Dungeon Noir

The Temple Path

Ja'Qen's Dilemma

I am leading the party through the forest Northward as we make our way to the temple the hermit had told us about. I am apprehensive as we move on only because such an evil creature told us of its whereabouts.
“But was he truly evil?” I wonder to myself, for if he had not chosen to become a werewolf but simply accepted his fate as being out of his control would he then be evil for simply being what life turned him into? I wonder of such things constantly, it is the curse of the ranger I suppose.
Nature itself is unpredictable and cold and heartless, yet there is a beauty in that chaos, and as someone who had no family to remember, I instead call nature my mother. I accept my fate as an orphan and know that there is no changing it, yet I hope that my future children and grandchildren have more than acceptance prepared for their lives.
But what if I had been born to an evil lord, or in contrast a gentle king, would I then simply be good or evil because of what life dealt me? Or would I have been evil regardless of how good a parentage I had, or good and gone against the evil rule of my father overlord?
I genuinely do not know….

This temple is clearly a place of great evil, for we just now feel moderate safety for the first time in several hours. We were set upon by a score of orcs and several ogres early in the morning. I myself held off the orcs with my bow, which I now have named Whisper, for it brings death as a silent kiss upon my enemies. I have no battle cry and no reason to reveal my presence in most cases. My elven armor is nearly silent and so is my bow, taking 9 orcs this day.
Following the orcs into battle I know that there were 3 ogres attacking us from behind, but I could not help for fear of the orcs overwhelming us, so I fought with my back to the ogres and hoped that our new orc traveler, Groc could handle the ogres, and between him and Keltyri, I heard they slew two of them on their own.
What is troubling, though, is how the third ogre was killed, for it was the Black Talons that had come back for Groc that killed it.
We rode off in an attempt to run away as we knew not how many Black Talon members had come after us, but after seeing them, Groc flew into a rage, turning to charge their leader, an imposing figure in all black, with a flaming longsword. Keltyri and I did what we could to kill the other members of the Black Talons that were set upon Groc so he might take out the leader himself, and he did so with surprising ease. Apparently the leader tripped, TWICE, and Groc slew him with an ease that was startling to me.

And now we sit with lizardmen in their camp, apparently on our way to the temple they watched us for an unknown time, even my keen senses did not detect them until they chose to show themselves, a feat which even now stuns me for I am not easily surprised these days.
They asked our assistance in driving the evil from the temple in exchange for their help in getting us there safely through the marshes, but again my mind is torn.
For what is evil but the absence of good? Yet how is evil destroyed but by its destruction, so then, I wonder, were the Black Talons good in killing the ogre, or is it simply evil killing evil for the sake of evil?
And what of mercenaries who choose only to work because they enjoy killing, yet they only kill monsters and other evil creatures, are they then themselves evil as a desire to bring death and destruction is far from good? Yet they destroy evil themselves.
This dilemma weighs heavily on my mind, but for now I must sleep, for tomorrow we reach the temple.

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jeff_vanderhoff

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