39th day of Harvest, Molash, Bechia

Curses, no! No, no, no… Maker, it can’t be true, it can’t… All this time I’ve been sitting with my nose to the page, searching, wasting time while I thought everything was secure around me. I hope I’m not too late.

But Maker… it’s so terrible, so utterly horrifying! It can’t be true. Maybe the writings are falsified, forged. It was one of the official, impartial, impersonal parchments where I found it, though – an agreement, signed and sealed. Every season, a percentage of the human population was to be surrendered as prisoners to the lurkers, and in exchange, the survivors would be left in peace. This agreement must have been what the soldiers had fought so hard to prevent… And that odd hand writing cold letters… this must have benefited him somehow.

So there was no weapon, no weakness. All this time I had hoped to find a way to destroy the lurkers, but I had found only a deeper darkness. Such an agreement is worse than dying to protect your friends from the creatures. It is soul-stealing and evil. It forces someone to periodically assign death to some of his people.

The document’s date was closely shadowed by another cold-hand letter. This one suggested that weak elders and sick people could be sent as tribute. What was he doing… trying to build his own idyllic society? What of the wisdom of elders? What of compassion on the weak?

Where are all the Silencian leaders? The nobility? The Wyvern Lords? The lords and ladies? I went to the keep and asked for Meramon or the other Wyvern Lord who was here, but I was told that they had left. Perhaps they were bringing the last of the refugees across the sea. More food for the lurkers.

The Bechians… could they truly be so cruel? It makes sense now, though, that they had been so inviting and hospitable to so many homeless people. With so many foreigners, they have a far better chance of outliving the tributes and seeing their fellow countrymen live long lives with them.