= April's Diary
= April's Room
= The Longest Journey}}April Ryan has kept a diary since she was five. She started her current one in the month of April, and keeps it up to date throughout the events of ''The Longest Journey''. It provides a helpful guide for the player as it often serves to draw attention to important events. April also uses it to keep track of the information she is given, as well as her opinion on what is happening and musings about what to do next. The player learns a great deal about April's state of mind and attitude to what she encounters.
However, the diary does raise questions as well April writes about a "CRAZY day at the pond" before she arrived in Newport, but we never find out what she is referring to. She also writes that she has a tendency to fall in love with the wrong people, "like now, like with -" without explaining who she means.
Obtained from the bedside table in April's room at the Border House.
= April's Diary Entries =
Below are April's entries in her diary. Some entries may appear in another order, due to gameplay. Every line means a new page in the diary.
= Pre-TLJ entries =
April 14th, 2209. A Friday.
Happy Birthday to me! The big one-eight! Joyness, right? Well...not to sound like a complete spoilsport, but 18 feels kinda like 17, only I can buy a gun and pilot a hovercraft. I'd kinda figured that the number 18 would cast light into the deep dark chasm of my soul and reveal some grand truth about the universe. Like the meaning of life, or at least some explanation as to why all guys are complete idiots. But...no. Nothing. I'm the same person today that I was yesterday. No different. Same old boring April, stuck in the same old boring life.
Which of course does make me realize something important I just HAVE to get outta here soon. I have to leave. There's nothing here for me, no future, and a past I'd prefer to forget. And I know where I wanna go. The VAVA, in Newport.
God knows if they'll accept me into their fall program, but I HAVE to try. Sarah went out there last year, and she's agreed to let me stay at her place for a short while, until I can get a job and an apartment.
Writing about leaving is both scary and exciting. It's scary because I've never really been on my own before, and I've never been to Newport. And of course I'm scared that "good, old April's Father" will find out and force me to stay. Not that he can, but he will certainly try. On the other hand, it's really exciting too! I can't imagine anything that beats starting my own life in a place like Venice! From what I've seen and heard, it looks GREAT - there are lots of little cafés and criss-crossing canals just like in the "real" Venice, in Italy, and most of the people who live there are young and creative and not afraid to look or sound or be different. Which will make a nice change from this place.
Today I called the Academy and asked them about their admission requirements, and they told me to bring some of my work in "when you arrive". They don't really have any specific requirements, only that you're talented and dedicated and hard working. The lady I spoke to sounded nice, but she didn't make any promises. She told me there are a lot of applicants and only a limited amount of spaces. I know my work's good, even though I haven't had much training. And I'm definitely dedicated and hard working. So why am I still nervous???
I'm sorry I haven't kept up with events in this diary, but with my exams and everything else going on right before graduation, I haven't had the time. I know, I know, BAD excuse. I'll just have to take time out to, and I'll definitely keep my diary up to date from now on!
AAAAARGH! Three weeks of complete silence! I look back at my previous diaries and I wonder; where the hell did I find the time to write so much, so often? Oh well, I'll try to remember what's been going on these past few weeks...
I passed all my exams with straight A's (of course J), and tomorrow morning I'm leaving home. Yes, I'm making the leap into the great unknown, and I'm never coming back here. I withdrew all my money from the bank--$2190--and I've packed a suitcase and a bag with my clothes and work-samples and books and anything else I can't do without. Unfortunately, I have to leave so much--my old toys, some of the bigger canvases, my screen. And it's not like I can have April's Mother ship them or anything. I'm leaving a letter for my family, but I'm not telling them where I'm going. 18 years under constant scrutiny is enough, I really don't want to carry any of that CRAP with me into my new life.
Strangely enough, when I was packing this morning, I suddenly remembered something I'd forgotten a long time ago. When I was a kid, I kept all my drawings in a box under the floorboards so my Dad wouldn't find them and berate me for wasting my time. The box was right where I put it, more than six years ago. I didn't feel like looking at any of the drawings right away, so I wrapped the box up and stuck it in my bag. I'll open it when I get to Venice. I don't think this is the right time for nostalgic reminiscence about my childhood, but I'm glad I remembered to pack the box. So, tonight's the night. I'm sneaking out of here at 4 AM to catch the train to Greenvale, and from there on to the BIG CITY itself--Newport. At dinner tonight, I'll see Mom, Dad, Daniel Ryan and Owen Ryan for the last time in a long while. I don't really care if I ever see Dad again, but I feel sorry for Mom. She doesn't seem to care much for
me, but I know she'll miss me, and I know she'll feel very guilty for turning a blind eye to the way he treated me throughout all those years. As for Danny and Owen, I don't really know. Danny's an asshole--he could (theoretically) improve, though I doubt he wants to. As for Owen--he's still a kid, he might turn out okay, but as long as Dad's in control I'm not too optimistic...
I'm going to the pond tonight, to say goodbye. I haven't been there in a long while, not since that CRAZY day. Well, I have to see it one last time, or I'll never get it out of my head. As for my friends, I don't really want to say anything. I'll mail them when I get to Newport. To Venice.
So, this is the last entry I write here in this house, in this room. In some strange way I can't really understand, I'll miss it. Not much, but I did grow up here, I did spend 18 YEARS ...oh my god... in this place, and that's not soon forgotten or ignored. I don't want to feel bad for what I'm doing, but I can't help it; I do feel bad, a little. But more than anything I'm excited about what tomorrow will bring. I think--yeah, I believe I might actually be happy! ...imagine that...
= Entries during TLJ =
=== 28/07/2209 ===
Friday, July 28 2209.
Way too early in the morning...and I won't even TRY to describe the dream I had last night. Like, enough with the fairy-tales already! I need to start dreaming about boys and shopping...you know, the important things in life.
It just dawned on me that the student exhibition opens in less than two weeks! My "painting" - and I mean that in the broadest sense of the word - is not even close to being presentable. Even that's an overstatement. All I have is a blank canvas, and while that may fool SOME people (like in "whoa, what an expressive statement of NOTHINGNESS"), it won't fool my teachers.
So today I have to put in a solid six hours of work at the studio, and just hope that inspiration will strike me like lightning from the sky. It could happen.
'''Encounter with Cortez'''
Friday morning (again)
Okay, so I'm, like, on my way to school. I'm half asleep, I'm hot (the weather's been unbearable these past few days, to say the least), and I just want to get to the studio as soon as possible...and then this guy Cortez, who's sitting outside the house like he does EVERY SINGLE DAY, calls me over... Fine, okay, I got nothing against the guy, personally. I make small-talk about the weather, just trying to get it OVER with, and then...
How would he know that I've been having nightmares? Unless Emma or Charlie or Fiona told him - and I know they wouldn't have - how could he know? And I know he's nuts, but to think that I have some kind of "destiny"? The guy's been doing too many Raptures or whatever they popped back when he was double-digits.
'''Message from Cortez'''
It's Friday afternoon, and I actually got some work done on my painting this morning! What a shocker, right? What triggered this avalanche (okay, it was more like a light drizzle, to be honest) of creativity? The cup of cocoa I had last night? The weather? My pent up sexual desires? My dreams?
Sure, a nightmare about a talking tree - wait, no, a "Wood Spirit" -a Mother, and a...what, a Chaos Vortex?...that's sure to release SOME kind of creative juices. Yeah. Right. Okay, so I work on my painting for a few hours, and then Emma drops by and drops a bomb on me. This...person. Cortez. He wants to meet me. And not only that, he doesn't just come out and say WHERE he wants to meet me no, he gives Emma a riddle for me to solve. "Where kids visualize their dreams." Oh boy. The guy IS nuts. He can just wait "where kids visualize their dreams" for the rest of the summer as far as I'm concerned.
'''Attack of the Maerum Hologram'''
So I've finally snapped and gone off the deep end. I just knew my nightmares would fry my brain cells eventually, but I never imagined I'd start SEEING things.
But there it was, as clear as the day, and I'm thinking, should I go get myself committed now or after dinner? Because April, girl, I gotta tell you, what you saw today is not exactly the product of a healthy mind. Holosculptures don't just come to life without there being drugs or plain, old looniness involved.
But then again, if I AM insane, why aren't I seeing fluffy pink rabbits right now? And how come nobody has noticed anything weird about me?
I think maybe...and I hate to say this...I think maybe I gotta talk to this Cortez guy after all, because he did say something about my nightmares coming to life...
Okay, now I KNOW I'm going crazy!
Working at the Fringe Cafe (Note This entry only appears when April agrees to work at the end of chapter one.)
Just a tiny little reminder here, April Ryan
YOU'RE WORKING TONIGHT! DON'T FORGET! BIG "REMEMBER" SIGN! Stanley WILL KICK YOUR BUTT IF YOU DON'T SHOW UP ON TIME!
So there. Apparently, Sandra, that swell little girl I love so very, very much (ahem!), "she out sick"...again... Like, cut back on those Raptures already. Or not. I don't mind getting her paycheck.
It turns out that "where kids visualize their dreams" is an exhibition called "Growing Pains" at the Roma Gallery. That's down by the Watertown Bridge, in West Venice, too far to walk, I have to take the Metro Line. It's an exhibition of work by inner-city kids, and I guess the theme is "dreams". Which, by some strange twist of fate, is what EVERYTHING's about today.
So the Roma Gallery it is. Can't say I'm looking forward to it. Señor Cortez is just a little too creepy for comfort. But I'm in desperate need of some answers, so it's bye-bye to choice, hello "destiny".
'''After Roma Gallery'''
Still Friday (this is a busy day for Dear Diary, a busy and WEIRD day), late afternoon...
Cortez is...how shall I put this nicely?...completely and totally out there. I mean, he goes on and on about the truth of art, and then it turns out that that's NOT the reason he wants to talk to me. But does he tell me why it's so urgent we see each other? No, he says, that'll have to wait until TOMORROW! Right, yeah, as if.
There's something strange going on, I know that. And it's obvious that it isn't just me losing touch with reality...why would Cortez be involved if that's the case? So what the hell IS happening? And does Cortez actually have some answers? I SO don't wanna hook up with the guy again. He freaks me out, big time. But I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking, do I have a choice? Do I?
=== 29/07/2209 ===
'''Chapter Two opening'''
Saturday July 29th, 2209
In a few hundred years, when my great grandchildren rummage through the attic and find this book, they're probably gonna have a ball. I'm not even sure if I want to write about what happened last night, because chances are I will never forget. Ever. And future generations will likely be better off NOT knowing.
But I'm sure now that, whatever's going on, it's not just in my head. It's in everybody's head. Last night was proof positive of that. Which begs the question - the things I've seen, my dreams...what's real and what's not? I'm afraid the only person who might be able to answer that question is Cortez. How's that for irony? That in order to prove to myself that I'm not going mad, I have to talk to the one person I'm sure is TOTALLY insane.
What a GREAT way to start the weekend.
'''Talk to Zack'''
I made myself one solemn promise regarding this diary. On the day I first met him, I swore that Zack Lee would never, ever, ever be mentioned in this book. EVER. Whoops. Well, promises are made to be broken, right? I just wish I didn't have to break this one. I mean, it's not because he's an asshole. He is, but that's not what bothers me. And it's not because he's constantly hitting on me either, or because he lives right across the hall, and every time I take a shower he just HAPPENS to wander into the bathroom, or because he's less mature than a spoiled four-year old and with the vocabulary and imagination of a fourteen-year old. No, the thing about Zack that bothers me the most is that he's so SMUG about himself. He thinks he's the BOMB, so to speak. And no matter what I say to discourage him, he doesn't get it. Asking him for help goes against everything I believe in. But apparently, if I want to find Cortez any time soon, I don't have a choice.
This is sooo humiliating.
'''Where Cortez is'''
According to Zack, I can find Cortez uptown, right off Metro Circle, at a movie theater called "Mercury Theatre" (even I know that's an Orson Welles reference). It makes sense, because I remember him saying something about old movies yesterday morning. I'll have to catch the subway to get there. Oh, I can't wait - I so love Metro Circle. The prostitutes, the drug-dealers, the decomposing garbage, the tourists...oh yeah. Sweet.
Note to self next time you promise to go on a DATE with ZACK LEE, bring somebody along to put a bullet through your head. Like, duh!
In Arcadia. Is it still Saturday? Do they even HAVE Saturdays here?
And why am I not screaming and frothing and tearing my hair out when I obviously should be? When confronted with the impossible, isn't your mind supposed to just...snap? Perhaps because I've had so many vivid dreams about...okay, now I don't even know if "dreams" is the right word anymore. Visions, perhaps. Or even better; premonitions. That's in keeping with the theme of this place. Magic.
Oh yeah, magic. Apparently, I'm simply supposed to accept, without question, that magic does exist. Which is impossible. But clearly not impossible enough, because here, there IS magic. Wherever "here" is.
(I've written more on the next page)
'''In Arcadia II'''
Still, in the face of all this strangeness, I feel...normal. For some weird, inexplicable reason - and even though I've still to wrap my head around the concept - I accept this place. It feels comfortingly familiar, in a distant, hazy way. And even though I want to go HOME, like, right now!, I'm not panicky. Not at all. Just a little bit.
Oh, and I should write that name down before I forget it Brian Westhouse. That's the last thing Cortez told me, to visit Brian Westhouse whenever I wanted to go home.
'''The Story of the Balance'''
I've just been told "The Story of the Balance" by Vestrum Tobias Grensret, and I figured I should try to write this down while I still remember bits and pieces of it... Talk about cryptic history. Tobias lost me somewhere around "the twelve and the one". Like, excuse me? What?
But I think I got the gist of it. There are two worlds, one is Stark, the world of science - what I call Earth - and then there's Arcadia, the world of magic - what people here call Earth. Two Earths, then, which gets a little confusing, but not half as confusing as what came after. A long, long time ago, there was just one Earth, and this Earth had both magic and science. But mankind has always had a habit of screwing things up, and this is what they did on the original Earth. They got too powerful, learned how to move stars and be gods, by combining the powers of magic and science. So an alien race called the "Draic Kin" decided to interfere to prevent mankind from destroying their own world.
One of the so-called "Kin" founded this religious movement called the Sentinel, or the Fathers, who are self-appointed watchers over the Balance between magic and science. The Sentinel were instrumental in dividing the Earth into two "dimensions"; Stark and Arcadia, science and magic. They also put a woman in charge of controlling and channeling the Balance between the two worlds; a Guardian of the Balance who lives in a Guardian's Tower in a sort of in-between Guardian's Realm, and who's replaced every one thousand years by a new Guardian.
So then life goes on for, like, thousands of years, until the Sentinel start squabbling internally, and the Sentinel priests in Stark decide to break with their Arcadian friends and found this new cult or whatever called the Vanguard. The Vanguard want the worlds reunited, and they plan to do this by controlling the Guardian himself (or herself). This is what they've been doing for a few hundred years now, destroying potential Guardians by performing experiments on them or something.
My hand is starting to cramp up. I'm amazed I even remember half of this! Anyways, the current Guardian couldn't stay any longer, and he left this tower in the middle of nowhere, and now the Balance is in danger. Apparently, chaos can really do some serious damage to both Stark and Arcadia. Which does remind me of my, uh, dream...I'm not sure that's the right word anymore...with the Black Chaos thingy, the vortex, that attacked me. That's probably a sign of what's gonna happen if somebody doesn't do something to save the Balance.
And I'm sensing this coming on - because that's how it always goes in these things - that that somebody is ME. Because, apparently, I'm a strong Shifter. Somebody has to find the Guardian, get him back in the tower to save the Balance, and then do something about the Vanguard, get them to see that they're screwing with things they shouldn't be screwing with.
Hey. Easy! I do that kinda stuff before breakfast!
Right, so I get back (no easy task, believe you me!), and Cortez proceeds to FINALLY tell me everything. And we have a plan. Which sounds good to me, but then I really don't have much experience with plans. I'm usually, like, let's do whatever. But now we have a Plan (with a capital 'P' even!).
Okay, so we (as in Cortez and myself) have to find this Guardian guy, the key to his "realm" (an old Stone Disk with four jewels), and the way back into that place ('cause apparently nobody knows where it is, duh...). And while all this is going on I'm supposed to restore Balance to Chaos. And do the laundry! Probably.
To think that two days ago, all I had to remember was whether a customer ordered a double decaf latte or a low-fat cappuccino... There's a lot to be said for simple ignorance. Anyways, tomorrow morning I'm off to find whatever information I can on the Vanguard. Yay.
=== 30/07/2209 ===
'''To Hope Street'''
Sunday, July 30th 2209.
Sundays are made for sleeping in. Sundays are made for walking around in baggy clothes, watching movies, nursing headaches and hanging out with your friends at the café. Sundays are NOT made for going to the worst neighborhood in town to find a kid who might be able to give you the information necessary to infiltrate a powerful cult that plans to take over the known universe. That's what Mondays are for.
Okay, okay, so the world's in mortal danger, and the only thing standing in the way of total chaos is ME. And this morning I have to go to Hope Street to talk to this priest called Father Raul at the Hope Street Cathedral, so that he can tell me where I can find Warren Hughes.
Dear Diary, note to self; the next time anybody says the word "destiny"...run like hell!
I went to the Hope Street cathedral and met Father Raul. Nice guy. He told me that Warren hangs out in building 87, right down on Hope Street.
That's building 87 of the Hope Street Projects! Not exactly the friendliest place in town. It's more of a "shoot first, then shoot again, then pull the trigger a few more times before asking questions"-kinda place. And I'm not even sure they bother with the "asking questions" part anymore.
More Sunday-stuff (at this rate, I'll have to get a new diary by the end of the week)
Warren Hughes wasn't a bad kid at all. Just an unlucky one. He acted tough, but I could tell he was a sweetheart. Anyway, he's willing to help, but I got to do him a few favors first. I even get to play the criminal. Joy.
His Erika Hughes and parents were sent to the colonies, and he wants to find out where they went. So I have to dig through the NPDarchives to get a hold of whatever information I can. At the same time, while I'm in there, I should also look up the Vanguard, or the Church of Voltec which is, like, their cover here in Stark.
Still Sunday (surprise!)
I got in, I got out, I got a glorious career in crime ahead of me if I want! And it feels sooo good. My parents would be so proud of me. Li'l Miss Criminal. That's me.
Whatever. At least I got the name and location of Warren's friend, the so-called Burns Flipper (is that an actual NAME?). His shop is down by the Newport Docks, in an old garage. Knock three times on the door, Warren told me. I'm surprised I don't have to say "Open Sesame!" as well.
Hopefully this guy - uh, "Flipper" - will be able to help me locate the Vanguard/Church of Voltec. This afternoon I have to meet up with Cortez again, and I'd prefer to have some solid information to share with him.
Burns Flipper. Okay, now there's an eccentric. A bastard as well. Not to mention big asshole, major jerk and total idiot. But reasonably friendly. And definitely interesting. Some people might say, an enigmatic man. Not me, though. I never use the word "enigmatic" to describe anybody or anything.
He was helpful, though, and managed to decode this data-crystal that I found in the archives. The Church of Voltec is apparently associated with MTI, and their headquarters are up on Grendel Avenue, but I can't get up there without access to the upper levels of the city. And they'd never give that to a lowlife like me, so I have to fake it. "The Flipper" can help me out with this too, but it's gonna cost a lot, so unless I can find a replacement AG Unit for his chair, I'm...well, outta luck.
Now where did I see an AG-unit today?
Sunday, late afternoon.
I just overheard a conversation between Raul and Cortez, and I suddenly feel very, very scared. The simple fact is that I don't know these people, I can't tell who my friends really are anymore, and there are things going on that I fear I will never understand. It's really frightening how easily I've accepted everything I've been told these past few days without questioning people's motives...it's not like me at all. I'm usually the paranoid type.
But I'll be more careful from now on, and I won't trust anybody, not without good reason. It's not that I think Cortez plans to stab me in the back or something; I'm sure his motives are solid enough. But I don't like being kept in the dark, especially when so much is riding on me. And with a situation as complicated as this one...I just wish I knew what's really going on, is all.
=== 31/07/2209 ===
Sunday night or Monday morning...I'm not sure which it is...but it's late.
A strange sound wakes me up in the middle of the night, and when I open my eyes my room is filled with a cold, blue light coming from the closet. Oh, okay, obviously a dream. No question about it. Things like these don't happen in real life.
Except in MY life, they do. All the time. There was a Shift in my closet, and before I knew it, I found myself here, in Arcadia...again. And while last time Cortez helped me through and back, this time I'm afraid there will be no help forthcoming. I'm on my own. And I don't like it.
I've seen a lot of strange invitations in my life. Only a month ago, somebody - I didn't even know the guy particularly well - invited me to his suicide party with a cheerful card reading "Steve's Last Hurrah!". I've been invited to a wedding between a 99-year old terminally ill woman and a highway construction automaton. I've been invited to the senior prom by my best friend's father.
But I think tonight brought the strangest invitation of them all.
This is the first time I've accepted an invitation before being asked, by a creature whose grasp of grammar ranges from poor to nonexistent, and not realizing I did until after the fact. Unlike the invitations mentioned above, however, I'll probably honor this one. Strange or not, he may be able to answer some of my questions.
When I asked Abnaxus about the Draic Kin, he didn't really know much about them except for a story he'd heard about a "Old God" who fell from the stars into the ocean a long time ago. Whatever this so-called god may be, it's a fair chance it's got something to do with these dragon-Kin creatures. It might be a good idea to run this by somebody who knows more about the myths and legends of the sea.
What is it with old sailors and long, pointless stories?
I did manage to get some useful information out of the Umber Ianos, however. He claims that the god that fell into the sea (the one Abnaxus told me about) is worshipped by bloodthirsty, cannibal Maerum who live in the Sea of Songs around the island of Ge'en (I think that's how it's spelled). The fact that they're not necessarily cannibal just because they eat humans didn't really deter him from finishing his story. I'm having my doubts about how bloodthirsty these creatures really are as well. Seems like the monster he described in his story could be some kind of shark instead of a merman.
Whatever the truth, if anybody knows about this god who fell from the stars, it would be the mermen.
Brian Westhouse just told me something I should remember. He said that he's heard stories about a winged people who observe and record history. If they've got records going back thousands of years, maybe they know something about the whereabouts of the disc, the jewels, or even the entrance to the Guardian's Realm.
It's definitely worth checking out.
Monday. I have no concept of what the Arcadian (or Marcurian) calendar is like, but at home it would be July 31st. Come to think of it, what year is it here?
Anyway, that's not really the reason I'm writing an entry in my diary. Tobias told me about a library where I may be able to find some answers. The library is at the SentinelEnclave, just outside of town, and I'm supposed to speak with a Minstrum named Minstrum Yerin. He's the Keeper of Books or something like that, which probably translates into the equivalent of a librarian.
I went to the library (yes, me! Imagine that...) to look for some information about those flying creatures that Brian told me about, and with Minstrum Yerin's help I found just what I was looking for. They're actually called the Alatien, and there's a tribe of them living on an island south of here, Alais. Which is such good news, considering how much I love water (and that was my sarcastic voice, by the way).
Now...who do I know with a ship?
'''Deal with Old Sailor'''
The old sailor down by the docks agreed to help me get a ride south on the White Dragon (ship)Crow back. How difficult can that be? I keep wondering how much he really cares about that bird, however, if he was willing to risk gamble it away in a game of cups. But, hey, that's none of MY business.
'''Deal with Nebevay'''
I've turned into everybody's little errand-boy. Girl. Person. I do one favor for one person, and BOOM, I'm running around the entire Northlands solving people's problems. This time it's some wacked out magician...sorry, alchemist...up north somewhere. He has - get this - captured the wind. How the hell do you capture the wind? I mean, I can just wave my hand a bit, and, voila! Instant wind! But who am I to argue? Magic's never really been my forté. So I don't have a choice, I'll have to travel north, try to talk this alchemist, this Roper Klacks guy, into releasing the wind, and then come back here. I don't even know how much time we have left before chaos destroys the worlds, but I'll have to hurry. And since I'm not particularly familiar with the lay of the Northlands (so to speak), I'll need a map.
Monday, July 31st. I have no idea what year it is in Arcadia.
On the road north.
I made a friend! He's very nice, very funny...and he's a bird. A talking bird. Crow, né Bird. He's not actually a crow, but he reminds me of one, and his personality is a lot like Crowboy's, my favorite cartoon character. He escaped from his owner (or captor, to be honest) and decided to join me on my little "adventure". I'm just sooo happy to have somebody to talk to, and with luck he'll be able to help me out once in a while as well. We agreed that I'll use my flute to call on him whenever I need him.
You may not be able to tell from my writing, but there's a big, silly grin on my face right now!
I had my first encounter with a Banda today (saying "Mole-man" is, apparently, like a racial epithet, and a big no-no with these people). His name was Ben Bandu. He was a really sweet man (or boy, or whatever he was - I can't really tell), but he was sad. Ben had lost his Bandu-Uta in the forest, and he was looking for him. I told him I'd keep my eyes open, and I urged Crow to do the same. I hope he's all right. Because if he isn't, this forest is probably not such a friendly place after all...
I've been tricked! I should've known something was wrong with that Gribbler. I mean, she was drooling and slobbering all over me, she kept tripping over her words and saying stuff like "prisoners" instead of "guests", and her teeth were abnormally large. But still! If you can't trust sweet old ladies who've hurt their leg picking berries in the forest, who CAN you trust? Hansel and Gretel, my heart goes out to you kids...
All kidding aside, however, we need to get the HELL outta here before the bitch comes back. But how?
'''Invited to Moles'''
Monday, late afternoon.
Wow. What a day THIS has been. I met a bunch of new people (including a couple of furry guys and a talking bird), killed an old witch, freed a captured Bandu and was invited to the Banda Village for a feast in MY honor.
Compare this to last week, when the dramatic highlight of my day was getting sausage on my pizza instead of pepperoni.
I feel so...empowered. And starving!
=== 01/08/2209 ===
I guess I had what you could call a "Bak-Baar" last night. Or at least a visit from the spirit world, wherever that is. Either that or an incredibly vivid dream, but I'm betting that's not it. Say hello to the ghost of Christmas future, April; staring yourself in the eye and realizing you're a complete BITCH is not an occasion to be celebrated. Okay, so she wasn't really me, but the things she said have all crossed my mind from time to time...especially lately.
As for Charlie...does he really LOVE me? I mean, like, love-love me? I had no idea. No, that's a lie. I guess I had some idea, but I didn't really want to deal with it, because I just don't feel that way about him. He's sweet and kind and...I simply have a tendency to fall for the wrong guys, for the wrong reasons. Like now. Like with...oh, no, I'm not even gonna think about THAT.
I should probably go see the Banda Elder.
'''The Banda Stone'''
I got the Banda Stone!
It's funny, I came here by chance, and I didn't even know the Banda were guarding one of the pieces of the disc, yet here it is, right in my hand. It's a lot smaller than I thought...which is a good thing, considering I'll be carrying it with me for a while.
This is not so hard, is it? I'm actually starting to enjoy myself! Of course, having said that, everything will probably go wrong from now on in.
Three more stones, and I'm home free. After I defeat the evil alchemist, of course. And hold the forces of chaos at bay. And...oh boy, I really gotta keep a positive attitude, here!
Tuesday afternoon. August 1st.
Having spent most of the day traversing a horrid swamp filled with foul odors, hungry tentacled thingies, and tons of sticky stuff, I finally arrive at the foot of Floating Castle' castle late in the afternoon. The guy's got, like, the most amazing mansion. And it levitates, too! If it weren't for this petrified guy, Lorhan, it would just fly off into the clouds.
So Lorhan tells me that Roper Klacks has trapped a lot of people in his castle, and that he keeps their souls in a so-called Soulstone (veeery original, typical evil magic guy stuff). If I manage to break this Soulstone everybody will be turned back into soft and flexible humans (or whatever they were to begin with).
Again with the saving people thing! Is this gonna be a habit, or what?
=== 02/08/2209 ===
Wednesday morning, August 2nd, 2209.
Vestrum Tobias tells me I am the Guardian to be, the Thirteenth such, and that my...fate is to watch over the Balance for a thousand years.
You don't just toss something like that out without warning or some consideration to the fact that I'm just a NORMAL PERSON! I mean, if I'd been raised knowing that some day I'd have to go to some tower in the middle of nowhere and stay there for ONE THOUSAND YEARS, then maybe - just maybe - I'd have been able to deal. Not like this, though. This is just so not fair. I mean, I had plans for my life. I have friends. Not a lot, but a few. A family...whatever I mean to them at this point, at least they're around. In a thousand years, there will be nothing left for me, nothing to remind me of ME. I'll be lost and alone.
I don't know if I can deal with that. But then, what choice do I really have? What choice does ANY of us have?
=== 03/08/2209 ===
thursday, late afternoon.
i am so sick, i'n having a hard time writing even a few word. forgiv poor spelling. why dos the boat hav to keeep moving arond? why cant they make boat thatjust stays still? i mean they got magi right? beats me
we leave port yesterday evening, and i dont sleep a wink allnite. just rocking roking rockng all nite loong. and then theres the food which is, lik, fish and Apple, fish and apples, every meal!!! oh great here i go agan gotta get som air
Feel a little better now, which is kinda worrying, because I so don't want to get used to this! I'm a definite land-person. Soil between my toes like the Bandu Elder said.
A short time ago the captain ordered the Tun Luiec to change course, to take us away from a stormfront. Now, I know he probably has the best interests of his crew at heart, but I gotta think about the rest of the world. As well as my world. I NEED to get to Alais, quickly. I feel that time is running out, and this Chaos Storm is only a harbinger. So using the Talisman of the Balance, I think I managed to fool them into putting us back on course for the islands. Now I'm just praying they won't notice before it's too late, and that the storm won't catch up with us. I've been lucky so far. I'm counting on my luck lasting just a little bit longer.
=== 04/08/2209 ===
Friday, August 4th, 2209.
At sea, and in deep shit. Not that I don't deserve it. Whatever punishment I get, I definitely deserve it. I sunk a ship, jeopardized the lives of everybody aboard, and stranded myself in the middle of the ocean with a blazingly hot sun and no land in any direction as far as the eye can see. Not to mention the very obvious fact that I have no food nor water. At least I got Crow, that's something. Not a lot, but something.
I can think of only one word right now, and it won't really do me any good HELP!
If God or the Balance or some other cosmic force is watching right now, why don't we agree on this? You get me out of this, I owe you a favor. Deal? Is that a yes?
Captured! Kidnapped! Abducted! By mermen! I'm trapped underwater, in a tiny little bubble of air, and why am I not panicking right about now? If I'm ever gonna panic, this would be a good time. I'm claustrophobic AND I have a fear of water. This situation combines all my phobias into one, tidy little package, and yet I feel...relaxed. Like it's all gonna be okay, it's gonna work itself out.
April...listen to me...you're screwed! How are you gonna get out of this one? By using your HEAD? Right. My head. That'll help me breathe under water. No, what I need is some scuba-diving equipment. Either that or gills. And I need to talk to these merpeople, find out why they saw fit to "rescue" me and bring me here.
The Maerum Queen believes I may be what they call "the Waterstiller". Why not? After all, I am April Bandu-Embata, and I'm probably what the Venar call the Kan-ang-la, so why not the Waterstiller? Thing is, this time I have to PROVE it. The Waterstiller is supposed to uncover an Ancient Shrine and bring light to the darkness...which I've already done. Then, I have to show some proof of my mission - the talisman, which the captain locked away in the chest - and kill a Snapjaw. Kill a SNAPJAW! What am I, an Amazon hunting woman person? I think not. I have a hard time smacking a fly. But if I wanna get outta here...
The talisman probably went down with the ship. I wonder how difficult it would be to get a hold of it?
I am the Waterstiller. How strange it is to be so insignificant, yet so important. There are so many who have been waiting for me, or somebody like me, to come and bring hope into their lives...it's truly amazing. And even more amazing, I'm able to cope with it! I'm still in denial, no question about that, but I'm warming up to the idea that I'm actually not just some tiny speck of dust in the cosmic infinity, but a person with a mission, with a place, with a purpose.
Right now, my purpose is to find the Alatien and to reunite them with the Maerum so that both species can thrive once more. That done, I can find out what the Alatien know, and then pay a visit to this sleeping god of the Maerum. I'm counting on this guy being one of the Kin. If not, I've no idea what to do next.
=== 05/08/2209 ===
Early Saturday morning.
Back home, at this time, I'd be safely snuggled up in bed, safe in the knowledge that it's Saturday, I've got nowhere I have to be, I can just relax all day long, maybe go to the café, hang out for a while, maybe go to the Florence Park, whatever...
This all started a week ago yesterday. One week of mysteries and danger and strange revelations about the very nature of the cosmos. And I'm still reasonably sane. At least that accounts for something.
Now I know there's an Alatien village somewhere on Alais. The question is where? And how do I get there? If the Maerum and Alatien used to live close to each other, the village should be somewhere down by the sea...maybe right around the corner.
I found this Orlowol on the beach, and it looked like it was in pain, like it was getting slowly strangled or something. It was really sad, but I couldn't do anything...the thing is just too big and solid for me. I need somebody to help me, somebody big and strong. Where do I find a person like that on an island like this?
'''Wake up Q'aman'''
Saturday, around noon.
Found out why the island keeps rumbling. It's not an imminent volcanic eruption, as I'd feared, but rather the snoring of a very, very large man, transmitted through a kind of telephone to a large "speaker" in the middle of the island. With all this snoring going on, nobody's getting any work done, and that's a Bad Thing. So we need...no, I need, to wake this guy Q'aman up. Somehow. And the key to this, what, puzzle? The key to this puzzle is, I think, these "telephones" that are scattered around the island.
Saturday, late afternoon.
The Maerum and the Alatien are well on the road to forging a lasting union, and I hope this will bring prosperity to them both. They've suffered enough as it is, and I'm happy I had a chance to help them come to terms with their past and to face the future together. Okay, April is getting a little sentimental here, but who can blame me? I worked hard to get them talking, damn it, so I deserve a little credit!
At any rate, the journey continues, this time into the lair of the Maerum Sleeping God. Unfortunately, the Alatien weren't able to tell me as much as I would have liked, but at least I have another stone now. That makes two. And I'm pretty certain this god, this Draic Kin, will be able to help me out with some definite answers. I deserve that too.
Saturday evening, August 5th 2209.
The ancient dragon, the Maerum Sleeping God, was obtuse, like most creatures I've met this past week, but at least he gave me Blue Jewel, and he's taking me to meet the Dark People, and apparently they will give me a Star Map, where the entrance to the Guardian's Realm is now located. Amongst the stars! How the hell am I gonna get up there? Well, I'll deal with that problem later on. For now I'll just keep obsessing about what the dragon said, about who I am, what I am. He said that my journey began with an answer, and it's only now that I know the question. What does THAT mean? I feel I should know, that the answer is just right there in front of me, but I can't grasp it. I just don't know what he means. And it's really, really frustrating.
=== 06/08/2209 ===
Sunday August 6th, early morning.
How many weird and mysterious people are there in Arcadia? It seems for every "normal" person (and I mean that in the broadest possible sense), there are five or six strange, obtuse, meandering creatures with a tendency to speak really slowly and say things like "Who are you?" and "I see your path, April, and it's not an easy one" and "It is destiny". Like, hello, update your vocabulary already! Learn some new words, lighten up, wear plaid, whatever.
That said, I kinda liked these Dark People. Scary, yes, and probably heavily into the Goth-scene, but they gave me exactly what I wanted - the starmap and the Dark People's Stone. They even brought me right back to Marcuria, where, alien or not, I can at least find my way around. If only the city didn't look so...empty. And dark. What's going on?
Sunday morning, back in "Stark", back in Newport!
Wow. That...thing, that Chaos Vortex, popped up. Again. I guess "again", because I'd really hoped our first rendezvous was a dream, nothing but a dream, but hey, apparently not. So not only is it back, it looks like it's chasing me, and it's gotten a hell of a lot BIGGER! Now, by some incredible stroke of luck (or, more likely, Cortez), a Shift opened up in the nick of time and deposited me here, in the cathedral. Convenient, if a little freaky. And why wait so long to bring me back? Not that I haven't accomplished almost everything I need to accomplish in Arcadia (save for the fourth piece of the stone disc and the second Arcadian Dragon's Eye jewel), but come on, Cortez could've at least brought me back for a change of underwear at some point!
'''Cortez is gone'''
Father Raul tells me that Cortez hasn't been around for a whole week, not since I overheard the conversation between the two of them last Sunday. That's pretty scary. And it also means that whoever brought me back here, whoever helped me open a Shift, it wasn't him.
Wait...the dream I had, a few nights ago. I remember it distinctly. I saw Cortez, trapped inside some machine. I thought that was just a nightmare. Could it be that what I was seeing was some kind of vision? It's not impossible. But where is he being kept, and who's behind it? Safe money it's got something to do with the Vanguard.
I need to get home and figure stuff out.
'''Encounter With Gordon'''
Sunday, August 6th. Late morning.
They shot Emma. They killed her. God knows what they've done to Mickey and Fiona. And Zack, they got him too, but I'm not gonna shed any tears over him. He sold us out, all of us, because of me. It's all my fault. I got them involved, my friends, and it got Emma killed, and maybe the others too, and I don't know what to do or how to feel. I'm so miserable! I hate myself, yet at the same time, could I have done anything different? They were all caught up in...we were all caught up in whatever this is, this cosmic farce. Is it ever gonna end? Maybe when I accept my destiny and give up everything to become Guardian, maybe that's where it's gonna end, and now I don't...no choice, because if I give up now, Emma's death will mean NOTHING. I have to go on. I have to go on, now more than ever.
Sunday, August 6th, around mid-day, and my life was hanging by a thin thread this morning. If the Lady Alvane hadn't "invited" me to her house (by way of what looked like a Shift), I would have been captured and maybe killed by now. She also told me that Emma will be okay, and even though I can't be sure she's telling me the truth, I trust that she is. There was something about her, something so disconcertingly familiar, that I can't help but trust her implicitly. Not to mention the fact that she helped me out when I most needed it. It's really strange how much she seemed to know about me, and it's so frustrating that she wouldn't tell me more. At least she brought me here, to Marcuria, to see how people are holding up in the face of war, and, I guess, to complete the disc. I wonder who's stayed on? Tobias, maybe. Or Abnaxus. I don't think he'd leave without saying goodbye. And Brian. Can't forget Brian. I'll have to go visit them all, one last time.
Marcuria is completely deserted. It's strange how ghost-like the city feels, how frightening a familiar sight can be when there's nobody around, when all you can hear is the wind and the sea. Where did they all go in such a hurry? The city has not been invaded - everything looks the same as it did before. The Tyren army must be close, though, if nobody dared stay any longer. I'll have to hurry up and get things done before they get here. I don't know a lot about these Tyren creatures, but from what I've been told they're not particularly friendly.
Sunday, early afternoon.
I got the Venar Stone, the last piece of the disc of the Balance! Abnaxus had it...I'm so glad it was him, although I wish he'd told me earlier. At least I didn't have to go find another magical species living in a lake of lava or in some kind of poisonous swamp or something like that. So what now? Well, these four stones are supposed to be combined into one stone, one disc, which will serve as a key into the Guardian's Realm. The question is, how do I make this disc? And where? Tobias told me the disc used to be kept at the Enclave, so that's a good place to start. I guess.
Sunday, August 6th, mid-afternoon.
I figured out where the four pieces of the disc used to be kept, at the Enclave, and with a little help from Crow I managed to melt the stones with fire into one complete stone disc. Now, all I have to do is retrieve the disc from the pool inside the library, find the second Arcadian Dragon's Eye jewel, and go home. The fact that I have no idea how to go about accomplishing those two last tasks doesn't really bother me. I've been in worse binds before, and all of them during this past week, so I'm betting I'll be able to figure this one out too!
Again with the last minute Shifting! What's up with that? Who's doing this? Am I really opening a Shift on my own without realizing it? And can I only do this when I'm scared out of my mind? That's not particularly convenient.
But now I'm just thinking about myself, which I have a nasty habit of doing. What about Minstrum Yerin, and Brian, and all the other people left in Marcuria? They're facing an army with nothing but their courage. How are they going to cope? I have it easy. I can always run away. They can't. They have too much fight for.
I'll just have to help them out the only way I know how, by finishing what I started. I still need to go back to Arcadia one last time, to retrieve the White Jewel's Eye jewel. And I think I know where to find it, where all this started. The only question is, how do I get there? Lady Alvane said to use my talent to focus my powers. And my only talent...is art.
'''Death of the Mother'''
Sunday, late afternoon.
The White Dragon is dead, but she lives on in her daughter, in the White Dragon reborn. But to know now that she was my mother, my real mother...I don't know how to feel anymore. Is it true? It is, because I FEEL that it is, and because that would explain so much. My journey did begin with an answer, like the old dragon told me, and it's only now that I know the question; who am I? I'm the daughter of the White of the Draic Kin, which makes me one of the Kin...whatever THAT means. So am I still April Ryan? Am I still myself? I don't even know that. I've always known I was adopted, but this...to know that I'm not even really human, that I was put on this Earth for a purpose, and that everything happens for a reason. Scary. Suddenly the prospect of becoming Guardian doesn't seem so impossible after all. At least it would put an end to all my problems, for the time being. Kinda like checking out of the world for a time. One thousand years.
Right, so here's the plan.
I got the disc, I got two of the Dragon's Eye jewels, I got the starmap and Burns Flipper should have my ID Card ready right about now. Which means I can get to Grendel Avenue where the Vanguard have their headquarters, and with luck I'll be able to find out what they know about the Guardian, if they have him. Also, I need to find somebody to decode this starmap for me, to find out where the entrance to the Guardian's Realm is located. That done, I "just" need to find the second two jewels - Cortez told me he knew where to find them, so this means I'll have to find HIM. God, my schedule is really packed, isn't it?
Sunday, August 6th, 2209.
Early evening, just before sunset. How many more surprises is life gonna spring on me today? And how many more of my friends will have to die before this is all over? Two in one day is just...too much. Cortez. I can't believe that he's gone, just like that. And the fact that he was...one of the Kin... I didn't even think... I should have known, of course, but then again I'm not used to friends and family turning out to be dragons from other planets. At least, not until last week.
So Cortez and Jacob McAllen were the two Draic Kin in Stark. Now I have all four jewels, or I will as soon as I retrieve the disc and the jewels from McAllen's safe.
Actually, come to think of it, does a fall like that kill dragons?
When I went back to the Flipper to ask him about the starmap, there was another surprise waiting for me. He'd been shot and left for dead by good old Gordon Halloway, my bestest friend in the whole wide world. Flipper was still alive when I got there (barely), and it turns out he'd sold me out...not that he had a choice, unlike Zack...but at least he felt bad about it, and he managed to give me the information I needed before he... Gordon took the Guardian to a colonial transfer station called the Morning Star. The entrance, the wormhole, that leads into the Guardian's Realm is located not too far away from the station. So now I need to get THERE, somehow. I think it's time to rethink that whole colonization program. Maybe it's good for something after all.
This is turning into one hell of a long journey, from Newport, to Alais, and into outer space. Too bad I don't get frequent flyer miles.
=== 07/08/2209 ===
Monday, August 7th, 2209.
I'm in space. In space! Can you believe that? The trip here went pretty smoothly, all things considered, and my Bokamba/Mercer/M colonist's outfit looks pretty sweet on me, believe it or not. But enough with the kidding around, I got a job to do. I need to get away from these colonists before I actually get shipped to some far-off planet. Then I need to rescue the Guardian from wherever it is he's being kept, and together we have to get out there, into space, and open up the wormhole. Once we're inside the Guardian's Realm, we're home free. I hope.
Adrian told me that, once I arrive in the Guardian's Realm, there are Three Trials I must pass in order to get to the tower. The first is the Trial of Might, the second, the Trial of Spirit, and the third is the Trial of Matter. Considering what I've been through so far I don't think I'll have a problem with either of them, but you never know. Best to be prepared.
I do wonder, however, what my greatest fear may be? It used to be water, but now that I can BREATHE under water, I don't really have that phobia any more. As for spiders...hey, they're disgusting, but I've fought the Gribbler. No creature, great or small, can scare me any more. No, it's got to be something more personal, something I've probably blocked out... But what?
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