IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPIRE
CHARACTER BACKGROUND: TEE
Moonsilver Forest lies perhaps five days ride north from Ptolus. In the depths of that forest are the ruins of an ancient enclave of elves. Long ago – even by elven reckoning – the elves of Moonsilver were wiped out. All that remains now are ruins, although some say that the woods still bear the elf-touch.
Moonsilver Forest is now home to a tribe of centaurs. Centaurs are a rarity in human lands (although they are often seen in the Borderlands and are thought to be quite plentiful among the Seven Forests), but the centaurs of this tribe were the allies of the Moonsilver elves. They consider the ancient Moonsilver ruins to be holy sites and guard them zealously against all intruders.
In the Midtown district of Ptolus there is a small enclave of centaurs. The community is known as Narred, which is also the word for “home” in the centauran dialect of elvish. The centaurs living in Narred are mostly diplomats and tradesmen, although a few have settled in Ptolus more or less permanently.
What no one outside of the Narred enclave knows is that the elves who live among the centaurs do not share the lineage of the island elves: They are the last remaining descendants of the elves of Moonsilver Forest. Their traditions are ancient and secret, based on the teachings of The Book of Legends and The Book of Dreams.
For reasons unknown, they are forbidden from returning to Moonsilver Forest.
The Book of Legends records the history of the Moonsilver elves. According to The Book of Legends, the elves are the children of dragons. Before the dawn of history, the elves served the dragons. The Book of Legends describes the dragons first coming to this land and describes the elves as swearing allegiance to the Silver Towers. It speaks of a terrible war which was fought between the dragons and “their own shadow”, after which devastation claimed the land and the elves were sundered from their masters.
The book goes on to describe the elves settling in Moonsilver Forest, where they remained for many centuries and their numbers dwindled. The final chapters of The Book of Legends is also known as The Book of Secrets. Its contents are known only to the elders of the Narred enclave, but presumably deal with the cataclysm which befell Moonsilver Forest and forced the elves to flee.
The Book of Legends also speaks of the “jalindael” – a great duty which was set before the elves by their masters. The elves of Moonsilver place this concept of “jalindael” – the great duty of an elf’s life – at the center of their philosophy.
The Book of Dreams describes ancient arts of the Dreaming, allowing the elves of Moonsilver to enter, craft, and control the Dreaming. Its true arts are, like The Book of Secrets, kept closely guarded by the elders of the enclave, but it’s public teachings instill a reverence in the power of the Dreaming among the elves of Moonsilver.
(THE ELVEN SANCTUARY)
Some distance from the Narred enclave is Iridithil’s Home, also known as the Elven Sanctuary. It’s located in Emerald Hill, the neighborhood in Midtown where most of the elves of Ptolus live. The compound is for elves only, originally having been founded as a sanctuary for elves from the Teeth of Light who chose to settle in Ptolus.
The master of the house is Doraedian Mythlord, a regal, even-tempered elf with long grey hair and intense eyes. The elves of Ptolus look to Doraedian as their de facto leader, although no one – least of all Doraedian – would ever put it that way. He looks after elven concerns in the city, and the elves (and most non-elves) give him the respect he is due as a wise and generous administrator. Doraedian is soft-spoken, generous, fair, and quite noble.
What most of the elves in Ptolus do not know, however, is that Doraedian Mythlord is secretly the leader of the Moonsilver elves. Doraedian believes that the jalindael of the Moonsilver elves – their purpose – is to reintroduce the ancient elven beliefs to the elves of Ptolus and (eventually) the Teeth of Light as a whole. He believes it important for his “lost kindred” to reclaim their ancient traditions, and his work in Iridithil’s Home is all directed ultimately towards that end.
Tee grew up as the only child of Aranel and Arandorion Telrúnya. They had hoped for more children, as the number of remaining Moonsilver Forest elves was dwindling and the hope of the bloodlines was failing.
When Tee was seven years old, her parents went on a journey, in the hopes of finding something that would let them have more children, as her mother tried to explain to her. They never returned. She was never told anything more than there was an accident and they would not be coming home, though she had overheard whispered conversations that mentioned “the ruins” and “dragons”.
At first she was to live with one of the other elven families living in Narred, but night after night she would sneak back home to sleep in her old bed. Eventually it was arranged that members of the community, elves and centaurs alike, would take turns spending the night with her so she could continue to live at home. This was supposed to be a temporary thing, to let Tee adjust, but with her charm and her sneaky ways she was able to keep things as they were until it was determined that she was old enough to live on her own, so long as she checked in with adults in the community every day (and was able to put up with adults constantly “stopping by just to say hi”). Tee took the care of her home very seriously, and while it was certainly a place for the younger elves to congregate, more often than not the kids would be working on their studies or helping Tee with housework, rather than causing trouble or making messes.
Tee spends most of her time in Narred, though as she’s gotten older she has spent more time visiting Iridithil’s Home. She has always admired Doraedian Mythlord, and has tried to replicate his behaviour and demeanor in how she interacts with the young elves who make her home their hangout. She’s still a little uneasy around anyone who doesn’t live in Narred, though she is fascinated by Nyphistree and hopes to be able to call her a friend some day. She has been practicing her archery skills since the age of 15 or so and wonders if she’ll ever be good enough to be part of the Order of the Bow.
Tee remains rather immature and sheltered for her 30 years, and while she tries to hold herself to a high standard of behaviour, it is clear through observation that this is mostly still play-acting at being an adult. The strength of her character has not yet been tested.
Miluiel – 28 year old elven female. Daughter of the family Tee was originally going to stay with.
Aradan – 33 year old elven male. Been a close friend of Tee’s since she was little. Has always been protective of Tee.
Rissien, 17 year old male, Tee has babysat him since he was born. He often fights with his parents and spends a lot of time at Tee’s house, hiding from them.
Santiel, 14 year old female, Rissien’s younger sister.
You have often preyed upon Doraedian’s patience by learning and using the secret ways around Iridithil’s Home. A few weeks ago, this habit got you into more trouble than usual: You had snuck into the rafters of the Sky Lord’s shrine, looking for the nook where you often liked to nestle down and read from your books. This day, however, you became aware of some commotion below you, and moved down to spy upon it.
What you discovered was a ritual of some sort, led by Doraedian and with other members of the Moonsilver elves in attendance. Its strange rites were unlike anything you’d seen before.
As you watched the ritual, however, you suddenly found yourself standing in the depths of a forest, surrounded by tall, dark trees that reached up high enough to block out the sun and render all about you a murky green. You heard the sounds of a burbling brook and followed it. You found no brook, but twisting into a tiny vale you found yourself standing before a woman – tall and serene, with long black hair and wearing a dress of blue which seemed to flow like water… which seemed to be water somehow.
The woman smiled. And as she did, it seemed as if you suddenly found yourself in flight. As though borne upon a great wave, you followed rivers and brooks and great tributaries north… always north. You passed from the lands you knew to distant lands, and still you went further and further north.
At last you found yourself standing high atop a mountain, looking down at a snow-covered village. After a moment, the woman in blue water was standing beside you again. She touched you lightly upon the shoulder, and you found yourself standing upon the wall of that village. Bestial humanoids, reptilian and scaly, burst from the nearby treeline and ran at the village. You saw them break down the wall, and rush into the village – killing whatever villagers they saw, burning down buildings… And you were powerless to do anything about it.
With tears in your eyes you suddenly found yourself back on the beams of the Sky Lord’s shrine. The sudden shift caught you off-guard, and you tumbled to the floor… completely disrupting the ritual beneath you.
At first Doraedian was more angry than you had ever seen him before. But when you babbled out what you had seen in a mixture of fright and confusion, he became more thoughtful.
He told you that you had been visited by Pegana, the Lady of the Rivers, in a vision of the Dreaming. He did not know why you had been shown what you saw, but he knew what it meant: You must journey north and find that village. What you would do once you arrived he did not know, but if you had been shown that journey then it was a journey you needed to make. Of that he was certain.
And it was a journey you would need to make alone.
That night you dreamed of a tall human man – tall and broad in the shoulder with long blonde hair and a full beard. He wore armor of polished black with spikes upon the shoulders. On a kilt about his waist he wore the symbol of a red elk.
The journey to the north took many weeks, but eventually you found yourself standing on a ridge looking down at the village: The devastated buildings still smoke, as if the devastation you saw in your dreams happened only hours ago. You can see, though, that most of the village was apparently left unharmed in the raid.
You turn at a sudden noise and see, coming up the ridge behind you, the man you saw in that dream… perhaps out of instinct you scurry up a nearby tree and watch him approach. Like you, he reaches the top of the ridge and looks down into the village with a long and thoughtful gaze…