This is the Hunting Ground, home to Erastil’s chosen. It is peaceful and friendly – a great sense of community pervades; more family than friends. Here, I have returned to my roots as a brewer and work with my neighbours to assist in their harvests. Life is simple but infinitely pleasurable.
Lazy days spent fishing and hunting and roaming the hills. Late night parties around the bonfire. The air is fresh and clear.
My house smells gently of rosemary. It is absolutely my space, but my neighbours visit often and I, in turn, visit them.
I feel, sometimes, like there is something I have forgotten. Or not forgotten, so much as no longer need to think of to the point that I might as well have forgotten.
The headaches begin a couple or 3 months after Erastil led me here – a niggling at the back of my mind. They get worse – a feeling like a fishhook, pulling at me. As time passes, a voice accompanies them, calling my name, calling to me. Dizziness and feelings of disorientation. It seems very out of place in this idyll.
I am baking in my kitchen but the comfort of the rosemary smell is not enough to ward off the pain or confusion. The voice is shouting to me and I collapse to the floor – collapse through the floor, through myself, through the world as I know it into…
The stench of sulphur fills my nostrils – brimstone and methane and acrid, acid smoke. It is cold here; cold in a way that initially makes no sense. And the pain, worse than the worst of the headaches, spreading, shredding across my torso. I feel like I was ripped into pieces. And as I open my eyes, I see looming over me the demon who did it and I remember everything. Aaron’s twin blades slice through it, but that offers little comfort for one stripped from heaven into hell. I close my eyes again – try to bring Erastil’s face to mind, try to call him back to collect me once more. But it doesn’t work. The ground is hard – cold and sharp and cruel. Like everything here.
It was Alexei’s voice I’d heard pulling me back. Like a fish hook. Like a wire through my mind.
They finish killing the demons and see me. Alexei at least manages to soothe the worst of the pain – my body feels less torn and used. They light a fire. They make tea. Tea! Of all things – of all places. I don’t want to eat or drink or do anything but lie here and go home.
Mr Tiddles lies on me and the weight of someone caring here is too much and I weep long, silent tears.