By Tyson Bell
The following is an excerpt from the Chronicles of Jeiroth Ulondarr. The character information and the following text are the property of Tyson Bell. Download and install the Tolkien font for the best results).
Defenders of High Forest
Crickets stirred lazily in the night as the towering trees swayed in the autumn breeze. It was slowly changing weather, and the humid heat of summer was slowly being replaced by the crisp coolness of winter. Jeiroth Ulondarr Irithyl found himself running through the forest in search of a quarry. His breathing was loud and the noise his feet made as he touched the ground, while barely audible by most, sounded like a hoard of drunken bugbears to the elf's ears. But silence was not the objective here, speed was. The forest itself was but a blur to him he moved so swiftly. He chuckled softly too himself at the old elf priest Ogethios's insistence that they "take his potions of swiftness" so that they might reach their objective in "proper time". So the three bladesingers had taken the potions and now solemnly sped towards their objective.
Jeiroth had just recently returned from his trip to Kara Tur and found himself in a dilemma. Most of the elves of Cormanthyr, his home, thought that he was dead, peacefully enjoying the beauties of Arvanaith...but he was not dead. No, he was very much alive and kicking. But his return to Elven Court could breed disaster. It had been two hundred years since Myth Drannor had fallen and the elves of that region, having moved their kingdom back to Elven Court, had found some stability in their lives. He was Jeiroth Ulondarr Irithyl the son of the late Coronal Eltargrim Irithyl, and that knowledge would certainly bring great turmoil to the ruling council of Elven Court. Jeiroth realized that the elves could not handle another power struggle like the one that occurred in the dark days after his father passed away. So Jeiroth had delved through Cormanthor forest without incident and headed instead for High Forest, once home of ancient Aryvandaar and now home to the mixed and loosely led Eaerlan. Eaerlan had been a bigger kingdom, powerful in art and war. But the steady decline of the elves had reduced its size and prominence. Now it was but a collection of small towns, less than half its one time size, poorly defended and in great need of elven heroes. It was a simple matter, therefore, for Jeiroth to hire himself out as a defender of the Eaerlan. It was a part time job, however, for Jeiroth also had another reason for coming to the High Forest...to explore the ruins of Aryvandaar.
It had been six months since he had come to Eaerlan and Jeiroth had been busy. Busy killing off a tribe of goblins that had decided to make its home next to the town of Jez'Haneleir. He had been having dinner with the Patron of the town when a distress call came from the neighboring town of Kilamor. It was an exceptionally small town some five miles from Jez'Haneleir. The call came in the form of a small pulsating glow from a gemstone worn around the belt of the Patron and local noble-ruler the elf-priest Ogethios Silverspear. It was therefore with great haste that Ogethios, a loud boisterous elf; sent Jeiroth and two other bladesingers, his crack fighting force, to aid in Kilamor's problems.
The three warriors arrived in the town some five minutes after being alerted. Slowing their pace, the bladesingers cautiously scanned the area. The town seemed empty, although every building and tree dwelling stood intact. Jeiroth and his companions finally came upon a large hollowed out tree, which served as a temple to Corellon Larethian. Jeiroth turned to his two Moon Elf companions, both bladesingers who had accepted Jeiroth as their unofficial leader, and asked them two set up guard outside the door. They both nodded and took up positions outside the temple. The gold elf then walked inside the temple to his former but still revered deity. Inside the tree he found several pews followed by an altar upon which stood a statue of the elven god. It was cast in bright gold with moonstones set in its eyes. The statue shone with a light which caused the whole temple too remain as bright as day, even in the darkest of nights. Walking up to the altar Jeiroth saw on the ground the figure of a slim gold elven female. She was struggling, it seemed, to breathe and a closer inspection revealed that she was clutching something next to her bosom. Jeiroth slowly approached the elf woman, kneeled, and gently grasped her saying softly as he did so "My Lady". The elf woman stiffened with fear at the touch but relaxed as she heard Jeiroth's voice. She struggled to face the bladesinger and managed to do so. When she did Jeiroth realized that her delicate golden throat had been slit, and she struggled to breathe because of the blood which so readily spewed from her neck. The elf woman wore a medallion of Corellon, indicating she was a priest of the deity. Her breathing became even more labored as her life seeped out. Jeiroth held her with one arm while nervously fumbling around his pack for a healing potion. Suddenly, the priestess firmly grabbed the elf lord with both hands and managed to garble a word. Then her body went limp as she died in his arms. Jeiroth laid her down slowly and watched as her delicate body rested on the floor. The object she had been clutching was none other than the gemstone she had used to contact Ogethios. How she reminded him of his long lost love Onamae Durothil. The gold elf stood, the tearful sorrow reflecting in his leafy green eyes slowly being replaced by hatred. Some unseen force seemed to guide him as he placed his hand on the heart of the statue. The vision it sent him could only have come from the god himself and it told him where he would find the beings that caused this killing. Jeiroth exited the temple and the other two bladesingers faced him. They asked him what had happened. The hatred in Jeiroth's eyes certainly unnerved the elves a bit, but soon they would share his rage. The elf lord turned to his companions and said one word, with an expression of disgust "Dhaerow", which is elven for `traitor', which is also elven... for Drow.
The three warriors left the town and headed for a rocky outcropping about two miles away. Arriving at a clearing just in front of the cave the three began two slow. As they did so they heard several soft clicks. Having experience fighting the dark elves, the three came to immediate crouches and rolled. The zips of tiny darts sounded overhead as the three then stood back up, forming a defensive circle. Jeiroth saw the dark elves fast approaching but nevertheless took the time to assess the area. In the clearing next to the outcropping, several drow were hauling elven bodies towards the outcropping. "There must be a hidden cave leading to the underdark there," Jeiroth thought. The bladesinger then stated "If those drow make it to the outcropping we will lose them, and those elves will end up on Lloth's damned altar!" "Yilitran, he pointed to the clearing, you must go save them, we will make a stand here." Yilitran, the second most experienced bladesinger, gave a silent nod, and headed for the clearing.
Meanwhile Jeiroth and the other warrior, the moon elf Vilthas, turned to face the oncoming drow. Loosening his muscles, Jeiroth took a deep breath and began to sing a soft melody. Meanwhile his partner reached into a bag and pulled out three seeds, these he threw so that they formed a triangle around the duo. The moon elf then drew his slim glowing sword and prepared to face the first attacker. Jeiroth's song meanwhile, took shape as a swirling silver mist. The mist enveloped both bladesingers and split into five sections. The sections each then materialized into a glowing blade, so that five glowing blades surrounded the elves. Jeiroth then drew his great sword, Keryvian. The great Kris blade seemed to catch on fire as its magic took full effect. The flame's color changed with the mood of the wielder, and its dark blue reflected Jeiroth's current anger. A great explosion ringed out in the distance, Yilitran had begun his attack.
The drow were not like orcs or goblins, they did not charge headlong into a fray, oblivious of the dangers. No, drow were crafty, and it showed in the battle. The first two dark elves attacked the duo by rolling under the blade circle; both sprung at the elves while drawing their twin blades each. Still singing, Jeiroth met the first with a well-planted kick to the gut. Meanwhile, two other warriors had launched javelins just before the first two engaged in melee. These were parried by two of the glowing blades making up the ring. They then began to circle the ring while arming their hand-held crossbows. Yet a fifth stood in the background and began to chant. Jeiroth feigned a strike to the right while spinning left. The drow warrior raised one sword to parry and struck the other one out to jab. Jeiroth stopped in midspin as the drow's blade came within a breath of his face. Jeiroth then kicked his leg out and snapped the drow's knee back. The drow lowered his weapon, for just an instant, while howling in pain. But that instant was long enough for Jeiroth to thrust his sword into the drow's neck and through his spine. Two more clinks indicated that Jeiroth's circle of blades had parried the darts fired. The two archers, frustrated at not being able to penetrate the circle, drew their weapons and began approach the battle. Jeiroth then glanced at the lone drow; he was almost done with his casting, so it was time to spring the trap. "Now!" Jeiroth commanded and his partner, still engaged with the first drow attacker, yelled "Ar'Corellon!" The three seeds suddenly sprung to life and flashed with a great brightness, which bathed the battlefield with enormous light. The light caused all of the drow to cry out in pain, it also disrupted the casting of the wizard. Before the light had gone out all of the drow lay dead at the duo's feet. Sure they had tried to cast their darkness spells at the seeds, but the magic in the seeds was too strong, penetrating through their spells to shine its holy light into their black and foul hearts. Jeiroth now turned his attention to the clearing where Yilitran was sent. What he saw he did not like. There were at least six dead drow in the clearing, many of them blasted by Yilitran's spells. Yilitran himself stood in a battle ready position, but he seemed frozen in that position. His eyes reflected both frustration and fear at his predicament. And his predicament was not good. Slowly approaching him, as a black widow does to its trapped prey, was a large female dark elf. She was a priestess of the foul Lloth, Jeiroth could tell, and she looked every bit the part. A large black cape with bright red trimmings covered her, and she wore a large spider shaped headdress. A four-headed whip was wrapped around her abdomen, each head of the whip ending up in a large fanged snakehead. The heads seemed alive, for they moved and writhed like the real thing. As she slowly approached Yilitran, only a cruel smile played her lips. Jeiroth knew he had to act quickly so he sent Vilthas to go help Yilitran. Reaching into his magical pack, Jeiroth pulled out a slim mithril rod. Grasping the rod was a golden dragon idol with beautiful emeralds for eyes. Whispering a few ancient words the rod sparkled then smoked then materialized into a huge gold dragon.
"Thrashkalar, it has been a while" greeted the bladesinger.
"How can I be of help Art Tel'Quessir?" the dragons booming voice spoke as it lazily stretched.
"I might need your help mighty Thrashkalar, but surprise will make for a more effective strike."
The dragon then closed his emerald eyes and slowly drifted from sight.
"When you need me, just let me know, I'll be waiting." The dragon then vanished from sight.
Jeiroth rushed to the clearing and found Vilthas violently battling the priestess. The drow had struck Vilthas repeatedly with her whip, and was now attempting to cast a spell, but she failed as an acid arrow cast by Vilthas slammed into her abdomen. The priestess screamed horribly and the snake whip once again lashed out at Vilthas. He met the whips strike with his own glowing sword called Morninglow. The sword cut through two of the heads, but two still remained. Of the two, one managed to sing its fangs into Vilthas, striking his thigh. Vilthas grabbed a hold of the whip and tried to pull the drow female towards him. This caused the snakehead to release its grip and aim for Vilthas's arms. The moon elf slashed at the whip, trying to cut the serpent heads off. Meanwhile, Jeiroth had reached the priestess. She was still struggling to remove the acid arrow when she turned to face the gold elf. She snarled at him and started to draw her twin maces, but Jeiroth was faster. With a furious swing of Keryvian Jeiroth sent the priest's head flying off her shoulders. Glancing at Vilthas he found that the warrior had finally managed to slash off the final two heads of the dreaded whip.
Yilitran, who had regained his movement, began to dutifully pile up the drow corpses. Vilthas questioned this act but Jeiroth explained that Lloth was prone to occasionally resurrect her dead children (drow) and sent them against their killers. Therefore, the only sure method to prevent this was to burn all of the drow corpses. While Jeiroth and Yilitran saw to the funeral pyre, which was blazing nicely, Vilthas tended to the elves. Thankfully he found eight of them, all alive. They included three young men, three children, and two lady elves. Although scared, they all appeared to not be to seriously harmed.
All of a sudden, a rustling sound was heard in the woods next to the clearing. Out of the woods appeared several drow warriors; Jeiroth counted sixteen in all. They were lead by a malicious looking warrior, who carried a small platinum statuette. The statuette was an image of Hanali Celanil, the elven goddess of beauty. It was highly magical artifact from the old Aryvandaar Empire, one that Jeiroth had been desperately searching for. At the sight of the elves, the drow leader stopped and scanned the scene. Seeing the dead drow burning he let out a loud "Nooo!" followed by a chant to his demon goddess. Jeiroth walked up to face the drow warrior and grasped his sword. The drow leader, still holding the statuette, gave Jeiroth an evil grin. He then turned to his troops and speaking in elven so Jeiroth could understand, ordered his troops to "Kill Them...Kill Them All". Jeiroth took this time to act. Quickly speaking a magic word, Jeiroth called upon a jump spell in his blade. The jump spell was originally designed to allow the caster or designated individual to jump a great distance. But Jeiroth had studied under some of the greatest battle mages ever known while living in Myth Drannor. He knew that spells sometimes could be used for many different circumstances and such was the case now. The jump spell was not targeted towards the individual, but rather, towards an object. The statuette in the drow warrior's grasp jumped out of his hands, flying high into the air. A split second later Jeiroth pointed towards the drow party and spoke, but this time in the underdark common tongue "Traitors who attack the Tel'Quessir will burn for their misdeeds, such is your punishments". Suddenly a great gout of flame engulfed the entire drow party. The horrible screaming was short lived as the drow were quickly and thoroughly burned. A great gold dragon materialized during the flame gout, its emerald eyes glinting in the great flame it produced. When the flames stopped, there was little left except ash and destroyed debris...until the platinum statuette landed in front of Jeiroth and his dragon.
Though there was not much left of the party, a thorough search by Jeiroth and his companions revealed only 15 drow perished in the flame. This bothered Jeiroth, because a lone drow could still cause much trouble in the countryside. But there were no signs of the survivor. What treasure and functional possessions the drow had were gathered by the elves. It was late and the elves, including the former prisoners, were weary. Therefore, Jeiroth asked his companions to escort the elves back to their homes, while he and Thrashkalar would scout the surrounding area for any other possible drow.
It had been two hours and the sun would soon take its first peek at High Forest. Jeiroth and Thrashkalar had seen no signs of any other drow. He had also taken the liberty of spell trapping much of the cave leading to the underdark, and had sealed the entrance. The cool and fresh autumn air smelled of sweet apple rose, a popular fruit in High Forest and Jeiroth decided that a the short trek through the forest would be refreshing, especially in light of last night's events. Besides, Thrashkalar had almost stayed his allowed time on Abeir-Toril, and he needed to go back to his home in the planes. So Jeiroth wished his friend a safe trip and sent him back.
The walk through High Forest proved refreshing, as Jeiroth got a chance to truly enjoy the sights and smells. He had even begun to daydream, to remember past times...good times, when an unnatural motion caught the corner of his eye. Jeiroth immediately ducked and rolled. Even with his speed, Jeiroth still felt himself get cut in his right flank. Jeiroth sprung out of the roll with Keryvian drawn and his feet in battle position. Before him, with two wicked magical blades drawn, was the drow warrior leader. He was very much alive, but there were parts of him, including some of his possessions, which had been clearly singed. The drow male was not particularly tall, standing a full six inches shorter than the elf. But he was very wiry and well muscled. His ink black skin and white hair was typical drow, but his blood red eyes shone like a demons. Jeiroth felt poison coursing through his body from the cut the drow had made. But he was an elven mage as well as a warrior, and a few magical words were all it took for him to will the effects away.
"Let me introduce myself" the dark elf spoke in perfect common "I am Rafaerel Amjirr, of the noble house Teken'Duis". Jeiroth watched the drow smile darkly and bow slightly. "And who might you be, elf warrior, to tarry me and take away my prize."
"I am Jeiroth Ulondarr Irithyl of the royal house Irithyl, and your prize belongs to the elves" Jeiroth did not bow " it is only a shame that more of your kind did not venture out here, so that they too could have met their deaths at my hands".
"Ahhh, a royal elf, and here I had thought the Irithyl line had died and gone out with Myth Drannor...well I guess I will just have the pleasure of eliminating the line right here" the drow's smile grew wider "unless you have any brothers or sisters that you would like to introduce"?
"No, no brothers or sisters...just me" Jeiroth solemnly uttered "And 'just me' doesn't leave any room" the elf paused "for you".
Like two big cats in competition the drow and elf began to circle each other. Amjirr wielding his two swords in the drow fighting style and Jeiroth wielding Keryvian with two hands, in the Cathshee bladesong style. Jeiroth had already begun to sing, although singing was not required to perform a bladedance. It was Amjirr who sprang first, coming in low with one blade and high with the other. Jeiroth parried the low blade and ducked under the high attack, countering with his own strike. Amjirr, who jumped back and assumed a defensive position, parried the counterstrike. The drow then uttered a word and clanked his two golden bracers together. His arms became a blur of motion as he once again came after the elf. Jeiroth was an experienced warrior, a veteran of many campaigns. Yet even he knew the peril the magical bracers posed when worn by an experienced drow elf. His only chance, Jeiroth realized, lay in disarming his opponent. First feigning a jab, Jeiroth swung his blade in a graceful half arch. Amjirr easily positioned one of his blades for a parry while the other one slipped in for a counterstrike. But just as Jeiroth's blade was to make contact with Amjirr's, the bladesinger altered the angle of his wrist a bit, so that the blade would strike at the drow's hand. Concentrating on his counterstrike, Amjirr did not notice the subtle change until the last minute, which caused him to loosen the grip on the weapon or have his hand cut off. The result was that one of Amjirr's blades went flying into the woods as the drow pulled his hand back. Amjirr still managed a counterstrike, slipping the tip of his other sword into Jeiroth's body, and through his chainmail. Jeiroth spun and pulled back to avoid as much of the blade as possible, but he could not avoid it all. The elf glanced momentarily at his wound; it was not serious, then at his attacker. Amjirr stood facing the elf with both a surprised and frustrated look on his face.
"You fight well, elf lord" he matter-of-factory stated.
Thinking of the dead elven priestess Jeiroth retorted "Please forgive me if I have nothing cute to say to you drow".
Their duel, for anyone who could have watched it, was a beautiful and deadly dance of strikes, fakes, parries, and counterstrikes. They wove their breathtaking ballet together in almost perfect acrobatic harmony. The two continued their fight off and on with neither getting the upper hand. That is until the magic of the bracers wore off. Without the magic of his bracers and fighting with only one sword, Amjirr knew that now he was in trouble. He needed to recover his blade, which he had located out of the corner of his eye. Jeiroth knew this, and that Amjirr would eventually make a move for it. Finally, Amjirr made his move, attacking Jeiroth with a low powerful swing. Jeiroth reared his blade and parried but Amjirr used his other hand to strike at Jeiroth with a poisoned dagger. The dagger failed to penetrate Jeiroth's mail shirt but did have the effect of driving the elf backwards. Amjirr then abruptly ended his attack and sprinted for his other blade. Jeiroth was prepared for this and cast a quick blink spell. Unlike the normal blink, the quick blink only allowed one blink. But its casting time was almost instantaneous. The spell, while low in level and easy to cast, was a closely guarded secret held by the Ulondarr family. Amjirr had almost reached his blade, indeed he was in the process of reaching for it when dark blue fire was striking him, cutting open a wide gash on his side. He managed to grasp his other blade and rolled, but when he came up another strike almost cleaved his right arm in two. He slowly backed away as the elf lord continued his attack, the elf's blade burning dark blue flames tinged with violet as the first rays of sunlight spilled into the forest. Amjirr knew he was in serious trouble now. He had not thought that an elf could last so long against him, truly, not even drow warriors lasted very long against him. But now the light had begun to burn his skin and dim his vision. He would lose a fight with this elf in daylight and he knew it. So as the elf's sword swung to kill, Amjirr knew he had to get away. Jeiroth feigned with his sword and kicked the drow's knee. He connected and sent the drow tumbling back. Jeiroth was a gold elf, otherwise known as sun elves, and as the sun rose above High Forest, so to did his power and confidence grow. Amjirr had one last plan; hobbling backwards, he cast a darkness spell next to the elf, turned and ran, as fast as his ailing knee could stand. For Jeiroth, the world went black as the drow's spell enchanted a pebble next to him. "Damn!" The elf cursed and ran sideways out of the darkness circle. He saw Amjirr run but did not follow. Instead, he listened...listened until he heard the rumble of an explosion. Jeiroth then smiled and chuckled silently; spell traps were wicked indeed, especially when covered by well-placed illusions. Now it was just a matter of seeing to the replacement of the traps that had been set off. The bladesinger sheathed his sword and turned towards the clearing. He smiled as a flock of parrots noisily passed overhead. A cool breeze then caught his elven cloak and sent it fluttering. Jeiroth pulled out the platinum statuette from his magical bag and studied it; then starring at the beautiful blue sky, he sighed, "I wonder what the rest of the day will bring".
* * * * *
PLATINUM STATUETTE OF HANALI CELANIL
The platinum statuette of Hanali Celanil, the elven goddess of beauty, love, marriage, and intimacy; is an old artifact dating back to ancient Aryvandaar. Old elven scholars claim that the statuette was a gift from the clergy of Hanali presented to the old ruling Vyshaan clan. It is also claimed that at least a few Vyshaan were priests of the Goddess. Such priests ultimately used their powers to help attract nobles to support the Vyshaan house, and it is unknown exactly what effect the statuette had in these proceedings. The statuette is made completely from platinum and it resembles a beautiful elf maid in a long but revealing evening gown. Its powers are subtle and not documented.
1. The first and most powerful power, usable by all elves (and elves only) is its ability to increase fertility. Any elf who marries while in the presence of the statuette will receive the blessings of Hanali (although she is not the official fertility goddess, she is a goddess, after all). This blessing is in the form of a powerful fertility spell. If the marriage is consummated within 24 hours thereafter, there is an 85% chance that the wife will be impregnated. There are conditions that apply however.
A. If the couple is truly in love, then the spell automatically takes effect. Both are aware of the blessing given to them and will (usually) take advantage of such a gift.
B. If the marriage is not one of love, then both parties must make saving throws against spells. If both make their saving throws, then the magic works normally. If neither make their saving throws, then the power does not work on the couple. If only one makes the saving other is not. Note: The individual(s) not empowered still has the normal
2. The second, and relatively hidden power, is accessible only to priests of Hanali and even they must know how to use it, usually by a prayer and a few ancient magic words. This power is called allure, and it is the closest power that the elves have to a charm spell that affects them. The allure power forces any creature or person to save versus magic to avoid the effects. Success indicates that the power fails. Failure indicates that the being is charmed as per the charm spell except for elves. Elves affected by the allure power become enthralled with the individual and are susceptible to one suggestion, as per the spell. Furthermore, elves affected will thereafter react to the priest as if he/she possessed a charisma of 19. The power can only be used once per person. A person will either succumb to the allure or will not ever be affected. The power can be used three times a day, and does not require charges. It does not have a range effect, alluring only one individual at a time.
Finally, any protection/resistance from charm or magic does not effect or modify the allure power in any way.
Side effect: The side effect only applies to priests using the second power, and it manifests itself as an intense desire to protect the statuette.
Also, the priest is loath to anybody who is not a priest of Hanali to touch the artifact. Note that the goddess and her clergy are generally good aligned and probably would not take too kindly should the statuette be used for evil purposes.
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