(I think I made you up inside my head.)
An exceedingly sombre individual, most often dressed in drab robes. He is surrounded by a strange aura that makes most people want to get as far away from him as possible. If one were to pay attention to Araphel, one would see him constantly glancing at the empty air to his side, as if to communicate with an unseen companion. Never seen without his faithful greyhound, who looks friendly enough, but no one has ever tried getting close enough to find out.
Excerpts from Araphel’s personal journals
15th, Month of Dawn, 2313
I did it! Master Ruah says I’ve passed all the tests and will be formally inducted as an acolyte of Sune next week. I can’t wait to tell Laila, she’ll be so proud of me! Hopefully, I’ll have time to learn some of the “finer arts” of Sune as well. I’m sure those will be useful when me and Laila are finally old enough to get married. hee hee
9th, Month of Fire, 2315
I can’t believe how fast the time has passed; soon I’m going to begin my final year of training at the temple. Master Ruah keeps all of us so busy with lessons, devotions and chores. I’m thankful that I still get a little bit of time everyday to spend with Laila, I swear she gets more beautiful every day. All the men in town agree with me, I’ve heard all the talk. She’s my betrothed though, and when I become a full priest of Sune, we’ll be married and she’ll come live in the temple with me. How wonderful that would be! But for now, there are floors to scrub and rituals to memorise.
23rd, Month of the White, 2318
I still recall how radiant she looked on our wedding day, her beauty might have even rivaled that of the Goddess. I wasn’t the only one who thought so either: Blacksmith Ehven said the same thing to Laila, Goodwife Ashrey remarked that Sune would be jealous of her beauty, and many others echoed her sentiments. I’m so lucky to have Laila in my life, every day with her by my side is full of joy.
I wish the others would stop comparing Laila and Sune though. I am devoted to my Goddess, but I know She can be a fickle mistress and I dare not risk her ire. Worse still, I suspect Laila has come to believe what everyone says – I overheard her boasting to her friends about all the attention she gets, that men find her more beautiful than the Goddess Herself.
1st, Month of Dusk, 2318
What in the world is happening? Last night, Laila woke up screaming and begging for forgiveness from the Goddess. I thought it was just a nightmare, but when she looked in the mirror this morning, she started screaming and clawing at her face. She says she has become cursed by the Goddess, her features made disfigured and loathsome, but to me she looks exactly the same as she did yesterday. Could the Goddess really have twisted Laila’s perception of herself so? I cannot believe that Sune could be so cruel, there must be another explanation. I shall pray for guidance.
27th, Month of Dusk, 2318
My prayers have gone unanswered. Laila secluded herself in our chambers for the past month while I brought a succession of healers by. None of them could do anything; the clerics simply shook their heads, “Gods-cursed” they said. Laila keeps begging me to let her die, so I’ve hidden all the knives and poisons as a precaution, though I fear she’ll eventually outwit me somehow.
31st, Month of Dusk, 2318
No! My dear, my poor sweet thing. I must have slipped somewhere, she somehow managed to get a bottle of… I don’t even know what it is. Why!? We were so happy together.. Master Ruah and the other clerics refuse to perform the ritual to restore her to life. They said she is cursed. Curse them! I was always faithful to the Goddess. How could she do this to us? I have to take Laila somewhere, to someone who’ll perform the ritual, before it’s too late. I’m leaving the temple tonight.
Day 3 of Servitude
Damn it all! I had finally found someone who said he could help me restore Laila to my side. All I had to do was pledge my life in service to his master. I guess I should have known better. Now I’m saddled with this godforsaken dog following me everywhere. The animal appears normal most of the time, but it seems my new master (who likes to be addressed as the Dark Lord), can channel his presence and speak to me through it. I was given my first task yesterday.
As for Laila, well, I got what I wanted. She is by my side every minute of every day. She seems happy enough, though she doesn’t speak. Funnily enough, I don’t know whether she still suffers from the curse. Spirits don’t have reflections..
Day 3913 of Servitude
Tanar. A cesspool of murder and deceit. Hidden beneath the bright lights of progress and profit.
My kind of city.
Laila still with me. Have her magically shielded from most mortal eyes. Just one of the powers the Dark Lord gave me to do his bidding. Lots of bloody things he’s made me done.
Biggest task yet. Seems a group of adventurers has uncovered one of the God-artifacts. About to set off questing for the rest. Now the Dark Lord wants to acquire them for himself. But if these artifacts are truly that powerful, maybe they’ll let me find out who the Dark Lord really is.
Maybe even get me and Laila our freedom.
But first it looks like I’m going to have to become a Clown. Ha. Ha. Ha.