Chapter One

Deira ignored the Landsknecht scroll as that was her own class, and she knew most Landsknechts would not serve her purposes as she was as capable as any she thought she could find in Lagaard. She first looked in the scroll filled with names and achievements of Protectors. Browsing down the list she came across a name that she'd seen before. Alois. Could it be the Protector she'd once worked for was in High Lagaard? Deira knew Alois, the Protector from Etria, was a very capable shield and sword maiden. She decided she would find the listed Alois, and if she was whom Deira suspected, she would hire her in a heartbeat. Deira asked the Guild Master where she could find Alois the Protector and he told her how to get to the temporary housing in the back of the guild, and which bunk was assigned to Alois. Deira followed his directions and found her-self in an even more crowded area of the building, however most of the people in these rooms were lying in beds wounded or simply resting. She then counted the bunks until she came to the one that was assigned to Alois. Instead of finding the Protector on the bed she found a massive shield. It was red with a golden sword, pointed down, entwined with vines and adorned with a crown. Deira was heartened; this was a very familiar shield.

Deira waited at that bunk until nearly night fall, and was about to fall asleep standing up when the sound of feet walking up the stone floor brought her to attention. Looking down the hall she saw long blond hair, blue eyes and a lot of armor headed towards her. This was exactly what she had hoped she would see. Alois reached the bed and saw Deira standing at the foot of it and a broad smile crossed her face. "Is that really young Deira? Deira of Etria? Will the wonders of this truly small world never cease? When did you arrive?"

"Today," Deira replied, cut short by Alois' voice.

"Today, huh? I bet you are here for the Labyrinth. Are you gonna sign up with a guild? I'm between work so to speak, I signed up with a bitter green guild and we barely made it back here with half our party alive… mostly thanks to my shield there. I left that tattered guild as soon as the bodies of their friends were found near the stairs to the second floor. I did so well in Etria when I had my own guild, but then it all fell apart shortly after your guild mapped the final floor there. Why I ever let you go I'll never truly understand. You're a good fighter and a good cartographer to boot. Whichever guild you sign up with count me in!" Alois' fast talking was comforting to Deira, familiar like so many things from the past that had been lost. Deira smiled slyly and passed her the parchment with her guild approval written on it. Alois' mouth fell open and she sat hard on the edge of the bed, "You… you intend to be the master of your own guild? Well, that's… well good for you taking the initiative! I suppose that means I'll be signing up under you rather than with you then. Assuming you want me along for the ride that is. But I imagine you wouldn't be waiting at my bunk if you didn't have an offer for me. Am I right?" Alois grinned.

"Yeah, I was hoping you'd join me I-"

"Sure thing! I bet you were surprised to see my name in that scroll up at the front desk huh? Imagine, lofty Alois unemployed and out of money. I can't believe I got myself so deep here that I can't even afford to leave, or eat anything more than scraps they offer here. Honestly, I'm pretty desperate for work, so it's a blessing that you're here. This will be so strange me taking orders from you instead of the other way around. Oh I'd have my own guild if it weren't for the fact that they all left one day when I was sleeping taking all our supplies and gear including the gold we'd accumulated. Who takes that much gold into a labyrinth when I'd checked it with the inn keeper the day before, I mean really." Deira raised her hand in an attempt to cut off Alois' chatter. Alois blushed deeply realizing how much talking she'd been doing and fell silent.

"Obviously we can't go into the labyrinth jus the two of us, would you have any suggestions on whom to recruit? Going through all those scrolls would probably bore me into giving up and leaving town for good." Deira said with a slight laugh at Alois' expense.

"Oh well, I know one person. Well maybe two. There's a Dark Hunter and an Alchemist I've spoken to at the bar a few times before. They seem like they like to stick together, but they also seem pretty skilled. I know they aren't in any guilds right now. So maybe we should try going to the bar and looking for them?" Alois looked out the window and frowned, "it might be a little late to do so now, the bar will surely be open but they like to do their drinking earlier than most. When it's less crowded with guilds cheering and howling their exploits to the whole bar, I mean we can go and look but I doubt they will be there. What do you think?" Alois turned her gaze back to Deira as she finished the question.

"We should take a look now I think. It's not that late after all." Alois smiled at the reply, stood up and asked Deira to follow her as she set off at a brisk pace to the Stickleback Bar.

Deira took in the sights of the town as they walked and a sense of calm fell over her, she was back in her element, setting up a party to explore uncharted wilderness, she was quickly lost in thought and startled when Alois abruptly stopped and pointed to a building with brightly lit windows, saying it was the most popular bar with explorers. They entered through a wooden door and Deira was overwhelmed by the smell of cooked meats and strong ale. They were greeted by the loud and boisterous bar owner. "Haven't seen yeh before… well ah've seen Alois, but yer a new face," He said looking at Deira. He frowned for a moment then a big toothy smile spread from ear to ear. "Yeh must be Graphein! The ones who saved Etria! But… there's only one of yeh? Well no matter! Welcome, welcome, buy a drink or somethin'!" Alois sharply informed the barkeeper that Deira was not Graphein anymore, but rather Chartis, and he laughed loudly, "a name change ain't gonna do much 'round here. Everyone'll recognize yeh with that silly crown! Not that I care that yeh change the guild name. Yeh should see the Minister at the Duke's Palace before yeh come in here, though. He'll tell yeh the rules. And the rules are yeh can't ask me for quests 'til yeh talk to him!" The barkeeper seemed to think they had come there only to talk to him, and Alois was quite content to inform him otherwise.

"Actually we are looking for the Devora and the Alchemist. Your silly quests are not on our agenda today!" She smiled curtly and walked past him. Deira gave the bar keeper and apologetic smile and followed Alois to the back of the bar where it was significantly darker and the patrons looked seedier. Alois looked deeply into the shadows, scanning her eyes from side to side, checking every face that was visible, for some were very well hidden in cloaks. Finally she turned to Deira and smiled with triumph, "They are in that murky corner there," she said indicating with a bob of her head the furthest corner from the bar's front door. "I guess they like the darker things in life," she said with a slight, and halfhearted, laugh. Alois and Deira pushed their way to the corner, past many of the less than savory denizens of the bar, and finally got to the two person table in the corner. Alois was the first to speak, "Hello Devora, Alchemist, how fare you this fine evening?" The first to respond was the woman with flowing blond hair, clad in ebony leather with a whip in front of her on the table. She leaned forward with a smirk and spoke deep somewhat sultry voice.

"'Allo Alois, we were about to leave, but what on earth are you doing here, last I heard you were broke and stuck in temporary housing. Oh, but who is this with you? A new recruit? She's pretty," Devora adjusted her gaze and stared at Deira, which Deira felt was more of a leer that a stare. Deira also was getting tired of being stared at by everyone she was introduced to. "No, not a recruit, she doesn't have that freshly born, frightened look about her. Where, pray tell, did you pick her up?" Devora asked, looking back at Alois.

"She's from Etria. She worked under me for a couple months before I let her go, much to my shame, and she was taken in by a larger guild which eventually mapped all the floors and battled Primeval. Surely you have heard of Graphein? Well this is she, although she is now known as Chartis. I'm signing up with her and we'd hoped you would join our, rather her, guild. Are you and the Alchemist interested?" Alois' tone of voice conveyed a sense of knowing they would join more that actually asking them to. Deira was worried they would take offence at such a tone but the woman merely laughed.

"Alois you certainly know how to pick 'em. First you sign up the most untrustworthy lot in Lagaard, then you join the first guild that comes your way, only to come back with half of them dead and you quitting for they are 'too green' for your tastes, and now the best part, you come with a guild leader who is apparently the strongest exploration guild in Etria, but there is only one of them? Surely you think us daft!" Devora looked at Deira again this time with a more critical eye. Her laughter faded when she noticed the small crown that Deira had tied to her belt. "Isn't that the Town Crown? Heh, well, it would seem I misjudged… You really must be who she says you are or else the Guild Master would have never coughed up that beautiful thing. I've seen drawings of it but never seen the actual artifact. Hmm… this is cause for thought." Devora leaned back in her chair and looked at the Alchemist, whose name Deira still hadn't heard. The Alchemist looked slightly wild, with unkempt hair draped over one eye, and a tattered scarf around his neck. However what really caught Deira's attention were his gauntlets. She'd seen similar ones in Etria, but on the man before her they seemed even more deathly than they had on the alchemists she'd known previously. The Alchemist closed his one visible eye and gave a slight nod to Devora, at which point she leaned forward again to address Deira rather than Alois. "Looks like you've got yourself a Dark Hunter and an Alchemist. I assume we won't be venturing into the Labyrinth tonight, so we'll take this time to gather our things and meet you at the inn. Have you singed up a medic yet? I'm sure you know any mission into the Labyrinth is suicide without one." She and the Alchemist stood, barely making noise and they moved.

"No we haven't, I was going to visit the Hospital to see if they had any suggestions, unless you know a skilled medic we should hire…" Deira let the sentence hang.

"Sure. Go to the hospital and ask for Stanton. He's skilled and has been offering his aid to the hospital while between guilds. I can't guarantee he'll be there though. Odds are another guild has snapped him up by now. But he is worth looking into." Devora said briskly. She quietly picked up her whip and started moving towards the door with a few final words to Alois, "we'll be at the common room at the inn until about 11pm. If you aren't with us by then we'll get rooms ourselves and meet you in the morning. Good luck finding Stanton, you'll need it." With that Devora and the silent Alchemist were quickly gone from the bar. Alois turned to face Deira and smiled triumphantly.

"It could have gone better, sure, but at least we got them. I've heard mention of this Stanton fellow. He always brings his parties back alive, sometimes barely, but alive nonetheless. I've heard he won't stick with a guild very long if they aren't capable of keeping themselves alive with him as an augmentation rather than relying on his skills entirely." She paused a moment to think, then continued, "I think he would be a great asset to the guild. Definitely."

"In that case we should head to the hospital, which way is it?" Deira asked as she and Alois weaved their way back out of the crowded pub. Alois pointed to the tall building on the west side of the square, saying it was one of the biggest buildings in Lagaard, besides the Duke's Palace, as it was also an academy. They crossed the square which was significantly emptier at this late hour, and entered the front door of the hospital. At the front desk they were greeted by a man in pristine white clothing wearing glasses.

"Yes? What is it? Are you sick? Oh, Alois! Is this someone new in town? I've not met her before. Want to know something interesting? It seems Graphein, the ones who saved Etria, are here. I wonder what they are like…" Alois smiled, almost smugly, as she informed him who Deira was, "wait… that was you? Wow… Ha-ha, my apologies! You are a hot topic of conversation around Lagaard lately. This is Lagaard Hospital, where all explorers wind up sooner or later. In addition to treating wounds we provide medicine to the traders in town, including Sitoth Trading. If you should get injured on your journey don't hesitate to see us. Although I would recommend taking a healer with you as immediate treatment can prevent dire consequences."

"Actually that is why we are here, we were told to find a medic named Stanton, and that he would be here if he hasn't already signed up with another guild. Is he here by chance?" Deira asked with a smile.

"Stanton? Yes he is here. He just had a guild come by and ask him to join them not ten minutes ago. They were a pretty shabby group and he turned them down. He's been turning lots of guilds away lately. Good luck getting him to join you, you may be famous but he has gotten very picky lately. He's also preoccupied with his studies of all the medicines we have been making here from the plants of the Labyrinth. I would check the medical library," the doctor indicated a room at the end of the hall, "he does love to read." As the doctor was about to say more a group of three people came rushing in dragging what looked like two human corpses behind them. The doctor said a hasty good luck to Alois and Deira before rushing to attend the group of misfortunate explorers.

"That's not a reassuring sight is it?" Alois said softly, "Well, to the library I suppose." Alois set a fast pace across the hall and into the large room lined with books. Alois stopped in the center of the room and looked around, there didn't seem to be anyone in the silent room besides the two of them. "How odd…" Alois muttered to herself then wandered away to peer behind a row of bookshelves. Deira went to look among other rows of books and as she was just entering one row she tripped over something on the floor, which happened to let out a grunt as she did so. Quickly righting herself and turning to face whatever she'd tripped on she would up looking down at a man seated on the floor with a pile of books next to him. He had choppy brown hair and wore a long white coat and had a satchel in his lap that was open and full of vials of what Deira hoped was medicine. Deira opened her mouth to apologize but was cut off before she started.

"Ohhh, what time is it? Is it really dark outside already? Who kicked me?" The man's questions led Deira to believe the man had been sleeping. At the sound of her comrade falling and the voice, Alois came rushing round the corner and duplicated the trip over the man's knee. The sound of Alois hitting the floor was much louder then Deira for all the armor Alois was wearing, and the man immediately made a shushing noise. "This is a library, what are you doing making all that noise? Not to mention the running! Or the lack of paying attention to my knees!" He leaned forward slightly and rubbed his knee where Alois' steel boot had hit him. His glasses were now quite disheveled.

"Sorry, so sorry," Alois said as she slowly righted herself. "But honestly what are you doing on the floor like that? You're a hazard!"

"Pfft, I'm not a hazard you with your shiny, metal… everything are a hazard!" He muttered and he adjusted his glasses and closed his satchel. "Now, what on earth are two clumsy warrior types doing in a library of all places? Besides trying to kill me of course." Deira could see Alois face start to turn red with anger at the man's blame filled statements.

"We are looking for a medic named Stanton, the doctor at the front desk told up to look in here for him. Have you seen him by chance? Or perhaps do you know where we can find him?" Deira said hurriedly, while placing a hand on Alois' shoulder to try and signal that the Protector needed to calm down.

"Stanton huh, everyone's always looking for Stanton. Stanton this, Stanton that, why don't these silly guilds realize they need to learn how to take care of themselves before I'll risk my neck keeping them alive long enough to make it back to the city…" The man stood up and picked up his pile of book and walked out of the aisle, to a table that has a low burning lamp on it. He set his books down quietly and glanced back at the row of shelves that he'd just been sitting in and that the two women were still behind. "What, you're hiding now?" He asked bluntly. Alois who had just composed herself started turning red again and stormed out of the aisle, followed by a much calmer and slightly amused Deira.

"I'm sorry, but did you just say you are Stanton?" Deira asked as she approached the table. The man looked up from his stack of books and smiled warmly.

"Caught that did you? Perhaps you're sharper than most. But yes, Stanton I am. Now the question at hand is who are you and why should I join your guild?" Stanton sat down and opened a book as if to ignore their reply, which further enraged Alois.

"We happen to be the best guild in all of High Lagaard! You should be honored that we'd even consider you! You… you pompous… book-wormy, son of a-" Alois was nearly yelling and as she continued to vocalize her words became little more than frustrated sputtering at the man, who made no sign that he heard her. Deira frowned momentarily then spoke.

"Alois, we are hardly the best guild, just because my former guild has renown in Etria doesn't mean the one I am forming here will be the same." Seeing the rage boiling in Alois' eyes Deira hastily continued, "That's not to say I'm not confident in your skills, or the skills of the Dark Hunter and Alchemist. What I mean is we are in a new city with a different Labyrinth, and while we may all be very skilled we cannot say we are the best until we prove it." Although Deira was talking to Alois the Medic across the table had stopped looking at is book and was listening to all of what she'd said.

"Very well said miss… well said indeed. Now what guild are you that she presumes to claim as best in all High Lagaard?"His question was directed at Deira but Alois was the one who replied first.

"We are Chartis, formerly Graphein of Etria. Surely you have heard of Graphein? I mean what explorer hasn't?" Alois' voice was full of misplaced pride and Deira could sense that the Medic knew it. The more Alois spoke the more Deira was sure the man would turn them down.

"Alois, you were never in Graphein. As it stands I'm the only member of that guild still alive. How great must we have been that only one of us is left alive to come here and ask his assistance as a medic in a newly formed guild? Alois, you carry too much pride in a guild that is dead." With Deira's calmly spoken words Alois' rage seemed to subside and her formerly imposing stance seemed to fall into a slouch. Alois knew she was right but was, at this point, unwilling to admit it verbally.

"Fine, I'll be in the waiting room. Sign him up if you can but I will not waste more effort on him. I don't think he will join us any way, I'll ask the doctor about other Medics while I wait." With that Alois spun on her heel and marched out of the room. Deira watched her back for a moment then turned back to the Medic who she was surprised to find, had a bemused smile on his face.

"Well well, I'd heard of the famous 'Alois Rage' around town but I have yet to witness it. I wasn't even aware I was addressing the Protector famous for that rage until you said her name. Fascinating." Stanton looked back at Deira and met her gaze and his smile faded. "Perhaps we should speak earnestly about my joining your guild. I am interested not because of the fame of your former guild but because of the persons mentioned in your previous statement, and because I know the strength of Alois the Protector from Etria. You said you had signed on a Dark Hunter and an Alchemist. These were not, perhaps, Devora and Ravaen were they?"

"I know only the Dark Hunter's name, and she is Devora." Deira was surprised to hear the names of her recruits come from the man in front of her. Did he know something about them that could sway his decision? "Why do you ask? Is there anything notable about them?"

"Well there is, and there isn't. I've heard bits and pieces of information about them, mostly how they defied the Duke and went into the Labyrinth as a duo rather than a full party of five. That they made it out alive is surprising, that they claim to have made it to the third floor is even more so. I can only assume that Devora is still parading around town with the same Alchemist and he is indeed Ravaen. He is a master of many arts, and while I have not heard which element he favors I am told his alchemy is strong. You certainly have formed an interesting group so far. Now tell me, what do you think your odds of finding the floating castle really are?" He folded his arms in front of him and looked at Deira with a piercing gaze.

"Odds of finding a legend are slim to none. Odds of reaching the bottom or as here in Lagaard, the top, of a labyrinth depend on the people doing the exploration. I have full confidence in myself and Alois, however I am unsure about Devora and, Ravaen was it? As for the fifth member of our group, were it a competent Medic I'd be fairly certain in the ability of this guild to move forward. I don't know that we need you so much as we need a Medic well versed in healing arts and medicines, and having one that knows the healing properties of flora in the Labyrinth at hand would be a great asset."

"Oh well, now I know you are speaking of me. Did the doctor tell you about my studies in here? This Labyrinth really is quite fascinating. The amount of damage its wild inhabitants can do, balanced by the remarkable healing properties of its flora. Quite fascinating indeed…" Stanton leaned back and thought for a moment, a moment that seemed to Deira to last for quite some time. She was about to say 'Never mind' and leave him to his studies when he spoke again, "I suppose… I suppose I could give you lot a try. Your confidence in yourself and Alois may be misplaced, or it may not, however I have the utmost confidence in Devora. Her Alchemist friend I have yet to see in battle. But I if she is entranced by him he must have some redeeming quality to his broodiness. Hm, yes, yes I think I will join your guild. This could prove quite interesting. If I could get deeper in to the forest imagine what new medicines I could help produce! Yes, interesting indeed. So, where do I sign up?" He stood up briskly and slung his satchel over his shoulder, with a grin. Deira was surprised at his sudden decision, but she was also pleased with it. While she knew she'd have to play the role of a mediator between him and Alois, because she knew the two of them would not see eye to eye most of the time, she also had a feeling that told her the guild she had assembled would go far.

"Welcome aboard then," she said and extended her hand to him, he reached out and grasped it and shook it firmly with a smile. Deira glanced around the room for a clock and when she found one she saw that is was nearly 11pm. "Oh we were to meet with Devora and Ravaen at the inn at 11. We should hurry so we don't miss them."

"Which inn?"

"Which… there's more than one?" Deira immediately wanted to take back her words, in a city this size of course there would be many inns, and she had neglected to ask which one they were meeting the Dark Hunter and Alchemist at. Stanton laughed at the faint look of panic that crossed her face.

"I think I know which one they usually stay at, it's quite popular with explorers. I'll take you there." With that he walked out of the room, and towards the exit, Deira followed. When they got to the waiting area Stanton waved at Alois and gave her a smile and continued waling without saying anything. When Alois noticed Deira was following the Medic a distinct look of shock crossed her face and she hurriedly got up and fell in step beside her.

"You mean… you convinced him? How did you manage that?" Alois whispered under her breath. Deira smiled and said simply, "Levelheadedness." Alois heard the word but didn't seem to grasp the significance of what Deira meant. A moment later they were at the Flaus Inn.

"Welcome! Oh, Stanton how are you dear? And who is this is she new in town?" the plump, female Innkeeper asked with a jovial tone, Alois mumbled under her breath about Deira's Graphein past and the Innkeeper momentarily looked confused then, as if a struck by a spark, she started speaking again, "Ohhh yes, of course! Even I've heard of you! But I don't know much beyond your name. Well I'm sure you are no different from my other guests! Lagaard has lots of inns but my place is the best!" She said with a wink, "You'll fit right in, try to get along with the other guilds will you dears?"

"Actually we are meeting Devora and Ravaen, are they here?" Stanton asked returning the innkeepers wink.

"Oh yes of course, they said they were going to stay up and wait for someone I didn't realize it'd be you! So Stanton does this mean you are joining a guild now? Imagine, I never thought you'd find a guild you liked!" The innkeeper laughed, Stanton smiled and Alois frowned. "They are in the common room of to the left there. Will you all be in need of rooms tonight?"

"Yes, we will. Two rooms if you would be so kind." Stanton smiled and turned to Deira, "I believe our illustrious leader will be paying tonight." Deira caught off guard jumped a bit then took her travel bag off her back and fished around for her coins. The innkeeper told her it would be approximately 100 En. for the night. Deira counted out the amount and handed it to the innkeeper with a halfhearted smile. The innkeeper thanked them for their business and handed them a two iron room keys, Deira took one and handed the other to Stanton. With a final nod and smile to the innkeeper Stanton led the way to the common room.

When they entered the room Devora and the Alchemist were sitting at a table with a scrap of paper before them. When they noticed the three newcomers the Alchemist carefully folded the paper and Devora tucked it in her coat. Taking note of this, Deira decided not to ask about it. The first to speak was again Stanton, "Hello Devora, Ravaen. Fancy meeting you here," he glanced at the pocket Devora had put the paper in and then resumed talking. "So, it looks like we are going to be on the same team. Exploring the labyrinth like every other crazed group of warriors out to make them-selves famous. Except we aren't crazed… with the possible exception of Alois there." He grinned when he saw Alois tense at his remark.

"Well, we will all be on the same team when we properly register with the Guild Master tomorrow morning you mean." Devora said with a cat like smile. "Rules are rules and we have to be officially registered before we can go to the Dukes Palace and ask for the start up mission. We crossed the Duke once we certainly shouldn't test our luck a second time."

"Speak for yourselves!" Stanton said with a laugh, "I've never once gone in there without a proper team and without being properly registered!"

"Well, we can't all be perfect. Perhaps it is best to retire for the night. We should start early if we want to make any headway." Devora was holding back a yawn as she spoke which got another laugh out of Stanton.

"She's right, not all of us had a nice nap in the Hospital library this evening." Alois said sharply. Stanton chuckled and scratched his head then nodded.

"To bed then, Ravaen looks like we'll be sharing a room across the hall from the ladies. I'm a deep sleeper so try not to light me on fire, eh?"Stanton was clearly attempting to get a reaction out of the alchemist. He frowned slightly when the reaction was not forthcoming. Ravaen simply nodded once and stood up and walked silently out of the room and started up the stairs. "Where does he think he is going I didn't tell him the room number and I've got the key…?" Stanton bid a good night to the three women and set off quickly after the Alchemist. Devora stood up and stretched then turned to Alois and Deira.

"So which room is ours?" Her voice unnerved Deira, it almost sounded predatory, but Alois didn't seem to notice. Deira looked at her key and the tag was labeled 'Room 11', she told this to Devora and Alois, Devora smiled, "My favorite number." Devora lead the way up the stairs and once they got to the room Deira unlocked it and they entered, it was a small room with two beds. Alois immediately noticed that and ran to the closest bed, and lay claim to it. Devora looked at Alois and then at Deira. "So which of us gets the loveseat in the corner? Or do we share a bed?" Her cat like smile appeared again. Deira frowned and said she would take the love seat. Devora laughed and went to the bed and stretched across it. "Are you sure? It's very comfortable," she laughed.

"I'm sure." Deira took her bag off her back and fell into the loveseat. It had been a very long day.

Log One

Emperor 1,

Today was interesting to say the least. I found a former guild leader from Etria, Alois of all people, she introduced me to a Dark Hunter and Alchemist whom we asked to join our newly formed guild. Devora, the Dark Hunter, I get bad feelings from. She has a predatory nature and I'm not positive I can trust her. The Alchemist is called Ravaen and he talks very little, in fact I don't think he has spoken once since we've met. They decided to join us and then recommended a Medic called Stanton. We found Stanton in the hospital library and he is… interesting to say the least. I think he enjoys needling Alois who doesn't seem to like his attitude. Nevertheless he seems skilled and he said he would join our assortment of explorers. We go to the guildhall tomorrow morning to properly register them all under my guild, Chartis. If this Labyrinth is anything like the one in Etria I can only hope my new guild members are as strong as they claim they are. In Etria I had a solid group of explorers supporting me and in the end it wasn't enough. Sure we mapped every floor but at what cost? The lives of all in the final party to enter the labyrinth… the collapse of the rest of the guild when I returned alone, and dragging the corpse of our leader. The man we all believed could never be slain… but that is all in the past. I need to stop dwelling on such things if I intend to start anew here in Lagaard. I trust Alois' skills with a blade and shield, I do not trust her overflowing mouth, however. She will be an asset in battle to be sure, but I know mapping the Labyrinth will dig up many secrets that are best left untold. Perhaps my worries are unfounded, but it weighs on my mind… the things we saw… and did in Etria all in the name of "exploration." I do hope I never have to make the same decisions my former leader had to in order to advance to the furthest reaches of this maze. But I have written enough, this entry is much too lengthy I will have to teach myself to be less retrospective. Tomorrow we will enter the labyrinth. Whatever happens we must prevail.