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Adam here, back for another story week! I have another look at one of the Lost Gariti. This is the second entry for Sjeng – the first was the Corruption entry.

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Story Week

Adam here, back for another story week!

I have another look at one of the Lost Gariti. This is the second entry for Sjeng – the first was the Corruption entry.

Sjeng’s Record, Entry 15, Day 107

It has been a very long time indeed since I was away from the Tower for more than a few days, away from those who were well-versed in the methods I use in my research. Methods that must seem strange and arcane to the nobles, soldiers, and servants who surround me now.

Even Josef, who is surely no stranger to foul substances given that he was a member of the Herbalist’s Guild, cannot find it in himself to stomach the sight of the twisted corpses that I carefully dissect and examine. Working without support or relief, I was soon overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the task set before me.

Even as I struggled to make any headway, however, assistance came from an entirely unexpected quarter. A young girl, a cook’s assistant from the Palace according to her terse introduction, approached me one day and stated that she would help. It was no request, or even an offer – she announced it as if she were stating the sky were blue, such was her certainty.

I, however, was rather uncertain, both due to her age – she was barely a teenager, certainly too young for the careful and delicate study my work required – and due to the grim nature of my work – if Josef could not master his revulsion, what chance did a child have?

Convinced of my thoughts, I set a simple and gruesome task before her – one which I fully expected to drive her away in disgust. She would leave to find some other work around the camp and I would continue my research uninterrupted, if still overburdened.

To my surprise, she showed no hesitation or dismay. Instead, she simply took up the knife as if it was made for her hand and cut as directed, her movements clean and precise. Her father was a butcher, she said, and she had seen and smelt far worse than this.

(Some days later I woke from a horrid dream, stomach churning, aghast at the thought of just what I had been consuming for all these years. For my own sake, I have inquired on that matter no further.)

It took less than a day for me to discover that she had a very sharp and observant mind. The girl, Mila, could neither read nor write and knew only the most rudimentary elements of mathematics – a deplorable state that would not have been allowed to stand in the Tower. Despite this, she managed to grasp my organization system almost immediately, recognizing and reproducing labels by the shape of the letters alone.

I did not need to ask about her parents or family. She spoke of them in the past tense, and she is far from the only one among us who has lost everyone and everything.

In the Tower, I had focused all of my efforts on becoming a Researcher – quite successfully, in fact. My journey to Kastrus at Seeker Dzeno’s personal invitation was to be the last push I needed to achieve that rank. I had little interest in becoming a Teacher, and the idea of taking on an apprentice was a vague concern that would only matter decades hence.

And now I find that I have prepared a small table and stool in the corner and created an outline of the subjects Mila will need to learn. I do not know how well I will take to the role of a Teacher, but I do know one thing:No apprentice of mine is going to settle for being an extra pair of hands.

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Until next time,

Adam

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