It was a somber flight home for the heroes. Carrying the dead bodies of Tiemel and Bajastelle upon the carpet, they rode in silence the entire way until Tanamier spoke in a quiet voice when they reached the gates of Blazebane. “I’ll alert Tempus. He’ll bring Tiemel back, I am sure; I’ll do the same for Bajastelle afterwards.” Young clerics came and collected the bodies while the heroes marched sullenly to Tanamier‘s meeting room, only to be met by an unexpected presence. “Why the long faces? You’d think somebody just died,” said Kaelis with a trademark laugh and twinkle in his eye. J’afrock growled and grabbed at his axe, but was restrained by Tanamier. With infinite patience, the half-elf addressed the young bard “Two, in fact, so mind your tongue. Why are you here, anyway? I don’t remember summoning you back…” Kaelis cut him off. “I am not here on Nyrondese business, but on that of Celene.” With a serious look, he addressed the group. “I am sorry to hear such news, my friends, please believe me.” J’afrock looked away in frustration. While he hated the ever-pleasant nature of Kaelis, he hated it even more when he tried to be serious. One never knew if the bard was being authentic or not. For one such as the half-orc, who was always VERY clear about his intentions, he could be infuriating… “WHAT business? What is happening in my homeland?” Caelynn moved forward, coming nose to nose with Kaelis. “I.. .think… I had better let him tell you. Right this way, gentlemen?” Kaelis adroitly manoeuvred between the heroes and walked off to an adjoining room where there waited a sleek figure in brilliant mithral chain and royal purple cloak. “Prince Melf…” whispered Caelynn as he dropped to one knee. Melf drew back his hood. “Rise, Caelynn. No need for that here. I come to you not as your prince, but as a friend with ill tidings and a mission that I fear only you can accomplish.”
“What mission is this, your Highness?”
Melf sat down and looked at Caelynn with a mixture of sadness and restraint. He remained silent for several moments, until he whispered a single word.
Caelynn quickly turned away from his companions as a wave of emotion swept over him. Jelendra! I have not thought of her in years! Of course, I have only been “alive” for two he thought sarcastically to himself. But soon his thoughts gave way to memories of his best childhood friend and first adult lover.
While they cared for each other deeply, they decided their relationship worked better as friends, even if each was the first one the other turned to after a failed romance. Both had shown aptitude for the arcane arts, but while Caelynn was drawn into the mysteries of bladesong, Jelendra wished to explore the seasonal magics of the Feywild. She was rumoured to have become a powerful Tulani of Summer and a great artificier of magical items. She was beautiful, constantly surrounded by a light warm summer breeze that gently tousled her shiny silver hair; she was forever brushing it aside from her almond-shaped emerald eyes. Her smile was demure, yet oddly enticing. It was her laugh that evoked the greatest memory in the bladesinger, however, usually after he had done something foolish. While very proud, Caelynn could always take a ribbing from Jelendra if it was accompanied by that laugh…
With a stern effort, he broke his reverie. “What about her, my lord?”
Melf gestured Caelynn to sit, and the others did as well. “I regret to say, I do not have all the details, being in exile as I am. However, I retain a few contacts, as do others,” he indicated Kaelis with a nod and continued. “So I have what I believe to be a clear picture of events that have transpired.” He paused again.
“Go on,” prodded Tanamier.
“Yes. I shall just come right to it: She has fled Celene. I believe I know where.”
Caelynn‘s eyes narrowed. “And the reason for her flight?” He knew Melf was not saying everything.
The elflord paused again. “I believe she has gone mad from her work on the Towers of Domination.”
Tanamier leaned back in his seat and rolled his eyes in frustration. Caelynn‘s hands gripped the table, turning white, while Griften lowered his head in shame. J’Afrock knew why they were reacting so; many times had he heard the tale of what brought the Scourge together. The epic struggle against the Blood Queen of the aboleth who had tried to erect a series of towers that would dominate the minds of all in the Underdark.
“What do you wish me to do, your highness?” whispered Caelynn in a tight voice.
Melf reached into his cloak and withdrew a map. “From what we have been able to determine, she is located here,” he said, indicating an area within the forest of the Oytwood, within the county of Geoff. “I confess, I do not think she can be saved, but I thought perhaps the sight of her oldest friend…”
“I will not kill her,” Caelynn whispered, almost to himself.
“I will take your leave, then.” He patted Caelynn on the shoulder and leaned to his ear. “There is a chance for great mercy and compassion here… and redemption, if you can take it.” With the same light musical notes accompanying each footstep as Caelynn had, the elflord left the presence of the Scourge.
“Hh. Well… there’s plenty of opportunity for redemption here for all of us,” Tanamier said sardonically as he rose from his seat. “We were all there, after all,” he continued, shooting a look at Griften. The young monk merely nodded his head.
“I cannot ask you to come with me,” began Caelynn.
“You didn’t,” responded Tanamier curtly. “Like I said, we were all there.”
Griften rose. “The indicated area is near my Citadel of Serenity. Give me an hour to prepare the ritual and I can teleport us there and we can then proceed outwards.”
“Well, I am certainly not staying with HIM!” he roared, pointing a finger at Kaelis. The bard shrugged his shoulders with his palms upwards, that infuriating smile inspiring violent thoughts in J’afrock.