Paramour Ariella, Servant of Lady Hanali

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Paramour Ariella, Servant of Lady Hanali

Post by erisa »

A letter home

The following letter was sent to Ariella's sister, Ariadna. It was written in beautifully
cursive elvish:

My beloved sister,

How have you been? I'm sorry I have been neglectful of writing to you. Life here in Waterdeep
has certainly been very different than I had imagined it to be. It's had its rewards and
challenges. I feel like I have grown so much as a person and I hope that I have been a
good representative of the love and generosity of Lady Hanali to all that I have met here.

You know how our parents were always very strict with me. They never wanted me associating with
N'tels who were not of our faith. Don't tell them but I have met so many people here in Waterdeep,
so many different kinds of people. I even have my own room here in a place called Adventure's
Guild, a place that our parents would have certainly disappoved of as there is only one elf
who lives here and he's a very carefree individual. He doesn't even speak our language
most of the time but I have enjoyed his company. His name is Heriphon but I call him Lira.
He considers himself a singer but I like to think of him more as a preformer. ((She stops at this part
and giggles to herself wondering if she should describe his pantsless attire and decides maybe it would
be better not to.))

He has a beautiful girlfriend named Luva. She is a very powerful wizard. I have seen her
call beings from other planes to aid her. It actually frightened me the first time she did it.
She also is a very talent craftsperson. I hope one day that Lady Hanali will bless me with
half the talent Luva has in making things. I feel lucky that she considers me her friend and
not a foe since we had a misunderstanding about Lira. I thought it very generous of her as
with her powers she could have very easily killed me with a fireball. ((At this point she
stops and giggles thinking about the first time that she met Luva, which was in the middle
of kissing Lira.))

I guess there is another elf named Wren who is the guildmistress but I have never had the
pleasure of meeting her.

Next door to me is this beautiful human woman named Maday. She is a singer and a playwright
and I'm sure some day she will be very famous. She tells me that her career was thwarted
when a pink thonged menace named the Hypnodancer came into the tavern and enthralled
everyone there and stole from them. It seems that since then, this place has not had any
venue open to the preformers and they have all suffered because this person has not been
caught. I wonder if that day will ever come. I pray for her sake that it will happen. It is
sad to see one so talented unable to thrive. She seems to have taken over the duties of
the guildmistress for now to give herself a sense of purpose. ((She stops for a moment and
sighs at this part)).

I have also been blessed to have become friendly with a dwarf named Tib. He is a kind
fellow and a master weapon maker. He also is an expert miner. I have counted on him many
times to help me procure iron to craft things. He is very open minded and I assisted him
a few times with Lady Hanali's blessings to craft some weapons. I was surprised that he
let me do such a thing but it worked out well in the end.

Speaking of which, you will be pleased to know that with the blessing of Lady Hanali I have
been able to craft many things to help people. For the elves in Renvanna, she has blessed
me in creating items that aid with healing along with other items that help enhance
abilities like movement. I feel so thankful to Her to be able to do this for our people there
they are a wonderful group, but I don't see them as much as I had hoped to.

I hope someday you will have the pleasure to come and meet them. I have worked especially
close with the following elves there:

Castien, whom I call Keth. He is kind of the wild one of the group but he's very talented
with finding things others cannot. He is also very good at hiding. One time I went walking
in the hills near this area with him and nearly lost him a few times. He has a sharp wit
and I have enjoyed his company several times alone.

Earlanni, whom I call Lelya. She is a beautiful druidess who is very kind and gentle. Her
companion, Kiv, whom I call Eryn, is much like her in that way. I know this is going to
sound strange but I see them almost like twins. He is very strong and I've seen him turn
himself into a bear a few times. It was really amazing to watch. The first time I witnessed
it I almost did not believe it. I have had wonderful moments with both of them alone, talking
to them about their views on things which are different from mine. They do not like being
amongst the N'tel and rarely come to the city. ((She sighs again thinking about the time
Eryn died sacrificing himself for the group and was generously revived by the Leaflord and
how she has not seen him since then)).

I briefly also met one named Kohlar. He seems to have had a very tragic story as he was
once enslaved. I have not had a chance to spend any quality time with him yet. He does
like to cover his body in grease and I don't know how to feel about that. I don't think
I will touch him if I do not have to.

The warden of Renvanna is Magolir. He seems well versed in the history of Renvanna and
he has a fairly good singing voice. We have had an interesting working relationship. ((She
stops again for a moment wondering if she should tell her about the time they had a disagreement
and decides against it.))

I have also had the pleasure of getting to know Master Sywyn, the head ranger of Renvanna.
I call him Taur. He has been very generous in allowing us to use the ranger station for
our supplies and things. He is steadfast and amazing with his bow. He has guilded me around
Renvanna and told me extensively about area. We have spent many days together enjoing each
other's company. I am always sad to leave him when I come to the city. ((She stops at this
point and bites her lip, thinking of him.))

The other elf who is from Renvanna actually lives in the city at the Temple of Beauty. His
name is Aelenta but I call him Zalir. He is young but very wise and humble. He is an
amazing talent as a singer. I have had the pleasure of hearing him sing many times. He is
very quick and talented with both the bow and the sword. On several of our outings, he
was instrumental in protecting the group. He even saved my life from several
thugs and would be robbers. Don't worry though, the city is generally safe. I have walked
around here several times at night by myself. ((She giggles to herself thinking of his
other "talents".))

His benefactor, Sir Ambrose, is a paladin of Lady Sune. He is incredibly handsome and
generous. I hope one day to show you the beautiful golden armor he gave to me for granting
him a small favor. It made me cry when he presented such a magnificent present to me.

There have been others that I have met but it's hard to form friendships when people come
and go so quickly. I hope the next time I write I will have more friends to tell you about
and hopefully other interesting things.

I love you and miss you.

Ariella ((signed with an embellished letter "A" with a heart at the tip))
Last edited by erisa on Sun Dec 11, 2022 3:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Survivor's Guilt

Post by erisa »

The following conversation took place in Renvanna in Elvish:

Ariella blinked her eyes open, confused for a moment of where she was. She looked around and
realized that she was in Elven land called Renvanna. But how could this be?

Her final moments of life prior to that moment of waking up in Renvanna were spent in abject
terror with a gigantic Sh*t demon standing in front of her. She was cornered and alone,
unsure where her companions were, standing against the wall of hidden the lair of Plague Rats in
the Castle Ward. Her last memory of life was seeing the demon raise its gigantic hand to
strike her and then she was immediately transported to another place. It was a realm that
she had only heard of, the realm of the dead.

All of a sudden, she was pulled back into the light and awoke to Zalir speaking with the Head
Priestess. She looked around seeing only Zalir, Keth, and Lira. Where were the other 4 that
had gone with them? Oh Gods! She knew immediately upon hearing the words "teleportation
scroll" and "I could only save 3" what had happened. Sinking to her knees she began pounding
the ground with her fist crying. Oh Gods! Sheshe, Luva, Kyle and Nyx had not been so
fortunate. Zalir graciously cast "prestigitation" on the other three elves and they were
immediately cleaned. He, however, was still covered in a horrible amount of excrement, blood,
and other filth. Despite this, she got up and hugged him tight, crying and thanking him at
the same time for rescuing her. He quietly recieved her embrace and just as quietly walked
away afterwards.

Keth and Lira both took their leave from the priestess to try to personally process
the horrible events that had happened. In her now unclean state, she walked over to Taur.
"I have returned, beloved. I will make myself presentable to you and then afterwards I just
request that you hold me." Immediately, Taur ordered one of his underlings to take the armor off
of Ariella and help her to clean it again. He then escorted her to his private bath and she
sat in the hot tub alternately scrubbing herself and wailing. It seemed like an eternity
that she was in there. Seeing her hands completely wrinkled, she realized it was time to
leave the tub. She dried and wrapped herself in a robe that she borrowed from him.

Wordlessly, Taur sat against the back of his lounge sofa that was large enough to fit two
people. He opened his arms to her, and she snuggled against him between fits of crying and
screaming "Oh Gods!" as he held her tight against his chest. After her eyes were too pained
and puffy to cry anymore, she finally spoke.

She recounted to him about how Sheshe had been looking for this accursed place for months and
that she regretfully helped Sheshe to find it. Since he had never met Sheshe, Ariella
recounted to him about how she was a fierce human woman who was like a force of nature, a
strong warrior who enjoyed fighting. She also recounted some of the other times she had
spent with Sheshe, between fond memories of crafting with her to their last frightening
encounter at Red Larch when Sheshe rescued her and the human Kyle from the hobgoblins and
harpies who almost beat Ariella to death.

She recounted to him about how they went to this place and had successfully vanquished the
evil plague rats and their disgusting sh*t golems. She recounted how many times they had
been struck by disease but thanks to some fine preparations were able to overcome that

She recounted how they came into this room with a gong and a bizarre puzzle and a door
blocked by lightning and how Sheshe unsuccessfully tried to unravel the puzzle over and over again
and got hurt several times in the process. It was finally Keth who figured out the puzzle.
At this point her lip quivered and she said "Oh Taur, for the first time in my life I wish
Keth had not been so clever."

Once the lightning had abated, they went to the other room. They successfully opened the door,
something she wished they had not figured out. It was then that all hell broke loose.
Between the gigantic sh*t demons, the sh*t golems, and Sheshe's cloud of bewilderment,
they were doomed.

She told him about how the Mystran Elf Luva was the first to fall. He recalled seeing her a few
times in Renvanna. She regretted that she had not been able to honor Luva's request to
learn about Luva's past as Luva herself seemed to have no memory of who she really was.

She also told him about the other N'tels that were with them. She told him about the valiant
former paladin, Kyle and about the half orc, Nyx. He wrinkled his nose and grimaced at the words
"half orc" but wisely made no comment about it.

She told him about how at one point, the only one she could see was Sheshe and she was
doing her utmost to heal Sheshe. Somehow, she and Sheshe got separated and that was when she
had been cornered and alone with the demon.

It had only been by the Grace of the Seldarine and some miracle that Zalir had survived
and used a teleportation scroll to drag Keth, Lira, and herself out of that place of
abject horror. She still could not believe it. All she knew was she felt some of her
abilities to bless others with the Love of Lady Hanali had been diminished and that it
would take some time to regain them.

She requested at this point that Taur let her take her reverie in her favorite position,
lying with her head on his chest with him holding her. He smiled gently and nodded and
bid her try to think of something much more pleasant so that she could rest. She drifted
off, forcing herself to think about more happy thoughts, things like the first time that she
had come to Renvanna and how they had met.
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Wielding the Moonblade

Post by erisa »

Ariella walked slowly into the house in the abandoned section of the treetops where the ancient
eleven bones were discovered. The others looked to her as she looked down at the pile of bones.
Zalir had suggested that she wield the moonblade in the absence of its owner, Magolir. She
was touched and honored to be given this responsibility. She was grateful to be in the company
of Zalir, Keth, Lelya and Kohlar to attempt to complete the task ahead of them.

They had been told by Elven history expert Danilo Thann of the Bard College that the blade
was thousands of years old and that it in its current state was nowhere near its powerful
potential. It was in need of recharging. The only way to recharge it seemed to be by absorbing
the dreams and nightmares of ancient elves. By absorbing the nightmares, they were giving
those elves a chance for rest and peace that they had not known in the last terrifying
moments of life. They did not know how many charges it would take to fully charge it nor
what the blade did when it was fully charged.

The blade was much lighter than she had imagined it to be. It was quite dull and looked like
with a little love and polishing that it could somehow, at least superficially, be restored
to some of its former beauty. She wondered if it would shine and sparkle as bright as the
sun when it was fully charged.

She prayed over the bones and asked for the guidance of the Seldarine before touching it
with the tip of the blade. Suddenly, she felt herself levitating. It was a strange feeling
floating above the ground. Although it was only a few seconds, during that time it felt as
if time had suddenly stopped. She remembered seeing this same thing happen to Magolir
seconds before falling to sleep and waking up in the nightmare world.

Although the scene in the nightmare realm had been witnessed several times by the Renvanna
elves, it somehow never got easier or less horrifying. Each time, after touching the bones, the
elves would be transported to some ancient town. Each time, there were terrified, defenseless
villagers running for their lives against an attacking army of red and gold elven warriors.

Even though the events happened thousands of years ago, Ariella was revolted by the thought
of elves fighting and killing each other and even more so of her having to engage them. This
time, Zalir suggested that they employ a different strategy. He suggested that she drink a
potion of improved invisibility and focus on keeping the Renvanna elves from sustaining
injuries that could "kill" them and force them back to the real world. Ariella liked this idea
as it meant that she could do what she did best, focus on helping others and healing injuries.

As soon as she woke up in the nightmare realm, she got to her feet. Using the blade, she
created an escape portal. She then drank the potion.

Within seconds, the enemy elves began attacking. Kohlar fought valiantly but was knocked
back into reality soon after the fighting began. Ariella did her best to run between the
Renvanna elves casting healing. She was glad that Lelya was there helping with this task.

They successfully vanquished the enemy but at a cost: they were only able to save one elf.
She turned the blade to the lone survivor and absorbed her into the dream needle. Somehow the
needle seemed to twinkle for a second and then went back to looking as dull as before.

The Renvanna elves exited the portal and awoke in the abandoned house. Ariella did her best
to hide her disappointment that only one villager was saved. It was decided that they would
look for more bones and try to help more elves to find peace.

This second outing proved to be very different from the first. It seemed as if they had
come across an invading horde. There were so many of them. As Ariella ran trying to heal,
she found herself running into more and more warriors who, thanks to invisibility, completely
ignored her. Ariella soon lost sight of all of the Renvanna elves and could only find Zalir
fighting alone. She did her best to cast spell after spell of healing on him so that at
least she could protect him.

Forgetting that she was still wielding the dull blade, she decided that she could not let
Zalir fight this battle himself and threw off the safety of invisibility. Why were her attacks
so ineffective? It was then that she realized with horror that she was stil holding the
blade and quickly switched weapons and drew her sword.

By the grace of the Seldarine the attackers were vanquished. Where were Kohlar, Keth and Lelya?!
Now that she no longer had to worry about being attacked, Ariella ran through the village looking
for them.

By some minor miracle, none of them had "died" and been sent back to the real world. She
found Kohlar first, lying face down on the ground. She immediately healed him to where he
could stand. Not far from him lay Leyla lying sideways by a hut. Again, she healed her to
where she could stand. Off in the far distance, she found Keth covered in sand mumbling
about how Ariella had abandoned him. To this, Ariella bit her lip and healed him to where
he could stand. Leyla then assisted in bandaging him and fully healing him. "Thank you Lanni,
at least SOMEBODY cares about me!", said Keth.

Ariella walked away. She felt terrible that Keth felt that she had ignored his cries for help
but truthfully in all the chaos she had been unable to hear him or know where he was. She
was disappointed that they were unable to save even one villager this time. Would this
group get better at saving the villagers? She hoped so. For now, it was time to return to
the village and plan for next time.
Last edited by erisa on Sun Dec 11, 2022 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by erisa »

Ariella walked up to Taur at his usual post near the ranger station with a smile. She was going
to greet him with a kiss as always but today he was not smiling at her. She stopped suddenly
when she noticed his unusually serious demeanor. "Vane, (pronounced Von-eh) I have bad news
for you. Castien bid me goodbye this morning and walked out into the Westwood alone. No
one has seen him since then. We have not recovered his body, but I fear the worst.
Aelenta went looking for him, but he also has not returned yet."

Upon hearing this news, Ariella sunk to her knees. The last time she had seen Keth was
when he was remarking how abandoned he felt when she did not run to heal him in the
nightmare realm. "Everyone knows who is your favorite (referring to Zalir)!" Why
did this have to be their last conversation?

"Oh Keth", she whispered as the tears filled her eyes. Only a few days ago we had been rescued
by Zalir from that horrible place that had claimed 4 other lives. Only a few days after that
you told me how you felt that you finally found some meaning in your life, that you were
going to study the way of the bow. How could this be?!

"Everyone knows who is your favorite" rang in her head. Oh Keth, how wrong you were. The
first time I saw you I thought how handsome you looked and I found your carefree demeanor
so fun and refreshing. I enjoyed the times we spent together, especially the first time
we went to the bath at the Temple of Beauty, where I gave you the nickname "Keth (to seek)"
and you called me "Ella". You were my favorite for a time. I tried to show you in so
many little ways. The two items I specially crafted for you when others only received
one or no items.

I could never tell exactly how you felt about me though. Sometimes I wasn't even sure if
you liked me anymore. Unlike the others who always showed me a smile or a kiss when I
them greeted them affectionately, I never knew what kind of reaction I was going to get from
you. That's why I turned my attention elsewhere.

At this point she did not try to stop herself from crying. It was again Taur who sat beside her
and gently and quietly wrapped his arms around her to comfort her. She let herself rest her head
on his shoulder as she cried until her eyes hurt and she could cry no more.

All of a sudden there was a commotion in the village. She felt Taur let go of her and stand up.
She looked up to see Zalir carrying the body of Keth on his shoulder. "Oh Gods, Zalir!" she cried.
"I found him surrounded by ankhegs on the road along the undercliff. He had already fallen but
I managed at least to avenge him. I'm sorry, Paramour."

"Thank you, Zalir" as she motioned him to bring the body into the ranger station. Taur helped her
back to her feet as Zalir walked into the station and gently laid the body down. She closed her
eyes and prayed. Ariella began the grim preparations, first removing the items from Keth's body
and then preparing his body and dressing him again. So many little bites covered his body. She
thought of how his last moments must have been filled with a mixture of terror and frustration at
being unable to fight off the onslaught. Oh Keth, why did you go to such a place alone?! She
finished the grim task and sunk next to his body, holding his cold, lifeless hand in hers and cried.
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A Celebration of Life Ceremony

Post by erisa »

The day of Castien's celebration of life had arrived. Zalir, Leyla, Kohlar and two new elves,
Rothilion (Ro) and Ril attended the ceremony with Ariella presiding. The ceremony started
with some opening remarks.

"Thank you everyone for coming to the celebration of life today for our dear Castien. As
many of you know, I called him 'Keth'. Although we will miss him, we must take comfort in
the knowledge that he is at peace now in Arvanaith"

It was at this time, she invited those in attendance to say a few words or perhaps sing a
song or recite a poem.

Zalir stepped up and said, "You were as unpredictable as the quickest of silver, and I
know it was the Jack of Seelie Court you saw as your example of who to be in this life
you lived." He then placed a piece of Jade in Keth's hand.

It was at this point that Zalir decided to do something unpredictable to honor Keth's memory
and unleashed a poison bomb and a hammerhead shark on the party and disappeared.

Ril looked confused and asked, "Is this...part of the ceremony? I'm not familiar with such
unusual traditions."

Ariella shook her head and replied, "It was fitting for Keth though. He was always so
unpredictable. Keth lived his life as he pleased. We never knew what he was thinking. He
could be thoughtful one minute and mischievous the next."

Ril understood and nodded stating, " Ah, the fall quessir was a follower of Erevain."

Ariella fondly recollected the time that Keth asked her to throw a blessing on the goblin
alter and giggled.

It was now Lelya's turn to speak. "I will miss him. Together we stood in some dark places
and stumbled. but his mirth in the face of it all helped lift the horror." She then set a
braid in Keth's hand. "Where you walk, Dear one, we will watch with you there. In this
wood we we will turn to hear your step, and as in life wonder that we can hear none."

Kohlar remarked how he was a brave warrior and fought well in the nightmares.

Ro placed an arrow on Keth's chest and said, "Rest well my kin...I will take up your
vigil for your friends. Let not my arm falter...lest the lives in my care be forfeit."

Ril said quietly, "I did not know the quessir, at all. But...happy is the one whose
departure from the mortal realm is marked with fond words and remembrances from
friends. This much i can say with confidence. I would imagine if he could see us now, a wide
grin would be visible on his face."

Ariella then bade whoever wished to join her in the ceremonial dance to come gather in
the circle. Lelya and she stood on opposite sides of each other, dancing in a pattern
well known to the community in a celebration of life like an image and a mirror.

It was as she was doing the dance that Ariella suddenly felt compelled to draw out the
moonblade, as if it had a nature of its own. Without thinking, she gently touched the
blade to Keth's forehead.

They had been transported to an area that Ariella had never been, the Underhill. Out of
the tall grass walked a familiar figure. It was Keth! But how could this be? At this point
Ariella did not question the logic but ran up to kiss him.

He asked if they were also out for a walk as he had been.

Kohlar asked, "Are we in a nightmare?"

To this, Keth answered, "Nightmare? this is the Undercliff. I thought i would have a look
around, perhaps find some other ruins left by our ancestors."

As the group was casually talking, they were suddenly attacked by Angkhegs. Ariella was not
wearing any armor and had not cast any spells on herself and became an easy target. She
ran for her life and thankfully, the creatures were dispatched by the others.

Ril asked if they were in a dream or not as the Angkheg's sting made his arm throb with pain.

Keth was confused by the question. "A dream? This is the undercliff...are you lost?"

They were again attacked and again dispatched the Angkheg's quickly.

It was then that Keth remarked, "Feels like I've been fighting them forever."

Ariella told him, "Oh Keth, it's because you fell here."

"Fell? What are you talking about? I'm standing now"

"Zalir found your body here. You were surrounded by them."

He was not convinced by her words and told her to stop joking.

It was only after some convincing and hugging by Lelya who told him that the moonblade
had been used at his memorial service that he began to remember what happened.

"I...I think i remember now...I was out her looking for ruins or anything...I am...dead?"

"Yes, Keth"

Leyla added, "She brought us here out of love for you. A love we all hold, Dear One."

He remarked how real it all felt.

Leyla replied, "It.. this is a gift, Castien. Some peace to see you once more, and to see
you to your own peace. is time."

He looked at Ariella and then at the dream needle. "Then perhaps it is time to move on...
but at the same time...perhaps my dreams will go with you, always. I would be nowhere
else but at your side."

"It is all we hope for, Castien.", said Leyla gently.

Ariella hugged him tightly and kissed him one last time. "Goodbye, Keth."

It was then that she pointed the tip of the blade at him and absorbed the dream into
the needle. The needle sparkled for a moment and then faded again.

Ariella then used the needle and opened a portal back to reality.

They awoke again in the grove nearby Keth's body.

It was then the part of the ceremony for Keth to be buried in the ground. Once his remains
were covered, Ariella placed a sapling on the top and covered its roots with dirt so
that his body could aid another being in giving it life.

She bade all the attendees a heartfelt thank you and slowly walked back through the hidden
door into Renvanna.
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Better, Together

Post by erisa »

The Portal to Renvanna hummed and cackled as Ariella stepped through it from the Seldarine
temple. It was a crisp, cool, early morning and very quiet except for the portal and the
usual wildlife. She had had a successful mining run with Tib and was happy to be back to see
the other elves, especially Taur. As she walked through to Renvanna, Taur, as usual, was
standing near the portal waiting to greet her.

"Welcome home, Vane." He said as he embraced her tightly and gave her a kiss. He seemed
unusually somber, however, causing Ariella to be concerned. "Taur, did something happen?"
she asked while looking up at him. The gold flecks in his blue eyes flickered for a moment.

"Vane, I have terrible news for you. Dauquinal has fallen. He died to plague rats in the
sewer. A Selunite N'Tel named Alec Dole graciously carried his body all the way back from
the city. Dauquinal's body and his possessions are in the ranger station. The ancient Miyeritari
bow was also lost."

"Oh Gods! Not again!", she cried upon hearing this news. She put her left arm through Taur's
right arm and leaned on him as they walked into the station together. "Will you be alright,
Vane?" "Yes, Taur." Taur took his leave to resume his post in front of the Ranger Station after giving
her a comforting hug and kiss.

As she cleaned and prepared his body for burial, she thought about the other elves and how
they would react. They would be by the ranger soon for fellowship and to gather their supplies.

The first one that came through the door was Lelya. She stood up and walked to her, giving
Lelya a tight embrace. "Leyla I am so sorry about Dak". Lelya looked puzzled for a moment.
"Has he left to chase the wind?" Ariella shook her head sadly and wordlessly motioned to
his lifeless body. "It was the city, wasn't it? The city took him from us!" Ariella nodded
grimly, "Taur said it was the plague rats". "So much loss. It is heavy on me, Linde. What
was lost Millenia ago and yesterday. There is a balance of death and life but this... This
is a Sundering too. One that we are making ourselves."

It was after this that both Rothilion and Magnolia walked into the station. Ariella greeted
them sadly and looked at them and then at Dak's body. "I will be in the air," said Lelya
as she quietly walked out of the Ranger station. Upon seeing her distress, Rothilion walked
out behind her and had the following conversation privately:

"This must stop"

Leyla hung her head, her face full of despair. "I did everything but beg him, Ro. Dak...I
pleaded with him to help us. I had to."

"Yet he went out on his own"

She turned her face away, "I needed to know, if I could not fight any longer, that there would
be another to take my place...and now the human city has taken him. As it has taken so much
from us."

"Dak would take your place? How so?"

She then threw her arms around Rothilion and held him tight. "I don't know how much longer
I can endure this, Ro. The grieving for the pain of Millenia, the grieving for what was
yesterday taken..."

"We are vulnerable when separated"

"It's a downpour without end, and my ground is turning to a river beneath me. I will be
washed away."

With a gentle conviction in his voice, Rothilion said, "We must stop venturing off alone, even
if we desire a Worg or Wolf."

Leyla held him tighter upon hearing these words. "You be protector, for me and for said that. Vow to me you will not leave, Ro."

"I will become that for all in the Ranger station." he said as he glanced in that direction.

"Vow to me that you will not leave me alone to face this downpour."

"If you will vow to not venture off alone, even to capture a beast. Can you do that?"

She leaned in and gave him a kiss. "I swear it. We will stand together."

"Will you swear this by the Oaklord?"

"On all that I hold sacred." She then stepped back.

He nodded with a firm resolve, taking her hand in his. "I will defend as long as there is
something left to defend. But the venturing alone MUST STOP. NOW."

"Will you look with me? Will you stand here in the forest, until the others are ready? You
must tell them Ro. They will listen to your voice."

He nodded firmly. "I will tell them all. We will see if they will listen."

"One reed will seep and sink. But joined...we will sail through this."

The other elves began walking out of the ranger station, including Jory and Ril who had
gone in while Rothilion and Leyla were having their conversation. Ariella looked at
Rothilion somberly.

After all had gathered, Rothilion said in his loudest voice, "The N'Tel city soaks up our
members like a tidal wave. I am here to protect you all...I need you to listen to me."
Lelya set her hand on his shoulder to support his words while Ariella nodded encouragingly.

"The strength of the People is our shared history..and our belief and our way of life.
The N'tel care not for any of this..and while there are honorable members among their
numbers..they care not for the people."

Jory shook his head. "I disagree with your reasoning."


Jory replied, " I don't like you speaking about the humans that way."

"You will get your chance, brother, BUT not NOW."

"Waterdeep is not all humans"

Magnolia then turned and said, "Jory, let the elf speak."

"Very well"

Rothilion continued, "History has proven your logic flawed, Jory...Whenever one of us is alone, or in the company of the N'Tel...I am not saying that you can't deal
with them or interact with them..."

"They die alone, too.", Jory observed.

Ril simply lowered his head in silence, listening.

"Please continue", said Magnolia.

"But I am asking...begging...each one of promise me that you will go nowhere that
may put you in danger without at least one kin to watch your back. And yes..they die alone
as well. But Lady Grief feels the wounds of each of the People that fall in battle and She

It was at this point that Leyla could not contain herself any longer. She squeezed her hand
on Rothilion's shoulder as the tears streamed down her face.

Rothilion continued, " The N'Tel are careless with their lives because they have a few
short decades. We CAN NOT allow their carelessness to infect us."

"I think that is a...very good idea," said Magnolia quietly.

"Jory, I have many in the city that I consider friends among the N'Tel. I ask only that you
have kinfolk with you when in danger."

Wiping her tears away, Leyla added, "You are my beloved Renvanni...all of you are. My love
is with you. But.. I am Suffering. There is so much grief we face. If it does not end..I..
Will...BREAK. I can feel it already."

"The N'Tel are not for the most part Evil...but they have proven dangerous to the People."

Upon seeing Leyla's distress Ariella opened her arms out to her and beckoned her. Leyla then
rested her head on her shoulder while Ariella held her tight.

Magnolia then asked, "Are you sure it is not their knack for incompetence that is their

Ril looked at Magnolia and then back down again.

Rothilion then turned to Jory, "Jory, does that sound like a reasonable strategy to you?"

Jory replied, "I agree with your strategy. Ril and I often work together, along with others.
I am terrified of the sewers and would never go alone there...and of this forest."

Leyla said, "You do not need to fear this forest, Jor'yth, not while we are together. But
I cannot protect you in the city."

Magnolia added, "Just respect it."

Leyla then gave Ariella a kiss and let go of her.

Jory replied, "Oh, I fear it, last night was a prime example. There is darkness in this
forest. But I hear Ro's advice."

Ril then spoke quietly with some hesitation, "I..there is much grief here...I know there
have been other passings recently."

Ariella then added, "Everyone, Rothilion is speaking the truth. I would not be standing
before you today if Zalir did not rescue me. He rescued the Seldarine followers with his
scroll. The other four were lost." Her green eyes looked downcast at this recollection.

Magnolia reflected and said, " Outsiders are unknown variables, it is stupidity along to
risk your life on a gamble. Although there are others who are useful, I do not think I
shall bet my life on someone untried... So, I will agree with you for now."

It was at this point, Ariella suggested for the group to take a walk in the woods together,
to investigate an abandoned inn to take their minds off of things.

Rothilion shook his head. "Your answers first..I have to ask for your promise. Magnolia
and Lanni have given it. What say the rest of you?"

"Of Course, Rothilion", answered Ariella.

Rothilion looked to Jory and Ril for their answer.

"You must not go to the mines, Linde, not without us. We could not bear to lose you there."
Ariella looked down and said quietly, "Magolir almost died there as did Kohlar. I can't
risk losing any of you to lightning bugs."

"And we will not be parted from you"

Ril began speaking, "It seems to me that...grief weighs heavily, and... perhaps...the edge of
fear as well." With some hesitation he added, "for good reason, to be sure. I would just
like to say that..we ought to honor the depths of grief, of loss.." He struggles with his
words. "...without giving into fear...Perhaps what we need is..I'm sorry. I'm not sure
what it is that I'm trying to say. My words fail me. My heart is heavy, that is all I know."

Ariella put her hand on his shoulder to comfort him. "Oh Ril, you are amongst family here.
Don't feel that you cannot express yourself."

Rothilion added, " As are all of ours...but as soldier and protectors of the Seldarine and
Renvanna we must fight on."

Ril and Jory both nodded at this sentiment. "In memory of those who have passed on," said
Ril quietly.

Ariella agreed, "Especially because of their sacrifices."

"And in our duty to the one who returned to us, Eli", said Leyla softly.

"This is my proposed strategy for the survival of this group...I would just like to know if
you will follow my advice".

"Of course, Rothilion. Anyone is free to go to the mines with me or the crypts even." said

"Thank you, Ariella, but i would like to know Ril and Jory's thoughts. we are the free People."

Ril then asked, "What exactly is it that you wish for me to do, Ro?"

"I will not dictate what anyone chooses to do"

Jory replied, "I am in agreement with not going alone and to ensure a group of trustworthy

Ril stated with some hesitation, "Your sentiment is understandable, and your advice is sound."

Rothilion smiled, "Interesting phrasing, Jory. It is obvious that I push you and Ril too hard..."

Ril asked, "...surely you 're not say we should never set foot outside Renvanna..."

"No, Ril"

Magnolia observed, " I think the point is you two should make sure to work as a team."

Leyla added, "Do not leave us, to die alone, Ril. Do not let the persuasions of the city
take you from us and our need. If you must endanger your life by spending time with them,
then let us be with you. They will never care for you as we do."

"I only ask that you have one that is here in this circle to ensure your safety."

Magnolia added, "You both do everything together already it shouldn't be too difficult."

"I have laid out my strategy to prevent more deaths among are all free to do as
you will."

Ril asked, "All this is true, and certainly I would prefer to be in the company of kin in
danger, but...can you reassure me that, in any given time, that each of you can be ready
to be present with me?"

Jory stated, "I can only promise to try. You have to understand I am not from here, and
my family and parents are in Waterdeep, with thousands of other elves."

"That will have to do."

Magnolia added, "I am also not from here, but I do not look sound advice in the face."

It was at this point that the discussion turned to the inn and preparations.

In the midst of the discussions, Ril whispered, "I am no priest but...I can see Ro is in

Leyla whispered back, "His is mine too Ril"

Ariella added, "All of ours. The walk will be good for all of us"

Before leaving, Ariella turned to Taur and gave him a parting kiss. "We will be back."

The group then set out to search the abandoned inn in the forest to clear their heads and
lighten their hearts.
Last edited by erisa on Sun Dec 11, 2022 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Shocking Loss

Post by erisa »

This was not the way it was supposed to be...

She had volunteered to help prepare this body for burial even though High Priestess Isolveing had told her she could let others handle it. She had to do it, she said to herself, for all that he meant to her and because she would lose her mind with regret if she did not. Lying before her was the mutilated body of Sywyn Feren, his legs broken, and his once beautiful face and half his body melted away from
acid. She cast whatever healing spell she could to at least try and restore his body to some semblance of what it was.

Oh Taur...if I would have known that the last time, I was going to see you alive was when I gave you that quick kiss and ducked into the ranger station, I would have never left your side. Everything happened so fast. The group was inside the station talking about deciphering the book we found and all
the sudden there was a noise outside, the sound of combat and then some yells that trailed off.

When I ran outside and didn't see you, I began panicking. I knew something was very wrong not seeing you at your usual station. All I could do was call your name. Thankfully the others had more presence of mind about them. Zalir saw that you had fallen down from the railing and we got to you as soon as we could, but it was too late. Seeing you lying there in a pool of your own blood in such a mutilated condition I could do nothing but cry and scream your name and cradle what was left.
The creatures of the forest came to pay their respects to you, a white stag even touched its antler to you. You were, after all, a guardian to them as much as the elves in Renvanna. An eagle told Leyla how the two humans attacked you, how they were fighting for your keys to the ranger station and how you died, as you had lived, defending Renvanna and us.

Rothilion carried your body back to Renvanna. The High priestess Isiovieng told us you were too burned and broken for her to try and help revive you. I could do nothing but cry and pound my fist in frustration.

Others will remember you as the stoic hero of Renvanna, the protector. I will remember you as my comfort and my refuge. You were my "Taur" and I was your "Vane". I had told Ril the other day that due to you, I felt grounded here, that this was my place of peace. I will never forget the times I took reverie lying on top of you while you held me or all of the times that I could count on you to welcome me home when I stepped into Renvanna from the portal, no matter what time of the day or night it was. How I will cherish those times that I stood with you watching the snow fall over the village as we talked for hours while you stood watch with the others. No matter what, you were always looking out, a slight smile here or there and a quick sideways glance at me. I loved seeing the gold flicker in your blue eyes and your slight smile of amusement when I would squeeze your free hand in mine.

I had hoped to spend decades, maybe even centuries with you. I had hoped one day to bear your children. Now my world is shattered.

I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my body. How will I be able to weather these storms without you? It was you who comforted me when Keth passed away and when so many died in that horrible place with the plague rats. It was you that kept me from losing my mind with your calm demeanor and loving touch. I feel so lost now.

Rothilion told me to channel Lady Hanali's divine power, that she will guide and comfort me as well as Lady Steelheart. Perhaps because this pain is so recent, I can't feel anything right now. I just feel so empty and numb.

She was finally finished preparing his body for the funeral. Closing her eyes, slowly she kissed the unblemished part of his face several times and then gently covered it with the burial cloth.

Last edited by erisa on Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A Dream Unfulfilled

Post by erisa »

Ariella stood silently looking up at the memorial to Sywyn that had been erected by the other rangers where he fell. It was a simple but beautiful wooden plank with leaves and flowers at the top. Hanging from the side were some colorful ribbons, blowing gently in the wind. She was waiting for the others to gather, not only for his celebration of life but for other, more unpleasant business with his murderers.

As the others gathered, Aelenta took the newly arrived elf wizardess, Morgouse, to the side to explain some things to her. He said, "There are truths I have not, shared with you Morgouse....truths you will be exposed to should you remain here for the ceremony for Sywyn."

Morgouse replied flatly, "I thought todays occasion was a funeral not a carnival. Respect and mourning should be shown not amusement."

Aelenta continued while vaguely gesturing to the southwest, "The reason, Sywyn's murderers were here in Renvanna....was because we have in our possession, a Moon Blade."

Morgouse said, "An unlocked sentient moonblade ? And do hope we are not resorting to necromancy or worse."

Aelenta replied, "We stand near where the Elves first arrived to this world....and there are ancient horrors in this Forrest that the elves of long ago once worked to see, sealed away."

"Yes we are near the Ilfran capital or what's left of it"

"The Moon Blade...The Dream Needle....was forged by the Goddess Moonbow."

"That must be a rare case most moon blades were forged by high magic. They're called moon blades because every sun elf that day who touched one was deemed unworthy and killed by blades while trying to claim them"

"It allows those who wield it, to enter the Dreams of the Dead....I am sharing this with you now, so that.... you may have a frame of reference for some of what you may witness this day."

"So, dream needle how was its former wielder? Or wielders?"

"We do not truth there is much and more we do not know....and we have been working diligently to rectify that"

"A history of blade in my opinion should be known to avoid a starym event before it is used, and most moon blades are sentient."

Aelenta briefly smiled," I appreciate your volunteering to spearhead that particular line of research, and I look forward to your findings."

"I would advise it is not used. A moonblade binds with its wielder. Only one can wield it. And it its not bonded or speaking to the wielder it means its locked."

Aelenta passed a wand off to Morgouse and said, "As you say.... such affairs can be dangerous.... perhaps keep the wand in reach."

It was at this point that Aelenta walked over to Ariella, Jory, Rothilion, Lelya and Ril who were standing by the memorial. He asked, "Will we be gathering in the glade?"

Ariella's voice was unusually hard," We have some business to attend to before Taur's funeral."

Morgouse suddenly said, "I would advise against it if you're using the moonblade until it can by studied or we can gather more lore on it."

Aelenta replied, "Noted, Morgouse."

She continued, "I am sorry but morally I cannot participate in good conscience if that's what you're doing."

Jory said flatly, "We have been using it for a quite a while."

Ariella looked at her, confused by the words "good conscience" and "moral". "What could be more 'moral' than following the dictates of the Seldarine?", she thought.

Aelenta asked, "Would you be open to the reframing of your preconceptions...Morgouse of Evermeet, who is new to these lands? The Moon Blade was entrusted to us by a Priestess of Moonbow, who came to several of us in a shared dream and charged us with working to help the blade who had been too long neglected and reclaim its strength. I understand your reservations, Morgouse....though we have been charged with a responsibility on behalf of the Seldarine, and if you find that morally unacceptable.... I understand your choice to leave."

Morgouse simply shook her head.

Ariella announced, "Come to the ranger station everybody."

As she waited for the others to gather into the station, Ariella stared at the two dead bodies in front of her. Both were humans riddled with Sywyn's arrows, a male pick pocket and a female alchemist. The woman was the one who threw the acid bomb on Taur, the bomb that that blew away part of his body and killed him. It had been ascertained earlier that these two humans had carried very little with them and they appeared to be very poor.

Ariella announced, "Everyone, I will cast speak with the dead now and with the blessing of the Seldarine we will get some answers."

Ariella cast the spell first on the alchemist. She noticed that nothing happened. She looked to Aelenta and shook her head.

Ariella moved on to the pick pocket and cast the spell. Somehow, it seemed to work this time.

"Who hired you?" "Timblewine," he answered. Ariella shuddered at this name. Thimblewine was probably the most notorious seller of stolen goods in in Skullport.

Jory murmured, "appears to lead back to Skullport."

"How did you get to Renvanna." "Climb."

"How did you plan to contact him?" "Directly."

Aelenta nodded with a solemn and sad expression and gestured everyone towards the door.

Ariella said to him, "Let's have the rangers dispose of these bodies."

Aelenta nodded and said, "Let us proceed, to one worth our attention?"

Morgouse added, "They should at least be buried."

Ariella stared at the dead bodies with an unseen level of hatred. She then looked at Morgouse and said flatly, "They will be disposed as is their due."

Ril said quietly almost to himself, "They were poor. Perhaps they were... not so much... evil... as desperate..."

Aelenta discreetly pressed one of Sywyn's arrows a little deeper while passing the body.

Morgouse said, "They were desperate men. We are long lived race. They should at least be buried with basic rights, or we are no better."

Rothilion snorted, "We are a good deal better . . . they are a very low bar"

Morgouse answered, "Would you not wish if that was one of us, they were at least buried."

Ariella looked at her. "How can she say such a thing?" she thought. "How could she even suggest giving these people dignity and respect after how they mutilated and murdered Taur?!"

Rothilion replied, "If I were a thief and assassin? I would not deserve respect either."

Ariella announced, "Come let's go to the Glen."

The party walked slowly through Renvanna and into the Glen. After everyone gathered near the body, Ariella said in her loudest voice, "Thank you all for coming to the celebration of life for our beloved Sywyn. As many of you know, I called him Taur. I will start by opening the floor to whomever would like to speak or recite or sing in his honor."

Ariella looked at Aelenta and said, "Zalir would you like to start off?"

It was at this point that Aelenta stepped a bit closer to Taur and recited the following:

You were the oak, in whose shadow I grew
Twisting and turning it was always a fight
Everyday was battle between us born anew
Forever I desired more sun and to take flight

A Ruthless and relentless mentor
For me every hour another chore
Beneath you I was chafed and chained
Against you I struggled and strained

You would say every elf is an Archer
From this there could be no departure
Upon learning to hit at which I aim
You would change the rules of the game

If by day my arrow true and straight in flight
You demanded the same by the dark of night
Once I learned to wield a sword in my right
You forced me to learn to use my left in a fight

With constantly changing demands
I learned to find footing in shifting sands
While kind to each other far and few
You shared with me all you knew

Although together our heads did ram
Our conflicts shaped me into who I am
The oak I needed to rise above
You provided a Father's Love

He then fell silent and walked back to the tree he had been standing under.

Ariella wiped a tear from her eye. "Thank you Zalir, that was beautiful." She then turned to Lelya and asked, "Lelya? Would you like to say a few words?"

Lelya said quietly with her eyes downcast, "I cannot, Linde...My grief is too full." Upon hearing this, Ariella walked up to her and embraced her. She said, "It's alright, Lelya."

Ariella then turned to Rothilion, "Rothilion? Would you like to say something?"

Rothilion replied, "I do not have the gift of words that our brother Aelenta has."

"Just speak from your heart"

"I rely on my faith. Though the Lady of Grief weeps for our fallen kin with us. There is no greater way for follower of the Great Archer to depart this plane then in defense of all of his Kin."

Lelya covered her mouth and stifled a sob upon hearing these words.

Ariella then turned to Jory. He replied simply, "I didn't really know him that well, but I echo Ro's words."

Ariella then called upon Ril. Upon hearing his name, Ril stepped closer to Taur's body. He drew back his hood slowly and seemed unusually quiet.

"I know you did not know him, Ril"

He nodded and said, "I did not but I've been told..." He began shuffling his feet and looked down.

"Please continue, Ril".

Ril stepped closer to Sywyn's body and drops to a knee, tilting his head as he regarded the Ranger's face. "He seems...He seems like he's..." He then pursed his lips, rose and turned away, putting his hood back up.

Ariella asked Morgouse if she wanted to say anything, but Morgouse just remained silent.

Ariella then said "Very well then, as many of you know Taur was my strength and my comfort. I will miss him, but he died as he lived, serving and defending the people of Renvanna. I take comfort that he is now with Lord Solonor."

All of a sudden, Ril spoke up softly, "An arrow that finds it's mark ... breaks and is no longer useable. Spent, having done its duty. It seems Sywyn made his journey, like that arrow journeys until it finds it's mark. And now, he's spent. His duty fulfilled."

"Thank you Ril." Ariella then saw one of Sywyn's underlings, Tasali standing in the corner with her arms crossed. She waved Tasali forward."Tasali, would you like to say something?"

Tasali swallowed and nodded. She placed an old bow next to him and whispered, "We will avenge you. Let the rolling hills of green welcome you home like the gentle caress of summer at the end of spring." She then stepped back.

"Thank you, Tasali I know Taur was very precious to you."

Aelenta extended a hand to Tasali and invited her to stand beside him. She walked over and took his hand.

Ariella then announced, "Now, I will conclude the ceremony with our celebration of life dance, would anyone like to join me?"

Tasali stepped forward. She and Ariella stood on opposite sides of each other. Ariella began the solemn dance with Tasali acting as her somewhat coarser mirror. As she danced in the circle, Ariella suddenly felt the tug of the moonblade. She drew the moonblade and gently touched Taur's body.

Suddenly the group was transported to what appeared to be a foggier and much more densely populated Renvanna. The whole area seemed to be teeming with life and activity.

Tasali exclaimed, "Where the hell are we?"

Aelenta replied, "This is it is in Sywyn's Dream"

It was at this point, several of the elves began addressing someone in the group as "Queen." Some of the elves were familiar from the market in Renvanna and others were not.

Ariella looked around, confused, unsure whom they were addressing. She whispered, "This must be old Renvanna." "Renvanna in its glory," sighed Rothilion.

Tasali said, "I wonder if there's children."

Aelenta answered, "Or the Renvanna of the Sywyn dreamed it could be.... not all Dreams are memory.... some are what may be."

Ril agreed adding, "Indeed... some of these faces... are familiar, are they not?"

Rothilion looked around, approvingly, "That would be wonderful."

Jory said, "That would make sense if Ariella is queen, a glorious future."

Some of the group decided to check out the wares in the marketplace. Ril quipped, "That bastard is still hawking his wares... probably just as badly price gouging."

Morgouse wondered, "Perhaps this is the future?"

Lelya turned to Ariella, "Linde...if it /is/ his desired future...would he wish to be anywhere else than where he always was?" She then looked toward the ranger station.

Tasali asked, "You think he's here?"

Lelya replied, "I know he is"

Tasali exclaimed, "Then let's go!"

Ariella waved to the group, "Come, everyone."

The group then headed through the fog to the Ranger Station. Standing there was a Royal Elven Guard. After some commotion, group decided to look for the guard who was standing at the station who had disappeared.

Aelenta approached one of the Rangers. "Excuse us...Ranger of Renvanna....did you see where the Royal Guard posted here has gone?

The Ranger replied, "Just across the bridge I think to check on the homes on the other side. Just a patrol around no doubt, with the queen around." She then bowed and asked, "Do you need him for something, head Ranger Renvanaith?"

Aelenta then asked," Do you know that Royal Guard's Name?"

Lelya smiled upon hearing him called "Head Ranger."

Ariella looked at Zalir and thought to herself, "This really is Taur's dream, that Zalir could take over his duties for him."

The ranger shook her head. "I can't recall, there are so many elves here and even the royal guard is large."

Lelya said with delight, "Head Ranger, Aelenta."

Tasali rolled her eyes, "Ugh you aren't even a ranger."

Aelenta turned to the ranger, "Unacceptable is our responsibility to know who and what comes and goes, no matter the crowd, no matter the terrain. Do better next time."

The ranger replied, "Yes of course sir" and bowed. Aelenta offered a smile as the ranger saluted him.

Rothilion chuckled and said, "He is intolerable as a leader"

Tasali smirked, "He's always been intolerable" and stuck her tongue out at him with his back turned.

At first the group was going to look for the guard but it was decided that perhaps they might be leaving Sywyn's dream if they did and turned back.

Aelenta then turned to the ranger and asked where Sywyn was. "He's usually at home... over there. If you can see, he's usually up on the balcony painting this very spot." The group decided to head over toward the west where the ranger pointed.

Aelenta quipped, shaking his head, "Painting? If they are any good, this is definitely his dream."

As they walked toward the area where Sywyn was reported to be, several children were spotted. Ariella bit her lip, wondering if any of these children were the children she and Taur would never have.

It was then that one little elven boy ran up to her and hugged her leg, "Mommy!" The tears flowed freely has she bent down to hug her son that existed only in Taur's dream. "Mommy, let's go play with the dogs! I saw one! This way!"

"Baby, where is your father?"

"He's painting. It's boring. Come and play!"

"Show me where he is first, baby."

The boy pouted, "I don't want to. Don't you want ot go play mommy?"

Rothilion remarked, "I think you should do as he says, my Queen."

She took the boy lovingly by the chin, "We can play later, baby"

Aelenta asked, "Can you though? This might be an indulgence you do not want to step pass."

With the encouragement of both Morgouse and Rothilion, Ariella decided that it would be wonderful to have some moments with her imaginary child. Smiling, she extended her hand to him, and he clasped hers with a smile. He then led the group toward the market area where he began asking for one thing after another from bows to sweets to a dream bear. Morgouse surprised Ariella with her eagerness
to buy things for the imaginary child.

It was then that the platform shook.

Aelenta noted, "We have felt that in dreams before....Instablity... We should make haste."

Ariella bit her lip and said, "It may be time to go soon."

The platform again shook.

Aelenta remarked, "We need to find Sywyn before this all ends." He relented to the entreaties of the boy and bought the boy an elven rapier that was quickly rejected. "Queen....your child reminds me of myself at his age, and he is annoying.... let us find Sywyn fast."
Ariella agreed, "Come everyone, hurry!" The group finally reached the place through the dense fog. Sitting on the platform next to an easel was Sywyn dressed not in his ranger uniform but in plain elven clothes. He was sitting in a meditative pose. Ariella called out to him, "TAUR" as Tasali also called to him,"Sywyn!". With ease, Zalir climbed the platform and rocked Sywyn awake.

Sywyn opened his eyes slowly and looked at him, "Aelenta, is it truly you?" He reached his hands out toward him. "Or are you part of this dream." Aelenta frowned "I thought getting the drop on you would be more rewarding."

From down below, Ariella called to him again, "TAUR!"

Aelenta turned to Sywyn, "We.....need to have a talk." and gestured to the others on the ground floor.

Sywyn poked his leg, examining it. He stood up slowly. "I do not know how much longer I can hold this dream.... but I shall try...." It was at this point that he looked down and saw Ariella, "Vane!"

She reached her arms out to him. Aelenta asked Sywyn if he could climb down to her as she was having difficulty trying to climb up to him. Sywyn, continuing to focus on Ariella, nodded at her and choked back tears. "I knew you would come.... but tell me... is it truly you...or are you but a dream as well?"

Tears streamed down her face, "It is me, Taur."

"Please... I must know it is truly you.... or else I must continue to focus, and keep this dream alive."

"Let me embrace you!"

Rothilion encouraged her to show him the blade, but he was unconvinced. He shook his head, "No.... I must be dreaming this as well. I should focus. Until they can reach me." He resumed his meditative stance sitting cross legged on the floor.

Aelenta tried to convince him, "We have reached you Sywyn....I even spoke kindly at your ceremony.... not that I will repeat them here, and someone else referred to you as a spent and broken what I assume was their own way of being respectful."

Ril pulled out a scroll and remarked, "This is easily one of the oddest things I've been a part of.... helping a couple reunite in a dream, by enabling one of them to climb up to the other like a spider... is not what I'd pictured doing this day." He then cast the spell spider climb on Ariella.

With a sudden lightness in her step and phenomenal grip in her fingers, she easily climbed up to where Taur was and threw her arms around him. "Taur! It really is us!"

Tears began streaming down his face. "Vane...... is it.....It is you!I am so sorry... everything... its so confusing here."

She nodded and cried, "Yes my beloved." She embraced him tightly as he held her tightly to him. Aelenta turned away, looking disgusted.

She put her right hand to his cheek. "I knew you would come for me.... but there isn't much time. I won't be able to keep this dream much longer.

"What must I do Taur?"

"I must join the Dream Needle, as the others. My dreams go with you, Vane. All our dreams, and that of our ancestors before."

She gave him a kiss and one last tight embrace. "Goodbye Taur." She then pulled out the dream needle and absorbed him into it.
The party then ran to the portal to escape the unstable world. They awoke in the real world, Ariella was lying next to Taur's body. She then stood up and dusted herself off. "Thank you everyone for coming to the ceremony today"

"Thank you for allowing see what he dreamed of me."

Ariella looked at the dream needle. She was surprised how different it seemed. Somehow it seemed much lighter than before. It also seemed to have gained a significant amount of power after it had absorbed Sywyn's dream. Somehow, she felt his presence in there and held the blade tightly to her chest. "Oh Taur, I really do feel you here with me." she thought.

It was then that Ariella covered his remains and put a sapling on top so that a new life could grow from him. The snow began gently falling.

"Let's go back up now." Ariella walked slowly back up through the door leading back to Renvanna, clutching the needle near her heart.
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A Druidic Farewell

Post by erisa »

Ariella sat near the memorial to Sywyn reflecting upon Renvanna's most recent loss. Earlanni, whom Ariella affectionately called Lelya, had been the latest casualty, violently stabbed to death by an elite kobold while the group had been searching for historical scrolls in the treetops of Renvanna at night. It was while she was lost in thought that a white owl swooped down in front of Ariella and extended its talon to reveal a note tied to its leg:

Ariella of Renvanna, Bladebearer, Beacon of Lady Goldheart, I am reaching out to you regarding Earlanni, Druid of the Sunset Circle. She is at peace with the Spirits of Nature. Her soul has ascended to Arvanaith, and her body is prepared for its final communion to rejoin the forest as one and embrace The Leaflord.

The circle would like to invite you and the elves of Renvanna to be our guests in this ritual. Since our arrival to Westwood, she has welcomed Renvanna and its people to permeate her soul and become a part of her domain. With that she has given you the same care, protection, and love that she has bound herself to provide to the surrounding forest. She has taken on the cause of the Bladebearer as though the burden was her own. She has dreamed with you. It is for this reason that we have decided, while her body and soul belong to Nature, her dreams should be with Renvanna. We will include an opportunity to interact with her dreams during the ritual, if you are so inclined.

The ritual will be held in one week upon your receipt of this message. Travel from the Hidden Grove to the Elven Ruins, then go west at the stream. We will be several miles west into the woods.
Praised Be The Great Oak,


Ariella immediately sent the following sending back to him, Thank you Eryn. I will let everyone know. We will be there.

Somehow the week quickly passed. As Ariella walked out out of the Ranger Station, she looked up at the steady stream of snow falling in Renvanna. "Today will be a good day for Lelya's celebration of life", she thought to herself as she waited for the others to gather. From the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of Zalir, dressed all in black and ran up to kiss him, standing on her tip toes. He smiled only
briefly. Taking his right hand in hers, she squeezed his hand and asked, "Are you ready, Zalir?" He silently returned the squeeze and began walking for the hidden door leading to the forest of Westwood.

Joining them for the celebration of life was Tasali, Ril and a new elf named Lacewyn. "Give me a bit of a lead...I will wave you forward if all is clear." Ariella said a small prayer to herself, asking the blessings of the Seldarine that they might have a safe journey to and from the site. They walked quietly south and then west, stopping for Zalir's signal.

Ril looked around, "I wonder if the wyvern is still about."
Lacewyn answered, "We'll find out soon enough."
Without any mirth or emotion, Ril observed, "Ten gold that Tasali gets eaten first."
"F**k off!", yelled Tasali in her usual unhinged demeanor.

The group continued walking without incident.

They finally reached the wooded area where Kivessryn (Kiv) was standing. Various animals such as bears and pheasants were surrounding the stone where Lelya lay. Kiv looked sadly at the guests who had gathered. "Blessed be the Seldarine for leading us here safely," said Ariella. She quickly changed out of her armor into her other outfit and took her hood off. It was an outfit that had a deep sentimental value for Ariella as Taur had given it to her as gift before they went on their first outing in Renvanna's glen. She had shown Lelya the outfit right before that ill-fated night with the kobold. Lelya had remarked how much she enjoyed seeing Ariella wearing it and encouraged her to wear it more often. Ariella herself was not sure if it was too revealing. It was a red and gold one piece that hugged her curves tightly with strategically placed cut out rectangles in the chest and stomach area. She had been told was specifically made for a follower of Lady Hanali but she was unsure if Taur had been joking with her or not. She thought it would be a fitting outfit for this occasion though.


Ril was exactly the opposite, he kept his his hood down covering his eyes, only his taut jaw showing.

Kiv remarked, "We are still waiting for a few guests." It was then that the group saw some wildlife and the druidess Birdsong approach.


Kiv continued, "I would first like thank all of you, denizens of Westwood and Renvanna alike, for coming to be a part of Earlanni final communion. I will begin with an invocation to the Many-Branched Lord...." It was then that he closed his eyes and stretched his arms out, chanting in Druidic. Although Ariella did not understand this language,she could feel his pain and grief and looked down sadly at Earlanni's body. Zalir swayed a bit to the chanting while Tasali petted a deer.

Ril remained motionless like a statue, his head still lowered and hooded.

As Kiv finished his druidic invocation, he lowered his head and closed his arms to his chest. He then raised his head and addressed the elves of Renvanna. "As her life and service to the spirits of nature has ended in this mortal realm, May the Great Oak embrace Earlanni of our Sunset Circle, and guide her towards continuing her service in the realm of spirits." He then relaxed his posture and continued.
"Earlanni....For nearly two centuries we have been intertwined in every way possible. Our parents' shared vision of building a New Earlann in the High Forest was a vision that shaped who we would become. In both acts of respect and rebellion, we took our paths to commit ourselves to becoming beings of nature. When that path had proven too difficult in our home, we decided to journey west... to Renvanna. Acclimation was difficult, but she took to things much more readily. She showed me the need to aid Renvanna was parallel to the needs of Westwood and with that, she loved Renvanna, and those who lived there, as much at the forest itself. The ritual I will preside over today is called the Final Communion. Her spirit will forever bond with the nature spirits on this forest, and her body will meld and rejoin with the earth."

As Kiv was finishing this thought, a being came out of nowhere and snatched Earlanni's body away quickly scrambling up the waterfall behind them. All the guests were in shock. Tasali asked, "Is that supposed to happen?" There was a menacing cackling from above them. Zalir asked,"What is our best way up there, Kivessryn?" Ril pulled out his scroll of Spider Climb and looked between Zalir and Kiv. Ariella ran and changed back into her armor. Kiv quickly climbed up a tree to try to find the being behind the voice. "What was that thing?" he asked. Ril tossed his Spider Climb scroll to Zalir and quickly cast the Alter Self Spell onto himself, taking to the sky as an Avariel. He began circling above looking about anxiously for any signs of the interloper.

"Whatever that was it went up the waterfall," Kiv observed. Ariella covered her mouth with her hands, "Oh Gods!"

It was at this point that Ril called down to them, "I see it, It's on top of the mountain.... there's a tower of some sort...It's... what! taunting me...?!"

Zalir called to him and asked, "Do you see a means for us to approach on foot?"

Ril glanced about trying to find a path and then cursed loudly, "It's...gone!" "Oh GODS!", cried Ariella. "There's a path to the west you can take, but... it's gone. Long gone by the time you make it to the top."

"What about Leyla?" Ariella called out. She did not receive an answer. Ril let out a cry of frustration that echoed through the treetops.

Zalir called out, "Thank you for the encouraging words Ril, though do forgive me if I do not take them to heart...and instead insist on making an effort regardless?" He motioned for everyone to follow him as he searched for a path upwards. There was a bit of a climb between where they were standing and the next ledge. Zalir attempted to use the Spider Climb scroll but it simply crumbled in his hands. He then used his skill to climb.

Kiv, in his animal shape, was able to climb quickly.

Ariella seemed to have the worst time as she kept trying to climb and kept sliding down. "Zalir i can't seem to get up there." "Well you are wearing Full Plate...try taking it off?" She then changed back to her other outfit, stuffing her armor in her bag. After struggling, she finally made it with the help of the others through each ledge. They finally reached the tower and again Ariella changed back into her armor.

Tasali then made a surprising remark, "Is that new armor? Oh you were in your underwear."

Ariella looked at her, surprised and shook her head as a "no" to the underwear comment. "Taur gave this to me."

Zalir inspected the tower trying to determine who made it. He then spotted the Drider who had stolen Lelya's body. "Why have you taken...our fallen?"

Tasali asked, "Was that a...Drow spider? F**in' hell!" she began stringing her bow.

Zalir replied, "Drider....when the Drow displease the Spider Queen or Her is not uncommon for dark Magis to be used to transform Drow into...twisted half spider beings...known as Drider. If this is the one we encountered...previously...expect this to be a harrowing test."

Ril stated, "Our best bet now I think is tracking and searching for clues. It was already out of my sight shortly after I took to the air. It moved fast!"

It was then that Zalir ran into the tower. Ariella quickly cast some spells of protection. Kiv called back, "Any who do not mean to help, should!" Kiv's bridled animals, a dire bear and golden pheasant, followed him in. "Come everyone", said Ariella as she ran into the tower.

Inside the tower was unusually bright with what appeared to be white marble and fine elven sculptures and decorations. Zalir stated, "I will advance....and wave you up if it seems safe." He went up the stairs and then came back down just as quickly. "Friends....there are small flying Devils...and two large Dragon Devils of the Five Headed Queen. Brace yourself for a soon as you will be brutal."

Ril then turned to Ariella and suggested that she use the stoneskin ring on Lacewyn. "I do not have it." she whispered in reply. The group began preparing themselves with various spells, prayers and potions. It was then that the group ran into the next room. Just as Zalir had described, there were hideous creatures that Ariella had never seen in her life before. Between all the fighting and chaos, Ariella prayed silently and unleashed one of her two prepared Hammer of the Gods spells on the Dragon Devils hoping to buy the group time. She was able to successfully kill a quasit and cause some injury to an ooze Mephit. The Abishai demons seemed unfazed. With the help the animals, the group was able to dispatch the enemies. After the battle concluded, Ariella went about healing.

There was another set of stairs awaiting them. As they climbed the stairs, the group were greeted by ooze mephits, skeleton warriors, a tyrantfog zombie and more Abishai. Ariella was caught in a dazed state and could only helplessly watch the battle unfolding. When she finally came to, she unleashed her other prepared Hammer of the Gods. This time proved less successful than the first time but she still managed to cause some divine damage as the others tirelessly fought the creatures with swords, spells, claws and beaks. Again the group successfully dispatched the enemies and Ariella and Kiv went about healing the others.

The group took some time to study the place. There was some beautiful artwork with scenes of elven forests and animals along with two telescopes.

Lacewyn observed, "There are doors on the top of these stairs, if we wish to keep pushing." Kiv let out a loud and angry roar.

Zalir turned to Kiv, "Kiv....forgive me...but she is not going to get any more dead...we have time to move with a sense of awareness and try to gleam some understanding." To this, Kiv sighed deeply but acquiesced.


Ril stated, "I have to agree. If this foe is indeed dangerous and cunning, it will surely expect a hot pursuit, perhaps rashness on our part. Perhaps that's why he chose this very tower to escape into. Can the foes in this place see the invisible?"

After looking around for a bit, Zalir walked up the stairs where a complex lock awaited him. After trying to open the lock, Zalir decided to sing his favorite lockpicking song, "Parlor Tricks" to help with his concentration. As a youth I was curious to my core, just a boy looking to explore, secrets were my treasure to seek, I learned a thing or two about being a sneak, Always wanting to see and
learn a little more. As I grew a little bit older, my curiosity only grew bolder.
The lock suddenly opened. He waved the others to come.

The room appeared to be a bedroom with a statue of a beautifully carved elven woman. Lelya's body was lying on the floor, unharmed. It seemed that the drider had disappeared by climbing through a window at the top of the tower. Kiv and Tasali bickered about if anyonehad actually seen the creature or not. "Everyone, now is not the time," said Ariella.

Kiv asked, "Ariella, do you have the Dream Needle?" "I do."

Zalir observed, "The Drider...placed her we might see this place. It was a test...and while we survived....I am not sure we passed.... not without figuring out what this place was...or is."

"We must complete the ritual," said Kiv. "Ariella, If you wish to interact with the Dream Needle and Earlanni, please come before the communion is complete." Carrying her body, Kiv quickly carried Lelya's body back to the spot where the ritual began. Ariella did her best to follow but it was more tumbling and sliding than any sort of skill of climbing. In her rush Tasali also fell. Zalir winced as he saw her land flat on her back.

They finally reached their destination. Kiv stated, "I was going to explain the final communion before calling upon Ariella, but I think in light of circumstances we should jump to that. Bladebearer, do what you must."

Ariella gently touched Lelya's body with the tip of the blade. Suddenly, they were transported to the dream world. Lelya was sitting by the riverbank. She stood up slowly as Ariella ran crying to her. "Lelya!" Ariella held her in a tight embrace.

"It is time for me to become one with nature. But as the others, my dreams will go with you."

Kiv said gently, "I do not know what trick this is, but I hope it does not end."

"Oh Lelya, my heart is breaking," said Ariella as she continued to cry.

Lelya then dug in her pocket and held out a closed fist to Kiv. "I have held this dream here for you all for a while...Take these dream seeds, plant them in the treetops...and the roots of the dream world will take hold." Kiv took her hand in his and with a quivering lip took the seeds that she placed in his hands. "I will do as you asked."

Ariella cried and remarked, "Your dream...of a garden."

It was at this point that Tasali grew suspicious and questioned Lelya about the seeds. "That sounds like an invasive species."

Ril looked at her and sighed heavily.

Lelya smiled faintly, "It grows all around, but we never see it waking. You will see.... it is my final dream for you all."

Tasali continued to question her for what that meant.

Zalir muttered to himself, "By Solonor's Slimy Shaft....I am buying her a helmet for that head of hers."

It was then that Lelya turned to Ariella and said, "I am ready."

Ril said to her, "I will miss you... sitting on me... in bear shape... farewell."

Zalir waved goodbye.

Ariella embraced her tightly with a kiss. "Goodbye, Lelya." She then pointed the dream needle and absorbed Lelya's dream into it.


Ariella then fell to her knees crying. Standing, she then wiped her tears away and created a portal using the dream needle to escape the dream world. "Come, everyone." They exited one by one.

When everyone gathered, Kiv stated, "And with that.... let us perform the final communion." He spoke some words in druidic and then the body was covered by plants and disappeared beneath the earth.


Kiv bent down to touch the rock where Lelya had laid. "Thank you everyone for coming." Ariella put her hand on his shoulder and gave him a kiss. "Thank you, Eryn" "She would be proud to know you all came to show your respects." It was after this that Kiv and Ariella embraced tightly. "I will go now. If I am needed, I can be called upon in the forest." Kiv said. Ariella gave him a goodbye kiss and the rest of the
group walked back in the darkness to Renvanna.

After arriving back in Renvanna, the group went their separate ways. Ril walked up up next to Sywyn's memorial, then opened his hand, which had been clutching torn pieces of paper and scattered the pieces to the air, letting the wind carry them down to the forest floor.

"... my final farewell to her... I suppose."
Last edited by erisa on Sat Feb 11, 2023 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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No matter what he is

Post by erisa »

Ariella stood by the carriage station in Adventure's Quarter anxiously waiting for Zalir. When the carriage arrived, he was singing as he stepped off. "Zalir!" she called. "Paramour", he smiled. She looked him over as he appeared to have little cuts on his face and hands. "Are you all right?" "Just some tiny dragon bites...I believe i will be fine." She looked down and observed several dweomervore corpses hanging from his belt. "You have such a talent for that." She cast some healing spells on him and then, in her usual fashion, stood on her tip toes and gave him a kiss. It was at this point that she took him by the hand and beckoned him to her room at Madam Garah's where they could speak in private.

After entering the room, she motioned him to sit on the bed as there was no chair and poured him some wine. He removed the corpses from his belt and dropped them in a black bag and sat down. It was at this point that she took her hood off so that he could see her face clearly. With a very serious expression, she handed him the glass. "Zalir. I am glad you are sitting down and have this wine. What I am about to say to you do not discuss with the others." She sat next to him. He raised a curious brow and took a sip of the wine.

"Zalir, Ril may or may not be the same Elf."

With his left hand open in protest, he sipped another drink and then smiled. "May or may not be the same Elf? What would make you jump to that conclusion?"

She looked around. "You know when I touched his hand it was deathly cold. Rothilion made a different observation. He is not...breathing."

"I understand he is not breathing...and I understand he may be cold to the touch...but how does one go from Ril has experienced, changes to suspecting Ril is no longer Ril?"

"I don't know what to make of him not breathing. I don't know what it means."

"Best guess from my quarter, given the very limited information I have....Ril blundered into what should have been a horrible end in which he was torn apart by beasts, and the Seldarine intervened."

"Why is he not breathing?"

He took another sip. "Now....the cold to the touch and not breathing bit shows that Ril is obviously no longer living in the traditional sense that we are accustomed to, but it does not mean he is no longer Ril."

"That's why Rothilion has been acting so coldly towards him."

"I strongly suspect Ril, is very much so still Ril....though maybe no longer as alive as Rill once was.... though he appears to be alive enough to help us...and by us...I mean the People...and not to be ruthless but that is what least in my opinion."

"Rothilion did not sense any evil about him, that is true."

"Why is the military minded Rothilion reacting to variables beyond his understand and unknowns about his allies, inspiring him to behave in a cold and confrontational manner?" He smiled at her and shook his head and took another sip.

Ariella looked down at this statement. "I have decided to continue to treat him as I always have but I imagine he's scared and confused. I think Rothilion may be afraid that it was not the Seldarine who raised him...But I don't think Ril even knows."

"I suspect we all are scared and confused.... I think that is how most of us go through life, even when not confronted with mysterious ancient evils, and the wonders of the gods. I make a sincere effort to put on a brave face regardless and find a way through, making what effort I can to inspire others to do the same.... mostly because the alternative is just not in any way attractive."

She nodded, "I know this probably sounds strange but I'm glad to have Ril back even though I do not know what he is anymore."

" we may not know what Ril is, or How Ril is.... but we know Who Ril is...and that is enough for me."

"Oh Zalir I..I..wish I could do something for him."

"Now I am not going to claim I am not curious.... I would like to know more and better understand it, but if I never ever get any real the end of the Ride, knowing Ril is who he is, and that he is a loyal friend and for the People is more than enough."

She sighed and nodded.

"Your concerns and care are in my humble opinion valid and only advice, not that you asked fo to do what you do best.... Love Ril for who he is, no matter what he is, and continue to be as understanding as he needs you to be."

At this, she began crying and only nodded.

"Ril has always struck the lonely sort.... I do not know if he has ever known Love and Friendship as I know you and I have experienced it."

She continued crying, "He said before he died that I made him feel like he had a home with us."

"I suspect more now than ever before, he may feel more alone than ever before, and needs the sense of home that only making him feel truly welcome and wanted can provide."

At this point, Zalir finished his drink and stood up. "I should be on my way."

"Oh Zalir, I think he may be away from us for a while."

He offered her his hand and she stood up. She stood on her tip toes and gave him another kiss. "Thank you."

"Distance is not so difficult a challenge that it cannot easily be overcome one step at a time." He smiled and bade his farewell as she opened the door for him and watched him disappear down the steps.
Last edited by erisa on Sat Feb 11, 2023 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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A loss like no other

Post by erisa »

Ariella opened her eyes slowly and looked around. Standing above her was Jory, the other paladin of Lady Steelheart. Lying beside her were Lira and Rothilion who were also both waking up. She sat up slowly and counted again. There had to be some mistake. Where was Zalir?

"Zalir?" she asked as she sat up.

Jory looked her sadly and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Ariella, I carried the three of you back here to Renvanna. I was unable to find Aelenta's body. Aelenta it seems has...disintegrated."

Upon hearing these words Ariella shook her head vigorously and simply asked again, "Zalir?" as she looked around quickly, this time with more desperation. Jory's words hit her like a ton of bricks. The question now became a scream. "ZALIR! NOOOOOOO!" she began crying uncontrollably and pounding the wooden plank underneath her.


As she continued crying and pounding the wooden plank, she tried to remember the events that led up to this tragedy. Only last week, the group had had an amazing adventure in the Deep Sea Harbor. The journey had been one filled with peril as they had to battle sharks, sahaguin,drowned sea souls and sea wraiths to reach the Sea Elves and their magnificent kingdom. They had met Queen Rosalind, who had advised thegroup that the answers that they were seeking to cure the rot that was plaguing Westwood and the elves of Renvanna might be found in their backyard. After the group had returned from the deep sea harbor, they had discussed revisiting the tower where they first encountered the
nightmare and dream realm.


Rothilion, Jory, Zalir, Lira and Ariella set out for the tower. Only she and Zalir had been their previously. This time, however, seemed different. The decay had worsened. The stench of rot was certainly more intense. Also, their journey to the tower seemed more dangerous than before. They were attacked along the way by several giant spiders and Zalir wondered aloud if the drider who had snatched Lelya's body during her funeral was watching them.

The last time they had come to the tower, upon the platform had been two beings who had spoken to them in riddle and then transported them into the nightmare realm. It was only through the grace of the Seldarine that Ariella's recently passed away associate, Priestess Eliyanas, follower of Lady Sehanine Moonbow, appeared to them in that realm and protected them from a Balor.
It was she who guided them to safety and led them to the serene dream world where Magolir had pulled out the moonblade. After the moonblade was pulled out, the dream world became unstable, and they had to run for their lives to escape through the portal.

This time the guardians were nowhere to be found. The group walked up to the tower. Zalir cast detect magic and tried the door. It was locked. He then dropped to his knee and took out a set of picks to try to unlock it. It was at this point that all hell broke loose.

The ground began shaking and beside the two statues something or someone appeared on both sides. The last thing Ariella remembered was a surge of lightning coursing through her body. All of a sudden, she found herself back in the nether realm between life and death. She had seen this place once before during that ill-fated trip to the plague rat lair where Luva, Sheshe, Nix and Kyle were lost. Suddenly she felt like she was being pulled back into the light. It was after this that she woke up next to the others.

It seemed that Zalir had absorbed the brunt of the beings' attack and was magically disintegrated by them.

Ariella thanked Jory for rescuing them with a gentle squeeze of his hand. He let go of her hand and quietly turned and walked toward the ranger station.

As the others went off to mourn privately, Ariella remained fixed to that spot near the portal. It was as if somehow, she wanted to believe that she had heard wrong and that he would be coming through the portal any second now if she was just patient and waited for him. How she wished more than anything to hear the portal hum and cackle as it did when someone stepped through it so that she could run up and greet him with a kiss in her usual fashion, standing on her tiptoes.

The portal remained silent.

What am I going to do without you now, Zalir? she thought. You were the one whose counsel I followed and trusted above all others. It was you that convinced me to stay when I thought of leaving this group because Magolir and I could not get along. It was you who gently advised me to love and treat Ril as I always had when I was unsure what to do about his transformation. Now, who will I turn to?

It was only through your support that the group was able to make it as far as it has. How many times did you stock this ranger cabinet with needed supplies and wordlessly gifted us with wands and other presents to ensure our success? She looked down at the beautiful diamond and sapphire ring imbued with the stoneskin spell on her finger. How many times has this ring that you gifted me kept me or
someone else safe?

How many times did you risk your life, silently going before us to make sure that we were not in danger before waving us forward?

How many times did hearing your songs pull this group through, when we needed encouragement during a battle, a little mental boost to get a lock opened or when you would sing the song about being Children of the Seldarine and heal us? I will miss the sound of your beautiful voice and the songs you used to sing.

How many times did your knowledge of history or your gift with speaking to others help this group get the answers we needed? When I stood frozen in front of Queen Rosalind unsure of what to ask her it was you that stepped up to ask the questions I could not.

Now, there is no body to bury and all I have left of you is this ring.

Thank you Zalir for everything you did for us and for me. My only regret is that I was never able to help you to achieve your dreams or help you to find the happiness you deserved.

With this, she buried her face in her hands and cried, alone in her grief.
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A True Son of Renvanna

Post by erisa »

The day of Zalir's celebration of life had come. Ariella stood silently by the portal waiting for the guests to arrive. The snow fell gently as she stood there but she did not seem to notice the snow or the cold. She simply waited for the portal to hum and cackle. She had sent a sending to both Master Sambar of the Adventure's Guild and to Master Gromrick of the House of Wonder with details of the celebration. She had also posted a notice at the Dripping Dagger, Zalir's favorite performance venue, of the occasion.
One by one the guests came, first the steadfast dwarf Morgrum and Master Sambar of the Adventure's Guild. Then the legendary bardess, Maday Le Arvin, a member of the guild and performer at
the Dripping Dagger. Finally, Declan of the House of Wonder appeared. Ariella was pleased to see so many of Waterdeep's distinguished citizens come and pay their last respects. To each, she greeted them with a sign of affection, either a hug or a squeeze of the hand. She ushered them into the ranger station one by one to wait for all to assemble.

After some conversations of various topics, Master Sambar asked, "Pardon my interjecting, good Ariella...but may I ask who else we are waiting upon, before the ceremonials begin?"

Ariella replied with a grimace, "It seems that some of the elves are on Elven time."

Master Sambar then asked, "Some of your fellow citizens then, who were close to Aelenta, yes?"

Ariella replied with a nod, "I was hoping to see Rothilion and Ril and maybe one called Tasali who was his childhood friend."

"Very good. Might...might it be impertinent...if we could be allowed to view Aelenta, in his place of final repose, before the formalities?"

To this question, Ariella grimaced and showed him a small cedar box. It was beautifully carved on the side with musical notes and on the top in elvish cursive the words, "Aelenta Renvanith". "This is all that remains of him. He was disintegrated" she said quietly.

"'s remains are w.." Sambar sighed deeply.

"Oh my...that must have been some foe." Declan observed.

It was at this point that Ariella noticed Rothilion had walked through the door. She went to greet him.

Morgrum said to the others, "Ah will say here and now, and hold me tongue fer the ceremony...That is no way teh die...It should o' been wit steel in hand against o' worthy foe."

Master Sambar noted, "Such a small encapsulate such an enormous life. Tragic."

Ariella introduced the group to Rothilion and then motioned for them to go the glen to begin the ceremonies.

After all were assembled, Ariella stood nearby the sapling that had been planted on Taur's remains. "Thank you everyone for coming today to pay your respects to Aelenta. As some of you know, I called him Zalir. He was my counsel and the one that I looked to in all things." She then placed the small box on the ground and continued, "He was a pivotal member of our group and died trying to an unravel a mystery to protect Renvanna and was disintegrated. One of our other paladins, Jory, was able to get these ashen remains. I will miss Zalir very much. He was a great friend to some of you, an artist to others and a generous benefactor to us."

"Before we get started, I did send word to Sir Ambrose and he sent this back" She then held up a beautiful silver mirrored arrow for all to see. "It says Aelenta Renvanith Arael'Sha, which for those who do not speak Elven means 'Friend of the heart'". She then put the arrow next to the small wooden box.

"At this time, I would like to read a very short poem that I composed in Zalir's honor." Her eyes blinked rapidly fighting back tears.

You will never know
How your Courage and wisdom
Changed my life forever

She then wiped her tears away.

"At this time, i would like to have whoever would like to say some words on his behalf to go ahead and do so."

Declan stepped forward, "I would like to speak."

Before he could get started, however, a small bundle on a silken spider strand descended slowly and came to rest in the middle of the group. There was a small, very old set of bones, wrapped in spider silk, with a note attached.

Master Sambar asked, "Is..ah... This is not part of the formalities, I take it?"

Ariella shook her head with a grimace. Rothilion walked up and cautiously took the note. He read it and crumpled the note in his fist and grumbled.

"What does it say, Rothilion?" Ariella asked.

He replied in Elvish, "A message from the drider. We will speak of it later."

Declan exclaimed, "A drider? Oh I hate those things!"

Master Sambar remarked, "Drider is not a codename then..."

Morgrum said, "O' drider sent the message then." He then tugged at his clean, braided beard and asked, "That's who's behind Aelenta's death?"

Master Sambar mused, "Clearly there are many aspects of life in Renvanna that have eluded the world outside Ariella..."

Before Ariella could answer this question, Declan requested to say his piece. "Aelenta was a key to helping our missions from the House of Wonder. In fact, I recall his superb scouting in the lower sewers. We went on many missions, as far away as Bereghost and as deep as the mines in the Mountains. His scouting saved us on numerous occasions, and we are grateful for the times he saved us. I only regret that we could have help more and perhaps prevented his untimely death. It was an honor serving with him. He shall be missed." He then solemnly bowed to the remains.

"It's hard to say, Declan." Ariella then turned and asked, "Morgrum would you like to say something?"

Morgrum stepped up, "Aye. Aelenta...Ah didn't think much o' him at first, seemed uppity like the lot o his race ah've known..." He then looked around. "No offense"

Rothlion mused, "No that sounded like a positive."

Morgrum continued, "But he quickly proved himself an ally, no only o' the guild, but o' dwarves. Ah respect Aelenta, and ah wull swear an oath here an now. Ah wull see him avenged and the enemy o' his destroyed, or ah wull die tryin'" He nodded firmly at his own words and stepped back.

"Thank you Morgrum." Ariella then turned, "Master Sambar?"

"I must confess, Ariella, that I had not prepared any words...but might I be allowed to hold Aelenta's box for a moment?"


" My thanks indeed." He gently lifted the box to his chest as Ariella wiped more tears away. "Such a tiny box, to hold the last remnants of who was by all accounts, a great and grand man." He looked amongst them. "I was moved by his faith in our own venture, with the Guild you know. From the very first of Prima's enterprise and mine, he placed his faith in us. He ...had a faith in what people /could/ be, I
think. I felt it keenly and wish nothing more than to live up to his faith in me." He sighed and looked down at the box.
Ariella wiped more tears away, "Thank you Master Sambar, that is what we all hope i think."

He then asked, "It was Jory, who collected all the bits of ash that were left, Ariella?"

She nodded, "Jory who rescued us."

He continued, "Scattered in the wind to some degree I imagine? It's remarkable."

She replied, "He carried three of us back to Renvanna by himself."

"Such a small box, yes...but the act of preserving what remained of our friend speaks of the enormous love and respect he engendered in those who knew him, does it not?" He then reverently set the box down.

Ariella said quietly, "His loss was like no other." She then turned and asked, "Maday? would you like to say some words or perhaps a song?"

Maday stepped up, nodded and cleared her throat. "But first this is a final message relayed to me from Caley . . .

I am heartbroken and devastated at the tragic death of Aelenta. When I first came to this city, he was one of the first people I met, and he always had a kind word or a smile for me. The only reason why I am still alive is because he rescued me from a swarm of plague rats and rust monsters in the sewer. When he could have ran, he instead came back using invisibility, picked up my almost lifeless body and carried me up the ladder to safety. I hope that I make the most of the second chance that he gave me by helping as many people as I can as just like he did. You will live on in the songs that you wrote that people will be singing for years to come and in the hearts of all that you helped. I will never forget you."

Ariella wiped her tears away, "Thank your friend for us."

Maday then proceeded to sing an Elven song:

Grievous despair and endless tears,
while hastening from lost Myth Drannor,
the elves endured along with fears
they'd see their homeland nevermore.
Great anguish in their weary hearts,
the elves' fathomless hope did wane.
Filled with the fate that dread imparts
they longed to see their home again.
She's gone, she's gone, she's closed her eyes.
Alluring, mystic Myth Drannor.
Torment doth haunt me ceaselessly.
I ache to hold her close once more.
Sad thoughts, deep sighs accompany me
when e'er upon those doleful lands
I trod from whence the elves did flee
and where a fiendish horde now stands.
Harshness without joy remains -
the beauty of their presence spent.
Beguiling mores and soft refrains
are strewn with them where'er they went.
They're gone, they're gone, they've closed their eyes.
Departed elves from lands of men.
Torment doth haunt me ceaselessly.
I ache to hear their songs again.
In Arymar, that emerald vale,
elves lost had now a haven found
and there love's ship with billowed sail
did cast itself from forlorn ground.
Yet all bliss is precarious,
as when unwelcomed bitter fate
came to High Mage Solarious
and bore from him his cherished mate.
You've gone, you've gone, you've closed your eyes.
My Trandalla, my tender maid.
Torment doth haunt me ceaselessly.
I ache to join you in that glade.

She finished singing and bowed. "That was beautiful, Maday, thank you." said Ariella. Maday then bent and placed a small pair of gloves on the box. "These should accompany Aelenta."

Ariella then asked if either Ril or Rothilion wanted to say something. Rothilion gestured for Ril to go first.

Ril spoke softly, " ... the loss is keen for us. Perhaps keener yet than we can speak of in ... this moment... But for Aelenta, I think..." He looked up at the falling snowflakes. "Perhaps it seems strange...I can almost... hear him laughing, in my imagining. Laughing, perhaps alongside his mentor, Sywyn. The loss and grief are ours. But I do think... that mingled with the grief, is his laughter and mirth. I ..."He then stopped and lowered his head. "I can speak no more, for now." He then went silent.

While Ril was speaking, both Master Sambar and Morgurm noticed something seemed different about Ril but said nothing.

"Thank you, Ril. Rothilion?" Ariella asked.

Rothilion walked over to Ril and patted his shoulder. In Elven he said, "Well done kin." He then addressed the group in common. "The funeral of a bard is filled with honeyed words and song." He looked to Maday while saying this. "...and solemn oaths" He glanced at Morgrum who nodded at the acknowledgement. "... and deeds done" He looked to both Master Sambar and Declan. Looking at Ril and Ariella he continued, "And as his kin we thank you for all of these." He grinned a bit stating, "I am no bard and the Aelenta that you spoke of was real. He traveled far and wide . . . even to other planes. His performances were legendary . . .even outdueling a devil. He met the ancient elven kings. All this he accomplished, but still he CHOSE to reside where he was born. A true son of Renvanna, A servant of the Fey Jester." He turned to Ril, "He is laughing and" turning to Ariella "Mocking our tears of grief. A just and deserved rest is now his. I will not throw a stink bomb or summon a shark in his honor . . . I will just say. . . Namaarie."

"Thank you, Rothilion," said Ariella.

"Namaarie." both Master Sambar and Ril said separately.

The group was beginning to turn to head back up to Renvanna when a strange and unexpected thought popped into Ariella's head. "I must show them what it was that Zalir died protecting. I must show them why we need their help now."

"Before you go Master Sambar. There is something that I want to show you all." She waved the group closer. "Zalir died protecting Renvanna. I wish to show you something that only we and Declan have seen...but you must be prepared. We will be going to a nightmare realm that is chaotic and horrible a scene of war. If you would like to cast preparations before we enter, please do so now." It was at this point that Ariella turned from the group, took off her ceremonial robes and quickly put on her armor. Some in the group began casting spells of protection. Ariella simply used the beautiful emerald and diamond ring imbued with the stoneskin spell that Zalir had gifted her.

Understandably, both Maday, Morgrum and Master Sambar were surprised and confused.

Ariella continued, "We have been entering nightmares trying to protect common people from warriors Sometimes, we have succeeded sometimes we have failed. The warriors are very strong."

"So it begins..." Ril murmured softly to himself.

"Are we ready?" Ariella asked.

"Ready for what?!" cried Maday.

"For battle." answered Ril.

"We will be fighting warriors in a nightmare Maday," answered Ariella.

"What? What sort of . . . I don't..."

"Is everyone prepared?" Ariella asked. "Not at all." replied Maday. "Please make your preparations now." Maday asked, "For what battle? what foe?" Ril looked to Ariella, then said flatly without emotion to Maday, "There will be elven soldiers and spellcasters, attempting to strike down defenseless elves. We must protect them."

Declan surprised Ariella by unleashing his ugly behemoth construct and with his eagerness. "Let's go, spells are wearing."

"Could o' used o' warnin if ye planned fer this, but aye ah got me axe unclad." said Morgrum. Maday agreed.

"It was not my plan." She decided to try and explain more, "These bones are the portal to the nightmare realm. They carry inside them the ancient memories of our people. This dream needle will be our gateway." She held the dream needle for all to see. "and what Zalir died trying to save."

Ril added, "If it is like the other nightmares we have faced, we must seek out and engage one group, and most likely be prepared to engage reinforcements from other directions."

"All set then." said Morgrum.

"If I fall during the nightmare, we will all be knocked back to this realm," added Ariella.

"Fight whatever we encounter, what a plan...sounds like a Morgrum plan," quipped Maday.

Declan said, "Let's go."

Ril stated flatly, "Elven soliders, Warriors, scouts, spellcasters. We must protect the villagers, and Ariella"

Rothilion added, "You will know the enemy when you see them...there is no way to scout a dream."

Ariella asked again, "Are we ready?"

Master Sambar replied, "Ready, Ariella."

Declan seemed in a hurry, "Yes yes yes"

It was at this point that Ariella touched the ancient bones. Immediately the group fell asleep, and they were transported into a nightmare. There were 8 villagers. Ariella immediately created the portal using the dream needle. Soon, they were engaging with the enemy. It was a scene of pure chaos.
Unlike some of the other times, the enemy came in several directions and in several spurts. The villagers bravely fought with bare hands and legs trying to defend their village and died for their bravery. Ariella at one point had a spell cast against her and she could not move. In all the chaos, she did not see when Declan's ugly behemoth construct was destroyed or when poor Morgrum was knocked back into the real realm. At one point, Maday began singing the Elven song of healing to help the group after effectively using her sonic stick of death against some of the warriors. Somehow, all the enemy were dispatched. One of the villagers managed to survive and Ariella demonstrated the power of the dream needle by absorbing the dream.

"Remarkable." stated Master Sambar.

Ariella apologized. "I'm sorry I could not prepare you better."

Maday said, "Well, nightmare's a nightmare eh."

Master Sambar continued, "I saw a loss I have never encountered before. My beloved hat has been lost."

To this Ril looked at him, "..."

Ariellla continued, "The tower Zalir passed away at we were trying to unlock its mysteries and cure this land of the rot plaguing it."

Master Sambar replied, "I do not pretend to understand all of what we have witnessed Ariella. But I hope that we have in some way aided you."

It was at this point Ariella realized that she did not see Morgrum. "Where is Morgrum?"

"He fell." replied Declan.

"He is back in the real world then." stated Ariella

Maday let out a sigh of relief, "I saw him . . . oh whew."

"Come everyone, through the door."

Ril pulled Ariella aside as the others walked through the portal back to the real world. He said to her in Elven, "They have the attention span of ... Are you sure of this Ariella? Are you sure you want to involve them?"

"We may not have a choice anymore."

After they walked back through the portal and into the real world, they found Morgrum badly wounded sitting on the ground. "Aye, ah fell in battle, but awoke 'ere."

Both Ariella and Master Sambar began trying to patch Morgum's wounds in different ways, she with healing spells bestowed by Lady Hanali and Master Sambar with surgical kits. In his nervousness, Master Sambar accidentially cut Morgrum instead of stitching the wounds. "Ouch! Sambar! Ah prefer Ariella's softer touch." "Perhaps better yes."

Ril said to himself, "Seldarine help us all if this is... the wrong solution."

Ariella smiled at Morgrum, "Oh Morgrum I'm glad you are all right."

Declan observed, "bah still nothing like that orc fight at the pass."

Ariella stated to the group, "I'm glad that everyone was able to witness what we have been encountering it is hard to describe otherwise."

Morgrum said, "We've learned some o' their tactics, we'll be better prepared next time."

Master Sambar asked, "This land that you brought us to, did so because you wish us to return there with you again?"

Ariella replied, "We still have many mysteries to uncover and if you are willing need your help. Now that Zalir is gone, we need all the allies we can get."

Master Sambar mused, "An open door of dreams indeed then."

Morgrum stated, "Well ah swore an oath teh avenge Aelen.. Wut ah need teh know is who's responsible an how teh kill em."

Master Sambar looked to Ariella, "Morgrum has sworn an oath, my good Ariella. And if I may, it is wise for you not to stand in the way of it. We are yours, in all things. And of course, shall help."

"Thank you all for coming." said Ariella as she covered the box, the gloves and the arrow with some dirt and placed a sapling on top of it, making sure to put some distance between that sapling and Taur's sapling so that the two trees might have enough space to grow into great oaks side by side.

Morgrum stated before leaving, "Fer now, let's all raise o' mug teh Aelenta."

Ril sheathed his blade and shrugged, "I suspect Tasali will be less than pleased, but...It doesn't take much to piss her off anyway."

Ril and Ariella watched the others disappear through the hidden door and back to Renvanna.

"Maybe we can get help with finding the scrolls, Ril."

"I certainly can't do it by myself."

"Yes maybe this is for the best."

"You are placing a great deal of trust in them. Perhaps this is... for the best." Ril repeated softly.

Ariella took a gentle glance back at the saplings and walked through the hidden door with a small sigh.
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A Controversial Gift

Post by erisa »

(The following conversation took place in Renvanna. The elves are preparing to go to see the Queen of the Fey, Titania to get answers on how to help solve the issue of the rot that is plaguing Renvanna. In order to get to her lands, they must pass through the area where evil fey called the Unseelie reside. While Ariella is making preparations for the trip, Rothilion, Paladin of Lady Vandria Gilmadrith, enters the ranger station)

Rothilion greeted Ariella with a bow, "Mae Govannen"

Ariella took his hands and squeezed them. "Rothilion i have good and bad news." With a grimace, she informed him that their Arcane Archer, Lira, escaped from trying to rescue the priest Gvideon from the evil crime lord of the lower sewer, Xanathar. The others who were in that group with him were all captured, some were turned to stone. He then decided to try and go back on his own and rescue the others that had been imprisoned by the Xanathar. In his attempt, he took an elven artifact, a magical staff, with him. He was captured and lost the staff, a prized bow, and everything else that he had. Subsequently, Lira and the others (Gvideon, Grimm, Daymin, Master Sambar, Morgrum, Ebnir, and Torin) were rescued by the House of Wonder with the loss of one of their members, Agnus. Agnus died fighting a balor before they safely reached the port in Water deep.

Rothilion only sighed and shook his head. "Ever does this involment with the N'Tel curse us."

"Oh Rothilion it seems that both times our artifacts were lost in the sewers. Perhaps they can be recovered. I have not forgotten about avenging Daq."

"The gang of N'tel called the Plague Rats are responsible for Daq."

"Yes i still want to avenge him."

It was at this time, by surprise the hin, Daymin suddenly appeared. Ariella was pleased to see him as she had not seen him since he had been captured. She bent down and gave Daymin a hug.

Ariella then changed the subject, "I also wanted to let you know that we have prepared some gifts for the trip to the fey wild." She proceeded to show them both a sapling that had been cut from the dream tree and watered by absorbing people's dreams that would be given to Queen Titania, queen of the Fey. The other gift was a beautifully crafted spear that she intended to gift the Queen of Air and Darkness, queen of the evil Unseelie. The spear was especially deadly to fey.

Rothilion looked at the spear, admiriging its craftmanship. "That spear is very powerful . . . She should be pleased."

"Yes Raril (one of the vendors in Renvanna) outdid himself."

Ariella asked both Rothilon and Daymin if they were going to accompany her to the feywild.

Rothilion replied, "I think I must . . . if only to protect you."

Daymin was unsure if he was going or not as he had not gotten his gear sorted out since the rescue.

Ariella then showed them the book, "Fey Feuds" and requested that they both read it as it gave some very interesting and disturbing information about the Unseelie Court.

Ariella looked to Rothilion and stated, "Rothilion, if you are coming I do not want you or Peart to compromise your values by having to negotiate with the Queen of Air and Darkness."

It was at this time that Daymin took his leave after getting some healing potions from Ariella.

"If what you are doing would compromise my vows then perhaps we should not be doing it."

"Well the problem is, in order to get to Queen Titania, we have to pass through the Unseelie Court's lands first, that fact was made very plain to us by Nym's faerie. So that is the only reason we are even going there because we must past their land to get to the other."

Rothilion frowned, "Bargaining with the Unseelie Court is a slippery slope...And arming them with a weapon that can so effectively kill those of the Seelie court?"

"If she is displeased by our gift, we will be sent on the Wild Hunt."

"What of this Wild Hunt?"

"So we were not given too many details of what that exactly entails."

Rothilion paused for a moment and then offered this thought, "Could we not cross the Unseelie territory without the Queen's permission? Would that not be the better way to proceed?"

"Well, in order to get to Queen Titania we have to go through the Unseelie first. We cannot go to her first and bypass the Unseelie."

"Yes. . .but what if we did it without their permission?"

Ariella looked at Rothilion, surprised by his suggestion, "You mean try to cross their land?"

"Just so. With that spear we could defend ourselves well"

Ariella bit her lip at this suggestion. "Oh Rothlion. I don't know if we want to chance angering the Queen of Air and Darkness. By all accounts she is not someone we can fight."

"That spear is meant to kill Fey . . . and if we hand it to the Queen of Air and Darkness . . . she is likely to kill Seelie Fey with it . . .who then is responsible for their deaths?"
Ariella looked down at the ground at the suggestion that she could be an unwitting party to innocent feys being murdered. "Oh Rothlion I don't know what to do. I think if we anger her she will send us to be hunted."

"Better to be hunted . . .than corrupted. This is how evil works . . . not in the open . . . not fair and just . . . insidious . . playing on your fears. Making you compromise your morals for what you think is the greater good."

"I will try to see if i can do some more research into this , to see if anything can be done."

"Not what can be done what MUST BE DONE."

It was at this moment that the door of the ranger station creaked open and a handsome, tall, blonde figure appeared in the doorway.

"LIRA!" Ariella ran to Lira and gave him a kiss as a greeting.

Lira nodded to both of them. "Hello, my dearest friends."

Rothilion bowed to Lira with his hand to his heart, "Mae Govannen."

"Am I interrupting?"

"Oh not at all. I was telling Rothilion about the gifts we are bringing. He does not believe that we should negotiate with the Unseelie court."

Lira shifted a bit, uncomfortably. "Yes, about that...."

"He knows about the items, Lira."

Rothilion looked at him and frowned.

"While I have been greatly supported by a very generous benefactor, I fear I am far from prepared to take on a journey as dangerous as this. I will support you however I can before you go, however. As for the gifts. I understand how such an act triggers the alarm bells of all of your virtures...."

At this Rothilion raised his voice,"Because you were twice endagered by your N'tel friends and lost the gifts that the ancient People gave you to an Eye Tyrant???"

Lira hung his head in shame, "Yes."

Rothilion snorted and turned away in disgust.

Rothilion continued, "And now we are to give this evil Queen the means to kill many Seelie Fey?"

Lira nodded with a look of shame on his face, "I deserve no less than your contempt...and yours my Queen."

"Oh Rothilion, the important thing is Lira is here with us. The items may still be recovered. Items are only objects. Lira is irreplaceable."

Rothilion turned back around, his tone softened as he nodded, "Of course my brother . . . my heart leaps that you have been recovered . . forgive my anger."

Lira looked at Rothilion, "Our cause is just. Our cause is vital to the survival of OUR people. The Feywild cares not of our vitrues that we bring. They too have their rules."

Ariella added, "From what the faerie told us, there is no way to bypass the Unseelie so i don't think we can do that Rotilion."

Lira continued, "We have not the power to change their in order for us to be successful.... to save ourselves and Revnanna....we must abide to the chaos of the Feywild. I do not expect that to be easy for you, mighty Rothilion...but it is the path we must take."

Rothilion replied, "Must take? that is the slippery slope to the Abyss! There is always another way."

Lira noted, "Then we had best be careful."

"Of course," said Rothilion confidently.

"And rely on you to keep us tethered to upper planes."

Rothilion looked between them,"That is what I am trying to do. You can not give a gift to the Queen that will help her kill...and if we give her this gift and she is "displeased?"

Ariella knew the answer all to well, "We will be sent on the Wild Hunt to be hunted."

Rothilion looked at her pointedly, "Then I will ask you . . . what would happen to the gift?"

Ariella looked down with a grimace, realizing that Rothlion was correct in his assessment. She asked, "Do you have a better idea for a present?"

Lira muttered, "Likely something awful."

Rothlion offered this thought, "So where is her advantage to be "pleased" and let us pass? Her displeasure is inevitable."

Lira looked at him and asked, "But I ask you, would the actions she chose be less awful without the gift?"

"Why? Is it to her advantage or nature to be kind or merciful?"

"Whatever we come that would satify the challenge will inherently aid her evil tendencies." Lira observed.

"Well, if you can think of another gift and to keep the spear I am amenable." Ariella felt her mind go blank with ideas for another present.

Lira said thoughtfully, "Yes, if we do the challenge and she betrays us, then it will be for naught."

"Therefore . . . the only way to win is not to play HER game. Why can we not cross the unseelie territory without offer her a gift?"

Ariella replied, "Well i suppose we can but it would mean we would be hunted. That is guranteed."

"As we would be if the gift displeases her . . the only difference is she would not have the spear. WE would."

"Well, if you can think of another present i am amenable."

Lira asked, "Will that spear protect us from the wrath of the Unseelie in their own lands?"

"The spear is a powerful weapon against the Unseelie as well as the Seelie and we have the skills and abilities that the Seldarine has given us. Also . . have any of your N'Tel friends ventured into the Feywild?"

Ariella thought for a moment, "I think Peart has."

"They may have intelligence or items that may aid us as well. Perhaps it is time for the N'Tel to sacrifice and aid the People. The right path is not always the easy one."

Lira replied to this, "I think our n'tel allies have gone well beyond proving their worth to our cause. I would welcome them at our side.... and in front.... for any challenge we face."

"And have been the cause of many losses," Rothilion observed.

"...and yet... the reason I stand here now."

"Just so. So perhaps it is the time to ask for their assistance as we have need. So now we have some choices other than the gift . . . yes?"

Lira smiled slowly upon hearing these words, "The growth of your tolerance is like watching a flower bloom. Today is a beautiful day for sure, mighty Rothilion."

"I still think we should bring something, even if you do not want to give a spear and I would like you to think of what that should be," Ariella turned to Rothlion as she said this.

Rothilion grinned, "I think we will bring our peaceful intentions as traveller crossing her land."

"Oh Rothilion that will not do and you know it."

Lira replied, "I am less concerned with what gift we choose. I advocate for the plan that offers the greatest chance of success. I trust you tactitians to know what that will be."

"I do not believe any gift will prevent her displeasure."

Ariella noted, "I am aware of that but let's at least try to not start off by engendering her anger immediately."

Lira observered, "I think playing to her ego and leaning into her little game is our best chance of success."

"So then the gift is inconsequential."

Lira added, "Invalidating her will surely just force her into violence."

Rothilion said with a slight smirk, "I leave it to you mighty Heriphion to choose the words to soothe the Queens ego."

To this, Lira winked, "Soothing egos is what I do."

Rothlion smiled, "Obviously."

Ariella stated flatly, "It may be inconsequential but I want you to think of what it should be. Also, I want both of you to read that book if you are coming."

Rothilion asked, "The Fey Feud? Is there a particular feud that you know of?"

"No but it does give some indication of how to conduct ourselves in their court."

"For certain . . . I will remain as silent as possible"

Lira winked and smiled to this, "As long as you are there ready to erupt when we need to be saved."

"In the meantime, think of a present."

"I will think on it . . .compensation is fair as it is their land, but we cannot give them weapons. Now I will meditate on it."

Ariella squeezed Rothilion's hands again, "Thank you."

Rothilion turned for the door and headed to his dream house, "Sweet Water and Light Laughter till next."

"Thank you, Rothilion."

As the door shut, Lira remarked, "I hope his branches can bend a little more.... for all of our sakes." He then took his leave. "Farewell then."

Ariella gave him a parting kiss, "I will see you soon."

She watched as he left the ranger station and went back to the business of making preparations.
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Skeleton's Knuckle
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Re: Coronation Day

Post by erisa »

The land of the Unseelie was marked with decay and a horrible smell of death. On their journey through there, a quickling stole the spear that was supposed to be presented as a gift to the Queen of Air and Darkness. The group's only hope was that the Queen might be impressed enough with the song that Lira had crafted for her. If not, they would be sent as prey to be hunted by the Queen's group of hunters also known as the Wild Hunt. After trudging through the dangerous land and almost getting killed by the local inhabitants, Ariella, Daymin, Jory, Nym, Peart, Rothilion, Lira and Master Sambar found themselves finally at the door of the palace of the Queen of Air and Darkness.
Before reaching the palace, the group arrived at a place with a statue that said in Sylvan, "Take only that which is most valuable to open the door to the Twilight Court. Inside different boxes around the statue were various objects, all of which were heavy, a bag flour, a Septer, some cloth and an unknown object. The first time the group reached the palace door, there was a box for them to put in the "valuable object". The group selected a heart and Nym carefully placed it in the box. Immediately, they were attacked by a guard and managed to fend it off and ran back to the area in search of the correct item. Upon inspection, it seemed that there was an eye shaped item that had not been identified. It turned out to be a jewel encrusted faerie dragon egg. Ariella decided that this was most likely the valuable object, but the group decided to take some of the other things as well in case it was not. As they made their way back up the pass, they were besieged by Winterlings throwing daggers of ice from above and other creatures. The group ran for their lives. Finally, they made it back to the palace, but the entrance was blocked. Most of the group was able to climb but Ariella struggled. It was at this point that Lira, who had recently discovered how to imbue arrows with magic through the teachings of Revek, shot her with an arrow imbued with the "fly" spell. Ariella suddenly jumped up the ledge, much to her surprise. Nym carefully placed the egg in the box and the door magically opened.

The group walked into the hallway and looked around. It was much to their surprise that they were greeted by a mounted guard brandishing a fiery sword in charge of the Complaints Department.
"Who goes there?"
Ariella bowed with her right hand to her heart. "We are elves and allies from Renvanna wishing an audience with the illustrious Queen of Air and Darkness."
"So, you aren't here to file a complaint?"
Ariella bowed again, "Oh certainly not. I am Paramour Ariella, Servant of Lady Hanali"
The guard pointed to the sign, "This is the complaint department."
Jory asked, "and you deal with complaints with your flaming sword?"
Ariella then said, "If you would indulge us sir, we do not know our way around here. Is there a different entrance to her?"
"Well, if you'd like to lodge a complaint about being lost, I can help you."
Lira then spoke, "I thought we'd never find you. I would like to issue a complaint for the horribly atrocious manners of your Winterlings on the path here."
"Step right in then please."
Lira quipped, "It's a wonder the queen ever has any visitors at all."
The Guard gestured them into the complaint department room. "You can wait in here with the other petitioners."
Jory asked, "shall we?"
Daymin mentioned, "Those Yetis aren't too friendly either-or riders . . . things."
Lira said, "We wish to see the queen."
Jory observed, "those skeletons in there look like the wait is going to be a while."
Lira said more emphatically, "We are not here to wait with other petitioners."
"Yes you are."
Jory looked into his pack and observed, "I only have 3 Ranger Station rations left, don't think I can wait that long."
Lira looked puzzled, "We are?"
"I see. Would you like to lodge a complaint against the lack of rations?"
Nym then asked, "Are there perhaps... other departments we might inquire with?"
Nym looked towards the door at the far wall. "Surely some petitioners come without complaints?"
Ariella leaned in and whispered to Nym, "I have to admit I'm surprised with the bureaucratic nature of this."
Lira looked directly at the guard trying to appeal to its good graces, "Good sir, we must have an audience with the queen. We have traveled a long way. Would you and your magnificent mount please leads us to the Unseelie Court?"
"I can't help you with that I'm afraid."
Jory asked, "Please sir, can you show us the department directory?"
Lira sighed, "Well if my wildly persuasive argument didn't budge him, we have no hope at all."
"There are no other departments, but if you'd like to lodge a complaint about it you can just through there." The guard pointed.
Rothilion asked, "What is behind that door?"
"That door? Oh...death"
Ariella looked up at the guard, "Surely sir one as magnanimous as yourself would not mind showing us to the illustrious Queen,"
The guard suddenly leaned down at looked at Ariella, "Wait, who did you say you were again?"
Ariella smiled widely, "Paramour Ariella, servant of Lady Hanali. We are from Renvanna seeking an audience."
"Renvanna? What's a Renvanna?"
Ariella answered, "it is quite far from here."
"Who is Ren Vanna?"
Ariella said, "We have traveled an arduous journey to get here."
Lira remarked, "You wouldn't care for it."
Rothilion quipped, "Do you not know? Perhaps you should log a complaint."
Jory said, "It is a village in Westwood near Waterdeep,"
The guard suddenly seemed to understand. "Traveled? Ah! Through the bogs?"
Ariella nodded, " Yes we almost died coming here."
"Ah! Of course.... I was told to be on the lookout for you." He then waved his sword over his head three times.
Ariella smiled widely and bowed again. "I am honored with your graciousness."

It was at this moment that the group found themselves transported to the presence of the Unseelie court who appeared to be in the middle of dinner. They suddenly stopped eating and looked at the group.

In the center of the group was a male faerie seated next to what appeared to be a large empty chair. He pointed a turkey leg at them. "Invaders! Assassins!" He then held up a very familiar spear. "You thought to come and murder us with this?!?!?"

Ariella leaned in trying to get a better look. "Is that...?"
Master Sambar whispered, "It would appear so."
Rothilion observed, "For certain."

It was the spear that had been stolen by the quickling.

Ariella responded, "No my Lord that spear was supposed to be a gift to the illustrious Queen, but it was stolen from me by a quickling."
Nym added, "Ah, it would seem our tribute found its way here ahead of us!"
This answer seemed to intrigue the faerie, "Tribute?"
Ariella turned to Nym and whispered, "thank the Seldarine for you, Nym"
Nym continued, "I did tell the quickling who it was meant for. I am gladdened that he took my words seriously. Violence is... part of the cycle, yes? We meant no offense, but thought it would appeal to Her sensibilities, Beautiful and deadly."
Ariella added, "My Lord, as you can see the finest elven craftmanship was employed to create it for her."
The faerie then said, "I am Voice of the Queen". He then gestured to the empty large chair in the middle next to him. "Queen consort, And Twilight King..."
Lira quipped, "I hope you are her ears as well...."
Nym continued, "We are, after all, small and fleeting things. We would not presume to threaten such as Her, or Yourself"
Lira added, "For the spear is not the only gift we have for her, your majesty."
"Your kind is not so far removed still of this place, and the ravages of your wars still stain the grounds of the Unseelie. And even some of your race do we count among our Wild Hunt." The King then gestured to either side of the table. "But long ago did your kind flee this plane." Looking at Nym he asked, "Why then have you come? You, you are the voice of the group?"
Nym swallowed hard and replied, "Erm. Perhaps?"
"Who are you and why have your kind returned here?"
Nym then said, "Though my voice is not so pleasant as that of my companion here, who has another gift to offer in tribute when the time is right."
The King then looked at Lira, "Ah, yes.... He will be an excellent servant."
Lira's face went from a broad smile to a pale expression.
Nym replied, "We are... seeking a mark of the Coronal. Both courts are to be honored and visited, as we understand it, in reverence of the Balance."
The King then leaned into the empty chair and nodded. "Long has it been since such has been granted for your kind. But The Queen agrees that the last time was marvelous. It was several Millenium of chaos."
Nym remarked, "Yes, I imagine there would be great... potential. I cannot imagine a thing of such import could be granted without... ehm."
Lira whispered to Ariella, "Big shoes to fill, Paramour."
Suddenly, faint sounds as if wind moved through the chamber, and a chill in the air.
"Come then, send over your servant offering and let us inspect his teeth."
Ariella spoke up, "My lord, we were not offering him as a servant but rather a song that he composed."
The King ignored Ariella and focused on Nym.
Lira said half pained, "But you'll find my teeth are quite remarkable, nonetheless."
Rothilion leaned into Lira and said in Elvish, "They will be likely be kinder than your last captors."
Nym said quietly to Ariella, "I think you need to present yourself to them."
She whispered in reply, "maybe you should tell him that Lira is not the gift."
Nym addressed the King, "I serve as herald to the Paramour, but I believe her worthy."
"Ah, you are also the Queen Consort?"
Nym looked surprised, "Well, not precisely. The pledge of my spirit it to Erevan Ilsere, who I expect is well enough known in this hall."
The King waved his hand dismissively, "Very well, introduce your entourage then."
"Ah, yes. Introductions. I am Nymalanth, a sometime humble novice of the Fey Jester... I speak as I know some small bit of your ways, meagre though my knowledge is. The brave warriors Rothilion and Joryth, who escorted us here and the entertainment you have been waiting for...Our most skilled musician with a creative work of tribute to entertain and astonish."
The King looked to Lira and gestured him forward.
At this, Nym stepped back, gesturing formally.
Lira stepped forward with a smile and began plucking his string, "It is my honor to perform this tribute, your majesty."
Nym leaned in and whispered to Ariella, "I fear both courts may be involved in this... you may yet need to make a case for your worth to them."

Lira strummed a lively tune and began to sing:

Oh Queen of Air and Darkness, ruler of the night
Your power has no equal, your gaze fills us with fright
But we come to offer tribute, and show you our respect
And to ask you for safe passage, while through your lands we trek

Queen of Air and Darkness, no greater could there be
You rule the Unseelie Court, they die or bend the knee
May your reign be long and mighty, your enemies all fall
Hail to the Queen, ruler of them all
Your court is full of secrets, your power unmatched
Your wrath is feared by all, your enemies dispatched
Yet we come here humbly, with this song we sing
To honor your greatness, and to pledge our offering
Queen of Air and Darkness, no greater could there be
You rule the Unseelie Court, they die or bend the knee
May your reign be long and mighty, your enemies all fall
Hail to the Queen, ruler of them all

The King nodded in approval of the song.

We know your ways are dark, your heart as cold as ice
But we beg for your permission, benevolence to be precise
So grant us safe passage, through your lands we roam
And we'll still sing your praises, when we get safely home

Lira strummed a hard chorus melody:
Queen of Air and Darkness, no greater could there be
You rule the Unseelie Court, they die or bend the knee
May your reign be long and mighty, your enemies all fall
Hail to the Queen, ruler of them all

Quiet refrain:
Oh Queen of Air and Darkness, does this not pay the cost?
Our sincere tribute, to your eternal frost
So let this be a gift, from us to yooooouuuuuu?.
And may your reign continue, strong and true.

The King then leaned into the empty chair, nodding while looking over Lira and the group.
Master Sambar observed to Jory, "He is quite charming, is he not? One can see the appeal."
The King then gestured to Nym, "Mouth of the group, approach."
Nym swallowed and approached, taking a knee and lowering his crozier.
The King said in a loud voice, "The Queen of Air and Darkness has decreed, in light of the gift of song, that she shall not sick her Wild Hunt upon you and kill you all. However, your worth to pass through these lands into the Morningbright is not established. Your passage is denied, until you can prove yourself by working your way back to this chamber."
The group was magically transported back to the entrance, to the Complaints Department.

"Ah, you're back. Would you like to lodge a complaint about your experience?"
Ariella looked up at him, "Oh not at all but we do have a question though."
"A question?"
"Yes sir. We were told to find our way back to the court, but I fear that we do not know the way. Would you be able to point us in the general direction?"
The Guard casually pointed behind him, "Oh, it's through the Death Door. Well, if you decide to just wait instead, you can wait in the complaints department."
Jory then asked, "What is behind that door that makes it the death door?"
"Nonsense. Nothing is what it is, because everything is what it isn't. Please return if you'd like to lodge a complaint."

The group made their way through a series of strange rooms. One room had a bunch of stoned sheep. Another, had a pair of giant hands. Thanks to the keen eyes of Daymin, they were able to pass through, largely unscathed, by any traps. In one room the group passed through a magical curtain and all were shrank into birds of some sort. They came out into a room with a large fey dragon statue in the middle, three doors, and two shallow wading pools. There was a sign that Lira read aloud, "It says the way is blocked to all.... To continue is to fall...Only those who douse their fears...Can pass through here."

The group then attempted to wade through the pools and also doused themselves with a courage potion. Nothing happened. It was only when Lira attempted to go behind the dragon statue that all hell broke loose. The dragon statue suddenly moved and began attacking the group. At first it seemed like no damage was being done. Ariella tried running to one of the three doors, but it was locked. With courage and persistance, Peart, Jory and Rothilion wailed away at it with their swords. Master Sambar attacked it with Magic Missiles. Lira attacked with his imbued arrows. Ariella and Nym ran about trying to keep the group from getting stomped and beaten to death. Finally, the statue was dispatched.
It was after this that Master Sambar waded into the pool on the left again and discovered a secret door.
Nym shook his head, disappointed, "Wait. The human is the one who spotted the secret door?"

The group stepped through the door and found themselves back in the throne room.
The King clapped as they entered, " You have proven yourself capable of creating all manner of chaos. The queen approves and grants you passage.... Mouth, step forward...."
Nym then stepped forward and said, "The wonders of your palace have astounded us. And by granting us passage... you allow Heri's song to pass beyond these walls to fall on many more ears."
The King then handed Nym a broomstick ceremoniously, "This broomstick is a gift of the queen, and marks your passage. The doorway there will take you where you seek to go. Until we meet again."
The group walked to a door on the right where there was a portal in the middle. They stepped through the portal and found themselves in a land filled with beauty and light. A beautiful faerie guided the group to Queen Titania who greeted the group warmly, recognizing each member by name. "I knew you would come."

Ariella then dropped to her knees. She took out a gift of a sapling that had been cut from the Dream Tree in Renvanna and held it up above her head. The sapling had been watered by the dreams of many from the city. "A gift for you, My Queen."
"A fine gift, the dreams of your people. A fragile thing, are the dreams of mortals."
Ariella then spoke, "We have another gift for you My Queen, a gift of Song"
Lira said, "Your wisdom in person supercedes even the legends." He straightened up and said, "If I may, your majesty...And within it... is a favor we ask of you..."
"I should be delighted, dear Heriphion."

Lira then began strumming his dulcimer and sang:

In the land of Feywild, there's a queen of light,
Her beauty and brilliance, a mesmerizing sight,
The mighty Titania, the Faerie Queen,
Leading the Seelie Court, with grace serene.
We elves of Renvanna, plagued by the dark,
Need your magic, to find our mark,
Your power and wisdom, your radiant smile,
Can save our home, from this fate so vile.

He then strummed the chorus as Queen Titania smiled and floated in the air in a sitting position as she listened.
Oh, Titania, the Queen of Light,
We sing your song amidst our plight.
Your beauty shines like the summer sun,
And your kindness touches everyone.

verse melody:
We honor your name, with this song we sing,
Your majesty and splendor, our hearts do bring,
With your guidance and aid, we'll win this war,
Against the darkness, forevermore.
Oh, Titania, the Queen of Light,
We sing your song amidst our plight.
Your beauty shines like the summer sun,
And your kindness touches everyone.

quiet refrain:
Here in the Feywild, where beauty reigns supreme
We'll forever cherish, the beloved Summer Queen.

Queen Titania smiled and clapped, "Your reputation proceeds you dear Heriphion, and you do me honor."
Ariella touched his arm gently with a smile.
Lira beamed, "I could not be more humbled by your compliments, your majesty."
Queen Titania then turned, "Ariella, your friends have risked and sacrificed much for you to be here. However that which you seek is a heavy burden....."
Ariella lowered her gaze thoughtfully.
"Those elves before you, your ancestors, I raised to nobility here where you stand.... that they could flee and lead your kind away from the war that entagled even your Gods. Corellon himself entrusted me with the sacred duty to aid his children.... it was a dark time indeed. One that still scars this land.... and yours. Nearly all the coronals before you.... and their lines, have perished. Are you certain that you wish to take on this burden?"
Ariella nodded slowly, "Yes if it will save our people."
"There is no guarantee of that, you know."
Rothilion answered, "We must."
Queen Titania continued, "And what would you do with this authority, were it granted you?"
"I would do my best to fight this terrible darkness that has plagued our people with the help of my dear friends, of course."
Nym said quietly, "Find a way to contain or reverse the taint?"
Ariella replied, "First by continuing to uncover the secrets that lead to this darkness, then the way to undo it. We still have so much to learn."
Queen Titania nodded, "Secrets.... buried deep within the past. You are here as you seek the mark that lies behind the jeweled door... that which Corellon himself sealed off many eons ago."
Lira shivered at mention of Corellon.
Ariella replied, "Yes My Queen."
"The answers that you seek may not bring you joy, nor comfort. But such is the way of ruling. The last kingdom of Illefarn, as you know, fell into slow decay... as has your kind at large. I pray that you find a way to release the dreams of your people, to give them dreams once more."
"Thank you, My Queen."
Queen Titania continued, "As you know by now, the weapon you wield is ancient beyond measure.... that it found you is sign enough of its will for you to lead."
Lira muttered, "We must free Sehanine."
Queen Titania looked to Lira and frowned. She then looked back to Ariella, "I do not envy the choices you will have to make And the terrible sacrifices. Sehanine is not alone in her prison, to release her is to release that which has plagued your people as well."
Lira's eyes widened, "She is in ....the vessel? With Moander?"
Queen Titania nodded, "Vhaeraun's treachery was clever in nature...But the is perhaps a sign that it is time, finally. Only Her dreams could leave her prison before... perhaps it is time for the rest of her to come out. But it is a decision you shall have to make. But the Vessel that holds them is weakening, as you have seen."
Lira replied, "One of our beloved companions was turned to ash just trying to approach the vessel. How could we free her?"
"Only once you find the Dreamers and destroy them can you hope to enter... but beware, doing so will further weaken the wards upon the Vessel."
Jory shuddered at the memory of Zalir's disintegration.
Nym then spoke, "I hestitate to say but... what is the other option? Is there a way to repair the wards?"
Queen Titania turned to Nym, "It may be possible, yes, to replace or repair The Vessel."
Nym continued, "The shadow of Sehanine that shines through already gives much to Her people."
Queen Titania stated, "It will be a terrible choice that only your Queen will be able to decide." She then turned to Ariella, "Are you ready?"
Ariella took a deep breath, "It is only with the help of all who are here and those who have passed that I am here before you. I am as ready as I am going to be and will continue to rely on them for their help."
Queen Titania nodded, "Wise." She then raised her hand and a searing, bright light passed through Ariella. "hen I grant thee the title of Coronal of Ilefarn, risen from the ashes of the civilization it was. May you lead your people with wisdom and grace to a new and brighter future."
Lira's eyes welled with tears and Nym bowed to Ariella. Ariella's eyes blinked rapidly as she held back tears, "Thank you My Queen."
Queen Titania then turned to the others, "And you all.... Especially you, Sir Bel'athadhil....Look after her. She will need your support. Of all races..And creeds"
Rothilion replied, "With my life."
Master Sambar bowed his head and turned to Ariella, "We shall be your counsel, Coronal, for as long as you wish us to be."
Queen Titania then said, "May the crown be light upon your brow. Your kingdom awaits you, and other things must I see to. I can send you back, if you are ready."
Ariella replied, "Thank you My Queen. I believe we are ready now."
Queen Titania took Ariella's hand gently, "Take a brief time to enjoy the moment, when you return, ere you get to work in earnest. Go then, and may your dreams lead you to success."
It was then that the group was surrounded by a swirl of light and found themselves magically teleported back to Renvanna.
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