Paramour Ariella, Servant of Lady Hanali

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erisa
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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))
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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
issue.

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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erisa
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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.
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Last edited by erisa on Sun Dec 11, 2022 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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erisa
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Keth

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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erisa
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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. Castien...it 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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erisa
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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 came..to be protector, for me and for
Kiv..you 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."

"I AM NOT FINISHED."

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
falls...it 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 you...to 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
weeps."

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
problem?

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
Ariella.

"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
companions."

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 us..you 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
pain."

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.
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Last edited by erisa on Sun Dec 11, 2022 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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erisa
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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.
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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.

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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 know....in 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 forgotten....to 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 Renvanna...as 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 future...as 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 Ranger....it 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.
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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."
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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 arrow...in 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.
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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 me...to 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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erisa
Skeleton's Knuckle
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:43 pm

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,

Kivessryn


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 phesants 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.

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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.

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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 Clergy....it 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 leave...now!" 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 fight...as soon as you ascend...it 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.

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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 anyone
had 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 here.....so 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.

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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.

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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."
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erisa
Skeleton's Knuckle
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:43 pm

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 maybe cold to the touch...but how does one go from Ril has experinced, 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."
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"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 matters...at 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."
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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."

"Ril...is Ril....now 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 answers....
at 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 true....my only advice, not that you asked fo rit....is 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 me....as 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."
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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.
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