It has been quite some time since I've had the opportunity to fulfill my obligations as Annalist. The reasoning behind this, for my own validation, is due in part to the logistics of The Company pulling out from the land of Nuia and heading back to the Glittering Plains in search of 'greener pastures.' Most of the Recruits we once had bolstering our ranks have all but disappeared entirely, leaving Command and a handful of Brothers left to search for the Gate leading to another wold, rumored to contain a viable economy for Mercenary work. The creation of said world is still in progress and it may be some time before it is ready for the likes of The Black Company. This hasn't stopped the Captain, Lieutenant and First Sergeant from embarking on a journey across the plains in search of the Gate. It's been months since they left, leaving me and a couple Brothers to handle unpacking and setting up camp within the Plains. I volunteered for the duty, and I'm slowly regretting that decision. I long for the days of combat, side by side with my Family. I long for the feeling of steel in my hand. I long for The Company. I long for work and coin. Let us not forget that's why we do what we do.
I stopped receiving communication from the Leadership a few weeks ago. They found the Gate. The entered. That's all I know. Whether they're alive or dead is unknown to me and it eats at me nightly. The Black Company isn't in the best position, but The Company Remains. It remains in those who have stood by the Standard through thick and thin. It lives on in us. It's an immortality of sorts. At least, that's what an Annalist of old would say. Many times, I have thought about traveling back to Nuia in search for the former Company members, to rally them and bring them to the Plains, if only to have more people to play Tonk with at the camp. The days have become increasingly lonely, and nights even moreso. I decided two days ago to send a recon party of Brothers to attempt contact with The Captain. I've heard no word from that team either. Things are grim, indeed.
A mercenary without a job is the worst kind of mercenary. Boredom sets in and very few things can quench our thirst. I've spent a large number of days on the Plains sparring with Koshka, our newest Brother, to pass the time. Her combat prowess is starting to plateau with mine, and I'm beginning to think she may be suited for Infantry Division, instead of Support. But that's not my call to make anymore. Dammit. I'm beginning to miss having responsibility within The Company other than keeping up the Archives. Don't get me wrong, reader. Being Annalist is an honorable job, and it's one that I had set my sights on when I first enlisted with The Company back in New Eden. One can only write so much when there is nothing to write about. Like now, for instance. It has quickly become apparent that my job as Annalist must be put on hold, for the time being. At least until I hear word from either recon team.
I could bore you with tales of old. Tales of the Old Crew. Tales of Skinny and Kingsman, of Tiger and Bull, of Junk and Tekerton; but I won't. I cannot. For those memories escape me like a fleeting dream. I could peruse through the Annals of the past, and piece together stories to keep you interested. To keep you engaged. But, that takes time. Luckily for me, time is all I have anymore. So much time, and nothing to do with it.
I'm the youngest member of The Company. Did you know that? Probably not. I'm young, but damn do I feel twenty years older than I should. This life wears you down. The things I've done for coin, the things I've seen others do, the evil within all....it's enough to make you old. I'm nearing thirty years old, and my beard is beginning to sprout grey hairs. The hair on my head, while cropped short, is beginning to grey along the sides as well. I'm afraid of what The Captain or Lieutenant will say when....if....they return and see my grim appearance. I'm positive that when Contracts start rolling in, I'll get back into the swing of things, but I do not know how far off that is. Or if I'll even live to see it.
There is so much left to discover within The Glittering Plains. Many more Gates with the potential to pass through exist. But It's just Koshka and I now, and the two of us crossing the Plains would be inviting the Darkness to consume us. No, we must remain here. We must wait for a word, any word, from anyone. It's up to us to keep The Company going on our end, here on the Plains.
I must end this chapter here, I'm afraid. A rock has called out a stranger entering the Plain. Koshka and I must make camp presentable for the arrival of whoever this stranger is, be it friend or foe. I leave you, dear reader, with these words: The Present looks grim. The Past has looked grim. The Future is beginning to look Grim. But make no mistake, The Black Company will always be here. It shall always Remain.