Heart of the Forest

I expected, that the pain will arrive any moment now, but I felt nothing. No impact, no shock, no pain. I braved to open my eyes to find out whether I am in afterlife, but I was greeted by the same horrifying scenery that made me lose hope just moments prior. The abomination, its gun-arm still raised, stood before me in all its depravity, yet there was one detail that changed the whole perspective. A stream of greenish ichor mixed in with the recognizable shade of blood was now pouring from a small hole in its head. I looked behind me and saw a familiar figure barely leaning on a tree because of all the wounds and blood I saw on him. It was the expedition leader, clutching a wooden blunderbuss of strange design with all the remaining strength he could muster. He gave me a last resigned glance before he fell to the ground whilst still leaning on the tree. I didn’t know whether anyone else survived, but at that moment it didn’t bother me the least. The only thing my mind could focus on, was the still beating heart, emanating extreme surges of power with every pulse, even though its host was no longer living. I grabbed it and tried to rip it out of the chest cavity. It went easier than I expected, as if the Heart no longer had the need for its host and voluntarily left them. As soon as I had it in my grasp, I felt my whole perception changing. I wasn’t just in the forest, I was the forest. I knew of every creature, of every animal around me. Nothing in my vicinity could evade my sight. My wounds were healing themselves and I felt stronger than ever. The power I now felt was addicting and I knew I barely just scratched the surface. I tried to centre myself, knowing all the things that I knew and seeing the outcomes of dabbling with this power, but I was unable to control my ambitions. A staff of a God in one hand and a the Heart in the other, I believed I was capable of anything at the moment. I could be a king if I wanted to. I knew even then that the Heart was probably influencing my decisions, but I foolishly thought that I could control it, I foolishly thought it was my destiny. So, I started to attune to the magical nature of the heart to tap into the true potency of its powers. But the process was two-fold. As my mind was unravelling the secrets inside, so too was the heart finding its way into my psyche. I don’t remember much, but during that short moment of true power as I had finished my attuning, I was too overwhelmed by the sheer raw power and I could sense the sharp claws of the Heart reaching for the my mind. I couldn’t do anything as I was losing the control of my body. My last memory was of my hands reaching for a dagger at my belt and then resting its tip in front of my chest. So here I am now, sitting in the shack of the Heart’s previous host; writing my last diary entry, to warn anyone who would find their way here. Thyrsus has given me a few precious moments of clear mind that is still my own, but I believe I won’t be given the chance to use it again. I can sense the Heart that is not my own now pumping in my chest, and I can see my hands growing more and more disfigured as the minutes go by. If anyone finds these diaries of mine, please leave this place as quickly as possible and give them to the paladin order. I am beyond help, but perhaps the taint that has reached this place can still be cleansed. No matter how strong you are stranger, turn back! Or fate worse than death may befall you.

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