Balance

Leaves From the Vine

31st of Sunsebb 383 ONT 1:13am, Embassy of Redwall, Eiradun, Argyle

Please Listen While Reading

Thaden looked up from his mediation and locked eyes with Master Meagre; how long the Master had been present Thaden was unsure, he nodded alerting him that he was now awake and present as well.

“Did you see it?” Meagre asked his voice calm. Thaden gave a slight nod

“The confrontation, yes; but not the outcome I am afraid. Shepard, Thrawn and his apprentice will attack the Embassy” Meager stood and began to pace the room

“It is not too late” the Guard Mouse offered, we could retreat, choose another time, another location” Thaden could tell Meagre did not agree with this, but his conscious required he voice the option.

“No,” Thaden said “We will never have the warning, or the assembled allies we have now; we must make a stand at some point, and I see no other like options” Meagre nodded

“If we fail, he will march on Arbor-Portum and sack it, then take all his forces to wipe out the last of the Fur and Foot Nation. Four Guard Mice, against Shepard and his host…. I do not know”

“It will be both an end and a beginning… Shepard will not survive this battle; should that mean we are extinct afterwards… so be it; but his reign has come to an end” Thaden said rising to his feet “and we are not four… my apprentice is prepared, ze will take up our fight… Five Guard Mice, and Steward of Bendu, and …” he sighed not believing what he was about to say “St Fargazer is not completely without merit, I will gladly take his aid and fight by his side in the battle”

“Master Thaden! You would trust and Amphib of Bogna?” Meagre did not try to hide his shock

“I ask that you place your trust in my judgement and extend it to him, St. Fargazer and I disagree on many things philosophically, but he will not betray us; he is not corrupted” Meagre appraised Thaden for a long time, before he at last nodded

“Ok then, we fight beside him, and the others on the 35th and we see what the next age shall look like. If you have letters or final words that need sending, make your perpetrations accordingly” Meagre said bowing deeply, Thaden returned the bow

“It has been an honour learning from you Master Meagre, thank you… for everything” Thaden said, a lump in his throat

“I regret only that I was not with you when you attained the rank of Master, Thaden of Rootwallow. I am so very proud of you” the two looked finished their bow and locked eyes again, both could see tears. Both knew the other had seen more than he was letting on; both knew the other could not or would not share what they had seen. The embraced each other in a hug, something not customarily done by Masters of Ashla, but more reminiscent of brothers.

31st of Sunsebb 383 ONT 9:13am, Embassy of Redwall, Eiradun, Argyle

Thaden approachedLux de Umbra as she practiced and trained outside of the Embassy. Seeing his approach, she quickly shifted forms and became Autumn. He smiled and bowed to her, she gave him an odd look, bowing was not their custom but returned the bow in-kind.

“good morning Thaden, what’s up?” she asked cheerily, there had been a cool breeze that morning in Eiradun with a thin dusting snow, the day was bright and things had the feeling of new beginnings.

“Good morning Autumn, I know it may be asking a lot with your new role, but I was hoping… well” his tongue was tied, again not the norm for their relationship “with your permission I have an important errand I need to run… I was hoping perhaps I might travel with Aury if possible” he stammered out. Lux smiled at the little Waylen thinking him silly for being so worried about a trivial request

“Of course Thaden, is it far? Would you rather I take the form of a hawk to speed us there?” the Waylen shook his head

“it is not far, and if it is ok with you, I think Aury Cat would be best for this errand” she was already shifting into her cat form as he spoke. He grinned, running his hand through the fur above her head as he walked around to he flank and mounted

“is there danger? Should we invite any of the others to accompany us?”

“nothing we can’t handle” he said as he put his feet to her flanks, the two began a ride. Out from the Embassy the left veering through the district of Grandview and into the Temple District, from there they entered the gardens of Eiradun. Thaden chatted ideally to Aury as they rode, speaking in a manner he had not since their bond had been broken. He spoke of young Tander, of how much he liked the new ship; and how he thought his apprentices training was coming along. The two laughed together about the Pine Nuts that he had assured were in the conference room the other day. Aury found herself joining the conversation, telling him about her time with Talib and Illiate, about her memories coming back. They rode for near two hours before Aury realized they were almost back at the embassy. When they arrived and he dismounted she looked at him oddly.

“What of your errand?” she queried, he smiled at her before touching his forehead to hers in a sign of affection

“it is done Aury… you have my eternal thanks” he kissed her forehead and bowed once more before turning and entering the Embassy once more. Leaving Aury confused, but with an uncomfortable sinking feeling in her heart.

31st of Sunsebb 383 ONT 2:14pm, Embassy of Redwall, Eiradun, Argyle

Please Listen While Reading

Thaden and Thalion entered the great room together. The walls of the room were covered with tapestries of Guard Mice from across the ages. The two came to the centre of the room, where two pillows lay, between them was a small table. On the table sat a steaming black tea pot and two white handleless cups, beside the table was a small package. Thaden ushered Thalion to sit as he took his own seat sitting crisscross on a pillow. He poured the tea for Thalion and before taking a cup himself. The two sat in silence for a long time, watching the steam dance from their cups, the sweet aroma filling the room.

“As you know, I am not a rich Waylen. The path of the Guard, is not one that leads to riches; and so where I might wish, and you are more than deserving of, the pomp and ceremony that you lavished upon your squire; I am afraid I cannot give you that.” Thaden raised a hand to stop Thalion’s objections “Thalion Alfirn, a Master begins crafting a cloak for his apprentice the day he takes them on; our circumstance is different, and instead, here is what I offer.” He passed the small package to Thalion, who carefully placed his tea on the table and opened it. Thalion opened it and found a well mended cloak. Thaden’s old blue cloak was in his hands. “With this gift,” Thaden began in a solemn tone “I mark you a full member of the Guard, welcome Thalion, May the Guard Prevail!” Thalion was speechless, he didn’t know what to say other than the very obvious

“May the Guard Previal! But Master Thaden… why? I still have so much to learn” Thaden smiled before sipping his tea again

“Thank you,” he bowed his head “that response is the best one a teacher can ask for… we never finished learning, but you now move to the next level Guardsmen Thalion… wear the cloak with pride, and remember your brethren in Ashla always”

31st of Sunsebb 383 ONT 6:24pm, Mess Hall, Champions Helm, Eiradun, Argyle

Thaden sat and listened to the crew as they ate their evening meal; he listened to Mandy and Taaj speak of their upcoming wedding, of the new Pebble ask endless questions of the Bolder. He smiled as he watched Tar-Di and Cassidy sit with the other crewmembers in a high stakes card game, he was even treated to some singing from a few of the crew as they got a little rowdier. He kept to himself mostly but listened and smiled as they went about their evening in laughter and joy.

31st of Sunsebb 383 ONT 11:14pm, The Great Apple Tree, Outside the Embassy of Redwall, Eiradun, Argyle

Thaden sat before the apple tree in mediation, at last he allowed himself to pull the simple cloth from his satchel. The sewn one that he and Moria were to be hand fasted with. He held it to his heart and let free a good honest cry. At last he had no one with him to be strong for, he sobbed and heaved until no more tears would come, until his throat was raw and his breath came ragged.

“I love you Moria, I’m sorry… I’m so sorry. It won’t be long now; order will be set right at last, and then… then I don’t know…” he took a moment to gather his breath “I don’t know if you are out there Moria… I don’t know how to find you. I have met Gods, beings of power… they do not know, where do the souls of the Waylen travel after they leave this realm? Do they go anywhere? Is there peace to be found… or just, nothing? I miss you Moria, I miss you so much my love… so very much”

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Assembling the Crew Pt 2

15th of Patchwall, 383 ONT, 1:19pm, The Accidental Pudding Inn, Common Room, High Port, Elven Court

“So we are going to take on Cilda, Joel and Yannick and Mary for sure” Gioume said to Teagan and Ku-Aya as he looked over his notes from the previous interviews. Teagan took her warm cup of Kaffe and took a long slow sip, she was developing a taste for the southern drink.

“I think the Captain had settled on a Halfling form their island as well… a Mary Sincock” Teagan said. Guiome shuffled his notes around as she spoke

“I have that here, and that the Goddess decided that Moses was getting on board… I must say I disagree, but so it goes” he said pulling the two pages of notes.

“I would like to put another argument forward for Magdalene Zirne” Ku-Aya said. Both Teagan and Guiome gave him incredulous looks. “I know, I know” he said raising his hands in mock defense before they could attack him “She knocked over a tray of ale, slipped and sent two pages of notes into the fire pit… it was unlucky”

“Unlucky… that sounds like cursed,” Teagan put in “When she left she walked into the street and almost got run down by a cart, the porter swerved and scarped the paint of his cart and ruined the awning of the place across the road… something we are paying for”

“I know… but I got a good feeling about her” Ku-Aya offered “She has the background, and the temperament, she’ll be good for the team” the other two looked at him skeptically “look, I haven’t used my veto yet, I am putting it in for Mags, if she doesn’t work out I’ll pay out her contract and let her go at the next port… fair?” Teagan and Guiome looked at each other, but could not argue with that, so at last relented.

“Fair enough…” Giome said “That means we have Magdalene, Rebecca, Adela and Emmanuel… that wraps up the last of our Riggers… should we move on to our Able Bodied Sailors?” there was a collective sigh from the group as they turned to the next section of hires.


.

“So even though you’ve been taken on as the Captain’s Squire you’ll have a fair amount of work cut out for you, be aware of what’s coming and for the hard work ahead” Bronwyn said to the lithe elven girl as she issued uniforms and weapons to her.

“I am ready to work, my dream has always been to be a knight of Quenya, I am closer now than ever before” the girl said with a determined look on her face “I’ll be the best squire Ser Thalion has ever seen” Bronwyn could not help snorting in disbelief which elicited a looked of anger from the girl.

“I’m sorry, that was inappropriate” Bronwyn said mastering herself once more “it’s just… do you know who Ser Thalion’s last squire was?” the girls back straightened

“I heard it was some goblin or something, an odd case…” She stopped seeing Bronwyn already shaking her head “what?”

“Her last squire was Ser Maddax of Eltera, Sheppard of the Innocent, Wing-Leader for the Champions Helm” she said in seriousness, “do you know what Ser Maddax did as a squire?” again the girl shook her head, some of the confidence draining from her face “Ser Maddax fought a Linorium Dragon armed with only a crude stone tipped spear… that was just to prove himself worthy of Ser Thalion’s notice, from there he fought in a civil war against undead and elven snipers, rescued a phoenix from captivity while polymorphed into a kitten, fought a giant, repelled pirates, traveled to another plane to do battle with a kabal of brain eating illithids all while assuring his master armor was shined and weapons sharp… let’s just say the shoes you have to fill as a squire… are titanic” Bronwyn finished, the girl’s eyes were wide in shock, as she presumably tried to figure out how she would ever compare to the Captain’s former squire. Bronwyn gave her a wry grin “welcome on board… I’m sure you’ll do fine” she said with a fake chipperness, proud that the girl’s ego had been checked.

.


.

“Aye Lad, I’m glad this ‘ill work fer us both” the older dwarf said as he shook Rick’s hand

“Well we are privileged to have a man of your experience working for us Master Storeguaard… and honestly, my team is burning it at both ends, we could use the help” Rick replied, confirming that the contract was filled out properly

“Well, as said, I got a few affairs to sort, but could be ready to begin work the day after next”

“Sounds Great, I’ll get a room here ready for you and have everything in order when you return” Rick finished. The Dwarf and Human shook hands solidifying the new guards joining of the crew.

.


.

“You want to hire Rhush?” Aurelia said looking over the notes as she spoke to Willhym

“Ya, I think there’s a lot of potential there… someone that can be molded” the Halfling said as he leaned back in his chair

“You say here that she showed up over twenty minutes late… and that she has no experience working with cannons or guns” Aurellia said questioningly

“Blank slate… no bad habits to fix” Willhym replied

“Except the late thing” Aurelia replied drolly

“There is that, but I think she’ll do well for the crew… she makes me laugh, and I feel she is trainable”

“I don’t know… it’s an entry level position, but we have some other real decent candidates here”

“Come on Aurelia, you said this would be my team… let me pick the ones I want… if she doesn’t work out it’s on me, but I think she is trainable, and someone who can bring some mirth to an otherwise super serious team has their own value” Willhym said leaning forward with his appeal. Aurelia gave him a long hard look, but at gave a resigned nod… he was right, it was his team.

“So be it, but her performance will reflect on you” she warned. Willhym leaned back and smiled

“Not to worry, I’m all over it”

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Assembling the Crew Pt 1

11th of Patchwall, 383 ONT, 11:41pm, The Accidental Pudding Inn, Common Room, High Port, Elven Court

“So then I ran forward with all the powder I could carry,” The blond dwarf exclaimed with his hands as he spoke “I knew tha’ the drakes would be upon us soon, so I loaded the four cannon’s me own self, and set them ta fire in sequence… oh lad, ya should have seen the look on the drakes own face as he rose over the ledge and took all four shot’s right ta the centre… it was the end of that foul creature, I’ll tell ya that” The Dwarf beamed in pride as he finished his story. Willhym took a board sip from his ale and gave the dwarf a long look

“So, you are saying that in the time it took for a drake to fly up seventy feet, you climbed a rope, loaded and aimed for cannons and rigged them all to fire at the same time to hit a moving creature in flight, and all four were direct hits”. The dwarf looked insulted by the halflings words

“When ya say it like tha’ it sounds a bit farfetched I grant ya, but it happened, sure as we are sitting here today!” The dwarf demanded slamming his fist on the table, spilling a little of Willhym’s ale on his sheefs of notes. This elicited a glare from the Halfling.

“Be that as it may, I think I’m going to pass, we’ll cover your drink today, thanks for applying” Willhym said in a rehearsed tone.

“Pass… On me? Why on Argyle would ya be so daft as to pass up the best gunner this side of The Stronghold?” the dwarf demanded, his pride wounded

“Well, let’s see” Willhym said shaking the spilled ale off his notes “In your eighty years of gunning experience, that you claim to have fired and fought most every creature… you have not got a single living reference to corroborate your skill or stories… so either you’re a liar, in which case I don’t need or want you… or you’re telling the truth and are like a magnet calling for my early demise assuming your pattern holds true… either way I want nothing to do with it… Thank you”

“BY YOLO’s BEARD, I’M NO LIAR!” The dwarf roared

“thank you” Willhym said again, a note of irritation in his voice as he flagged down Rick to escort the dwarf out

“I did kill the drake… I really did!” the dwarf said as Rick gently but firmly took his arm and began walking him to the door

“I’m sure you did” Rick said in a complacent tone as he walked the dwarf outside. Willhym turned and looked over into the booth behind him where Teagan was going through more piles of notes

“How many more of these do I have to do?” he asked

“Twenty six more applicants” Teagan said, her words seemed to deflate the Halfling as he melted back into his booth on his bench

“Shoot me now” he mumbled to no one in particular.


“… Look I don’t care how pointy your ears are, or who you’ve trained with, your past experience means exactly nothing here buddy” Maddax said leaning across the table to star at the shirtless half elf across from him. “You are applying to join the Wing of the Champions Helm, the most elite flying unit to take to the skies since the Dragon Wars. I am expected to train you, and you need to prove to me that you are good enough to deserve the privilege of flying on the Wing of Ser Thalion Alfrin. So explain to me again why you and Zephyrus should be allowed to join my team, and why the heck you would come to an interview without a shirt on”. The Half Elf seemed intimidated by the Goblin Knight but swallowed hard and began to speak


“So, you two are brothers?” Guiome asked as he sat down beside Ku-Aya to conduct yet another Rigger Interview.

“Ah, Yes, we are, how you say, a package” theHill Dwarf said in a thick northern accent. “I am Joel, and this is mon frear, Yannick”

“I see” Guiome said running his fingers through his hair. “Well, I am Guiome and…” we was cut off by Ku-Aya making a loud very fake cough, Guiome rolled his eyes but grinned despite himself “I Am Guiome Dela-Vegga Del-Toro, Bosun on the Champion’s Helm… Please to meet you both”


“Don’t be shy Dani, theirs not gonna be a lot of room for shyness on our little boat” Mandy said standing outside the dockyards pointing to the massive ship under construction. The joke did not land, the 11 year old just stared at her. She felt her cheeks turn red as she tried to compose herself. “So, as my apprentice I need you to get familiar with the tools, that’s going to be a lot of the job starting out, getting the right tool to me when I need it… ummm… here” Mandy pushed the package she’d been carrying into the little girls hands… the girl looked up surprised

“For me?” she asked

“Of course it’s for you silly… open it” she bit her lip with excitement, she had wanted her apprentice to have something special, something to mark her positon on the crew, Mandy knew the Captain would have paid for it if asked, but she had wanted this to be from her. She watched as Dani opened the cloth wrapping and found a well-oiled tool belt, with a hammer, spanner and a few drivers. The belt had Dani Devens etched into the back, so everyone would know these were her tools” the girl looked up with a smile on her face

“I can wear this?” Dani asked seeing more wealth in this tool bag then she’d ever seen in her entire life

“Wear it? Consider it part of your uniform, you don’t go on duty without it kiddo!” she said with a smile… “Now!” she clapped her hands together “we have an hour before I am needed back here, I know the Captain will get you a uniform or two, but as someone who only had uniforms sometimes it’s nice to have something to change into when acid or fire or…” she stopped seeing the worried face her apprentice was making “Or you spill grease on yourself, she recovered… anyway, let’s head down to the shopping district and get you outfitted with a few more things to wear…” she looked down “and some proper boots”

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Having a Bad Day Pt 4

8th of Patchwall, 383 ONT, Cell of Red Tower of Sorcery, Highport, Argyle

Hikari stared out the window for hours, face pressed to the glass. She moved only when her breath fogged up the window, and then only until it cleared enough for her to see once more. There was no sign of Thaden, nor the Owl… both had vanished somewhere below the Red Tower.

At last Hikari forced herself to kick her mind into gear, she looked at the window, and the tiny point of Thaden’s crystal blade sticking through the seam. Her hands reached for the ball and cup toy she’d been given and with her pinky claw she put the smallest of holes in the ball, just enough to fit the tip of the sword. She looked back and forth in the room, purposefully breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth, a long practiced technique for calming her nerves. When she was sure she was stable and calm she placed the ball, specifically the hole in the ball over the point in the tiny blade. With a little twist she felt the blade dig into the ball and a dragon’s grin came to her face. She knew the little sword’s hilt would never fit under the seam, but perhaps she could continue to saw away at the seam and cut the entire window out. Hope rekindled once more she carefully began pulling the ball side to side, sawing at the seam and whittling her way a step closer to freedom.

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Having a Bad Day Pt 3

8th of Patchwall, 383 ONT, Cell of Red Tower of Sorcery, Highport, Argyle

Hikari sat looking out her window, hunched up against her wall, she was beginning to prefer walking on all fours, and so tried to rest is positions that kept her upright. Several days ago she had noted she was dreaming and thinking in Draconic, she could not figure out when that had begun or how long it had been happening. She looked down at the simple ball and cup game that had been brought to her. As the elves were not positive of her magic usage yet, they were unwilling to offer any written words, so instead the child’s game had been brought to entertain her. She hated that she had broken down to playing with it after about a day, and now found herself surprisingly good at it.

tap tap tap

tap tap tap

tap tap tap

Hikari looked around trying to place the noise… then at last looked out the window and down. There slowly scaling the side of the tower was a tiny little mouse; his brown cape with the green tree fluttered in the wind as he slowly looked for handholds and pulled himself along. It was hard to tell from where Hikari was, but she estimated she was at least twelve to fourteen stories up. Unlike most buildings there were no ledges around the windows, the glass was perfectly flush with the wall. The wall itself being a smooth red metallic substance, what purchases the little Waylen was finding was beyond her. Still the diligent little creature did not stop. Her heart was pounding in her chest as she watched him climb a level, work his way left and right carefully peaking in windows, then continue is steady journey upwards.

She feared the little Waylen would slip and fall, or would grow tired and begin his climb back down. She held her breath as the wind kicked up again pulling at his little cape and almost ripping the Waylen from the wall. Somehow he managed to hang on and at long last drifted out of sight as he checked the window to the left of Hikari’s. Hikari stepped back from the window, not wanting to scare him and cause a fall when he looked in. she counted the seconds in her head over and over again until at last she saw the little Guard Mouse peeking in.

tap tap tap

He banged on the window. Looking with a surprised smile at Hikari. Hikari waved back.

“Thaden, you’ve got to help me, they are holding me here!” she called through the window. The little mouse cocked his head and pointed to his ear while shaking his head… maybe it was the wind, or an enchantment, but he didn’t seem to be able to hear her. She looked around the room, but had nothing to write with, no way to convey a message. She watched as the little Waylen adjusted his grip and began reaching for his sword. Maybe he would break the glass? Hikari didn’t know what would happen, but she was willing to chance an escape at the side of the Guard Mouse. She looked around the room for anything that she could use as a weapon if needed… there was nothing; nothing that would do better than her own claws that was. She looked back, Thaden had managed to draw his sword and was holding it with one hand while his feet and other hand clung to wall of the Red Tower. It was then that Hikari’s heart dropped.

“THADEN! LOOK OUT!” She cried jumping and pointing at the giant owl that now had entered a dive towards the Guard Mouse, claws bared for attack. The Guard Mouse cocked his head again trying to make out here words, he shrugged once more and went back to lining up his blade with the seam of the window, the little blade pierced the seam and penetrated to the other side; when some instinct in the Mouse kicked in, he turned as the Owl slammed into him. Waylen blood spattered against the window as a claw thrashed into the mouse; Thaden lost his grip and rolled away managing to avoid a fate trapped in the talons, instead he began the long plummet towards the ground. Not at all deterred the owl dove after him screeching and spinning as it attacked the Guard Mouse all the way down. Hikari watched in shock and horror as the two fell from her view. She wished she could stick her head out the window and see what had happened. Instead, she was still trapped alone in her cell, with a tiny sword sticking through her window seam.

To Be Continued

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Letter to Saint Fargazer

1st of Patchwall, 383 ONT

To: Saint Flitt Fargazer of the Champions Fist

From: The Lady in Grey, Soliania Leobanise of the Temple of the Nevrast

Saint Fargazer, it is my hope that this reaches you well. As per our recent meeting I feel it is only fair to advise you on the progress of your young ward Suli Pondhopper. Where at first, I found her to be an inspired young acolyte I am afraid that this letter must serve as a formal warning for your wards recent attendance. Suli’s attendance in classes for the month of Harvester has been causing concern as it has fallen to only 11%. As a result I am becoming concerned that Suli is missing a significant part of her education. I have enclosed her attendance records which shows an analysis of attendance and that all of these absences have been unauthorised.

Regular attendance is extremely important as missing a lecture can have an impact on an acolyte’s understanding of Nevrast and her divine wishes. Good attendance allows acolytes to keep up on required duties and studies.

I will continue to monitor Suli’s attendance and look forward to seeing a marked improvement. If there are any particular circumstance that the Temple may not be aware of which is having an influence on Suli’s attending studies regularly, please do not hesitate to contact me. However if improvements are not made immediately her position within our tutelage may need to be re-examined and gifted to a more worthy devotee to Nevrast.

Her Blessing Forever Be Upon Us All,

The Lady in Grey Soliania Leobanise

Attendance Records

Harvester shows she stopped attending class on the afternoon of the 5th of Harvester and has not returned to any of her classes since

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Trials of an Arch Magus Pt 1

35th of Harvester, 1:03pm, The Palace of the Exalted Sun, Enclave Chamber, Highport , Elven Court.

Please Listen While Reading

Ser Thalion Alfrin adjusted zis gleaming armor over their crisp uniform of the Grey Corsairs. Ze looked behind him at Barric and Taurcono; ze grinned despite themself. The Lycans had not been pleased when ze had insisted that if they act as the bodyguards of the Captain of the Champions Helm, they be clad in proper suits and receive haircuts. The two looked impossibly like gentlemen, save for the deep scowls they wore. Ze would have preferred not involve them at all, but Versum insisted that ze was protected, especially during such an important trial. Thalion ascended the stairs of Sylvanus and began passing the ancient statues of the Silvenesti as ze approached the Enclave Chamber. Ze looked over to Aurelia, she looked nervous but determined. Ze didn’t miss Illeate placing hand comfortingly on her shoulder. Ze suppressed a shudder, this could not end well. The Herald of the Enclave saw their approach and the doors burst open just before them.

“Announcing Ser Thalion Alfrin of Lyithalus, Knight of Quenya, Acting Prafectus of the Grey Corsairs, Navarchus of the Champions Fist, Navarchus of the Champions Helm, First Sword of the Goddess of the Night Wind, Guardsmen of Dumatheon, and Apprentice of Master Guard Mouse Thaden of Rootwallow, accompanied by Ser Illiate Talibious, Knight of Corus, Wielder of Astrid, Savior of the Honalians, Protector of the Crymeery, Hero of the Great War, Defender of the Vacuum, Keeper of the Last Light, Guardian of the Hidden Flame, First Blade of the Order of Orath’dion, Imam of the Noble Solitude, Paragon of Humanity, Liaison of the Alko People, Warden of the Western Rift and Custodian of the Lasting Peace. Also accompanied by Aurelia Ouellette, Guest.

The room was brightly lit, the crystal roof shining the bright rays of the last day of Harvester. The far end of the room had a raised dais, carved from the ancient song maple of the Northern Court. On it stood three great thrones, behind each hung a great banner of an order of the elven Military. Furthest to the left hung the great blue and black banner of the Shadow Guard, a dark outline of a moon through the trees made up their imagery. Sitting comfortably in the chair below sat High Warden Uknadia Trislana. Next to her behind the centre most chair was the great green banner of Eagle Knights, a great brown wing filling much of the tapestry. In the accompanying chair sat First Talon Ardryll Gre’Horith. Thalion steadied themself as ze was confronted with one of zis hero’s. Ardyll and his eagle Manwe were the stuff of legends. He was one of the reasons Thalion had pushed to become an eagle rider all those years ago. Thalion moved towards the red and blue banner of the Grey Corsairs, and took the right most throne. Sitting in a great seat of authority made of sung blood oak, sat the Speaker of the Sun, Lianthorn Ianfina, in his resplendid robes of white and gold. His legs were crossed with his hands neatly clasped in his lap. He appeared eager for the days events to commence. Thalion took another calming breath, ze knew at the end of this day the Speaker would see them forever more as an enemy; a heavy cost for any elf, an especially high one for a patriot like Thalion. Following all the advice that Captain Folas had been able to offer them, Thalion carefully removed zis sword and shield, hanging them on the side of his great chair as zis peers from the other orders had. Ze took a seat trying to covey comfort in the great room and ease of spirit; ze hoped ze was doing it well. Other attendees gathered into the room, taking their seats in the stands or climbing the great steps to watch for the balconies on high. Most noble families were here, certainly a representative from every Senchal family, most Reeve and Lictor families were represented as well.

At long last the Sun hit the 2nd hour of the afternoon and the Tribunal was called to order. At the request of the Speaker of the Sun, Arch Magus Erindale was brought forward to stand trial for treason. The side doors to the Enclave were opened and in walked Erindale, his robes of red glittered in the afternoon light, his polished boots clacked on the dark wooden floor as he walked across the great room. Golden runes that trimmed his robes sparkled and danced in the sun and a breeze seemed to bounce his robes and hair in a delightful and playful fashion. It was clear to Thalion that the Speaker was clearly angry at this display. Ze knew that Erindale was to be wearing a simple brown tunic and brown pants, but somewhere, someone had allowed him to change. The Arch Magus was ushered towards a small stool surrounded by a wooden fence about three feet high. A gate to the fence admitted the defendant as a Guard escorted him there and stood just outside. The Arch Magus tutted over the poor wooden stool and at last shrugged turning to sit; as he did the stool morphed and changed to a large cushioned chair with high arms and a high back. He flopped into the chair putting his left leg up over one of the arms and threw a wink to the Speaker of the Suns; who by this time was sporting a face of an extreme tomato red. Through what seemed to be a supreme effort of will the Speaker seemed to calm himself and did not raise an objection, if Ze wasn’t mistaken ze would guess that Erindale seemed a little disappointed by this. The Herald once more stood and began the proceedings

“WHEREAS ARCH MAGUS ERINDALE IS ACCUSED OF TREASON; WHEREAS ARCH MAGUS ARCH MAGUS ERINDALE FEELS THAT NO JURY OF ELVES CAN UNDERSTAND HIS REPSONSBILITIES; WHEREAS ARCH MAGUS ERINDALE AND THE EXHALTED SPEAKER OF THE SUNS BOTH AGREE THAT THE EXHALTED SPEAKER MAY HAVE BIAS IN THESE PROCEEDING; THEN IT IS SO AGREED THAT A MILITARY TRIBUNAL SHALL BE THE MOST JUST WAY TO JUDGE THE TRAIL TO FOLLOW” the room was silent following the announcements, this had been the talk of the town for some time now. The Herald continued “High Warden Uknadia Trislana of the Shadow Guard, do you so believe and so swear to judge this case impartially, swearing by the honour of your esteemed order?” Uknadia stood and looked across the room stopping to bow her head to the Speaker of the Suns before casting her gaze to the Arch Magus

“I So Swear Exhalated Speaker, Your Shadow Guard stands ready to serve” with that she sat down again. The Herald retook the floor and called out again

“First Talon Ardryll Gre’Horith of the Eagle Knights, do you so believe and so swear to judge this case impartially, swearing by the honour of your esteemed order” Ardryll stood his piercing blue eyes caste across the room before he spoke

“Although my skills should be put to better use, I do so swear Exhalated Speaker, Eagle Knights forever stands ready to serve at the Speakers behest” with that he retook his seat. The Herald stood once more. Thalions heart was hammering in zis chest. Ze would kill to be fighting lunar illithids right now as opposed to doing this.

“Acting Prafectus Thalion Alfrin of the Grey Corsairs, do you so believe and so swear to judge this case impartially, swearing by the honour of your esteemed order?” Thalion stood and let zis gaze fall across the room, looking into the eager green eyes of the Speaker of the Sun, looking to the lazy smile of Erindale, and at last stopping at Aurelia and Illeate sitting in the crowd behind.

“No, I cannot… I am sorry Arch Magus, I am sorry Exalted Speaker of the Sun, but I do not believe I or any member of my order can remain unbiased in this situation” there was an uproar of whispers and gasps throughout the audience, Erindale sat upright in surprise, the Speaker’s face was once again turning red. Zis hero Ardyrll, and the High Warden Uknadia both turned staring at Thalion in surprise and shock. Ze knew it was now or never, ze swallowed the lump in zis throat and spoke out once more “But I bring another option, one from the very oldest scrolls within our order… I DEMAND ARCH MAGUS ERINDALE BE JUDGED BY THE ELUVIAN RIGHT OF SANCTIFICATION; HIS GUILT OR INNOCENCE SHALL BE DECEIDED BY THE GODDESS OF APPELLETES, LUX DE UMBRA!” the crowd went silent, most were trying to figure out what the Grey Corsair had just said and was it legal at all. The Speaker of the Suns rose from his throne.

“Acting Prafectus Thalion Alfrin…” the mighty orator intoned “The Eluvian Goddess Lux De Umbra has not made herself known to the elfin peoples for almost two millennia, the rite is impossible to undertake…” Thalion knew ze was about to commit a grave faux-pas, to interrupt the Speaker was to be a fool, but ze threw himself forward none the less.

“SHOULD I BE ABLE TO PRODUCE THE GODDESS LUX DE UMBRA WILL THE SPEAKER OF THE SUN ABIDE BY THE RITE?” Ze called to the room at large. The whispers began again, but were extinguished by the raising of the Speakers hand

“Yes, Acting Prafectus, were that possible I would abide, but as it is not…”

“BEHOLD, LUX DE UMBRA” Thalion shouted pointed across the room to Aurellia… Ze prayed that this would work, both their lives now hung in the balance

To Be Continued

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Patrols

32nd of Harvester 383 ONT, 4:13pm, Lyithalus Island, Glenrummy Wood.

Petra and Weizen slowly walked the fringes of the Glenrummy Wood as they had taken to calling it. It marked about six acres on the northern section of the island.

“I can’t believe we are doing full island patrol three times a day, it’s a little ridicules” Weizen complained as they squeezed through some thorn brush. Petra stopped and fixed him with a look, her wolfin tongue handing out as her paws tried to maneuver her bulk around the same thorns that Weizen pushed through.

“I don’t know, it beats hauling lumber up and down Vasteel, or lifting it and holding it in place while the locals figure out how to hammer a nail.” Petra said, at last giving up on her dodging and just taking the thorn pricks

“I know right?” Weizen jumped in “Yesterday, I was holding a massive beam for almost twenty minutes, while the pudgy little guy got his ladder, climbed it, forgot his hammer, climbed back down, got his hammer, climbed back up, realised he forgot his nails, then he…” Weizen cut off his own words catching a scent in the air. “You smell that?” he asked, Petra nodded she was already on the scent, moving her head back and forth to try and pick out a direction.

“The cliffs?” she asked… Weizen agreed. The two moved into an easy lop, conversation paused while the investigated. A ripple of excitement ran through the wolves, this was what they lived for, the potential of a hunt. About a half acre towards the cliffs they came across them. Bold little creatures, marching down the central path. Maybe eighteen of them. Weasel like creatures walking upright, carrying little stick like wands and wearing a white kind of plate armor. They marched in two neat columns of nine and seemed to be militant about their business. Petra and Weizen stopped maybe thirty feet from the creatures, who quickly stopped their march and looked at them.

“I am DN-081982, of the Admiral’s Thrawn’s 105th Trooper Platoon,” the little creature reached into it’s satchel and pulled out a tiny sheaf of papers. “We are on a category 4 mission, and by Thrawns pacts with the Lupins people I am conscripting you into escort service for the remainder of our mission” The little weasel finished his words and looked at them both with an expectant stare.

“I see,” Petra responded in the mammalian tongue “and what exactly is ‘our’ mission today?” she asked. The little weasel seemed annoyed that she did, but begrudgingly succumbed to her stare.

“We are ordered to track down and find the refugees of Glenrummy, and execute them for crimes against the Red Wall” he said with a note of authority “now please, fall into line so we can complete our mission and be on our way” Petra nodded at him and looked over to Weizen who shrugged back Petra turned back to the weasel.

“Do you not wish to know who we are?” she asked. The weasel sighed in annoyance

“If you must,” then to the weasel beside him, her keen ears picked up her whisper “Lupins are always so conceited” she offered the weasel a wolfish grin, knowing he would be the first to die this day.

“My companion here is Weizen, and I am Petra, Sworn Protector of the Small.” It took about three seconds for the weasel to catch on. It was about two too late, at the wolves pounced on the line bringing havoc and devastation to the weasel incursion.

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Contruction begins

30th of Harvester, 383 ONT, Valorhand Ship Yards, Highport, Elven Court

Mandy stood with Taaj overlook the empty space that would be the Champions Helm. There were eight dozen shipwrights that were brought together under the Master Shipwright Ashryn Daehorn. She was unsure what kind of favours the Captain had needed to pull to not only to allow her within the elven ship yards but to let her apprentice and work directly under the Master Shipwright. Mandy would witness every aspect of this Ship being pieced together from beginning to end, it was the experience of a lifetime.

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Troubles Below

24th of Harvester, 383 ONT, The Dryest Pub the City of Uwth, Below the Sorbithan Bay of High Port, Argyle.

“Thank you for seeing me on such short notice Saint Fargazer” The merman named Frell said, greeting the Grippli and ushering him to have a seat within the Tavern.

“Not at all, as I said I am happy to help with the clean up wherever I can” Flitt offered flagging down the pretty undine waitress and ordering a snack of seaweed and shrimp.

“Well we have a doozy for you, the flood brought many different types of destruction upon us, and the latest seems to be causing all forms of havoc” Frell said. Flitt ushered him to continued. “You see, it appears the great waves pulled a nasty creature into the island chain, one that belongs only in the deepest darkest places?”

“Some form of Megalodon?” Flit asked understanding the nature of the request.

“I am afraid not so simple,” Frell said shaking his head in regret “We do not know what the creature is, but I sent an entire mounted squadron to shepherd it from the land or kill it if they must… none returned. Scouts tried to get visuals on the creature but have yet to see it… it has attacked several refugee centres and a small fringe village. In total I have lost almost two hundred people to it, and I still don’t even know what it is. Our wizards and clerics have their hands full with the rebuilding efforts, and what forces I am not using are being requisitioned by High Port. I was hoping

“I’ll look into it for you” Flit said with confidence” Frell gave him a warm smile

“I’m not sure how much I can pay you, I’m sure I can do something, but with the wave and all…” Frells voice fell away as he looked down ashamed

“I said, I’d look into it, don’t worry about it… Bitey and I have been meaning to get in a little bonding time, this will be good for that” The merman looked at the Grippli in disbelief but quickly shook his hand as he gushed his gratitude

“Thank you Saint Fargazer… Thank you”

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