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Text Version (The note at the end is in halfling, denoted by square brackets here and in Google-translated Dutch in the image):
Day 18 — Failure Abounds
Maybe it was karma for being snappy with the others yesterday, but today has seemed to be a day in which progress was severely hampered, if not impossible. When it seemed the entire group’s legs failing actually persuaded Oak that we might be pushing it too hard (healing is NOT a substitute for rest!), I thought that I might actually get some progress done in the evening. But between the distractions, cover-ups, setbacks, and my usual duties, I was barely able to get my practice crafting done — let alone any of my experiments. We’ve been traveling uphill since just past noon, the kind of gradual slope that steals strength from your legs before you notice. To complicate that, the underbrush is getting thicker — currently it is just an annoyance, but if it gets worse it will actually begin to slow us down, and who knows what Oak will decide if that happens. Of course as the brush gets thicker we tend to run into more creatures — mostly from far off, thank goodness. What irritates me most about that is how desensitized to the Wild I have become in less than three weeks. I guess after crawling through a skeleton infested ruin or two, a bear or a wolf pack is hardly intimidating. Nonetheless, I hate the idea that I am becoming accustomed to this place so quickly. I prefer it to the suffering that most of the exiles who refused to change went through, but the fact that I can feel
at home in the Wild concerns me. I’d rather not end up like Oak or Mel, as useful as they can be. As was the case today — we’d still be lost without Oak. When we finally came to a fresh stream, the group started to argue about what to do about crossing it! Thankfully Oak didn’t wait long to point out that we wanted to follow the stream, and so an argument was, unintentionally, avoided. As it was already nearing dark, we followed the river for a short way, along its winding, muddy path, until we found a suitable camping site. Tomorrow’s trek promises to be just as muddy, with the occasional stone thrown in to stumble over or stub your toe on. That is, if I’m even in any state to walk tomorrow, what with the exhaustive pace Oak keeps us on and the fact that I have trouble sleeping under such a bright nearly full moon. As I sit and ponder and write in my journal, while (most) of the camp sleeps around me and my cauldron brews, I realize just how much I miss the village. More than the City — I’m not sure how I feel about that, but either way I intend to return to that little village once all this madness is over. Maybe I will make that my vacation home for when I grow weary of my fame in the City as one of the first Survivors. Certainly it would be a good way to gain some solitude and silence. I have plenty of that now — too much, almost: under the looming moon, surrounded by trees for leagues in every direction, I feel quite isolated. Solitude is
something I often wished for in the City — where everyone was so packed it often felt you could barely breathe. But out here, where you could wander for miles and not find another soul — save the animals — it is a different kind of oppression. A vacuum, if you will, for one so used to the press and onslaught of City life. I can sense the same in much of the group — some, like Jorin, have embraced it — while others, like Menira, seem to be resisting the best they can. I feel both are folly — to expect to travel through this Wild unchanged is folly, but there is no wisdom in the reckless acceptance of the Wild ways either. I will use this world to the best of my benefit, but that will require altering myself to fit, as well.
[Oak notes: He is as he usually is during travel days — but I think today was a harsh reminder for many just how dependent we still are on him. Thankfully he doesn’t seem the type to take much advantage from that. His personality has so many twists it can be hard to tell whether or not he is a fundamentally good person or not, but it seems he leans that way, on the whole.]
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