Legacy Regained

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Sylvos
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Legacy Regained

Postby Sylvos » Wed Aug 14, 2002 4:14 am

Part 2 of my story, which began with The Fate of the Stalker

It took weeks, searching through the stinking city streets of Waterdeep. So many people crammed inside walls of stone often made me uneasy, but I had a specific purpose in mind. Hunting within the city wasn’t so different from the forests – Rather than a footprint in the mud it was instead in a pile of horse dung but it was still a piece of the trail. Eventually I came across my target, sitting with some companions inside one of the city’s many taverns.

I approached cautiously, not wanting to be accused of eavesdropping. When I caught his eye, I smiled and indicated an empty table where I took a seat. After murmuring something to his friends, he rose and joined me. “Hello Sylvos,” he said warmly.

“Good eve, Rylan. You said before, when we last parted that I could ask for your help. I don’t like to do it, but you’re the only person I can think of who has this particular knowledge that I need.” My own associations outside of the intricate city life, and my ever-growing relationship with the shamaness Fura had taught me to be straightforward, and it seemed that my bluntness was welcome.

“I’ll help if I can. What do you need?”

I fidgeted for a moment, thinking about how to word my request. Rylan was well respected within this city, and I was sure he’d have better things to do than troupe around helping me with an uncertain errand at best. “I need you… I mean can you help me find the temple where my father died? Down in Undermountain?”

He was obviously surprised by my request – I assume he’d been waiting for me to ask to borrow money or one of the artifacts he and his companions would have found in their adventures. After taking a moment to recover his composure, he grinned at me. “I should have known you’d ask for something about Undermountain. Sure,” he said, “Let me finish my drink and get Daalgar out of his own cups, and we’ll meet you down at the Yawning Portal. Say one hour?” he asked.

One hour later found my chosen and I sitting in the common room of the Yawning Portal Inn and Tavern. We sat alone, as far away from the rowdy, drunken patrons as we could in the crowded room. Neither of us drank, despite assurances that we’d need to in order to survive the horrors that Undermountain, and some man named Halaster, would throw at us.

“These be yer charges, Ry? Look competent enough I s’pose.” The words were accompanied by a hearty slap to mine and Fura’s backs, and I immediately spun, reaching for the dagger at my belt before remembering that the city frowns upon those drawing weapons inside the walls. My eyes met those hidden under bushy eyebrows and above a bushy beard. The broad face grinned, and said, “Don’t try it kiddo. Ye don’t wanna cross w’me.”

“Sylvos and Fura, I’d like you to meet my friend Daalgar. He’s agreed to come down with us.” Rylan was obviously prepared for battle – a state I’d never before seen him in. I could see how he would be considered one of the mighty clerics of the city, and his friend Daalgar fitted the image of a dwarf – short, stocky, and bristling with arms and armour.

Fura eyed the pair appraisingly as she stood, judging their spiritual strength by her arts. She nodded slightly at me, and I returned her nod with a smile. “Then let’s go,” she murmured, indicating the deep well with a thrust of her chin.


Traveling through the halls of Undermountain was an eerie experience. We moved swiftly though cautiously, and all around us was silence. On a few occasions the silence would be broken by a scream for help, or a creature’s roar. We pressed onwards, ignoring the sounds of distress in favor of our chosen destination. Rylan led us through the tunnels confidently, weaving through the labyrinthine corridors with the ease of familiarity.

We passed through a hall that was filled with statues of great men – their stony visages gazed into the hall impassively, leaving us to wonder who they were. We paused for a moment in this great hall, in order for Rylan to tell us what we may be facing.

“Back in your father’s day, this region was patrolled heavily by the Drow. They had a temple not far from here – it was in that temple that you say he died.” I nodded acknowledgement, and Rylan continued. “We don’t know that much about the Drow, but let’s hope that they abandoned their temple after Syl killed their priestess.”

“Or let’s not hope and let me blade feed a bit. What have ye got to do down here anyway kiddo? Jus looking t’see where yer pappy died?” Daalgar asked, idly running a whetstone down the edge of his axe.

I started to answer and then stopped, for I wasn’t entirely certain why I’d been told to venture into these depths. My fiancé came to my rescue however. “Sylvos’ father left something of himself down here, a piece of his spirit. My teacher has - has spoken with the spirit of a woman who was close to the old ranger. They say the piece of spirit resides somewhere about where he passed from this dream.”

“Eh, some ghost said another ghost left part o himself down here? An’ we’re chasin it? It’s a new one lady, I give ye that. Let’s go then, and find this thing we’re huntin for.” Rylan shook his head ruefully and we set off again, silent and swift through the shadowed corridors of Undermountain.

It was only a short while later when Rylan led us into a grand cavern. Immediately I felt Fura shiver as we crossed the threshold, and gazing about the immense chamber I could understand why. Even being un-attuned to the spirit world, I sensed the heavy oppression about this room, the weight of evil worship was all about. We moved along one wall rather than move out into the center of the room, cautiously moving around stalagmites towards the old spider-shaped altar. We’d covered roughly half of the room before I felt it, the slight tingle of my senses warning me of an attack. Mother taught me well.

I snapped my blades out of their sheaths, throwing myself backwards into Fura as two slender forms dropped down next to where we’d stood previously. We scrambled back to our feet as Daalgar and Rylan formed up around us as several more of the dark-skinned forms dropped from where they were lurking up in the ceiling. My companions and I formed a rough triangle that was protecting Fura on the inside. None of us could understand the words that the Drow warriors were saying, but there was no mistaking the set of their weapons and the vicious glee in their eyes as they stalked towards us.

Before they could strike however, Fura’s rich voice, which had been quietly chanting a spell while we set ourselves, rose to a howl. As a shaman, my fiancé had a special rapport with the spirit world, and could often ask for their assistance when battling our enemies. The number of vengeful spirits lurking in a Drow temple is incredible, and at Fura’s call they rose to shriek their outrage at our dark-elven enemies. A torrent of banshee-like wailing filled the room, causing the Drow’s ears to bleed and their ebony skin to be marred and torn from the magical force of the outcry. Before the ringing echoes of the souls had faded away, Rylan reached within his faith and spoke. He said only a single word, but the effect upon the attacking warriors immediate. Several froze in their tracks, transfixed by the holy power. Still more began to bleed from their eyes, their red-glowing orbs forever darkened by the holy wrath. And into this stunned confusion of our enemies, Daalgar and I waded with our weapons flashing blood-red in seconds.

The evil warriors never stood a chance against the wrath of myself and my companions. The battle ended as quickly as it had begun, with the few survivors disappearing into the lightless tunnels of Halaster’s domain. We weren’t worried about them after they fled, and we set to searching the disgusting room for any remnants of my father. The Drow keep their temples neat in deference to their vengeful deities, and I despaired of finding whatever shard of spirit was left. There were no bones or refuse aside from the dead warriors we’d recently seen to.

My fiance’s call brought me out of my melancholy. There was a faint hum coming from the back corner of the room, a corner so deeply enshrouded in darkness that our magical light didn’t penetrate. Fura directed me to go into that corner with a pointed finger, her eyes unfocused as she talked with whatever spirits were still talkative in this place. I shrugged and followed her direction, plunging into the darkness blindly.

Immediately upon passing through the shroud, my light revealed a tiny recessed alcove. And I gazed in awe upon the skeletal remains of my father’s last stand. A slender skeleton was crumpled on the floor in front of a larger skeleton. Squarely in the center of the larger skeleton’s chest was the hilt of a sword. The slender, tapered handle was scorched badly as though it had been burned by a great fire, although there was no evidence of a blaze in the alcove.

There was no doubt that this was where my father had made his stand. And so with trembling hands, I reached out to draw the blade from his chest. Instead of pulling a full weapon from the skeleton’s chest, just the hilt pulled away. It didn’t look like a break; more like the blade had simply been removed from the hilt. Nevertheless, there was definitely some force still resident in the hilt and thus I brought it with me out of the darkness.


“Well, now what?” I queried, staring at the blackened hilt that had been recently recovered.

“That is where the shard of spirit resides. I can feel it,” Fura said, eyeing the thing askance. “Perhaps it should be re-united with a blade.”

Daalgar thumped his tankard down on the table, glaring at the hilt as though it offended him. “Th’ only folk who can fix that kinna damage are me kin. You ain’t gunna find no elf who can do it!” he declared.

“The weapon needs to be reforged, restored to as close a replica to the original as possible. Only then can the spirit be touched… or released. Are there any of your kin who could duplicate the… distinctly elven magic that resided in it?” Fura asked.

The dwarf grumbled, and snatched his tankard off the table angrily. He tilted it back to take a long drink, only to find that it was empty. Glaring balefully at me as though it were my fault he’d finished the drink, Daalgar mumbled “Yes, there is.

“He’s livin’ over on their island like one o’ the damn fairies. Says he likes th’ trees ‘n peace. Bah! But he’s still a dwarf, ‘n that means that he knows his weaponsmithing, even if he ain’t right in th’ head no more. Go talk t’Brandar, I’m busy.” So saying, Daalgar stormed off to get a refill of his ale before leaving the tavern.

I looked at Fura and Rylan curiously, before shrugging. “To Evermeet I go then. Maybe this Brandar will be less… surly,” I said with a smile, indicating the door Daalgar had just stumped out through.

“Daalgar’s alright, you just have to get to know him,” Rylan commented wryly. “But if you’re set on going to Evermeet, I shouldn’t keep you. It’s a long ride to the Moonshaes, and just as long of a walk to the Elfgate. I’m glad I could help you this far, let me know if there’s anything else I can do.”

“Thanks for all your help Rylan. I’ll look you up when I get back. Fura, while I’m gone could you look into maybe anything else that might help with this? The elves are xenophobic, and I’m pretty sure I’ll only be barely tolerated, and you not at all.”

“Of course,” she said, standing up and giving me a kiss. “Take care of yourself, I’ll talk with my teacher and see if any more light can be shed upon this.” Her and Rylan left at the same time, and I was left staring at my scarcely touched drink and pondering my upcoming journey.


Leuthilspar was like nothing I’d ever seen or imagined. The dwellings and buildings were beautifully intermeshed with the surrounding trees, blending into a unique combination between freestanding and modified plantlife. Nowhere did I hear the hollered cacophony of salesmen that filled the streets of Waterdeep. As I walked forward from the shimmering Elfgate that transported me here, the trilling song of a robin greeted my approach.

I spied several elves moving through the laneways of Leuthilspar, and rather than gawk like a tourist I resolved to ask directions. I was dirty, dusty from travel and tired but also had a purpose to meet. So I quickened my pace and hailed one of the Tel’Quessir. “Excuse me, I’m looking for a dwarf who resides on this island, Brandar by name. Could you direct me?” I understood the chances of one elf knowing of the smith I required, but I hoped the oddness of circumstance would make Brandar well known.

He turned to face me, and I watched in surprise as his initial warm expression morphed almost instantly into one of haughty disdain. He stared at my hand upon his sleeve as though I’d flicked something unsavory there, before smirking at me. “Figures, one such as you would wish to consort with at dwarf.” Then he pulled his arm free and moved on, paying me no further heed.

I watched him go, stunned into silence by the rude treatment. I’d received similar receptions from humans within Waterdeep, but elves were supposed to be more refined and sophisticated. I became aware then, of the looks I was receiving from other passerby; looks of pity, disdain or even hatred. In that moment, I knew that I was as much an alien here as I was in my home city of Waterdeep. I’d have more luck talking with the animals outside the city. Hell, I’d have more luck talking with a rock outside the city.

It took nearly a week of tracking, but I finally located the dwarf’s cabin in one of Evermeet’s forests. It was isolated, and I was sure that Brandar didn’t see many visitors during a day. But he was my best hope, so I went to the stout door and knocked. “Whaddya want?” a deep voice growled after a moment. “I have a commission for you, something I’m told only you will be able to accomplish” I replied hopefully.

The door was snatched open after a moment, and there stood what could only be Brandar the dwarf. A head of thick, red hair looked like a miniature bonfire dacing upon the four-foot tall frame. Wrinkles decorated his face, and between them and the small streaks of gray in his beard I guessed him to be fairly old. While I gazed at him, he stared at me as well, finally demanding, “Well, what’s th’ job? Damn elves may be willing to take forever to talk, but I ain’t.”

I couldn’t help but smile at his manner, so typically Dwarf. I rooted about in my pack, and pulled out the blackened scimitar hilt. “I need this sword restored. I’m told that it can only be accomplished by a skilled dwarf, but it requires the magic to be imbued back into it as well. Think you’re up to the challenge?”

Brandar snatched the hilt from my hand, turning it over in his forge-calloused hands. Finally he tossed it back into his workshop, uncaring of the care I’d shown toward it. “Bah, it’s another one of th’ damn Windsong family blades. Just go talk t’them, I’m sure they’ve lost another of the bloody things. Don’t waste my time w’stupid projects.” He tried to slam the door, but I managed to get a foot inside before the heavy wood closed. I winced at the impact but held firm.

“I need that one restored. It’s important… and I guess beyond your skills. Give me back the hilt and I’ll find someone who can do the work… a goblin perhaps.” My foot ached irritatingly, and soon my gut joined it as the door was wrenched open and the dwarf punched me hard. I dropped to the ground, and found myself looking up at Brandar, which felt somewhat odd.

“Ye don’t compare me work with a goblin, or I’ll show ye my other work I do on th’ beasts. Ye want me t’stick another blade on that piece of junk, fine but ye gotta get me the materials if ye want some magic w’ th’ blade. Some diamond dust from a powerfully imbued diamond, scale of solid quartz from a dragon. Y’know, lil things ye can’t just walk into a store fer. I’ll give ye the list, and when ye bring me back th’ materials I’ll fix yer lil’ sword.”


The quest for Brandar’s materials was long, and I couldn’t have accomplished much of it without the aid of some stalwart companions and Fura ever by my side. Eventually I returned to the dwarf with everything on his list, and he set to work. For the next week I lingered in the surrounding forest, awaiting with some trepidation the result of Brandar’s expertise.

Finally the work was done, and the scimitar was resting outside the cabin door one morning. There was no mistaking the weapon – the hilt was unchanged from its charred appearance. However the rest of the weapon was beautifully crafted and it glittered in the morning sun. Full of the arrogance of youth, I walked forward and picked up the sword, confident that Brandar was content with his payment.

I felt a slow warmth crawl up my left arm as I grasped the scimitar, starting at it in awe. Then the warmth changed, turning into a stabbing pain through the palm of my hand. It changed once again, and the stabbing became a burn through my gauntlet even. Feeling betrayed by Brandar, and believing the sword to be a trap I tried to drop it. It clung tenaciously to my hand, staying there even when I opened my grasp and shook vigorously.

Gradually the burning pain subsided, although the weapon was still adhered too my weapon hand. I became aware then of a second awareness, focused initially upon my hand by present in my mind as well. Without knowing how, I knew that it was the presence of my father that I felt. Slowly the simple awareness grew into images, and I stood helpless while I relived the life that was ended in Undermountain.

<I>
It was an earlier time, when Waterdeep was younger. I emerged from Undermountain, a battered and beaten youth to stare upon the snowy streets of the City of Splendors. Somewhere overhead, a raven cawed its harsh greeting as my eyes adjusted to the light. The joy of my freedom prompted me to take on the name Winteraven, in honor of what greeted my emergence</I>

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

I was older now, hunting down vagabonds, mercenaries and smugglers in the slums of Waterdeep. I was a trained ranger, but hunted with my companions in the warrens of the city. We were strong, we were triumphant, and we called ourselves the Ravens. Rylan, Darnalak and Renzhen assaulted our enemies with their magics, while I danced with our foe gracefully. My partners were the two swords I wielded, and my skill grew daily.

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

I hunted now in the dark tunnels of Undermountain. I’d learned the truth behind my heritage – that as an orphaned child in these tunnels I watched a drow ceremony that sacrificed my elven mother to a foul Drow god. My prey was dark elves, and I strove constantly to find the priestess that had doomed my mother’s soul. I became an expert at navigating the labyrinthine tunnels undetected, and I danced with any predators that thought I would make a tasty snack.

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

We were in rolling foothills, surrounded by giant patrols and uncaring of the danger. I was with Rayj, filled with love and anticipation. We were young lovers, newly discovered and excited to be together. She was an assassin, but the times were more open then and we could consort with one another without fear. This woman was my match, despite our different professions. Together we paid Kang to imprint us each with a magical tattoo – a silver raven in flight. My palm thereafter spoke of my name, and I was content.

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

Emotional agony was crippling me. In one fell swoop, I was separated from my beloved wife Rayj, and best friend Darnalak. A decree from the Gods themselves stated that I would be stripped of my status as a Ranger if I consorted with either person. They practiced dark arts, it was said and were not suitable company for the “Noble Rangers and Paladins”. I railed against it, but you cannot fight the decrees of the gods. I turned my back as ordered, and walked away with tears running down my cheeks.

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

I was presented a glittering scimitar by Thellas Windsong, as gratitude for saving him from his own idiocy. The weapon felt natural in my hands, and I relished every time the magic took hold and sent me into a battle frenzy. Combat was the only outlet I had anymore, and my new scimitar greatly enhanced my dance.

The vision swirled and resolved into a new set of images...

I was old. I could feel the age in every bone – some of it natural and most of the age brought upon me by vengeful ghosts and wraiths that I’d fought. The prohibition against consorting with my wife and best friend was still in effect, and I’d had no contact with either for years. I didn’t even know if they still lived. My time on Toril was at an end, and I had but one last task to accomplish. One hunt left unfinished. I gathered my equipment, gathered the supplies I needed and turned towards Undermountain. I would die there… but Essra would die first. For this last dance, the drow priestess was my partner.

The vision swirled and resolved into my surroundings again. I was kneeling in the grass outside Brandar’s cabin, the scimitar still attached to my hand. I shook from head to toe, trembling with the emotions and sensations I’d just experienced in bonding with the blade. I knew my father now, and I knew some of the critical events in his life. And then I heard his voice, inside my mind.

“Hello son. We are linked now, through my old sword and the tattoo upon your hand. You’ve got a lot to learn about the Dance, good thing I’m here now to teach you. Watch carefully, I’ll jump in from time to time to show you how it’s really done.” With that, the voice was gone but not the presence. I sheathed the scimitar, grateful to see that it would at least leave my hand now and studied my new tattoo. It was a replica of the one I saw Kang carve into my father’s hand, even down to the silver glimmer that shone. I collected myself, tried not to think about his last words and went home.


It soon became apparent what he meant. There would be instances in a fight where I would suddenly lose control of my weapon, and it would begin flashing wildly in a blur and striking at my foe repeatedly. I had no say in the matter when this would happen, and often it would occur at very inopportune times in a fight. Eventually I understood that dad wasn’t actually trying to teach me anything. He was hanging onto the last bit of life he could – enjoying what he could vicariously. Where before I had been bitter and resentful of his intrusions and constant subconscious demands for action, I began to accept that it was just his way.

Now we Dance, letting my feet and blades dictate the moves and sometimes, from time to time I let Dad play. His tattoo no longer pains me, his presence no longer frustrates me. We are joined, and our enemies have learned that sometimes… it’s best to turn down a dance.


[This message has been edited by Sylvos (edited 08-14-2002).]
Ashiwi
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Postby Ashiwi » Wed Aug 14, 2002 1:50 pm

Excellently done Sylvos, of course.
Sylvos
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2001 5:01 am
Location: Guelph, ON, Canada
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Postby Sylvos » Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:07 am

Bumping for the full continuity

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