreh may be my father, but I have no pretensions. I’ve come close to death often, facing enemies far weaker than the ones ahead of us all. I might be easily defeated in battle today. I know I’m no match for the enemy. Worse, I fear treason. I suspect that today I will follow in my father’s footsteps. I might go silent… but there won’t be anyone to wake me up a second time. So farewell, Pilgrim. If you see my friends, give them my best wishes and hopes, and tell them not to fight each other. I might go on to the next life soon, where I must account for this one that I have wasted. I can only plead my father’s forgiveness.
I have a last request. If you cannot do this, I understand. However, you’re the only one I trust with this. Don’t disqualify yourself because of your werewolf’s curse. I know you by your actions and your words, and I trust what I’ve seen in you.
If I die and you do not, take my sword Airalinde to the Necropolis. Yes, I came up with a new name: Airalinde, or “new awakening” in the Secret Tongue of Kappel. (By the way, no one but you needs to know that. The most important thing about Secret Tongues is that they’re secret.) Put Awakening in the Tower, in the room protected by the holy symbols. Make sure it is well-guarded.
Then, go on with your life. Forget my Awakening. Let years or even decades pass. Keep your eyes open, though.
For what? I’m not sure. You’ll know when you meet him or her. Perhaps the apprentice will be a child, perhaps not. He, or she, will almost certainly not be Undead. (Awakening is, after all, made of silver.) The apprentice will have a certain kind of character, though. The apprentice must believe, or come to believe, in self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and defending the helpless. I don’t know what else. Just find the right person—be it human or monster, free or cursed.
Train the apprentice to become a shield to good and a living nightmare to evil. Teach him every art you know, and a few you don’t. Refine his hatred. Give it precision; teach him cut through race and appearance to the good or evil soul beneath. Adapt him to every circumstance. Let him know when to be gentle and when to kill.
Let the Apprentice earn Airalinde. Then send him to destroy every shard of every Egg there ever was. Let him defend the Necropolis against the Living, if our allies’ premonitions come true. Let him defend Trader’s Point against the Undead, if my premonitions come true. The world may avert outside destruction, but it may yet destroy itself from within. Let the Apprentice be the link between living and undead, deities and the world.
That’s why I can trust only you with this. You’ve seen what I’ve seen: The Undead ranged for battle against Rovagug, the deities arguing and forgiving each other in their halls. There will still be so much at stake, even if we win. I want my sword to fight on even if I fall.
Perhaps I’m hoping too much. Maybe my sword will shatter against the destruction ahead. Maybe we’ll both die. Maybe we’ll all fail. Maybe my grand hopes for an Apprentice and a force of Rangers for him or her is just my dying delusion. Maybe this world is destined for final darkness.
Yet hope remains. For the world, for me, and believe it or not, for you too. Stay alive, and don’t try anything overly heroic. Remember, you have companions for a reason.