Himmelveil's Mightiest Heroes

Excerpts from Asa's Diary, Part 14

The War is Ended. Be at Peace.

We ended the fight with The Skull exhausted. We needed true rest. Spiritual or magical healing is certainly worthwhile, but true rest and recovery was required. We had been on the move for I don’t even know how many hours tracing a path across the Empire. Since we escaped with Galon from Rossinar’s experiment chamber, we’d been to Avalon, Ostern, Hydran’s planar castle, Gloommoore, back to Ostern to the Hydran prison camp, The Watcher’s mountain lab, and back to Gloommoore to finish The Skull. Had I even slept since those days waiting for Galon to emerge from the chamber? It feels so long ago.

And yet, we surely could not stay here in Gloommoore. At the end of our strength we needed to travel once more. But where? Separated from the others, could we find the rest we desperately needed? Where could we go and be secure? Where could we be best positioned to reunite with the companions we left behind at The Watcher’s?

Vondarra and Piero wanted to go see their father. It would certainly be safe but I didn’t care for that idea. I wasn’t yet ready to face Magnus. The carnage in Ostern was still too fresh. But they were insistent. I didn’t envy Vondarra that confrontation – and confront him, she surely would. Piero seemed to care not. He just wanted to go home and see dad. I guess Magnus deserved an update on all that his children have accomplished. Whatever she could report back to us would be a bonus.

I was sorry to see them go. They had been instrumental in the defeat of both Stryker and The Skull. Those efforts should not go unrecognized. Not just by the Empire, but more especially by our small team. They were great, strong efforts to do right in the face of the doubts and mistrust which still lingered among us because of their betrayals under the influence of Kodok. Hopefully the positive report of Natasha would help convince the others of their faithfulness to the Empire.

Thankfully, before departing for Ashteron Magus, Vondarra agreed to use the power of the indigo stone to take us wherever we might like to go. Depleted and tired, we decided to regroup at Winterbridge. Presumably it was safe and out of the flow of any lingering battles. At the least we would hopefully find General Talabad and any of his remaining forces and through him perhaps secure a means of communicating with our missing friends. The decision made, we were gone.

We landed in an empty field a short distance outside the battle-scarred remains of Winterbridge. It was quiet. The only signs of the Empire were the trampled grass and scattered remnants of a hastily packed up camp. Natasha, Caroline, Ferrus, and the ever present Visionaire joined me at our impromptu camp. Vondarra and Piero departed immediately for Ashteron Magus.

As we were setting up camp, Ferrus questioned Visionaire about his construction. He didn’t have too much in the way of specific details, except to say he “came from the Life Forge.” Ferrus perked up at that. What is that? I’d never heard tell of it. All Visionaire could tell us was that it was some sort of eldritch engine located in the deep. Another of his kind, “the ultimate construct,” created him through this engine. That “ultimate” construct was created by a man named Hagerick. And that is all he knew of his creation. He had no memories prior to three weeks ago, the day of his creation. He said no more.

It was perplexing, but as exhausted as I was I hadn’t the care to think much about it. Nor to wonder about the wisdom of leaving Visionaire to keep watch. So exhausted and greatly in need of rest I entered my tent and dropped immediately into a deep sleep.

During the night, I was awakened in my tent by Quarion. I was surprised and not happy about the interruption. I tried to shake the sleep and understand his excitement, but I was groggy and couldn’t really follow him. He said something about The Watcher in the mountain. I think. Ygritte, Buccarin, and Tam were with him. He eventually agreed it could wait until morning and he left the tent. I was grateful to return to sleep with no further disturbance.

Early the next morning, I rose and readied myself for the day, grateful for the rest however short it seemed. I stepped out of the tent wondering if I truly spoke with Quarion during the night. Did our friends truly find us? They did. There were definitely more tents than had been there when I fell into my slumber. So that was a great help. But thoughts of my groggy conversation snapped out of my mind immediately and I never did get back to asking him about it. Kyn Wrath was seated at the center of the camp, injured.

I responded quickly to tend to Wrath’s wounds while Visionaire began to rouse the others. How long had he been there? Why hadn’t Visionaire roused me to help? Wrath waved my inquiry away. He knew his injuries could wait until morning and that our rest was most important. I was frustrated, but what’s done was done. Wrath was with us now and he had a tale to tell.

Black Watch had fallen. In a bold move as part of the House Hydran assault, agents of the Black Watch had turned on the Empire and declared their loyalties for Raishghoulin, the mastermind orchestrating the coup. Ygritte bristled at the mention – she knew the name. Wrath continued. The tower was in chaos. Agents had killed – were killing – other agents. He didn’t know if it was finished or who was left alive. He got out when he saw an opportunity. Wrath believed that his top agents – Jaspen, Samwell, and Mora – were still loyal and he hoped to find them soon. He hoped they would secure others and re-marshal the organization. But Ygritte had more bad news for Wrath: Jaspen was in league with Raishghoulin.

Wrath informed us that his most recent intelligence revealed that Raishghoulin had taken his forces to Nandapar. We knew it was a potential site for a Hydran base of operations, but Ygritte responded to the news with great urgency. She had heard tell of some fount of magical energy which resided there and we had to do everything possible to keep Raishghoulin from it. Natasha agreed immediately. I didn’t know exactly why they reacted so, but I didn’t mind. Rested and refreshed, I was happy to be on the move again. More Hydran enemies were out there and that meant there was more to do.

Wrath said he was able to get a message to General Talabad to rally the Empire’s forces and meet us there. We quickly packed up and with Quarion’s aid we were off to Nandapar at the speed of his thought.

We landed within a cavernous room. With my sword out, the area was filled with light revealing a hallway leading out directly ahead and a smaller alcove off to the left. At the end of the alcove was a staircase leading down. It was quiet and it didn’t appear that anyone had yet made it this far.

Relieved, Ygritte ran down the hall into an anteroom as the rest of us prepared for whatever Hydran forces awaited us. A secret door on the far side of that room opened from without. Whoever approached must’ve heard us. With a sound of shattering glass, a gas cloud was released into the hallway where we were preparing to rush. Ygritte hollered out orders to avoid the cloud. Ferrus stepped up, created a wind, and blew the fog back into the far room. Quarion threw a fireball into the cloud, igniting it, and causing it to dissipate.

With the cloud gone, we caught our first glimpse of Raishghoulin. He charged past us all and attacked Natasha, positioned as she typically was at the back, our last line of defense. He struck out at her so quickly she stumbled badly taking a devastating hit. She struck back at him, but only dealt a glancing blow.

Responding to our injured friend, Wrath pulled out a dark piece of metal and pointed it at Raishghoulin. There was a loud bang, fire came out of the end of it and Raishghoulin jerked as if hit by something. I had never seen anything like this. I wondered momentarily what it was but the fight was on and I had no time to find out. Visionaire struck at Raishghoulin, then Caroline and Buccarin, hurting him, but not crippling him. Seeing Natasha’s distress, I reached out and restored some of what Raishghoulin had stolen away. It wouldn’t be enough.

Visionaire hit Raishghoulin again. Caroline too. Our onslaught was heavy in defense of Natasha and he dropped. But before Caroline’s blow felled him, he struck out again at Natasha and she fell. Dead? God forbid. I couldn’t tell from my distance. I had tried to help her but was too far away to do much. Or to put myself under Raishghoulin’s blade. I wished I had prepared differently for the day. Perhaps there was something else I could have done. But she was gone and my heart broke. One of my closest and dependable companions, dropped by this evil.

I ran over and knelt at her side. Calling down the power and blessing of the Nameless One I asked that He restore her. In His overwhelming grace He responded and Natasha began breathing again, though she was obviously still in distress. I wept at the blessing.

But fire raged within me. I stood and turned and prepared to take another head.

In the meantime, Quarion had created a stone wall spanning the alcove leading to the stairs. It would take much effort to get past it. This was yet another smart move by Quarion. He was devilishly great in a fight. His personality was volatile, of course, and always bore watching, but where I all too often engaged the enemy without a strategic care, Quarion with his tricks and spells never fails to think in other, creative ways. I’m thankful he’s with us. And I’m thankful he was thinking ahead. For, no doubt, whatever we faced in Nandapar was only just beginning.

As we tended to Natasha, Ferrus responded to his outrage more quickly than I did. He moved to confirm Raishghoulin’s death. But in that moment, Raishghoulin struck out at Ferrus, stabbing him in the leg. We all raged at the ruse, but again prepared, Quarion quickly mumbled a response and I watched as Raishghoulin’s flesh, blood, and bone crumbled into dust leaving only his clothing and gear behind to know he had ever been there. There was no pretending now. Raishghoulin was dead.

Hearing the sounds of fighting down the hallway, I rushed to help. I wasn’t the first to do so. Buccarin and Tam had already moved to assist Ygritte. She was heavily engaged with a small group of assassins while a blond-haired woman wearing black leather armor stood in the corner directing the others. Ygritte told me later this was Yelena, Raishghoulin’s daughter, and though I didn’t know the details, I understood from brief hints of conversation that Yelena was a chief rival of Ygritte’s in the Assassin’s Guild.

Ygritte did her best to get to Yelena but the other assassins were equal at preventing her. Buccarin had drawn the attention of one and was standing on a raised altar in the center of the room fighting him. Tam was engaged directly with Yelena and appeared battered and shaken. As I watched, she struck him again and moved into the hallway. The other assassins retreated to surround and protect her. Tam retreated as well, back along the wall of the anteroom and tossed a smoke bomb into the hallway. Ygritte and Buccarin both yelled as they saw the bomb floating, but it was too late to stop it. The smoke erupted. It enveloped Yelena and her team.

Ygritte charged into to the smoke. Buccarin jumped off the altar and followed suit. I ran to follow but as was typical, I moved too slowly and when I arrived found the smoke empty. The assassins were gone. They had escaped to the surface with Ygritte and Buccarin in pursuit.

When all this is over I must remember to speak with Tam about these smoke tactics. We accepted his presence at the request of Oberon, but we will not suffer it long if he cannot work better with us. I don’t know if it’s because he’s used to working alone or because he’s better working in darkness or some other reason. This isn’t all on him, of course. There’s no doubt we’re not the easiest group to step into. We’re all pretty set in our ways and there’s no denying we have made our own share of strategic errors. But if he is to continue in this partnership he must find a better way.

Wrath and Visionaire quickly pursued the fleeing enemies. Tam had incurred serious injury so I tended to him and the others before heading to the surface. I looked around, though, and Natasha was gone. But where? Caroline assured me she was safe. Quarion had teleported her away behind the wall and they were investigating the “pool” or whatever it was Raishghoulin was chasing.

Outside the temple I found an incredible battle raging across the mountain. The Empire had brought the full weight of their remaining armies and had engaged with Hydran in a brutal last stand. Even the elves were there. Thunor and Oberon hovered in the sky wreaking their own special forms of havoc.

Suddenly, a rumble spread throughout the mountain, growing louder and louder, shaking the ground. Simultaneously, an incredibly bright light burst from the temple behind me and arced across the sky. It stunned everyone on the surface into stillness, friend and foe alike. A beam of the light streamed away, shooting towards Thunor and it enveloped him. It was odd, though. It didn’t appear to harm him, but rather fill him. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was joyful, almost. And then I understood. His expression was one like my own when I am exulting in the power of the Nameless One. This was divine power, flowing into Thunor and through him.

Other beams of the light arced out across the sky and disappeared from sight. One or two others found receptacles among the fight. One found Oberon where he flew. Was that Syen? Even she was filled and overcome with this divine power. Truly, I was happy to see her and Thunor. We had lost track of them in Ostern. I prayed they were well and it appeared that it was so.

As the light faded into the distance there was a general sense among us on the battlefield that it was over. Whatever fight was left in Hydran drained away and they succumbed to the overwhelming Empire forces around them. The battle was drawing to a close.

Glancing around, I noticed Ygritte and Buccarin. They had caught up with Yelena and were striking her with determination. The bodies of the fellow assassins lay dead beside them. I watched as Ygritte lashed out again with her kama and struck Yelena down. There was murderous intent in her expression and a hot passion in her eyes. I don’t recall ever seeing her like this before. During a fight she was generally much more steady and emotionless. I would not judge her if there was a little something of that in her in that moment for I knew how killing the Hydran leadership had affected me. That glee frightened me. It made me feel like I was losing my center. Losing that peace with which the Nameless One graced me. I wondered if Ygritte had ever before been affected by killing like she was this day. But then, as I watched her confirm the death of the woman, Ygritte pulled herself back from the edge. That passion can be dangerous. I should remember to ask her about it later. Perhaps it would help her to talk about it.

The Empire’s final push had brought down these last remaining dregs of the Hydran army. Raishghoulin was the last of the “heads” and he was now dust. There was no one left to give the orders. No one left to stir the fear or the fire within the soldiers.

Ah, there was General Talabad! Galon was beside him! As if called, we all made our way there so we could end the fight together. Thunor and Syen with Ayame. Ygritte. Buccarin. Ferrus and Visionaire. Caroline and Tam. Quarion appeared with Natasha and she was restored! In fact, she seemed better, somehow. Better than I had ever seen her. I presumed it was simply joy at seeing her well. I only learned later the truth, but that is not for this record. Only Vondarra and Piero weren’t there to celebrate the end of the war. (And the missing Irec, of course.) But as much as I wished they were there to share the joy with us, part of me was grateful that Magnus and the Brotherhood were not here. I know what I feared. I need not say it. I was relieved.

But where was Wrath? In the scramble on the surface, no one knew.

The war was over. We had accomplished much over the last month in duty to and for the saving of the Empire. I was grateful it was finished. We had survived desperate moments and enjoyed incredible triumphs. Highs and lows. We encountered much evil and destroyed it. We were truly blessed to have been successful in ridding the Empire of such enemies of peace.

Even so, if I have learned anything through the course of the fight, things are never as black and white as I wanted them to be. So Lord, I pray. Desperately, I pray for a constant supply of your wisdom. Allow me to see those parts of me which need correction. Keep me attuned to your will. Keep me on my knees in supplication to your overwhelming power. Allow me to be your representative in whatever capacity I am seen among the people. You have graced me with the use of your power to rid the earth of these evils. Now use me to bring peace and healing. These may not go hand-in-hand, but nevertheless help me be your faithful servant. In all things let this be your will.

For now, we had time for rest and recovery. I spent much of it at the Temple in prayer and in meetings, helping the Elders assess the state of the Templars and how best to recover our own numbers and help in the reconstruction efforts in Himmelveil and across the Empire. Elsewhere, much devastation had taken place. Nowhere had suffered as badly as Ostern. But Winterbridge, Nandapar, Gloommoore, and other smaller towns and villages needed help too. General Talabad and his soldiers were coordinating reconstruction efforts with his engineers and were stretched thin. But what of the citizens? It was here where the Temple was able to be of great aid. Refugees, where they remained, needed help and protection. So the Temple was taking in and housing those in need. I was grateful we were able to maintain some semblance of our mission during these most desperate of times. Let the healing begin.

Himmelveil survived the Hydran assault, though the wall was badly damaged and in need of repair. Even so, it remained structurally sound. Institutionally, however, Himmelveil was in shambles. The Assassin’s Guild was wiped out. The Wizard’s Tower was emptied (though a good number of them were out with the Empire’s forces beginning the rebuild in Winterbridge, Ostern, and elsewhere). The Black Watch was destroyed. Wrath was missing. Only the forces of the Empress’ Royal Guard remained intact in the city. General Talabad and his soldiers were coordinating relief efforts with his engineers. General Rossinar and his loyalists were up to their own work on behalf of the Empress. I knew not what or where.

Besides this business I also spent some time in relaxation with my companions. In the common areas of the manor I ran into the others to say hello or have a drink or enjoy a meal. I knew there were things we should discuss, but everyone seemed reluctant to begin. There would be time enough for sobriety and seriousness. It need not be now.

But primarily, I spent much time in meditation and reflection. I took a difficult look at myself, my motivations, and my intentions as we dealt with the enemy. The Hydran enemies were usually obvious but there were certainly times we found them hidden in our midst. Did I become too trusting? It is my way, I know. And I believe it the way the Lord would have me be. But it doesn’t mean I should shut both eyes. Be trusting but cautious. We’ve so many new companions it is imperative.

Speaking of which, we were able to share our tactical concerns with Tam. I do not suppose he took it well; he didn’t say much. I tried to be gracious, but… well, it needed to be said. He left shortly thereafter and we haven’t seen him since. I wonder if he’ll be back. Perhaps it is for the best. We are a large and diverse team. We ought to be able to find a useful place for him. I will try to do better if he ever returns. I pray I didn’t push him beyond the reach of your grace, Lord. Help me be more tactful. Give me the right words at the right times. Help me always be your faithful representative.

Galon has been busy on business for the Empress and we haven’t seen much of him. Ferrus has basically hidden himself away in the basement of the manor. I know not what he does down there; I probably wouldn’t understand it if I did know. But there he stays, tinkering, building, something. Visionaire has also joined us in the manor. He seems attached to Vondarra in a small way. But he is slowly attempting to acclimate himself into our group and the city as a whole. Every day holds new experiences for him. It is easy to forget he is barely a month old. I must be patient with him. Caroline has made herself at home at the manor as well. She presents quite a diversion as she is easily excitable and ready for any sort of adventure. She’ll bring an interesting dynamic to the group if she sticks around. Buccarin, on the other hand, has withdrawn into the Assassin’s Guild towers with Ygritte. They spend much time there together. He is purportedly researching the Guild, perhaps looking for references to his past and anything which may spark his memories as they have not yet returned. He is a quiet man and very distrustful. Ygritte is rebuilding some of that with him, but there is far to go before he will be comfortable among us.

Of Irec there has been no word.

One odd occurrence during that week following the war was my interaction with our butler, Jacques Snow. For whatever reason, I could not recall our having hired him. I asked about, but no one seemed to know for certain. I thought we had hired servants who were not so impertinent. I began to question things because he seemed ever present and very, very quiet. There were a number of times I thought I was alone only to find him planted behind me. There was even a time while writing this record when he seemed to be reading along as I wrote. It was unsettling. But for now, he’ll do, I guess. He seems quite able and the manor seems to be functioning well in all ways. With so many spies about, it bears watching, but I hope we do not need to replace him.

During the week following the end of the fighting at Nandapar, we received a summons from the Empress. She requested our presence before her. It was not for us to decline.

Unexpectedly, it was filled with moments of celebration and moments of concern. But overall, it was a time for new beginnings.

Oberon was there with his usual entourage, but also present was his wife and Umim and Thumin. Shockingly, they were in elven form, not ravens. They were very bird-like in their mannerisms, however, and their voices were unmistakable. During the course of the event, the Empress spoke with Oberon for quite some time. It appeared heated at times and though it ended pleasantly enough, it ended with sadness. Oberon is removing Avalon to the Astral Sea. Thunor, however, would remain behind as Viceroy of the Greenwood and Defender of the Realm.

Masked Viktonus was present as well, presumably as Ostern’s last remaining royal representative. He was very guarded in his manner and his words. I believe he was fighting back some anger in every moment of his interactions. In the end, he remained restrained, and he received gold from the Empress and her leave to return to Ostern to rebuild his castle, his people, and his lands. If he needs assistance, he need only ask and the Empire will assist.

General Rossinar was also present with his entourage, including a changed Okiru. I couldn’t place what was different about her since we saw her last at the experiment chamber, but she was definitely changed. During the course of the event, Caroline and I had a chance to pull Rossinar aside and speak with him. We asked him about the experiments and if they were ongoing. He nodded and appeared hesitant to speak much of it. He confirmed that Okiru had successfully emerged from the chamber. But he revealed that not all were successful. A couple of the test “subjects” had not survived the process. Subjects. It disgusts me to even use that word. The men, the women, the citizens. Whoever they were, they deserved more mercy than that word gives them. Rossinar confirmed for us that Creed had not yet gone through the process, but interestingly enough, we learned that Creed was imprisoned. He would not reveal why, but left it at that. That certainly bears watching. And we must tell Galon about it. It was only later we discovered, when speaking with Vondarra, that Magnus has sent Creed to spy on Rossinar and sabotage the chamber. Something had gone wrong there, but it certainly cast Creed in a different, more complex light.

Magnus too was present, accompanied by Piero, Duke Frederick, and a mage in orange robes. The Empress, evincing grace and power beyond her seventeen years, both recognized Magnus and also rebuked him for his actions at Ostern. The floating island of Ashteron Magus was recognized as a kingdom of the Empire and given all rights, allegiances, and oaths which rightfully belong with it.

Perhaps the Empress shows greater wisdom than some of us might own. There is a proverb to keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Perhaps this is what she does with Magnus and Rossinar. This relationship, too, bears watching. We must be vigilant in it and protect her at all costs.

The Empress also saw fit to dispense new rewards and official Empire titles to most of my companions. I was pleased at the recognition and honor which they received. It is so greatly deserved.

Ygritte was named the Left Hand of the Empress. In this she joins Galon, the Right Hand of the Empress and Wolf of the Empire, to remain diligent in the guarding of the Empress. She will do well here. Though always on call, she has proved her loyalty to the Empire in the midst of the betrayal and decimation of the Assassin’s Guild. She is proven in battle and fearless. The Empress is in good hands.

Our new companion Caroline was named the Imperial Grand Knight Warden, Chief Defender of the Empire’s Borders. I do not know her enough to know the wisdom of this choice. But she clearly has mettle and has fit in quite easily amongst us. The trust of Wrath must count for something here, too. It is an enormous task to defend the borders of the Empire, especially in light of the departure of Avalon and the breach in the wall with Drakonis. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we stand ready to assist.

Quarion was named the Imperial Grand Magister, Arcane Council to the Throne. Quarion must be one of the most powerful wizards remaining in the realm so there is wisdom in this choice. I pray he has the wisdom to be a good advisor. He is truly sharp and quick in battle, but his quick tongue too often puts him in difficult circumstances. Or at least more difficult than they ought to be. Lord, whether he knows it or not (and he would never admit it if it were so), please give him your wisdom when advising the Empress. Or at least give her the wisdom to respond to it safely.

Vondarra was given the position of the Imperial Grand Diplomat, Chief Officer of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Relations. This is well-deserved. I wrote earlier of the importance of Vondarra’s and Piero’s roles in the defeat of Hydran and here she is, an officer of the royal court. She is so very sensitive to the value of words and the importance of appearances; I believe she is an inspired choice for this role. She is so tactful and thoughtful prior to speaking, I have no doubt she will represent the Empire well before the nations.

Natasha has been tasked with the rebuilding of the Black Watch. This is an incredible task before her and I pray that with the disappearance of Kyn Wrath, she can find the means to do so. It was an important organization, but hopefully with Caroline’s influence and friendship she’ll have the advice she needs to get it back up and running. Also, hopefully she can connect with Mora Hills and any other loyal agents and reestablish some foundation of trust. In the meantime, whatever I can do to help, I’m at her disposal.

Tam was asked to be the Imperial Grand Councilor, the Voice of the People before the throne. I suppose this is Oberon’s doing. Even as he leaves the Empire behind, he can’t help himself but to meddle. This isn’t fair, perhaps. Tam may be a fine choice. I know not. I can only wait and see.

I’m so proud to know these warriors. At their core, that’s what they are. We all approach the fight in different ways. We all have different roles to fill. But they are all warriors. Earlier in this record I questioned my working with them. Or at least some of them. There are times when I feel led astray from the path of the Nameless One in their company, but that is on me, not them. They are all strong of heart and have faith in the righteousness of the Empire and its goals. It is my honor to pray, stand, and fight beside them.

The Empress also saw fit to grant me the title of Imperial Grand Knight Marshall, Chief Guardian of Imperial Law. I knew not how to respond. This is an honor beyond my anticipation. It was enough for me to lead the Templars, but to now be an official leader of the Empire… I was humbled to accept this honor. There is much to learn. There is a great responsibility to take this position seriously. It is not ceremonial. The Empress requires my steadfastness in the post-war chaos when many types will look to step into the gaps and will themselves to power. I pray I am up to the task.

You know me Lord. You know me better than even myself. In this new duty as in all things, I depend upon you. I can never say often enough how much I require your guidance, your strength, your mercy, your wisdom, your grace, and your peace. That is a lot to ask, I know. But there is no one I would rather be like, than you.

Please grant me the ability to be at peace with myself, my role, my decisions and my actions.

Please let me have a measure of your grace to forgive the contrite. As the Guardian of the Law, I will surely encounter those who make mistakes. Help me recognize true contrition.

Please supply to me your wisdom and the ability to sense it and use it to slow down, be strategic, learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others, and confidently move forward into any circumstance.

Please grant me mercy, too, Lord. Mercy for those times I grow distant or disobedient – even of heart. Mercy towards others when mistakes are made and punishment must be delivered. Help my blade be guided by your mercy.

Strengthen me to surpass the obstacles which lay before me, the compromise I will surely face, and the temptation to trust myself ahead of you. It is only through your strength I will overcome.

Guide me, Lord. You have taken me this far. You have provided me with new homes and new friends. You changed me physically, Lord. Surely these gifts are far beyond anything I deserve! Or have earned! So guide me. Let me walk in your truth. Teach me your ways. I am yours. My hope is in you.

The war is ended. Be at peace.



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