After he finishes telling Yaereene and Pyrith of his adventures, Corthen points out that three of his companions have also joined him at the Elfstone Tavern. She looks as Corthen points to Nolia, Saedellas, and Silvaris in the crowds of the common room. Yaereene then asks, “Are all of your companions of our people? I am also surprised I have not heard of your exploits among our regular customers here. Not even Khelben Arunsun or his nephew has spoken of an elven adventuring band new to the city.”
Corthen replies, “No Lady Yaereene, there are other members of our party who are not of the people. My other friends are Tellazar of the Orbs; a crafty human mage, as well as Uldred; a priest of the dwarven people. Erith is a human warrior and songsmith. So, no, we are not an entirely elven band of adventurers. I have found the humans and the dwarf to be great companions and each skillful in battle. All the members of the Circle of Valor have earned my respect and friendship.” Corthen adds, “I would be very humbled if I knew that our name has reached the Blackstaff. I am not surprised that he is not familiar with us yet. Your mention of his nephew has me a little befuddled though. Who might his nephew be?” Yaereene excuses herself and tells Corthen she will return shortly.
As dusk settles into early night, the moon elven staff of the Elfstone Tavern begins opening rooftop shutters above the taproom. They climb the living trees of the tap room to do so. They nimbly climb up; open the shutters along the roof, allowing the tapestry of the night sky to unfold above. The elves of the taproom look up, enjoying a view of the heavens.
Silvaris has taken a table along the wall near the door. A server takes his order and quickly returns with a glass of moonwine. The rogue scans the room watching the crowd. The bearded man’s companion had gotten up and walked out of the tavern past Silvaris, when the staff opened the roof shutters to the night sky. The dark bearded man remains seated alone at the table. He seems engrossed in deep thought and unaware that the thief’s eyes watch him. Silvaris does notice that the dark haired woman at the back of the room seems to be eyeing him while she laughs and drinks with her companions.
Yaereene returns to the bar and fills several glasses before returning to speak with Corthen Nightglade. "Khelben’s nephew is a noble of the Thann family. Dannilo is his name,” she tells him. “He sometimes joins his uncle here for drinks and a stern lecturing. He did not join him tonight though; he is likely attending a feast in the North Ward, or taking in the sights at Mother Tathlorn’s Festhall.”
Corthen replies, “I see, Lady Yaereene. From what I have heard of the Blackstaff, I don’t believe I would like to be on the receiving end of a lecture from him. Milady, might I say that you have a lovely establishment here. Not since the last time I was under the Shadowtops of the Cormanthir Forest have I felt as at home as I do in your tavern. Yaereene, I would also like to add that I and my party have been invited to the Hawkwinters’ annual costume ball, and it would honor me deeply if you would see fit to accompany me to the costume ball, of course that is if you are not betrothed or involved with a very fortunate elf.”
Yaereene smiles. “You are very kind, Corthen. I thank you kindly for the honor to join you, but I should pass on the event. The Elfstone is very much of my life, and I cannot walk away for an entire evening without hours, nay days of planning. I know many young ladies who would be glad to be escorted to such an event. If you would like my assistance introducing you to a few, I would be glad to do so.” Corthen nods. “I would, my Lady,” he says. “Oh… did I understand you to say that Thann did not join Khelben tonight. Is Khelben present here now?”
Yaereene responds,“Yes, he is present. Would you like to meet him?” Corthen nods to her question. She smiles at Corthen before whispering, “Watch thy tongue and make no foolish remarks to him. I would not call him by any other name than Khelben, he does not like to be addressed as Blackstaff.” The regal moon elf steps out to the floor and approaches the bearded man alone in thought. She speaks to him quietly for a few moments, before he stands, picking up an ebony staff from beside his seat and follows his elven hostess.
A 6-foot-tall, well-muscled, bearded man with a receding hairline, black hair with silver streaks, including a prominent one through his beard, and a distinguished, imposing manner approaches the bar. He is dressed in nondescript robes and is holding his trademark black staff. “Corthen Nightglade of Elven Court, may I introduce you to Khelben Arunsun, Archmage of Waterdeep.” says Yaereene in formal elven. “A star shall shine on the hour of our meeting”, says the wizard in formal elven greeting. “Ever is thy sight a joy, ’Reene. Now I believe your invite included a glass of elverquisst, yes?”
Corthen greets Khelben Arunsun with a sweeping bow and says, "It is an honor and privilege to meet you Master Archmage. As Yaereene indicated I am Corthen Nightglade of the adventuring band The Circle of Valor. We are a young but fierce party exploring the black depths of the Underhalls. I indeed do hope that Sehanine herself does put forth a star to shine on our meeting here this beautiful Waterdhavian Eve. Might I also introduce you to some of my friends who are here tonight?” Lady Yaereene speaks, "Corthen, why don’t you gather your fine companions while I open a room for you all to talk in? Corthen scrambles over to the elven rogue. “Silvaris, come, come! It’s the Blackstaff! He’s here and wants to have a drink with us. Let me get Nolia and Saedellas.” Then the leader of the Circle of Valor hurries to Nolia’s table and as quickly to where Saedellas is sitting.
Yaereene, owner of the Elfstone Tavern, opens a closed door near the bar and escorts Khelben Blackstaff Arunsun and the elves of the Circle of Valor inside a private room bringing a decanter of elverquisst. A pretty gold elf serving girl brings a tray of glasses and departs the room. Khelben sits beside Yaereene leaving the rest of the group to take a chair at the finely carved table. Yaereene speaks, “I am pleased to meet you all. Corthen has shared with me stories of your exploits." She pours you each a glass of elverquisst before continuing.
“Khelben, these young souls have taken up adventuring in the halls beneath the city. They are known as the Circle of Valor. Have you heard of them?” The archmage finishes his drink and surveys the room before speaking. “Yes, I heard yesterday that an elven adventuring group was invited to the Hawkwinter party. I am sure that Eremoes is curious about these children of the forests and why they plumb the depths of the old tunnels below.”
Saedellas laughs. “We have a good purpose for doing so. We plumb the depths in search of a lost treasure that once belonged to a brave party known as the Sword Coast Company.” The elven priest of Corellon pauses and then continues with a smile, "Actually, I also like to think we do it to show the world that “fair” does not mean weak. I fear nothing with Corellon at my side. My companions, no more than that, my brothers and sister, including the humans and the dwarf, are proof to me that all of the races can join in true friendship and that there is much to be admired in all of them. We became a company by chance, but family through our deeds. I could not have chosen better companions had I tried."
The door opens once again, and platters of fruits, cheeses, and elven bread are brought in. Yaereene invites you all and any of your friends to dine here. Khelben stands, “I must decline, ’Reene. My lady awaits me yet.” He gently kisses her hand, and then he turns to the adventurers and says, "Be careful in your wanderings in the city, in Undermountain, and in the fine villas of the nobility. Each has its own dangers and can be an adventure in itself. May you walk unscathed and live free wherever you may go. Fare you well. "With a few arcane words, the wizard known to be one of the most powerful spellcasters in the realms vanishes by magic.