Ravenloft: Prisoners of the Mist

Within the swirling Mist (IC) => Biographies => Topic started by: aprogressivist on March 25, 2017, 06:30:30 PM

Title: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on March 25, 2017, 06:30:30 PM
[all text is written in High Mordentish unless explicitly stated otherwise]

25th March 772

Sermon ideas: truth. Why is it important in the eyes of Ezra? Is it subjective? Is it objective? To what degrees? Tie this into the notion of duty. Do we have a duty to be honest and truthful with ourselves, first and foremost? Don't get too philosophical, remember what old Sister Clarisse used to say: you're addressing a congregation, not a a seminar.

* * *

Helped negotiate peace between those hot-heads earlier. Hope it lasts. Dalensbane more reasonable than expected. Said a woman mellowed him. Go figure. Kinship still needs to heal. Will be a lot of work. But there's a lot of work in Port too. And that's not even counting the damn vampires.

Wish I could be two places at once.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 02, 2017, 09:59:59 PM
2nd June 772

The Grand Scheme is unknowable, at least to we poor mortals. This isn't so much an axiom of faith as it is a rational deduction; whatever created this Hollow was as beyond our ken as I am to the simple cicadias making their music outside my window. Yet so many people crave certainty, either seeking it out within their own scope, defiant to external tests; or pour meticulously over every note, each secret, perch an ear to every whisper, to try and understand what, whom, where, how, why?...

I find it odd to contemplate of the worlds outside the Hollow; beyond the Mists. They sound so big, so vast! By all accounts a single average-sized realm is as big as, if not larger than, the whole Core! So many people, living countless exotic different lives, thinking new and strange thoughts in their multitudes. And they all drain here, into the Hollow.

It's a tiny place, this Hollow; a single dark grain of sand on the vast beach of the multiverse. It's so small and petty compared to the vast and infinite glory beyond it. Yet, outside, according to some, an alien metaphysic of gods, angels and fiends locked in some aeternal war; a place where individuals are eclipsed by the grandeur and power that surrounds them. Within the Hollow, the Mists; and within the Mists... within this Grand Scheme...

This odd quest for meaning, that is somehow unique because of its particular context rather than in spite of it. The old cliché states, "it's the journey that matters, not the destination" -- yet it's the destination that keeps us guessing.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 17, 2017, 02:02:57 AM
17 June 772

Without exception the most harrowing day of my life. My nerves have recovered, thanks in part to a quiet fire and some wine, but I imagine I shall spend many nights staring at the ceiling of my bedroom as the events of tonight replay themselves endlessly in my mind.

I suppose it ought to be frustrating that there are now yet more questions than were answered; but if being a member of the Third Sect has taught me anything, it has been to expect and accept that this is the nature of questions; like a Hydra, where two heads regrow for each you cut off.

Yet it can not be said that no progress was made. My instincts tell me we are closer. Our prey's message to us had a sense of the fatalist: as if she is becoming resigned to what must happen because she can no longer stand to be what she is. All we can pray for is that no more unfortunate souls are shuffled from this mortal coil before this closure can be achieved.

I do wonder if our group is capable of surviving further in-fighting. Dalensbane is a capable enough leader -- if too impatient and too direct -- but even he struggled to paper over the obvious divides. In his defence, he did not ask for this brief. Like any person in his situation he must make the best of it with the materials at his disposal. Though the less said of that Company of the Fox arcanist's outburst, the better.

I suppose that I shall have to mend fences with that awful Lamordian; though I fear both Martel and Dalensbane may have insisted too much and too far. It is ironic that Lamordian prejudices can be worse than Barovian superstitions; but sometimes, if you keep hammering away at a stuck door, you risk only making certain it stays closed forever.

It will be harder tonight, going to sleep knowing that the monster behind these crimes is still at large. More wine will help. But, though I am confident that we will eventually find and end this one, I must make my peace with the fact that there will always be monsters out there, tormenting the innocent. For it is the nature of the Grand Scheme: where there are people, there will be monsters (be they monsters in physical form, or monsters in thought and action). And there will be those of us who choose to stand up and make a difference.

Alright, sleep now; and tomorrow, reports.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on July 09, 2017, 02:09:55 PM
9th July 772

Notes on Rashad the Ice Spectre (?)
 - appears as a ghost; elements turn much colder than normal around him
 - somewhat sentient; could talk, appeared able to reason and had glimmers of conscience -- albeit within limits
 - hunger for warmth; touch drained life; desire to consume life overcame reason & conscience displayed above
 - died in the Ghakis (?); destroying the corpse may end the haunting
 - many similarities to the Jezra Wagner legend

Yet another monster to plague Vallaki. This land is truly a nexus of some sort, drawing to itself so many lost outlanders, but bringing to it in equal measure so many evils and dark things.

No sighted re-occurences. May have to organise an expedition to climb the Ghakis and find Rashad's corpse before winter begins to bite.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on November 11, 2017, 07:27:46 PM
Vallaki, Barovia; 11th November 772

Time marches on. The civil war (not everyone wants to call it that with the memories of yesteryear still painful, the graves yet fresh, but such it is nonetheless) burns low through Dementlieu. People find the time to go through the motions of regular life -- throw parties, host balls, fight in tournaments; marry, sire children, die of old age. Yet in the background is the threat of war; and perhaps even greater still, the threat of the war ending. One summary execution will beget others: who will be safe from Madame Guillotine when the crows come to roost?

I know Martel only wishes to protect me; and, more importantly, to protect the Church. But as the snows fell on the battlefield I felt it impossible to stand aside; wounds fester and kill more men than bullets, doubly so with frost. What is one life weighed against that? But I see now what he feared: the symbol created, the example that could be emulated. I took to the battlefield swearing not to draw my sword against fellow countrymen, with permission to attend to the fallen of both sides. Such stipulations may satisfy my conscience, but other Wardens may follow in my footsteps and show less discernment. While their actions are their own, I realise now that my own may exceed the humble scope I had ascribed to them. And thus we return to the first issue...

All this death has changed me. I understand now the weight of one life; great, yet finite. It makes some of the conflicts I witness so laughably petty. Am I jaded? Or just arrogant?

Vallaki is in chaos and turmoil, to a degree spectacular even by the standards of the Grey City. Heresy, the sewer, personal conflicts abound. I miss being home already. I shall attempt to keep on top of the spinning plates: the mission is the key.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 06, 2017, 10:40:38 PM
Vallaki, Barovia; 7th December 772

Consider the chessmaster as a metaphor for the master manipulator. I've often found myself wondering how many nobles and powerful people see the land in such terms; a game board with pieces, with pawns to direct, promote or sacrifice. What a lonely mentality it must be, to see all transactions with your fellows as patterns of power.

Being a commoner and then a simple anchorite, I only ever dimly perceived these in Dementlieu -- I was simply beneath notice, and thus not privy to the miasma of gossip and rumour that surrounds the game. Only since the new civil war did I become aware of the sweeping moves cutting swathes of blood through my countrymen and women. Knight takes Rook; and hundreds of soldiers lie bleeding on the field of battle.

For perhaps the first time, I have begun to feel the same way in Barovia. The lure of silver and the mountain's dark secrets project their own arena of contested power in which invisible claimants have begun their dance. Though I wish to stay away, I can't. Does that make me someone's pawn?

May Ezra guard over me. And may the Grand Scheme send Inquisitor Martel to our aid. He has a better knack for these things than I.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 28, 2017, 08:00:17 PM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 28th December 772

I'm never going on holiday, ever again. So much is happening, so much is in the air; so much uncertainty. I yearn for a little of the old boredom I knew back before war tore Dementlieu apart, before I ever set foot in Barovia.

I think it'll be a miracle if we get to March with few casualties.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 04, 2018, 01:40:52 AM
Road to Ameranthe, Dementlieu; 4th January 773

Captured.

Writing the word lacks dimension. So much has happened already that I would never have expected. I expected to be bound or chained; instead I have been treated well. I expected that perhaps my frustrated captor would demand to know what secrets I possess; fortunately they perhaps sense I know little. I expected to have little value as a captive in their eyes; instead they tell me my value is greater than I realise. I expected to be interrogated by the column commander; instead it was Maitriser himself who talked to me, and cordially at that.

The Duc is also nothing as I expected. In truth he reminds me a little of some Richemulot noble knight. He acted with restraint and composure; he comports himself with honour and trusts me to respond in kind. I suspect he is devout, to be on first name basis with Sister Edme. He is, in short, unlike the majority of Dementlieuse noblemen.

Not that I am naive. A man does not begin such a civil war without the stomach to spill a great deal of blood, and to do worse, much worse at that. The Mists of Death can worm their way into the hearts of even the greatest men and women, as taking excessive pride in our greatest virtues is itself a vice. Can Maitriser be entirely free of such a sin?

They say they will try to trade me for one of theirs held by the Council. I would be surprised if the negotiations didn't last a while. Perhaps it is for the best, the working of the Grand Scheme. Perhaps my presence here can plant a seed of diplomacy. Perhaps I can learn something here. There is a saying, the exact wording escapes me now, but the gist of it is that you can learn a lot more from your enemies than your friends. The Grand Scheme works in mysterious ways.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 04, 2018, 10:38:08 PM
Road to Ameranthe, Dementlieu; 5th January 773

Maitriser appears to be that most dangerous of things: an idealist. I find many of his qualities admirable, but he looks at change with mistrust and sees compromise as betrayal. In his mind, the restoration of a virtuous nobility will salve the Republique's woes. He is a man of East Dementlieu, believing we in the West do not understand him; that may be true, but equally I suspect that he does not understand us -- or at least, he rejects such understanding. The reality, as I see it at least, is that the people of the Port -- having tasted liberty -- will never be truly quiescent again. He can not turn back the clock. Even his victory would contain the seeds of his future failure. Yet he would never accept peace on any terms but his own. It is a recipe for repeating the cycle of disaster that has afflicts us, not a balm.

Furthermore, the antipathy towards the Council of Brilliance and Roissy feels personal. If he must have heads on pikes for his victory, then a bitter fight to the death is inevitable. Violence engenders more violence. I do not see a way of averting more bloodshed.

This meagre enlightenment offers little comfort and small hope. I pray Ezra will guide me.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 11, 2018, 04:23:44 AM
Quote from: the previous day...
Marius de Mortigny: Let us hope you are right, and not naive.
Agnès Gauthier: Maybe I am right and naive.

Maitriser's War Camp, Dementlieu; 9th January 773

I should have written into my diary last night when my memory was fresh. Yet I couldn't put pen to paper. The Maitriser's accusation was a difficult one to digest.

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And yet... and yet... some claims gain a certain credibility from being preposterous, as only truth can be stranger than fiction. As with de Vayrenne yesterday, his claim that he tried to escape for true love was absurd. Perhaps it was a jest; perhaps it is delusion. Yet if one accepts that such a claim has little value as a stratagem, that a liar would resort to something more prima facie believable, then the choice of possibilities becomes constrained to the claimaint either (a) being idiotic or delusion; (b) believing his audience to be so; (c) telling the truth.

This is the chain of logic that led me to say I believed de Vayrenne. Perhaps I was naive; and perhaps I was right.

Along similar lines I assess the Maitriser's claim. Either he is delusional, thinks me easily deluded, or he is telling the truth. I can not categorically eliminate any proposition. Which means I must contemplate the possibility that the claim is wholly or partially correct.

All this is uncertain, of course; some might find that off-putting. But I am a Warden of Ezra's Third Revelation; fathoming uncertainty is my métier.

There is only one person I trust enough to share these discussion with.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 11, 2018, 06:40:23 PM
(A scribbled note.)

- Upon adoption of an agreement, all hostilities to cease, immediately.
- All prisoners will be released, both sides.
- Council to proclaim suffrage once again for nobles, and nobles alone.
- Election to be held in which all nobles, Covenant and Council, will participate.
- A pardon for all commoner soldiers who fought.
- For Maitriser, Auclair, & other signers of the Covenant: no pardon. To be tried by the Council, as is their ancient right. And if found guilty, to bear the sentence.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 14, 2018, 07:48:22 AM
14th January 773

Freed. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. The reality of being home hits home after my debriefing: the damnable vampire going after the Kinship. It's dangerous for any of us to be in the Port at night. What he did to Anya and Zephyr... what he made Anya do to Zephyr... it was but a warning.

For all its werewolves, dark cultists and mad Cyricists, Barovia feels calmer. Its predators hunt at the fringes, preying on the weak and lonely, for the most part, while the rest of life quietly trundles on. The Barovians have learned the bitter lessons of the War of the Copper Knives. My country repeats the senseless bloodshed of past years while blind to the wolves in sheep's clothing among its own citizens.

We can frustrate Roquefort; even anger him. But what next? I need a plan, a new approach...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 17, 2018, 05:40:39 AM
Vallaki, Barovia; 17th January 773

Perhaps I spoke too soon of Barovia's calmness. The Banites (Laurier's last allies?) are present in force and a Cyricist openly announced his allegiance to the God of Murder at Kaine's execution while the Vallaki garda looked on. The rot runs deeper than I imagined.

I begin to genuinely doubt the viability of the Wayfarer Kinship, at least in the short term. If the Cyricists could infiltrate the Morninglord cult, they could do the same to the Kinship. Already, I guard my words more carefully in the reports I share, wary of which secrets I expose, to whom. Are the leaks mere indiscretion or treachery? I trust most of the individuals I know face-to-face, but the organisation...

Even the Church should beware. The Shield of Ezra offers some protection against direct infiltration; but anchorites can stray; and even the most devout of Templar, as recent history proves, can fall. Perhaps that is why I was so angry with Varian...

Already I am homesick. Life here seems more frangible than I remember it. Barovian complacency looks less like discretion and more like irresponsibility... or even complicity. Who was that vampire mage? How do all the moving parts relate?

If my visit here has done one thing, it has made the problems back home shrink in perspective. I suppose I will take what mixed blessings I can.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on January 20, 2018, 04:29:04 AM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 20th January 773

I spent last night composing my thoughts for the report to the Council. This morning finds me restless, but with new insight; some fresh meaning hinted at between the lines of my notes. There may only be one person, a single person, worth discussing terms of the peace with. But if what has been said about him is true, I fear treading into the manticore's den.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 01, 2018, 03:03:15 PM
[An amanuensis'd letter copy between the pages of her diary]

Quote
Dear Ailne,

Sorry for not writing sooner. I find myself once again amongst the Maitriser's camp. Don't worry, I'm not a prisoner, this time; rather I'm a failed diplomat. The war is to resume; or perhaps more accurately, it never ceased; and now preparations are complete for it to enter the next, bloodiest stage...

I wish I could say things were improving here, but with bloodshed imminent I fear I have abandoned hope of finding some civilised solution to this conflict. My only consolation is that I may prevent things from becoming too much worse; I have managed to foil a plot to poison Maitriser's Ward, Edme Tourette. In his gratitude, he granted me a boon, for which I obtained the release one of the Fox soldiers most likely to be the subject of a ridiculous and overblown rescue attempt. I like to think that in this manner I have saved not one or two lives, but many. It is a small comfort going into the days ahead.

How are you? How fare the Kinship since Lexington's departure? Does conflict yet brew? I wish I could be there to offer voice of reason; I know how often tempers fray and reason departs even the most well-intentioned.

I miss you, my friend.

Yours faithfully,
Agnès
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 05, 2018, 09:03:56 PM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 5th February 773

I had a nightmare last night.

I dreamed of a great connection of veins and arteries, pouring blood as if around some mighty body; great chambers, like hearts, collected this blood, letting it mingle and pool, then contracted and pumped it around the vast network, ensuring warmth and vitality reached every remote part of it.

Then in the greatest chamber, at the centre of the network, a black growth appeared; a tumour. From its central position, blood flowed against it, becoming dark and corrupt. Where this corrupted blood flowed, new dark growths appeared in distant chambers and along veins and arteries. Slowly the whole body became blighted, néfaste. Even the natural replacement of fresh red young blood became tainted sooner rather than later.

I know what this dreams means. I had always hoped to unite my countryfolk by becoming a bridge; by repairing the connections that war had sundered. But now I see that, as a vein, I am sometimes oblivious to what passes through this medium. Innocent blood becomes tainted or killed not because of me, yet still through me. Err too long I may yet find myself corrupted, as well.

It is too much. I must meditate. I must choose.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 06, 2018, 07:15:37 PM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 6th February 773

Promoted to Toret. In any other context it might have been a moment for celebration.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 14, 2018, 12:39:30 AM
On the road, Barovia; 14th February 773

The Harbinger is dead. The victory feels hollow, however, knowing what lurks beyond; one head of the hydra is cut off, how many will grow in its place?

Maybe this will bring the Morninglord Church some sense of closure, allowing them to move beyond their betrayals and rebuild. Oh, what would Teodorus Raines think, if he knew a Warden of Ezra -- a Toret, no less! -- was wishing a speedy recovery to a heathen Church? I can imagine in my mind the fire of his accusations of apostasy. It is diplomatic to guard my words here in Barovia, especially with Warden Creek around, but I know Inquisitor Martel would agree with me: in the difficult times ahead, better an ally on their feet, albeit battered and bloodied, than one on their knees or riven by self-doubt. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder and, once the final tally is accounted, Ezra shall sort Her own out.

Even the Kinship may be mending at last; or at least, no longer rending itself asunder. Perhaps now the healing can begin.

I would make some metaphor about a glimmer of hope, a flash of a rising sun, but then that might be apostasy...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 14, 2018, 11:44:11 PM
On the road, Vistani Mist Camp; 15th February

The Council has become increasingly shameless. They did not even attempt to hide their assassination attempt on Edme Tourette from us, their subordinates. Now, for them to openly invite Falkovnians into the city beggars belief. Do they want civil discontent? Are they that desperate?

I will wait a while longer, to see if we can learn the terms of this alliance or contract. But I fear I cannot wait much longer.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 16, 2018, 11:06:22 PM
[In somewhat drunken scrawl]

16th February. Grand Opera Massacre
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 17, 2018, 10:12:41 PM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 17th February 773

The Grand Opera Massacre. I can't walk by the building without flinching anymore. Roquefort's final outrage.

I can't help but feel that I failed; that I should have seen it coming. The moment I stepped into the room, I knew; all those strange, pale-skinned and thin-haired aristocrats with their predatory smiles. There were so many. There must have come from covens all throughout Dementlieu and Richemulot. For what purpose? How naive to think they would come only to offer light applause.

And then Zephyr came and told me Blue would not be making it. I saw the fury in Roquefort's eyes. Perhaps his threat to my mother made me think he would still attack us indirectly? Yet I should have known better.

The only thought that brings some comfort is that it could have been worse. Far, far worse. Yesterday was a victory, albeit a Pyrrhic one, far too close for comfort. And the war is not even over yet...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 19, 2018, 04:38:00 PM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 19th February 773

The Falkovnian General is a reminder that sometimes, monsters wear human guises.

I try to divine whether he is trying to manipulate me. No, that's incorrect. I try to divine how he is trying to manipulate me. He knew his demands would outrage me; he knew I would immediately report back to Roissy. Does he therefore want me to denounce his presence and the Council desperate enough to consider his employ? He would gain by this: the more of us abandon the Council, the more certain they are to invite the Falkovnian serpent into our very home.

Or am I over-thinking things?

One thing is certain: it is no longer about choices. I have chosen. It is now about timing.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 20, 2018, 09:50:53 AM
Port-à-Lucine, Dementlieu; 20th February 773

I don't think I can stand it any longer. Yet more violence; and to be regarded with suspicion merely for trying to restrain it. I feel my soul being torn in half. Suddenly Inquisitor Martel's words make more sense. The path I walked has always brought me to this fork; I just didn't realise it until now.

Who is Agnès Gauthier? Toret Agnès Gauthier? How do I best serve Ezra? What is my role? It was never clear, but now I fear I am losing my way...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on March 03, 2018, 12:51:10 AM
Dementlieu; 3rd March 773

A week has passed and I have found some peace in reconciling myself to my new path. I am back in Port yet tread lightly; the time is coming close, I can feel it. I think everyone else feels it, too: the timid recuse themselves while the brave get ready to settle their affairs and their scores. I believe the final acts of the war will come upon us soon. Where shall the dice fall?

Still I am divided, Agnès of the Port, and Agnès of the Kinship; duties requiring me to be in two places at once, to be two different people. Will I ever truly be whole?
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on March 09, 2018, 01:05:01 AM
Dementlieu; 8th March

I am afraid. Afraid for the future, afraid of what I... what we... could lose. It is the same manner of fear I felt before battle; the tense anticipation, the troubled wait. Only now I fear for more than soldiers; I fear for friends and family. It is deeper, more personal.

I shan't get much sleep tonight, I fear.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on March 09, 2018, 12:41:27 PM
Dementlieu; 9th March

A mission done. Perhaps failed. It didn't go as well as I'd hope. But I suppose it went better than I might have dreaded.

At least some of the fear has faded.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on April 08, 2018, 10:29:45 PM
Dementlieu; 9th April

I don't want to believe it to be true. I want it to be propaganda. But then, where is Neiderhauser? What is going on? ...

Has the world gone mad?

I despair. Whether it is truth or propaganda, it can have only one conclusion: no more negotiation, no more compromise. Only the brutal reduction of both sides; not who is right, but who is left.

I must turn to my duty, first and foremost. It is the people who will suffer in all of this; they, who have been abandoned by Council, disdained by the Covenant, and neglected by the Church. If none shall champion their cause, then it is mine to shoulder.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on April 09, 2018, 05:00:25 PM
Dementlieu; 10th April

All these blundering outlander fools, asking me for information; talking down to me and telling me the civil war is nothing worse than what they have seen in the Mists. They do not understand that, in asking me for what I know, they become complicit in my own "sin", and thereby risk to aggravate it. If knowledge is power, why do they expect the armoury gates to be thrown wide open? As if information can be free. As if opening one's mouth unwisely doesn't place both speaker and listener in danger.

Ignorance has a cost, but knowledge has a price. It is this terrible dilemma we must navigate through the days ahead.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on April 13, 2018, 04:45:54 PM
Dementlieu; 13th April

Already I see the stirrings of the future conflict I predicted; and for help today I am committed against the winner of this conflict, whomever that may be. My sole consolation is that I told her I would fight my way. Though that sounds weak, even to me.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on April 27, 2018, 12:14:15 AM
Dementlieu; 26th Avril

As I begin my preparations for escorting what families will follow me out of the City, I sometimes walk before the statue of the People's Triumph; of Pauline Jenout, the murdered martyr of the Revolution. The falling rain as I appraised the statue gave rise to thoughts. What would the Revolution have become, had she not been killed? How else might the dice have fallen?

Was she a champion for her people, as I aspire to be? Will I die, as she did? I doubt I shall earn a statue.

Maitriser will come; and when he does, he may be tempted to destroy the statue as the symbol of progress and departure from tradition it represents. That would mark him as the avowed enemy of the old Revolutionaries and the people that follow them.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on May 14, 2018, 10:16:48 PM
Dementlieu; 15th May

Insomnia strikes again. It has been a frequent visitor these nights, as the noose closes around the city. We have finally had some success in getting people to evacuate; Verinne did more than her fair share of the work, and deserves the credit for it. I hope Claude lived up to her part and spread the word for us, too.

As the war returns, paradoxically, I feel as if awakening from a depression; my mind, surrendered to fatalism and crushed expectations, once again begins to focus on the here and now as trepidation and urgency begin to replace lethargy. Idealism has been tempered with bitter experience. I know I can not save many; but nonetheless I must try my best, for that is the path I have chosen.

Duty, obligation. These are the bedrock of our faith. Without them, we risk slipping into the kind of monomania that has afflicted Pineau; his fanaticism blinding him to the breadth of our mission. Duty, of course, is defined by faith; the nuances of each Revelation lending them their priorities. It is worth, as an exercise, writing these duties, that we may be reminded of our commitments and obligations, and refreshed in our purpose.

These, then, are mine; re-affirmed. I choose the People first, of course; it is to them I dedicate myself. Every old couple I can help, every family I bring to shelter, is a small seed that may survive this madness and ensure that the storm about to crash over us doesn't destroy who we are.

But next an unexpected name comes next on my list. The Lamordian, Saskia Niederhauser. It's the grandest of ironies that I must consider it my duty to secure the return of a Lamordian who scorns my religion and personally loathes me. Yet she didn't deserve her fate; as dimly as I perceive it. The truths she knows will, one day or the other, cease to matter poltically -- but truth for truth's sake always has value. In this eventuality, I shall not forget her; but the war must come first and settle the rest before I fear anyone might allow her to be found again.

Juste Marceaux: a pall has hung over him ever since the catastrophe of Chateaufaux. I do not know the truth in its entirety. I suspect it matters little. I believe the Maitriser will come for Juste; I will do my best to try to stop them killing each other; given the animosity they hold for one another, I fear this may prove futile. The Maitriser might relent and offer Juste a fair trial, but Juste will never trust it.

Magda Marceaux: Juste wanted me to help her leave Port if he was killed. I fear she will not be inclined to run away, but towards her husband's slayer.

Edme: Maitriser asked me to take care of his Ward if he died. I shall do my utmost; I fear the chaos into which the Covenant army would be thrown into in such a case.

Verinne. She has done more than I could; I must continue to offer her my full support.

Joachim, and even that fool Otto. I can't allow them to end up lynched. Yet I fear the possibility is high if the city is sacked; either by a mob or disgruntled soldiers.

Etienne: that rash young man and his choice to become baptised.... it may be rash, or it may be the will of Ezra. I suppose only time will tell.

The other outlanders, some foolish, some helpful; all these I have a duty of care to.

And, finally, Pineau again: it is a different sort of obligation I feel towards him. His fanaticism is extreme. It damages Mother Church, blinkering Her Third even further. Yet it was foolish of us to confront him so directly previously. I must learn to be circumspect. Starting by investigating the tales of the Dread Crypt Heresy...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 07, 2018, 10:17:28 PM
Dementlieu; 8th June

The thugs who attacked me and the gendarmes who arrived with suspicious punctuality afterwards, were they sent by the same master? Were they even real gendarmes? Or were they detached from some Palais battalion that only a Councillor could order about?

They were not truly sent to harm me, I believe, but to send a message; to remind me of my place: the thugs are pawns, the gendarmes are pawns, and I am a pawn. Well, if I am to be a piece in a game, I would choose to be a bishop. Bishops move diagonally. That's why they often turn up where the kings don't expect them to be.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 20, 2018, 09:05:39 PM
Dementlieu; 21st June

We approach the final, terrible climax. The whole edifice of the city's politics is unravelling before our very eyes as the threat of war reaches the capital. The mere pressure of inevitability does the Maitriser's work for him: the Company of the Fox, that stalwart of the city's defence and enactor of the Council's will -- disbanded. Some of the most powerful men in the realm, humbled, soon to be outcasts or pariahs at best; outlaws or corpses at worst. And the Council, desperate to survive, willing to do everything, give up anything, barter away any leverage, to do what it does best: survive, at all costs.

Ignominy aplenty all around. Only those who are ignorant of the truth can fail to see the shame as it drips from every wall and surface like viscous smoke. The reification of our collective sins manifests as the blood of so many countless victims of this senseless war.

To think some condemn whores for selling their bodies. Is it not worse that we allowed ourselves to sell our consciences? And not even for anything as real as gold or true comforts; for the illusion of safety and freedom. For the lie that the status quo is better than most alternatives we could dare reach for.

Perhaps it is a judgement. A collective judgement upon all of us; the Mists of Death exacting their toll for our moral turpitude. I feel their chill presence everywhere... as if breathing down our necks. Ice dances along my finger tips even in summer. Barovians know all about Old Noapte, the Old Night: that time of darkness and tragedy. We Dementlieuse think ourselves more sophisticated and urbane; we do not see Old Night and so we think it doesn't exist. Yet in Dementlieu, Old Night is the darkness in our very hearts.

As I watched Juste get dressed down by Montte, I couldn't help but think, what was he fighting for? He is a man who knows he has lost. One hears it in his voice, senses it in his gait, sees it in his eyes. For months, his determination and confidence have been sapped away. He no longer dares to speak of victory... perhaps it is because now even the shock of a total victory over Maitriser, against all the odds, would see him still remain a slave; and if there is one thing Juste will never surrender, if I am any judge of the man, it is his freedom. "Why are you standing there?" I found myself thinking. "Why don't you run away as fast as the wind will carry you?"

Even I long to leave this bitter land. To return to Barovia where most monsters are obvious, and those men and women who are monsters, at least, are not my compatriots. I long to see friends not wearing the dark face of war weariness. I long for peace, and love.

But when the war is finally done, when the dust is settled, my duty here will not be over. No, it will only just be beginning.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 21, 2018, 10:58:18 PM
Dementlieu; 22nd June

I have been spending my evenings standing before the statue of Pauline Jenout, wondering. What was she truly like? Did her life match the legend she became? Was she a good person? Happy? Cruel? Lonely? What would she make of what has become of her Revolution? Would she be sad? Angry? Disappointed? Resigned?

The letter I received through diverse hands... oh, the greatest of ironies. Are our roles to become reversed? Am I now to preach for discipline and resolve, to do what must be done in the name of duty? Have the events of the past few months made him focus on the immediate sins and follies of a few individuals, and forget his true professed target? If he stops now, will all those who have suffered and died have bled and perished in vain? Will their sweat, blood and lives have been spent merely to carry on the charade of politics that distracts us from the one who pulls the puppet strings?

And yet, what is the price of one head? A butcher's bill that will make every battle up to now look like a mere bar brawl. The axe is poised to fall upon the city's neck, and the executioner hesitates, flinching at the effusion of blood from the innocents caught in the axe's path. Isn't that conscience? Isn't that what Ezra wants? What I wanted?... What I want...

I had become almost resigned to it; accepting it as inevitable and yet hoping the outcome may yet end the corruption of the old order. If the business is not ended, will the whole cycle not repeat? Will not more die in the future as we rehearse the play with different actors and a slightly different plot yet the same conclusion? Is it callous to weigh present lives against hypothetical future deaths? Is it even my place to utter a whisper that may tilt the axe one way or the other?

What is my place?  I barely remember how I thought when the war started; only by reading back through these pages do I trace my evolution from naive appeaser to disillusionment.



Enough wallowing.

I think I know what Jenout would have done. It is the nature of rebels and revolutionaries to overthrow the old ways. She might have chosen to burn everything down in the hope that the fertile new soil would have grown something better for future generations. She might have been ready to take that responsibility upon herself; the dreamer's madness.

But I am an anchorite, not an anarchist. "Hope" is for Morninglorders; we Ezrites trade in duty. And through the prism of duty, what must be done is clear.

Are the Mists of Death toying with us? Do the ironies and paradoxes they inflict upon us amuse them? Am I merely playing my role as I move across the game board?
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 21, 2018, 11:40:18 PM
Dementlieu; 22nd June - middle of the night

Oh, Ezra. Disillusionment indeed...what if this exactly what he wanted? Not all puppets see their own strings....
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 28, 2018, 09:37:16 PM
 - speak to Trelliard, re: g
 - speak to Verinne, re: p
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on July 04, 2018, 11:46:59 PM
Dementlieu; 4th July

Victory. The Council ousted, fled the Port. I would be so bold as to say an end to the war at last, but can it truly be over until the Council is caught? Where have they run to? Falkovnia? Would the people ever forgive them if they sought protection with the Hawk?

(Poor Garrett. His expression when he realised I was aiding the rebels. But it is precisely the path that Her Second Revelation lead me to.)

The plan went well, better than could have been expected in the chaos of war; General Montte was no fool and spotted the lure in Verinne's gala -- or perhaps we were indeed betrayed by Sophie de La Croix. Fortunately, the double distraction of Gaston Maurice's ultimately sacrificial feint and the chaos strewn by Marceaux and Rousseau as they sought to earn a measure of redemption meant that the plan to leave the east gate weakly defended proved a complete success. Covenant soldiers took half the city before the Gendarmerie could have even reacted; though they already had their hands quite full...

Poor Gaston, slain by Montte's perfidy; I am a follower of Ezra's Second Revolution and cannot wish for Montte's execution; but I could not fault the judgement if it comes to that, and should save my tears for Gaston.

I remember that moment; our eyes met as he realised he had walked into Montte's trap. And then I fled, to ensure Trelliard had not been waylaid or prevented from doing her part of the plan...

But the sacrifices have earned us this: victory, with relatively little blood... far less than was spilled in any of the previous battles of this terrible war. And finally, at last, I pray, this war is over...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on July 05, 2018, 03:27:28 PM
Raduta; 5th July

As per Focolari, the Inquisition is appointed by the authority of the Praesidius; thus Pineau was technically overstepping his mark when he threatened Martel with stripping him of his Inquisitor's title. Though being publicly opposed to your own Bastion -- or at least, that Bastion's appointed regent -- would make the position practically, if not legally, untenable.

So what exactly happened? I need to speak to Martel. No doubt he is already a step ahead of me on this...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on July 07, 2018, 03:31:33 PM
Loose ends:

 - Pierre du Mort prison;
 - The Baron of Mortain;
 - The duchess's child;
 - Jerome's sister (execution was delayed).
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on August 08, 2018, 05:31:48 PM
Port-à-Lucine, 8th August

A month has passed, and much has happened, yet little has changed so far. Already the stresses are appearing. I think I can see the first fault lines; the rare sense of unity following the last battle slowly being eroded by reality.

Verinne seems to have endured her Barovian ordeal well enough. I wish I could return to Barovia for pleasant business, for once... I long to see my old friends.

I don't know what's more irritating about that Jaseur rag; that it's probably written by someone who didn't dare make themselves count during the war; its poor grammar; or that it may sometimes have a point...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on August 30, 2018, 08:50:47 PM
Port-à-Lucine 31st August

The Hawk threatens. Ameranthe is the target, doubtless. Was this d'Honaire's plan all along? The spider has spun his web, and even when ousted, the web remains.

I joined the Levy today. Once again I'll be fighting in the militia. I know that's not what Marius would want, but as I wrote my appeal to unity, I realised that I couldn't call for people to fight if I was unwilling to put myself in harm's way as well. I think he'd understand. Besides, it will be easier to fight the Falkovnians than it was to fight my countrymates. Not much easier, but still...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on September 03, 2018, 10:19:28 PM
Port-à-Lucine, 4th September

I can't sleep. Marius has left now, so my thoughts turn to the future. Plans, wheel within wheels, form in my mind. I know I am out of my depth; our true foe has months if not years to plot, and has decades of practice. Yet what else can I do? Only by spinning out these tangled webs can I divine how I can possibly make a difference.

I accept two premises: the Falkovnians are attacking through a combination of Krauss's ambitions, doubtless played upon by the spider; and the signatories of the Four Treaties will not act to save Marius, due to the spider's manipulations and schemes.

Contingency Plans (from best to worst):

1) Marius marches East and holds the Falkovnians; maybe even pushing them back. Meanwhile, deSuis and d'Honaire will, from whatever cave they're hiding in, stir trouble. Crises will strike the Port. Food. Crime. War hysteria. It could be anything. The Gendarmes still loyal to them attempt a coup; and if they succeed, we are once again split into half, deSuis in the West and Marius in the East. Safeguards against this: Trelliard and Schroetter are both loyal, but they are inexperienced and still new to their roles. Can Messier be reasoned with over Seimerrie?

2) Marius marches East and is defeated, but slowly; as above, but with a refugee crisis on top of the rest. What is the fate of the East?  What can be saved? Will the Falkovnians truly breach and raze Ameranthe? If Ameranthe is about to be lost, can whatever deal d'Honaire is making with the Falkovnians be scuppered and handed to one of his toadies? (Would he accept some toothless Ezrite Sentire holding the fortress?) Surely even he understands that the razing of Ameranthe is an invitation for further, worse wars with the Hawk. What use is his republique afllame? Surely a puppetmaster prefers order to chaos.

3) Marius marches East and is defeated quickly. He will quickly lose legitimacy, and d'Honaire and his entourage will swoop in as they did last time, restoring their position and retaking power. I fear there will be scant opportunity to help the people of the East in this case; perhaps indeed that is d'Honaire's petty revenge upon them.

It is pointless to discuss our fate, those who opposed deSuis's Council. Either we'll flee (though I can't), or d'Honaire will have us executed; or he will let us free, offering a pardon, if only to torture us later with his sick mind games for his amusement. I don't believe that I've ever hated anyone as much as that spider.

Oh, Marius. If you could rewind time, would you still have chosen this course? Knowing the danger it brings to you and all that you love? I will pray for your safety every day.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on September 08, 2018, 10:51:16 AM
Note:

Alexandra Corneau/Corneanu
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on October 13, 2018, 07:16:26 PM
Port-à-Lucine, 13th October

Edgard Martel was arrested today. A dark day, one that will haunt us for months, if not years, to come. How did he become the way he is now? What turned him into this killer?

The damage will unfold. Even if he faces fair judgement for his actions, there are surely those who would use the symbol of "Rene Straight-Jacket" to further their own aims. The Revolutionaries of old have not been idle; the return to aristocratic privilege, no matter how well-intentioned the Maitriser may proclaim it, is an affront to their values. I always expected such a reckoning would come, that the Covenant's success would re-light the flames that ignited the Revolution. I merely prayed -- dared to hope -- it would not happen while the East was fending off invasion from Falkovnia.

All this will merely weaponise the very innocents "Rene" claimed to wish to protect. Will he smirk if they riot? Will he justify any deaths in his name as necessary sacrifice? All this in the Council's name... the Mists of Death must be laughing.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on October 15, 2018, 06:58:47 PM
A scrap of paper burns in a fire where it has been thrown in rage; as the fire curls and blackens the paper, a single sentence winks out before it is consumed by the flame.

Quote
-thropy, if it a natural born, it cannot be cured save for-
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on November 20, 2018, 06:10:54 PM
[Low Mordentish]
Persistent Whisper
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 02, 2018, 05:09:52 PM
Port-à-Lucine, 2nd December

Power has a certain self-destructive quality. By its very nature, it erodes empathy: those who have power, having to burden under the conditions that give them such power, have less time and inclination to reflect upon the toils and lives of those "beneath" them.

Power corrupts; even the well-intentioned must manage the most daunting of tight ropes. And the higher one rises, the harder one falls.

I look over my choices in the past months, and there is much that I wish had gone differently. I wish I had known at the start of the War what I know now. I wish I could have convinced Juste to side with the Covenant, and perhaps be spared his exile. I wish I could have warned Marius of the trap he was walking into...

I guess that is why I signed the petition; it was the right thing to do. I was less naive about it than many of the others who signed it. I knew it would lead to trouble for us petitioners, that we might even be sent to the guillotine. But it was the only choice I would not regret, even if it leads to danger. If I did not stand with the people then, what fight was I saving myself for?

So far, Schrötter and Trelliard were demoted. Let's hope any further repercussions are limited. It will be hard enough to prevent escalation as is without DuPré resorting to the iron fist.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 08, 2018, 06:04:40 AM
Port-à-Lucine, 8th December

We executed Edgard Martel earlier in the week, and Leon Shelks yesterday.

I do regret their choices. What a waste of life. But they were murderers; whatever their motives, their terrible actions led them to their fate.

It had been a busy week before we even started into the Ecclesiastic Court for Joachim's baptism. The Court was a disappointment to me; not because it didn't grant Joachim the baptism, but, as Joachim observed, because it re-opened old wounds and created new ones. I suppose I once again learn Martel's lessons only to belatedly; it is hard to maintain friendships and respect when people end up falling on differing sides of such a serious issue.

The looks passing between Creek and Garrett bothered me in particular. What happened between those two when they were adjourned?

I can guess how the vote went. With four judges, including the Inquisitor's decisive vote, Joachim's only real chance would have been to bring the Inquisitor around. Given that Garrett clearly voted for the baptism, that implies the Inquisitor voted against, as had he voted with Garrett, Joachim would have been baptised. Creek voted against, no question there. So the only unknown is how Renault voted... and given that she left rather that stand with Garrett as judgement was passed, my instinct is that she voted with the Inquisitor and Creek.

So 3 - 1. But Garrett is always so respectful. What did he say that would make Creek look at him so?

I feel responsible; this Court was my idea. And in truth, I am satisfied. The judgement delivered makes sense to me; Joachim may have started on a path of righteousness, but there is yet a while go before redemption can well and freely be given.

I will try to mend fences and bridges; heal divides. If we're not all killed by rioters or wererats in the interim, that is...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 13, 2018, 05:40:27 PM
13th December -- Sermon Notes

Ezra spoke, "I have chosen my role in the Grand Scheme. Such is what I must do." And with those words did Ezra become Our Guardian in the Mists.

From Her place within the Mists of Death, Ezra looked down upon the Mortals of the World, and She extended Her hand to fill the Hollow.

But the Mists would not part. A voice came from the Mists, saying, "Foolish One, you still know nothing of the Grand Scheme. The Hollow belongs to the Mists alone. It is their Creation. You shall not spoil what they have wrought."

Ezra spoke again, saying, "The Mists have wrought nothing but sorrow. It is my role to succour the suffering of my people. What is to become of my place in the Grand Scheme if the Mists cannot bid me act?"

"What shall become of the Pure of Heart, if they have no Guardian in the Mists?"

Answered the voice, "You may have those who choose to have you, and those only. If they be Pure of Heart, then so shall it be."

I wish today to speak of a word; that word is "community".

The community of Ezra is Her Church and Her Faithful. We are bound together not just by faith, but by our duty and by our choice.

What does that mean? It means we choose to emulate Ezra and follow Her holy example. Before she became Our Guardian, she was a protector and a healer; she walked the lands defending and tending to Her people from the predations of the Legions of the Night.

That is our duty to each other; this is the seed we plant, which we water with devotion and righteous faith. To tend to that community, to protect and help one another, that is our role.

Without that role -- without that community -- we are lost.

(The notes scribble on from here, apparently losing their train of thought.)
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on December 18, 2018, 10:33:46 PM
[letter, unsent]

Dearest Marius,

Oh, how I wish you were here. Or that I were at Ameranthe. I remember well the brutal simplicity of the battlefield; the pain, the mud, the screams of the wounded and dying, the stench of death; but I feared those cannonballs raining down around me less than I fear my failures here.

Does that make me selfish or foolish? Yet part of me would prefer to die by your side defending what you love rather than watch this gradual erosion in Port-à-Lucine, this death by one thousand attacks and thousand failures.

Your victory -- our hope of a return to noble, righteous government -- is assailed on all sides. We are losing our friends, one by one. Gone is the cautious optimism of the early days. I look at the eyes of the Gendarmes and see the expression of gamblers hedging their bets. The tide turned long ago and now we feel it drag us back out into the inchoate darkness;  where no doubt D'Honaire lurks, smirking triumphantly. After the Revolution, the Civil War, most of these Gendarmes are simply survivors. I fear Trelliard is already gone. Joachim may well yet be the most stalwart defender of your legacy; a Falkovnian! I  am sure you would appreciate this irony of the Grand Scheme, if you had the opportunity to.

And Verinne.... Verinne. The others were right. If a cure exists.... If... I am falling back upon hope to justify my actions. I have been blinded by fear; I have lied to myself and let moral cowardice turn me away from my duty. Just to delay the fear of what I must do when...

I confess, Marius, I have sensed intense relief just being away from the Port. Sometimes I wish I coud leave for good; leave the people to their fate, finding a smaller flock to protect. But Verinne and Edme are here; and while I might persade Edme to flee with me to Borca, Verinne will never do so. And she is my friend.

I know what I must do. I will offer confession to Barbarigo and suffer the penance for my blindness. And then I will have to tell Verinne the truth.

(The letter continues for one final paragraph but this is crossed out.)
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 07, 2019, 06:16:31 PM
6th February 774

Trelliard is gone. Joachim is gone.... unless we can achieve a miracle. The slow erosion continues. The city is already not the same as it was. Its character shifts like oil on water. And still we await. Will the election save us or damn us?

I return to Barovia again soon. Always my path leads back as if some thread of the Grand Scheme is twisted into a knot there.

Duty is a balm. Ask the question, "what can I do?", and it is easy to lose oneself in the possibilities. Ask, "what should I do?" and the fog lifts.

One step at the time. One foot in front of the other.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 11, 2019, 03:24:03 PM
11th February

I have joined the Gendarmerie; once again, I bear the title "Chaplain". I pray this fares better than my time under the Company of the Fox.

Ironically, I think neither Lieutenant Messier nor myself wanted this. But Joachim's death leaves me with little choice. For all his ultimately fatal flaws, he wanted to protect the Republic, ensure it became something better. Someone has to pick up that mantle. I cannot sit on the sidelines. That's why I chose my original path, isn't it?
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on February 24, 2019, 11:25:31 AM
24th February; Vallaki, Barovia

Once more I am back in Vallaki; the Mists of Death have a perverse sense of humour. It feels strange to be wearing the uniform of the Gendarmerie here, two worlds colliding. Yet we will await a response, unless duty recalls us sooner, and while I am here, I can talk to old friends and meet new associates.

It is easier to face some of the monsters here than the prospect of what must be done when I return home.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on May 07, 2019, 11:16:02 AM
Mardi 7 Mai 774

Promoted; let's hope it sticks longer than last time...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on May 22, 2019, 04:38:07 PM
Mercredi 22 Mai 774

The ground is slipping away. The foundation crumbles. The castle was always built out of sand.

If I do nothing, tyranny. If I act, the very corruption we fought to stop may return; either in a new form or, more insultingly, ever the old.

And next I must face Verinne...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on May 23, 2019, 09:23:37 PM
Jeudi 23 Mai 774

Verinne, what will I do without you?
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on May 29, 2019, 09:01:44 AM
Mercredi 29 Mai 774

Alone. I await my fate, in this cell, alone. The solitude is a bittersweet solace. It would be easier to face judgement if I knew it was mine, and mine alone. Instead, must the event and players of these past few months be judged with me? Must this be about the République, rather than about one careless, reckless anchorite?

I didn't want that. I never meant for that to happen. Oh Ezra, I was such a fool.

Duty. Love. Sometimes in tandem, sometimes irreconcilable. I know what I should do; I know what Marius would do. But can I inflict that upon Edme a second time? I made a promise... I made two promises.

But so did Verinne, to Katraka. Do I think my promises are worth more than hers were? Am I ready to condemn myself with such hypocrisy?

Verinne, when we meet again under Ezra's embrace, I hope you can forgive me...
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 03, 2019, 12:41:31 PM
Lundi 3 Juin 774

Defeat. And now, the terms of surrender.

Today I made a deal with the devil. Defeat; but perhaps the hope that at last our country can be spared further bloodshed. Even if I must betray the ones I love the most, again.

He won't kill me. Like a cat, he likes to play with the crippled mouse. Death would be a mercy.
Title: Re: Ne jugez pas un livre à sa couverture -- diary & notes of Agnès Gauthier
Post by: aprogressivist on June 08, 2019, 03:42:45 AM
Samedi 8 Juin 774

It's all so clear in those early hours of the morning, when sleep is elusive.

How can Marius crusade against corruption if he means to marry me; who has become a symbol of that corruption?

The genius of my foe's trap, or just more consequences of my hubris? Each and every one of my choices has made things worse in some way.

Would that I could return to a simple purity of purpose. Would that I could sacrifice myself somehow to undo what I have wrought. But isn't the idea of self-sacrifice itself imbued with a self-pitying self-importance? Egoism cannot mend a broken egg.

Please, Ezra; spare the East, spare Edme, spare Marius. Otherwise it is all for naught.