|A leather bound journal|
It is amazing to me that the other people who share this place with me call this The Exiled Lands. If I could name it, I would call it the Blessed Lands, because it truly is a place of great blessings.
In my youth, I was a rash and foolish man, the youngest son of a minor noble of Poitain. At that age I was consumed by my love of wealth and status and I drank and gambled with other young men of questionable character.
Eventually my father, when confronted with my gambling debts, gave me no choice. He simply shipped me off to a monastery, to contemplate my sins.
I was not an admirable monk, I confess freely. More concerned with my own amusement than the state of my soul, I often stole from the monastery by night and returned with stolen casks of ale and food. I was popular among the other monks, of course, but the Abbot began to see my influence upon his entire congregation.
Eventually, he decided to be rid of me. One night I awoke, bound hand and foot with sturdy ropes, while two burly men lifted me from my bunk and carried me down the winding stone staircase of the monastery. The Abbot accompanied them, wringing his hands and pleading to me with his eyes.
"My child, the choice breaks my heart, but I am losing the others. These men will take you away, somewhere far away, where you can start a new life away from your father or Mitra. It will be the best for this monastery and the best for you. Tell me that you understand?" he pleaded.
"What if they decided to slit my throat, Abbot? Then my death will be on your hands." I spat.
"I have assurances that they will not." He glanced nervously at the men carrying me. "I wish you the best of your new life, child". He turned away.
I was put into the back of a wagon, covered with a sackcloth, and left to my terrified thoughts.
For how long I traveled, I cannot say. I was passed from one set of hands to another, always with the clink of gold to seal the exchange. Other captives joined me in the wagon - men and women from different lands. Some were nobleman, some were commoners. All were as confused as I was about where we were going and why. Most of us assumed that our captors were Shemitish slavers.
On the last night of my old life, we were given our rations, a thick heavy stew of vegetables and meat. Like the others, I ate ravenously. And like the others, when whatever poison they had put into the food kicked in, the darkness swallowed me.
The next day, my new life began. I awoke, stripped naked, in the sands of a vast desert. There were no people to be seen, just some ruins and the vast emptiness of the sands. I was disoriented, but I chose a direction and set out, hoping to find anybody or anything.
I almost died. A sandstorm came sweeping in, swirling sand and lightning and I fled before it, taking shelter in the shadow on an old tumbled statue. There were beasts in the sandstorm. I could hear them moving around and howling with the screeching wind.
I repented my life then, thinking of my family for the first time in years. I prayed to Mitra to protect my soul and I forgave the Abbot, who had been a good man trying to protect his flock.
Mitra spoke to me then, and his words were for me alone. He wrapped me in his presence, and kept the creatures from finding me. I gave myself wholly to Mitra, there in the darkest hour of my life.
I came from the desert a new man and, guided by Mitra, I found this place. This shrine is dedicated to my god and to every Exiled soul, far from home and weary, who could use a place to rest.
I leave this story here in the hope that it will inspire others. I have gone ahead, deeper into the Exiled Lands. Mitra has told me that there is much work to do.
Mitra's Serenity, sitting on the altar.