Much has happened since my last letter. I scarcely know where to begin. Our group met with Bann Teagan at a mill midway between the town and the keep. As we were beginning to plan our next move, up ran Lady Isolde, Eamon's wife. She demanded that Teagan return to the keep with her - alone!! I cannot say whether he was incredibly stupid or amazingly brave, but he acquiesced to her demand. Before he departed he gave me his signet ring, which is the key to an escape tunnel from the castle keep to the mill.
We entered the mill, cleared the passage of undead, and were able to exit to the bailey and open the portcullis so that the remaining Redcliffe knights could join with us to enter the Hall. There we found Isolde, her young son Connor, Teagan, and several men-at-arms. All of the men, including Teagan, seemed to be under some compulsion or mind control. Connor appeared to be possessed by some sort of demon who controlled the others through him. From what I could make of the situation, Eamon has been poisoned by an apostate mage who was brought into the household by Isolde in the hopes of keeping Connor's waking mage talents from manifesting further. The apostate, Jowan by name, told us that the undead were not of his calling but that Connor might have done so by accident. Jowan also told us that he was hired by Loghain to poison Eamon - that Eamon was a traitor to the Crown. Seriously, Fergus, the mages of the Circle need to be kept abreast of affairs outside their Tower! The apostate was a recent escapee, and had he been acquainted with events in the outside world he would never have believed such an outrageous claim. Apparently Loghain sent Jowan to Isolde with his recommendation that she employ his services.
So now things sit thus. Eamon is still in a coma. Connor is possessed by a demon. Teagan recovered his mind, but we were forced to kill the men-at-arms when the demon made them attack us. Isolde is distraught and will permit no one to harm the abomination Connor has become. Jowan says Connor's demon may be defeated in the Fade, leaving the child alive, but there is a catch. To enter the Fade requires a great deal of power. He has offered to perform a blood magic ritual that would require the sacrifice of a life to purchase entry into the Fade. This was not an option I was willing to entertain. Instead, I have elected to travel to the Circle Tower in hopes of finding sufficient magical aid to rescue the boy. The travel time and the time to mount a return party looks to be at least three days. I pray that Isolde and Teagan are able to keep the demon from doing further harm in that time. Any further deaths are on my head for deciding to spare the abomination in hopes of saving the child. Must all decisions have such sharp teeth?
On a more personal note, I spoke with Alistair about my guilt over the killings I have done. He explained that all warriors of conscience have such a reaction and that it is a healthy sign. He also said that sometimes it is necessary to destroy the evil in order to protect what is good in this world. That it is wise to remember that death is not always the answer, but not to shy away from meting out death when it is necessary. That warriors take this responsibility upon themselves and their souls so that the weak are not left to die. That I am not a wanton killer but rather a defender of those unable or unwilling to defend themselves. It has given me something to ponder. I wish the nightmares would leave me be. I am so very tired.