Ethan's Diaries are a series of lore books scattered throughout the world, and tell the story of what happened after the disappearance of the player 20 years ago, from the point of view of Ethan Runval, the brother of Markos Runval.
Talking to Ethan in Sarrow's Cave after reading all seven books gives the "Missing Brothers" achievement, which unlocks the "Gunter" title.
The diaries are lore books that can be found in the overworld. Their locations are:
- Dye Shop
- Airship Dock
- Lamavora, near the Mining Camp
- Hulthine's Basin, Pally Port Island
- Hulthine's Basin, near Stone Giant
- Flooded Rainforest, near Flying Fish public event
- Wastelands, near the Downed Airship
Below, you can find a transcript of all the books.
Book 1: Ethan
I am beginning this journal as a catalogue of my thoughts, and how they plague me in this troubled time. It is my dearest hope that none need ever to read these entries, for need would suggest even darker times still to come.
However, should this be required, I will state here, for the record, who I am. My name is Ethan Justice Runval, though my official title is as Lord of Runval. I am the one true-blooded son and heir to the township of Narrow Orchard, where my family has ruled for generations. My older brother is Lord Markos of Runval, a powerful man and leader of the famed Knights of Patreayl, it was he who ushered in, what is now known as the Age of Knights.
Though my parents disowned their adopted child, I still loved and idolized my borther, and made many excursions against my parents will to visit him and his followers in their secret hideout. I was made an honorary squire of the Knights of Patreayl and eventually did my part in the upcoming war.
Time passed, and my brother won his war against our enemies, with the help of those who had been outcast and abused by the Order for years. When he reluctantly took power in Guild City, our parents fled to Ottathamine, ashamed of their lineage.
For a time, Patreayl experienced an enlightened age. At the ands of my brother and his advisor, our country was restored to its past position as the most cultured and technologically advanced in all of Taella-Oso.
We reopened the cosmic gateways between our word, and the sister dimension of Taella-Bruha. And like the Janists before, we began to farm the Essence from the Gods of Chaos who slumbered there.
So wat was it that went wrong? I have asked myself this questions for many years now, and I am still uncertain of my answer. We lived in prosperity for so long, yet in hindsight, I can feel the tendrils of darkness curling around us as we danced obliviously in our wealth and excess.
It began, I suppose, with the treatment of Bishop Archibald - an Ottathamine religous ruler who had once controlled Patreayl and been cast out by the dirty politics of his own kind.
The same year that Markos accepted Lordship of Guild City, Archibald came crawling back to the gates, and attempted to build a fanatical uprising to regain control and prove his worth once more to the Vatican in Elephantine.
Was it wrong that we squashed his group with such speed and violence? I cannot say. But it showed me a side of my big brother which I had never seen. It was a side that terrified me.
But I was only fourteen during those days, and could not voice concern like I would today.
In 203 E.A. when I was sixteen, it was declared that the Knights of Patreayl would forgo their hunt for war criminals from the Order of Ma'at, in favour of advancing our society into the sister realm.
Those whom we had already captured, or who had surrendered themselves to us, overflowed from the dungeons of Guild City Palace. They were a problem. We were spending too much Dram, giving too much food to keep them there.
Markos asked me what we should do with them, and I told him to let them go - cast them from our lands like we had allowed their underlings to leave months prior.
But Sephotep, his advisor, had other considerations. The mysterious sorcerer suggested that they needed be punished further for their crimes. That the public needed to see the strength of the new rulers of Patreayl.
He advocated for mass executions outside the city. At first, my brother refused his request. He would not debase himself to the same actions of our enemies. But at some point, something changed. Whether it was the growing strain the prisoners were placing on our economy, or something else, I watched Markos become darker, more pensive, as if the very nature of the decision were an evil spirit, oppressing him with great bitterness.
Skygring that year, with its days of snow and night, was particularly upsetting for me. That was the holiday in which I witnessed my older brother, my hero, put to death, twelve hundred and fifty three priests, bishops, generals, and lords. Some native to Patreayl, others foreign invaders form the continent, all human beings with hearts, loves, desires and fears.
I felt cold. Still I feel cold. Time may pass, but it will never rob me of the images I've seen, nor the screams I heard, as they pleaded for their lives.
I am ashamed to say, I kept quiet and towed the party line for five more years to date.
Book 2: Caught
The festival of Lys began in its regular fashion. Since almost the start of the Age of Knights, Markos had held a masked ball in Guild City Palace in celebration of the warmer weather arriving in Patreayl. It did not in its regular fashion, for me, or the nobles residing in the palace. The one person whom I shared my assassination plot with - Tinny the witch - had provided me with the necessary equipment. A dart gun, loaded with an ancient poison, triggered by runespeak and concealed within my sleeve.
I arrived shortly before midnight once the ball was in full swing, and quickly began to scope out the palace grounds and dance hall to make note of the guards movements.
Once I felt secure in the knowledge of their routes, I began my hunt for Lord Sephotep, whom had proved to be very elusive as of late. Perhaps even before my plans were made, he suspected something like this might happen. If I were him, making the decisions he was making, I know I would.
My brother was busy entertaining guests by the Great Fountain. Lord Pavara, Lady Sarrow and the Onobi Leader Kreyen, who had refused a Midlander title when Markos was giving them out.
I noticed with sadness the absence of the other two heroes who had been significant in our fight against both the Order and the Necropolar Lords. Bezoula, who had died in the great battle of Lamavora, and the knight who had gone missing shortly after we raided this very place to remove General Clavicus and free Markos from the cells.
Moving past their party, I made my way into the ball room. At the time, I thought immediately that luck must be on my side, as Lord Sephotep sat perched in the advisor's throne, watching down on the dancers below.
With intent, I pushed my way throught he spinning bodies of Lords and Ladies and towards the Sorcerer, readying the blow gun in my sleeve to attack him.
As I neared the strange looking man, he noticed me and smiled. It was a smile of cruelty, a smile of knowing. I don't understand how, but he was prepared for me.
I raised my arm to aim the gun at him, realizing I would have to move quickly before he could call for help. Uttering the runes under my breath I felt heat grow around my wrist where the gun was secured. A moment later, the dart flew from my cuff and straight for his throat. Almost immediately, Sephotep rose and shouted something - some kind of spell I'd never heard before, and the dart exploded in mid air, the poison evaporating on the floor.
Suddenly guards surround me, and I found myself held tight between the two largest ones. Sephotep stepped down from his elevated position and approached me. I spat at him as he grew near but he dodged it with ease.
"I will say, you've got heart, kid." He sniggered as if he were telling some kind of in-joke. Moments later, Markos rushed in through the quickly growing crowd that gathered around us.
"Sephotep!", he shouted. "What is the meaning of this?"
The Sorcerer's attitude changed, and he looked up at my brother, accompanied by our friends. "What did I tell you, my Lord?", he asked, "Did I not say, someone would come against us?"
"He is my brother!" Markos replied, "Not some Order spy!"
Sephotep paused for a moment, before continuing. "Your brother who spent a fair amount of time in Order captivity as a child, if I recall correctly."
"They saved him from their clutches." Markos replied.
"Ah yes. Yet another Order lackey at one time. Didn't they go missing?"
"You're suggesting Ethan was brainwashed by them?"
"I'm no Order loyalist!", I snarled at Sephotep.
"Yet you just tried to kill me." he mused, "Markos! Check his sleeve. The boy aimed a magick dart gun at my throat! He must be punished!"
The guards holding me shook my arm violently. The gun clattered to the floor. My brother looked at me with great sadness.
"Ethan..." he said, "You would betray your Lord?"
"Markos!" I shouted, "Can't you see what he's doing? He's lying to you! He's using some kind of spell on you!"
Sephotep stood in front of me, "Our Lord is perfectly capable of thinking for himself - aren't you, my Lord?"
All eyes on Markos, he paused for a moment and then nodded sadly. Turning to the guards holding me, he spoke softly: "Take my brother to the cells. We will investigate this later. For now, the ball goes on."
"Markos!" I shouted in anger, but he had already departed. The Guards dragged me towards the exit, as the music began to play once more.
Book 3: Exiled
I write from a grotto, abandoned in the wilderness. This was once the home of my good friend, the great witch Tinny of Mulbirth. I had hoped to find her here, but she is missing, and it does not appear that she has dwelt in this place for some time. Like myself, she must have fled Guild City once my assassination plot was uncovered. Tinny was not revealed as my contact, but it seems she has fled all the same, just in case she is found out by Sephotep and those loyal to him.
For days I have wandered the Midlands, hiding and sleeping rough. Although Markos chose exile for me instead of the execution Sephotep has desired, I no longer trust him to remain true to his word.
A lot has changed about my brother. Both externally and internally. The last day I saw him, the morning he came to me and bid me farewell, he looked weak and bent over. A shrivelled version of that which he once was.
I believe he has been cursed, and whatever dark magicks hold sway over his mind are feeding on his flesh and soul. He was skinny, so skinny. The man I'd spoken to at the masked ball only two weeks prior, was no longer there. The curse had taken him with stunning rapidity. He allowed me time to pack my things - those essential which I might need on the road - weapons, clothing, food, water - before ushering me from my sleeping chambers and through the less frequented passages of the palace. I suspected he hoped we would not be interrupted by any who would force him to change his mind on my sentencing.
I was not allowed to take a mount, for that would look too much like favouritism. Instead, I was forced to walk through Guild City - a hood to cover my face, until I crossed the bridge and into the Wenderwood Forest. I spent my first night by a lonesome campfire crying and beating upon myself for my own stupidity - at being caught, at not trying to complete my mission harder, I cried for my brother, and the horrors that I assumed his mind must be undergoing while trapped in the snare that Sephotep had set for it.
The next morning, I washed my face in a nearby stream and began my journey once more. At first I had no idea as to where I was headed. I had been banned from all townships in the Midlands as part of my exile, and knew showing my face in any, would cause the Brotherhood to chase the price now on my head.
I wondered briefly whether our old ally, Brother Pavara would listen to my claims of devilry, but I knew he had never worked with us out of conviction. Dram was his only god, and with Guild City and Markos setting him up as the newly minted Lord, there was no way he would budge from his satisfying new life to help me.
No, the only one who could or would help me if I hoped to continue my quest to stop Sephotep would be Tinny. She alone had the wisdom and the power to do this. She was also the only one who would be brave enough to budge from her comforts to work alongside me. and so, I began my long walk to her cave, which is where I now scribe this entry.
Book 4: The Past
I can't believe it, I'm standing in a new land, in the past no less! Tinny did not disappoint. I found her, as suspected, hiding out in Sicilus' Zoological Gardens. She had been there for some time, also developing a plan to save the day.
Tinny believes that there is much more to Sephotep than meets the eye, and that before we can confront him, we must know the true extent of his madness. Before leaving Guild City, she managed to steal a shred from one of his garments, something that would come in handy for this particular spell.
I volunteered to go in her stead, as she is too old to face off against anything evil, should the occasion call for it. With fire and a great many runes, Tinny opened a portal for me, through time and space, and using Sephotep's clothing as an anchorage, I stepped through with hopes of witnessing his origins, and perhaps even putting a stop to him before any kind of (..)
I remember a swirling, hurtling feeling as I plummeted through darkness and heat and mist. Arriving on the other side of the portal, I collapsed in a large snow embankment, coughing, vomiting and shouting in pain. Once I recovered, I looked around me, and though I cannot say exactly where or when I have arrived, I believe I have landed on the other side of the great mountains that shield Patreayl from the Necropolar.
I wandered around aimlessly in the icy tundra for what felt like hours, until eventually, I spied a pillar of smoke in the distance. Another hour passed moving in that direction until I stood upon a rise, looking down on a small Bedouin village.
"You there!" a voice called out to me from below. I looked and saw a youth of perhaps sixteen staring up at me. The youth was unique in that he had as far as I could tell, no use of his legs. Instead, he sat in a strange chair, equipped with two wooden runners to help him glide through the snow.
"Who are you?" the boy asked of me as I clambered down to join him within the village outskirts. He was a bold lad. I gave him my name and he gave me his.
Seith explained to me that it wasn't often their village received guests, but that I was welcome to stay with him, if I could help him out. The village was in a state of panic, he explained to me. The Master Shaman had gone missing, and as his young apprentice, it hat fallen to Seith to try to find him.
At first I hesitated. I had other business to attend to I told the boy, but he insisted, quickly changing tact and suggesting that perhaps we could help each other.
"What is your business here?" he asked.
Not wanting to give away where I was from or what I aimed to do, I kept quiet, revealing only that I was looking for a man named Sephotep. Morning came far earlier than I expected, and the sun rose in the sky, casting a pink hue across the tundra. As I sat there watching dawn break, the boy Seith slid his chair out beside me.
"It's beautiful." I told him.
He smiled strangely. "For some." He said, "for others it's a prison."
I asked him what he meant and again, he smiled wryly.
"I've been waiting my whole life to escape this place." was his answer.
And it was an answer I understood. As a boy, all I'd ever wanted was to leave Narrow Orchard and explore the country - explore the world. We ate breakfast and prepared for the task at hand.
Book 5: The Shaman
It's really quite beautiful here, out undre the green of the forest. Though it is cold, the snow does not fall this close to the Patreaylin ranges and so the area is alive with nature and animal movements.
I've been here for a day and a half now, and although the beauty is awe-inspiring, I am haunted by a strange and unearthly sense of dread. After waking up in the morning to begin my work with the young apprentice Seith, I was unstructed by him to travel here. These woods, he told me, were where his master had been heading in search of herbs for one of his many potions.
Upon discovering the Master Shaman, I would signal Seith with a magick flare and alert him. He would then use the last transport potion in his pantry to join me amongst the trees.
The journey itself to the forest wasn't that long. Perhaps a day's walk from the village of Frigid Bedouin. The cold made it difficult, but I pushed through, compelled as it were to find a means to save my brother in the future.
As I broached the treeline and began my search for his master, I noticed almost immediately the strange excess of incredibly ancient ruins littered throughout the forest. They reminded me of some of the oldest Esasa Ruins I had seen back in Patreayl whilst visiting Lady Sarrow shortly before her move to the capital.
When I explored further, my heart sank and my hopes of finding the shaman alive greatly diminished. In a small clearing up ahead, I could see the remains of what looked like a campsite, torn apart by wild animals. I made my way towards it.
But my fears were ill advised as no sooner had I stepped up to the torn clothes and split food, did I hear a weak voice from nearby call out:
The call was followed by a series of ferocious barking. Drawing my sword, I made my way towards the sound and came across two wolves, larger than any I had seen in the Midlands, snapping at a covering man who had climbed his way up one of the ruins amd was hiding in a little alcove just out of reach. Realizing him to be the missing shaman, I leapt into battle, and only just managed to survive, slew both beasts, painting the ground with their hot blood.
"Are you okay?" I called out to the man from below his hiding spot. There was no response.
Sheathing my sword, I clambered up the ruins to find him. He lay there, passed out and feverish to the touch. A nasty wound (..)
Moving to somewhere I could more readily fire, I set the magickal flare off, watching it sparkle as it rose high into the sky. Once it fell, I returned to the shaman and began to try bind his wound before carrying him down to the forest floor.
Half an hour went by, and then, suddenly, with a cloud of swirling energy, Seith appeared in his little sled chair, breathless and panicked. Seeing his master unconscious before me he asked:
"Is he alive? What happened?"
I told him of the wolves as he instantly set about mixing herbs to fashion a salve for the older man's wound. Making myself useful, I began collecting timber for a fire.
"We can't move him." Seith told me, "We will have to stay overnight until he has recovered.
That night, the life of the shaman hung in the balance. It was touch and go constantly, and none of us slept very well. Seith was sledding back and forth, attending to his master, while I stood watch at the edge of the camp, sword drawn, in case any more wolves decided to stop by.
I must have fallen asleep at some stage, for next I knew, I was waking to the rising sun. Looking over at my companions, I saw that at least, the shaman was sleeping soundly. Seith on the other hand, was almost lost in an exhausted trance, staring strangely, even greedily at a ruined wall that jutted out from the bush nearby.
"What are you looking at?" I asked him as innocently as I could muster. The fresco at the ancient wall was hard to make out, but there were images on it, strange designs and bizarre forms.
"This rubble, is incredibly old." he told me, "The Esasa race once lived out this way - those who had been exiled by their brethren for the worship of false gods."
I stood and approached the wall, trying to ascertain some esoteric knowledge from the scratchings. "What does it say?" I asked, "What do these symbols mean?"
"They speak of strange magick." he replied, "Of doorways to other places, and of beings that cannot be nam -" he paused, mid sentence, looking up, as if something has caught his attention.
"Did you hear that?" he asked me.
"Hear what?" I replied. He calmed himself and continued:
"This symbol here, it speaks of a deity they prayed to out of fear - are you sure that you didn't hear anything?"
"Nothing." I told him.
"Hmm." he mused, then went on: "N... No... Noden... Ghast." he said, feeling the word out as he went, "Her name was Nodenghast. The supposed mother of gods, dwelling within a timeless castle, where all the forbidden knowledge of existence was kept."
I started to, at this point, feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. A twig snapped nearby, and both of us jerked to attention. But it was just Seith's Master, moving softly in his sleep against the ground.
"We need to eat." I said, changing the subject from the strange pictures.
"I'll find us some food."
Seith nodded and I moved out.
Book 6: Nodenghast
Something terrible has happened. The Master Shaman is... dead and Seith is gone. I can barely describe the things I have bore witness to only moments ago. I must write it down, for I fear too much time sitting with these events in my mind will only drive me to madness. With them on paper, I can at leas pretend they are naught but a story.
I returned from my hunt for food to find chaos having overtaken our camp. Lying in the mud, cold and lifeless, the Master Shaman stared up in horror at the sky. A small dagger stuck from his chest.
Seith was nowhere to be seen. And an insidious whispering noise flowed through the trees. Passing the old man's corpse, I walked with increasing dread towards the wall that Seith had been so preoccupied with earlier. A strange disturbance floated in the air, right in front of the ancient imatery.
I reached out and touched it, and felt a current of electricity go through my arm. A forceful presence pulled on me, threatening to suck me into the invisible void. I couldn't fight it. It was too strong. I passed through and into what I can only assume to be an astral pocket. On the other side, I stood in a shadowy realm. I was in an ancient temple, yet I could see the spectre of the forest all around me still. From down the long dark hall I now stood in, I heard a voice. Recognizing it as Seith's I had no choice but to follow it.
The hallway seemed to go on forever, yet Seith's muffled voice sounded as if he were only just in front of me. I felt my way along the walls, moving closer and closer to the sound.
The hallway dipped and started moving further down into the darkness. After some time, it branched out, widening on both sides until I reached a large stone doorway, the frame decorated with ancient symbols similar to thos eI had seen on the ruined wall back in Taella-Oso. Stepping through, I felt my very essence quake with fear all of a sudden. The gloom grew lighter, and I saw before me a most horrible and incomprehensible sight!
The path lead up again, towards an almighty cliff face, above which hovered a flickering vision.
It was the castle! By the gods! The castle from the fresco! The one Seith had called by that strange and foreign name - Nodenghast, the home of the mother of gods!
And at the edge of the cliff, sat in his chair, Seith stared up at it. As I got closer, I realized he was conversing with a voice in another language which seemed to emanate from the great structure itself.
I called out to him and the voice suddenly grew silent. Shifting his chair to face me, Seith smiled. It was a smile that filled me with both uncertainty and a sense of horrifying familiarity.
"Ethan, you made it." he said.
"What is this place?" I asked him, "What is this thing? Who were you talking to?"
So many questions, yet Seith answered none. Instead, he tensed up briefly, and rose from his chair, able to walk all of a sudden.
"She healed me!" he exclaimed, "She set me free from my prison!"
He took a step towards me, shaky at first, but with strength quickly gaining.
"She promised me knowledge in exchange for..." he paused, then changed tact: "Ethan, pledge her your servitude, ask her what she wants and she will find that man you seek!"
The Castle suddenly sent out a hungry energy that almost bowled me over with its power.
"Seith, let's go." I told him, "This doesn't feel right. That thing... it feels... evil."
"Nonsense!" he replied, "Look what she did for me! All my life, I've felt trapped here - unable to walk, unable to think, surrounded by this endless ice and snow!" He sighted, as if in bliss, "Yet she spoke to Me! Last night - and this morning - she called my name! And now... now I will travel the entire multiverse! I will see things never seen by humanity! I will learn magick that has never before been tapped by any of us!"
The Castle suddenly began to explode with noise, droning loudly, to the point I almost couldn't hear anything.
"For what?!" I shouted, "what do you have to give her in return?"
Seith smiled sadly at me. "Oh, Ethan..." he said sadly, "You will never understand. You've never been trapped like I was. Go home Ethan, forget what you've seen here."
"Seith! Listen to me!"
But as I pleaded with him, he stepped back and disappeared in a thick fog.
With him gone, the Castle started to get louder and louder, my ear drums felt as if they were about to burst. I turned and fled, as the whole temple began to shake, rocks falling from the ceiling above.
Sprinting down the winding hall, I could feel the eyes of that being in the castle observing me. Then, finally, seeing the portal back to Taella-Oso up ahead, I leapt forward and dove through it, crashing ungracefully out into the forest and the cold light of day.
Book 7: Sephotep
Knowing what I know now, how can I ever face my brother again? How can I claim to fight for those who have been wounded by Sephotep's actions? I have decided I will send myself into exile. Tinny tells me this is a terrible idea, but I can't see any other option for me.
I left the forest and the astral pocket behind. With no other directive, I made my way back towards the village I had come from, in hopes of tracking Seith down once more and talking him out of his course of action.
A blizzard blew wildly, tearing the skin from my face, but I persisted on, moving as fast as I could against the violent snow.
I wandered through the evening and into the night, stopping only briefly to eat and rest my legs. By dawn the next morning, I knew I was coming close to the village, yet as I neared it, an unnerving sensation flowed over me.
When I'd first visited the village, smoke had billowed high in the sky from cooking fires. This time however, there was no smoke. A sense of foreboding grew.
Entering the village, I immediately noticed a lack of people. The village has bustled when I left for the forest, now it was a ghost town. The people had all vanished. I continued through the village, my throat tightening up the closer I got to the town center. Stepping into the empty market place, my worst fears were confirmed.
Seith stood there in the very middle of the square. His head down, he appeared to be praying - or speaking to something or someone. "Seith..." I whispered his name.
He looked up at me and smiled. He spoke to me, only now his voice has changed. It was deeper, more malevolent than the boy I had met only days ago. And what he said, froze me to the very core.
"You've got heart, kid."
"Sephotep?" I asked, my face aghast. He smiled. His face taking on the characteristics of the sorcerer I knew and hated. "Yes." He said, "I do rather like that name. I'll take it. Thank you for your originality, Ethan."
I drew my sword and rushed him. With a swift wave of his hand, (...). Crashing against a small hutch, I coughed blood. Seith came towards me. I winced and looked up at him weakly.
"What did you... do to the villagers?" I asked.
He shook his head.
"Nodenghast asked me for a sacrifice." he said. I was confused at first, but then the full horror of his words dawned on me.
"I offered my tribe up to the mother of gods." he declared, "In return for the forbidden knowledge of the universe!"
"You bastard!" I shouted.
"Bastard? No. Seeker of truth. They were a worthy sacrifice, and now..." he paused, "you shall join them."
He raised his hand to strike me with his Eldritch power. I closed my eyes and waited for it all to be over. Then, nothing. Suddenly I was whirring through time and space. Pulled away through a portal, saved from certain death. The temperature changed.
I opened my eyes, and found that I was looking directly in the eyes of Tinny.
"Just in time, I think!" she said, with a grizzled grin.
"It was me." I told her, "I created him."
I've packed my things. I plan to go where nobody will ever find me, or discover my shame. I could have stopped him. I could have saved him. I could have done something. Instead, I did nothing. I will never forget this.
I will never forgive myself. I'm sorry Markos. I have failed you, brother.
After learning what happened, you rush to Ethan, who has been shutting himself away from the world in Sarrow's Cave. You tell him that you read his books - you know what happened.
With tears in his eyes, Ethan asked you where you were all these years - they could have saved his brother. He blames himself for what happened, the guilt of making Sephotep who he is gnawes at his soul. He has been planning his revenge, but the more he saw the terror his past actions caused, the deeper he fell into a paralyzing depression.
You tell him that you and the others are building a resistance in Highsteppe, and ask him to join, but Ethan isn't ready to face his friends, knowing he brought this evil into the world. Even though you try to persuade him, he just turns around and asks you to leave - and tell his brother that he is deeply sorry for everything.