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Autumn 1372

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Autumn 1372

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:52 pm

Marpenoth 7th 1372

A cold chill blew through the camp as he felt his wife rise to meet the morning. His wife... A grin spread across the half-elf's face. The idea still amazed him. It seemed like just yesterday the long anticipated wedding had finally taken place. Yet so much had happened.

After the wedding, The newly named Everdawns had moved into the former home of Ashara's former mentor Josiah. One more surprise the people of Impresk had in store for the newlyweds. It was temporary, but everyone agreed the young couple needed privacy.

Some of the Champions had wished to immediately help Evereska. Others, himself included were still reeling from the destruction of Calimport. After some debate it was decided to take a little time off.. recoup from their loses, and to enjoy the happiness they'd found. After a couple of ten-days it was time to go.

The war had been fierce but the elves did prevail. Elric was in shock to see the beautiful city of his youth scorched and broken. Ashara had only seen it in his memories and they both wept at the beauty lost. But the city was only broken, not beaten. Despite Elric's fears, they were welcomed back by a city that wouldn't turn down any help. With the help of the Champions, and the assembled forces of Waterdeep, the Swords of Evereska, and even the Chosen of Mystra, Good prevailed. Near the end of Eleasius the siege was finally broken.

Despite everything, a city under siege wasn't nearly as horrifying as one would imagine. After all... even with the damage and soldiers everywhere, the elven city still held a ethereal beauty rarely matched on Faerun and it was still their honeymoon.

As an added bonus, the Everdawns received a very special present. Freedom! The first week there, Elric shook so visibly Ashara was constantly concerned. Threats of Assassins were everywhere. No attack came though...

One night the Everdawns received a most unexpected guest. Syrlynna Ealoeth. The meeting was... cordial, though uncomfortable. Syrlynna was still ashamed of the actions of her and her family. She didn't go into details, but the daggers that Ashara's eyes shot at her, told the elven female that his wife knew everything... and the shameful red glow of her ears told Ashara that the elf KNEW the priestess knew. Their silence spoke volumes and the poor half-elf was stuck right in the middle wondering if Dawnspeaker may be coming out to play.

Despite the discomfort, Syrlynna brought welcome news. During the early days of the siege her father had been killed. The look of joy that overcame Elric's face obviously hurt her, and Elric felt guilty about that. After all, when someone tells you their father died and you smile... seriously bad manners.

But He had just cause for joy. Arioth was dead. The man who had hired assassins to chase him across the realms was actually dead! The contract was null and void. One more shadow hanging over them had been destroyed.

Despite his hopes, his mentor Eldorath was NOT in Evereska. None had seen or heard from him since leaving those few years ago. Vailis Hawksong however WAS still around. The old cleric of Correllon was quite overjoyed about seeing Elric alive and well. When the half-elf introduced Ashara as his wife, the joy was doubled.

To Elric's own joy, Ashara and Vailis immediately hit it off. It must have been strange for Ashara... to see this elf whom she'd only met in Elric's memories. This time however she was actually able to contribute to conversations! There were many nights spent at the temple discussing everything from Theology to embarrassing stories of Elric's youth.

One of the main topics of conversation was 'the Everdawn Blade.' Vailis knew of many blade enchanting techniques and was more than willing to help 'the boy', as the old priest insisted on calling Elric. Despite of course the fact that even with his four centuries plus, he looked little older then the man he was addressing.

Ashara and Vailis did much researching in the many libraries of the Elven stronghold with Elric helping wherever he could. But the answers weren't found. Not before the siege ended anyway. With the battles over, Kaber was intent on returning to his homeland.

The minotaur had hinted that he wanted to go home for some time. Whether to lead, or teach, Elric was never quite sure, but they wanted to help as best they could. As soon as the siege was settled, goodbyes were said, and they headed north.

Despite their early declarations to avoid magical travel... For this trip they still used the Flaming Chariot. As much as they missed the down to earth travel of caravan duty, It was a very long trip, and Kaber wasn't exactly certain where the clan would be.

Next thing they knew they had arrived in the harsh cold of the Spine of the World. Between scouting from the air, and Eddick speaking with Nature, The clan of the broken horn was not nearly as difficult to find as they'd feared. Before long Kaber was reunited with his people.

Seeing them together Elric felt sorry for his large friend. He had changed... grown so much since they'd first met, he truly didn't belong there anymore. Seeing the brutal, strength driven culture, brought back memories of their early adventures. When Kaber feared magic and thought teamwork was a sign of weakness. There had been a few times that Elric had nearly crossed a deadly line of honor by helping Kaber with an enemy.

Seeing where he came from was... an education. More than once Elric had to battle with a clansmen, just to earn enough of their respect to be allowed to speak. After a few weeks of that, they had to make a difficult decision.

Apparently if the Everdawns were going to honor their plan of keeping their feet on the trail so to speak... they had to leave soon. Here in the frozen north, winter came quickly and with a vengeance. It was now Elient, and Elric couldn't believe the snow that had already landed. If they didn't leave soon for warmer climates, they would have to use the chariot... or spend the winter with Kaber's clan.

It was a difficult decision, but when they were honest with themselves, they didn't think they were actually helping Kaber's noble cause. Despite his own modicum of respect through strength he had earned... Elric was still seen as an oddity. While Kaber seemed to want his clan to see them for the good and noble examples of the human races... His people just didn't see what Kaber did. Elric was treated as the lowest of the clan, but the other, more magical Champions were either seen with suspicion or as pets. Some thought differently about Ashara, and the stares that followed the pretty female who came willingly to the camp, made Elric very nervous.

When the time came to make the decision, the Champions went their own way. Eddick and Gwilly stepped into a tree for parts unknown... Therogeon offered to teleport them to Waterdeep, but after so much time soaring through the clouds, Elric and Ashara wanted to take the long way. Meet people, find adventure, the way it used to be. After saving the world, and killing gods, it was time to be human again. They made arrangements for everyone who was ever able, to be in Impresk at the Champion's house (which was quickly looking like the Everdawn house) on the anniversary of CoRDs founding. With that the Champions said goodbye.

With the siege of Evereska lifted, trade had blossomed again. The day they arrived in Mirabar they were able to find a Caravan heading to Evereska. The pay was good. With winter fast threatening to shut down the passes, the increase of trade had increased the threat of bandits. Experienced adventurers were hard to find. Elric was shocked to learn that even here the story of the Most Hated Wyrm and 'Calimport's Heroes' was known. Though that name irked him something fierce.

Most nights his sleep was disrupted by images of green flame, when he wasn't assaulted by any number of other nightmares. Shadow daggers, bloody kisses, rogue rangers... Many things he lived through were still too fresh for a good nights sleep. Though even if the nights were terrible, he found waking next Ashara each morning made for a great day.

It was the first time since the Champions had been founded that Elric and Ashara were truly on their own. They stayed with the Caravan to Evereska where they made more than a few new friends. There were a little excitement, but between Ashara's healing and Elric's fighting, no lives were lost. So a successful venture by any standard!

Even nature wasn't an obstacle. Twice the weather threatened to shut down the path. Snow blew in from the mountains and blew drifts as high as wagon wheels. Snow drifts and mountain storms posed little threat to a Chariot made of fire. Without much effort at all the Caravan was moving and Ashara was a hero.

Which led them to where they were now. South again, the weather was a little milder. More akin to what Elric was used to for Marpenoth. They would reach Evereska this very day. Vailis may have more information on the sword, but regardless... a few nights in an actual inn was sounding pretty good to the fighter now.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:03 pm

The wind whipped through her long, auburn hair as she soared over the great expanse of trees stretching out before her. There were no flaming reins in her hands this time. No magic seemed to be employed at all actually, and the complete freedom of such flight was exhilarating! As she circled the forest, a sun began rising from its center, its rosy light streaming over the glossy leaves of the trees and reflecting the radiance of the Dawn.

Retaining its rose-red hue as the dawning sun climbed ever higher, she felt a peace and warmth wash over her accompanied by a powerful desire to find its source. A longing to be closer to such beauty and serenity!

When she finally reached her destination, a sense of satisfaction came over her as if a quest had been completed, and then...


Ashara's eyes flicked open.

Above her stretched the dark gray of the pre-dawn sky that had been the same canopy she'd awoken to since leaving Mirabar nearly four weeks ago. She sighed softly, happily basking in the residual feelings of peace and hope that the dream always left her with. The priestess had been having that same dream every two or three nights since they'd left Kaber's clan. She had no idea what it meant, if anything, but it was a welcome departure from the frequent nightmares!

Peace and hope weren't exclusive to those reoccurring dreams however. The simple pleasures of traveling the countryside, protecting a caravan, seeing new places and meeting new people... It was cathartic for her. For Elric too, she believed, and after everything they'd seen and done over the last few years, it was a welcome departure from the norm.

They should be arriving back in Evereska before dusk, and Ashara was very much looking forward to seeing Vailis again. She'd learned so much about the elven pantheon, and just as she remembered from Elric's memories, the old priest was quite willing to pontificate at length! Much to Elric's amusement, even Ashara occasionally had difficulty staying awake during his speeches...

Vailis had insisted that they pay him a visit on their way back through to Impresk, and they were more than happy to oblige. Since the siege had been broken and the contract lifted, Evereska was becoming a city of more good memories then bad!

It was quite cold this morning... Sadly the warmth of the dream-sun didn't linger as some of the other sensations did! Not that there wasn't any warmth to be found in this chilly weather she thought, before trying to squirm carefully out of their bedroll without waking her husband. At which she failed. As always...

After a quick Purifying spell, to cleanse herself of the usual dirt of the road, Ashara peeked over her shoulder to see Elric lying there watching her with one eye open and a grin on his face.

"Good morning," she grinned in return, and she leaned over to sneak a kiss before the rest of the camp started to wake.

Having botched her attempt at stealth, there was no reason for her to wait to start getting into her armor... Ashara slipped the mithril chain over her head. "I had that dream again," she said as she reaching for the golden breastplate that had been inscribed with the Champion's symbol. "I wish I could share it with you... It seemed like you had a rough time last night."

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:47 am

Elric's brow furrowed at the mention of his nightmares. Ashara was still a little self-conscious when he had a bad night sleep. More than one of his nightmares had been pulled directly from her own memories. They'd agreed early on, that the dreams were worth the experience they'd shared and they didn't shy away from their fears.

Climbing out of the bedroll he reached for the back plate of her armor. Therogeon's magic had sealed the damage from the shadow daggers, but it wasn't a perfect fix. While serviceable and strong as new... when something as solid as Dwarven mithril gets damaged, it stays damaged. Only a master craftsman and an incredibly hot forge would ever be able to truly repair or replace the marks Ashara wore on her armor. He glanced at the chain undershirt, and could still picture the slim white lines that she carried from the attack. Not even dwarves would be able to remove THOSE marks.

"It was the Shadow daggers again..." he said honestly. He brushed his hand gently across her back, as he helped her don her armor. "I was too slow again... too distracted... something.. I don't know." As he tightened one of the hard to reach straps, he pulled a braid to the side and kissed her neck. "Doesn't matter. They make for a rough night... but at least they fade with the morning." He grinned as she turned back to face him.

"Which one did you have again? The sun... .sorry, dawn in the forest?" He quickly corrected. He was no expert on dreams... but it seemed peculiar and every detail probably meant something. He may have had a few dreams where he could fly... but this sounded a little different and it was getting fairly common.

"Do you think it's something you ate?" he said with a chuckle. "Today I think I'll only eat what YOU eat!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:32 pm

"Well, today we'll be in Evereska and that will open up a much larger menu to choose from!" Ashara chuckled while strapping on her grieves. "Even if the never ending potatoes boiled in meat flavored water DO happen to be evoking that dream," she whispered, "I'm not sure I'd choose to eat them again if I had any other choice!"

It wasn't that she didn't appreciate the effort of Doyle Potsbottom, the young fighter who'd hired on to guard the caravan as well as cook meals. He wasn't terrible...he just lacked the motivation to improve!

And the creativity to make a meal taste something other than bland...

And the taste buds to tell the difference...

The priestess managed to choke most of it down easily enough, sometimes supplimenting her meals with iron rations for extra goodness. She'd offered her assistance once, as she'd learned much from her mother about how to make something edible out of nothing special, but he'd graciously declined. No need to step on toes. Besides, when someone was doing the cooking for you, you ate it. You thanked them. Then you kept your mouth shut. Another lesson from Arryn Rosemorn...

"Yes, it was the Dawn dream again," she answered with warm smile. "I might have dismissed it the first couple of times, but it's rather...persistent. Maybe it's less dream and more vision?" She shook her head gently. "I don't know... Perhaps there's something we should be searching for in the middle of a forest somewhere? Whatever it is, I wake every time with a strong desire to find that place..."

Quiet for a few moments, Ashara's mind mind drifted yet again back through that increasingly familiar moment of flying over the Dawn-bathed forest.

The young morninglord had more concerns about this "dream" then she chose to let on. There was a nagging feeling that Lathander was trying to get her attention, and it frustrated her to no end that she hadn't yet discovered the purpose of it! They'd figure it out. That she didn't doubt. Getting back to civilization would provide her the opportunity for more prayer on the matter. Whether the dream developed further, or she picked up other divine clues along their path, the answer would become known to them. In the meantime, she found these particular dreams a refreshing change from the norm!

While she pondered, they finished strapping her into the battle-worn plate mail.

"You shouldn't be worrying about any nightmares tonight," she stated matter-of-factly, after snapping back to the present. Ashara's eyes danced with merriment as she stood and belted Dawnspeaker to her hip. "I assure you, there won't be much sleep to be had!"

Grinning from ear to ear, the priestess took up her shield and handed Elric the pair of nonmagical boots he used for his morning exercises. She glanced towards the eastern end of the camp and spied a small hill. It looked adequate enough for their purposes...a place where they could accomplish their respective dawn rituals and do a bit of training before the caravan took off once more toward the elven city.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:54 pm

Ashara's eager promise banished the nagging doubts about the mysterious dream. At least for a while. Matching her grin, they raced to meet the dawn and with it the last day of this particular caravan.

Since the siege, their morning practices had altered a bit. Ashara naturally still met the dawn with her morning prayers, and Elric still got his morning meditation and exercise... but after that they started their combined training.

They had predicted the day when the Champions would either go their own ways, or the Everdawns would travel on their own. So Ashara had requested Elric to help her train a little... To work together as a team, much as Kaber and he did.

Ashara was not Kaber though... Their way of fighting would have to be completely different. Nor did he truly understand Ashara's style of fighting. Very different from Eldorath's training. Swinging a mace, the benefits and limitations of a metal skin around her. How that would alter her natural movement... It was a challenge that the warrior readily embraced.

Traditionally the priestess had allowed the fighters to charge first, and then work her clerical magic from a distance... However if there were just the two of them, something had to change. As much as Elric would like her protected, even he had to admit that against two... it was too easy to be surrounded and cut off... She wanted to be up close in the action and within healing range of her husband. All in all... The style still needed work, but over the last couple of months, they BOTH noticed a drastic improvement. Elric didn't consider himself much of a teacher, but Ashara was a marvelous student. Much like the elvish language she'd learned from him. The lessons were easy for them both.

By lunch time the thought of the dream/vision was again weighing on his mind. When Ashara questioned the preoccupied look, he answered simply, "Just thinking about your dream...

"You said it might be some kind of a vision... but I thought Lathander was done with us. Xvim is gone... the shadow-priests are gone... 'The List' was finished." His eyes drifted down to Dawnspeaker. They had long gone on the assumption that as soon as Lathander's quest was completed, he'd take his mace back... It hadn't happened yet, and despite the long nights they'd spent discussing it... neither of them had an answer other than 'Lathander wants her to have it for now...'
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:30 pm

After listening to the Elric's concerns, Ashara smiled softly.

"If I'm doing my job properly, Lathander will never really be 'done' with us, Melamin... I'm afraid that's one of the consequences of marrying a morninglord." She brushed her hand over his shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze, before reluctantly plunging her fork into the meat-scented potato sitting before her.

"We completed the mission that had been given to CoRD but that's not to say there won't be others..."

Closely watching for Elric's reaction, she didn't miss his glance to the holy mace that hung at her side and she began to understand his concern. Lathander didn't grant Dawnspeaker frivolously... It was always for a divine purpose. Considering that the mace remained with her, it was a purpose that had not yet been completely discovered.

Their last mission had been completed with the destruction of the final vestiges of Xvim in the form of a incomprehensibly massive flaming dracolich that destroyed Calimport, and now her husband was wondering what might be required of them if they were being given a new mission!

Certainly a reasonable concern...

The priestess set down her fork and turned, giving him her complete attention. "I don't know what the future holds, Elric, and I can't say where this vision...if that is indeed what it is...may lead us, but I'm comforted by the fact that wherever the Morninglord directs, a great good needs to be accomplished and evil needs to be thwarted! How humbling is that thought, that he would choose to use us to that end!?"

Unnoticed by Ashara whose eyes were drawn eastward, Dawnspeaker pulsed gently at her side, reacting to the passion in her voice.

When she turned back to the handsome half elf, she smiled brightly. "Whatever quest or mission we might be given... Between my faith in Lathander," she said raising her fingers to the glowing holy symbol resting on her chest, "and my faith in you," she continued, grasping the banded onyx pendant that hung slightly higher, "I have every confidence that we will prevail no matter the circumstance!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:04 pm

Elric nodded as she spoke. He loved when she started talking about Lathander, there was a fire in her eyes that spoke volumes about who she was. Still he was concerned. He preferred a little more free will in his adventures. If they chose to find a dragon's horde, they could also chose to abandon the quest. Use their own judgement and determine if the risk was worth the reward. If the Morninglord gave you a quest... You did it, or you died trying.

"Done may have been a strong word." he corrected himself. He gave her lopsided grin and said, "I'm just hoping the Flaming Dragon Avatar of Xvim... wasn't just a test for things to come..."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:03 pm

"I wouldn't be too concerned about something quite so drastic," Ashara laughed lightly...and hopefully... "I've received no decrees like the last time, and if this vision is god-given, then I get the feeling it may be more of a nudge.

"Besides, the dream is actually very...pleasant, both during and after. No dread at all," she added with a grin.

In spite of herself, the priestess too was beginning to worry. Not about any quest that Lathander might lay on their shoulders, but worrying for Elric! He'd taken the obliteration of Calimport the hardest of all of them, and she knew in her heart he wasn't ready for another life shaking, world encompassing, years long task. She wasn't either. Hopefully they would get the opportunity to let these particular nightmares settle a bit before finding new ones to add to the list!

If there was an order passed down to her though...

Ashara's committment was made long ago... Her life was not completely her own. For the last twelve years, she'd faithfully served one deity and never once did she regret that decision! Now there was another man in her life... One had her heart. One had her soul. Both shared her life.

Fervently she prayed that her commitment to Lathander would never come into conflict with her commitment to her husband! Though Elric had known what he was walking into when he asked her to marry him that night by the fire (nearly ten months ago now!), she hoped he would never be given cause to regret it!

They'd been fortunate enough to choose their own path since the fall of Xvim, and while Ashara wasn't especially wanting a new mission so soon, she knew that if given one, she'd see it done. Or die trying.

After a long breath, she let the concerns slip off of her shoulders. For now at least.

"Don't worry, Love," she smiled, affectionately stroking her fingers along Elric's smooth cheek. "When we get to the city, I'll have more time to spend in prayer, and I promise I'll do my utmost to get any answers the Morninglord sees fit to reveal!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:44 pm

"Not that much more time." Elric promised with an amorous grin. The last month on the road had been enjoyable... almost relaxing after the last few years of constant adventure. However, despite the friends they'd made they were both looking forward to sleeping on something other than the hard ground. Neither of them could wait to get back to Everska. How they'd be received was another mystery. The siege was over... would they still be welcomed back? Time would soon tell.

"As far as the vision goes... It's pretty strange, but I wouldn't worry about it yet. Maybe you'll get some answers... or maybe Vailis has an idea..." he grinned at the thought of seeing the old priest again. Maybe even word on Eldorath this time... though the half-elf doubted it.

"Or maybe..." he chuckled with a tone full of hope. "If there's no quest attached to this thing... Maybe the Morninglord just wants you to have a good night's sleep for a change!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:44 pm

It wasn't just the Everdawns who were looking forward to a soft bed that evening. Most of the other guards and merchants were weary of the long, cold journey and even the horses seemed to press on with a bit more eagerness in anticipation of some shelter from the wind and a bucket of oats that no doubt awaited them.

The afternoon went by uneventfully as they say, and it was a few hours before dusk when the merchant caravan arrived at the Halfway Inn. Standing in a small forest at the base of the Shaeradim Mountains (once known erroneously by Ashara as the Greycloak Hills), the "Inn" was more of a caravan camping area and trade compound for those wishing to do business with the elves of Evereska.

Elric and Ashara didn't waste time wrapping up their business with the trailmaster. It would take a couple hours of travel through the mountains to reach the gates and they didn't want to be caught out in the darkness with the potential for an encounter with any hungry monsters or wounded phaerimm that might still lurk in the valley outside the walls.

It seemed that the young couple were the only ones that intended on pressing on toward the elven city, so after saying their goodbyes to their newfound friends, they mounted up and headed out.

To the east lay the heavily guarded cleft that offered the only way into Evereska for those that couldn't fly...or didn't want to deal with the giant eagle mounted Evereskan Eryie. They were of the latter group. Blazing through the sky in a firey chariot or appearing at the gates out of thin air didn't seem like the best idea so soon after the siege had been lifted! Horses were preferred for the short journey.

Along the way, Elric mentioned the eagles that soared overhead, undoubtedly keeping track of their every movement. They were a couple of miles outside the Vale when they were approached by a patrol of fourteen elven archers accompanied by a pair of well-armed gold elven wizards, demanding to know their names and business inside the city.

It seemed that the elves were eager to close ranks again and wall themselves off from the 'lesser races' after war had been won. They spoke elvish of course, and while Ashara understood every word she kept her mouth shut and let Elric do the talking. No need to mutilate the elvish pronunciations in full view of those who were already reluctant to grant them entry! The shift in attitude was a bit saddening to the priestess, but not entirely unexpected.

After explaining at length who they were and their participation in the lifting of the siege, a couple of the moon elven archers admitted that they'd heard of the Champions of the Red Dawn. The half elven salk sirra master, student to Eldorath Windwalker and friend of Vailis Hawksong, and his wife, the human priestess of the god of the Dawn were not completely unknown among the elves. That didn't mean they were especially welcome. Particularly without an elf to accompany them... Since they were known to have aided the city in the recent troubles however, they were escorted by the patrol through the beautiful vale of terraced gardens and soaring trees toward the gates of the walled city.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:15 am

A melancholy descended over the half-elf as they were escorted through the gates by the suspicious elves. He had hoped that things would be different. That the elves would recognize the value of the N' Tel'Quessir. Their xenophobic ways had nearly cost them everything... but things amongst the elves were slow to change.

When he had fled this place he'd called home, he had never planned on returning. With the Ealoeth Death Sentence dissolved, he'd entertained the thought of spending more time here... to truly show Ashara the beauty of the elves. Those thoughts were quickly dissolving around him much like the frequent mist that plagued the city since the mythal had been damaged.

The elven mindset went deep and it would take more than saving their last stronghold to change it... Elric was especially annoyed. Two of the guards in the patrol KNEW him. Knew he had been a resident, and knew he'd only been gone a handful of years, which to an elf had meant nothing. Still they played dumb, and obviously hoped he'd be denied access.

As they walked through the elven city, he again felt a knot in his stomach. So much damage... destruction... When he closed his eyes he still saw the city that had been, and not the city that was... Suddenly the elves desire for everything to simply return to the way of the past made sense. Still wrong... but understandable. It had been over a month since the battles ended. Repairs had been made. Despite the damage that still remained, he could see that the city would survive.

The first thing they did was get settled in at The Unicorn & Crescent, one of the few Inns that allowed Non-elves access, provided of course that they made it past the gate... It was getting late by this time, which was fine by Elric. When last they left, it was still a city reeling from a seige. Soldiers, mages, guards all roamed the streets, while fear and anger flooded the people. Things had calmed now, though he still felt the undercurrent of dislike from the residents... Not wanting to disturb Vailis this late, that meant the first night in the Elven city was theirs!

Elven craftsmanship was a thing to behold. The way the towers grew and swept with architectual defying grace was a thing of beauty in the day... Everska at night was so much more! The stars seemed to reflect and magnify off the cracked crystal towers and shone brighter here than anywhere they'd ever been. It was easy to beleive the common belief that the stars were as much a part of the elves as magic was.

Much to his chagrin, they had just missed the Harvestide festival, He would have loved to show her an Elven festival... He made a mental note to arrange with Vailis an invitation to another festival. Perhaps next spring or summer.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:41 pm

Elric was unusually quiet that evening as they walked through the winding pathways of the beautiful city. He'd hoped as she did, that perhaps the recent events might change the way that the 'non-people' were viewed, but some of the expressions the elves wore on their beautiful faces belied their not-so-beautiful attitudes toward the half elf and the human in their midst. Expressions which Ashara had seen first hand during their experience with the dual Memory Read last Midwinter day.

There had been some of that when they were here last of course, but now that things were settling down some, the elves were returning to their comfortable ways. Luckily they'd been allow entry this time, but in another couple of months, she doubted such would be the case.

Ashara tucked her glowing medallion into the bodice of her scarlet dress as they strolled through the darkness. Not only did she not want to draw any more attention to themselves than was necessary, but somehow the additional light just seemed to take away from the magic of the starlit sky. The millions of tiny points of light shining overhead allowed her to just make out the forms of elves as they passed, giving the outsiders a wide berth of course.

Other than the beauty of the evening, she couldn't see much else with her human eyes. She was fine with that. Nearly blind, but feeling completely content and safe with her arm threaded through Elric's, Ashara set out to enjoy the evening.

To have the senses of an elf, this place must have been alive even in the darkness! Though she could not see them, she could hear owls calling in the trees, streams and fountains splashing gently into what she remembered to be crystal clear pools. She could smell the fragrance of the flowers that spilled over onto the paths were they walked, and she could see the stars and the reflections of them on the magically wrought towers that crawled ever upward into the sky. Such beauty even in the midst of destruction...

"Do you think you might have stayed here?" The priestess asked, breaking the silence in a voice little more than a whisper. "If things had been different I mean. Could you have put up with the biases and intolerance and tried to make a life in this city?"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:30 am

Hmm?" Elric responded as the silence was broken. He pondered the question. It was a question he had wondered to himself many times.

"Honestly... I don't know." he sighed quietly. "When I look back at who I was, I barely recognize myself. The boy who was content, in his own way at least. On his own... Trying to fit in," he chuckled as he add, "and failing miserably. I had very little drive for adventure... Now I can't imagine staying still for that long.

"I think if nothing had ever chased me out of town... then yes. I do think I'd still be sitting in that quiet house. Life would have been very different." As if on cue, He watched a couple of elves walked past them with a scowl on thier faces. "This city has teeth... but it's all I really knew... It was home."

He gave her hand an affectionate squeeze and smiled appreciatively. "I would have missed out on so much of what makes life worth living... You, the Champions, even the people of Impresk... You've all shown me what 'home' actually means."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:16 am

Returning his smile, she gently pulled Elric's arm over her shoulders and tucked herself beneath him for warmth as they walked along.

"It's hard to believe that it's been only been about four years since you left this place," Ashara shook her head in disbelief. "Seems like lifetimes ago... I don't think either of us are the same persons who met each other beside your father's grave.

The priestess sighed slightly as she heard more derisive murmurs directed at them from across the path.

"I was hoping you'd receive a warmer welcome here, unrealistic as it seemed, but I suppose we can't be greeted with cheers and renditions of "The Throat Punching of a Dragon" everywhere we go," she joked, grinning up at him. "Tomorrow will be better. Whether or not Vailis has discovered information on how to enchant the sword, I'm looking forward to spending time with him again. It will be good to see a friendly face!"

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Elric / Vailis Hawksong

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:11 am

"Tomorrow will be better." he agreed with a grin. "But I haven't given up on tonight yet! I refuse to let their ignorance ruin as beautiful a night as this... Now, I told you I'd show you city... and that's what I'm going to do!"

He sighed again, and in a sad voice added, "I really wish I could have shown you the way it was before... and not just in memories. Some things, memories' just don't do justice.... Like the Shining falls... I haven't shown you THAT yet!" He led her down a well hidden path towards the distant roar of crashing water

"They say... that the water has healing properties... and the crystal tower above was placed there by Correllan himself.... Sometimes, people think they hear the gods playing music..." the enthusiastic voice trailed off as the young couple disappeared into the night.


********

"THERE you two are!" a friendly voice called out as they stepped into the Temple of Correllen. A grin lit their faces as they recognized the silver haired moon elf. "Word reached me that you two had arrived last night... I had expected you sooner..."

"It was late... we'd traveled far..." Elric started to make excuses before the priest cut him off.

"Of course... of course... Very tired I'm sure... I remember how tired I got back when I was a young adventurer with fire in my blood and the stars were bright... Much too tired to visit dreary old priests in a stuffy old temple." Vailis said with a wink. "Now, before I get offended... I expected you tell me EVERYTHING about the minotaurs... I've never quite had the pleasure of meeting one before that Kaber fellow..."

He strode up to the Everdawns and gave each an enthusiastic embrace. Elric got a hearty pat on the back and the half-elf laughed as Ashara was spun around and recieved a welcoming kiss on the cheek.

"You look wonderful my dear... Now tell me! Having you been keeping the boy out of trouble?"


Last edited by Elric on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:41 am

The priestess smiled brightly at the elf and dropped into a deep curtsy. "I do the best I can, Aradoness <Great Peacekeeper>. As you are well aware, trouble seems to seek him out... Keeping an eye on our boy is a full time job, though one that is my pleasure to take on," she finished with a wink to her husband.

Ashara found herself wishing there were a hundred more Vailis Hawksongs in this city! They'd made a few casual friends among the moon elves during their time defending Evereska, but none received them with such eagerness as did the old priest of Corellon.

Of course...they had a history with him...or at least Elric did. After their Memory Read though, she felt a strong kinship with the elf, having 'lived' many of those memories of the young half elf's life in the great city. It was odd and wonderful to meet a complete stranger that you felt was already something of a father figure!

"And you look as if you haven't aged a day!" She exclaimed with a teasing grin. "I can only hope that I look half as good as you when I reach my fourth century of life!"

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Vailis Hawksong

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:08 am

The elf's eyes danced with joy as laughter filled the temple. Word's could not express the joy he'd felt when the half-elf had returned a hero during the city's time of need. Many nights worry had kept him from reverie wondering what had happened to the boy Eldorath had brought to him so near death. The last they'd parted he had offended a proud house, and was scared for his life. Now he was back, however briefly, and happier than he'd dared hope for the half-elven orphan raised amongst the elves. He was still young enough to recognize that the beautiful young woman in front of him had a hand in that joy. He was eternally grateful to her for that.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder my dear... and from the way your husband can't take his eyes of you... I don't see it fading if you live TWICE my years." he smiled sincerely as he took her hand and led them both deeper into the temple.

"Now... if you've already eaten breakfast, I don't want to hear it. I still remember my days of 'trail rations' and while I set a meager table, I would like to think this is your first real meal since returning to my fair city..."

The priest had obviously expected them and for all his vaunted wisdom, Elric was fairly certain he didn't know the meaning of the word 'meager.' Fruits and wine, nuts and berries, even some tasty meat, which the half elf knew was set out for their benefit. The three sat and talked for some time, with Elric and Ashara telling every detail of their time amongst the minotaurs. Vailis was an excellent listener, and absorbed the information with rapt attention, interrupting only to request clarification of some small detail in their story.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:11 am

"There is a certain matter we were hoping you might be able to advise us in," the priestess began after a good portion of the food had been consumed and the minotaur tales had been told. "I've been having a reoccuring dream since we left our large, furry friend..."

Ashara went on to describe in detail her dream of flying over the great expense of forest toward the Dawn which rose in the center of it. Elric had heard it all before of course, but listened again as thoughtfully as Vailis, trying to make some sort of sense out of it.

"When I wake," she contined, "which always happens just before I discover the source of this Dawn, those same feelings of peace and hope remain with me, including the longing to find it! I can't help but feel that this is a vision from the Morninglord. To what end however, we've yet to discover...

"I will admit though, that I haven't yet had the opportunity to devote extra time in prayer to the matter." The corner of her mouth pulled up in a lopsided grin. "You know... It was late last night... We'd traveled far..."

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Vailis Hawksong

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:23 pm

The priest was quiet as he listened to the priestess tell her story. Dreams had never been his strong suit. As a thought finally came to him. the smile slipped from his face and he got a little more serious. He was quiet an uncomfortably long time as he pondered the mystery. Elric glanced at Ashara nervously.

"Now... I don't know as much about Lathander as you do, of course..." the old elf answered carefully. "I would agree... from what your saying, that this sounds like divine guidance of some sort. Peace and Hope are never gifts we should shun... but I also agree there must be more to it.

"It doesn't seem to have the... urgency of your prior quests. But it still seems to be more than just a dream? The forest for example. Did it look familiar at all? If Lathander wanted to send a Morninglord a dream of peace and goodwill... I would imagine the standard sunrise would work just as well. It doens't feel as much a demand, as an answer." he lapsed back into silence before he addressed the morninglord.

"Have you been requesting some specific guidance from the Morninglord?"
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Post  Penelope on Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:41 pm

Ashara's eyes drifted to the ceiling as she tried to recall the specifics of that dream forest.

"The forest didn't look familiar to me, no. It appeared unusual enough that you might know something of it however," she said, bringing her focus back to the elvish priest. "It seemed...ancient... So many species of trees I recognized on my flight over! Then there were the rarer varieties. Blueleaf, duskwood, weirwood... Many others that I'd never seen before!

"As for specific guidance, the only thing that comes to mind is our search for methods to imbue the bla--"

Ashara stopped mid-sentence, her eyebrows raising in suprise. 'Not a demand, but an answer,' he'd suggested...

She shot a quick, nearly giddy smile to Elric.

"Do you think it could have something to do with creating the Everdawn Blade?" The young woman's voice raised a full octave as she questioned Vailis excitedly. "Might some answers lie within that old forest?"

There were certain qualities that she and Elric had decided they'd like to have the sword possess. Light, conveying an immunity to paralyzation to its wielder, blessed to be additionally effective against those of evil bent, specifically undead, and then somehow linking the blade to their newly created family. They hoped to find away to imbue it with the ability to somehow find it's way back to the Everdawn line, if somewhere down the road the sword was lost. That would likely be the trickiest part, she was sure, but they'd not made much progress in learning any of the materials or processes that would be needed to so imbue the weapon. Maybe this was a break they'd been hoping for!

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Vailis Hawksong

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:36 pm

Vailis stood from the table and slowly began to pace.Elric could tell he was rattled by something. "What is it Vailis... Do you know where this place is?"

The priest ignored the question and asked one of his own. "How dedicated are you to this quest? I know your both young and happy, you want to forge something to last generations... a worthy cause and very elf-like in mentality." he said with a forced grin. "If you ask my opinion, I think you should dismiss this goal and just make many, many children. That's the more conventional means to leave a lasting mark on the world."

Elric was getting downright concerned now. He gave Ashara a worried look then turned to the rambling priest. "You know something... don't you?"

"Do you absolutely HAVE to do this yourself?" He bit his lip as he seemed to mentally weigh something in his mind. "The sword is magnificent and it even has a moonstone. Any wizard you passed coin to would be able to enchant such a blade... Does it have to be you?"
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Post  Penelope on Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:05 pm

Ashara's previous excitement was immediately sobered by the elf's words, and Vailis found himself with now two pair of anxious eyes on him.

"Our desire for this blade is that it might represent our family," she began softly. "That one day, long after we're gone, it will remind any children we might be blessed with and their children of where they came from."

She pushed her chair back slowly and stood, moving over to the old priest who continued to pace nervously about the room.

"Elric and I may not know much of our own family histories, but we greatly desire for future generations of Everdawns to have strong ties to theirs! If we have the opportunity to create such a legacy with our own abilities, would that not make it much more significant than if we paid someone to create it for us?" The young woman laid a gentle hand on Vailis' arm to halt his progress.

"This is not a quest we wish to dismiss. If we must put it off for a time, so be it, but if the opportunity lies before us I would be quite interested to at least hear what would be required!

"Please Vailis," she implored, holding his gaze with her own, "tell us what you know..."

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Re: Autumn 1372

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:34 pm

Rarely had the weight of the centuries felt as heavy on the elf as they did now. When they had first enlisted his aid for this sword, he'd agreed instantly. The joy and the hope he saw in the boy he'd helped raise to adulthood... the one who had yearned for family, and was now starting his own... Vailis had wanted to be a part of that. Now he wasn't so sure. If their quest ended in loss, he'd never forgive himself.

"Your answer doesn't come as a surprise... Elric was always a stubborn child," He said with a pained grin. "Once he gets it in his mind to do something, it's impossible to change his mind... Why would I doubt his chosen bride to be any different. Wait for me here."

Vailis walked away from the table and unlocked a drawer in a beautifully carved desk. Moments later he returned to the table with some old and worn scrolls. "Since your departure, I have continued the search for answers. I confess that I knew little of Lathander, but I made do with the meager knowledge I had."

As the elf started into his speech, Elric shot Ashara a wry grin. He recognized the stance and tone the priest had slipped into. This could be a long speech. And it was. Vailis was always one for details and he left very little of his research to the imagination. Finally he produced the scrolls.

"This is all the information I was able to discover for your quest. The reagents are not to be taken lightly and honestly, I had no idea how you will accomplish the task. Still don't for most of them...

"Most of your goals seem to based around undead. The recipe for the most powerful enchantments will be the..." he unrolled the parchment to ensure accuracy. "the 'purified' essence of any Undead that Lathander gives you power over. As I have no idea what purified essence could entail, I think that will take you a while..."

"Protection vs. the paralyzing powers... that requires... " The priest looked back and forth between his young companions.

"Now... I'm sure I don't have to explain to the Morninglord the difference between Arcane and Divine enchantments... but you..." he said addressing the half-elf, "Never paid near enough attention. So listen carefully."

"Wizards and other Arcanists twist the magic around them and MAKE it do something. Priests such as I and your wife... we do not 'make' anything happen. We ASK. we plead, and if the deity petitioned deems it worthy enough, he allows his power to flow through us...

"So... when the parchment says something as vague as 'In order to achieve this power, you must first prove you do not need it...' It means that Lathander must be convinced of your worthiness for such a power. I don't know what the Morninglord would consider a noteworthy test, but Mighty Correllon can be very... specific in his requirements."

He unrolled the last of the scrolls and looked right at Ashara. "Now, this is were things get interesting. As you are well aware, Lathander does not favor swords. You yourself are not permitted to use them even in defense of his holy name. Correllon has no such compunctions, but each of the gods has their own personalities..."

He tapped the table rhythmically as he thought how to put his next thoughts to word. "Wizards can do pretty much anything they choose to, Morninglords however, answer to a higher purpose. You wish to enchant a weapon that Lathander himself has no interest in. Not only that, you request that he watch over the sword for all time... and always lead it back to your blood. Now... I do not know where his Paladin's get their own Holy swords... but I've found no indication that they were ever forged or enchanted by their priests.

Were I to guess, I would say the gods simply provided... or perhaps the weapon altered to suit the user. If the knight knew the longsword, the weapon he found would be in the form he was most comfortable with. If he'd been a priest, it would have a been a priest's weapon. Honestly.. I don't know. It was fascinating research, which I plan to continue for years to come...." He leaned back, sighed and just watched their expressions.

Elric scowled at the news. "So it's not possible? Is that what your saying?" Why had they just sat here and listened to all this if it wasn't even possible! Elric stopped suddenly. "No... Your not saying that at all... You wouldn't have told us the requirements for everything else if there was no hope..."

The priest raised his eyebrow at the astute observation. "There's always hope boy... If you want something bad enough and you're in your gods favor." He tapped the scroll again. "I have here a record of a priest of the Morninglord petitioning to enchant a forbidden weapon... It worked, but what he says makes no sense."

The elf saw Elric grimace as he prepared to read the entire scroll. "The details are unimportant..." he smirked as the half-elf visibly relaxed. "What is important is that it worked. This Dawngreeter took the weapon and bathed it in the light of the Endless Dawn continually for a tenday... He prayed earnestly and his cause was just. Thus sanctified in the name of the dawn, Lathander allowed the priest to enchant the weapon."

He rolled up the scroll and handed it to Ashara. "Now, I am not certain what 'the Endless Dawn' means for certain. It must mean by very definition, a dawn that never rises or sets. I do know that it speaks of a great journey so I am convinced that no spell you can currently cast would be considered... adequate devotion to the cause. What I do know... is that regardless of the other abilities you wish to imbue, the blade must first be accepted by Lathander."
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Post  Penelope on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:45 pm

The Endless Dawn...

Ashara's brow furrowed as she tried to remember if she'd ever heard that name before. She'd grown up as a rural priestess at a small shrine and while some of her studies had been overviews of the history of the Lathanderian faith, she couldn't ever remember hearing that term before.

But then there was the dream. The rising sun in the forest that ever retained that rosy-hued color of a brilliant Dawn. If this vision was truly sent by Lathander, he wouldn't have given her the information on how to imbue the weapon with a specific ability without telling her what she first needed to do to for him to accept the weapon!

None of the information Vailis had told them however, explained why she still saw the concern mounting in the deep blue of his eyes. There was definitely something more going on here...

"The Endless Dawn," she began after a few moments of processing. "That must be what the vision is showing me! It has to be as you say... An answer to my petition for information, and the Morninglord is showing us where we need to go to take the first step to begin the process of imbuing the sword!"

Nervous energy still not allowing her to sit, the priestess set the scroll down on the table and moved behind her husband's chair, resting her hand on his powerful shoulder to steady herself.

A great journey! The blade being accepted by Lathander himself?! Ashara could barely restrain the hopeful smile that threatened to take in the entirety of her face! Only the weight of Vailis' apprehensive stare kept it in check.

"You know, don't you, Aradoness? You know of this forest that I've been shown in the vision...but..." She chewed anxiously on her bottom lip. "But you're afraid to tell us... Why?"

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:19 am

"Because of the danger my dear... " A sad look came over him as he held up his hands to stall arguments. "Yes, yes... I know of your accomplishments. Tethyr, Dagadar, Calimport... and even if I thought your young tongues prone to exaggeration, I've seen your actions here with my own eyes... Great heroes, one and all... but that doesn't mean I wish you to run headlong into danger, nor do I wish to be the one to set you on this path..."

He hoped that would settle the matter, but as he looked into the disappointment of their eyes, his resolve melted. He sighed again and sat down defeated. "Very well.. I believe as you do. The Morninglord sent you this vision as a clue to where the Endless Dawn is. You claim to be having this dream for longer than I've had this scroll... Which leads me to only one conclusion." He sat up and looked at the others intently.

"Lathander WANTS you to succeed....Such a request amongst his clergy is quite rare, and for him to send you answers before you know the questions... Means you are highly favored by your deity." He pointed to the everpresent Dawnspeaker.

"If you ever had doubts about his love for you... dismiss them. The lack of urgency of your dreams refutes the suggestion that this is a god given mission. It is a choice on your part. If you CHOOSE to go through with this... Lathander will approve. If you choose to abandon it, the dream will stop and I doubt you would lose any standing in the eyes of your god. This vision is simply a gift."

A self depreciating grin crossed his face. "At least that is my own interpretation of the facts laid before me. I could be completely wrong"

Elric raised his eyebrows at that unusual admission. He knew of his old teacher's habit of overexplaining things... but avoiding the question? That was very unlike him. "Where is this forest Vailis?" he asked pointedly.

"I have a theory, between what you've described... and more importantly how you've described the feelings left behind. Ancient forests such as you've described are rare.. VERY rare nowdays... I know of only two. One is on Evermeet itself. I doubt even the Morninglord would keep you safe there... "

His lip trembled as he looked to the floor. As long as he was lecturing he was able to keep control. "You claim to have felt a longing to find this endless dawn when you awoke. Between the woods, and the dawn, and the longing...

"Tell me... have you ever heard of the Seekers of the Dawn?"
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