The trees aren’t just dying, they’re killing everything around them. Whatever this substance is that they’re weeping is toxic. After Starlark’s encounter with it the other day we have kept clear of them, but that is becoming impossible. Walking within feet of any open sore leaves us light-headed or coughing.

We’ve found animals dead at their base. We’ve stumbled across birds, lizards, even a massive wild cat. All of them appear to have choked to death on these fumes.

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The carvings on the trees are growing more regular. Keys and swirling arrows are abundant, along with other less-common Mentalist symbols with which I am unfamiliar. The dark substance is always seeping out from these scars.

Our progress has slowed even more as we move with greater caution. This area is unnaturally silent. Everything is dead or dying, trapped in a state of living decay.

I hate Mentalists. It’s a wonder that they haven’t been exterminated. If it were up to me they would be just below Daedra as a priority for just that.

I’ve only encountered a few in my life that I know of. Their tricks have always been difficult to detect. I don’t know if you have ever encountered a Mentalist in your young life, but they are vile. They exploit the weakness in any mind and use it to their own ends. They are villains, without exception.

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Mentalists create illusions from which no one can escape. They manipulate perceptions, and tug on the unseen strings tied to the volition of men. They are thieves, con-men, and swindlers. And it would seem that somehow they have become the masters of these horrifying monsters.

Whatever they are doing to these trees appears just as dangerous. Finding wood that we can burn is becoming a challenge, so we will sleep in the dark tonight. This seems wise in any case, for we do not know what lurks in the silence and stalks us.

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I am actually scared of night’s advance. I do not know what it will bring, or if we will wake to some horrifying hallucination. My stomach twists in upon itself as it burns with anxiety. I put on a stern face, but I do not have the spirit to match it tonight.

I have stepped back into the wars of my past, across time and distance…

I hope I am blessed with a dreamless sleep. I do not want to relive the past on the verge of creating yet more nightmares.

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