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Partial Victory

We had three objectives at the road block, and we achieved two of them. The road is destroyed– trade to Psarios will be slowed until the bridge is rebuilt, and Erathis’ agents will need to find another choke point to hinder our efforts.

Also, the Vicar of Psarios is dead, leaving a power vacuum into which the more gentle Deacon White might ascend. That’s for the best– from Firiel’s debriefing, the deacon is foolish, but well meaning, and most likely had no knowledge of the happenings in Ilyria.

Firiel was instrumental to the plan, and she was perhaps the most wounded by its execution. I have no idea how she managed to douse the flame. I saw pieces of the bridge continue to burn after falling into the river and sinking below the surface. I am grateful that she did, however. I gave her the night off from her duties, but I know she spent the evening mending. Her hands are never idle, that one. I need to look for opportunities for her to learn craft skills and gain materials needed for working them. She will surprise us all, I think, with her creativity and industriousness.

The only part of our plan that did not succeed was the unexpected inclusion of a cleric wearing a red dragon symbol on his armor. Tris tells me this means he’s a worshipper of Tiamat, though I cannot understand how such a person and the Erathins might be working together. Still, it makes sense if one accepts the possibility that Erathis’ church is not conforming to their teachings.

The cleric of Tiamat and a few others escaped the destruction at the road block, which means we failed to keep confirmation of our presence out of the official record. Tris has taken the loss rather harder than the rest of us. I am not sure, since he hasn’t spoken up, but I think he may be at odds with his god over this particular turn of events. In any case, he has a kind of focus I haven’t seen before.

Ordune wants to go into the swamps, and soon. I agree with him on that– it’s time to move against the patrol there, as quickly as we can, before more reinforcements come for them.

The fight at the road block was hard for me. It was a good plan, but it hurt to know we were going to hinder innocent lives in so doing. The theft of the ore was unfortunate, but unavoidable. I’m still not entirely sure what Emilien’s staging of the poor dwarf merchant was, but… I will go with it, if I must. It was unseemly, but I have to remember that this is the part of being an army that I have shielded myself from. My rank and my captains did an excellent job of protecting me from the more ribald of our soldiers, for which I am grateful. It is too hard to think of those kinds of pleasures and desires when my boots are caked with mud and my arrows are still embedded in our enemies’ bodies.

In that bedroom, with Emilien so quickly turning a simple heist into a boudoir of shame, I realized that I have become two people. Lieutenant Gwenn Jade of the Harriers, the tough but fair woman who leads her tiny army against overwhelming odds. And Lady Gwenneffylasse Jader, the clever, but sheltered heiress of House Jader. Lady Jader reads romances and dreams of good looking princes and fancy dress parties with other girls her age. Her naivete is charming, if perhaps a little bit feigned. Lieutenant Gwenn reads maps and thinks up plans for soaking the countryside in the blood of holy men with dark and terrible hearts. She has no time to daydream about a warm bed and a soldier’s arms around her.

To win this, I will need to be both. Captain and Lady, both hard and soft. I don’t know if I can do it. It’s easier to keep them separate, to keep the Lady in my past, to let her dreams go. It is easier to be the Lieutenant, in this time, in this place, with these people. But there will come a time and a place when the Lady will be needed, and to return to her, I must keep some part of her purity.

Though they don’t know it, the Lady is the one I turn to when one of my crew is hurt. She’s the one with bandages at the ready, and there is mercy in her heart. She’s the one who carefully maneuvers to avoid harming bystanders and conscripts of the church. Our house motto is Mercy Tempers Justice Tempers Mercy. If Lady Jader is mercy, Lieutenant Gwenn brings justice.

Starting with Tris’ target. Do not worry, friend. I may not entirely understand your bond to your god, but it does not matter. If this is a path you must pursue, we will pursue it, together. We must be able to meet the needs of every soldier in my command, no matter how small or large. If one of us is broken, we are all broken. If one is strong, we are all strengthened.

This is a journal entry from Lt. Gwenn Jade, my D&D character in my Tuesday night game. For your convenience, all of these campaign journal entries are tagged with #movingforward.

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