Taken from Vana'diel Tribune I Issue No. 18

Date unknown

The mere act of writing invites waves of agony. I know neither where nor when I am writing. I have returned to consciousness in a dim stone room. The rain beating down on the roof is my only company as I write this.

The only certainty I have is that I was to be executed. But instead of being sent to meet the Goddess at last, persons unknown, may the blessings of the Goddess be upon them, brought me here. My head still spins, but I must remember what has happened to me.

Whatever it was, it occurred on the day I arrived in the Yagudo city of Giddeus.

My knowledge of the Yagudo is all thanks to Zubaba, head lady-in-waiting of Windurst. The Yagudo lived in Sarutabaruta before the Tarutaru settled in Windurst, and the Yagudo have been at war with Windurst since the city was founded. The one among them who the Yagudo call "the avatar" is worshipped like a god.

Even before speaking with Zubaba, I knew that the Yagudo would be the greatest challenge on my journey. Their fanatical devotion to false gods and barbaric ways is known as far away as San d'Oria.

"Them Yagudos hates everything about you, Josea. Watch ya'self. You follow?" offered my translator and guide, Leadavox.

Clearly, caution was the order of the day. I should have been more careful. What is merely a common greeting in San d'Oria enraged the Yagudo beyond anything I could have expected.

The first Yagudo I encountered in Giddeus offered some helpful, if halting, advice in the common tongue: "Smoothskin. Not welcome further to here, kyah. Much danger for traveler kyah-kyah."

His demeanor changed notably when I replied, "May your kindness bring upon you the blessings of Altana," and made the sign of the Goddess. Deadly silence overtook him and he trembled for a moment. Then he attacked me, chanting strange hymns.

I later learned from my interrogator that receiving the blessings of Altana is a death sentence to the Yagudo.

Without even the opportunity to dodge, let alone flee, I was struck on the head with a blunt instrument. The last thing I could see as my consciousness faded away was Leadavox's back as she scurried into the distance.

When I opened my eyes, I discovered that the Yagudo had imprisoned me. The prison of Giddeus is an unusual structure consisting of a great number of towers, each crowned by a single cell holding a single prisoner. One cell held an emaciated Hume sitting motionless in his cell. Atop another spire was a Yagudo plucked of his feathers, reduced to the endless singing of a song I could not comprehend.

I had been starved to the point where rising to my feet was a task beyond me. Just when I began to fear that my demise would come not at the sharp end of a sword or the natural end of a pious life, but rather in the cruel grip of hunger, I was once again paid a visit by the Yagudo I had dubbed "the Inquisitor." He questioned me thoroughly, speaking fluently and loudly in the common tongue. He inquired about my reason for coming to Giddeus, about San d'Oria, about my dealings with the Orcs and the Antica and the Sahagin. He spent a great deal of time on issues like my upbringing in San d'Oria.

Explaining that I was not traveling the world as a spy for San d'Oria, I answered as vaguely as possible. This was tolerable to him until the questions shifted to the Yagudo's mortal enemy, Windurst. His manner and precision showed me that it was Windurst he was after. For those questions, he permitted neither ambiguity nor evasion.

Even on pain of death, I would never betray the innocents of Windurst to monsters such as these.

When I said to him, "I cannot answer that question," the Inquisitor clicked his beak and cawed. Perhaps he was mocking me. I know not. He brought out a bottle of yellow liquid and forced my mouth open, pouring the sweet liquid down my throat.

I cannot even guess as to what the liquid was. I know only that my remaining strength vanished soon after I was given the strange potion.

The Inquisitor began his questions again, this time speaking very slowly. My memory of the event consists of but the dim recollection of divulging all the information I could provide him.

My only clear memory is the depravity he whispered in my ear.

"Swear yourself to our god, kyah! And spy for us. Do this, live, kyah! Do not, you die, kyah!"

"False gods will never have my allegiance," I answered.

The Inquisitor could not contain his anger and cursed me as he left the cell.

In his place came one of their Persecutors, who explained through his beak that even an "unbeliever" such as myself had the right to beg the mercy of the Yagudo god. It was expected that I kneel before his wicked god and pray for death. Upon my refusal, he began to inflict upon me unforgivable suffering.

From under my fingernails came paralyzing pain. There was the unmistakable odor of searing flesh. The Persecutor splashed cold water on me whenever I started to pass into merciful unconsciousness. Each time I became aware that there were more cuts and burns about my body. How many days this horror lasted, I do not know.

But even in this wretched state, not a single time did my will break nor my mind entertain the thought of supplicating to evil.

In the end, I outlasted the Persecutor. I bested him by withstanding what must have been more than ten days and nights of the greatest horrors that can be visited upon a man. For this, they sentenced me to death. A pittance to pay for my devotion to the Goddess.

I was dragged from my cell and chained to a cliff overlooking Giddeus. Chained next to me was the singing Yagudo, bereft of all his feathers. He soon breathed his final breath, becoming at last a meal for the vultures that circled above. Through my failing consciousness and weakened body, I was barely able to even bite my lip. To fall asleep would be to breathe my last, to become yet another meal for the vultures still circling in the sky.

Alas, my recollection ends there.

And here I awoke to the sound of the rain pounding on the roof.

What happened between then and now, I cannot even venture a guess. I have been rescued and some unknown benefactor, may he receive all the blessings the Goddess can shower upon him, has bandaged my wounds.

Putting this to paper has sapped the last of my strength. I wonder what fate held in store for Leadavox...

Goddess, it is again by your grace and favor that I yet breathe. For this, you have my eternal gratitude. Template:Protected-SE

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