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Originally written March 17, 2012.

It did not take long after my return to Theramore before the Templars engaged in war again. On the eve of our Highland clean-up campaign, a band of cultists leveled its sights on the Rose. Their motivations are unknown, but a few in their ranks are former foes. Perhaps these old enemies urged their new cultist comrades to arms.

 

Hand-in-hand with cultists is subterfuge, deceit, betrayal. Within a week of Crowling's supposed surrender, she was pursued again and again by the cultist band, attacked wherever she was kept hidden. It was interpreted as revenge, but it was in truth a ruse. The Templars protected a wolf in sheep's clothing.

 

Another Templar has fallen on my watch. I mark the date heavily, I do not take the death of any Templar without pause. I see now how my actions contributed to her final moments, from the surrender of Crowling to the opportune moment the cultists struck and escaped. Their subterfuge was too perfect without assistance, and part of it was my allowance. The other parts that remain will be found.

 

They left a letter, stating that cultists are in our ranks. Already, the Templars who knew of the letter called for investigation. I culled their anger. A witch hunt will fracture the ranks. Perhaps they see my stance as denial, but I do not deny the possibility of betrayal within the Templars. We have grown fat with victory, and with it comes complacency. We will look to our ranks, but the campaign in the Highlands will not fall victim to our internal scrutiny.

 

Bronwen was her true name. She never told me her surname, her first name was kept only as an alias until recently, when we spoke plainly to one another. I am thankful to know her real name, it adds both weight and brevity to the prayers and eulogy in the coming days.

Author Ari
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