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The Journal of D’Haren My life story, the true story of Erik Malson, is something I swore I would never put down on paper. Too much of a chance that it might be found by those I am trying to avoid, but Frazier says since I am starting a new life and striking out on my own, that it is a good opportunity to bring a close to my past. So here I am. What led me here to this point in my life can be summed up with one word. RETRIBUTION.

My father, Aliban, was a member of the Aysen Beaurocrats Council, which aided King Tedin when dealing with daily affairs and changes of the law. King Tedin was a good and honest ruler, trained in the art of diplomacy and affairs of state. Under his rule, Aysen was a prosperous and enjoyable city to live in. King Tedin’s brother, General Stangg, on the other hand, was an angry and cruel warrior and leader of the army of Aysen. His troops were fiercely loyal to him and believed, as he did, that he was the true commander of Aysen, not the king.

One day, Stangg finally revealed his true plan. He had contracted aid from a powerful wizard named Shuler. This wizard was able to force a metamorphosis in King Tedin, making him an unstable and violent person. He became crazed, killing his wife, children, and finally, himself. With Aysen rulerless, Stangg declared himself the new king and began his rule by relieving the Counsel of any power and removing them from the capital meeting hall. My father had been a powerful wizard himself, when he was younger, and recognized the ritual Shuler used to make King Tedin go insane. He sent word to the other council members to tell him of the treachery of Stangg, and asked for their help to remove him from power and bring him to justice. Unfortunately, some of the counsel were loyal to Stangg and told him what my father was trying to do. He then sent the wizard Shuler and a unit of his best assassins to “deal” with my father, the insurgent.

While this squad approached our tower, my father, realizing what was happening, enlisted his assistant, Baki, to escape with me. He and my mother would stay and ensure my safe escape to the countryside by fighting the assassination squad. I had always felt I was a disappointment to my father. He had wanted me to follow in his footsteps and become a powerful wizard, by I had no talent for it and I could never remember the spell words. But, as Baki was stealing me away, my father gave me the jeweled amulet from around his neck. He told me to never part with it, for not only was it a family treasure, but that it might someday bring the truth to light. He then held me for a moment, as did my mother, and then they were gone.

As Baki and I escaped, we saw the battle raging on in the distance. My father was sending powerful bolts of magic at the squad and warding off the magic of Shuler. Ultimately, Shuler hit the tower with a devastating bolt of power. The tower exploded and tumbled to the ground with my parents inside. As we left, I saw Stangg ride up to Shuler, laughing and patting him on the back, telling him “Good job,” no doubt. I swore that day that I would someday return to Aysen, find Stangg and send him to death’s cold embrace for what he did to my family, my country, my world…

Baki and I traveled far away from Aysen, riding with merchant caravans and large groups of travelers for protection. We never stayed in one place for more than a couple of days, until our arrival in Visage, a small city on the southern coast. Baki and I were on our way to the docks to book passage on a ship when we were accosted by a group of brigands demanding we hand over all of our money. Baki began to protest and they attacked us. Baki fought valiantly and killed two before finally falling to one’s sword as it was thrust clean through his chest. The remaining three began to advance on me, when suddenly they began to drop one by one, a shuriken sticking of each of their heads. From the shadows stepped a man in the darkest black clothing I have ever seen.

He introduced himself as Frazier, the leader of the Visage Rogue’s Guild. He apologized for Baki’s death. It seems these men he killed were not from Visage and were robbing people without his leave, therefore subject to death. Ignorance of the rules, it seems, is no excuse for rudeness in “his” city. He offered to take me in and teach me skills to earn a living and work for him. Considering that everyone I knew and loved were dead, I, of course, agreed.

The next five years are a bit of a blur. Training was my life. I soaked up my new profession like a sponge, learning everything I could, and quickly became one of Frazier’s most skilled and able agents. I finally began to feel I had a home again, a family. Then it happened again. I was working my usual route, as I did every day, and I saw him. Shuler. In my city. What was he doing here? How could he possibly know I was alive? I returned to Frazier and told him my story. He sent me out of the room just as he received a visitor. Shuler. He asked Frazier a series of questions about me, Baki, and his subsequent death. (I, of course, listened at the door.) When word had finally reached Aysen that Baki had died, Stangg had sent Shuler to find me and bring me home to Aysen. He said my Uncle Menges had believed I had perished in a failed and dangerous ritual that my father was attempting in our home. What a pile of horse shit! I don’t even have an uncle, the lying twit.

Anyway, Shuler said that everyone had told him to talk to Frazier, since he knows everything that goes on in Visage. Frazier told him some story, that I had been taken by the surviving brigands and sailed away with them on their ship. Shuler stood there staring at Frazier for what seemed like forever until finally, he thanked Frazier for the information and took his leave. I stayed in hiding until Shuler and his “death squad” sailed off in search of me. Frazier then gave me supplies, armor and new weapons. He told me it was time to leave and start a new life with the skills I had learned from him. He gave me my new name, D’Haren (after his son who had died from the plague shortly before he found me), and sent me off with a merchant caravan headed for a distant city. Before I left he hugged me and called me son as he bid me goodbye. I told him someday I would return, once I had killed Stangg and Shuler. He said I wasn’t ready to take on such a dangerous task. I told him I knew that, but I was learning and someday I will. Then I tossed back the belt pouch that I had swiped from him while we were hugging. He smiled and laughed as I turned to leave.

So, here I am, writing this journal of my life as he suggested, then burning it as a symbol of leaving my past life where it belongs. Dead and buried. Stangg and Shuler will pay for what they have done. This I swear. The jeweled pendent I wear has a complete record of Stangg’s treachery hidden inside. Someday I will show the people of Aysen the truth, but first I need to be better, faster, smarter, if I am going to be able to avenge my family. Erik Malson is dead. Long live D’Haren, Agent of Retribution…