Friday, April 11, 2014

Flashback: The Path of the Righteous

Shar Auvryndar watched as Meaghan stood among their companions speaking in tongues, surrounded by flowing magical celestial light. Dim motes of illumination no brighter than candle light began to rise slowly into the air above her, like glowing water evaporating from her new body through the ceiling of the Cawing Crow and into the Midsummer night sky; the Tears of Selune firmly hovering behind the striking woman.
She spoke in High Celestial; Shar was amazed to discover he could understand what Meaghan was saying although it was obvious to the drow that no one else could. She bespoke duty, righteousness, and benevolent judgment in all things; in Mystra’s name and the modern-day Church of Magic. Meaghan also talked of training a charismatic supplicant for the goddess of Magic; her Chosen, a Monitor of Magic and agent against sin.

Shar had no idea at the time how this event would influence his religious beliefs, choices in life and ultimately his path as an arcane spell caster.

The companions and Marta Vistani sat enchanted at the serene display of divine light and righteous purpose, all save for Tyrus the Red Wizard who scrutinized the Inquisitor sensing a threat.

“This is a sign Lady Vistani, we will endeavor to end this curse upon Tragidore and hopefully return your missing folk,” Shar said surprising everyone at the brave acceptance on their behalf; it was a play for leadership among the companions.

Tyrus turned his seething regard from Meaghan to Shar then to Dale who was studying Tyrus with astute curiosity. Each of the men coveted the Tears, but for different reasons; their silent glance confirmed their mutual conspiracy and temporary alliance...

Apparently each man who ended up missing over the past year had visited the Seer at one time or another, people’s memories were unsure, however not every man who sought her services met the same fate. Embarrassed these old men were evasive as to the nature of their visit but admitted they never actually saw the Seer, only her personal assistant, an elf woman of exotic beauty and strange dialect.

Dale Slade gathered that the Seer first arrived around the beginning of the Time of Troubles when she acquired a two-room structure built into the side of Tragidore’s inner bailey…   

 “You know it is better if I go in alone,” Shar looked plaintively at Meaghan who seemed somehow whole and vital… Meaghan Gundwynd now.

“Agreed, Mystra has blessed me with clairvoyance, and am sure the Seer's assistant is of drow descent; I only wish to keep to our vow… no two of us are apart.” Meaghan said, the look on her face balked no argument. 

It was his drow heritage that made Shar the obvious choice to first assess their motives, somehow gain their trust, and gain any useful information about the missing scores of men.

“Very well then I will communicate to you by hand-sign like so, should anything awry dissolve my discussions with the Seer.” He motioned with is fingers to illustrate what he meant. Meaghan nodded in approval as did the others who waited anxiously. 

Meaghan invested Shar with Mystra’s divine favor and blessed his silver tongue for a favorable discourse between the drow.
Shar levitated quietly in deep shadows studying the Seer’s abode. It was in reality two converted merchant wagons sans wheels nestled in a corner where the inner wall of the Jewel joined a tower overlooking the inner bailey. A thick curtain covered the entrance, however a low light from behind the curtain outlined the shape of a door. Shar could see shadows moving through the escaping illumination when a figure suddenly emerged, a wizened old man with long grey hair and beard to match. He stood there briefly in the light of the moon regarding his elixir purchase.

Shar watched below as the grey man drank deeply of the elixir and hurriedly saunter off in the direction of the Crescent where the Midsummer Night’s festivities were still alive with song and festive dance.  

Shar lowered himself to the Seer’s dwelling, quietly pushed back the curtain and stepped inside. The entry was small lit only by a brightmote orb that dimly illuminated a plush couch along one short wall and a shelf of realms cirios along the opposite wall. Directly across from the entrance was a doorway to the Seer's quarters, the structure's only other room. Standing between Shar and the Seer was a half-drow of stunning beauty. If Meaghan embodied purity and love this woman represented impurity and lust. 

A joining of gold elf and drow the voluptuous elf woman turned around completely surprised by his sudden entrance, but it was not a surprise followed by hostility he noted. Although I surprised her, Shar mused, the color of my skin did not. The woman was without a trace of human traits that Shar could see, only fine elven features, and that that made her all the more desirable to him.

Frizzt Boz’Wevial! Usstan zhahus naut expului dos nindol medosek” The woman said, she had a good command of the drow language. “Usstan tlun Endrenn Allerendris a dosst klath'ra. L'Seer zhah kr'athin ulu thalra xuil dos." 

[“Frizzt Boz’Whevia!, we were not expecting you this early. I am Endrenn Allerendris, at your service. The seer is anxious to see you.”]

Obviously Endrenn thought she recognized him; Shar did not know if this was a good thing or a bad thing. Nevertheless Shar allowed himself to be escorted into the adjoining room, this one filled with sweet aromas that made Shar thankful he took precautions against poisons. He would need to be in control of all of his senses. 

Being constructed of two merchant wagons joined together meant there was little room inside; the Seer’s room consisted of a table in the center of the room in front of a veil-curtain that obscured the back half of the room. Shar could see that area was made up of cushions of all sizes and rich blankets all the way up to the translucent curtain. 

On Shar’s side of the veil the walls supported small shelves containing potions, tokens, and elixirs, on the Seer's side of the veil the walls appeared to possess strange drawings similar to primitive cave drawings, save that these representations depicted the animals hunting people not the other way around. 

“My lady I give you Frizzt Boz’Wevial,” Endrenn announced to the Seer still obscured behind her wispy veil.

Shar refused to let things happen around him so he took control of the encounter and did not wait for a formal response from the Seer. “You know why I’m here and you know the importance as well.” Shar said sternly in High Drow.
“Then you are not here to release me?” The Seer said pleading. 

Shar remained silent, only cast his purple eyes on the silhouette of the Seer who he could see moving now, pipe smoke exiting her lips as she spoke.

“I have fulfilled all that was required of me to earn back my freedom; I cannot help it if weak willed or frail humans cannot make your dangerous journey north.” Still the Seer remained cloaked behind the veil-curtain however Shar could now see what could be vertical feline eyes. 

Shar began to feel the Seer's power surge; it was like a leech whereby it drained not your blood but draining all free will. It was an evil that he would not suffer to live. Shar thought he knew who or what the Seer was but how did Endrenn fit into this scheme?

“We all have our parts to play,” Shar said evenly “and your part in this is now over.” As Shar said these final words he motioned with his fingers signaling Meaghan and the others to converge on the Lamia 'seer'. 

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