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Elric/ Vaniion Echnorn

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:47 pm

"More than two actually..." the elf frowned. "This season has not gone well for me, and with the lack of willing guards, I was afraid I may have to cancel the trip. That... would cost me a lot of money..."

Elric was a little surprised at that. "Where are you going? Nobody else seems to be having an issue filling the rosters."

Vaniion smiled at that. "Nobody else is going the way "I" am... Every year I try to stop at Anrha before moving on to Cormyr... I should be arriving in Tilverton before the other... less adventurous sorts have even reached Scornobul!"

Anrha.... Elric racked his mind but couldn't place that city. He let his eyes slowly drift over to the maps that were scattered across the table. Vaniion didn't miss the motion and just grinned.

"You won't find it on there... Anrha isn't so much a city... as an oasis!" He grinned from ear to ear as the half-elve's eyes opened wide at the implications.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:10 pm

Ashara's eyebrows shot up in surprise just before her face split into a grin to match that of the gold elf.

"You cross the Anauroch!" She exclaimed with obvious excitement. Images of camels and sand dunes and nomadic peoples flitted through her mind and she put those thoughts to a halt just before reaching images of Calimport. Those memories were relegated to nightmares only!

Not ALL the memories of their time in the City of Glory were unpleasant she realized, remembering the long mornings on the rooftop of the Wizard's Wand Tavern. Seemed like only yesterday...

She smiled affectionately across the table at her husband before turning her attention back to Vaniion.

"Well, we could indeed be described as the 'adventurous' sort, and while we've done some travel through the Calim desert, we've never been to the Anauroch...

"Is Tilverton your final destination then? And if I may be so bold," she continued, "what is it that your caravan transports?"

Ashara lifted her glass to her lips to disguise the Whisper she was sending to Elric while the elf began his response.

What do you think, Melamin? This journey might prove a bit more exciting than our last, and it could drastically reduce our travel time!

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Elric/ Vaniion Echnorn

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:04 pm

Elric looked at the priestess and his eyes danced. This COULD be a lot of fun... and a shortcut to boot! He was about to respond when Vaniion spoke up again... and the half-elf wanted to hear more about this journey.

"The caravan is decent sized, and we transport many items from the mundane to the magnificent. The Evereskan silk I dabble the most in, falls somewhere in between." His eyes sparkled with the promise of gold. The woman seemed generally interested in the trip, and the half elf probably wasn't far behind. If these two 'Champions' signed on... this trip may happen yet.

"No, Tilverton is not the last stop... I hope to push on to Arabel and Marsember. Tilverton is just the first of the 'civilized' lands I stop at. Where they may purchase some of the luxuries. One thing about the desert folk, they aren't interested in 'fun' stuff... Survival or nothing. Still... since they can't eat gold or gems, I've been known to make a lot of money off the D'tarig."

"Who are the D'tarig?" Elric interrupted.

"Small folk. Half Dwarves I imagine, never seen one over four and half feet tall... Like most of the desert folk, they're nomads. Wandering around the desert in search of water most of the time... but run these... caravan 'cities.' They go from oasis to oasis, and if your lucky... which I try to be... you can find them. They're quite the hagglers, but then again so am I. I've never been disappointed when I left them."

Elric's eyebrows came together in concern. Something was missing here. "If it's such a profitable journey, why are you having trouble filling the roster? Everything seems like a perfect venture to me..."

The enthusiasm slid off the elf's face into a snarl of disgust. "Because I'm surrounded by cowards lately! Anauroch is NEVER safe... I've had remarkable luck on my journeys... but the desert has been the death of many a traveler... It's dangerous... but I pay well. Guards who work for me usually make the same as they would with the others... but in half the time!"

"Dangerous how?" Elric pressed.

"Ohhh... there's monsters galore in there.. Not as many in the south where I travel... but in the north it's down right scary... I've heard of two blue dragons that make the desert their home... talk of a yellow dragon too, but I've never talked to anyone who's ever actually seen one of those. Occasionally there are attacks from undead. I can only imagine the value a morninglord would bring to the expedition." he said in almost a pleading voice.

"Usually my threats seem to be Bedine raiders... Local desert nomads who judge the cultures on strength.. they have little moral issue taking what they feel they need to survive from caravans who appear weak.

"That's why I like the extra guards... at least until I enter Cormyr. If you wish to travel on to south from there, your more than welcome... If you want to head east to the Dalelands then that's fine too. We can settle up whenever you please. Even with those threats, it never used to be this hard to fill a caravan... but the Phaerimm and the Shadovar changed that."

Elric's mouth tightened as he remembered the siege. The Shadovar had offered to help Evereska and then betrayed them. That and their connection to the shadow... Shadow plane, Empire of Shade, Shadow magic... Too many things in their recent history had dealt with darkness.

"Yes... The Shadovar are out... 'there' somewhere," he complained as he waved his hand toward the east. "and I have no idea where their blasted floating city could be at any time... but I can't ignore my caravan for baseless fears and 'what ifs."

Elric leaned back in his chair with his hand over his mouth deep in consideration. "Sounds dangerous... he said in a whispered tone that made it clear he wasn't really concerned about the danger. What do you think? Personally, I don't think we should look a gift camel in the mouth... Maybe just to Tilverton?"


Last edited by Elric on Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:18 pm

This trip promised a bit of everything! Danger, a new region to travel through, good pay, a shorter route to their new destination, even the possibility of meeting a new people! The D'tarig! Half dwarves?? None of her extensive research in dwarven history had mentioned the existence of such a race.. Ashara chuckled at the thought of what King Thenden would say to THAT!

The Everdawns would be needing to visit Dagadar again sometime in the future too. To visit old friends and maybe even search through that ancient library again, but also to get some work done on her plate mail... Ashara was tired of having to look at those patched up dagger holes left by Cyric's assassin and more than that, she hoped fixing the damage would be a good step toward relieving her husband of that particular nightmare! Of course...that would do nothing for the scars left on her skin...

Pulling herself back from that line of thought, the priestess grinned over to Elric and nodded subtly in agreement.

"It seems you've found yourself two guards, Vaniion! Until Tilverton at least!" Ashara smiled brightly at the elf, reaching out to shake his hand. "We will, of course need to discuss some of the logistics of such a trip. I'm assuming our horses will not make the most reliable mounts through the desert, and we may also need to know if there are any particular supplies that it would be wise to bring with us. We've been prepared to travel through freezing temperatures you see, not the sweltering heat of the Anauroch! Though, I've heard that the nights get quite cold there..."

The necessities of such a journey rattled through the young woman's mind. Definitely a different route than they'd planned on taking, but that made it all the more exciting! From the sound of it, the elf intended on pressing on toward Cormyr at the earliest opportunity and that suited the couple just fine!

"Oh, and unless you have previous arrangements with someone, I'd be happy to take the responsibility of preparing the evening meals as we travel. Just please tell me you don't have some sort of fondness for meat-scented potatoes," she shuddered involuntarily.

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Elric/ Vaniion Echnorn

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:25 pm

The elf shook her hand with gusto, coins dancing in his eyes. "Thank you! You may have saved my caravan! How long will it take you to be prepared to leave?"

Elric's eyes shot up. He wasn't used to trailmasters asking him for a timetable. "Umm... I'm not sure what we'll need, we haven't done very much... 'conventional' desert travel. Do we need to trade our horses for camels or something? When were you planning on starting?"

"Two days ago..." he said in annoyance. "I really am pressed for time. The D'tarig will only be at Anhra for about three or four days, and I'm cutting the timetable tight as it is. I'd still like a few more guards, but with what I have and yourselves... I'd want the wagons moving by tomorrow... the morning after at the latest. Does that work for you?"

Elric looked at his wife and shrugged. They wanted to look for maps, maybe see if the library had any more information... but he didn't see any reason they couldn't be ready.

Not knowing any better he addressed Elric and said, "You may wish to be... conservative in how you wear your armor. In the sands, with the heat and dehydration... Heavy armor has killed more men than it's saved... wear it when you feel most threatened... but otherwise I recommend loose flowing clothing... something to cover your head. We actually plan on selling some ideal desert clothing to the natives, if you'd like to browse our wares for either inspiration or actual purchases, that can be easily arranged. Money can either change hands here... or we can settle up in Tilverton, makes no difference.

"As for horses... It depends on the kind they are. Camels are preferable to the hot sands, but are slightly more... conspicuous clomping through Cormyr. Light horses function just fine in the desert, and are quite common amongst the Bedine. War horses... Those you'd be better off selling and buying new when you reach Tilverton. They have a habit of overheating." He was quiet for a moment as he debated an idea in his mind. Finally he decided the cost was worth the reward if it got him on the road faster.

"In fact... if you only plan to go to Tilverton, and don't wish to deal with the... hassle of continually trading in you beasts. I can make one final offer. If you are willing to allow us to load your horses up with more water and provisions... I do have a few spare camels I travel with in case of I lose one or two in a raid. You can ride them if that appeals to you, and we can simply switch our beasts back when we reach more civilized lands." He looked over at Ashara and grinned. "Especially if you wish to help with the cooking..."

Elric's eyes danced and a grin just filled his face. This elf was being more than gracious, and Elric suspected there was more to his rush than simply meeting another caravan... but either way, it really was the best deal they'd been offered... ever.

"I'd say you have yourself a deal. We have a few loose ends to deal with here, but I see no reason we wouldn't be ready by tomorrow."

"Excellent!" the elf beamed. He stood up excitedly. "If you'll excuse me, I'll see to the caravan and tell those who need to know to expect you!" With that he shook both of their hands again and practically skipped out of the tavern. Elric just watched him go and just laughed.

Turning to his wife in glee, he just whispered, "We get to ride CAMELS!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:24 pm

The half elf's laughter was infectious and Ashara joined in with enthusiasm at the thought of bouncing around atop a camel across the great desert. Even if nothing of note occurred on the journey, there would certainly be memories made from the experience!

"Wow..." she exclaimed with an incredulous shake of her head, "that all happened quite quickly! Two nights in civilization and two months on the road.

"It will certainly prove interesting if we find ourselves in combat and I'm without armor. Apart from today, I've been wearing my metal skin every day since we left Evereska last time! Even now I feel a little vulnerable without it." A self-conscious smile flitted across her face at the admission. "I'm not nearly as adept as you are at dodging incoming sharp pointy things..."

With another chuckle, the young woman drained the remaining water from her glass. "Well, I suppose we have a number of things to see to before tomorrow morning so we should probably get to it! I was hoping to get another personal tour of some Evereskan locals... The Floating Gardens, Dawnsglory Pond... Last time we were here, Vailis suggested that I have you show me around Fountain Heart of Shimmering Gold." Ashara sighed wistfully then turned a bright smile up at her husband. "Those things may have to wait...we've got an adventure even more exciting that lies before us now!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:27 am

He grimaced as memories of Waterdeep flashed across his mind. He forced a smile and reminded her, "Sometimes, I have problems with the sharp pointing things myself!" He thought for a moment of what kind of assets they had with them. "We'll make do... We've got the Gauntlets of Missle Snaring... That should keep you safe from a distance, and if anyone gets too close... Well... I'll just have to teach them the error of their ways!"

He shared her wonder at the way their journey had taken off so fast. The trip from the north had tired him out. It was nice to meet new people, and see the world... but it was a dangerous trip. The frozen north was dangerous all the time, but now... winter approaching and bandits having their last chance at the last of the caravans... Even the wildlife preparing for the winter months were a little extra aggressive. The last month or so was spent constantly watching for trouble.

"I'll admit... I was hoping to spend another few days here. Unwind a little..." He looked appreciatively at the dress she was wearing and grinned. "See you without the armor a little more..." Excitement made his eyes dance. He waved at a nearby server, and dropped enough coin on the table to cover their bill. Standing he leaned over and whispered in her ear. "but... We're going to MYTH DRANNOR!!!!"

Suddnely Elric didn't feel so tired anymore, and the thought of continuing their journey energized him.
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:32 am

"It hardly seems possible, but we are indeed!" Returning his grin tenfold, the priestess stood and took Elric's offered arm. "But we don't leave until tomorrow morning, and surely our errands won't tie us up for the rest of the evening! We still have one night left in Evereska this time around," she winked, "and I intend to make the most of it!"

Ashara chuckled as they headed through the door. "Certainly sand must be much more comfortable to sleep on than the cold, hard ground!"

With the world all excitement and adventure before them, the Everdawns left the Burnished Moon Blade to begin preparations for the eagerly anticipated journey across the burning Anauroch.

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:11 pm

"For 32 hours, the battle was fought. 5000 elves outnumber four to one... Fflar the mighty Captain of Myth Drannor, a half-elf respected above all others... Led the elves amongst the blood and chaos, His mighty sword Foebane, burning blue and dripping with the blood of Orc and demon until with a gasp echoed throughout the city a spear pierced the mighty captain and the elves saw him fall."

Night had fallen and with it the temperature. Huddled around the campfire, a softly strumming mandolin added weight and emotion to the stories and songs that Elric had been entertaining the people of the caravan. Much as he had done for the past month, tonight's songs focused on the many tales and songs he knew of the fallen Elven city.

"But lo! No spear would still the mighty half-elven warrior. He fought for his home... and he fought for his people. After a full day of battle, as sun slowly rose on the blood caked field ranging all the way from Castle Cormanthyr to the streets of Dlabraddath, suddenly it was the demons' turn to gasp! Wasting no time for rest, and saving the healing for his men, Fflar stood proud. The warrior whose death they had celebrated so soon again was issuing a challenge! Whether through magic or a gift of the gods, all on the field that day heard his voice...

"COME FORTH, Errand boys of TRUE evil! LAPDOGS of the lower planes! AULMPITER, Demon minion... come forth and face your better!!' cried the warrior... So it went, taunting and jibing the physically powerful demons that were ravaging his city, until finally his challenge was accepted.

"Having no honor the demon lord Aulmpiter sent forth his own minions, Two dozen Nycaloths swarmed the Captain and his sword Keryvian. The men's hearts sank as they lost sight of their hero amongst the dark leathery wings. The demon lord's laugh was heard near and far.

"But Aulmpiter was a fool. He had underestimated the raw determination of Captain Fflar. Laughter died on his lips as he saw the last of the nycaloths fall and the half-elf stood victorious and glaring at the deceitful commander of evil." Subtly the mandolin started playing faster with more energy.

"Finally Aulmpiter faced the Captain. Each the backbone of their respective armies, certain the other's death would determine the fate of the war! Slowly at first.. the two warriors circled, then CHAOS erupted!! No song or story can justify the battle that ensued between these two. It lasted over three hours... each participant giving as well as he took. It's said that each took blows that would kill lesser men, but neither would deign to fall....

"Finally, Fflar made the a sacrifice still talked of today... Somehow the Grand Commander of the Army of darkness had acquired the Mantle Stone of Vhyrridaan, an item of great evil previously used by the lich Laummas. Recognizing it for what it was, and knowing full well what he was about to do... Struck with Keryvian the last of the Baneblades of Demron. Sword defeated magic that day, and those present claimed they saw the Mantle stone shatter... and that was the last they ever saw....

"Rings of white and blue erupted from the artifact... Light brighter than the sun itself struck blind the only two bards to witness it. Power and energy rippled from the explosion stealing strength from the demonic invaders.. and giving it to the elves! The demon army turn tail and fled to the forests. They would return... but today the battle was over.

"Of Fflar? No trace was ever found of the half-elf or his mighty sword. But in his last desperate gamble, he also robbed the enemy of their commander. . In the center of the blast, not even bones survived, but their shadows were scorched into the ground.... No trace was ever heard of Aulmpiter again... Without his influence, the remaining army became disorganized... rampaging brutes instead of the well organized tactical juggernaut they had been"

"Thus ends the story of Fflar. The half-elf officer who risked all to retrieve the body of the Arms-major and his enchanted blade... The one who drawing the mighty Foeblade without dying, earned him the battlefield promotion of Arms-Major of all Myth Drannor, and the story of his death 19 days later... How Two ten-days of glory can make your story last forever...."

Elric set the mandolin down and took a long drink of water to cool his parched throat. As much fun as the desert had sounded... he was looking forward to getting to Cormyr and beyond. The trip had been less exciting than they had expected. There was no trouble with the Bedine they had passed, no monsters attacking the caravan... Save for a dozen skeletons one night, which Ashara had handled easily... The caravan city was met, and Vaniion seemed more than pleased as they set forth to Cormyr. Elric would just be happy for a change of scenary from the endless sea of sand...
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:21 pm

As she sat beside him staring into the fire, Ashara's fingers traced gently over the half elf's back while he told his tale, occasionally halting their progress when the story intensified and transported her completely to that ancient battle. Elric would have made an excellent bard. These tales that he'd been telling on their journey through the Anauroch had special meaning to him she knew, and he told them as if he had been there to see it himself! Perhaps he had. The freedom of a child's mind can allow them to go anywhere...to be anything! Much as they'd played the adventures of Arturo and Marinelle as children, she realized that a young Elric must have dreamed himself to be Captain Fflar, a great half elven warrior respected and held in such high esteem by his elvish brethren!

That particular part of the story surprised her a bit! The only elven city she was familiar with was Evereska, and the idea that they would allow a half elf to lead their army... It would never happen. Their bigotry ran too deeply. Myth Drannor must have truly been a beacon of racial tolerance and it was no wonder that Elric was so excited to finally see the place!

The enthusiastic clapping of the guards and merchants of the caravan jerked Ashara back into the present, and only then did she realize that the story had concluded.

"They get better and better each night," the priestess smiled, after the applause, including her own had finally died down. "Vaniion is sure to lose some of his caravan guards at Tilverton just so they can continue along the road with you and hear more stories!"

Ashara chuckled and took a drink from her own waterskin. "I'm surprised you didn't tell that one earlier! A half elven Arms-Major?! Fflar must have been...must still be a hero of yours!"

Smiling, the priestess shifted gingerly on the thick rug that each caravan member sat or slept on when they weren't riding. Travel by camel had proven a bit more difficult than she'd anticipated... She believed that there was a good reason her camel had been one of those kept in reserve! Camels rode differently than horses, and hers in particular was a bit...bouncy. After a full day of travel, her backside would be bruised badly enough that she'd taken to discreetly casting minor spells on herself to ease the pain.

It was the evening of the sixth of Uktar, and the caravan would be reaching Tilverton in about six days. Ashara was quite eager to begin the second leg of their journey to the ancient city! With Vailis' help, they'd managed to gain entry to the Vault in Evereska, a library with few equals in Faerun, and make a sketch of one of the old maps of Myth Drannor. Whether it would be helpful or not, had yet to be proven, but when going into such a dangerous area...some information, no matter HOW outdated, was better than none!

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:30 pm

"Well... " Eric started to explain with a mischevious glint in his eye, before he was rudely interrupted.

"Probably because the story is garbage!" one of the men sharing their guard duty interjected. "Everyone knows Fflar wasn't a half-elf... he was as full human as they come."

Elric turned to the speaker. William Montag, 'Bill' as his friends called him had gained a reputation as a blowhard. Always with an differing opinion and really just annoying. Still he was a big man and good with a sword, and none of his general grumpiness had ever led to blows, so he was tolerated.

"You didn't like the story?" he asked politely.

"Would have liked it better if you told it right... I heard that one before, and Fflar is suppsoed to be a human!"

"Well... then you haven't heard it enough... I've heard it three times, and he's been a human paladin, an elven bladesinger, and once he was even a gnome..." he winked at Ashara. "As the Foebane is still always a bastard sword... THAT I would have liked to see..."

He poked a stick at the fire and watched the embers danced. "Fact is, nobody knows who or what Fflar was... Fact is Fflar wasn't even his true name. 'Captain of True Valor' is the name translated. Who he was is lost to history."

He turned to Ashara and added. "As for, would the elves had let him be the Arms-major of the Akh-Velhar? The highest ranked officer of the Elven Army... They didn't really have a choice."

He grinned at some of the dour looks from the many elves in the caravan, but he kept with the explaination. "The Baneblades of Demron... were similiar to the moonblades."

Vailis had spent many an afternoon explaing the concept of moonblades to the two of them... Hereditary swords of great power... with a moonstone in them... were Elves' specialty. The Everdawns liked the idea behind it for the Everdawn Blade... but the penalties for failing the bladeright test were completely unacceptable. So the search for their blade had continued.

"When Hachaam Selorns and Kelvhan Olortynnal were both slain, leaving the army without an Arms-major and Arms-Captain... an unknown officer broke through the line merely to recover their bodies and save the elven heroes from whatever defilement the demons had in store. When he reached them he reached out and retrieved Kelvhan's sword and to the wonder of all, Activated it's power without being killed. The elves saw it as a battlefield promotion deigned by the Seldarine...

"As such they immediately rallied behind this new hero, so willing to bleed and die for the elves home and honor... regardless of if he was human, elf, half-elf, or gnome!" These words brought back smiles to most of his audience. Even Bill wasn't glowering as much as before.

He smirked in the direction of his critic and added, "Every bard or tale-teller lays claim to Fflar as one of their own... When "I" tell the tale... He's Half-elven!"
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:54 am

"Bards..." The young woman just laughed and shook her head. "Who Fflar really was, was likely lost to history at the first telling! And to think there was a time not so long ago, that I believed every story spun by our own Bradwen Talltale! Perhaps I should start taking all of your tales with a grain of salt as well, Heru Lindar," she winked playfully at Elric.

"Someday, a century or two from now, some halfling will be sitting around the hearth with his little halflets, and telling the tale of the great Hairfoot Hero who single-handedly brought down a red dragon with a mighty throat punch!"

Ashara grinned as she stood to set up the bedroll. It was her turn to take fourth watch tomorrow morning and between the stories and songs, the night was slipping by quickly.

"Even though, we don't know who or what Fflar really was, I think I'm partial to your...embellishments. A story well told in my opinion!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:20 am

Elric's ears started to blush again as several of the other listeners simultaneously shushed Bill, and echoed Ashara's sentiments. After the song, he talked with a few more merchants that he'd grown to know over the past month, but the night was short, and he'd drawn third watch. He really hated third too... Sleep time came to early, and he rarely bothered catching any shut eye after his relief. Sleeping for two hours before dawn?? not worth the effort. Third watch at night, meant a long day the next day...


The night passed uneventfully... As did the next few days.

Slowly the monotonous sandy terrain that Elric had come to hate, turned to stone and rock. Grass slowly started to peak through the ground and the temperature turned more familiar. Soon the desert was behind them and they had entered the foothills of the Desertmouth mountains.

Evening of the Uktar the 11th found them at a rundown and unfriendly little settlement known as Griffon's Hill. Apparently they were quite out of the way, and received few travelers. However this was not Vaniion's first trip, and while not overly joyed to see him, the residents gave the caravan no trouble provided there was no trouble.

The caravan set up on the outskirts and within a half hour of their arrival, Vaniion called over two of his best riders, and send them thundering into the distance. Curious, Elric and Ashara followed the obviously distressed elf.

"Vaniion?" Elric called out, startling the trailmaster. "What's going on? Is there trouble?"

The sun elf opened his mouth to speak, but quickly closed it again. He seemed uncertain what should be said and what shouldn't be. Finally he waved them over to a quieter place. "I don't want this getting around yet... but... word has reached my ears, that I may have to alter my travel plans... We can't go to Tilverton...."

Elric's eyes narrowed suddenly. They were scheduled to be in Tilverton by lunchtime tomorrow. What was Vaniion trying to pull here? "Why not?!"

Elric felt a twinge of sympathy as the elf looked bewildered and lost. Confused or sucker punched... Finally the elf just whispered, "Because they say it isn't there!!
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:30 pm

"What do you mean 'isn't there'??" Ashara raised an eyebrow and rested her hands on mithril plated hips as concern mounted in her voice. "Whole towns don't just up and vani--"

Her mind was suddenly filled with images of green fire and great structures reduced to bubbling slag. The Purple Hills, Athkatla and nearly Calimport... All examples of how a place might just suddenly...not exist...

The priestess shuddered visibly and forcefully shoved those horrific images to the back of her mind where they belonged. Those thoughts weren't allowed out during the day...

As the color slowly returned to her face, she questioned Vaniion further. "Who is 'they'," she pressed, "and are 'they' saying Tilverton has disappeared or are we talking utter destruction?"

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Vaniion Echnorn

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:47 pm

"Samuel... the Harvestmaster of Griffon Hill. He warned me not to expect too much. The stories conflict, so I've sent riders... They're fast, I expect them back in the morning with the truth...."

A melancholy descended on the elf as he looked off to the east. "Most popular story is the Shadovar... Apparently Evereska wasn't the only ones to deal with the treacherous sons of orcs..." Bitterness seemed to come off him in waves.

"I knew a lot of good folk there..."
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:10 pm

Sons of orcs would be preferable to the Shadovar, she thought, grimacing... They were much worse than sons of orcs, and much more treacherous in Ashara's opinion. These...beings...were sons of Shar by action if not by blood. It was Therogeon who'd exposed the truth of their dark magic before the siege in Evereska was lifted, which caused the alliance between the City of Shade and the many relief armies from all over Faerun to be broken.

The magics of the Shadovar were pulled from the Shadoweave, and it was believed that they'd returned from the Plane of Shadow itself after having been altered by it somehow. It was just over a year ago now that the Champions dealt with similar beings in Dagadar with the dwarves that had been changed by the demigod, the Shade. While the city might try to convince the nations of their honorable intentions, those few that knew the truth of Shar, knew that to trust her followers would ultimately lead to disaster.

"A Harvestmaster you say," she said quietly after a moment of silent prayer for those that likely had been lost at Tilverton was observed. "Is there a shrine to Chauntea within the settlement then? Perhaps he will be willing to see us... Tomorrow I suppose," Ashara added after glancing at the sun dipping below the horizon.

"If Tilverton was indeed destroyed by the Shadovar, I hope your riders have instructions to keep what distance they can from the city after the sun sets..."

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Vaniion Echnorn

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:52 am

"They do... They're good men. I'm not too concerned about them. Harvestmaster Samuel... Isn't that friendly a person, but I'm sure he'd speak with you in the morning. Though, I'd appreciate a little discretion.... until I know more I don't want to worry the others."

Elric readily agreed. Though despite their own silence the camp was soon buzzing with the news anyway. The Harvestmaster was cordial, though not necessarily pleasant. The only thing he could tell them was near the end of Mirtul they had seen a flying city in the distance. Shortly after the word had come down that Tilverton was destroyed. That was all he knew.

The next morning an unusually pale Vaniion called a meeting and addressed the crowd.

"If I could have everyone's attention!!" he shouted to be heard over the mutlitude of questions and demands. "I know what you've all heard... and I hate to inform you that it's all true! Tilverton is in fact no more..." Emotion caused him to choke that last sentence out. Silence settled over the crowd until he could speak again.

"I knew many good people there, as I'm sure that many of you did too. Apparently something happened involving the Shadovar..." he nearly spit the word out. " Almost six months ago now.

"There is nothing we can do about Tilverton except mourn them in our own way. As for the caravan route... this requires some changes. We will be going to the next city south of Tilverton and hook up on the Moonsea Ride at Halfhap. For those amongst our guards, I know some of you were planning on leaving us in Tilverton. I appreciate all the fine work you did. If you wish to continue south to Halfhap or even all the way to Arabel, you are most welcome. However, If south is out of your way, and you wish to continue east as planned... we can settle up today and you can continue on your way. Halfhap has more then enough patrols and I feel confident in our safety."

The crowd slowly dispersed amongst the murmering and stunned silence. Elric imagined it be an even split between who stayed and who left. The ones whose destination WAS Tilverton... His heart went out to them. They would probably stay with Vaniion.

What was it with them and ruined cities?? This one was in no way connected to them, but he was getting a little tired of seeing desolation everywhere he went...

He looked over to Ashara and asked, "What do you think? Head out straight from here... Or get back to civilization before going our own way?"
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Post  Penelope on Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:29 am

Tilverton had been destroyed six months ago?? That would have been shortly after the Shadovar broke alliance with the relief armies... Was the destruction of one of Cormyr's cities a retributive strike? Was the Steel Reagent planning a retaliatory action against the City of Shade? There were so many questions she was curious to have answered, but those answers wouldn't be forthcoming here. Perhaps on their journey they would learn more.

It took a few moments for Ashara to loosen her clenched jaw sufficiently enough to reply to her husband.

"As much as I would enjoy a night in town...and I would," she smiled as she pulled out their map of Cormyr and the Dalelands, "I have a feeling that after playing, and in my case listening to all of those old songs and stories on our journey, you're as eager as I am to see this city for ourselves!"

Smoothing the map out flat along the side of one of the wagons, she roughly measured the distance left in their journey.

"If we travel by horseback we could make Ashabenford in just over a ten-day I think, where we could rest and resupply before entering the forest. From what the merchants have told me, we wouldn't be missing much by skipping Halfhap... That said, if you feel that you might need a day of rest with no watches, no sand in your hair or scorpions warming themselves in the bedroll, than I and my bruised backside will be perfectly happy to wait that extra day," Ashara chuckled.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:16 am

Elric chuckled. "Your right... After a month of all the old songs, I'm more excited then ever to keep going. As much fun as a scorpion free night sounds... Doesn't make much sense to go a day in one direction if it takes us the wrong way... Worst case scenario someone ropes us into some other adventure that takes us further from Cormanthyr." Besides... he thought to himself. Leaving from here, they may see Tilvereton in the day. Anyplace reminiscent of Dagadar, he'd rather see in the sun.

"What do you think?" He asked with a mischevious glint in his eyes. "Do you think your backside can make it to the dales?"
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Post  Penelope on Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:27 pm

With a long, exaggerated sigh Ashara carefully pulled down the map and began rolling it up. "Well, fortunately compared to that camel, riding old Himbar feels like I'm sitting upon feather pillows! Still," she teased with a slight shake of her braided head, "after ten more days of hard travel there's going to be some deep muscle damage for sure... The kind that even magical healing won't be able to fix immediately.

"I really am very much looking forward to this next leg of the journey and I don't mind fighting through a little pain, so if you're ready we can go conclude our business with Vaniion and start putting some miles behind us!" A grin managed to crack through the serious facade as the priestess gently slid the map back into the scroll case. "I can only pray that Ashabenford has a good herbalist that can do something for sore muscles," she winked playfully.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:11 pm

The half elf just grinned. Most of CoRD had some skill when it came to herbalism. Whether for medicine, spell components, sleep potions, or just enough spice to make a fire beetle 'yummy', it was a popular and well used skill. It just so happened, that salves for sore muscles were exactly his specialty!

"Y'know... This sounds pretty serious! I really don't think something as bad as sore muscles should go a whole tenday..." He shook his head seriously, but couldn't keep the corners of his mouth from a slight smile. "I'm sure I have some remedies that should help..."

The idea of leaving the crowd of the caravan behind and setting off just the two of them was gaining in appeal by the minute.
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Post  Penelope on Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:46 pm

"I was hoping you might," she responded with a soft chuckle, "and of course I would be very appreciative of any assistance you could provide!" While an ever-widening smile spread across Ashara's face, the pair hurried off to the trailmaster to get their business settled.

With any luck they could make it well past Tilverton by the end of the day. Fortunately, after the long, slow journey through the Anauroch their horses were just as eager for the chance to stretch their legs as the Everdawns were to achieve some good progress toward their final destination!

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Aug 14, 2010 4:26 am

Though disappointed, Vaniion and the Everdawns parted on good terms. Money was paid in full and an open invitation to ride with him anytime was given. Elric appreciated the sentiment, it was nice to find a sun elf who was a bit less arrogant. Vaniion had his moments, but he was still a credit to his subrace. Still, the half-elf doubted they would ever ride together again.

The desert was an 'interesting' experience, but not a pleasant one. The camels were uncomfortable, and much harder to control than horses... or even giant bees. The same monotonous view for weeks on end... nearly drove him mad. Add in the heat and water rationing... No, he didn't enjoy the desert. Still, one more part of the world he could say he'd traveled.

Tilverton was worse than they had expected. Night was coming early and it was nearly dusk when they finally approached the former city. Scattered about were houses of people too stubborn, or perhaps too foolish to be chased away. Seeing the former site of the city unnerved him.

Of the city, only the great walls still stood. inside was a bowl-like depression filled with shadow. Inside the shadow, he could have sworn he saw glimpses of even darker shadow. it may have been his mind playing tricks, but it did unnerve him. A short discussion later confirmed that neither of them felt comfortable being that close to the area, and so they put many more miles behind them that night before finally stopping to rest.

The days passed quickly and pleasantly. The sun was bright and warm during the day, despite the late season and though the temperature dropped at night, the Everdawns stayed quite warm, and all without the use of lard.

Soon the plains and foothills changed into a forest clearing. If their maps were right, the clearing should hold till after Mistledale, then they would be in the fabled Cormanthyr forest. After the weeks of desert, the sight of the trees in the distance brought a giddiness to Elric that was barely contained and a source of constant mirth to his equally excited wife.

The need to supply alone forced them to stay the night in Ashabenford. Though they were both eager to continue, in hindsight they were glad they stayed. Evening found them at the White Hart inn, enjoying a warm bath and listening to someone else play music for a change. Though the bard played nothing of Myth Drannor, Elric still enjoyed listening to the variety.
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Post  Penelope on Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:41 am

The bard had finished an entire song by the time Ashara was able to somewhat ignore the fact that they were sharing a bath with six strangers in the commonroom of this inn... It was strange, likely unsanitary and slightly uncomfortable, but the use of the public bath had come with the cost of the room and after a hard seven day ride the heated water sounded just too good to pass up. When in the Dales...

They'd made very good time from Griffon Hill and made it to Ashabenford on the 18th of Uktar. Taking the opportunity to let the previously reined in horses have their heads, Himbar and Kalpa gladly chose to use that freedom to full advantage! Tomorrow they would reach Cormanthyr. It was for the best that both the Everdawns and their horses were well rested and as well prepared as they could be. Two weeks worth of rations and the other usual supplies had been purchased and packed away in the Handy Haversack where the Everdawn Blade awaited its date with the Endless Dawn. Herbs and bandages replenished, holy water and light marbles restocked, a few potions and scrolls tucked safely away in case the situation would call for their use... The pair was as prepared as they could be for walking into an unknown and dangerous situation.

Ashara had heard many stories of Myth Drannor by this point in their journey, but not much at all about the deep forests surrounding the city.

"Elric, " she asked quietly, as the bard was just beginning lively song about the Riders of Mistledale, "have you heard any stories about the forest of Cormanthyr? I've been going through possible spells to request in the morning, and while I have a good idea of what might come in handy when we reach the city, we're going to have a full day of travel through the trees before we reach it. Are there any specific dangers that you've heard of in the area? Do the elves still guard the forests there or did they pull out entirely during the Retreat?"

As she waited for his reply, she tied up the few strands of her hair that had shaken free and decided to settle themselves in the bath water. The priestess resolved to enjoy the warmth and the friendly atmosphere in spite of the oddity of the situation. She guessed that many of the people here were adventurers themselves at one time or another and between songs, she'd hear snippets of conversations about 'glory days' or friends lost along the road. All in all, it was a lovely place to spend the evening, and if it hadn't been for their eagerness to seek out an adventure of their own, the Everdawns might have spent a few days in Mistledale!

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Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:36 pm

The half-elf arched his back and felt the tug of a stubborn knot under his right shoulder blade. The hot bath was helping, but it had a long way to go. Probably didn't help that he wasn't exactly 'relaxed' with this much company in the tub... It wasn't that unheard of... Public bath's were fairly common in Calimport he'd heard, though he'd never even dreamed of going to one. At least the water was high and their companions seemed every bit as nervous as they did. Still... maybe they didn't have to try every local custom they came across...

It wasn't hard to see who was used to this concept and who wasn't. The locals simply went about their business and didn't think twice. Their fellow travelers however... there were many quickly averted glances, a couple of leers that a half-elven glare quickly took care of, and while the water was hot... it wasn't hot enough to explain the blush on Thomas' or Helenia's faces.

Another young couple, who in their own discomfort, proceeded to tell their entire life story. Apparently it seemed that if you really want to get to know someone... take a bath with them! You'll quickly learn more than you ever wanted to know!

Ashara's question caused him to think... What did he know about the forest? He wiped his hand across his eyes to clear any dripping water. "I'm not really sure..." he finally admitted.

"I've heard stories set in the forest of course, but they were more... 'setting' then anything else. The kind of stories you could tell anywhere and insert the nearest forest in it's place. Romantic ballads and the sort. Mostly comparing the beauty of the trees to the beauty of the woman in the story. Nothing i'd take as a warning. Anything told about Cormanthyr iinvariably somehow makes it way into a Myth Drannor story. As for the elves, Who knows? I heard they were gone... "

"Bahh! They ain't all gone... Not yet anyway." Came a gruff voice from across the tub. Elric winced as he looked to the dwarf. He hadn't intended on advertising their destination, but his voice tended to carry and apparently there were no secrets in the tub.

Of them all Toradur looked the most comfortable. Sitting on a stool to keep his head above water, with both arms stretched along the rim of the tub, and a long flowing black beard floating in front of him, he seemed quite content.

"I heard they left about 30 years or so ago..." Thomas piped up

"They decided to leave 30 years ago... but either the pointy ears are too slow and lazy, and just ain't gotten around to it yet... or some were too stubborn to go with their kin and stuck around." The dwarf chest rumbled as he laughed causing a few more waves than the other bathers were comfortable with. "Either way, there ain't many of them... and they ain't fillin' honest travelers with holes no more... but don't ye be doubtin' they're still around..."
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