Guardians of the Past

9th of Ches 1365 Year of the Sword (Part I)

The members of the Circle of Valor put on their finery and walk to the Elfstone Tavern together. There at the entrance they are greeted by the scent of a rain-washed forest, and they see that the taproom’s roof soars up at least five stories to accommodate the live trees that grow here and there in the room. Gentle, floating motes of blue light drift among the clientele, who are almost exclusively elven. The reason for this is immediately apparent: a pair of well-armed gold elf sentinels guard the door like a pair of glowering bookends. They look the group over, considering.

One of them speaks, “There are no others of your kind inside, master dwarf. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable drinking somewhere else.” The elven guards move to block the door to the dwarf. From the corner of his eye, Uldred can see an ancient elf lift one long-fingered hand in a peremptory gesture. Immediately the guards halt. The elf—marked by his fine white robes and platinum torque as a personage of some importance—whispers a few words to the hostess, Yaereene Ilbaereth. Her angular face lights in a smile of genuine pleasure, and she comes to meet the party with outstretched hands. The door guards melt away at her approach.
Yaereene is tall and slender, with the silvery hair and eyes common to moon elves. She wears a sparkling gown that is alternately blue or green, for it changes color to match the whim and color of the tiny faerie dragon perched on her shoulder. The creature grins and flaps its gossamer wings as the pair approach, and its jeweled scales are echoed by the fine blue topaz woven into the intricate silver mesh of the elf’s necklace.

“Welcome to the Elfstone Tavern,” Yaereene says, holding out both hands to Erith in a manner common to ladies of the Waterdhavian court. It is a gracious gesture, accepting a human by his own custom. Erith takes her hands and kisses the slender fingers, and then responds in kind: holding both hands, palms up, before him, he bows low to her in a uniquely elven gesture of respect. Yaereene’s smile widens, and then turned into a delighted laugh when the bard addresses the faerie dragon with a few words in Elven. In response, the tiny creature graciously cranes its jeweled head to one side, allowing Erith to scratch its neck as he would that of a housecat.

Yaereene greets everyone making them all feel at home and several of the heroes notice the many gracious nods the elven patrons have sent their way. Lady Yaereene claims Uldred’s arm and leads him deeper into the taproom. “Today you are the guest of Evindal Duirsar, Patriarch Priest of Corellon Larethian,” she said, indicating the aged elf who had interceded on his behalf. “May I call on you later, after you have spoken and shared a drink?” She asks Erith. “Of course,” Erith replies graciously.

The elven priest rises when the party approaches and says “Fair be our meeting, for our hearts are light and our swords sheathed, we hold peace in our hands and its light guides us.” After the rituals of greeting are accomplished the priest motions to the group to sit down. “Do you drink elverquisst?” the priest asks. Corthen speaks up, “Yes, please. We would all enjoy a glass.”

Evindal Duirsar smiles and signals for more goblets, which are immediately supplied by an elven servant. The priest’s mood abruptly sobers, and he leans forward and speaks in a quiet voice. "My son is Erlan Duirsar, he is the Watcher of Greycloak Hills and the Lord of the Hill Council of Evereska. My niece, Shilera Mooncloak, she is the Evereskan Ambassador to Waterdeep. She has told me of your service to the elven people. Shilera is hosting a delegation at the Embassy that wishes to pay tribute to you for your heroics against the drow and the rescue of the bowyer’s daughter, while they are here in the City of Splendors. My niece will be sending transport and an escort for you shortly.” The aged priest carefully pours the elverquisst for each of them before setting the crystal decanter back down.

The elven priest becomes silent and gestures toward the middle of the taproom. There sits a flaxen-haired elf maid, singing and playing upon a gilded harp. The song she sings is in elven. It tells of a young maid who loved a brave knight. One day she watches as her knight and the many other knights ride off with the king to face an invading enemy. There is a terrible battle against a horde of orcs and trolls, but the elves have won a great victory. Many rejoice at the news in the kingdom. The maid waits for her knight to return. Finally, the army returns to the city. Less than half of the knights return with the king to the garrison. The maiden’s love was not among them. The maid now weeping and her heart breaking asks the king where her sweet love can be. His reply, he now resides in Arvandor his duty done. He has honorably served his people, his king, and the gods. He had killed hundreds of the enemy, before he was mortally wounded. But still he did not give up. He asked the gods to allow him to fight on so that his maiden and his people would be safe. So compelling was the knight, the gods intervened and removed his pain. The knight battled on, turning the tide of the battle and he saved the king’s life with his last breath. The maid wipes away her tears at the King’s words. Her love had saved the people of the forest kingdom, he had truly served his king, and he had kept his faith strong in the Seldarine. The maiden swallowed the pain and smiled, she would see her love again one day.

Erith and the elves recognize the tune as ‘The Maiden of High Damador’. “That is such a moving song,” Evindal says. “Only the elves can sing of such sorrow of the heart and give such inspiration at the same time,” Erith says wiping an eye. Evindal smiles, “Such understanding of the melancholy and the joy of my people by one so young as you lifts my heart.”

Saedellas speaks, "Patriarch, can you tell me where the closest grove of Corellon is to the City of Waterdeep? I would like spend time there, when I am not engaged in seeking my father’s inheritance under the city. " Evindal replies, “The closest active groves to the Creator are in Evereska and the High Forest, but I do hold services at the shrine at the embassy. You and your friends are welcome to attend services there if you wish.”

Evindal rises from the table. "I’m afraid it is time to leave. I see the escorts have arrived. Yaereene glides over to the table before the party has a chance to leave the table. “I want to thank you all for gracing the Elfstone Tavern with your presence today. You are most welcome to return whenever you please and I sincerely hope you will do so. Erith, I must ask you to perform for us one night you are free. It would be our honor to have you here.” She says.

Erith reddens for a moment, before bowing deeply to Yaereene. “No, my lady, the great honor of playing in one of the most esteemed establishments of the Sword Coast would forever be mine.” Yaereene smiles at the bard’s compliment. She then addresses the party. “Sweet water and light laughter until next we meet my friends.” The party says their goodbyes to Yaereene and Patriarch Dusair.

As Uldred is leaving, the gold elf door warden who addressed him as he entered the Elfstone approaches him. He speaks to Uldred in the dwarven tongue. “My apologies, Uldred of Gorm. I offended you earlier I wish to right that wrong. Many say my people are too often caught up in their own affairs and in doing so treat others as less than equals. I apologize for my lack of respect towards you. I should have asked you who you were and why you had come here. Had I done my duty properly, I would have known you were expected and I would not have shamed myself and brought shame to Lady Yaereene. My name is Olniarr Highspear and I humbly ask you for forgiveness for my shameful actions.” He bows his head and drops to one knee before the dwarf. Uldred speaks to Olniarr, “Rise, sir elf. You have not offended me. You were only performing your duty as a guardian. I serve the Lord of Vigilance, and I respect your duties here. I am a dwarf, we are made of tougher hide than most. I shall return another day here to enjoy the songs and drink. It would be my honor if you would join me, when you are off-duty.” The gold elf smiles and nods, “I would be most honored. Thank you for allowing me to right my wrong.” The two shake hands in dwarven fashion and the group leaves the Elfstone to meet the Evereskan guards sent to escort them to the Embassy.

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