None of these men knew each other before I called upon them for aid. Now they know each other far too well. Spending nearly three months with anyone under normal conditions will reveal much of their character. This journey into the Nanten has exposed far more.
The pretense of fearlessness has been lost to all of us. Courage and manliness have succumbed to terror, illness, and grave uncertainties in everything including ourselves. Our bothersome habits have grated on one another, and the lack of privacy has led to more than one frustrated outburst between us.
In spite of all this, strangely enough, all of the bonds between us have been strengthened. With the exception of that between Starlark and Bolton, of course.
It’s as if by struggling and striving together, we overcome and forget those things that would otherwise repel one another. This is not uncommon among brothers in arms, but I have never felt any bonds grow as strongly as I do with these four.
The only men from whom I have ever felt so inseparable are exactly those who abandoned me in my moment of greatest need. In spite of the countless hours spent hunting Daedra, fighting for our lives, even burying those we loved together, none of it could overcome their duty to the Tetrarch.
In their loyalty to the Tetrarch they let me leave. Because of my own sense of duty to them I left.
Those men knew these men. They were the link between them all, much as I am the link between them now. Those men were with me on nearly all of my adventures, north, west, or east. These men have only shared a selection of those with me.
And yet, sitting here surrounded by the towering trees of the Nanten, I find that I would trade those brothers in a breath for these.
These men gave up their lives because once I had given them life. Now in turn I am forever indebted to them in kind. Somehow this bond, coupled with the terrors we face together daily… somehow it makes all other brotherhood pale in comparison. Be it blood or be it oath.
I will do whatever I must to preserve them, as I know they have already done to save me.