Letters from Pyre, from the Phoenix known as “Ink.”
I have been chided by the other Shrouded for not keeping as accurate a written account of my adventures in the field as I should. While I often find it hard to commit words to parchment, I am not shirking my duty as a chronicler. The Talon that has been bestowed to me whispers to me. It tells me its name is Dreamshadow, and that it writes the words I think whether I know it or not. It says we shall become quite close before my flame burns out for good. An ominous statement, yet one that intrigues me.
All this said, I find that I have the most time to chronicle what has befallen my comrades and me when I have freshly returned to Pyre, be it by ship or by Imperial Flame after another trial in The Crucible.
This message comes, unfortunately, after an experience with the latter.
After successfully defending our refugee brethren from a vicious outbreak of The Chant and returning the colony ship to its rightful owners, my wingmate Beans and I caught wind of an infestation of Bones just off the coast of Ilona. We discussed it with the other members of The Reborn, and it was determined that my plucky comrade and I were more than capable to dispatch the servants of The Dread, and we took a small boat out to the coast. A signal would be sent to inform them of our mission’s outcome: a bright blue flare for success, a red one for failure.
We were, perhaps, a bit more confident in our abilities than was warranted.
I shan’t bore the reader with all the minutiae of our encounter, but suffice to say: it was harrowing. A small village had been overrun by the undead and we were significantly outnumbered. Beans waded deep in to the fray with her unique martial art style I believe she calls “carrady,” while I weaved a powerful web of words to keep them at bay as best I could. Their greater numbers overwhelmed me as I defended a number of villagers, and as I felt my embers smolder, I loosed the Red flare. I only hope Beans made it back to Pyre unscathed.
I found myself again in the ancient repository with the infinitely high ceilings and oil lamps. The elusive keeper of the texts seemed to guide me in a direction towards a book of fables that told the tale of a mundane scholar who uncovered a dark secret that consumed him, and he eventually faded from our world to BECOME the secret he sought. The irony was not lost on me, as another flicker form my former life came to me: ancient feuds had never been resolved in Ilona, and the repercussions played havoc in ways most citizens were unaware. The details continue to escape me, and I only hope that my death was not in vain.
When again I emerged from the Imperial Flame, I found that my physical body had become almost entirely translucent; a living ghost. The words that swim across the fabric of my cloak glint with a golden light before fading in to darkness, and Dreamshadow tells me to be unafraid. I shall try to head its words.
Dear reader, I hope that my next dispatch finds me abroad, and that my next passing through the flame is quite some time coming.
I make no promises, however. Such is the life of a Phoenix.
May you reach your destination swiftly and safely, and may The Dread leave you be.