The Journal of Ignatius is a journal kept by Sir Ignatius Mcgillavry, a Gilnean hunter. He wrote several entries that are now in the possession of Ferenold Stormshend, whom is contemplating publishing them.
((All credit to the following writing goes to the player of Ignatius))
"If ever you have happened on a grove set close with ancient trees grown beyond the common height, the pleaching of their branches one upon the other screening out sight of the sky, that loftiness of forest and solitude of place and sence of wonder at so dense and undisturbed a shade out in the open, will convince you of the presence of a god." Seneca the Elder, Epistolae moreles ad Lucilium, Translated from the Latin by Sonya Taaffe
*What follows are the initial entries in the first journal of Ignatius MacGillavry, as evidenced by the barely legible name on the inside cover followed by the numerals zero and one. The volume is of cheap make, the parchment thin and brittle and water-damaged in more than a few parts. It has clearly been rebound at some point, but the work was poorly done, likely the hand of someone with little knowledge of book biding. The writing begins very crude, much like a child's hand, or one who has had to relearn their letters from memory alone, but quickly improves to a level that is considerably easier for one to read.*
I have lost track of the days it's been.
The days since that vile mixture was forced on me.
The days since my brother tried to shoot me and missed.
The days since I crossed the threshold of home that final time.
The days since Ginny was laid to rest under the shade of the ash and yew.
I don't know why I'm even writing it down, as if I could forgot. So much of it burned into my mind, and even so I'd only have to go so far as to look at the any of the others gathered in the space to see it all in their faces.
But I was given this journal and pencil and have little other use of them, or little else that I am interested with anyway. It gives me something more to do than sitting here in the dark, listening to everything and trying to keep the darkness in my mind from gaining too much ground.
Right, I was talking about the days that have past, about how many it'd been, I can't remember and that bothers me. I want to know how many days have past but I can't recall the number of sunrises and sunsets. Ardan would know, but he's been gone for a day, or is it two? I think it's two, but I'm not sure again. Why they'd trust Ardan with a rifle, my rifle, is beyond me. He's a terrible shot, twelve yards away and he still manages to barely graze my arm. I still don't know if I should be happy about that.
I do know I'm mad about being hit in the arm, he could at least have had the decency to miss completely. _________
Ardan came back sometime this morning, during one of the rare hours I was able to bring myself to sleep. I considered asking him how many days had passed but I couldn't bring myself to speak aloud. To struggle with the formation of words in a mouth all wrong, to hear the sound that was still so foreign to my ears.
Instead I filled my day with the simple work others would trust me with. The daylight hours seem to pass by easier, so long as I keep my head down and try not to notice the hands that were not mine. The work helped to quite the noise in my head, to keep out the darker thoughts and desires.
Sometimes others even talk to me, but the words are rarely kind. Sometimes I wonder if it's just because they know by now that I won't talk back, so it's easier to say what they're really thinking. I'd ask the others that are like me but again that would mean speaking. ______
I scared a small boy this morning. Of course I didn't mean to, but I forget how frightening I look now. I should know better, I've caught glimpses in mirrors and pools of water, but I forget. I seem to forget a lot of things these days.
Ardan caught the scene and started quite the fight with me over it, thinking on it more I can't recall a worse fight between us to be honest. I think that fight we had when I decked him over Ellie was conducted with more civility than what took place this morning. He'd been very nice to me, especially considering what happened to Sarah, and my own horrible role in her passing. But that simple misstep with the boy, some movement made to quick, or partial smile that looks far worse in this new form of mine, set Ardan off.
I don't remember all that was said. I mostly remember the anger, both his and my own. I know I spoke at some point, but I more remember the taste of copper in my mouth because I had bitten my tongue unintentionally trying to form the words, than what it was I said. It was something foolish I think, something just to nettle him more than likely. It was a mistake, I knew it was a mistake even as I did it but I couldn't stop myself. I couldn't keep my anger in check, and the taste of my own blood in my mouth made me long for more. And I knew I could move faster. Faster than those that watched on the periphery. Faster than the two others like me loading one of the nearby carriages. Faster than Ardan. Fast enough to have him down and dead before they could stop it, and for several moments that's all that mattered to me. The only thing that filled my thoughts.
But he struck first, my side filled with sharp pain from where Ardan's cane had landed it's blow.
I nearly did it. I nearly lunged. I nearly followed through with everything the darkness filling my mind wanted from me. But instead I hesitated. I'd love to tell my self that it was control that stopped me, some over ridding goodness inside this monstrous hull that stayed my hand and save my brother.
But it wasn't.
It was the loud crack as some carless human moving in the woods stepped on a brittle branch. The sound filled my head and instinct told me to freeze. But the pause was enough. It was enough to get me to stop, and I guess that what matters. At least that's what I've spent the day trying to reassure myself with. That it's somehow okay because I did not follow through with the act.
I watched dumbly as two men grabbed Ardan and started to pull him away. Even as bad as I know his left side is he put up a hell of a fight and I don't think those men realized what they'd gotten themselves into. He broke free moving faster than I even I thought him able towards me, his cane pressed lightly into my chest as he said "you are no brother of mine, you monster." And I knew from the look in his eyes he meant every word.
We've arrived in the Blackwald.
I wasn't even aware that this was any sort of destination for us until we arrived. Though maybe something was said at some point, I don't remember. I keep forgetting things, I know this. But after the fight with Ardan I've been finding less and less desire to remember things. He's still not speaking to me, by the way. Not that I expected him to say anything, not that I expected any sort of kind, touching resolution for us. Not that I think I even deserve forgiveness from him, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the few days before that fight. Even if it was just pretending.
But enough on the things that I cannot change, instead the Blackwald. I don't think I've ever been this far south before, but I'm not the best as directions so maybe I'm wrong there. Well, that's not entirely true. I'm very good at finding cardinal directions even without a compass, I am considerably less skilled at matching up what I see with maps. I think maybe that was more my point. Ginny used to tease me for that, she said I was the only man she'd ever met that got more lost with a map than without one. I'd almost forgotten that, and that hurts more than I have words for right now.
I think she'd have liked it here, in these woods I mean, they are very calming. How I never knew of them before puzzles me, my world seems to have expanded a good deal recently. I wish it had not come at such a price. But it better if I don't focus too much on all that right now, back to the woods.
The trees here are beautiful and ancient, even in the dark of night. The noise in my head from my new, unwanted form is less here, instead replaced with the sounds of the forest. I've heard that sound before, the faint melody almost like a song behind things. I do not recall how long I sat there listening to that song, letting the gentle melody fill me. It had to be some time, seeing as I write this I can see the starting of the predawn light through the trees. I am told that there is a tree deep in these woods that those of us under the Curse are to venture to, I do not know what it holds for me. I only know that this is the first time I have felt even a brief moment of peace, and for once the day does not seem quite as dark. _________
I do not recall much of the ritual, there were words spoken but I was not very focused on them. They blended in far to well with the song of this place. It was similar to that melody I had heard in the forest the night before, but it was also different. It was in many ways it's own song, it felt like a very old song. Almost as though the song willed this place to be, but that didn't seem quite right. Maybe they were one in the same, linked together in some way I could not understand.
I remember the waters that I was to drink. They were cool and clear, a hint of mint and bitterness in the aftertaste. The feeling of calm and a sort of peace that filled my mind as I drank, like the feeling in the forest but infinitely more. The noise in my head cleared, and I could hear nothing but the song of this place for some time after. The feeling wained after a time, I cannot say just how long, but I could feel it slipping from me some. Not fully mind you, but enough that I was painfully aware of it's absence. The hollow feeling in my chest severing as a reminder of what was.
While I have not been cleansed of the Curse, I am able to walk as myself again. It is hard to hold the form, my form, but I am able to do so for a time. For a time I can walk as Ignatius again. With the correct hands and feet and eyes and teeth. It is taxing on me, holding that form, but it is the first time that I've been able to see a true future for myself. That maybe the next dawn at least held something for me, even if it was not much.
I lingered for some time in this place, past the setting of the sun. I still did not speak, even when I was myself again. I still could not bring myself to speak. It did not seem the proper thing to do in this place. The feeling like my voice would somehow interrupt the song of this place, would some how detract from the sacredness of this space.
At some point I made my way back to where the others were, to where I knew Ardan was. I could feel the weight of exhaustion filling me, for once since I was pulled from the black of the Curse I did not feel the fear of what sleep held. As so I walked as Ignatius towards that goal of sleep.
Ardan was sitting on the rock wall surrounding the building used for sleeping, the gentle glowing of ember framing his face in the darkness from the pipe he was smoking. He looked at me for some time before he spoke, the smoke surrounding his face as he said, "I still know what you are, monster,"
I could only bring myself to nod at him, I knew him to be right.