The Great Tragedy
Finally the day of the Great Council. Each has arrived here for a different reason, but are all here for the same purpose. To finally put an end to the war between the three goodly races. Each of the 10 Human Kingdoms have sent delegations, the 4 Dwarf Clans have sent their representatives, and the King of all the Elf Enclaves and his advisors act as hosts in the great northern Elven city of Icehaven.
The great elf city of Icehaven is unique amongst the elves as it is a large city whose walls are formed of ice and tree. Large trees represent the towers and ice as hard as stone connect these towers as walls. With the exception of the wall facing the docks, warehouses, inns, and flop houses of the river the city blends into the thick woods that engulf it.
No weapons from any of the visiting dignitaries have been allowed into the Castle. A token force of Elves stand guard. The meal has adjourned and the various groups have made their way to the Great Hall, as the door closes one can barely breathe through the tension in the air.
It was thought that the Council would go long into the night, and the kitchen scullions were hastily preparing kaffé, aged meat, and dried fruits. Two Palace Guards stood firm at either end of the T eyeing every servant that came in and out of the Hall. Theren had taken a position near the entrance from the Kitchen into the Great Hall. His vision was obscured by the T-junction of the exit into the Hall. He had hoped to be closer to the Keeper of the Glade, his charge, in order to make sure the Keeper made it home safe to continue Correllon’s work. They had arrived in the early hours of dawn and Theren had spent the day scouting around the Castle and observing the fine trees that the Castle seemed to be formed of.
There was a commotion from within the Hall. The guards at the T rushed in to see what was amiss. Theren was not far behind them, but just as the guards entered the hall they turned into Drow and began slaying those within. As Theren looked around, he saw that all of the guards were Drow and they were slaughtering the unarmed dignitaries. Realizing that he did not stand a chance against them without weapons, Theren flees from the kitchen heading to the armory to retrieve his weapons, so he can save his charge, The Keeper of the Glade. As he grabs his bow, three Drow set upon him from the entry way. With a whisper to Corellon, he lets loose and three arrows, leaving a trail of powerful magic bury themselves deep in the heads of the evil Drow. Before he can grab the belt with his blades attached a squad of Drow appear in the hallway, with haste he flees down a side corridor towards the training yard, knowing that a sally port will lead him to freedom. His charge, likely dead, will be avenged…
Men-at-Arms, squires, caravan guards, marines, horse masters, and pages all stand around from the various Kingdoms of the land. Men, Elf, and Dwarf all seem to be more interested in besting each other in various bouts of strength and skill than in lying in wait for the outcome of the Council. All of them had high hopes for the peace that was to come, and a relaxed air hung about the yard. Some were engaged in melee combat using padded weapons or dulled weapons. Some shared tales of their homelands and campaigns or battles they had been in. A few had been in the same battles, on other sides, but no one came to blows. These warriors were tired of the wars that they had been in, and many couldn’t remember why they were even at war. The entire world was exhausted and this was finally a chance for those of them in this yard to perhaps retire their weapons to a place over the family hearth.
As Theren was just about to enter the training yard, a high elf maid carrying a babe drew his attention. “The Princess must live.” He nodded and quickly led the way into the mayhem of the training yard. Drow seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. People training with wooden weapons were being hacked to pieces as he guided them to the sally port. Just as they got there the maid let out a few gasps as arrows lodged themselves in her back. Her last effort was to push the babe into his arms and mutter the babes’ name, “Evendara Taletreader, Queen of the Elves”.
The Float Inn stands at the end of the docks where the long docks outside the castle walls of Icehaven connect with the Ice Flow River. This River is the only known access point to the forest fortress of the elves. The mood at the Inn is one of apprehension and impatience. The caravans, sailors, traders, and other assorted folk that have made the journey from the various lands mill about sharing rumor and story. Most folk have a drink in their hand, but few seem to be doing more than just holding their full tankards. None want to have imbibed too much should things go sideways. As the gates to the city closed and the Council was about to begin, many waited with baited breath, hoping for peace at last. Moments after the gates close a cry rises up from within the castle walls.
With a bewildered look at the training grounds and the maid, Theren runs through the port. Upon exiting, things were not as chaotic as within the castle itself. However, the Drow from within were starting to spread outward. Holding the babe close he blended into the shadows.
As he wound his way through the city, it became apparent that the only means of quick escape would likely be at the port. As he made his way that direction, the babe remained oddly quiet. Her eyes open watching.
After what seem an eternity of dodge, hiding and sprinting, he spotted masts over the roof tops. Pushing forward, he continued the process of making it to the port. Finally, at the docks, he spotted a boat/ship that was just casting off. Hunched over the babe and running as fast as he could toward the ship. Closing the distance to the ship he launched off the dock and onto the deck of the ship. When he looked up he saw the tip of a sword pointed at his head and a female human holding it. Seeing that he carried a babe, she slackened her guard, but only slightly.
He remained where he was and took in the surroundings and the crew. Besides the one human woman four elves could be seen standing close by. Theren sighed and tried to calm his racing heart. “At least they won’t kill us out right,” he whispered to her with a little smile. She reached up and touched his cheek but remained silent.
Once the boat got into the open water the others seemed to relax a bit. Theren was grouped with some other lucky souls as the crew went about their tasks. Overhearing some of the discussion among them he added, “The High King’s brother has gone mad. Everyone in the Hall has been slaughtered by the Drow.”
The crew looked at him a little strangely. About then the Elves notice the color of the baby’s swaddling and sit agape for a moment and then push Theren and the babe below decks. Telling him to be quiet in Elven. He nods and follows the lead of his elders.
One of the elves turns around and takes her shawl and re-swaddles the babe in it. Throwing the previous swaddling overboard. Still holding the bundle, she says, “I am Tara, Druid. This is Caelynn, acolyte of Corellon. Tyrael of the castle watch, and Istantar, cleric of Corellon. Thank you for saving her youngling.” She gives him a kiss on the forehead. Theren smiles briefly, “Well met.”
During the journey, they found that if the babe, who they decided to call Rinn to keep her identify secret, was crying, Theren’s presence was enough to quiet her. He would often sit just holding her while standing at the bow of the ship watching the beauty of the waves. They arrived at the docks in the waning light of the day. The elves quickly collected their belonging and paid the captain well for leaving port so quickly and with only a few crew. They moved through the human town in glare of the setting sun and proceeded directly into the forest.
The druid Tara found an abandoned section of the wood and with a mighty spell to Corellon, they were able to magically shield the glade from outsiders. The four elves stood around the young elven princess and prayed to Corellon. She could bring peace to the land by uniting the Elven people again, and revealing the evil of her uncle. The four said in unison, “now our watch begins.”