My name is Heracles Diamandis, and I am alone. I write this account of my discovery for anyone who is left.
It started a year ago, maybe more. I am a diplomat and negotiator for the Nation of Dikaios. I am posted at the embassy in Thelo and my duties cover diplomatic and trade missions with Thelo and Monte Diamont.
It has been an abnormally rough few years. I was first made aware of the irregularity after a friend of mine for the Kuu embassy returned home and never resumed his post. My letters went unanswered, and I feared the worst for my dear friend.
However, it wasn't long after that we lost all communication all-together. Our letters went unanswered. Our funding stopped coming in. We spent months awaiting to be recalled or for our letters to be answered.
I was in talk with several other diplomats as to what we should do. It was decided we were to meet in a neutral place in center Paor and discuss our options. It was decided at this meeting a delegation of us would return home, against our assignment's orders, to rectify the problem and determine the status of our nation.
They departed on the Steamship Aganath and were never seen again. Three weeks later word reached us through newspapers that the Aganath had capsized at sea during a particularly bad storm. It had appeared the boiler had exploded. There were no survivors of our delegation.
Months passed. We get to roughly a month ago. Our funds have dried up. Members of my staff were let go as I could not afford to feed them. We began to sell off Dikaion art and treasures we had be allotted. I call another meeting of the diplomats left. We decide to pool our resources and revert to the embassy in Claurusia. There, we will find work as teachers, philosophers, writers of common, whatever we can to stay a float.
I put forth that I would travel across the Fimbrian, and determine the fate of our nation. They were uncomfortable with only a woman going, but no one else was brave enough to brave the journey. It would be done aboard the Steamship 'Heureux Iris' and I would head to Kwazulite. From there, I would charter a ship to Dikaios.
And so, with a final letter home, and a final wish goodbye to those I had served beside, I set sail across the Fimbrian. The voyage was unpleasant and longer than expected. However we soon saw the sight of Arazian shores before too long.
Upon my arrival in Port Porus I quickly attempted to ascertain the reason for the lack of correspondance with Dikaios. It was to my immence displeasure to have found that the Dikaios embassy had been closed down for several years. Abandoned, it would appear. No one could point me in the direction of any Dikaios citizens who were local.
It was around this time I met Captain Blightkumar. He took an interest in a Dikaios official and he treated me to a meal in exchange for my story. After dinner, the Captain shared my worry at the predicament and offered what assistance he could. He set us up with a meeting with some form of leader (A Governor?) and he graciously offered me a room at his townhouse.
The next day, I sent word of my safe arrival as well as my troubling findings back to Clarusia, and informed them I would be continuing my journey. After the postage was paid, I met the Captain and went to a meeting of leaders. They shared my unease at the news, and backed up our experience with reports of merchants and sailors that Dikaios had stopped receiving visitors and coastal towns stopped answering hails. I was extremely troubles when I learned Dikaios signal towers around the coast had stopped spinning before going dark months prior. I knew in my heart a great trouble must have befallen my nation.
Fearing the worst, I asked for assistance in learning the truth. This request was granted after a short meeting, and Captain Blightkumar was assigned to the task. Together, he recruited the help of a sailor named Taiki and a Kanteburian Commander by the name of Captain Turko and we set about our mission.
In a few days time, we were aboard Taiki's ship with his crew, a small group of three Kwazulite soldiers, Commander Turko (at the time of my writing this I was reminded he was called a 'Radu' or something of the sort. Queer title for a commander.), Captain Blightkumar and myself. It took us only a few days to sail to Dikaios.
On the day of our arrival, I remember a feeling of glee when we first set eyes upon my homeland. However the feeling soured as we approached, I could see the rumors to be true. Dikaion ships were beached, a few sunk. No lights shown out to greet us. The signal towers I could spot were motionless and dark.
As we navigated the harbor, I could see ships sunk deep into the water. I could see the wreaks strewn about the shore and the rocks. The Captain Taiki mentioned he could tell it was neglect that did it. They were left to time and battered by storms, but no weapon or creature sunk them.
We found a dock clear enough for Taiki's ship and we disembarked. I could see the massive walls of the gate. These gates and walls once ensured out citizens had no contact with the outside world. The docks and warehouses outside the walls were home to all trade with the outside world. Raw materials and exotic goods. Now, they lay bare. As I approached the locked doors into the city, I could see they had been pushed open. The locking mechanism had been broken, however when we stepped through the doors, I could see none of the locks, door braces, or defensive positions had been used. In fact, there was no sign of a battle or a struggle to go with the break in.
We were now in a coastal town by the name of Port Idanikos. Many citizens of Dikaios will know this as a port where many imports and exports come in, and the diplomats leave from. It has benefitted from commerce and the positive attention of our leadership.
However, I found the Port empty. No dockman to bill us for tying our boat. No welcoming team to meet us. No protectors to question us. Captain Blightkumar and I began our search through the town. Houses were barren. Offices abandoned. Town Houses empty.
The Captain did note that the place had been looted, with safes broken open and signs of beds searched. Very little by way of valuables could be seen. However, he also pointed out there was no sign of struggle or attack. Food was left to rot on tables and in storerooms. No blood or bodies could be found. A nearby graveyard was not overpopulated to suggest where they were. In fact, in a small temple I visited a body was abandoned, set upon by animals, and a matching grave had been dug with headstone. They had died on Moghs 33rd, 1895.
After some talk with the Captains, it was decided we would head for the Capitol city of Evgenes Psema. If we walked, it would be but a few short days hike. I knew outsiders were prohibited to explore Dikaios, however it would be a rough journey alone, and Captain Blightkumar refused to leave a woman alone on the island.
With that, we loaded a cart semi-full of supplies, hooked up a mule the Kanteburian's had brought over, and prepared for the trek to the capitol. With me would be Captain Blightkumar and his men, Commander Turko, and the ship Captain Taiki and two of his men. Taiki left his first mate in charge with instructions to set up a base camp and salvage what they could. I frowned at the idea of them looting the port town, but I had no other way to repay them. I hoped the king or some protectors would be found on our journey or at the capitol and then I would be spared from their mercy.
And that is how I came to going down the long road to Evgenes Psema with a load of outsiders. Although the blasphemous feeling that has given me is worth pages on its own, I only have time to recount the horrors I witnessed on our journey.
We passed farmhouses, hovels, estates, and groves. All empty. Over those few days we trekked farther inland, and we realized the port was not the exception. At first we stopped and searched houses. Tables were set, food rotted away upon them. In one, a bath was drawn, residue of soap left in it. A towel draped nearby. We saw not a soul.
Of animals we spotted a few. Or remains of them. In one home, evidence their dog or pet had clawed through a corner of the door and escaped. In one field there were scores of Jungle Buffalo carcasses. They had been prayed upon by animals, but no sign of how they had died. Their bodies were being consumed by the very Orr around them. In one instance a shepherd dog had turned to bones on a lead. In one stable, I saw the remains of deer and horses, left abandoned. I knew something horrific had happened if horses were abandoned as they are expensive to breed or import.
There were signs of packs of dogs turned wild roaming the lands. Blightkumar pointed out signs of sheep or cows breaking loose of fencing to escape into the wild lands. However we found ourselves unmolested by animals as we continued on our way.
Eventually we stopped the detours. We were pushed onward to the capitol without stopping and all I could manage was to shout out greetings to homesteads as we passed by. I was left to my misery without the distractions.
I watched as wheat, corn, and vegetable fields overgrown and being reclaimed by nature. I saw the remains of a vineyard destroyed by weeds. Groves of Date Palms were suffering from overgrowth, a few of the trees having died from neglect. My eyes did not spot any olive trees, and I feared the worst.
However we followed the gravel road onward to the capitol, never seeing signs of people, graves, or signs of battle. We camped out among the stars, or I did. The Kwazulites had no qualms about taking over a vacant cottage or once joked about staying in one of the large plantation houses we could sometime see in the distance. I could not bring myself to do so, for fear of angering the spirits of the home. I did my best to ignore how our cart began to fill with valuables.
Finally, I bring us to today. We arrived in the capitol in the afternoon. Although my spirits were raised at the sight of a home I had missed dearly for years, I realized at once I would not like what I would find. Even as I cried out when we entered the city I knew not a soul had been here in a long time.
The streets were eerily empty. My voice bounced down the street and bounced off buildings as I cried out for aid. Merchant stalls still displayed their wares. homes and buildings were queit and, in some instances, were left with doors opened. The only movement were the rats. My eye caught them every so often. Scurrying through the street or crawling up ragged laundry into windows of apartments. Around the public baths I saw the tail of a domestic cat as it scurried away.
I went to see the home of my family. There I found it empty. Beds had been straightened. Food had been eaten it appeared. An instrument sat by a reflection pool. My family's valuables were left untouched, thank the Gods. However there was no sign of my family. Captain Blightkumar allowed me as much time as I needed, however as I gathered up items of sentamental value (and everything of monetary value) I knew I could not stay long.
As we made our way to the palace, Taiki and his men found another wagon and his men pushed it along as an animal would. They spoke of searching for survivers (they called them survivers) however they jested of finding valuables. I knew they would ransack the palace. Upon our arrival, I found the palace in the same state as the nation. Palace Dikaios was abandoned.
As the outsiders ransacked the palace despite my objections, I knew there was one more place I could look. Leaving them behind, with Captain Blightkumar trailing behind me, I rushed to the High Temple.
When I reached the steps to the temple, I commanded the Captain to stay behind, as no outsiders were permitted on holy ground.
It is on these steps I write you this account. When I arrived, I saw signs of what had happened. The Temple had its windows bricked up. The doors had been boarded and sealed. Grabbing a hammer from nearby, I shattered the seals and broke the boards, opening the front door to the temple. And I entered it in earnest.
What I witnessed I can never repeat. If you are reading this account, you must head my words: Never open these doors. Never attempt to enter the High Temple. I will not recount what I witnessed and the Gods would show me the highest mercy to strike the memory from my head.
I can continue my tale by saying I exited the temple screaming, and here I cried for many moments. When Captain Blightkumar violated my wishes and approached me on the steps, I had him aid me in sealing the door once more.
When we met the others at the base of the Temple, we discussed our options.
Despite my objections, the others pointed out our supplies would be running low soon, and we were unlikely to find clean water and fresh food inside the city to support us staying longer. Even as I listened, they began to whisper around me. Taiki made plans to bring more of his crew back to ransack the city. He spoke of treasures and more. Commander Turko has found maps and documents from somewhere, and talked in whispers with Captain Blightkumar and his men. They spoke of land, of resources, and of the towns and cities of Dikaios.
These outsiders had seen it already. They were already planning to gut the weakness of Dikaios. Soon we would leave the island, and word would get around. The world would soon know Diakaios had fallen. I soon realized the reality of the situation. One way or another, I was now a woman without a home. I was nationless. I was alone.
I negotiated one night. They agreed with a promise for us to set out again for the coast at dawn. I have attempted to gather what significant artifacts and treasures and hide them submerged in my bath in my family's estate. It has taken most of the evening. I then spent the remainder of my time writing this account, twice. I leave this one, plastered here on the temple wall, as a warning and a call to any and all Dikaios Citizens left. Never give up hope. Find us.
Now, I head to the coast. I do not know the plans of these outsiders, but my goal is to get this account back to the ambassadors around Orr. After my story is told, we has a nationless people can decide on what to do. Do we return home? Do we attempt to rebuild? Or do we leave it behind, and assimilate into our new homes?
All I know is home much I don't know. I am confused. I am scared. I am alone. I will never achieve my ascension to become Heracles Dikaios. I am alone.
My name is Hera. I'm still here. I am alone.