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A stack of locked journals with numbers on the cover.

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Before you lies a pile of journals, numbered 12 to 23. There are no signs of any that come before 12. Each one is locked shut, who knows where the key may be. The back of the journals are all marked P C, save for the 23rd. It is marked P S, instead. Each journal seems to be a year older than the next, 12 being the oldest. 23 is the newest.

What lies within?

-- NOTE: All journal entries will be presented decrypted. Only the section labelled LOG will be displayed. --
Posted Dec 1, 17 · OP
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Book 23

52 COL 30

Huuuumpfh! Petra let out a groan as she lifted herself up, climbing on top of a stone in the estate. It was a high point -- one of the highest she could find -- and it was far enough from everybody else as to avoid drawing attention. She grinned to herself, proud of this little accomplishment. Despite the heat, and despite her (admittedly mostly self-assigned) workload, she had managed to find the time to scale a rock. It was good training, she supposed, but training was certainly not her focus. She sat down, and raised her claw to a small device in her lower right ear, and began to mutter.

"Yo, Cae! P 'ere, callin' from th'other side'a th'damn world," She proudly announces over her stolen MMT, "Crazy, eh? Y'should come down 'ere someday..."



After an hour, Petra closed her eyes. Conversation was over before it even started, and she shut off the communicator out of frustration. Now was time for peace and quiet. Sometimes, Petra liked to look back on herself, see every step she's taken. Who am I? She'd silently wonder, How did I get here? In all truth, she knew. Everything that happened to her now was the result of her actions. Schemes, tricks, manipulation, and foolish miscalculations were what got her stranded in this giant pile of sand. Her own sheer idiocy caused her to be separated from everyone that she loved and cared about back home. How sickening.

She'd never wanted to be stuck in the desert. She was happy as it was as a mercenary, though their airship's destruction in Bloodstone Fen had certainly put a damper on that. Piloting and captaining the ship gave her a true purpose. She thrived in her job, and her soldiers seemed to appreciate her. The company was practically hers, she figured -- and her arrogance set off the rat trap, leaving her emotionally broken in Amnoon. She had her revenge, taking her communicator and some coins from the company coffers as she left. Petty revenge was always a valid coping mechanism, no? It certainly did not get her back to Kryta, though.

They arranged for her to fly back. She refused. Of course she did. They could strip her of rank and title, but they would never strike her pride.

And where, exactly did pride get her?

Did it give her rank?

Fortune?

Love?

No. It, quite literally, left her in the dust. Petra sighed to herself before beginning to climb down the stone peak.

Step.
Step.
Step.

Careful, now.

At such heights, one slip could leave a person plummeting to their death.

Such is life, Petra figured, Screwing up once will strike out any hopes and dreams you once had. Her field of work was more than just sellsword shenanigans. That was too simple. She was a bodyguard. A friend. She was a manipulator. A fiend. Life wasn't just a game. It was a house of cards -- and her one minor slip left everything to crash. Half of her letters back home never went through, and she began to wonder if the world simply forgot about her. She lost contact with her private clients. She could hardly contact her own friends and loved ones.

Just like that, she had been forgotten. Struck out from history. Who would tend Ricket's grave now? What would happen with Minister Thermogan? How did her old friends and allies fare? Nobody. Something stupid. Better off without, perhaps. Petra scowled at the thought, refusing to accept the reality of the situation.

Quite frankly, she was an ass. There was no use in denying it, so why even bother?

She'd failed again, and look where it left her. Could it get worse? She began to stray from her hopes and dreams, thoughts of redemption once Ricket took that sword through the chest seasons ago. Petra had the chance to live in peace. Who needed money when you could grow and create everything you need? Why would you not want to live off the land? She refused to take it when she had the chance, and now she was paying the price.



Step. Step. Step. Her footfalls could be heard echoing in the bathhouse. She shed her shirt, and the armor underneath. Unclipped her boots, removed her gauntlets, even taking off her headband and removing her hair clips. Her equipment and ornaments all found itself carefully tucked together in a neat pile near the water as Petra slid herself in.

Sweat was the sign of good, hard work. Training gone well.

Humans also hate the smell of sweaty Charr. As if those mice were any better -- hah! They could take their superiority complexes, and stuff it.

Petra could be heard loudly purring as she relaxed in the water. If Petra ever knew anything, it was that there's nothing like a nice swim or bath to ease the nerves. She was lucky to have found these nobles, let alone to be picked up by them. Welcomed into their own home. Although they claimed she was one of their own, Petra knew better. She looked nothing like them. She thought, acted, and lived a life completely alien to these innocent human nobles. Had they known more about her, they could have restored their coffers by handing her in to the Lionguard to get her head lopped off her shoulders.

As a payment for the welcome home and loving safety, Petra knew she was in their debt. Even if they didn't say it, she could feel it in their hearts. While she was on their grounds, she was not truly one of them -- this cat was but a guest. She began to pick up a few small servant duties during the day, and spent the nights patrolling the grounds in case of any intruders. This was how she would repay her debts. Any Awakened or bandits that would dare set foot on these grounds to harm this family would meet her spear.

Akun did not pay back in gold. Instead, they gave her a home, a community, food, and something resembling love. All she had to do was help out around the house, and strike down anyone who dared pose a threat to her new allies.

Maybe, Petra figured, There are worse places to be, after all.

Posted Dec 1, 17 · OP
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Book 19

14 PHO, 27

Gasp. Wheeze. Gasp. Wheeze. Gasp. Wheeze.

The young Charr slowed down her pace before steadily coming to a halt, easing back on her two feet. How many times had she run for her life by now? She'd lost count. Death seemed to be around every corner, as of late. Joy. Petra unclipped her gas mask, sliding it off her face as she took a seat under a tree. She was young, battered, and beaten, and she was amazed by the fact that her mask's glass didn't crack. For now, life was good to her -- she had nowhere to go, but her pockets and bag were lined with stolen coin and jewelry. She'd sell it, for sure. Ride off the prize money.

After what she just saw, she deserved it.

When Petra lost her warband, she'd never thought she'd feel such grief again -- but now, she faced the dark mood not a hardened veteran, but a vulnerable cub about to be beaten for the second time in a row. Pathetic moods.

Emotions were what made her weak the first time. Now, she's going to let them take advantage of her again?

The Norn's name was Seigmund. He saved her life during his adventures in the Shiverpeaks, and let her live by his side. He was a mentor, and a friend -- Petra loved him like a human child would their father. He replaced her warband when they fell. However, a tempting contract came his way. Great power, great fun, great experience... And great pay! The moment he knew of the Aetherblades, he made it a point to join them. Petra, wanting to stay by her mentor and friend's side, came with him, spear in tow. Besides the experience, they both knew what they really wanted. Fortune and power. The most basic greeds imaginable, consumed their minds.

Consumed their hearts.

Consumed their souls.

Sure, a nice place in the peaks with decent food was alright -- but Seigmund always dreamed of leadership. He wanted better. He needed better. He deserved better.

But what did that get him, but a sword through the chest.

Petra had seen it as she left a house, ready to move on to the next. A Lionguard, desperate to survive, stabbed Seigmund as he charged at them. The blade went in one end, and out the other. Petra couldn't stand watching it go down. Watching him go down.

That was the point where she realized she had two options.

Would she stay, get rich, and get murdered before it held any meaning?
Or would she leave with what wealth she had, but potentially survive?

It scared -- no, terrified -- her. She looked death in the eyes.

And she ran away, crying.

She knew it would be dangerous. Why did she let herself do that? What was wrong with her?

This was her fault.
Nothing was going to be okay.
The blame was entirely on her.

She trembled at the thought. Where would she go now? She had plenty of gold, but the only clothes she had were what she wore now. An Aetherblade uniform. She was confident that made her an exception to the phrase "murder is illegal."

Petra could just imagine people cheering and rallying over her own battered, beaten, mangled corpse. They did it! They won! They saved the day! Slain the menace before them before they could be a threat!

She knew there were people out there eager to kill her. Adventurers and Pact soldiers all seemed to be almost hunting down her allies now. Slaughter anybody wearing their uniform. She'd have to be careful trying to return to the house in order to avoid these so-called heroes.

Bah. A hero's nothing but a sandwich. Can they really claim to be so much better than her when they had the blood of her friends on their hands? Both sides were killers, as far as she was concerned, it's just that one side wanted to kill her.

Not now. Not today.

Perhaps she'd best turn back, now. The Shiverpeaks still had a place for her. Seigmund's cabin. Petra wasn't entirely without a place to call home, at least. She could change into some of the scrappy clothing she'd saved back home. Petra Cogsmith, Shiverpeaks Hermit -- the title wasn't the best, but it was something, And it allowed the Smith name to live on. She needed the isolation, anyway. The last thing the cat wanted was for somebody else to get close to her, for her to love again, only to have it torn away from her. If she could possibly avoid that ever happening, it may just be for the best.

And perhaps, one day, once the tensions are a bit lower...

Perhaps she could return to mercenary work. Claim her Aetherblade gear was stolen off the bodies of those she'd slain as trophies. Rewrite history to become a hero. But, most importantly, she would live on as the victor and champion of her own battle.

Petra liked that idea.
Posted Dec 1, 17 · OP
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