Jack Journal8 Legacy

“Dear Jack,

Or I guess it’s Lieutenant Jack now, or so I’ve heard. You’ve made a bit of a name for yourself with those Brothers Without Banners. Word had reached here about your outfit gone missing in Kag Darthuun and I feared the worst, but it looks like you made it out okay. I’m happy for you.

I’m sorry I had to leave, and without saying goodbye, but I was afraid I’d stay. I couldn’t, not after everything that happened, and not with your future on the line. Wessex was just too close, and it reminded me of so much. But you gave me a second chance, I wouldn’t be here if not for you. You’re a hero, Jack, never forget that. I’ll be following your tales. Be safe out there.

- Sera”

It wasn’t until a single tear rang out against the paper that my chin snapped back up. All of this time wondering and worrying, and she was safe. It was a punch in the gut as much as it was a sigh of relief. I had only known her for a short time, but her insight weighed heavily on me, and it was that moment I understood what my purpose was.

I was once a mercenary gone rogue in lieu of vengeance. My travels with the Brothers lead me to a moment where I could have satisfied that vengeance, and I wanted to, but they also provided the wisdom to see beyond it. As I was to Sera, they were to me, and I would forever honor Gorack, Einar, Aerion, Leif, and Valor for that.

Such as it was, I knew that we had reached a crossroads of sorts. That became apparent the moment we were handed the keys to Wessex. Gorack with his crown, Valor with his temple, Aerion with an empire on his mind.. I really don’t know anything about Leif, and Einar dedicated to the return of his people. All valid, yet separate goals. I too had a vision, a goal if you will.

As the days went by, my foothold as a leader within the Red Ruby Syndicate grew stronger. I hadn’t spoken with the revered Captain Quinn since the first time I was in Wessex, but it was not my intention to step on her toes. I respect her. However, the men of Wessex fell into my responsibility. Swords for hire under the coin of house Colywin. For now.

I moved into my war room, jotting down locations, plans, and notes.

I saw this land as a beacon of hope. I saw the darkest corners, or so I thought, and I saw them overcome against the odds. It became my intention to keep it that way. The tavern I opened in Wessex, named the Crimson Flagon, became a rather popular place once it was up and going. The Professor concocted unique ale with a red hue that I named the Ruby Stout, which acted in symbolism of the Syndicate. Of course the men of the Syndicate took it as a home away from home. It helped, the coin for their service being put into my business there.

Between the tavern and the coin I was able to make on my own, it was my intention to fund the men out of my own pocket. Once it’s a feasible goal, I’ll move away from taking orders from the highest bidder, and begin a new era of the Syndicate.

I knew of several fortresses in the continent that were overrun by various goblin tribes and other unpleasant things, and probably more I hadn’t heard of. It was my goal to secure them one by one and safeguard the roads for merchants and travelers. Beyond that, it was an opportunity to open up more taverns along the way within the fortresses.

It was apparent to me in Kag Darthuun that the Red Ruby Syndicate was merely a puppet in the hands of the highest paying political official, that is aside from Silvermaul’s conquest which met an abrupt end. My goals were not so reckless, but it showed me that we have the ability to be more than just swords for hire. The men would still be mercenaries in nature, of course, but under my leadership and employ.

I saw a future for the Syndicate where we were not puppets for the elite, but a buffer between the land and enemies considered foreign. There will always be conflict, and there will always be war so long as there is the coin and power to dictate it, but we will operate outside those boundaries. We will not partake in political feuds. We will be a force that protects the land from those such as the Goblins, Dark Dwarves, and Omobos.

The first course of action would be to secure stable income, the rest is just a matter of time, branching outwards from Wessex. The second is driving the Goblins back out of our lands. I will make one attempt to reason with them, one attempt to bring them into a civilized way of life. If that attempt should fail, then they’ll be snuffed out one tribe at a time. Whether or not Captain Quinn agrees with my goals, I’m sure she’ll agree with dealing with the Goblin problem once and for all.

Exiting the war room, I passed through the tavern, being wary of the few problem soldiers who never knew when enough ale was enough. They had fallen in line quickly under Rothargis’ example, though. That Orc was a damn fine leader, and I was proud to call him a friend.

As I stepped into the streets of Wessex, thriving with life and energy, I was washed over with the reassurance of my goals. These people who had endured so much, survived so much, deserve that chance to flourish. I made my way through town and into the Red Ruby camps, calling for a short presentation.

I waited as the men gathered in formation, hand rested on this hilt of my blade. It only took a few weeks of yelling at the lot before the camps looked presentable enough to walk through, but as before, Rothargis helped get them in line.

“Men,” I opened, scanning the crowd, “it wasn’t long ago that this city faced an immense threat. A threat that would have flattened this city, and any other in its path. Do you know why it did not? Because of you, and everyone who stood against the tyranny that would have come crashing down. In the darkest hour of this city, you all stood bold. You did not run, you did not cower, even when a Dragon was strafing the city. You stood ready to oppose this threat, to stand and protect this city on your life…” my voice rang through the crowd. It felt as though I would be able to hear a needle drop between my sentences.

“And here you stand today, triumphant with coin in your purse, and ale in your bellies. I could not ask for finer soldiers. I am proud to stand by each and every one of you. But there is work yet to be done, there are still those who would threaten this city and many others. I ask you all now, will you stand with me for our land? Will you stand with me for our freedom? We are the difference, what stands between the knife in the dark and our brothers. So I ask you, will you stand with me?”

A brief moment silence ensued before a single soldier belted out “Yeah!” and the entire formation exploded into one booming battle cry. Another moment of pride swept over me as I saluted them, the glow of Wessex lighting up the darkening sky behind them.

What a road it’s been, and it’s only just begun.

Jack Journal8 Legacy

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