Aataltaal III : Journal of Aataltaal


Final Entry—

It is with heavy heart on this long night that I write what I know to be my last entry here. I have deliberated on this issue, and always I come to the same conclusion. These are a brave people in Landing — noble, able, determined. Yet as long as I stay, they shall defer to me out of respect for what I have done in these early years. I would simply pass on the rulership to another, but any whom I favor shall be treated with the same thoughtless deference, and these people must have a ruler they have chosen from among themselves. For this to happen, I must be gone entirely, beyond any hope of their finding me.

Of course, in a matter of hours the question may be moot. An army of the Deathfist unlike any I have seen marches toward our walls, and at this moment a band of accursed Teir’Dal assassins positions itself beneath our feet. I am confident, with the warning I have received from these strange scientists of the arcane, that I have plotted a course through these troubles. But my sense that the city and its people shall endure is no guarantee that I myself shall live through this night. The paladins of Marr have sworn to lay down their lives to protect mine, but a stray blade or spell of death may always find me. Still, I must be the bait, and only a complete victory over the Teir’Dal allows my remaining forces to reinforce the walls and defeat the Deathfist.

After that, the city is safe. Difficult years may lie ahead, but these people deserve a chance to plot their own destinies. I cannot in good conscience bring the entire city along on the dread road I must travel. Lady Delailith shall return to Landing should it require help, but my heart tells me that she will never need to do so. A finer people I have not known on Norrath, and I love them enough to set them free of my shadow.

Tonight, even if he sees the end of it, Aataltaal dies to the mortal world. At least until such a time as events may require me to reveal myself again.

By Mine Own Hand,

Aataltaal

———-

An addendum:

The deed is done, the Teir’Dal smashed, the Deathfist lay in ruins. I take this journal, along with all else that has been entrusted into my care, to depart from this free port back to my homeland a continent away. After living unfettered on this rough land, I can never again accept the policies and obligations of Felwithe. But for the same reasons Aataltaal must go, so too must I. Already they turn to me, asking his fate — and why not ask a sage to find such knowledge? Even if I can hold their questions off until they relent and remit, I foresee they will choose me to fill his place. I am too clearly associated with him, and his memory cannot fade until mine has.

Already I have removed my name from the battle-lists, burned all correspondence, and sworn my agents never to speak my name again. In one human generation, I will be a myth. In ten, I will be forgotten.

I mourn to never see the Academy built, to never again know the smell of the market and feel the warm, relentless sun on my face. But I shall find a new place in the unexplored wilds of Faydwer and there spend my last days. When my last breath gives forth, I shall be buried there, in whatever new home I have made. My agents can bring me word of Landing’s progress, and, as my master wishes, I shall return should it ever have need, Rod in hand, to aid it. Yet I have had a Moment of Truth, and have perceived that there shall be no such trouble until I am long gone, when Luclin shall be buried in Norrath.

But enough. This truly shall be the last entry into this journal, which I must take away as I remove myself.

By Mine Own Hand,

Delailith

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