A diary entry written by Willow about her bizarre experiences.
(Airship) (Gallis) (Nordika) (Willow) (Writings)
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I scruddy well don't know why I'm writing this, maybe because I know I can't talk to anyone. Not that it would help if I could. Maybe it's just because I'm supremely bored and so far the only thing that the aspirin's managed to numb is my hands and my eyes. I'd take more, butit might just make things worse. I really wish I knew what that black powder was doing to me…

Misty told me that Test is back. Normally I would have tried my hardest to pretend to be surprised, but my head was screaming a bit too much. Hopefully she thought to blame my lack of shock on my hangover. I don't normally get drunk like that, and I rarely mix pills with liquor… but I just felt so helpless. So responsible for Testy getting caught. Burr sitting there looking at me like a hurt puppy and saying I could sock him didn't help.

Was I feeling suicidal? I don't think I was… just indifferent. I didn't care. Or maybe I was desperate and just too tired to notice. At that point I figured I couldn't leave the ship with the Marquis' guards looking for me, and I knew I couldn't take on his army to rescue Testy, so I just wanted to konk out and forget for a while. I was afraid that the more I thought about it the more I'd get upset… and maybe after a while I would have done something stupid like trashing my cabin or hurting someone like Misty or Thorn. I would have just felt worse later, I know it. Better that I just sleep with my regrets than make new ones.

Feh, that sounds really pathetic when I re-read it. Next time, Willow, don't write in ink.

I got to meet Tyrne again. He didn't scare me this time, goodness knows why. Well, no… that's not quite right. He did scare me, just not in the same way that he did before. When I first met him I think he was trying to scare me, to intimidate me. Now he seems like a new person,like some of the nobles who used to visit my tent back in Rephidim just to see how we lived. Usually it was the young ones who hadn't quite grasped their station in life, but sometimes the older ones would come hoping to pick up on a trick or two. I remember one old fellow who came to ask me a few questions about arthritis cures. I think he was just lonely, but I remember when I was mixing some powders up, he walked right up to me and stuck his head over my shoulder to see what I was doing. He didn't seem disgusted to be so close to a rat. It impressed me a bit, but confused me at the same time.

But no, Tyrne isn't quite like that. He seems more like the type who wants to get a bottle of poison from me sometime by making nicey-nice with me. Just he also knows the rules of this game and how to play them. If he threatened me I'd scream at him right back and might start flinging knives at him, as futile as that would be. If he buttered me up, I'd know he was up to something, and if he promised me riches and power I'd laugh in the guy's face… with skills like he has, he probably doesn't need to bribe anyone. Bribery is a desperation card, or something folks play when they're too lazy to try anything else.

I think Tyrne knows more about me than he's letting on. Folks are too quick to assume that when people tell you something, then it's the truth automatically. I can't help but think that Tyrne does have plans for me, just that he'd prefer to find a way to present them to me in a way that's meant to be appealing, and therefore wants to get to know me better so he can figure out exactly how to present it. The fact that I'm an 'oddity' surely has something to do with it, I just need to keep my ears pricked and hope to find out how. Two can play the nicey-nice game after all.

Still, I'll have to grant him that he was pleasant for the most part. He was a bit too close for my tastes, but also knew exactly how close he could get before he was pushing it. Walking with my arm, kissing my hand, referring to our gatherings as 'dinner dates' – maybe he's just learned how to woo the ladies. It's a shame that I'm no lady. It does further make me wonder what his intentions are, though. I wonder if he's hoping to take on a rat bride when he 'returns' to Sinai. Maybe I'm just flattering myself… Me, someone's wife. Ick.

That does bring me to one of the reasons why I don't trust Tyrne and probably never will. He sounds too scruddy much like Weatherwax. "You're more alive than everyone else, you're better." It's just too much like what he told me, and eventually I found out that all the compliments and encouragement were for his own means. I'm guilty of that too, but at least I'll confess to it. Maybe I'm seeing things that aren't true, maybe I'm not. Better to be the cynic and be wrong, than be wrong as the optimist.

Mention of Testy's 'Star' made him nervous. He wanted to kill everyone in the courtroom that had heard his signing. When I convinced him to do otherwise, he seemed to want to just take out a few people in there as a diversion. I'm sure he thinks I suggested otherwise for the same reason that I didn't want everyone killed – but the truth of the matter is that I had the extremely strong feeling that the folks who were probably going to end up getting skewered were the fellows that were actually listening to the priest, the ones he might have made a glimmer of an impression on. I'd like to see how it all eventually plays out. Testy himself said that you could make things better by sowing a few seeds. I wonder if he's right.

I wish I could say I believed in his Star, but I can't. It's too simple, too unrealistic. For example, it's wrong to lie. But I look at just some of the things I did recently… I fibbed to Pierre about that shirt and those bottles of perfume, and it's probably those lies that will keep me and Testy from looking for a new ship to work on. I lied to Suprier le Chien about what I was… I know I'm no mud wallowing vermin, but I pretended to be because if I'd done otherwise none of us would have left that warehouse alive. Sometimes lies are a necessity. And hurting folks, Weatherwax deserved what he got… and I don't regret killing him one little bit. I don't think that does much for my credibility to the Star. I could never be like Testament-Blaze…

I don't think I could live a life that required me to tell the bold-faced truth all the time, or one that meant I couldn't fight back when someone was going after something I cared about or was going after me. I'm too much of a fighter… or maybe I'm just too far gone.

If only I could see something. How can this Star manipulate people and rescue lives without showing itself to anybody? I can point to any bloody thing and claim it was the Star's work, really. If it's powerful enough to supposedly defeat Dagh, then why can't it give a rat a little bit of proof?

Testy says I'm kind. I wish I could believe him, but every time I look in myself I see garbage and fire. If I'm so kind then why am I so angry inside? I can feel it all the time… I hate my parents, I hate Himar, I hate Weatherwax and everyone like him, I hate Necropolis… the list could go on and on and I can't let go of any of it. I'm a filthy, stinking, garbage sucking rat. Some may call that a low opinion of myself… I call it a realistic one. It's thinking you're better than folks that gets you into trouble.

Not that I mind being a rat… I'd think that being a Cervani or a Rhian would be hard on my feet with those hooves, plus I'm rather fond of meat in my meals. Khattas are too noisy and yowl and claw at things. Gallisians and Jupani nose around things too much, not to mention all that barking and howling. Vartans have that awful shiny obsession, Korvs are a little too breakable, and I wouldn't dare wish to be an Eeee… good hearing and flight just isn't worth flinching at every noise and popping in half if someone nudges you. When you're a rat, nobody has high expectations of you, maybe not even Dagh himself.

But there's times when I wonder if I was meant to be someone else… someTHING else. Why is it that I can't just close my eyes and sit back and focus on being a hedonistic little slug like Whitehead and every other Skreek on Sinai?

It's because I'd feel guilty, that's why. I'd feel guilty if Morning-Mist were dead, if I'd let that Titanian beat the snot out of Burr, if I'd let that puppy get run over, if Testament-Blaze were dead. Not entirely because it was my fault, but because I could have done something and didn't. I think that it's because they're all fairly innocent… not like me. I don't think I was ever innocent, or it was just taken from me so early that I can't remember it. So I relive it through other people instead. I don't want what happened to me to happen to other people, not even Burr.

Burr. Hmm… that reminds me. I think he's the only person I can trust with telling about everything that's happened. I'm not sure how the priest would react to knowing that I made a deal with Dagh to free him, but Burr and I go back a ways. As clumsy and clueless as he is, he's still loyal and trustworthy. I'll feel a bit better having another set of eyes watching out for me.

I want to keep Misty out of all this Dagh business. She deserves a nice life. Maybe if we ever stop in port in Rephidim, she could find a job at a nice pub in the Scholars' Quarter and settle down. She reminds me of what I wanted to be as a pup… I want her to be happy and safe. I feel like an old mother hen confessing this, but I'd die in an instant to protect her. I don't want her to get hurt, and I don't want her to ever live her life as being someone's kick-toy again like in Bakanal. She'snot a rat and shouldn't have to ever be treated like one.

As for the priest, my hands will probably be full with him for a bit. With all the people that got hurt or killed in Gallis, I'm going to be kept busy for awhile. I'll send Burr to help handle the labor of the folks that can't do it or aren't there anymore, and Testy can be my new assistant. Maybe if some of the crew get healed by his hands they won't be so hard on him. I can talk him through it. If I can talk Burr through it, I can talk anyone through it. See? There's a method to my madness too.

But in the long run, I think I need to convince Testy to go home. If he gets hurt anymore he'll kill himself. He needs time to recover and strengthen himself. Not even the best doctor on Sinai can help him if he keeps up like he's been. His Star can't be here on Sinai. Maybe it was once but it gave up on us all. I know I would.

Well, I hear Burr coming with the food. I think I'll need to have a talk with him in a bit while I'm burning some papers. I know I'm going to freak him out, but we'll see how it goes from there. Here's hoping…

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GMed by Zoltan

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