A Crisp Quill
A crisp quill and lash of exquisite ink sat poised over rich parchment, paused in contemplation before dancing about with elegant but easily legible script against the tome.
"It is with everlasting regret that I pen the account of the expedition to the Vaastaya forest for posterity's sake. After months of research and planning I was perhaps too confident (a rare occurrence) before chartering a somewhat renown and capable vessel and crew--The Undaunted. She was captain'd by a Hrothgar who's name I will keep from record out of respect and caution. The captain was an expert explorer and superb big game hunter, with a modest repute or so I had gleaned."
The expedition was to venture into a measure of forest rumored to be the last site of an ancient religion. I was diligent in ferreting out any hints or warning signs for primal or voidsent origins and to my credit there was not a mote of their foul presence. But unfortunately, I sometimes forget that Eorzeans can be just as cruel and malicious as any of their ilk."
"The tomb that was discovered was devoted to a high priest, an incarnation of some little traveled God of the Hunt. The scripture around this died-out religion suggested it was a perversion of the Wild Hunt, referenced in numerous other cults about the world. The scrawling on the tomb itself should have been warning enough, had I been there."
'Those who embrace my resting place, shall always be free and pure.'
The magicks hidden within the find were horrific, crafted cleverly and with no small amount of maliciousness. Of the foulest sort--that which robs others of their will. The Hrothgar captain was not the only one to suffer it's 'embrace'. Those within the complex did not become animals, but perversions of them. Bestial, ravenous, and murderous. Of 74 crew and porters that ventured out, only the captain remained in the end. I only discovered this after sending a second ship. At the expense of more lives, the Hrothgar was captured per my orders to return any survivors."
The strokes of ink become thicker, as if frustration were pressing the quill just noticeably harder.
"That was my second mistake. Returned to more civilized territories but before my own arrival to study the malady, the captain broke free. And, for two days, bloodshed and death piled upon the streets to greet me. At great expense, the brute was captured once again. But not before his own death was demanded by the populace and my presence was no longer welcome. He would never be able to return to any semblance of home."
"Three years I spent studying the affliction, magical in nature and tied to vitae--the blood. Rooted somewhere in dormant places in all of our natures, where the animal is more present. And yet... wholly unnatural. I have nonetheless contained the Hrothgar's fits and unnatural rage, restoring the majority of his faculties and senses to their former state. Further scientific details can be viewed within Exotic Enervations and Maladies Volume VI."
"At the penning of this entry, the Captain has been under the guidance and care of two wardens as it were--at my own expense and vetting. A particular pair of Viera 'Handmaidens' of the Green Word. Their specialization and ties to nature have been the most prominent influence on the infliction that never truly goes dormant; song and beauty sooth the most monstrous of creatures?"
"There is well enough of the Captain left that resentment towards me is clearly not sourced by this curse. Despite this, I am keeping him in my employ. I feel it is only right I do so (considering my failings), and in the end I can continue and further my studies by observing him. My only solace now is that the tomb's exhumation proceeds apace. With some small luck, it shall be ready before the first visitors arrive; it will be magnificent."
At the end of the entry, a scattering of dates, markings, and title create an arch of scrawlings above a simple signature.
"The Kinslayer and Cannibal Beast Accounting"
--M. R. Rhotano.