Lowen is dead. I killed him. Accidentally, in self defense. I didn’t intend to kill him. If I hadn’t have, he would have killed me. Very likely. Maybe.
Maybe I didn’t have to kill him. I could have just subdued him or restrained him. I don’t think he was trying to kill me, but he might have. He probably would have. He was trying to bring me enough pain to see if it would make me jaunt. Which I don’t think it would have. I don’t think he would have known when to stop. The man had gone insane, I’m pretty sure.
Okay, I need to bury him. I’ll bury him over by the marglet trees. Definitely not by the kenn trees. No, no, no. I’m too weak to lift him. I’ll have to drag him, so…
(cries out and groans in pain)
Arrgh! Man, he really shukkered me but good! Ooh, now it’s bleeding again. I’ll just have to-
Sorry, Lowen. You don’t need it anyway.
(sound of taking off LOWEN’s clothing)
I know it’s not very respectful to bury you naked, but I could really use the clothes. You understand.
Okay, let’s try this again.
(sound of body dragging, JANUAE moaning with pain)
A FEW DAYS LATER
That took far too long. I had nothing to dig with. I tried using a spike from a kenn tree, that was no good. It took me three days to hunt down and kill a griffalo to use its leg bone. I tried using a tusk but I ended up absorbing the poison into my hands, and I was too sluggish to dig. I lost a day. But I got it done. It took the entire following day. So today I need to rest, nurse these stab wounds. If they get infected… I’ll just have to go to the lake, keep them clean. I just don’t have the energy today.
I keep going back to it. I keep asking myself what I could have done differently. I could have used my force esotery to push him away. Was I inflamed with rage? Had he begun to drive me mad as well? Was I slamming him against the ground to get him to stop, or because I couldn’t stop? I can’t say I hated the man. Or did I hate him but couldn’t admit it to myself? No, that can’t be. I’ve never hated anyone. Many people I have had a strong dislike for, but never hated.
And I’ve never killed anyone.
He didn’t deserve to die. By my hand. I killed him. I have to live with the fact that I killed him. Maybe he’s better off. What kind of life is this, where every few days resets to the way it was before? Seeing all those places where you’d want to go but never able to reach them. It’s no wonder he lost his mind. Strangely enough, my arrival gave him something to live for. And I took that life away.
Well, no sense in being maudlin. I cannot change what happened. Something I have to live with, I suppose. Let me busy myself, find something to distract me. I need to keep my mind fresh and engaged, something Lowen clearly neglected to do. I’ll do whatever I need to to ensure I don’t end up the way he did. So… what now?
A VAGUE NUMBER OF DAYS LATER
There’s a monotony here unlike any I’ve experienced. It’s one thing when you are confined to a limited number of activities or experiences, but it’s another to watch everything revert back to the way it was a few days ago. With Lowen here at least he offered a bit of stimulation. Now it is just the same animals in the same places as they were a week ago, the same fruit in the same places on the same trees with the same degree of ripeness. And no numenera to speak of, if you don’t count the situation as a whole.
I try to change things up despite the repetition. Some days I’ll try spearfishing using a spike from a kenn tree or a bone. Other times I’ll look for the highest pieces of fruit in a tree and challenge myself to climb high enough to reach it. Once I played runbird with a stampede of griffalo, seeing how long I could remain standing in their path before jumping out of the way.
It’s been a couple weeks since… was it a couple of weeks? I’m beginning to lose track of time… suffice it to say some time after the event that changed everything here, I decide to pay a visit to Lowen’s grave. I wander over to the marglet trees and spend quite some time wandering around, trying to remember where I buried him. I was sure of the spot. Or I thought I was. The copse of these trees is not that large, so it had to be somewhere in the general-
Wait… was the grave affected by the reset? I can’t imagine how it could have been. Lowen’s body did not originate here. It should have not been affected. Shouldn’t it?
Maybe his death reset? Is he still alive? I have to entertain the possibility! I begin to search for him, checking within the groves of trees. I shoo the herding animals out of the way to see if they might be blocking my view of him. I decide to swim, looking for him somewhere in the lake, even diving below the surface. I spend hours searching, wandering past the reset boundary so many times I would have lost count had I been counting. I shout his name with each area I search until my voice grows thin and tired. Eventually as night begins to creep in I surrender and stop looking.
I’m tired, and the concession is carried in with my exhaustion. Lowen did not come back with the reset. Maybe it was his life force that anchored him here, but once he died this land simply swept away any evidence of him.
‘Once he died’. Once he was killed. I killed him. I killed Lowen. I killed a man who desperately wanted to go home. He just wanted to leave and was trying anything he possibly could to make that happen. When I came here, I brought hope with me. I gave him hope. Then I stole it from him. Now I’ll be finishing out the sentence he was serving here. It’s just as well. This is the sentence I serve for taking his life. He will only see justice if I am never to jaunt away from this place.
Lowen… I am sorry. I am so so sorry.