The Account of Nawen
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Excerpts from the Wanderings of Nawen Alerothi, of the Circle of Long Woods, of Evereska, the Lioness of Shaeradim
6th of Hammer, 1398 DR
I have been in Arabel several days and wandered the Hullack with several individuals. Of help, Nelven has informed me of much of the goings-on in the surrounding area. Mostly, people talk about the Moonshaes, which are accessible through a portal-door in an extra-planar tavern, which seems to be popular with adventurers.
There is a pool of Eldath, here, which seems to be the source of the woods around it. I dug my fingers deeply into the bank and discovered that it is the center of a working, perhaps by orcs or perhaps by Malarites, which I am told are local, to profane it. Still, it does not seem to be ill affected; the blood is old and the well is deep. I will continue to watch it for changes but do not feel as connected with these woods as to start a working with it.
There is a small clearing which once contained a ruin of the people, which is now home to an ironwood tree. The dwarf that showed it to me also said that there were some people, men, who wished to find an axe capable of hewing down an ironwood tree. I gave him a branch of the tree and explained a little about the trees, and how dangerous the sale of their wood might be, but since it is traditional to use ironwood as a reward I will trust the seed of that kindness to bear fruit down the path and in time.
The ironwood tree is very small. It is old enough to bear acorns. I may plant more elsewhere, deeper in the forest where men can not find them. But the forest does not yet recognize me, so I do not dare to venture far within it. I have been having trouble making the connection. Perhaps it is because of the Malarites, or because the forest does not remember elves, or perhaps something has happened to sever it from druids or there is some deep ill within it. It will take time for me to find out, and I will have to wait for it to open to me before I try. But, eventually I will find the spirits and then I will not be much troubled as I am now for these answers.
I helped defend a place in the Moonshaes, which is a place that Spider defends. They have a tiefling of some sort, with dark fur, and a bard that may also be an oathtaker. Nelven says that she can sing to the forest and that she might be singing the song of that particular forest. I think that this is a strange way, but it is amazing and very interesting if true. From what little I saw of the forest and what little I felt there, it seems as though whatever they are doing is well in hand. I was knocked about several times by the orcs that tried to over-run them and did not wake up until much later, after the battle was over.
I have met a sorceress with beautiful hair. It is white like spun silk and very fine, and she keeps it long, and longer than I have ever managed even in my long years, and it does not fray. I found it very impressive and she was a very beautiful human. She fell during one of the jobs Nelven and I took, and I think that she is dead. Perhaps the priests will be able to do something with her.
Still, she is the beautiful thing I have noticed for this entry, and I am pleased to be here, so far.
9th day of the 1st Ride of Hammer, 1398 DR
I have conducted a small tour of the isle of the Moonshaes which is governed by Arthur, the wildswalker. He is a human with a strange strength of purpose, and he cuts an attractive figure, if brooding. He confidently walks among the refugees, and they part for him like tall grass.
I placed my fingers deep within the Cairn of the Whale spirit of the island, and gave the land some of my blood. I would have done so at the Druid's Moot, but I am told that Spider is near it, and I do not wish to give that spirit my scent or essence, just yet, until I am much more firmly rooted. I do not yet know what it means that Spider is on the island, but as is his usual, he is waxing deep in the shadows of the dark boughs.
I have seen the pillars kept in the settlement and I gave Arthur my reading of them. Whale, Wolf, Unicorn, and Dragon inhabit the island, or did in antiquity, and spoke with the old Circle. Arthur then told me that they have been freeing the spirits of some sort of corruption, and he called the last Pillar the "Beast", saying that from what they had discovered, one of Earthmother's children turned on the others and tried to seize godhood. Arthur says that there is a black dragon behind the issue, and so I think it is possible that somehow, this dragon is holding Dragon's blessing, and suppressing the other three.
Not having seen the corruption of the other spirits or felt it, and being so new to this place, I can not know if that is true, but from account it seems accurate enough to begin a working to find the freed spirits and reawaken the wood.
I am reluctant to turn my attention away from the Hullack because I have today found one of the axes that humans have been using to hew the ironwood trees, along with a trove of a great many things used to destroy the Great Oak's workings in this area. It is a wicked thing, though mundane, and self-propagating, like a disease, and I can only imagine the first was made by shortsightedness. I have all evening been spent examining it, and given its construction, I find myself growing more and more worried that that should its secret be uncovered, it will be replicated, if it has not already been.
Today, I called Whale to answer the old oaths, against a necromancer that Arthur made clear he no longer wished to wander the Moonshae. The spirits of Moonshae are sluggish to answer, but I saw the water move beneath my hands, felt it brush against my feet, and deep in the cavern pool I could see the light of intelligence and the aura of the spirit, but it did not manifest itself on that spot. One of the rangers said that the water outside had been troubled, and when they returned, I was informed a whole river rose up to try to engulf them.
Orcs made a small attack on the settlement afterwards, and I did not exchange words with the necromancer, only her companion who seemed very shiftless.
It is a great deal at once, but not more yet than I can handle.
This morning I stood on a cliff, with my clothing wet from the working, and felt the ocean's wind across my skin through my clothing. The smell of salt water, without the brine, clean as winter can make it and genuine. That is my beautiful thing for this day.
10th day of the 1st Ride of Hammer, 1398 DR
I will never enter the sewer again. Never.
My beautiful observation for this day is bathing in warm, clean water, with lavender soap. I had forgotten how it felt to wash someone else's hair, but it is a pleasant feeling between the fingers, however difficult it is to resist drowning the godsblasted idiot.
1st Day of the 2nd Ride of Hammer, 1398 DR.
Nelvin has been a little bit sick. I gave him a bit of medicine, but having taken ill, he is not quite himself.
Little enough has happened in the last few days of real note. I introduced myself to the Hullack, though I forget which day precisely, with Nelvin as a witness. That, if nothing else, caused me to make the introduction in common, making it much shorter than it could have been in the old language of trees. He planted a small flower in the center of the grove's mehirs, and I joked with him that I might call us the 'Circle of Planted Flowers'. Still, I believe it is best to keep the name carved into the stones, after whatever druids came and went before me.
Rumor in Eastway is that a new noble is coming into the area, and has purchased some of the land from Lord Mertoi close to the Hullack. I expect I will need to be presentable in the next few days.
My beautiful thing for the day is a white stag that I saw on the horizon, so clean that not even the shadows of the leaves dappled the color.