Elemental Evil

04-07-16 - thus spoke Xanathea

The bird men see her first. Makes sense, they are up on top and she isn’t hiding or anything. One of them comes down to where the three remaining party members are having breakfast.

“There’s a woman sitting watching the tower. We saw her as the sun came up. She’s back aways, sitting against a tree eating. We watched for a bit. She must know we see her, but she doesn’t seem troubled”.

As he speaks another calls down in their own language.

“He says she’s coming this way.”

If you go to look you spot her easily enough. As she nears you can see she’s an elf wearing a cloak partly hiding a chain shirt over rustic traveling gear in worn earth tones. She has a light pack, is carrying a shield on a strap and there is a short sword strapped to her side. She’s watching you watch her, but hasn’t reacted more so far. She kind of looks like a ranger maybe?

Lightly equipped. No bow.

She pauses as she nears the gap left by the closed drawbridge. She’s not your “usual” wood elf, those that know their fey would suspect she’s a moon elf, pale blue tinged skin and short cut blue/black hair with green eyes looking up at you. Quick as a cat she flashes a piece of parchment with the symbol of the Order on it. It looks an awful lot like the letter of introduction you’ve been given. It appears she’s from the Order. She waits.

The first thing she says as you let her in is "I’m not with the Order. I don’t want to start with any misconceptions. I’m an ally who works with them from time to time. Here’s my letter of introduction from Red Larch.

I’m also….She mutters something and holds her hand out with a slight flourish. A silver harp ornament about the size of a gold piece forms out of thin air in her palm. She tosses it to Roan who feels the weight of real silver for a second till it fades to nothing. “We don’t usually talk of it, but these aren’t usual times.”

“I am Xanathea Moonbow. I am here to investigate the elemental cults.”

“I understand from Leo that there was a problem with a spear? I’m going to need to know more about that. We can’t have things like that falling into the wrong hands.” She looks at the three of you quite seriously. “That isn’t the sort of thing one just hands to a sorcerer so they can walk around with it. It’s a wonder he wasn’t entirely consumed.”

“But I’m being rude and hasty. The greetings are not done!

“Master Dwarf” the following is spoke quite formally in dwarven; it sounds like it is by rote though the accent isn’t terrible:

“May we break the peace, may we break the bread, may we break the bottles but not the wind.” (It rhymes in the original)

Back to common. “A dear dwarf-friend of mine taught me that, he’s a renown scholar.” There’s a twinkle in her eyes that indicates that she’s in on the joke but she remains stoic even if Doran laughs.

She greats Seeker with more reserve and follows a likewise formal greeting with Roan by saying:
“We must speak sometime. I saw in the way the birds flocked this morning that there is great brotherhood with you and Leo that should not lightly be discarded.”

“Now. We are all where the Goddess of Moonlight has foretold we should be. Shall we enter your most fascinating tower?”

OOC

she’s not this into monologues. It’s just hard to do exposition in this format otherwise.

She’s polite. She’s got credentials. She has a sense of humor regarding dwarves. Which, as it seems to involve fighting, eating, drinking and farting means she should get on ok with the barbarian at least.

She does not seem to have a glowing opinion of sorcerers, but that might be from having met Leo.

For those that don’t know, the harp ornament trick is to indicate she’s with the Harpers. A secret organization of do-gooders basically. It’s always possible she’s faking, but the letter of introduction seems real. (Unless yours is faked too!!)

The only constant symbol she shows is that of a full moon. It is on a holy symbol tucked in her belt, her sword hilt and her shield. Given she’s an elf it is probably Selhanine Moonbow of the elven pantheon rather than Selune. Given the shared last name it would be safe to assume she’s devout. Anyone familiar with the sect would know they tend to align with good hearted folks and the faith would be consistent with membership in the Harpers.

Comments

Doran
====
“Well-met, elf. Been…a while since I’ve heard the old Adbarian greeting.

“You say you’re here to investigate the cults? We seem to have stumbled our way into a few of their hovels, including this here tower. Been handing out some lickings ever since.

“Not that it’s my business, but…you here on your own behalf? Or The Order’s? Or these ‘Harpers’ (he gives Roan a look that you’ve come to recognize as bemused confusion)? Don’t mean to pry. It’s just…we’ve been through a lot together. Especially lately. Just…weird that you would show up so coincidentally after the departure of our friend.”

“Oh. And don’t worry about that spear. I threw it off a waterfall.” He puts his fists on his waist and grins like a proud child.

== Roan ==
“Hm. Harper, huh. They champion the cause of the downtrodden, but that’s about all I know. Would you like to come up for a drink, Xanathea? Drinking is one of the things we do best around here. Do you bring us any intelligence on the cults? We can compare notes.”

== Seeker ==
Seeker would reciprocate her greeting, aloof but polite and not-unkind – he does have a high charisma after all!

Roan and Doran would notice a shift towards how he was when they first met. Less likely to crack his odd, non-quite-humorous jokes and more inclined towards contemplative silences.

“This will be an interesting re-centering. You speak of magic, I take it you have some advanced knowledge?

“Beyond our drinking prowess, as Roan so kindly pointed out… we have had some success at decamping the cults. Your expertise, and a Harper presence, will be a timely addition to the effort. Be welcome.”
== Roan ==
Roan would remember to introduce himself at this point to. Shall we adjourn to the dining hall?
== Xana ==
By the way – it’s hard for me to write this as I mean it to sound. She’s not actually condescending in her tone or manner. She comes across as someone who is very well educated, knows it, and is a little embarrassed to be pushed into a situation where she has to demonstrate it. You get the impression she typically tries to stay at the edges of crowds and seldom, if ever, takes center stage. Having three people looking intently at her is kind of a stressor. She has an average charisma. She’s not particularly charming but she does seem honest and sincere.

In character:

She fails to conceal her alarm over the news of the “disposal” of the spear, though she does try to.

“Oh…oh.. yes…. We should perhaps pursue that in more… robust detail as to where the waterfall goes… and what might be down at the….bottom. You recall it’s location, yes?”

She seems truly taken aback that anyone would consider that tossing an artifact of power off a cliff would in some way make it less dangerous. “it would be quite bad, as I say, if it falls into the wrong hands.”

“As for my arrival. It is, of course, not chance. The wheel of the sky is always in motion. (That’s a meta…a story, a way of speaking) But the wise know that much that comes of the turning was brought about by the turns before…”

She looks at her audience and decides that perhaps she needs to bring this down a notch. Or several.

“Um, well. The harp… Eh hum, just a moment you haven’t met Starlight” She fishes into her bodice (easy there) and scoops out a furry little form. It’s a bat, but unlike any you’ve seen before. Midnight blue with a lighter face – and a nearly human, or elven rather, face at that. It chirps at her, annoyed at being roused. It seems quite fey.

“These are friends. Doran, Seeker and Roan” She points at each in turn and then seems to repeat it in a fluid flowing language, pointing again. “Look, listen, watch. Keep the Harper’s secrets safe” It chirps importantly and flies off around the room looking in crevices and around corners. It is clearly making sure you aren’t being observed. It squeaks at the Imp, even if it is invisible.

“The… creature there, it is with you? She would ask Seeker.”

(We can take that separately, she would accept the affirmative without comment)

“Much of what I will tell you must not be shared.” She looks stern and, for the first time, not at all like the young girlish person you first took her as. “I have walked across the North on errands for the Harpers for nearly 80 cycles, that is 25 years or so in the vernacular. The common speech. Few know me beyond my colleagues as I’ve long been what we call a silent agent; one who uncovers secrets and plots against the people. Not one who comes into the light to speak out, but rather resolves things more…privately. Or arranges for them to resolved.”

“The Harpers are thin on the ground in the North, much more so than in decades past. I know some, how to pass word to others. That’s the way it is for most agents – its best if no one person knows very much if they are out in the field. However, a dwarf of your acquaintance Bruldenthar. He is important to my people. Some weeks ago, when it became clear in Mirabar that he was not simply overdue word was sent to such agents as could respond. Unfortunately many of us were delayed by… another matter… in Neverwinter. Delayed more than was intended, but that’s resolved now.”

In any case I came as quickly as possible as I have, in fact, made some study of these cults. Or rather their historical antecedents… the earlier versions from long ago. It’s been a few decades but I have been brushing up from my notes. I never thought such abominations would be uncovered again."

She would accept the offer to go up. The bat chirps along ahead. It isn’t unfriendly to the servants, or even the imp, but basically ignores them all. After a sweep of the room it finds a place to hang, upside down, from the ceiling. Keeping a watchful eye on events.


“So, my arrival. I came to Red Larch yesterday. I have known (insert clerics’ names I’ve misplaced) for several years. Your friend Leoric had just arrived with his lovely and radiant bride. (She really is charming, isn’t she?) Along with the story of the spear and… well, the difficulties. He was nice enough to take the time and share some sketches of his walk through the late Queen’s domain.”

She taps her backpack.

“Apparently, and I don’t want to rub any wounds, he didn’t quite share everything before he left. I’m sure the excitement of his betrothal drove it from his mind. In any case, as is so very often the case the Order’s business here seems to align well with…my associates… interests. And of course those of the people. If you’re willing I’d like to further investigate these cults from your base here – or even with you in the field if you’re willing. Regardless, I will need to see if I can’t gather more information on them. It is usually my role to simply scout and report, but in this case it does seem like more may need to be done. The portents are unclear (accursed black magic is blocking the light) but I do sense there may not be much time.”

Regarding Seeker’s inquiry into her magical learning. She seems a tad less forthcoming here. You sense, basically, an elvish hesitancy to share knowledge of the occult with “youngster” races. She’s a high elf and they traditionally keep their secrets secret.

“I’ve been a student of what is called magic for a century or so. Since I was very young. Originally… originally in the Feywild. My family and I came over decades ago. Since then, I studied with an elven archmage near Silverymoon. I am a student of the way of the inner eye and a former initiate of the temple of my Lady Moonbow. I suppose one might call me a wizard, but my people have little cause to use such distinctions. We are all travelers on the same road.”
== Roan ==
Roan eyes her weapons.
“I see you wield a shortsword and a shield. How do you fair with them? Thus far, we’ve encountered a great deal of violence from the cults. We’ve tried to employ guile and strategies to undermine them. But more oft than not it all comes down to brut combat.”

“And of course we’re all curious about the intelligence our… um… mutual friend shared with you. A drink? We have a strong stout on tap. And I’m told the wine is… whatever good wine is.”

“Speak freely, you’re among friends.” (Since she appears ranger-ly, he warms to her more quickly.)

== Xana ==
She laughs, shedding her burdens and cloak and shrugging out of the chain mail. Doran, especially I think, I would note the chain shirt is quite lovely. Crafted by the hands of master crafters of her folk. It’s lightness and strength would test the best dwarven smiths abilities to match. It’s clearly made to fit her. Far from new, but well cared for and mended with skill equal to its crafting. Her other gear, likewise, seems made just for her. There’s only one hole for each of the buckles in the belts and straps and her things are clearly well done. It’s not ostentatious, just well made and worn. The miles she’s walked show from the boots to the cap sticking out of a pocket. Though her skin looks to have hardly ever seen the unshaded sun.

“The shield and blade are implements from my childhood. They have seen me through tight places before now. And I them. Well enough so far, when tested. Though I often as not use Lady Mystera’s arts when the need arises. As it seems to do. "

If they don’t seem to quite follow. “Spells. I’m usually alone. It is best to tip the scales in my favor, if I can.”

She accepts the wine with thanks and seems to find it good.

She would pull a book from her bag. It’s an elegant tome, finely made and clearly sylvan. Seeker would love to explore it but she simply pulls some papers free that were tucked within and returns the book. You recognize Leo’s hand in the writing and drawing.

“Now then. It seems that these passages here lead to some of the other temples….”
== Seeker ==
Seeker nods. “I’zzt is with me, as Starlight is with you.” He is not surprised that a bat would know where she was.

He pauses a bit. “It will be…helpful to have someone who is a student of the classical practicings of magic, in contrast to my and Leorics less…structured managing.”

“Let us see what Leoric has sent. There are still prisoners down there and, though we were loath to leave them, we judged it the safest course retreat for the time being. I am eager to return, and hope the other captives yet survive.”
====

04-07-16 - thus spoke Xanathea
penn onefinemess

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