From the Journal of Jay, Shadow in the Grove
March,3rd week, the 1st year
Journal entry 1
The apothecary shop plans are coming along slowly, but that’s understandable considering the state of the realm currently. The refugees outnumber the regular townsfolk now at Aspens Rest and are only growing by the day- the plains of sorrow are giving me flashbacks of the Reverse and my servitude to the royal family.
Correction, Royal Imprisonment.
Being enslaved since the age of 5 means I may not have had the usual commoner upbringing, and the Royal Family of Adrela would fit in nicely with these demons seamlessly from the stories I hear amongst the refugees. The first princess alone had a castle dedicated to testing her potions and magical workings on people, other nobility who crossed her included. Being her body double had called for a special mindset that I thought was surprisingly easy to leave behind for day to day life here in Osterra- until the first demon encounter I had. The flashbacks and nightmares are easier to handle now, but the uncanny similar mindset these demons have with the Royal Family are despairingly the same. The Jay ‘Cindersky’ of the Reverse occasionally comes out every now and then, but most people see it for what no one back home saw it as- trauma. Survival Syndrome. I may be desensitized to gore and violence but the education they gave me to pass as royalty, my knowledge of plants and herbs and fighting, will not be wasted.
For once I actually have a place to call home.
And home is a two-room stone house with a loft for my cot and notes. Yes, I am much happier here with a purpose than I ever was back in the Reverse. The magic may be gone, the lore is new, and the gods may be absent or unable to reach me through the portal [thank you, Fate!] but the novelty of not being recognized as a monster for surviving or a symbol for propaganda gives me so much peace that I will selfishly take it.
I will wait for the shop to be built and build up the herbs and trees, I’ll collect alchemical references, mix poultices and potions and fail with exasperating results, I will take notes and mark maps of locations that interest me or could be useful for the Grove, and I will finally do whatever the hell I please for me and for those who I think appreciate me for myself and never go back.
I will not be enslaved again.
I will not sit by while others suffer as I did for 20 years- I am going to be useful for my own purposes and for the Grove.
I am going to be just Jay, a Shadow of the Grove.