There is no sense in this world. Nor, apparently, in any other. If there is good in this world it is not triumphant. If there is good in worlds apart, it doesn’t show itself here. We exist as trivialities living a fractal life. Die, or survive. Die, or survive. Die, or survive. The pattern never changes but the challenge increases each day. Every survival unquestionably leads to further learning of the impossibly cruel and intolerant world we inhabit. Every victory is parried with a greater obstacle. The futility of the exercise is impossible to ignore. It creeps in as our breaths slow and we look around. We are all tired. We are all broken. And alone, none of us would have the will to continue. Though if any of us were alone, it wouldn’t be a broken will providing our untimely end. None of us would make it a day alone. The fish people, the aboleth, the zombies. Alone, any one of us would be dead.
Survival is an end we are born to drive toward. All creatures are. Survival of our kin. Survival of our kind. Survival of ourselves. We may have to choose between these desires, these needs, but we are never unaware of them. But is survival good? Or are we evil? Who’s survival comes at our expense and who must perish for our own? Is one or the other ‘good’? Does Helga favour us? It certainly seems that Dolf is blessed by powers only possible if it is so, but so is Salithius. If Salithius is favoured by Helga as Dolf is, then she clearly favours him more. But if both are favoured, why struggle against one another? There are clearly influences upon this world that are beyond our experience. Beyond our understanding. Beyond good and evil.
I fear for our survival as our numbers diminish. Losing Mari and Jensa has been hard. They are irreplaceable. What was seven is five. Well, six, with Amy along. So we are six for now. Though she is clearly a very skilled combatant and is worldly in awkward complement to her obvious youth, Amy has and will continue to prove useful. I wonder how long she shall accompany us. She tells tales of jumping from adventure to adventure seeking triumph with her band of compatriots. Not long ago I would have assumed her both a liar and mad, speaking of dragons and her mind-made messages to friends. And her snake. I have seen Jensa understand animals, but Amy is having complete conversations with her snake. Her snake has proven to be the voice of reason. All doubt is shackled by possibility. Why question anything when everything seems possible. What tells us that we are right? What if we are evil? What if Helga favours this aboleth creature above all else? We have just destroyed it. What if Helga isn’t real at all? What if Helga is a weak god, pitied and scorned by truly powerful gods who our enemies may pray to?
Enough of this. My good is surviving. Stand in the way and you are an enemy. My good is seeing my family again. Stand in the way and you are an enemy.
The sun is setting behind us as I stare out to the open water. There will not be light for much longer. We aim to set sail in the morning and hope to have a calmer time than we did before. Our small camp has provided a welcome reprieve from the barren roads and tumultuous sea we have travelled. Though we haven’t been idle, the calm of the beach and forest has been comforting. It is the first time I have truly slept since I last slept in my own bed back home. I do not look forward to the confinement of our quarters onboard The Swift or the foreseeable future. But that is where survival lies and that is where we shall go.
The more I think about it, the more incredible it seems to be that we weren’t all destroyed by the aboleth. Though Jensa is gone, both Amy, Jean and Vegard fell under it’s influence as well and could have just as easily ended up overboard. And certainly it could have destroyed the whole boat, leaving us waiting to be picked off one-by-one by the aboleth or some other foul creature. Or even to simply drown. It struck me as strange that our assumption of the unknown is that it is evil. Amy is as unknown to us as the aboleth. Except that she makes sense. She is familiar in form and kind. We assume the fate of Jensa to be the worst, but perhaps we all would have been better served joining her in the sea. Perhaps that was the road to heaven. To a next life. A better world. Probably not. My imagination is getting the better of me. I should have a chat with Dolf. He has always helped to focus me when I’m caught asking myself existential questions.
Our survival seemed likeliest staying on the boat and once we were attacked, survival was in the fight. That creature may not have been evil, but it stood in the way of how we wanted to survive. We’ll never know what it offered, but our agency in our own survival is the only way we’ve gotten this far and none of us will be changing that approach. We will survive or perish on our terms.
Though sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it. I watched my friends start to turn into fish. Or fish people. They started to change into something fish-like. How wouldn’t I end up asking existential questions? I am glad the effects were reversed and we never had to find out what they would become, but I am curious if they would have been like the fish people we encountered before meeting Arianna in the swamp. Were they all once people? Were their ancestors once human? Too many questions. Not enough answers. I hope to all the gods that might be out there that the answers we are looking for are at the temple in Sweetwater as we hope.
We sail on. It is the only choice.
Session ends the morning of the May 29, 1136.