From the Ashes: The Future of Arda

Walgrim: What do you get when you put a Dark Elf in a crowd of Kira Zealots?

Today I was alone in the shop. I sent my new shopkeeper on a journey to the Rosewood to find Purple Moon Moss for a series of potions I’m making. I neglected to tell him of course that there is no such thing as Purple Moon Moss, and that the journey was purely for him to get some worldly experience of a more dangerous nature. I’ve also neglected to tell Sylvi this, as it is likely she would tan my hide if she found out. I was working in the back while Sylvi watched the front, mostly writing notes for the book Father Carhold gave me, when someone walked into the shop. It was a beautiful young woman dressed in travelers clothing and looking around at the various wares I keep in the front. She didn’t give her name but knew mine and wished to know more than just that. Naturally I am suspicious of any stranger who knows my name and wishes to know about meself and my business, and so I skirted over her wishes and attempted to interest her into a dagger. When she claimed that my showroom daggers were lackluster, I brought out my set of masterworks. These are what I usually use, but am always willing to sell for the right price. She deigned to take one of the ruby ones (fortunately not my favorite) and again insulted the craftsmanship. At this point I attempted to take a leaf from Valdis’s book and read her thoughts. Strange thing was I couldn’t. On a good day I can readily read just about everyone in Maidenpool, but I couldn’t read her, just like I can’t read Sylvi. At this point I was well past worrying that she was some kind of spy such as that woman (he methods were far too course), and suggested that she follow me to the forge and show me how a real professional did it. She accepted, surprisingly, and more surprisingly produced a decent dagger, though she completely skipped several essential steps in the process, which I corrected for her, and asked at last what exactly she wanted at my shop. In my experience such inquisitors are either thieves or looking for work, and I’d given her ample opportunity to steal. She said she was neither, paid me forty for the piece, and didn’t even take it with her. Odd. Too odd to be coincidental. It seems that my shop is a haven for such oddities, as immediately following the young woman’s departure, a minstrel came into the shop bearing a letter for me. He said he had gotten it from a messenger who appeared jittery and slightly singed: no doubt Logan, my usual mail carrier, has deigned to forego bringing my letters directly after his mishap with an unfinished tanglefoot bag variant I had left lying on the counter last week.

The bard wandered the shop as I read the letter, playing idly on his lute. The letter was from the man Valdis had told me to expect contact from; Illyrio. It said that he would be in town at the end of the year, roughly four weeks away, and would at that time meet with me and my team (which I am to gather between then and now) to discuss our trial run in his employ. I thanked the young bard for his delivery and paid him a few silver for the job. The lad seemed impressed by my wares and asked if it’d be ok for him to set outside a bit and play, which I was more than agreeable to. I didn’t share the letter with Sylvi, who I thought wasn’t ready for such a proposition and seemed more so when I asked her to go find the young woman who had just left. She’s still incredibly uncomfortable in social situations, preferring whenever she can to remain in animal form when visiting the city. Regardless, I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that the young lass was and is meant to be a member of this team, just as Sylvi is. Anyone who walks into an artificiary and proceeds to attempt to show up the resident artificer has, if nothing else, gumption. We need gumption on this team.

The rest of the day passed quietly and smoothly until around evening, when I noticed a large commotion making its way down the main street. I poked outside to see many of the townsfolk running away from the direction of Crescent Square. I then remembered what day it was. Today was the day of remembrance for the victims of the demon-child of Maidenpool. I grabbed my sword and a flare scroll out of the back and made my way to the square. I don’t know what I expected to find; maybe Valdis had returned and was making a scene, or maybe Sylvi had caused a commotion when she found the lass. Whatever the case, I was not prepared for what was in the square.

Sylvi, the lass, the bard, and a dark elf who could only have just wandered into town were standing in the now practically vacant square; vacant save for them, the Mother of the local temple to Kira, and around 10 unconscious civilians all lying at the feet of the dark elf. I let loose a flare and demanded to know what the fuck was going on, and began to see to the injured men at the dark elf’s feet. None were seriously injured, but such a public disturbance and injury would likely bring guards and an inquiry to which I think no one wanted to be privy to. Those of us still in the square left for Sylvani’s place in the woods. There we discussed what had happened. Apparently in her search for the young lass, who goes by the name Jenelle Gristla, Sylvani happened across the ceremony taking place in the square, and across the dark elf, who is named simply Terari. In a “misunderstanding” Terari was taken for an unclean soul by one of the worshippers, who deigned it necessary to have her cleansed. This did not suit Terari’s demeanor, and before Sylvani could explain or calm anyone down, Terari decked the zealots around her until everyone fled the scene screaming of abominations and unclean ones. Needless to say I felt bad for the poor lass. I’ve seen through Valdis what the church of Kira can do to those its patrons deem as unsavory. Despite that, leaving as we did left a sour taste in my mouth, and given my report with the city guard, I thought I could smooth the situation over by explaining both sides from a neutral point. I took Terari with me and asked Sylvi to take everyone else back to the shop for some food, and to discuss a potential partnership for the team. On our way to the precinct we were intercepted by none other than Valdis, who seemed furious at me for taking Terari to the precinct in the first place. He thought I was going to make her apologize for the attack. Far from it of course I spat back that I’d never dream of such a thing, when Terari’s actions had clearly been in self-defense, and how could Valdis possibly think, after knowing what he went through with the church, and him knowing my views on organized religion in general, that I would do anything so heinously unfair. He promised that he would sort things out with the city guard, and he said so with a tone that told me that it was not up for discussion.

At the shop, the 5 of us waited and dined until Valdis returned. He said the situation was taken care of, and left it at that. He and I then began to explain Illyrio’s deal to my guests. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped at first. Sylvani was shocked that she was a candidate, and seemed scared to accept, and Valdis couldn’t understand why I hadn’t told her before now. The bard, Markos, seemed to like the idea, as did Terari after it the proposition was explained in full. Jenelle seemed distracted though she accepted the bargain, and Valdis seemed distracted as well by the young lass. Later in confidence, when everyone else had gone to sleep, he told me to watch out for her, that she was not whom she appeared to be. I said I’d keep an eye out, but that she seemed trustworthy enough to have on the team. Time will tell if my choice is right. We’ve got 3 weeks to Illyrio’s visit. I’m sure in that time we’ll find out anything we need to.

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