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Date Uncertain - best estimate, late Ches or early Tarsakh, Year of the Staff
Coren eyed the words carefully, looking for signs that the village was near. He found his smile had fallen, his anxiety growing, as he approached a place where he would be judged by other Elves who would decide if he deserved to be accepted at least for a time, and if he was to be told of the mission of thier little community.
It had been a couple good days travelling with the two elves, learning a little about them and their forest. Brinoi turned out to be be a lot of fun, though she only really let down her guard when her student wasn't around them, she obviously took her training him as serious business, something he whole heartedly agreed with. She had also asked him much of his knowledge of the North and his travels, and of the tattoos, noting that gold elves normally abhore the practice.
He had told them both of the battle's in the mines of the Dwarves in the mountain sides above the city of Mirabor, where he earned the honour of being an ally of the tribe and the name Bloodsinger. He left out the fact that the tattoo had been a 'gift' of the dwarves after he passed out from to much mead, though added the simple warning of never drinking too much dwarven mead at least for Frelith's benefit.
Frelith turned out to be and eager student in the sword, and though still was careful to maintain his distance, he was back to trusting Coren again. He was certainly fast on his feet, and a natural to the sword, in time and training, he'd be a real master of the blade. And he had some power with magics as well.
That he had a tiny bit of magic himself had been taken well by the pair, even though it had been embarrising for him. He had snuck off one morning for to study his spell, hoping to keep his meager skills in the art a secret, but a misscast of a simple spell brought them running. He had attemped a simple mending spell to maintain his failing chainmail when the magic had gotten out of his control with a flsh and a bang. The links of that section of mail were mended all right, mended all the way back to unprocessed ore.
Turning back to Brinoi, he grinned and lightly asked, "So what are the watchwords for your village? Before we get cut down by your archers that have no doubt spotted us already?"
Brinoi just smiled at Coren when he asked about the watchwords. Better to think they were already given silently or there were magical wards to protect the area than to reveal how easy it would be to penetrate the village. This was something Brinoi wasn`t happy about, but something she knew Tarli was even less pleased with. The councillor had made several improvements in the perimiter defences of Everlaen and as the councillor responsible for security - among other things - was pushing for more. The truth was that Everlaen`s best security was it`s location deep within the High Forest and it`s anonymity. However, Brinoi was not about to reveal. There would be plenty of time for Coren to find such things out if he proved to be a friend to the community - and if he didnt, there was no need for him to know.
Instead she focused up on one of the watch-platforms which dotted the near outskirts of the village. She could see one of the guards on duty there and gave him a wave to let him know all was well. She saw him nod back and dissapear back out of view. He would be running back along the skyways - wooden platforms and precarious running ropes - to the village centre to alert those who needed to be that there was a stranger on the way in...
She grinned at Coren, knowing what he was in for. Depending on how he answered he would get grilled thoroughly by a bunch of paranoid elves, or he would get grilled thoroughly by a bunch of news-hungry and isolated elves. Either way he had best not be hoping for much privacy or peace for a while.
There was a banging on the door and Mydran Silverglade barely had time to say "Come," before it swung open to reveal the familiar figure of one of Everlaen`s regular guards.
"A new arrival, sir," the elf said quickly, knowing the wizard liked conciseness as well as brevity in these situations. "An Ar`Tel`Quess accompanied by Brinoi coming out of the West - she`s taking him to the glade." He waited just enough time for an acknowledgement before dashing off again. The Bloodhawk of Solonor needed to be notified as well.
Sila looked up at her master. Her silent question obvious - `should I continue studying, or shall I accompany you?` A new comer was of great interest and her curiosity was sparked - a gold elf? How curious... However, she was not about to leave off studying and risk a lecture unless her master told her to. She learned from her mistakes.
"What has Brinoi brought us this time, I wonder?" Aesil said to Tarli as he secured his forge and made sure that everything was safe to be left unattended.
"We are about to see I think... Here they come. I wonder if he has anything to do with the Evereskans we`ve heard about off to the Northeast?"
"We`ll ask him."
"Along with everything else," she grinned at him.
With smiles om their faces the two went forward - a small delegation of villagers who had heard the news and had nothing better to do watching from the sidelines.
Brinoi, Coren and Frelith walked into the central glade of Everlaen. It wasn`t large, but it provided ample space for the community to meet and talk under the stars, dance and generally gather for anything important. To the Northwest were two large lodges, built in the wild elven style. Circular and dug into the ground, the roofs started at the floor with ferns, flower and shrubbery disguising the cunning thatch and the main dwelling actually excavated out of the ground so all that really showed were two ferny mounds. To the Northeast was Aesil`s forge - open to the glade and blended in casual elven style as best as could be done for a building that was by nature public and could not have too much wood to enclose it. The Eastern trees held a large platform - the council`s meeting chambers these days and all around on the other sides small dwellings spiralled around the trunks of trees or nested casually in their forks - ropes or walkways interconnecting them and leading from one level to another. However, despite all this an untrained eye might have wandered through the glade and never even realised it was inhabited - though Aesil`s forge WAS a rather big give-away.
"Welcome to Everlaen, Coren Bloodsinger," Brinoi said in a voice loud enough to carry to the two approaching council members.
"Indeed," said the male one - silver haired, well muscled rather square for an elf. "You are welcome."
"On behalf of the council, we invite you to share our hospitality," said the female - long brown hair, short and purposeful, a sword belted at her side. "I am Tarli Trueveins and my fine friend here is, Aesil Silverstream."
Frelith just beamed in the background - he knew he would get much milage out of the last few days and he would have stories to tell his friend Sila in return for hers from the Millamniir ruins.
Coren was slightly embarressed at the attention he was getting from the gathering crowd, as he looked around the glade. He smiled gently at the memories the subtle constructions of the area.
Coren smiled carefully to the councillors, before bowing formally before them, old training coming so easily he didn't even notice.
"I greatfully accept your hospitality. I have been travelling apart from the Tel`Quessir for half a century, looking around here, I'm certain it has been too long."
"A new arrival sir, an Ar'Tel' Quess accompanied by Brinoi coming out of the West"
The messenger was gone before the message had sunk in, his words hung in the air.
Mydran stroked his chin with suspicious thought. Lone strangers had been brought to the village before from the forest, and after the last `guest' Everlaen had to be wary and on its guard.
He looked down at his young apprentice, who was waiting for some confirmation of action.
"Come then child, let us find out who Brinoi has brought back. But don't think today's lessons have finished, you will learn the first symbols of Evocation by the day is out."
Grabbing his Staff they both left for the glade….
…A number of the villagers had already arrived at the glade and were gathering around the stranger.
The Gold Elf was a welcome sight he thought surprisingly, with Senisi and the Lady Sellene away he hadn't seen a living Ar'Tel' Quess in a short while. `Coren Bloodsinger' he had heard the stranger's name whispered though the growing gathering.
"Greetings and salutations Coren Bloodsinger I am Mydran Silverglade, welcome to Everlaen." Questions were pouring to mind, but he would have to be patient for answers, he would not badger the new guest … yet...
"I hope Brinoi brings you here in good health and spirits, the forest can be a dangerous place to be, especially when travelling alone." He let the last word linger for a moment…."But if you are in need of food and healing it can be provided" He waited for a response….
Coren turned slightly from Tarli Trueveins and Aesil Silverstream to the third approaching elf, appraising the gold elf more than he had his silver bretheren. Diving a nod he replied giving a glance towards Brinoi as he did.
"Well met, Mydran Silverglade. I am in Brinoi's dept for bringing me here in better health and spirits than the sorry state she found me in."
He looked back at Mydran and the the other councillors trying to read the intent behind their eyes.
"I was hoping to impose for a few days of rest amoung friendly faces and a safe place to rest my head."
"You are most welcome Coren," smiled Tarli. " Would you care to rest inside, or perhaps you would prefer refreshment?" She gestured alternately at one of the ground lodges or the glade, as if stating that rest was for inside - while refreshment would be more public and communal.
"I think perhaps we should ask Kerkstra to have a look at him first," Brinoi said quietly. "He was injured some when I found him and I would prefer someone who really knew about these things to look him over..."
This caused a bit of a stir. "Injured? How?" asked Tarli immeadiately. While Aesil`s question was, "Are you allright? You must rest yourself..."
Some quickfire questions were bandied about and the word `orcs` was mentioned as well a few other garbled bits and pieces. It was clear a detailed explanation would have to wait for a while. Politeness demanded it.
In the mean time Frelith had shot his friend Sila a sly wink, wanting to make her laugh. The young elf maid stood there looking decorous though, looking over Coren, along with everyone else. `Really,` thought Frelith. `She has been no fun at all since she came back from those ruins. The master had probably somehow managed to drive all hint of humour out of her. He was such a dry old stick in the mud...` Then he froze - Master Silverglade had just looked at him with one of those `looks`. He couldn`t read his thoughts could he? But no, now he was safely looking at Coren again...
Meanwhile, Kerkstra had finally arrived, followed by the Lorist Per Nighteyes who he had been talking to when he got the news. He strode up, bow about him as ever, dressed in his ceremonial... casual woods-gear. As he approached, the crowd parted to let him through, as befitted his postition as councillor and head of the faith of Everlaen.
"Greetings in the name of the Archer and all the Seldarine," he beamed, surruptitiously scanning over the new arrival for any signs of a dangerous aura. Being last on the scene had the advantage that both he and Per had been able to cast divination spells in advance. However he could see nothing. No false shape revealed itself, no outer-planar aura showeda and he got no feeling of overwhelming or utter evil. Not a guarentee by any means, but the best he could manage - PEr would no doubt be able to tell more. He gave Mydran a quick nod and turned his full attention back to Coren.
"Did I hear that you are injured? Perhaps I can be of some assitance?"
Coren bowed again, this time to aged preist, distinctly away from the preist of the Archer. Raising he looked straight at Kirkstra.
"I'm happy to be once again under the eyes of most of the Seldarine, and I greatfully accept your greeting in their name. Though the Archer and I have looked away from each other since long before I left the Elven lands. Thank you for your offer of prayers for my wounds but I've survived worse, and will these."
He turned to look again at the other councillors. "If you wish more of what I know about the orcs to the north, perhaps it would be best discussed off our feet."
Kerkstra`s eyes lifted high up his forehead. "You may have looked away from the Archer, but that does not mean the Archer has looked away from you..." came the predictable response. Sometimes priests were so obvious.
Inwardly he was rather shocked. Perhaps this was a warning from the Archer against hubris. Had he not earlier been discussing threats to the faith, flushed with pride at Solonor`s sign to him? Perhaps this was a sign that there could be stronger threats than a friendly goddess.
He was gratified to note a low murmer pass through some of the crowd at the newcomers comments though. The faithful would not be rocked by such statements and Coren did himself no service with his hostility.
Aesil was quick to try to cover any incident though and gestured Coren toward the lodge. "Please come in and rest then, I am sure you have much to tell us..." The lodge would be more private, with just the leading figures of the village in attendance and a chance for freer speech in case Coren thought he needed it.