Lavinia's Diary

My life is over. Well, my life as I have known it, anyway. The days of youthful foolishness are over with one tragically awry prank. Vanthus and I should both have known better than to touch those elixirs of love, let alone emptying them into the water tower. Now I am being sent to the Thenalar Academy to live out the next five years of my life, and Vanthus was shipped out to work on a plantation. Whatever will I do? What will either of us do? Vanthus and I have been so close, since our parents were rarely around. We’ve grown to depend on each other, and gotten into a fair amount of trouble together. Though never like this.

Five years! And we have been expressly forbidden to communicate during that time. I will be so lonely.

I have just become settled at the Thenalar Academy. I can’t imagine being more different from the girls I am rooming with. There is one other girl that I know, but she does not stay in the dormitory. She lives at her father’s estate with him and two adoptive brothers. Of the girls in my actual room, one is a dark-skin from the south! I’ve never seen her like. Another is an urchin from the Shadowshore! She is crass and rude and keeps mostly to herself, which suits me just fine. The last girl in our room is also a commoner, though of a higher class than the girl from Shadowshore. I think her father is a merchant. New money, to be sure as she is quite plump. How did these girls come to be in such a prestigious school? How could they afford it? It must be some sort of charity. How did I end up placed with them? Oh, well, perhaps they will learn from my example. One can only hope.

  • * * * *

One of the girls I have met here makes me uncomfortable. She is not one of the girls in my dormitory, thank goodness. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say she is strange and somewhat boyish. I don’t like how affectionate she is with some of the other girls.

  • * * * *

A bit of a scandal here as the term comes to an end. A girl was put out of the school. Apparently she had been abusing narcotics. How do such creatures get into such a prestigious school? Thankfully it was nobody I knew.

My dorm mates are not as bad as I had first assumed. The pudgy one is quite jolly, and her perpetual happiness does help when I am tempted to otherwise feel dreary. The darkie is not as different as I had expected, though perhaps a tad nosey. The Shadowshore girl I still find insufferable, although the others seem to be making some inroads with her. She seems to be letting her guard down a bit. Perhaps I should make more of an effort.

  • * * * *

A new year means many goodbyes. Many of the girls on my floor are graduating or moving on for various reasons; none from my dorm, but some I have gotten to know. One of the girls, a redhead who looks so pretty in pink, will go on to much bigger things, I’m sure.

  • * * * *

Some dark skinned bard visited the school and my dark friend got to meet him. She was really excited. I had no idea who he was; it’s just not germane to my interests. Still, I’m happy for my friend.

  • * * * *

Tomorrow are mid term exams and we will be staying up all night to study. I know it’s a right of passage, but this is going to be one long night…

  • * * * *

With exams over, classes are on a break. My roommate has invited me to Shadowshore to see where she grew up. I’m reticent, but I am going to accept her offer. She asserts that I could learn much about “how the other half lives,” as she puts it. That may be, but perhaps I will come to understand her better and see why she is the way she is.

  • * * * *

My time is Shadowshore was an educational experience, indeed. Her family is wonderful; salt of the land, and they accepted me as if I was one of them – I felt so welcomed. Of course, they made me clean up after the meals! “Everyone pulls ‘is wait, dearie,” her mother said. I’ve never washed a plate in my life. My hands are dry and itchy. Still, I have a much greater appreciation for the less fortunate, and I am much more grateful for Kora and the other servants back home.

Something seemed odd for my friend, too. She almost seemed out of place in her own family. It took me a while to realize that I was seeing a girl who had matured a year and a half away from her family and they were not used to the changes they were seeing. She is a very intelligent woman, and the education she is getting at Thenalar is foreign to her family. She is the first of her family to receive a formal education. It’s very bittersweet. I can’t explain it.

It’s funny that this girl I had the most disdain for when I first met her (and I know the feeling was mutual) is fast becoming my best friend.

  • * * * *

When we got back to the dorm, we found out that our over-weight friend was attacked one evening while off school grounds. It was not as though she was in Shadowshore – she was in the merchant district. Some men accosted her and attempted to take liberties with her. She escaped but she is terribly emotionally scarred. I wish I knew how to help her.

  • * * * *

Many of the girls are having a hard time coping with the stress of being away from home and meeting the scholastic demands. I am concerned by my Shadowshore friends alcohol use.

  • * * * *

Alcohol is a dangerous vice. It causes you to lose your judgment and inhibitions. I hope what happened last night won’t ruin our friendship.

  • * * * *

I guess I needn’t have worried. Our friendship is stronger than one night of drunken silliness. In fact, the incident was enough to teach her a valuable lesson. I think she will be much more careful with drink from now on.

  • * * * *

I have been very insensitive about my dorm mate’s weight. In the several years since I first met her, she has actually been slimming down. I didn’t realize it until she confronted me about how much my thoughtless comments had hurt her. She approached me in tears and pointed out many of the cues I had over looked – how she never actually ate meals with the rest of us, how she didn’t shower or change cloths in front of us, and how she had been engaging in double the physical classes. Now she is much more slender, but her cloths make her appear larger than she is. I took her to the market and bought her a new wardrobe, all the while begging forgiveness for my insensitivity.

  • * * * *

The matron on our floor is opening up a bakery in the market and has asked the four of us to help her out in our spare time. This will be the first “job” I’ve ever had. I think it will be fun.

  • * * * *

The bakery is doing very well and I am learning a great deal about business and managing accounts. This is all important as the eldest sibling.

I wonder how Vanthus is doing. I guess I will find out in a few months as I will be returning home after graduation and he will be returning shortly thereafter.

  • * * * *

Graduation was wonderful, but sad. We all promised to keep in touch, yet we all know how unlikely that really is. I think I will miss my friend from Shadowshore most of all. If I maintain contact with any of these girls, it will be with her.

  • * * * *

I have changed so much in the years since I’ve been gone. So has Vanthus. I like to think I benefited from my time at Thenalar. Vanthus, on the other hand, seemed to have spent his time away nursing his bitterness. He no longer has any time for me…He sleeps all day, and spends the nights with associates of dubious character. I am worried about him.

  • * * * *

Vanthus has moved out of the house - I believe he may have taken up with a lover in Azure District.

  • * * * *

There was an accident. Mother and Father are dead. I don’t even know what to write about that. The family finances fall to me to administer. I am now the head of the Vanderboren family. Vanthus has moved back in. Maybe this tragedy will be the catalyst we need to rebuild our relationship.

  • * * * *

Vanthus has changed even more. That easy sense of humor from our childhood is gone…in its place is a bitter cynicism and a morbid streak that sends chills up my spine. After staying in the manor for only a week, and several arguments, he…struck me with his fist. I was shocked, and for a moment I think Vanthus was shocked too, but an instant later he was back to his new self, all scowls and menace. He gathered his belongings and left.

I know something profound happened at some point to change my brother, but I'm not sure what that was. I believe he's fallen in with a bad crowd, perhaps smugglers or thieves or even killers. Still, despite his attitude, I hope that it's not too late; that if he can be brought back to my side, I might be able to talk some sense into him

  • * * * *

I’ve been going over the family accounts. For all their success as adventurers, my parents were not skilled at finances. In trying to balance the books, I have found that I have inherited, along with the family estate, a good deal of debt owed to the Dawn Council, the harbormaster and quite a few guildhalls. If I am to get these taxes paid, I’ll need to access the family vault under Castle Teraknian.

The vaults are magically locked, keyed to signet rings each of my parents had. Mother lost hers a few months ago. She arranged for a replacement, but it won’t be done for another month, and my creditors will not wait that long. That leaves only Father’s ring. He never wore it – he had a thing about men wearing jewelry. He kept it hidden somwehre on his ship, the Blue Nixie. However, the harbormaster has seized the ship until someone pays for the last four months of mooring fees. I’ve paid the fines to the man that the harbormaster has put in charge of my ship – a brute named Soller Vark. Yet when I went to claim my ship, Vark’s men wouldn’t let me board, claiming that I hadn’t yet paid the fines. I spoke to Vark again and he denied ever receiving my payment. My complaints to the harbormaster have fallen on deaf ears – he’s a doddering old fool who trusts his man and won’t relent.

Vark and his men are up to something on my ship, I know it. What I need is to find out exactly what they’re up to. Unfortunately, Vark’s not the type to react well to diplomacy or logic. I need someone who speaks his language…. and I think I know just the person.

  • * * * *

I visited the home of my friend from Shadowshore. They had some tragic news for me. My friend is dead. She ran afoul of some sort of guild comprised of thieves called The Lotus Dragons. Tragedy seems to be my shadow lately. They offered me hospitality, but I dared not stay – I had to press on in my search for aid.

Things were destined to get worse before they got better. I had come to respect Shadowshore because of my previous visit, but I allowed myself to forget what a dangerous and desperate place it is – and I was alone. I must have stood out like a beacon, and I was set upon by a pack of street urchins. Children, really. It was clear they intended to rob me, and they certainly would have done if it had not been for the intervention of a gallant rogue I would come to call Idae. He dispatched the mongrels with a few words in a dialect I’ve never heard before. Actually, there was some apparent argument, but the crowd dispersed in time with no violence.

I was grateful to my rescuer and offered him financial compensation. He refused, and offered to escort me to my destination. In many ways, he reminded me of my friend from Thenalar. I accepted his offer on the condition that he would at least join me in a meal, which he agreed to.

Over dinner I shared with Idae about myself and I found myself confiding in him – he was so easy to talk to. I told him all about Vanthus and how concerned I was about him. This prompted him to share about his past and his brother.

What a story! First, Idae is not his real name. His real name is Adameus – Idae (which means “The Shadow” in the language of the elves) is more like a title. Anyway, he wasn’t born in Shadowshore. He ran away when he was eight years old – amazing! He grew up on the streets of Shadowshore and took up with a street gang – apparently affiliated with that group that accosted me today, which is why he was able to order them away. Over the years he has kept tabs on his family, including his younger brother who was born shortly after he left. This brother grew up to be a guard in the Cudgel District and Adameus is very proud of him (He didn’t actually say so, but I could tell). He is looking for an opportunity to get to know his brother, but being arrested by him seems to be the only likely way their paths will ever cross.

I had an idea (for Idae! That’s funny.) I asked if he would help me with my problem pertaining to Soller Vark and gaining access to my family funds. He agreed. I then told him that I would send an invitation to Viselys and ask for his aid, as well. If asked, I will say he was recommended by reputation – he is a guard of the Cudgel, after all. I will send out identical requests to several others – I will need a well-rounded team, after all. Perhaps the Ravens have some suggestions.

The Jade Ravens, for their part, I am sending to Cauldron to seek the aid of my uncle and aunt. I’d prefer to resolve these matters on my own, but I must peruse all avenues.

  • * * * *

Kaskus was able to recommend an elder dwarf named Ornrik. Apparently, Ornrik practices both arcane and divine magic, which should be a great help. I have also heard of Saris Van Sky, the youngest son of Malthis Van Sky, and heir to the Van Sky Whaling and Mercantile Cartel, a small noble family business in Sassarine. Not only would he bring a bit of nobility to the party, but he has some harbor district connections and sailing experience. Kora is delivering the invitations today for dinner tonight.

Although he has confided in me that his name is Adameus, I am trying to remember to call him by his nom de'voyage. Whatever I call him, though, I have to admit that I like him. He does remind me of my lost friend from school. It is because of her that I can see this man for the kind and friendly person he is an not just a common rogue. I find I like him, and though we come from such different backgrounds, there always seems to be something for us to talk about.

(Pages torn out)

The Nixie is beached and most of my crew are dead. Only a few of us have survived. There’s no way of knowing if the Wyvern will see us – it is far more likely they are already heading south towards Farshore. I will set off on foot with the survivors in the hopes of meeting up with them there.

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