To the Storm Dragon Battelion and the Arabel Militia
Lady of Dungeons last edited by Lady of Dungeons
I apologize for being a little late with this account, but I had been focusing on Manzahar's attack upon the town of Tilverton and was unable to complete it until now. I am reporting those responsible for Lord Winter's capture and killing. Thankfully, I was able to find a way to raise Lord Winter from her ashes, but had her ashes not been retrieved from Esolen's hands, she would still be dead.
It started out in Eveningstar where I was spending some quality time with my son, Tom. I spotted two purple dragon blades named Richard and Frank who were waiting to escort a 'Captain'. They mentioned that they were worried of Lizardfolk attacks and because of this, I offered my aide to help escort whoever this captain was. After waiting a few moments, I became immediately suspicious when Felkyr Esolen, who at this time was confirmed to be working with Manzahar as a Clar Bandan, and another golden guard woman who I had never met, stepped out of the Eveningstar portal. The blades acknowledged Esolen and it became clear they meant Esolen was this captain.
I questioned Esolen and he explained he was meeting Lord Winter in order to sell the Golden Guard to her. It seemed suspicious to me, but I decided to go along with it. Esolen kept trying to dismiss me or make me leave, saying it was 'private' business. However, the blades named Frank and Richard told him that it was fine and I was welcomed to aide them. As we got to the Tressym glade, the location of the meeting as arranged by Lord Winter, we found it empty. Esolen seemed upset and confused. I had been carrying two rainbow trouts, and moved to feed some of the Tressym. At that moment, Esolen screamed 'NOW!' and from the shadows two undead knights and two undead Sidhe's along with Shillen, Manzahar's apprentice necromancer, appeared and stabbed me in the back. I was unwarded and.. unsuspecting. I attempted to turn the fight around and downed two of the undead, but it was a three on one fight. The golden guard woman that had accompanied Eso, Esolen, and Shillen descended on me with the remaining undead. The Sidhe undead cast a mind spell, paralyzing me in place, which allowed them to quickly wound me to a nearly dead state. As I laid on the ground, next to the Tressym Glade spring, Esolen ran around it furiously screaming the words 'How could she know!?'. Meaning this was premeditated.
He drew his blade and put it against my neck, still on the ground. I was bleeding out onto the ground, but still able to understand their words. There was rustling in the tree's around us, as if something moved in nature itself. Esolen then stated he would slaughter me if Lord Winter did not appear. Shillen remained silent as did the Golden Guard Woman. The undead and Esolen began.. to beat me. Over and over again. Each time they were careful to hit a new place, untouched by blade. I was.. powerless to stop them. It was.. torture. Somehow, I would be kept alive. Despite the constant onslaught.
Finally, tired of waiting, Esolen cut into my neck a bit before the Nymph, that Evander and I had encountered weeks prior, appeared before them. She told them, 'Stop hurting the child of the sun.' Esolen then demanded Lord Winter show herself. The nymph replied, 'Lord Winter will not show herself in the presence of undead. You must dismiss them first before she will reveal herself.' Felkyr then commanded Shillen to get rid of the undead, which he did. At this point, the Nymph summoned a treeant of the forest to kill them, but they killed it instead. They threatened me again and slit my leg open. Then.. the Nymph stepped out fully from the trees and with her, Lord Winter. I.. tried to tell her to run. Or to get away. But instead, Lord Winter nobly agreed to go with them in exchange for my life being spared. The nymph.. healed me enough so that I could get on my feet. I kept telling her to go. Eveningstar needed her more than me. She retorted that I was just as important and then ordered me to not follow her or them. To not engage with them anymore. I complied with her command. I could barely walk as is, and I was bleeding out. Before leaving, Esolen turned to me and told me, 'Tell Ib everything that happened here. And don't even think about following, or I will kill Winter.' He then put down a note that signed over the golden guard to Ibrahim completely in order to free the golden guard from criminal charges.
They departed quickly and I slowly made my way to Eveningstar. Being heavily wounded, it took me a bit to get there. I went to the temple first in order to get healed enough so I wouldn't die.. and then straight to the castle. There, I was able to alert Rowan and they sent blades after Eso and co to retrieve lord winter. Unfortunately.. they were successful in stealing her away.
I stayed in Eveningstar. And sat on the banks for a good hour, tending to my wounds. Around me, the trees and plants of eveningstar began to die with Lord Winter's absence. All the crops in the fields, and all the trees in the forest visibly withered. Clearly, this was the doing of the Nymph who either followed Lord Winter or her reaction to Lord Winter's capture was affecting the plants. Ibrahim had joined me and we were talking about the golden guard and what happened with Eso. Out of literally no where, Esolen came through the portal, dressed in golden guard garb. I immediately drew my sword, drank three potions and started to fight him. During the commotion he gave Ibrahim an urn of ashes and told him this:
"Ib, I thought this entire time that I was Jarlaxian. But I'm not. I'm not Jarlaxian. You are. Instead, I am the demon, Ib. I am the one that is supposed to fullfill my role. You know what to do with this."
I knocked him down twice, but he was able to utter the words 'Unholy' and roll into the portal- within inches of his life. At this point, Fram, the gnome showed up. Over and over again, he seemed to repeat the words 'Ah, I see you need a hero.. I am Fram-...'. Really it was very annoying and distracting as he kept moving around and leaning on things whilst trying to introduce himself to Ibrahim and I. Unfortunately for him, I was too angered with Eso getting away and focused on Ib to care. Esolen was obsessed with raising Clar Banda's ex lover in order to turn her into a goddess of hope instead of undeath and lost love. For some reason he believed Ibrahim was the reincarnation of Jarlaxian, Clar Banda's lover. And that Lord Winter represented Clar Banda. That Ib needed to rescue her.
However... he did not know Ib well enough, who had no feelings for Lord Winter in this regard only liking. At this point, I asked Ibrahim to hand me the ashes. As the urn was handed over, a few ashes seeped out of the lid and fluttered upon the wind towards the gnome. Everywhere the ash went, flowers and grass bloomed and blossomed where it had been dead before. Some of the ash even got on the gnome, who started to glow. At this point, I realized that the nymph hadn't left Eveningstar.. Lord Winter /was/ the Nymph. That, or she has a direct connection to the nymph and the land around Eveningstar. Lord Winter was and is vital to the ecosystem surrounding. It dawned on me that sometime's when dryads are reintroduced with their trees, if separated, they can be revived. At that point, I carefully dumped the ash, evenly along the ground in a humanoid shape whilst Ibrahim and the gnome watched.
As I suspected, my hypothesis was correct, and immediately a bright light emitted from the ash- so bright that I had to look away in order to shield my eyes. In the dead night of winter, Eveningstar lit up as bright as day for a few minutes as Lord Winter's body formed from her ashes like a rising phoenix. When the light faltered, the plants and trees around Eveningstar bloomed with life once more and there before me was Lord Winter, sleeping peacefully on the ground. Around her shoulders was a cloak that had a protection from evil enchantment on it. After leaning down and checking her pulse, I deduced she was only lightly sleeping. Ibrahim stated we needed to get her to the castle immediately, to which I agreed and lifted her up. The two of us made our way to the castle with the gnome trailing after us, writing on a parchment of paper and muttering about some silliness.
Lady Rowan looked rather surprised and asked what happened. I explained to her what happened and she thanked us and took Lord Winter away.
A while later I had returned to the banks of Eveningstar and was in the middle of sketching the town when Marie-Rose Renarde started to post many sendings. Considering it was rather annoying and I was sketching at the time, I was able to write them down. She seemed to be giving a small sermon through the sendings to the citizens of eveningstar, who cried in horror at it. It was an obvious attempt to gain new Clar Banda followers and to create chaos and havoc. Here it is as follows:
""Beauty brings love. Love leads to loss. Loss leads to death, and death leads to enlightenment." So speaks Clarabella Banda. As you people of Eveningstar mourn your loss, reflect on the impermenance of that light you hold so dear.
Beauty is fleeting. Life is fleeting. Power and Knowledge will console you where the ingracious platitudes and fleeting comforts granted to you by Lathander as you continue to suffer. Where is your sun, now? Dead and gone.
Lord Winter has passed. In the whithering that remains, remember your love for her, and know that while fleeting, your situation is recoverable. Pray. Pray hard. Fear Her wrath, and she will return to you what you have lost.
Even now her ashes are in your hands - you have a choice to make. Choose wisely."
In retort, I responded with this:
"Actually, Lord Winter lives. You have failed because of us. Where there is darkness, even in the darkest of places, light will always shine through and triumph. You have failed, dear vile necromancer.
Listen well, priestess of vile undeath and lost beauty, you will never triumph in the face of the light. Do you know why? Not because the light will always blot out the darkness, but because you /can't/ get rid of the light or the darkness.
When there is loss and despair, there will always be embers of hope that you can never crush. There will be spirits you cannot oppress with /your/ vile acts. Hear this Clar Bandan's. You, who stole our lord. You, who threaten us and cause our grief.
The Morninglord's faithful cannot break, and we will not. We are the pillars of hope that you can never surpass or topple. We are the light in the darkness that scare the monsters back. Even if we must lay down our lives, we will to safe guard what is good, to safeguard hope.
You can flaunt your evil all you want. But know that you failed today. And now you will never have the chance again. Your message falls on depth ears because our light is not fleeting. It lives on with each new child. And each new experience.
Lord Winter is alive, and not ash. So here I tell you. Break from this path of darkness that you walk. It will bring you no salvation nor enlightenment. I encourage you, shrug off the cloak of darkness and embrace the light with open arms.
Abandon your goddess. The one who leads you to failure and loss. Those you lost, they are only on a new beginning now, a new journey. Save your souls, and walk the path of true enlightenment with Lathander.
All of you faithful of Clar Banda. See this failure today and realize that you follow the wrong path. You work for the wrong side. Should you wish to redeem yourselves, I will be available at the World Serpent Inn. - Valeria Ashwood, warrior of Lathander."
I wished to see who this woman was and put a name to her face. So thus, I challenged and invited her to the world serpent inn to look upon the woman who sacrificed Lord Winter to Clar Banda. Of course, it would have been nice if at least one of them had come and asked for redemption. But, as expected, my message fell on deaf ears. It was, however, successful in luring the vile priestess that is Marie-Rose Renarde.
I made my way to the World Serpent Inn and sat at the fire place with the trees sprouting around it. She came in, dressed in silver, black, gold, and burgendy colors. I asked her if she was the priestess I had heard so much of. To which she replied with, 'Yes, recently promoted to Dread Inquisitor.'
We talked a bit about Sembia, her home, and the Nobility of the North as she did not recognize House Dauntinghorn.
We talked pleasantries for a while about faith, and it became clear she did not seek redemption or forgiveness, as expected. So I asked her, 'Tell me, Marie-Rose Renarde, what is it you seek?' To this she smirked and held up three fingers. She then stated the following,
"Three things. First, the face of my enemy. Secondly, I wished to know how you recovered her - an answer you've given me between your breaths."
Which I never actually told her how. I simply told her she was returned to us by the light of Lathander. I still doubt she knows just exactly how Lord Winter was returned. I have kept Lord Winter's connection to nature and the nymph around Eveningstar silent. I have not told anyone else, but Lord Captain Dauntinghorn. She then stated finally,
" Finally, I am here so you can meet me."
She also stated that she 'knew how we raised her' and that she would be, 'taking care of the issue directly after this meeting.'
At this point, Esolen interrupted our conversation as he walked into the serpent inn and Marie took this chance to leave. Marie introduced herself completely at the beginning of this meeting and I have memorized her face. She cannot be allowed to receive amnesty for her actions. She not only assaulted a premeditated attack on Lord Winter, but she /also/ sacrificed Lord Winter to her goddess, Clar Banda, without declaring a divine march. Which she couldn't do, because she is not a high priestess. This woman is guilty of assisted kidnapping, murder, aiding the criminals known as Manzahar and Esolen, and the vile act of raising undeath. She was apart of Manzahar's entourage and most certainly had established connections to Esolen. As he entered the inn, both of them addressed one another cordially and Eso thanked Marie for something before she left.