Admiral’s Log; October 17, 2017 (W.R.)
We arrived in Freehold after the tolling of the bells, summoned by Freefolk Witches and Adepts. Freehold had already faced the mists and most of them survived. Through various methods, the Kings in Gold, Jade, Azure, Crystal, even the King in Black arrived in Freehold Proper.
The Datus then gathered for the first time in decades. Through a bit of theatrics and annoying bits, Kapitan Zaragoza revealed himself as the King in Crimson.
Yes, I wrote that correctly.
He’d been in hiding for… well, much longer than any of us expected. The other Kings knew but they kept it from us all — their own secrets were at risk here. Zaragoza explained the true tale of what happened at the Tower of Aruan one hundred years ago.
By the retelling of the Kings, Gabriella, the King in Gold was originally the King in Indigo but her fleet drowned in battle. The King in Gold was originally Riza, now fueled by betrayal and vengeance. The ritual the Datus attempted all those years ago was intended to destroy the Writhing Curse. Depending on who you ask, a number of things went wrong and it resulted in the spell backfiring.
The Datus were rendered unaging, Riza was gone, and Gabriella was dead — though the strength of her World-Lock returned her to a painful life.
The Kings that gathered in town were the same Pintados of old – the ancient heroes of the Riverfolk, hidden in plain sight for one hundred years. They were working in secret against the Writhing Curse and had it known they were still alive, then it surely would have moved to stop them. During our visit to Freehold, the Datus assisted in various ways to ward or bolster the Freefolk.
When night fell, Riza sprung her trap. Her magics separated us and sent us to several hellish pocket dimensions. After the Freefolk fought their way through hell, we reconvened and found a way through the hungry mists to the Tower of Arauan.
After a fierce battle, Riza was painfully purified and the Writhing Maw was defeated. The Writhing Curse was abated… or so we thought. Now that I am ship-side, I have heard more reports. It is still out there, it is still claiming souls. Something has gone awry with the rite — was the King in Jade mistaken? Or is this another trick of Kristoff to keep us all at each other’s throats? Or perhaps, one of the Kings is in the employ of the Writhing Curse itself, playing at immunity while accursed?
There are so many questions now. Add to them the strange nightmare the Kings have been having… with the same strange, horrifying figure.
Fell portents aside. This has cost us all much and the Freefolk are not exempt. Indee Malvolen, once of the Jade Fleet, perished fighting the Writhing Maw as it came gnashing out of the King in Gold. She will be mourned and missed but never forgotten.
Spring awaits us all.
Rest well, my friend.
Gabi Laguna, Admiral of the Golden Fleet*
Gold speaks in all tongues and to all hearts
*Written by Nana McConnell