Braeden has taken a lot from you, and from Tyroc, though most of the people there do not yet realize it. Will you and the Circle ever try again to fight him openly?

That is my hope…someday. But right now we are scattered and weakened, while his power continues to grow. We would need to join forces with other men of like mind who have the will to fight against him, whatever the cost. We have not yet found such men. I expect that as the days grow darker, Braeden’s trail of victims will eventually unite against him to fight back. And we all know that the fiercest warriors on the battlefield are those who have nothing left to lose.

Has all that happened made you lose faith, or were you always a skeptic?

I grew up knowing something of Aviad and the teachings of the Temple, but I cannot say that I ever really studied or gave them much thought. As I grew older, I could not help but see the huge gap between what my Commander, a man of deep faith, believed, and what was happening in the Temple where Braeden’s influences were already taking hold. Perhaps my faith was always too casual, and now that it has been challenged, I wonder if I ever truly believed at all. The world has now filled with such a darkness, that I find it hard to see whatever light my Commander clings to so fervently, or to believe that it holds more power than the evil we are fighting. I know he prays daily that I should find my faith again, but even so, I remain a skeptic.

Do you have hope that you will be able to finish Nevon’s quest and find the relic?

We continue our search out of a sense of honor and determination more so than hope. We have not been trained or prepared for such a quest. Eventually this madness over a monk’s trinket must come to an end, and we shall get back to the business of doing some good in this world. The Shadow Wood is filled with horrors that are suddenly spilling out into the surrounding woodlands. The settlement at Deep Lake, which sits right at its border, is in dire need of protection. For now, while we search for the relic, we will do what we can to cut down these vermin before they have the chance to emerge. At the least, they provide targets against which we can keep our skills sharp, while we vent our anger over all that has happened to us.

What impact did meeting Elowyn have on you? Did she change you?

Elowyn…such a tender soul she was! So inquisitive, and innocent, and wood-wise. Yes, she did affect me quite strongly—still does. I was a lot like her in my youth. She reminded me of something deep within myself that was lost when my father died, and the whole of my world changed. I don’t know that I will ever gain it back, but at least it lives on in her heart. I cannot help but worry each day what will become of her. Still, the memory of her face helps me to press on day by day. For her future, and for the future of those like her who have been caught up in these difficult times, I will continue to fight unto my last breath.

Is there any place you and the Circle could settle down where you would ever feel safe from Braeden?

No matter where we go, we will spend the rest of our lives watching over our shoulders. However, that does not change how we live our lives. We will go on doing what we must, and living for what is right. That is who we are. And who we are is the one thing Braeden cannot take away from us.