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Balthasar: The Journey North
Reunited, or perhaps not. Physically, we are all together again, but I cannot help but feel that the Battle of Sanctuary and the sacrifices made changed us all. In the past this separation of minds would have bothered me to no end, but, now, it feels almost like I am the audience and not the actor. Perhaps it is because of what I have become, or perhaps just being with Lyari is enough for me. Whatever the case, I am grateful for my ability to ignore the awkwardness that the rest seem to feel as we sail up the coast.

Having not talked to Tristan since we left his family's estate, before the Battle of Sanctuary, it was a bit of a surprise to see him in his current state. I had always considered him a rather bold man, of stern conviction for whatever the coarse he had decided to follow. Seeming him, like he is now, reminds me of my former self; angry, hurt, lost, and most of all, alone. Perhaps in the coming months I can share the solace that I have attained with him. Of coarse that all assumes he doesn't do something stupid before then...

As for Titus, I just do not know. Our relationship has always been complicated, and I have only furthered this in the last year. While he said that he forgave me for killing his father, I cannot help but feel that there is still a rift between us. If nothing else I would think that he would be grateful for all the help he can get, but it feels more like he thinks of me as a burden then an aid. The man has always been one to take the weight of the world onto his shoulders.

Another of my companions, Gaelen, also seems to be keeping his distance, though unlike Titus, we have never been close. I believe that he has seen me as in affront to his care-free ways. Perhaps if we had met under different circumstances we would have got on better.

Whatever the reason, I feel that he is keeping a very close eye on me, though I do not particularly care, as I have nothing left to hide. I am a changed man, but that does not mean that I apologize for who and what I was in the past. This is not because of my pride, but my acceptance of who I am. I am Balthasar; I am her Herald. I have prostrated myself before the Goddess of fate and been given the sacred mission of being an instrument of her will in this world.

Another companion that seems to not be able to decide what he thinks of me is Garr. In the past we have never exchanged cross words to my memory, but we are not the same men we once were. We are alike and yet not in so many ways; we are both men who use our prowess to fight for what we believe in, but often our motivations differ. Touching the primal energies during our battle with Rathamon I think I have had at least a glimpse of the world in which Garr walks, and so perhaps I can understand his stand-offish attitude towards me now. Hopefully, I can show him that I am not an impassioned killer I was before, but that I follow the path of equality and finality that is the fate of all living things. It is here that I believe our way of life match, seeing as we are both men of humble origins, yet at the same time we are both destined for things that we could have never imagined in our youth.

As for me, I can honestly say I have rarely been so happy as I am now. In the past these moments of contentment have always been shattered by tragedy, but I now understand my place in the great wheel of time and destiny. This insight has granted me a peace of which I have never known before. I still have a long way to go in becoming someone who is of unapproachable character as the Herald, but I cannot think of anyone else I would rather be with then my five current companions. From each I feel that I can learn something important.

My only worry is that in bringing Lyari with me, I have put her in unnecessary danger and hardship. While I have never traveled to the north, from what Garr tells me of it, it is a land barely hospitable to men, much less to a blind woman. Since I met her, I have instinctively known that she holds a truly difficult fate, in some ways mirroring my own. Then again, she is the only other person I have ever met who has also been blessed by the Raven Queen, so perhaps I worry needlessly. Either way, during this journey in the north, I must insure that she does not come to harm, for she is meant for great things. Even putting that aside, she is my dearest friend, someone who understands me on a level I did not believe possible, and yet despite what she knows of me (which I am convinced is more then I know of myself, given her blessings) she did not shrink away, but embraced me for what I am. It is one thing to accept one's fate, but it is another entirely for another to do so with you.
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Go forth and conquer in my name.
"Again the Lord said to me,'A conspiracy exists among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers. Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them."

* * *

"Will the guests be involved with the Ghost Cartels?" Bob was curious to see how this web of intrigue was constructed.
"Some," responded Lao, "Many more will be high level corporate execs that don't have any connection."

* * *

"Are you sure I can make it?"
Bob secured his axe across his back with its nylon strap and took a running leap into the elevator shaft. He found footing and began to shimmy between two concrete supports until he was on top of the the elevator at the twelfth floor.
Bob kicked in an emergency hatch, readied his axe, and dropped through the opening. Raising his axe, he prepared to decapitate the figure in front of him, which, Bob realized in time, was his troll teammate. Before he could explain himself he put the axe into a combat drone whose gun was trained on the now occupied center of the elevator. The drone promptly collapsed before the blow.
"You know, these games teach you to be racist."
"What in the hell are you talking about, Newhart!?" screamed Nicodemus. Bob was already moving past the drone to a door in front of him.
"As a matter of fact, yes, trolls are dumber than human beings." Newhart was still on the subject as he was entering the next room. "It's scientifically proven."
"I'll fucking kill you, pig!" shouted Mucha. He had a good mind to open Bob's skull with an icepick when this was done.
"What," said Newhart, raising his axe,"no, no. I didn't mean that in the game. I wanted to be your friend-" The axe landed squarely on the shoulder of a well dressed man with a clean cut appearance. Blood sprayed on the walls. The gun the man held dropped to the floor. "-with all the art and stuff."

* * *

Bob's commlink buzzed.
"Alright, let's get Iris and get the hell out of here."
"Iris needs medical attention," his commlink buzzed again.
In the darkness, Bob saw the signature of scared souls in the corner of the room. The figures were positively mute so as to avoid detection, but the axe found them. Shrieks rang out as if the penthouse were an abattoir and subsided just as suddenly. Only dull thuds. Then a victory cry.
"I PROCLAIM THE LINE OF JUDAH!" At least 75dB, perhaps more.

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OOC- Downtime and explanations
What the hell is the matter with Bob?:

For those who cared to ask, Bob saw God when he blacked out after the injection. God told Bob not to sweat the maglev train thing, and that he'll let Bob know what to do in future events. Bob is God's prophet on earth.

Hopefully, nobody minded last night's carnage too much. If you did, I, as a player, extend a sincere apology. Should Newhart be killed by a teammate, hopefully we'll all be friends in the end. ;-)

As for downtime, I'm going to need a fake SIN. I'll be calling up The Swede for that. If anyone else would like one, put in an order. It's on me.

Also, I think this would be a good time to get the van armored.
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XP and Character Updates
Hi Folks,

I added XP for your last battle with the trolls and worgs. If you haven't already, please send me an email or private message with your XP Award nominations.

Also, please update your characters on Epic Words. For example, all of you are at least level 7. I have no ability to edit your characters.

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