The Myth of The Manawell

Bardly Banter

There were two items of interest found on the drow—I feel silly writing that sentence. Drow can’t exist…
Anyway, one was a vial of black liquid. It turned out to be poison of some sort. I know nothing more.
The other proved more immediately useful, however. It was some sort of prism made of a material that looked like purple glass. I know better than to think it was actually glass, though. Luna and Arannis discovered that when you look through it it shows a trail to…somewhere. I think they decided it must lead back to the rebel camp. Since we didn’t know whether it led only to the current location or to wherever the camp happened to be, Luna decided that the elven army needed to strike soon, before they could move again. But we couldn’t just set out first thing in the morning. There was work to be done.
They needed to know any information that they could get about what to expect at the camp.
They needed training for their mostly-civilian militia.
They needed the help of the mages, otherwise they could not fight magic with magic.
They needed someone to lead the way. Macthelion.
And perhaps most importantly, they needed to find Celestia.

Daye was nominated to go recon the camp. She’s the sneakiest of us. Big surprise there…
We figured Arannis would be the best candidate to go speak to the mages, since he deals in that kind of thing.
Balasar is the most martial one of us so he opted to train the militia.
And I was nominated to go speak with Macthelion. Not that I would’ve had it any other way.The man knew my father. The man saw what my father saw that made him not wish to ever tell me anything about his home.

We were able to get another couple hours of sleep before we each headed out to our tasks.
As we’d been told before, Macthelion lived alone on the western edge of the city. I didn’t know what to expect. Would he be a nice guy? Would he be crazy? Would he be angry and arrogant?
None of that prepared me for how things were. His house was really more of a shack. It had long since fallen into disrepair and there was no indication that its owner cared one bit. I knocked on the door and was greeted with a yell from inside, asking if I’d come to mock him, “too.” I told him I was Minnethena Whisperwillow, here on behalf of Princess Luna. There was a pause before he cracked the door open to peer out. I told him I was there not to mock him, but to seek his aid. He seemed distinctly uninterested, and I suspect that my connection to my father was the only reason he didn’t slam the door in my face.

He begrudgingly invited me in. The inside of the house was no better than the outside. Messy and dirty. Macthelion himself was much the same. He was wearing stained clothes and was generally greasy, and I got the opinion he hadn’t bathed in a while. We sat down on the couch and he asked me again what I wanted. I told him we needed his help because he was the only one left who knew what we were up against. He told me a little more of what happened and mentioned a third survivor. I briefly had hope that there might be another person we could find, but that hope was squashed when he said the third person went crazy and ran off into the Fel. He said that he wasn’t allowed to speak of what he had seen, and that most of the people believed him insane.

I told him that if he helped, then no longer would he be mocked. He could be a hero to the entire queendom. He shrugged it off. He only wanted his name cleared. He didn’t care much about being a hero. He wanted to know why anyone would follow a crazy person.

Through most of this he stared at the floor and muttered things about back then and about my father. He seemed to only be half listening.

I told him that it was specifically the princess who had requested his aid and that clearly she herself must have some faith in his knowledge and his ability. And I told him that he was needed as a leader, not a fighter. He would not have to get in the heat of battle at the thickest part of the Fel again. He could stay near the outskirts simply leading.

After a while he begrudgingly agreed, on two conditions. One, he wanted to stress that this was not him coming out of retirement. He would be stepping forward to provide a service to his queendom; no more. And two, he demanded that whatever forces he was put in charge of be under his control. Luna could give advice, but no more. He must have the final say. I thanked him for agreeing to join us and told him that I would make sure Luna was aware of his conditions.

Before I left he went over to a chest in the corner, opened it, and withdrew a scimitar. He gave it to me, saying that it was my father’s, that my father had said he never wanted to see it again, and that Macthelion wanted me to have it.

Then I headed back to the palace to await news from the others.

Balasar and Arannis got back shortly after I did, apparently both successful, but Daye did not. Luna began to grow anxious as time dragged on. Finally there was a knock at the door and Daye entered followed by a hooded figure. Daye seemed like she wanted to speak, but Luna cut her off, demanding information on her sister’s whereabouts and condition. Daye had no choice but to step aside, gesturing towards the other person. She began to speak, “I must warn you—” but Luna ran to hug her sister. At that point Luna was able to see under the hood. Celestia had been cut. Scarred. Her once-beautiful face mangled so badly that even magic might not be able to remove the scars. Luna seemed barely able to contain herself, but finally mustered up the willpower to focus. Balasar offered to try some of his healing magic on her. Celestia was led to her room by guards who had been ordered not to let anyone else see her yet, and after a brief discussion among the five of us about what all we’d accopmlished (success across the board, Avandra be praised), Balasar split off to see what he could do for Celestia and the rest of us went to get as much sleep as possible before the next sunrise.

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Aranjah

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