The wind blew stinging rain into her face as she approached the top of a small hill. She had been traveling through the elements for several days, but had encountered nothing like this storm. It had come from the west without warning and the sunny day turned into a horrifying darkened mess. The firm ground became a dangerously slippery surface in a matter of minutes. Several trees in the area became uprooted from the fierce winds and fell awkwardly upon the path. Lightning struck the ground and lit several fires that spread so fast even the massive amounts of rainfall failed to extinguish.
The sound of the falling rain suddenly became inaudible as yet another ground shaking blast of thunder echoed through the area. Alurissi pulled her cloak tighter around her body as if it could keep the dangers of the storm from harming her. Anyone else would surely stop traveling and seek shelter immediately, but not her. She had a mission that must be completed. Her journey from the mainland had taken longer than she would have liked and was determined to make up for lost time.
In the week past, she had left the safety of her beloved forest and traveled far to the north to catch a boat from the town of Waterdeep to an island that would allow her to return to her homeland. This is no humble journey to visit relatives or relive old times in her place of birth. It is a journey that could mean life and death for many innocent souls including her friends and brothers in arms.
She is a grey elf. Most people believe that the elven people are snobbish and subjective when it comes to dealing with the other races in the world, and for the most part they are right. Alurissi is different though. She left her homeland long ago to find her place in the world. Her own mother had disowned her for such a deed and vowed to never acknowledge her again. She had given up the dreams of her parents that she would someday follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a cleric. She instead found peace and a sense of belonging among the creatures and plant life found in nature. She knew that her path could be none other than to serve and worship the gods that created such wonderful things.
When she left her homeland she vowed to never return. Too many of the elven people would not only look down upon what she did, but they would also be inclined to hurting her for it. The elves of Leuthilspar are a proud bunch and turn even the slightest difference into a life-long grudge. She knew the dangers she faced by returning, but she had no where else to go.
The humans that inhabited the town of Waterdeep tended to shun her just as she knew her own people would more than likely do. She had very little luck convincing any of them to join her cause and save themselves at the same time. The few that didn’t pelt her with rotten vegetables and fruits listened to her words of warning and disregarded them as elven deception. Like most races in the world, they tended to perceive the elven races as inferior.
Another explosion of thunder shook the ground beneath Alurissi and she slipped in the mud. She landed hard upon her right side and bumped her elbow against a large rock. The pain was intense but she bounced right back up and continued onward. She let her mind wonder as she walked. She thought about the events that took place since she had left Evermeet and traveled the realms in search of adventure and a beautiful place to worship the gods in peace.
It was her first time away from her own race, and she was scared. She didn’t know who to trust. She kept a hooded cloak pulled over her head as she walked, and she liked to stare at her feet as she walked. Tales of humans and barbarians that liked to kidnap and rape elven women were taught to the elven children at a young age. She feared that if she made eye contact with anyone she might end up in one of those stories.
She traveled through many towns taking in the sights. She was most impressed with the dwarves craftsmanship on the buildings in towns of many shapes and sizes. The dwarves people had to be very skilled and loving of the materials they molded to create such masterpieces. The animal hides that the barbarians brought to towns as trade were so unique she had to buy several of them to create clothing out of. Animals of all shapes and sizes contributed to the fur collection she gathered. She collected them mostly for her brother. He had always been interested in the animals of the world. She knew she may never see him again, but the childhood memories of purchasing animal hides for him were too strong.
For twenty years she roamed about the mainland. Nothing more than the blink of an eye for an elf. She feasted upon meats and fruits that many of the elven people didn’t even know existed. She began to enjoy the freedom of her travels and the new and exciting things she would come across everyday. It was just when she was starting to enjoy her travels that she came across the most beautiful forest she had ever seen. Truly this had to be a sign from the gods. A sign to show her that she had experienced enough and was ready to worship them in the manner they deserved.
She took up residence in a small grove that seemed to be made just for her. She spent many weeks constructing small idols and altars to the gods she held in high regard. She was very pleased to find out that there were dryads in the same forest who also worshiped the gods of nature. They would come to her shrines daily and give their offerings to the gods. They rarely spoke to her though. She found this nothing more than a little annoyance. She was at peace with nature and worshiping her gods.
Several years passed before her grove became alive with the presence of outsiders. They were a small band of people whom seemed more concerned with each other than with her and the dryads. They took up camp not far from Alurissi’s shrines to the gods and visited them daily to give thanks for the blessings nature provided them with.
Alurissi was shy at first. She hadn’t really opened up to another person in all of her travels, just briefly speaking with merchants and traders. It took her two weeks to work up the urge to speak with the newcomers. When she did though, she became instantly enthralled with their stories and deeds.
They told her many things, but nothing they said was more pleasing to her than their love of nature. She enjoyed listening to them boast and goad each other about things they’ve done or were planning to do.
Ellindel was very interesting. She practiced the magical arts and seemed to always be working on some kind of spell. She tended to tell more of the facts than the rest of her companions. She constantly corrected them when they began to exaggerate and lie.
Dimpli tended to steal things from the others a lot causing many debates and searching for items. He loved his friends though and always gave back what ever he took after awhile. He enjoyed telling stories about his heroic deeds and seemed to always leave the others out of his stories.
Drennar was often cool headed and tended to regard the foes he had killed in high regard. Often while reliving memories of glorious battles he would stop to wipe a tear from his eye. He also liked to remind Dimpli about the others in their band and the contributions they gave to their adventures together.
Herfas was a jolly fellow. He always was busy eating something and seemed to care little about the adventures he had been upon. Instead he was more into telling about how he would bail his friends out of the trouble they would get themselves into.
All of these people seemed very nice. Alurissi had no trouble
accepting them as friends. They were like a big family and reminded her of her own family she had left behind. The memories they brought back were nice. After several weeks, she decided to join their fellowship and adventure with them.
They left the forest occasionally and went out to seek adventure and right wrongs that were being committed. They always returned to the grove after each expedition. Alurissi was very happy with her new friends and her home in the forest. She forgot about her mother and the prejudice of her racial kin. She thrived upon the power of the grove and her friends. She was truly happy.
Upon one of their last trips out of the forest, another joined the party. Nern was his name. He was a bit young and lacked some skill in battle. But with the tutelage of those in the group, he quickly matured. He had been a slave for an evil slaver from the Calimport region. Even though they had freed him of his prison, he still kept up his ways of treating those around him as his masters. After a while Dimpli had fallen upon calling him Squire. The name was suited for him so it would seem, because that is what he came to be known as.
A large blast of lightning set a tree very close to Alurissi on fire. It struck quickly and in a such a bright flash of light that she jumped back away from it and nearly fell in the mud again. She quickly regained her balance and started to move faster. It was becoming hard to see through the rain and she was afraid she might get lost. She hadn’t traveled the roads of Evermeet in many years. She had no way of knowing if roads had changed or shifted direction since her childhood. The large droplets of rain that blew into her eyes didn’t allow her much in the way of sight. She had no landmarks to navigate by. Anything beyond three feet in front of her is a blur.
The storm is right above her now and the thunder makes her teeth chatter. She was becoming upset at this storm. It was slowing her down and keeping her from her friends aid. They needed her to come through, and she needed hope to succeed. The storm darkened her mind and as well as the surrounding environment. She began to think about the reason she was on this journey and why she needed to fulfill her mission.
They were in the grove. She was pleasantly worship her gods after another successful venture into the outside world. She was very tired but was sure that her gods would frown upon her sleeping before she thanked them. So she prayed for many hours while he friends slept. When finally she had pleased all of them, she let her exhaustion kick in and feel asleep right next to her idols. Her dreams were full of death and suffering. Horrible images flooded her head and heart. The visions were so intense they made her sweat in her sleep. It was a cold sweat. Her body was wracked with shivers from the cool breeze that floated through the area.
Suddenly she was rescued from her nightmares by Nern. He was speaking frantically and talking very fast. It was hard for her to make out at first, and by the time she could understand him, she didn’t want to believe him. The dryads of the forest had disappeared over night, and her companions had went to search for them while she slept.
Nern told her about the portal that was suddenly at the top of one of the dryad’s trees. He also told her of the note that they had found. It warned against travel into the portal. The group had decided to venture in anyway and search for the dryads and anything that explain what had happened. He explained how they had left him outside the portal to tell her of the things that were happening.
Alurissi was dumbfounded that they would leave on an adventure without her. She thought they were closer than that. She cleaned herself and prepared a meal for her and Nern while they waited for their friends to return. Her jealousy and anger quickly faded though as the day became night and they had still not returned. Days past, and then weeks went by. They both became worried about the fate of their friends and the dryads. It was time for action.
Nern decided to stay at the tree and warn travelers that should venture by and await the return of the fellowship to explain where she had gone when they came back. After many hours of prayer, Alurissi decided to seek help from any who would be brave enough to combat the portal and anything that might lie inside. She wasn’t sure if her friends were alive or dead, but she had to find out. If they were alive they obviously need help.
She decided to head north to the town of Waterdeep and seek out adventurers. After they rejected her, she decided that her only choice was to return home to Leuthilspar and ask her kin for assistance. They were her last hope at finding out what had happened to her friends.
The lightning flashes illuminated the surrounding area for many seconds before the booming thunder shook the ground. Through the rain and due to the lightning, Alurissi seen a large wall in the distance. The wall was familiar to her. It was her homeland and her last hope. If they rejected her, she would have to rely on the undesirables. The mercenaries and hired killers that plague the lands.
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