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Balthasar: The Pact to Redemption
When one is willing to sacrifice their life to protect others, they are not doing it for the express purpose of earning trust, or gratitude, but one would think that given the chance it would be expressed. I all but gave up my life trying to help the people of this miserable little dot on the map and yet I received no warmer welcome then the plague. I guess the phrase, "but what have you done for me recently?" comes into play here. Meh, what do I care? We seems to have resolved things to the satisfaction of the others, or at least well enough to convince them to get back to our true goal: Byssib.

Reylos seems to be even more imposing then ever, and Gaylen appears to be a useful guide. The others seems to be healing their own wounds well, even if I can not be sure of their actual resolve. I can only hope that they will pull themselves together as we travel towards the capitol and crawl once more into the viper pit.

Reiah, if your lonely, I am about to send you lots of company.
Rathamon, I hope to see you real soon.
This will truly be an offering fit for the Raven Queen!
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Balthasar: Summon The Naga
One could say, that through out my short time in this world, my only true companion has been death. No matter where I was or what I was doing my friend was never far away. There have been times when we have grown apart, but they are few and far between. During the events of the last few years we have been neigh inseparable from each other. I have never actually liked this companion of mine, but he has been nothing but persistent in his pursuit of me.

Now, again, I find myself visiting his home to reminisce about old times. Most people would probably find the act of seeing their whole life speed by before their eyes enrapturing, but for me it is like watching droplets of water fall time and time again in a dank cell; I’ve seen it a million times before, but for lack of something better to do, my eyes are drawn to each drop as it takes its final plunge. Given this unique perspective on one’s life might inspire a man to change his ways – to find a new path that would lead him to a happiness not attained in the time preceding. For me, however, that path has already been taken, and like the back allies of the low-town, they have all lead me back to the same place.

I have treaded many paths in my time. I have lived only for myself; I have lived with the hope of making someone proud. I have lived by killing those who have shown me kindness, and I have lived by killing those who have not. I have killed in the name of survival, sport, the gods, and defense of the innocent. None of this has brought me happiness. I have tried to run away from the crimson life I lead, only to have it thrust upon me time and again. I would like to imagine if one weighed the worth of the lives I have saved against the lives of those I have taken that it would be found to be even, but I do not believe that if that were possible, one would find it so. After the death of Rythok at my hands, I attempted to live a life of peace, but after what has transpired since the first time I left Sanctuary, I must conclude that my destiny is that of death. If I had died but a year ago I might have found my peace, but that was not to be.

Finding myself confronted with individuals such as Garr and Raylos I was at first disgusted. They were everything that I did not want to be: murderers, berserkers, hate-filled, and seekers of revenge and death. I stood on my parapet made of skulls and looked down on them as a noble might the night soil on the street. I have now come to the point were I can see that it was not they who were the fools, but I. Together they have more bravery, pride, strength, and lust for life then I can ever hope to attain.

And then there is Titus. Of all the people I know, he is second only to death in companions I have known. I remember clashing with him in the streets and allies of Sanctuary as fondly as I remember breaking bread with him in the palace. What ever he truly thinks of me, he is the one who saw fit to give me another chance at life. I hope that in some small way I have been of use to him in these months we have worked together. Assuming that the Prince still lives, I can now call my vow to help him save the prince complete. Despite knowing that our kind tend to lead short, violent lives, I find myself hoping that he will beat the odds and live a long, happy life.

Finally, there is Reiah. Again a prime example of what I did not want to be, but then again, so much more. On our first meeting I not only let her escape, but covered for her; yet another act of treason to add to my crimes. Was it because I really thought she would give me the antidote for the prince or was it because for the first time I had met someone who had lived a life similar to mine, one who could truly understand me? Whatever the case, my heart sang upon meeting her again, and I must confess that I did enjoy her company. Did I love her? I do not know; and now I will never know. She was willing to die to re-shape the world into a better place, and she died fighting for us, against her own people. The only way I can honor a sacrifice like that is to repay it in kind. I must go forward and re-shape this world.

No longer am I worthy to fight in the name of strength and prowess to please Kord; no longer am I able to show Bane my power. From this day forth I fight for revenge; I fight to bring death to those who deserve it. I fight in the name of the forgotten one; I fight in the name of the Raven Queen!

Yes – I will strike down every Beysib snake that rears its head.

No - I will not entertain thoughts of pardon or mercy.

I now throw away all notions and dreams of finding peace for myself and finally embrace death as my true path. Let the Beysib celebrate their victory for soon they will be repaid many times over. I will suffer neither the snakes nor those who side with them or stand in my way. From this moment forth, revenge shall be my name and death my path.

Rathamon be warned.

Beysib be warned.

I am Balthasar and you are my enemy.
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An Interlude
Lesyeux sleeps fitfully. She tosses and turns, hair fanning out over the pillow, one knuckle of a finger clenched between her front teeth. Her face is lined with worry, her body tense even in repose.

I sweep out one long, hairy leg and press it to her skull. Her body relaxes, but her mind screams as I pull her into my home.

Voire is here, child. Your audience is granted.

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###Personal Communication###
To: DED Bureau Chief Gibbs
From: Operations Control Commissioner Braddock
Subject: Westminster Derailment

Iris, what exactly is going on? Four of your agents were killed in yesterday's accident, but there was no paperwork filed as to why they were on the train.

Furthermore, I can't find any record of that train car's existence. Forensics showed that it had all the proper RFID tags and markings, but it wasn't listed in any registry - did you have something to do with this?

I'll give you 48 hours to explain it to me in a satisfactory fashion, Iris. Only because you've saved my bacon in the past - I won't forget that incident with the wendigos any time soon. If you can't, I'll take it before the Board.

Signed,
Arturo Braddock, OCC
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Journal of the Hunt; Entry 4
Mon Dieu, mon Dieu...Que s'est-il passé? Qu'est-ce qui se passe?! I cannot wait until tomorrow. I must write of this tonight.

I am no longer sure of anything. Never, NEVER in my history as a runner has a job gone this poorly. Nor have I ever worked for a man so savage and malicious of heart. What Johnson appears in identifiable clothes which reek of smoke and filth, and proceeds not only to snort coke with the team he has hired, non!, but also to let his name and identity be known?! He is a sadist and perhaps a sociopath, and he is becoming ever loathsome to me. I should have listened to my senses about this circumstance, about these runs, about this exceedingly unprofessional man. I wanted my life back, perhaps too soon.

Lonestar. The confederacy of dunces who took my life from me, pushing me not only from my previous life, but even now, pushing me into increasingly despicable acts of violence in my attempt to regain what was taken! But I am no fool--Lonestar does not possess the collective intelligence to smash a maggot between the lot of them. Someone tipped them off, goaded them, incentivized the overconfident "lawmen" into ruining me, spoiling the Hunt. Perhaps even now the puppetmaster plays. Ce sont des cochons, et ils puent de la saleté.

Which is why I feel no pity for their loss tonight, nor for my macabre vandalism at the indirect request of Lao. Remove a few DED agents and a stash of cargo? C'est facile. But no, nothing is so simple tonight. Tonight "we" elected a leader from among us, and that leader has perhaps led us down the road to ruin. Xenotrope--the mysterious rigger who still has not appeared in person for a gathering or run--despite all of his matrix-manipulating abilities, including the ability to hack the highest level admin account of an elite private security company!, was somehow unable to hack a freight maglev's brakes. No, instead he is "forced" to demag the rail, sending the cars careening through a small town, killing innocents while they slept. He showed no regard for the homes, the lives endangered and lost. Tonight, I heard the panicked cries of families. Families! I will not follow his lead until I see his head bowed in contrition, and--Dieu le sauver--I will help him bow it, should he find his neck stubborn. Perhaps Nicodemus can find out more about this "leader" of ours.

Nicodemus! In my anger I had forgotten: Nicodemus nearly died tonight. A strange and powerful man attacked him from a helicopter as we were fleeing the scene. He destroyed his car, and crushed his body. Were it not for the efforts of our spirit friend in chasing off the attacker and for Newhart's medicinal skills, Nicodemus would not be alive, and he is barely alive. Should he survive, we will drink a biodynamic deep red wine in celebration. I shall invite the "team". I fear this last run has cast a long shadow upon us, and we should drink in celebration while we may still find reason to celebrate...

Je suis fatiguée, trop fatiguée pour écrire plus. Voire, I am losing focus, and I request an audience with you now for perhaps the last time. The Hunt is failing, replaced with despair.
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