The Secret Diary of a Double Agent
Yes, I am aware that I'm breaking the most basic rule of being a Double Agent by writing anything down. But to be honest, this war is confusing enough that I need to start keeping some sort of record or else I'm going to go absolutely, three-berries-short-of-a-basket, crazy. Of course, just in case that this diary does end up falling into the wrong hands, there's going to be a couple of un-truths judiciously sprinkled throughout. Yes, dear diary, I lie to everyone. Even you.
...Especially if it's anything about that Darigani Mynci, Vex.
Down in Meridell today. Kass thinks that I'm gathering information about Meridell's defenses around the castle, but most of my day was spent talking to that Zafara potion master, Kayla. It seems that she's got some idea for growing Turtums to an enormous size – like the size of a house. Personally, I'm thinking that this idea has a lot of potential, if she can pull it off. Can she actually do it? I'm not sure... Houses are pretty big.
Of course, now the question is, should I tell this to Kass or not. I'm not sure if Kayla can actually pull off what she promises, and I would look pretty stupid telling him that the Meridellians are hiding petpets the size of small buildings. I think for now I'll tell him that they're simply doing experiments with petpets. It's true, and vague enough that it's not actually going to tell him anything.
Speaking of Kass, he's changed his name. No longer is he “General Kass”; now he's “Lord Kass”. I'd better be careful about remembering the change when I speak; no matter how this war ends, I need to be in the good graces of the winners, after all.
Back up on the Citadel. It's so gloomy up here! There's no plants, and all of the Darigani seem to be ill at ease. I think many of them aren't quite sure that they want Lord Kass as their leader. I don't blame them; he seems very changed from the General that brought about the first peace with Meridell. I'm not quite sure what's changed, but he's... different. It's not just me, Vex says so too. Apparently Kass used to come down and play Cellblock with the guards, and made a point of hanging out with the troops – now he locks himself away in the tower for hours on end, planning. Some of the guards say that sometimes he screams while he's in there.
Just my luck, he's probably cracked and gone mad. Or worse, possessed by some sort of Dark Faerie. Of course, that's probably my need for drama talking.
And... back to Meridell. I talked to Jeran today. He and a bunch of knights are going up to Hope River tomorrow to check out the reports of some kind of monster up to the north. He wanted to know if I knew anything about Kass planning to attack Meridell. The blue Champion may not be the brightest crayon in the box (that would be me, of course), but he does genuinely care about Meridell.
Unfortunately, Kass isn't being consistent enough to have any actual plans, as far as I can tell. He does want to attack Meridell, but as far as a real plan, so far it seems to be “burn, fight, kill.” Not exactly the height of nuanced tactical planning.
I promised to send news as soon as I knew anything worth saying (see what I did there? I thought I noticed you noticing. You're so clever, diary of mine). As far as I know right now, there's only the one dancing girl in the works, and how much damage can she really do? It's taken up most of her mother's magic simply to make the girl pretty enough to not immediately give vibes of “I'm a Darigani in disguise!”
Then again, maybe I underestimated Skarl's liking of dancing girls.
Lunch with Vex today. He says that there are plans for a rally tonight. I'm not sure if I should attend or not. On one hand, it would be a delicious opportunity to get a feel for Kass's plans. On the other, being the only Meridellian in the middle of an anti-Meridell riot may not be the brightest idea ever. When I expressed this concern to Vex, I somewhat expected him to immediately be all macho and promise to protect me and thus get me easily into the rally with a minimum amount of suspicion. Instead he looked worried, and admitted that if he wasn't required to go, he would be using any excuse he could to stay away. He looked more than worried, Diary, he looked scared. And this is the dungeon master of the Citadel, one of Kass's supposed right hand men.
This has started me to maybe rethink my position in this war. So far I've been playing the field evenly, but maybe I don't want Kass to win (This is obviously a lie, for anyone who may find this diary, right?). On the other hand, I don't want anything to happen to Vex; there's no way the Meridellian side would give him asylum – he's locked up too many of them into his dungeon.
I am so glad that I didn't go to the rally! It was more of a... government overhaul, than a rally. Lord Kass is now completely in charge of the Citadel. His closest competitor for any sort of authority, Galgarrath, who I've been told is the grandson of the Lord of the Citadel before Darigan, was thrown off of the edge of the Citadel for “treason.” I asked Vex what the Grarrl had done, but he said he didn't know. He's pretty sure that Galgarrath hadn't done anything, and that Kass was just getting rid of him because he had too many supporters to become the next Lord of the Citadel, after Kass.
For the record, the politics of who gets to be the Lord of the Citadel make absolutely no sense to me at all. Can't they do it by family, like every other civilized country? As far as I can tell, the Citadel noble families bounce the title around like it's a game of Gormball.
I asked Vex today why it was still called the Darigan Citadel, as Darigan isn't the Lord of the Citadel anymore. He said that it's always been called the Darigan Citadel, even if the current leader wasn't from the Darigan family. I guess that the first Lord of the Citadel was a member of the Darigan family, and then the name just became tradition.
This does, of course, make me wonder what Lord Darigan's first name was. I bet it was something like “Bob.”
Ohh! I bet it was “Dwaine!” I've always loved that name! Dwaine Darigan. I like it.
Things are certainly going into motion now! With Galgarrath out of the way (Kass now claims that Galgarrath was hindering the plans to invade Meridell), the Citadel became a flurry of activity overnight. The Citadel is going to attack Meridell soon, after an “experiment” that Kass is keeping remarkably quiet about. It's utterly maddening. All I know is that it has something to do with that Aisha dancer.
Curses! I hate not being in the know!
Somehow, and I'm not sure how, that dancer is turning Meridellian farmers into... for a lack of a better word, zombies. Oh, not all rotten and decayed like the word would suggest, but they certainly weren't themselves. They started attacking the very knights who are supposed to protect them. I'm worried, Diary of mine. If Kass can do this, then he'll be able to overrun Meridell using its own citizens. Vex is worried too, because what's to stop Kass from doing the same thing to Darigani who disagree with him?
Kass is upset. Somehow, someone in Meridell figured out how to break the dancer's curse, and now Meridell is not only no longer full of mindless Kass Minions, they're arming the country and preparing to attack the Citadel. I'm betting it was either Kayla or Lisha who figured out what the dancer was doing, and how to stop her. They're the two brightest people in the castle (when I'm not in it, that is). Kass is furious, almost to the point of foaming at the beak. Kass wasn't expecting Meridell to be able to fight back – I think that's the only reason he thought he could invade in the first place.
When you get down to it, Meridell just has too many people. Even if Kass won every battle at the beginning, once it turned into a war of attrition, Meridell would win simply by having more resources (not to mention Illusen making sure Meridell had bumper crops).
A sane person now would back down and wait for another opportunity. Of course, Kass isn't sane (of course, when I say that Kass is not sane, I mean he's brilliant, dear reader... Lies for Meridell and all that).
The Citadel attacks tomorrow.
I just realized that I never mentioned that hair-brained scheme of Kayla's house sized Turtums to anyone at the Citadel. I wonder if they'll be on the field tomorrow?
I'm ridiculously worried about what will happen to Vex. Kass has ordered him to the front lines. Vex admitted to me that he's pretty sure that he's not intended to come back – even if he doesn't run into any Meridellians. He was too close to Galgarrath, both as friends and as family. I hadn't realized that they were cousins.
I've sent word to an old friend of mine – she's not going to be involved in the fighting, and she's nearly as good as I am with infiltration. Tonight she's going to kidnap Vex for me, and make sure he's hidden safely away in Meridell, along with a flask of water from the Rainbow Fountain and a Purple Paint Brush. It's close enough to what he looks like now that it shouldn't be too big of a change for him, but far enough from the Darigan coloring that he should be able to hide away safely. She shouldn't have too hard of a time finding him – Kass has ordered him locked away in his own dungeon until it's time for the invasion to begin tomorrow.
I hope Vex won't be too mad at me, but I'm not going to let Kass kill him.
Now I see why Kass thought he could win. He's got some serious magic working for him here. There has to be a Faerie or two involved; Morguss isn't all that strong, but I sure haven't seen even a hint of a Faerie up here.
Vex is gone; my friend came sometime in the night and whisked him away to safety without alerting the guards – which is no less than I expect from her. Kass is furious, and I'm making sure I keep my head low. So far it doesn't seem like anyone suspects me, but I don't want to give Kass any ideas (and of course, least you forget, I obviously had nothing to do with his escape. This is a diary of lies).
The battle doesn't seem to be going well for Meridell. I'm tucked away down in a nice deep part of the Citadel, but I've got a window and I can see what's going on down below. Meridell's knights are fighting valiantly, but the Citadel itself seems to be producing some kind of magic fog that is weakening them. Something down in the engines must be producing it.
There has to be a way of turning it off. Even if I can't find what's making it, if I overload the engines, then they'll have to re-route power to keep the Citadel aloft, and that should give Meridell a fighting chance. I can't do anything about the fog that's already out there, but with luck a breeze will come along and push it away from the battle. Kayla's Turtum potion has worked, I can see them though the window. Hopefully without the poisonous fog, and with the gigantic petpets, Meridell will have enough firepower to end this once and for all.
I know everyone thinks of the Darigani as evil, but they really aren't. Not most of them anyways. They're just people who have had a bad stroke of luck with having psychotic leaders. My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Vex. If someone does, by some miracle, find this diary in what will probably be a smoldering wreck of a Citadel, realize that I did lie all along.
I lied when I said it was a lie.