Legacy of the Forlorn

My First Fight
Vanya

Well my homecoming was more entertaining than I had originally planned. Once I had settled in we, my siblings and I, were to have a birthday dinner with my father. The meal was prepared by Phos and it was magnificent, the artistry and time that went into the presentation of the meal was beyond anything other than a meal at the palace. Specialized dishes created for each of us as well a main course of roasted meat that was to die for. During dinner father asked us each what we had been doing since we all saw each other last. As I had expected my sister and brothers did not know of my calling into the service of Calistria, which caused a short outburst from my sister. She seems to have spent too much time in the company of the lesser races and seems to think that the services that I provide in the name of Calistria are to be vilified. Most of my siblings seem to have spent a great deal of time in Greengold, in some cases actually taking care of human children. My brother Palanon on the other had spent his time writing a book, and not just any normal book. He seems to be the first person in some time to be able to write prophecy. He handed each of us a copy of the book and seemed to think that the whole thing should have made sense, when in fact most of it was riddles and gibberish. The only reason I know it to be a book of prophecy is due to what followed his gift of the book to us all.
Father in his reading came across a passage that referred to a name that mother used to call him by. This sent him into a foul mood that was sooner compounded by the arrival of Faunra, the new military advisor following Amrune’s death. She announced that a shambling mound had been seen approaching Greengold. This sent father into a rage, he announced that he would be leaving to deal with this issue and commanded Phos to get his staff of power from the 4th level of the library, a restricted section that very few people can access. During this time one of my siblings said we would accompany father on this task, something I felt at the time was a foolish gesture, but not wanting to appear weak and afraid in front of my siblings I also chimed in that I would go too if father wanted us to join him. He accepted the request of us and we were told to meet him near the fountain in the central courtyard as soon as possible. With this, I went to gather my things, since I had a feeling that we would not be protected from harm by father’s mere presence.
Upon arriving at the fountain, I was surprised to see all my siblings gathered, and ready for battle, they really looked like a bunch of heroes. At that moment I realized I was sister to a bunch of suicidal adrenaline junkies, who wants to be a hero and purposely throw themselves into the line of fire. Father gave a brief lecture as to the nature of the shambling mounds and then talked about how we were to travel to Greengold. There is an Elfgate that is tied to the blood of our line in the fountain. There are nine portals to different regions. Three are in the Tanglebriar, two are outside the boarders of Kyonin, and the other 4 are within the forest, one of which leads to the Petrified Forest. Father told us that all we need to do is place our hand in the water then speak the name of the location to which we wish to travel. Each of us did this in turn, appearing in a moment surrounded by the trees of the forest.
Once we arrived we were met by a scout that seemed to be surprisingly taken with me. I have had this effect on many men and usually have time to fully explore and develop this fascination, maybe in time I will see him again and see how deep his passion flows. He gave a brief summary of the location that the shambler was spotted and then was sent away. Father, using his abilities as a druid was able to track the location of the shamblers, he mentioned something about the sent that they left in their passing. Following this “trail” we came to a clearing with a dead white stag in the center. Such a rare creature killed in such a manner was troubling to both Mirrianna and Amaras. Father conducted a review of the body, as did my siblings, and came to the conclusion that a shambling mound had killed the beast. A slick film covered the body and we were told that sometime shamblers will do this to infect scavengers who consume the flesh of fallen victims. With that we noticed the howling of wolves, not typical howls in the night but something tinged with more pain and agony, and it was getting closer to our position. With that Navarre directed us to surround father and be ready to fend off the attack. Everyone seemed to know their place except for me, and I tried to focus on the training provided by the sisterhood for self-defense. Finally, after what felt like an eternity the maddened wolves burst from the underbrush. Holding my ground they charged at the flanks of our group. Holding steady I waited, as I was taught, for the opportune moment to strike. As the beasts closed in with gnashing teeth I let fly an arrow, that was surprisingly true. It struck one of the beasts in the foreleg, passing through the flesh and lodging itself into the chest of the creature. What followed after was a blur. There are flashes of memory were I ran and hid, followed by an attack at the rear of an unaware wolf. More than one beast fell to my attacks that day, and I now know why my instructors said that you need not have power to kill if you know where to strike.
After the conflict father said he was extremely proud of our abilities, and I received a small amount of praise from my siblings for my actions. I was actually hoping for some time to rest at this point but father had us press on toward Greengold. Upon reaching a road that connected Greengold with another town father lost the scent of the shambler. With that he took off into the sky as a great owl, leaving us alone on the road. Some time passed before anything of note happened. As we were huddled at the side of the road, paranoid that the shambler would sneak up on us, we spotted a light on the road. As it approached my siblings relaxed as a group of merchants advanced on our position. I guess they have had dealings with these humans in the past and notified them of the danger. With that the merchants started a mad dash toward Greengold, the wagons in their caravan rumbling loudly with occasional cries of fear from the passengers within. As the last of the wagons passed us a twist of fate blessed us with a warning. A sound none of us should have been able to hear warned us that we were not alone on the road again as the last wagon passed out of sight. Turning way from Greengold and looking back down the road once again we saw the monster. It was a huge mass of darkness with the lack of light and distance from us. With that we started a retreating action, moving back in an organized manner while firing what ranged weapons we had at the beast. Our attacks seemed to have little individual effect but our combined efforts were enough to bring it to a halt. During the fight I was in such a panic that I used alchemist fire on a nearby tree to alert father, who was flying a search pattern over the forest , of our predicament. I figured a large fire in the night would be the perfect signal that we were in trouble. I later received quite the sermon from my brother Amaras about this attack against nature.
Upon fathers return we discovered a problem. It appeared that there were actually two shambling mounds in the forest. The stag that was slain had broken off its horn in the attack that ended its life, and this mound showed no signs of being in a fight with the stag. At this point father fall into what I consider a panic. He was irrational and angry, not using the logic he has shown on so many occasions but instead letting fear and anger drive his actions. We tried plumbing our minds for the area that a second shamble would have gone and only came up with two possible areas, a memorial to my mother Rillana, or some druid thing that Aramas knew about that was nearby. After some heated debate we agreed to go to the location that was closest, which was my mother’s memorial. Upon arriving, father having transformed into an owl again leaving us behind in his haste, we saw father unleash the power of the staff upon the shambling mound. It was destroyed in a storm of ice and hail. It appears to have been digging up the memorial looking for something. We all assumed that since my mother had been killed by shambling mounds that there was nothing located here, but father said that they had buried a shield in this location, something that she used to train with from time to time. Inscribed on the inside of the shield were the names of Elensar, Navarre and I. A constant reminder of what my mother was protecting. And with that we went to Greengold to ensure the merchants had arrived safely.
Upon arriving we were greeted by this merchants, Varisians they call themselves, as conquering heroes. They gathered around us all and sang our praises. One of them even gave us a gift of a pair of magical elven boots. Boots which my siblings in turn suggested that I use during our further adventures. I must admit that this experience was exhilarating and I am looking forward to our next “adventure”.

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Homecoming
Vanya

For many years, I have enjoyed the power, privilege, and benefits that come from being one of the Divine Courtesans of Calistria. I had found my place in the court and had a wonderful life, although it was at times hard, especially with the extensive training that I was subjected to during the early years. My time at court was very enjoyable and I was able to see many of the most influential people in the realm on a regular basis. Talking about politics and social changes was so entertaining, as such, political intrigue always did charge my imagination and creative flair.
Alas, my nights of parties and social events are now at an end. I have been recalled back to the home I left so long ago. My father recently came to court and demanded that I return home, in addition to my other siblings who have been sequestered here in the royal household (a fact I was not aware of, as they have never been present at any of the parties). I had thought that my position would protect me from such a demand but I was in for quite the shock when the Matron Mother said I would in fact be returning to my childhood home. So in a stately manner I collected my things, taking only as much time as needed (which was quite more then I should have in all honesty) and said good-bye to all the wonderful men and women I had the privilege of meeting over the years, spending time enjoying their hospitality before leaving the capital (I only spent at most a week in any given household, father cannot be upset at such a short good-bye). Instead of traveling directly, back to the estate, I elected to take a quiet and peaceful journey about the forest, stopping at various villages and cities, connecting with old companions who also trained in the guild house during the time I was staying there. Catching up on old times and relaying stories of how court politics have progress over the decades was the talk of the day in most cases.
Once I arrived home, I found out that, Amrune had passed away again and that the estate was in the middle of a mourning period. It was not as if she was going to be dead forever, she always seems to come back after a short period of time, something about the brightness and becoming all she can be. It has just struck me as a desperate plea for attention from my father, as he is getting married yet again as well, just not to her. They really should have had a more physical relationship but I suppose that is also part of her trying to be all she can be.
Instead of stopping in to see my siblings right away, I decided to go talk with father, as I was sure he would be upset at the delay of my return. Much to my surprise, he was not upset, but he was also not happy. He seems to be slipping further and further into a depression. Maybe this new wife will be good for him, get him out of this depression. He greeted me warmly and told me how happy he was that I was home, and asked if my other siblings had been sent back with me. I had to respond that I had returned alone and once again, he sunk into his depression, losing the light that briefly light his face. During a large gathering of my siblings and I we were each given a gift for our name day, mine being a wonderfully crafted Rapier made of cold iron, I was given an extensive history on the weapon, which I promptly forgot as it was very boring, but did remember the name, Sirens Call. Supposedly, it was once magical, but our weapons never lose their magical power so I have a feeling that the whole thing was a con, maybe he purchased it from one of those humans Elensar is always going on about during our conversations.
I have been spending some time getting my self reacquainted with my old home. Finding all the old hiding places that used to be my special spots as a young child, while also seeking out new contacts at the homestead, since this is now going to be my place in the world it seems. While being one of the only courtesans in the area I feel it is still my sacred duty to provide the joys of life to those that need to feel the fires of life course through their bodies, the passion that can only be fueled, never extinguished. I meet people and suggest they seek a divination from the Matron Mother and see if our time together would be in benefit to him, her, or the church.

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Warm Reflections

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril
Entry the Sixth

No Alchemical Breakthroughs.

It has been the most difficult to write this entry. I have had to go over the previous ones, hopeful that I could make more sense of recent events, or to see what might have been done better. However, time and thought have soothed my recollection of the transpiring. Ultimately, we did only as well as we could have expected to do, and we have only to learn from it. I recall an elven proverb my tutors used to repeat. “A lesson learned easily is easily forgotten.”

So has this stuck in my mind.

Lady Smilos had given us the location of a local cultist temple. Though our plan was initially one of infiltration and attack, we managed to outsmart the dense cultists into taking us directly to Risa. The credit for that goes to Palanon and Mirrianna, and their clever wit did us well. Those of us who hid, followed, while Palanon, Mirrianna, and Amaras (sans Nilsha) were in the care of these fungal cultists.

I cannot say what they must have spoken of, but I am told that Palanon himself was close to converting them, which fascinates me. I may tire of Palanon’s words, but his mind is an impressive thing when he applies himself. On the matter of the fungal cultists, I find them interesting as well, though repugnant. Their relationship with plants and fungus is parasitic as opposed to the symbiotic one elves share with nature. However, while some races are the parasite upon nature, nature in this case is corrupted as a parasite on these humans. Neither concept is acceptable, but the corruption of nature is particularly loathsome.

We eventually came to their lair, after much walking. The whole thing was build on the side of a volcano, something I didn’t expect for fungal worshipers. I don’t imagine the dry heat did anything for their preferred affliction, but it must have had to do with the elf gate within. We were led to the entrance, as the stealthy among us attempted to catch them by surprise. Palanon wisely spotted a trap inside of the cave, and a dispute arose between the captors and the captives.

Before too long, a heated melee ensued, in which we defeated the cultists soundly. Elensar had shown a bit more of his special brand of justice, which seems more fitting for Daggermark than for Greengold. His coarse actions allowed us to cross the trap unharmed, saving us valuable time and resources, so I cannot vituperate him too harshly.

Trekking further into the volcano, we came upon the caldera, in which the elf gate and walkway were built. Several more menacing thugs, and Risa, were preparing to remove Dekash’s ear, for a ritual we later learned would take Risa away from us. Where she had intended to go was a mystery even now… but we all have our guesses.

No effort was spared in our attempt to free Dekash from Risa’s clutches. I did my best to distract Dekash as the others attempted to push through the thuggish blockade. The others did their part, employing every tactic available to them. Neither my work of illusion nor the finesse and strength of my siblings was enough, however. Palanon, for his part, discovered some interesting magical affinity within him, and was an impressive force on the battlefield, having found some profound function of Phos’ Wand that I don’t think even Phos had realized. It was amazing.

And yet, our actions were largely futile. The fighting, shoving, magicking, and swarming that proceeded were but a blur of action and desperation. Eventually, Dekash and Risa went over the edge of one of the walkways, and had apparently moved right through the portal that had been placed at such a strange and imprudently esoteric location.

We had feared the worst. We would later learn that Dekash had been transported safely. Though we cannot know for sure what happened to Risa, we can at least be sure that she has been set back, if nothing else. Her allegiance is apparently to the sworn enemy of Treerazer, a fungal demon lord that had originally banished Treerazer here so long ago. I cannot know if this bears good tidings, but it does merit more investigation.

Elensar and Dekash now live together. It is an arrangement that I cannot fathom. Something about reparations, but it does not seem that either of them could potentially stand the other. This having been said, I understand the rules of attraction less than I do the secrets of magic, so I suppose I cannot blithely comment. We have since settled into the home I have rented, and we busy ourselves with crafting. It helps me to think, as I imagine it does Navarre and Mirrianna.

And so, it was not all a loss. We avoided calamity, but the heaviest defeat was in the lack of gathered information. I fear we know mere details of what is to come, and I would prefer to prepare myself more thoroughly than to simply while away my times in an alchemist shop, minding a half-genius and his dangerous creation. I hope Yuelral will help deliver me from this myopia. My current fear is the dissolution of our fraternal band. I can only hope that our bond is at least the one certainty on which I can rely.

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The Hard Choices

The Journal of Navarre Edasseril
Entry 7
We learned that some of the cultists were staying in a dilapidated warehouse. We left immediately to see what we could learn and upon our arrival we saw that the structure was barely standing. It was lightly guarded and we made a plan to gain some leverage over them in a diplomatic situation … I was able to sneak past the guards and rig a weak point in the wall with an explosive; one hit and the whole building would fall. Sneaking in the shadows is not generally something I do well and I found my mind wandering to thoughts of Vanya … I’m sure she would have laughed to see me at the moment. Anyway, the charge was set while Pally and Mirri spoke to the leader, a cleric of some fungus deity … he and his worshipers were obviously riddled with disease and wore pock marks and fungal growths with pride. My brother and sister were able to convince the diseased human to take us to Risa, but he would not allow us to take weapons so Amares, Pallanon, and Mirrianna went with them while Lor’Athorn, Elensar, Nilsha, and I followed as closely as we could.

The villains took us towards a cave entrance in the side of a volcano. They asked my brothers and sister to go on while they waited and guarded, it was then that we engaged them in combat. Clearly their disease ridden bodies were in no shape for a fight and we cut them down easily; even the cleric fell with little trouble. Our only problem at that time was a trap set just a few feet inside the cave. Elensar questioned the cleric harshly on how we could bypass the trap, and the cleric told us that we needed to have some of the fungus that clung to them. With that I went to gather the clubs the guards had used to fight us since they too were infested, but as I did so Elensar removed the clerics fingers and tossed them out to my siblings before executing the man … I don’t know why Elensar would take such grave action as this was certainly not the proper way to execute a prisoner, but I must trust that Elensar did what he did for the right reasons. He is my older and wiser brother and I must trust his judgment.

We raced down into the depths of the caverns and eventually came to the place where Risa was performing her ritual. We found ourselves at a clearing with a narrow passage running out over a pit of magma. Risa had Decash there bound and helpless with an army standing between us and her. I ran into the fray without a second thought. I knew that Decash was most likely entering the closing moments of her life and the only way to save her was to distract as many of the brutes as I could while my siblings used their incredible powers to stop Risa. Amares ran to my side and helped me engage them … he is young, but he is brave and powerful. I know that in that moment Vailes would have been very proud of him … it is so unfair that I knew her better then he probably ever will.

As he and I fought, Elensar tried to rush around the melee to engage but was stopped by a brutal attack from a hidden foe. She looked like an elf, but her skin was as black as a moonless night. Fortunately, Elensar was able to tend to his own wounds because Mirri was standing near Amares and me to help our efforts. It was then that Lor’Athorn cast an amazing spell and called down a force that was able to shatter a portion of the land bridge that spanned the chasm, however in doing so, he threw Decash to her death … or so I thought. At the time it seemed incredibly real, but it turned out to be illusion … it was real enough for most of though, including Risa. She believed her prisoner killed and she fell into a short but deep depression … I do not know what to make of this, she is clearly a villain, but now I can see why Quillandra would have wanted to help her. She is a tortured soul that will never be truly at peace. This bought my siblings a small amount of time, but it wasn’t long before Risa discovered the truth. As she raised the knife to finish her ritual, Elensar threw an alchemical bomb and hit Decash sending her off the edge and screaming towards the magma below. It was the hard choice that had to be made and it is why I believe Elensar is the strangest amongst us; he has the wisdom to know what must be done and the fortitude to carry it out. Put in the same situation I cannot say whether or not I would have made the same choice, but for one more day I won’t have to because my big brother is still protecting me after all of these years.

He moved forward to finish the battle and engaged her in melee. There was a short struggle in which Risa was able to cut off a small piece of Elensar’s ear, and with it in hand she threw herself down towards the magma, but was taken into the Elf-Gate on the way down. There was some debate as to whether or not we should follow, but Pally and I were able to make the others see reason. She was gone for now, but would be back; and I am quite sure we will see her again.

With the driving force behind the cult defeated, we returned to Daggermark. We convinced Smeelos to let us take Harith the alchemist with us, and we even took in Cade and his four friends Glenn, Talyn, and Kola. Lor’Athorn and I decided to take the boys on and teach them each a trade skill of some kind. We set up an arrangement with them that would allow the boys to stay at our manor where we would cloth and feed them as long as they agreed to undertake our tutelage and stay out of trouble around town. They are now our responsibility and when we are not in Greengold, Harith has reluctantly agreed to care for them. Unfortunately, there was very little time to get the youngsters started because when we arrived at Greengold we received a message telling us to go home for Amrune’s funeral. We arrived in time to see the 3rd and final day. I was sad to see her go, but now I look forward to meeting her again as a wolf.

Months have passed and I have assigned the boys jobs. Glenn is the most skilled of the lads and as such he helps me with blacksmithing. Talyn has taken on the stonemasonry duties and Kola is my new apprentice carpenter. I was worried at first that the boys might be too much for me to handle, but it seems they are truly appreciative of us for taking them from that horrible place and giving them a new life. The boys have been very receptive to the techniques I have shown them and they have even helped me to learn a thing or two. They taught me how to set up a shop and the proper way in which to “haggle” with human customers; it seems that humans like to have long debates about the prices of items … I’m not sure I completely understand it, but the boys assure me that it will come with time. Just spending more time with these humans has been amazing for me. They grow alarmingly fast! I think that Glenn has grown two inches in as many months … it is almost like they can experience as much in a month as I can in a year … just incredible.

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On the Mark

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril
Entry the Fifth

Alchemical Breakthrough: None, though we did run into Vague Harith, and learned of his research into gunpowder. I am both wary and intrigued by this development. I find, however, that alchemists need no assistance in causing explosions.

Our trip to Daggermark was a curious affair. We had reason to believe that we had a traitor in our court, so we wanted to be careful about obscuring our plans so as to fool the potential traitor. However, we didn’t do much to cover our tracks. Thankfully, it appears we weren’t ambushed by anyone notified by the traitor, but I still wonder if they knew we were coming. More on that later.

We were tasked, incidentally, with two objectives by our advisors. One was to deliver a message for Phos, and the other to retrieve an errant elf from an assassin’s guild for Hialin. We wondered about the nature of these requests in relation to the traitor, but we had no time to sit and wonder about a puzzle for which we still did not have all the pieces. As such, we set off.

We ran into some charming brigands on the way, and dispatched them handily. I find that this must be what a welcome party in the River Kingdoms must be like. It was almost astonishing how apologetic and cooperative the surviving brigands were. It is, perhaps, a testament to the adaptability of the human-orc half breed. Even honor and pride are to be sloughed off like the skin of a snake, if it will help them from one day to the next. This is not an entirely undesirable trait, though the reliance on violence and thievery is.

On arriving to Daggermark, we discarded our criminals, and I can only deign that Elensar did as he deigned necessary. Soon, we found a more reliable guide in a bright young urchin. He took us to an inn, and gave us reasonable assurances that we would not be attacked. He was, perhaps, the most trustworthy person for leagues, so we decided to take his advice. Asking about a task given to us by Phos, we were lead to Vague Harith, an associate and contact of Phos. We had only to follow the sound of an alchemist’s success, and the smell of an alchemists failure.

Finding him to be dabbling in experiments somewhat disturbing even when compared to those of Phos, we decided to do two things. One was to persuade him to come with us if it was possible, and two was to speak with his mistress. As it happened, his mistress and benefactor was the head of the assassin’s guild, and in effect the leader of Daggermark.

After some protests and discussion, we decided to see this guild mistress Smilos. We found her most agreeable, as one of her station surely must be. It is no surprise that the dirty and uncouth human city still had a pecking order, and some semblance of decorum. Accordingly, Lady Smilos was willing to work with us. We wanted to get to Risa and retrieve the elf Dekash who was in her “care”. She wanted to be rid of cultists who were making her rule difficult.

Our goals were ultimately parallel. We decided to help in exchange for Lady Smilos’ cooperation and return of the elf. I was also able to sneak in the tutelage of Vague Harith, through which I hope to influence this black powder weapon. Still, of more import was the road before us. We were about to confront Risa, and learn precious little of her goals and alliances.

For now, I end these writings, to reflect on the confounding, but somewhat illuminating events yet to occur.

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I have lost my way

A month has passed since our journey to Daggermark and still the events there weigh heavily on me. Dekash nearly lost her life because of our actions. Though I don’t agree with Elensar’s decisions, I don’t blame him for doing what he thought was the right to do at the time. I have learned that not only is he paying for Dekash’s treatment, but is also having her moved to Greengold to be closer to him. I know that he is doing this because the guilt of his actions weigh heavily on him. I just hope that this guilt does not become to much of a burden to bear. In a way, him and Nevar are so similar. I fear that both may become consumed by events out of their control.

Still, Dekash demanding being moved closer to my brother makes me nervous. I do not fear for Elensar’s life. If Dekash’s intentions prove to be sinister, I know that he is more then capable of handling whatever she tries to do to him. I’m nervous because of Hialin’s interest in Dekash and what his plans might be. I still do not believe that he poses a true threat to us or our father, but I have been with the nobles more then my brothers and I know how scheming they can be. By helping Hialin rescue Dekash, I fear that me and my brothers have become pawns for some dark agenda. This is not what I wanted! I offered my services to help settle disputes because Erastil teaches us the value of a healthy community. But now by getting involved in the nobles affairs I feel that this purpose has become corrupted. I look back on the past few years and I have come to the conclusion that I have gone down the wrong path.

Erastil teaches us to value the simple things in life above all else and I need to return to that belief. My service to Erastil has waned since my fathers deceleration and I have felt my connection to him slipping. For the next year I will travel more in the woods of our land to help reconnect with nature and when I return I will devote myself to spreading Erastils wisdom. I have no doubt that in the challenges ahead I will need his strength more then ever.

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Months as Days

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Fourth

Alchemical Breakthrough: Potion of Mite’s Champion. (Note: Keep Phos away from Faye. One unpredictable factor is enough for me.)

Our time in Greengold has given me much to think about. Even now as I reconsider our initial encounters here, I wonder how much of a home this has become, away from Valethi. We are our own selves, and have struggled to be independent not only from our father, but from each other. These factors have drawn us apart in many ways, and I feel we are in ways more distant while together in our travels than we were at home at our own devices.

For example, being in Greengold, I had always imagined that we would be closer to Elensar. Now that we have effectively entrenched ourselves here, we have perhaps as much stake in the city as Elensar ever did. Now we are coming to understand the mixing pot of cultures to which we were so untutored. In it, I had wished to discern some of what made Elensar different from the others, and myself.

This is, in a way, his domain. He knew… knows this place, and it knows him. It was here that Elensar forged himself into a judge, and presided over unruly human and elf alike. However, it is here that I notice he is at his lowest point of control. Or perhaps he is simply more himself. I lament not understanding him more clearly, but even now he distances himself from our group. Perhaps it is for the best… but I shall address that in a future post.

End Digression.

After having dealt with the mandragora from the previous entry… and were firmly convinced that we were being setup. A natural candidate for our suspicions was cast on Quillandra, both for having been the professor of this expelled student the mayor had mentioned, as well as having been an overall odd candidate for betrothal to our father.

Before long, we were in the home of Quillandra, which doubled (or tripled) as a library and classroom. Though her passion for learning impressed me, her inward focus was off putting, even by elven standards. She was more interested in the inside of a book or the infinite reaches of theoretical formula than she was in political depredations or looming demon hoards that threatened our elven kingdom.

Though I do not normally chide her type… for I saw at least some of myself in her in those respects… I realized that this marriage was perhaps a mistake. Or more clearly, far too intentional for my comfort. The poor thing, smart as she is, continues to be oblivious to her Great Grandfather’s machinations. He plays a shrewd game, and I hope to learn from this political acumen, but I can’t help but feel sorry for both my father and for Quillandra, as I fear that this marriage may not end well for either of them. Alas, I am powerless to impede the gears of the body politic.

But I digress. I actually found Quillandra to be nice and agreeable, despite her meekness. I noticed in my twin a bit of an interest in her theory. I can’t help but wonder what flight of fancy Palanon is chasing this time, but it worries me that he is interested in something still yet more removed from reality. I may need to find something with which to ground him.

More to the point, Elensar was able to deduce Risa’s plot. Quillandra had unintentionally given her pupil the access to the knowledge of the Elf Gates without even realizing it. Quillandra, though undisciplined, was simply guilty of a carelessness that troubles me deeply.

Understanding the danger and competence of this Risa, we pressed Quillandra, discovering that Risa was the child of a nymph and a demon, and deeply resentful of her parentage. Her mother, Brightglade, was the only lead we could follow. It would be months before this information would bear fruit, so I busied myself with securing the home we use now. I also decided to become acquainted with students and professors who had shown some political support for Queen Telandia, for reasons entirely my own. Perhaps I have already said too much…

Months later, through the help of Amaras, we were able to eventually find Brightglade. Her protector, a zealous treant name Blackleaf, was being especially obstinate. I do not doubt that he was acting on orders from his mistress, though I imagine his intentions were somewhat twisted, given how gleefully he attacked us when pressed.

The fight was a curious affair. We handled the feline reinforcements well, but Blackleaf was himself a force to be reckoned with. After having witnessed a few painful blows on Navarre, our melee was broken in the strangest way. Mirrianna had spoken a heartfelt appeal to Brightglade, in hopes of ending the confrontation peacefully. Her words, though pure of intention, were taken poorly. Brightglade revealed herself with aggressive majesty, blinding a number of us. It was only through a further intervention from Palanon that we were able to finally lay down arms (at his behest), and speak.

Through our parlay, we secured a means of locating Risa. I could tell that Brightglade was sorrowful, but also resolute. She had instructed us to destroy her daughter, if it was necessary. We resolved to reach the best outcome possible, and left her in peace. I hope that she finds some answers in that deep solitude of hers.

Our father, though burdened by further political demands, assisted us in locating Risa. His scrying found her in Daggermark, and we would be heading there next. I was not eager to approach an all human settlement, but I had already imagined that we may find ourselves in worse environs in our quest to secure Kyonin.

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Fire and Faliure

Excerpt from the journal of Amaras, child of the Green.

This entry will be one that once written I may not read again in my life for it will stir up memories of my failure. We learned where the cultists were holed up in the city and made our way there. After a day of watching we devised our plan to get what we needed from them. I along with a few of my siblings were reluctant to simply wade in weapons barred for we knew not if these people were evil or simply forced to make hard choices. Navarre and myself used a well time distraction by Palanon and Mirrianna to get near the edge of the place. Where my crafty brother used some of Phos’ magical fire to rig up a impromptu explosion that when triggered would bring the place down. Though that needed was wiped out thanks to our quick thinking, the leader of the band was eager to take us all to his Mistress. They demanded we surrender our weapons which Navarre and Elensar refused. I quickly divested myself of my weapons for as my brother pointed out I am now never without thanks to the spirits of nature that flow through my body. I was amazed at how easily the humans took us at our word and agreed to lead us to Risa, I knew they would never allow Nil’sha to join me so I spoke quickly to her. I instructed her to play cat and mouse a game we devised when I was very young, without a word she bounded away, but I knew she would lurk nearby and follow my scent. The trip to the mountain was simple for us but a chore for the poor wretched souls who guided us there. Upon reaching the place their leader attempted to take us into a trap. However his wicked plan failed and we quickly subdued him and forced the truth from him, it turned out Risa was planning a ritual but we needed a item blessed by their god without a word Elensar quickly removed the man’s fingers. I pause here only to collect my thoughts because I have never seen such a cold ruthless act performed by any in my family. I am not how to take this but I begin to wonder if has spent too much time with those in the court who feel anything non-elven is worth a spit. I could not dwell on it much at the time for without thinking I took off down the tunnel knowing only that we had to stop her, now that I look back upon this I know my rashness was only to blot out dealing with what I has seen.

We did indeed find Risa, she was in a huge cavern on a small stone bridge spanning a lake of steaming molten lava. More cultists moved to block us from reaching her and Navarre and myself rushed into engage them. Risa was holding Dekash hostage and from what we could see meant to slay her, at that moment I felt my hope that she could be saved was slipping from my grasp like a wet fish. The battle was brutal and I knew I would never reach her in time so I ordered Nil’sha to fetch her for me and with that though she bounded after the women on the bridge. That was when Lor’Athorn did something that at the shocked us all, he cast a spell which destroyed the bridge sending Dekash plunging to her death in the lava. A mere illusion that at the time we all believed was real and so did Risa, but that single moment gave me hope. For the look of regret and sadness that washed over Risa’s face made me realize she still had a soul and in that soul resided goodness. What followed was a confusing turmoil of fighting, magic, blood and fear but the end result was that Lor’Athorn’s spell was revealed to be false and a titanic struggle between Risa, Nil’sha and Elensar began that ended with Risa and Dekash plunging over the edge of the bridge.

It was believed that there was a chance both could have survived, making it through the elf gate and escaping alive. I was ready to plunge over the edge in pursuit along with my eldest brother when I felt a sharp pain in my thigh. That pain cut through the haze which had covered my mind and looked down into the depths of Nil’sha’s eyes. Her fangs deeply dug into my hip, her intent was clear to throw myself over that edge was to consign myself to death. What energy I had from the battle fled and I fell to my knees where I stayed till the other roused me. I had failed…failed to stop Risa and to offer he a path to salvation and what stung that wound more was that we learned the cultist did not work for Treerazer but rather the very one who banished him to our world. It now appeared Risa’s enemy was ours as well and we allowed her to likely die. Not only do we need to live with that we need to live with the knowledge that some of us made choices…dark choices that could end up staining our souls.
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A Hive of Scum and Villainy

The Journal of Navarre Edasseril
Entry 6

Before leaving for Daggermark we decided to ask our father’s advisers about the River Kingdoms. Because we still did not know who the traitor in our court was, it was agreed upon that we would not tell any of the advisers exactly where we would be going; however, in every conversation that took place in my presence, Daggermark was at least mentioned. I seriously doubt there isn’t one of them who does not expect us to arrive in Daggermark in the near future. I’m not sure it matters at all in the end as the presence of elven nobles will not go unnoticed in a human city.

Kl!ck told us that the River Kingdoms are a dangerous place and offered Amaras a magical scroll. He also mentioned that Treerazer’s forces have been leaving gaps in their border forces, though we do not yet know why. Amarune suggested that we make ourselves appear to be weaker than we really far as we travel to avoid being waylaid by a powerful force. She also told us that the residents of Daggermark tend to employ poison to deal with their foes. Hialin asked us to make contact with the head of the assassin’s guild in Daggermark, a woman named Smilos, so that we might locate an elf who may be undergoing training to infiltrate our homeland. During our conversation, Hialin made it very clear that he does not approve of the council my father intends to set up in his place. Though Hialin is a hard-line traditionalist and may have some intentions of setting himself into a more powerful position, I am not yet convinced that he is a traitor. Phos was his usual self. He gifted to us another instrument of destruction and then instructed us to meet his contact in Daggermark, a human alchemist called Vague Harith.

Elensar told Amarune that we were going to Daggermark, and Phos and Hialin both asked us to meet people there, which we have done. I believe the only adviser who may not know that we are in Daggermark now is Kl!ck.

After traveling many days we came into River Kingdom territories and, as if on cue, we were set upon by ruffians. They were humanoids, but unlike I’d ever seen before … they looked like very ugly humans. Fortunately, I was able to spot the ambush lying in wait for us, so when they made demands for our things I immediately drew out my blade. They were many, and beating them back was a difficult task. One of them, a warrior, tried to charge Amaras and I was barely able to get myself in-between them. I took a bad hit in doing so however; the force of the hit knocked my shield into my jaw and caused me to bite clean through a piece of my tongue. It still hurts even at the time of this writing and has caused to me speak even less than I normally would, however I can say in good humor that I don’t think my siblings have taken notice of my inability to speak yet. All the same, we were able to defeat the ruffians and give them a punishment fitting their crimes.

We finally came to the city of Daggermark. The engineering of the city is impressive, but the living conditions are unbelievably bad. Human waste ran through the streets, the people lived in incredibly close quarters and would just as soon run into each other in the street as move out of each other’s way. The smell might have been too much if I didn’t have a slow but steady stream of blood flowing in my mouth.

Right away, a human boy called Cade came to us and offered to show us around and be our guide. He showed us to an inn, and then took us to see the alchemist. Harith was staying in a dilapidated building with many holes blown clean through the walls and ceilings. As we approached it, loud explosions kept going off, yet ours was the only party reflexively flinching at each sound … it seems the people living in this area have grown used to the sound of this man practicing his craft. The young human was every bit as eccentric as Phos. He told us that he has been contracted by Smilos to create a miniaturized cannon that could be held in a person’s hand and be accurate out to about one hundred feet or so. Harith was upset because he believes that Smilos will kill him if can cannot complete this task which he described as impossible, but after thinking on it a moment I am fairly certain it can be done. I looked to Lor’Athorn at that moment and realized he was doing the same thing I was: devising a way to create such a tool. Though I’m sure it could be done, I don’t see the merit; it would be a very crude weapon, devoid of finesse or art.

We went to see the Lady Smilos; who it seems noticed our arrival and expressed an interest in meeting us. Her home was nice and well guarded. She met us in a sitting room along with a young female elf named Dekash. Smilos explained to us that she has been protecting Dekash ever since three elves in the area have gone missing. My siblings expressed an interest in taking Dekash away from this place, and Smilos offered a trade: If we drive out a cult that has taken residence nearby we can have Dekash. Lor’Athorn also asked the Lady if he might take on the alchemist as an apprentice in order to try saving him from her wrath; she said she would consider it.

Elensar believes the cult we have been tasked to remove is associated with Risa. I would say that is likely. It seems we will be heading to a nearby mountain where this cult is supposedly making their home.

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A druid in the city

A excerpt from the writings of Amaras, child of the Green

So it was decided that we would each meet with our father’s advisers and give each false information in hopes of drawing out the traitor. We met with each and from each we received advice and gifts, to me Kl!ck gave a scroll of a spell used by the great owls. I am sure given time I can use my magic to duplicate it with similar effects, nonetheless the gift was most welcome. I am not sure how well this plan will work out out for us but I will keep that to myself, as both Hialin and Phos had errands for us in the city of Daggermark I question if one of them is our enemy. I still lean towards Hialin by my sister made strong points in his favor as much as I wish not to agree with her. Armed with this knowledge we set off for the human city of Daggermark and I must admit I was eager to see it, though had I know what it would be like before hand I would have chosen not go to at all.

On the trip there we were beset upon by bandits who wanted us to trade our items for simple robes, a trade which I though was very unequal. My brothers did so as well and a fight broke out with them, I must admit I have never seen a human as ugly as the ones we faced. Like most foes who have crossed blades with my family they fell quickly and thanks to my quick thinking they were allowed to escape punishment and became our guides. I have learned in my short life that no matter where you are or who you are dealing with there is a set order to things much like the wilds. These two were able to ward off other predators who mite attack us and so we reached the city with ease. Upon first passing through the main gates I felt both awe and disgusts at what my senses took in. The people were crammed together near shoulder to shoulder and the smell was beyond anything I can try to put into words. I viewed the humans throwing their bodily wastes from windows to fall into alleys, which were nothing more than narrow dark refuse filled openings of which I paled to notice more then one person sleeping in. I had to use my magic to nullify Nil’sha’s sense of smell else she would never have entered the place not that I blamed her much. Upon getting no more then a few paces inside we were meet by a small human boy who offered us to guidance. Again I felt my knowledge of the forest helping me here, for this child was just like the smallest creatures in the wild. They were everywhere, yet rarely seen or acknowledged by the larger creatures, therefore they are the best to use. Where in the forest a few simple treats may work I withdrew gold for the boy and that worked well. He guided us through the city to place of rest and with each step I felt my skin crawl, how could this child live here like this? I decided then and there before we left I would make a offer to Cade and his friends. I would offer them the chance to leave this foul place and come to live in Greengold where I would find them apprenticeships of one kind or another.

After securing a place to rest we carried out Phos’s request and met another alchemist who was as nuts as he, are all such people mad? maybe it is the things they breath in I will have to ask Lor’Athorn more on that later. From him we learned much about the city and of our prey Risa and that another larger player was about to join our game. Thus we were taken before the head of the Assassins guild and I knew without a doubt we stood before a predator more deadly then even the Purple Vine Snake, and here I was out of my element so I kept my thoughts to myself and let the others talk. We quickly learned that Risa and her band of followers had become a thorn in the side of the city’s rulers and they wanted us to remove it which served us well. We accomplished two goals with one task but as the other talked I let my thoughts wander. I thought again of Risa and what we would do once we found her…I am beginning to think I can understand her a bit more now. When I lived alone in the forest with only Nil’sha I felt a deep hate in my heart for my father and I blamed him for all the ill in the world. But murder? torture? No, no not even my soul could turn to such darkness but then my soul is not tainted by evil. With her father dead could we convince her to surrender? Could not the healing ways of nature and the green path help this troubled girl? I think it could as it helped me. Yes I will offer her a hand of help once we meet accept it or not that is her choice.

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