Iona

Iona – 01 Kalenial 1035

So… There have been a few… alterations to my current living conditions.

I suppose I should begin with mentioning that I am no longer employed by the Shit-Eating Brant and Wyne’s Criminal Paperwork Emporium. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise. But far be it from me to complain. I was more likely to end up in prison by continuing to work there than anything else. (Granted, the Guard would have to be invested in actually upholding the law for that to happen, but the sentiment still stands.) The point is that, on the Turnyear no less, I was quite rudely informed that my employment was being, and I quote, “suspended indefinitely” and that I would need to find alternative lodgings immediately. I don’t have all that many possessions, so that wasn’t really the issue, but it is the principle of the matter. Needless to say, that was not how I had intended to spend my Turnyear.

Now, I didn’t abandon my squirely (squirly? squirelly?) duties. It’s strange to think this is the first Turnyear since Mylar… passed. After I gathered up my things, I headed to Clearfont where several kind passersby directed me to the Cemetery. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I’m not sure anything was going to prepare me for it. Mylar had told me once that the Cemetery was in many ways its own city within Rimbar, a massive chunk of the city set aside to give a home to the dead. Back in Khite, we had a cemetery, sure, but it was far outside of town, a little run down in some areas. I remember feeling uneasy every time we would go there to clean the graves and lay out offerings. But here… The Cemetery sits on the northern side of the massive hill Rimbar is built upon, so that even in the winter, it’s flooded with light. The entire area is tiered with stone pathways and retaining walls, stairways leading up and down. Each level contains graves in all sorts of styles: tall pillar-graves, Sirraci sarcophagi, family mausoleums… anything you could think of, it’s there, all stacked together like a slice of the Underworld itself. There were thousands of people there as well, visiting the burial spots of family and friends, paying their respects. Around the center of the entire area, there’s a massive outcropping, carved directly from the hill itself, which straddles several tiers. This outcropping is hollowed out, and inside, there’s a simple pillar-grave. That was my destination, the so-called “Unmarked Grave” where anyone who wishes to pay respects to the dead who passed on without burial or died far from home. It… felt strange, to lay out my offering of sweetbuns there. I know that somewhere in that labyrinth of graves, Mylar has a family tomb, but… hell, I wouldn’t even know where to look. Anyway, he died far from home and, well, as far as I know, he was never buried…

I still feel that same, crippling guilt as I did back then. Nothing’s changed, nothing’s gotten better. I… maybe I should have set out offerings for my family, I just… Mylar was the first person who accepted me for who I am, took me in, actually gave a damn. And I did nothing for him. He’s dead because I couldn’t do my duty. It hurts, to know that I’ve lost everything because of my own weaknesses.

Okay, this is not going to help anything.

So, I paid my respects and then, as anyone with half a brain and feeling pissed as hell might do, found myself a bar and proceeded to get wasted.

Despite the food shortage, it actually wasn’t that hard to find a place to drown my sorrows. Found a backstreet little place down in the Hollows where no one was likely to give me a second glance and settled in for the long haul. Barkeep was nice. Quiet guy, but he kept the drinks coming. Now, I’m not proud of the type of drunk I am, but in all honesty, they started it.

There I was, minding my own business, when a little gang of thugish guys, clearly in their cups, decided to take offence at my occupying a stool at the bar… or something like that. Point is, they knocked over a perfectly good pint of ale and ruined a perfectly good pair of pants. So, as any rightfully displeased bar patron would, I punched the motherfucker in the nose. Now, I never claimed to be a smart man (well, unless it was in front of Mylar…), but in my drunken rage I may have slightly misjudged the situation. I am, after all, not the largest of individuals, though, to my credit, the old army training did serve me well despite the alcoholic stupor. And, for awhile, I was holding my own pretty well. But as all things do, my luck came to an end and the brutes managed to knock me a few good ones. The situation was looking dire, but who should appear but a rather annoyed and mildly inebriated fellow bar patron! Turns out, said patron packs one hell of a punch and is not afraid to go for a cheap shot. Between the two of us, the thugs were laid out cold and the barkeep forked over a pair of free drinks. Seemed like he knew this lady, all the better for me.

So, we sat down to talking. There’s nothing like a bit of ale and a friendly ear to encourage the chattering. Told her about the war, Rimbar, the lack of employment, and generally how fucking unlucky I am. She seemed to find that amusing and offered a place to rest my head until I found other arrangements.

Now that I’ve got a clear head, I realize how potentially dangerous accepting invitations from random strangers in bars. That said, things have worked out alright. Seems that Daria (the kindly lady from the bar) is a nice enough person, former Guard, who’s just trying to get by and keep out of trouble. We talked over breakfast in the bar downstairs (found out the barkeep’s name is Kar) and came to the agreement that I can use the spare room if I help out with the random jobs she does for the people in the neighborhood. Honestly, I’d take anything over what I had been doing, and… there’s something familiar about the Hollows. Something that reminds me of home.

Well, I suppose we’ll just have to see how things work out.

– Iona

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