The Rise and Fall of Glamorfell

Yelenya's House

Yelenya’s house is off the beaten path, close to the river. The house itself is fairly unremarkable, but it looks a little weird. The windows are close to the roof and the sides are as smoothly made as possible. The door opens opposite from the way it looks, opening out rather than in. There are potted flowers around the outside of the house, and appeared to be tended with someone with more enthusiasiam than skill. Inside the house is rather sparse, basically one big room. There is a table set low to the floor with cushions to sit or kneel on, and a small stove to cook (or aid in metalworking). Her sleeping arrangements are rather odd as well with a hammock slung nearly even with the barred windows. There are two other rooms, one is set up as an armory/wardrobe, the other contains a copper bathtub and necessary. There are flowers in pots throughout the house except for the table. The shell of a giant turtle rests on the table like a huge bowl and at first glance appears to be full of white pebbles or shells. Closer inspection reveals a collection of bones. There is a small box resting on top of the pile. The box is made of wood, worn smooth and polished, with a lid made of giant mantis chitin. Despite being a permanent residence, everything looks almost packed to leave at a moments notice.

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Sayd and Akilina's House

Far from a kingly manor, Jagged Hollow, Sayd’s cave dwelling, can be found far away from a side street, practically beyond the walls, a long walk down a plain path. Bright, colorful flowers grow along the way. Everyone knows the Prince lives there, but the only evidence is an increased patrol of guards who walk the grounds.

A simple gothic arch of carved oak opens on a patio, behind which a weathered looking circle of stone monoliths stands, some low enough to sit on, some taller than a man. Although they might appear to have religious significance at first, they are actually astronomical, laid out to track the progress of the heavens as the seasons changeā€”a primitive observatory, no doubt built to please the Princess Akilina.

Down a gentle slope, a stream that cuts through the property cascades down some rocks and opens into a flowing pool, perfect for bathing. A small fire-pit with plenty of logs and rocks to sit on is positioned nearby.

A cavernous entrance by the spilling stream is well-lit by a hanging lamp. A guard stands here, watching the flitting butterflies and listen to the sound of wind-chimes handing from the low tree boughs. A stone door, of dwarven make, lies under the natural arch.

Inside, Jagged Hollow is incredibly spare, and lit mainly with phosphorescent mushrooms that cast everything in magical blue, green and purple light. A long room with a dining table, kitchen and hearth, the smoke no doubt directed through some carved chimney, is clean and homey. A small sauna contains a bath and a brazier for creating humid heat. A massage table here and a collection of perfumes and oils seem out of place with the dimly lit surroundings.

The bedroom, by contrast, contains richly dense white carpeting and is very well lit, not only by the phosphorescent plant life but by a massive dwarven skylight. It reveals the sky by day and the stars by night. A series of cranks closes shutters at the top of the shaft, for inclement weather. A plush bed is immaculately made up in white linen sheets and overthrown with warm white animal furs. Newish wardrobes, dressers and a walk in closet are almost entirely bare of clothing. The furnishings have all been imported from Brevoy in the latest styles, except for the bed itself, which is large and cut from local lumber.

In one corner, a set of bookshelves are packed to overflowing with novels, treatises, histories and maps. Books on troll lore, Brevic noble lineages, legends of the First World and descriptions of fey are all visible. A cozy chair and an end table are clearly meant for reading. There volumes are given places of special prominence and look well read: The Parables, The Eight Scrolls, and the Book of Magic, the holy texts of Erastil, Desna and Nethys, respectively. A copy of the Asmodean Monograph, no doubt a gift from Woodrow, lies nearby as well.

In another corner, a small shelf contains icons and statuettes representing Erastil, Desna, Calistria and Abadar.

A large mirror is turned towards the wall, due to the owner’s apparent distaste of his own reflection; still, since the room looks like it is soon expecting a princess, it will no doubt see use. Colorful art decorates the walls: flags from campaigns long past, artifacts from Sayd’s mercenary career, maps of the kingdom, as well as paintings and sculptures.

Jagged Hollow looks like it exists mainly for sleeping, eating, and bathing in a very secure place, considering Sayd spends most of his time exploring or working in town. There is a spare room, totally empty, that could make for a nursery if need be.

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A Moment of Relief
Kaede's Home

Stillness, and serenity. A mote of dust, caught by a narrow shaft of light peeking past the shades, drifted across the room, and alighted upon the bald pate of a small stone statuette of a man resting cross-legged in meditation. The silence was broken by the muted voice of a young woman:

“Wait here a moment, Walhaim. I must make a brief inspection.”

Sunlight filled the room as a hanging straw mat was thrown aside, and a petite elf dressed in plain robes lithely stepped into the doorway. Turning her head slightly, she spoke in Tien, “Master, please check the ceiling. I will take care of the rest.”

A small thrush fluttered into the air from her shoulder, and flew a circuit at ceiling height. The woman stalked into the room like a cat, stopping to inspect bits of string placed on windowsills, mats left askew, and glass vessels balanced precariously (and particularly) atop piles of papers and books. After a few moments, the thrush landed once again upon her shoulder, chirping briefly as he did. The woman nodded once, satisfied.

“Nothing amiss, Walhaim. Enter, and kindly take care not to track anything as you do.”

At that, a diminutive halfling stepped tentatively into the doorway, carrying a stack of books, papers, and scrolls. He coughed politely and said, “Umm… where shall I place these things, Lady Kaede?”

Kaede, already engrossed in a document she’d pulled from depths unseen, gestured absentmindedly towards a low wooden table in the corner of the room. “Over there will do, Walhaim. And if you would, please prepare some tea for the both of us”.

Walhaim glanced around the stone-walled room; it had been a long walk, further from the Council chambers than he had expected. The decor here was very plain: unfinished wooden tables and cabinetry, a lone chair in the corner piled high with books, a hanging scroll on the otherwise-empty wall stitched with a strange foreign-looking symbol, and straw mats and cushions placed strategically around the floor. Placed in the center of the back wall was a shrine with unlit candles and a small statue. Tucked into the corner of the room, was a bedroll, with a stiff-looking pillow laying on top. The only other notable feature was a fireplace set into the wall, with a nearby stack of firewood.

Without looking up, Kaede sighed from behind her paperwork. "The house is far from the chambers because it’s quiet and serene here in this part of the city, chairs are an unnecessary luxury, the symbol means “Focus”, and the statue is of Irori, Master of Masters. I have great plans for you, Walhaim, but none of them involve woolgathering in my doorway. We need to study these blueprints, make the necessary adjustments, and have them back to the Ministry by evening. The Council will not stand for delays in construction, but nor will I suffer the edifices of our kingdom to be little more than haphazard piles of rock and mortar".

The halfling started, opened and closed his mouth a few times, and then shook his head and said, “Y.. Yes, Lady Kaede. Straight away.”

A small thrush chirped from upon the elf’s shoulder.

“Master Yukimura,” Kaede chided, “that wasn’t very nice”.

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No Time for Hesitation
The Wisdom of Yukimura

Yukimura glowered at the scene, in the way that only a bird could. Those four-legged beasts were in serious trouble, and would not last long in the river’s current.

“Get moving, girl. Even if your nestling companions had the faintest shadow of a plan, they’d never make it in time.”

Kaede nodded at the thrush on her shoulder, quickly spoke the words for a spell, and the air began to shimmer near the ground at her boots. A moment later, she raced towards the shoreline, faster than the swiftest horse. Through his empathic bond with her, Yukimura felt Kaede calling upon her powers of prescience, reaching into the future…

that one. that’s the sturdiest rock.

Kaede planted both feet on a rock at the edge of the bank, and leapt into the air towards the center of the river.

slow down. land lightly.

As she sailed over waterborne Sayd’s head, Kaede called upon her otherworldly bond to slow her descent to that of a falling feather, touching down upon the cart on her tiptoes.

the cart is unstable. crouch slightly, take this path.

Keeping her balance perfectly amidst the rocking motion of the cart, Kaede smoothly picked her way to the front, and untied the panicked beasts of burden that were still tethered. Reaching behind into her haversack without looking, Kaede produced a small vial, drank the contents, and flung the empty clay vessel over her shoulder. Within moments, she was doubled in size, the cart creaking under the sudden weight.

“I’m not in need of a bath just now, if it’s all the same to you, girl”.

Yukimura took flight from Kaede’s shoulder as she hopped into the water.

there’s a narrow ledge here to brace against. keep a wide stance. lean slightly into the current.

Despite rushing water pounding against her chest, Kaede easily kept her balance and grabbed hold of both sets of reins.

almost there. watch for the eddy hidden beneath the surface. turn towards it as you walk past.

Gritting her teeth against the cold of the water, with wet hair plastered against her face, Kaede slowly walked across the river-bottom with both animals in tow, towards the far shoreline.

take hold of that vine, it has deep roots.

Clutching a fistful of vegetation, Kaede pulled herself out of the water onto the shore, handing the reins to the waiting gnomes as she did so. Kneeling for a moment to catch her breath, with a hand pressed against the ground, Kaede spoke softly, audible to none but herself and her master:

“Fate finds a way.”

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the last year
pt 2.

The Last Year pt2.
“Seriously, suck it up, armor up those ovaries, and stab me.” Not exactly the words that one should probably say to a half-orc holding a sharp object, but nobody is perfect. Yelenya gasped as she got stabbed, there was a tug, and a clicking noise, and she got stabbed again. The process repeated for a while and then began again on the other side of her head. The earrings were a fairly simple design, a knot made of braided silver wire was poked through the front of her ear lobe and pulled through to spiral up her ear to where it would end in another knot. The tricky part was the carving of the rings that were spaced inside the wire. Each time they killed something that she felt was notable enough for a memento she took a little piece of bone or armor and when she had accumulated enough she had carved, as best she could, it into a ring shape and a little symbol of what had donated the object. Tuskgutter had a little piggy for instance. She had been a little dismayed at the preponderance of wolves, although she had gotten pretty good at carving them, and the kitty didn’t do the manticore justice, but she thought it was a rather striking look. The good news was that Sasha was actually a pretty good seamstress, the bad news was that it was over so soon. Dhavid came over to look at the limp form of the dhampir with her head in the half-orc’s lap and wandered off muttering about needing a drink and that he’d be in his bunk. Winter was boring. Staying in one place was boring. The test for her earrings had been a nose piercing, and she was tying to talk (nag) Kaede into getting her ears pierced. The fact that, so far, it had worked was encouraging. Or maybe it was just the chance to stab the normally unflappable elf. Winter was boring. Yelenya was a terrible seamstress, but she had made little stuffed animals for all the children within a two week ride. She was a horrible singer and an acceptable storyteller, but she had taken a turn babysitting every kid in town so that their parents could have a little time to themselves. She was a murderess, but crime was fairly low (suspiciously so in fact). She worked almost every waking hour at trying to make things better, because she could. She had time. Lots and lots of time. and after a whole three months she was bored. So, self harm it was. Still, she liked the look. As she lay on the bench Sasha picked up one of her braids and flicked her thumbnail against the pale bead at the end of it.
“The ones in your ears were all animals, this one has a man carved into it. How come?”
Yelenya smiled. "That was the Stag Lord. The rings are all animals, the beads are finger bones. Just a little something for me to remember them by. "

Bonelessly the dhampir stood and hugged the half-orc. It was time for Yellie’s dance lesson. She wasn’t going to miss that.

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the last year
pt 1.

The Last Year PT1.
The streets were actually getting busy, people were doing relatively well, and it was kinda quiet. Even if it was too bright out. The sunlight felt good on her skin, but the light was continuing to be an issue. Lady Vellara might have a few ideas about a solution to that one. She was a City girl. Yelenya was looking out over the town as she walked atop the walls, her bare feet feeling the stone, and gently bouncing Yellie as she sang (horribly off key) to the little girl. The occasional skitter-step or twirl usually drew a giggle or a laugh from the precious little thing in her arms. She had to be careful though not to dislodge too many stones, even one the size of her fist would pick up some speed on it’s way down. At least the view was nice, there was plenty of fresh air, and the sunlight felt wonderful.. even if it was too bright.. and they were fifteen feet in the air.
Yelenya had been trying, and succeeding to a limited degree, to get to know the folks who had been moving into her town. She liked halfling, although there were always individuals that managed to get on her bad side, and the ones here were pretty well definitely halflings. People should be what they are, no less, and try for more. Fortunately there was a common ground, they liked to celebrate the end of the day, and she loved to dance. A five or six nights a month she’d invite herself to a gathering and watch, and change diapers, and help cook food, and tell stories, but when it was time to dance she just couldn’t help herself. The dancing was different that what she was paid to do, less formal, and different that what she would do as a distraction, less… anyway, it was a celebration of life. For a dead person with a heartbeat that was one heck of a draw, and she loved it. There was always one or two who looked at her funny, as though there was something wrong with her for having eyes that glowed in the night, or having fangs, but she never tried to hide it. She didn’t care so why should they.
Yelenya, laughing with happiness, stumbled away from the crowd and collapsed onto the ground, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. The nights were getting warm enough that she could dress down and still be comfortable. That meant a skirt and a top that left her arms and shoulders bare. The night wind on her bare skin felt wonderful and she stared up at the stars, wondering what was going on up there. Her nose brought her back to herself, kobolds had kind of a dry/musty smell to them. Even the ones that Sootscale had loaned her. She turned her head slowly so as not to disrupt her neckguard, she had made a few modifications and the silver coins laced into it would occasionally chime if she turned her head to fast. There were a pair of little red eyes in the shadows. She sighed.
“Hey, lady, are you going to tell us more stories?” The younger halflings were so cute.
“No sweetie, I have to go to work.”
“Are you going to come back next time?”
“I’ll think about it.” she teased as she took her bow and the quiver of arrows from where she had set them. The halflings were smart enough not to mess with her things, although a demonstration for the dumb ones was occasionally necessary. Properly equipped for work she followed the kobold.
“You’re sure they’re in there?”
“Yes Lady Sneaky-Stab, two tall folk, one with brown hair, one with blonde.”
Dealing with kobolds was occasionally taxing, but they were good at what they did. Yelenya reached into the shadows and scratched the little scaly creature under the jaw while she looked at the others in attendance. She occasionally had needs that could only be fufilled by a big strong man, like scaring the crap out of a few of the criminals that had wandered in. She disliked wasting a potentially useful resource, the bard that had paid them a visit last year would have been useful if he could be properly motivated.
“Wait for the signal, etcettera, etcettera.”
Akeros raised an eyebrow. “This isn’t the first time I’ve done this.”
“I’m aware, but I see new faces in the guards, and I like when everybody is on the same page.”
She handed her bow and quiver to a guard and climbed the wall to the vent window. The warehouses were all the same design, and a visit to the archetect had ensured that every one had windows that she would fit through. It was a tight fit in armor, nearly impossible with a pack and her quivers, but tonight she was distinctly… underdressed for the occasion. The men were discussing business matters. Apparently they had not gotten the memo she had put out, or they thought that it didn’t apply to them. Her rules were pretty simple, and any who abided by them were more likely to be in her good graces. There was always crime, and she had no issue with people making a living, but it was better to be organized. She disappeared into the shadows as she crept across a beam toward them, and then she really disappeared as she got closer. They might notice the dust that she was stirring up, but it was doubtful. She picked the larger of the two, he seemed to be in charge, and dropped on him like a sack of potatos. Her dagger flashed once across his throat and then she was latched on. His struggles weakened as she bled to death and she sucked the wonderfully warm blood down. The other man was frozen, terror on his face and piss soaking his pants. There were a few moments when she caught his eyes and stared at him, hopefully it would be enough. His screams were not pleasant as he ran for the door only to find Akeros kicking it in. She dropped the dying man and jumped at the screaming one, a perfect pounce before the end. Akeros caught her by the neck with one hand and held her there as she thrashed and snarled at the brown haired man. When an angle opened up she bent her head down and snapped her jaws shut on the guard captain’s leather gauntlet. Still gnawing on the heavy leather she heard Akeros give him the list of rules and a bill for the door, and tell the terrified man that if he needed help figuring out what the rules meant that he could stop by the office and someone would explain it to him. She waited until the guards led the man away before calming down. Akeros handed her a bucket and she managed to make it around a corner before she retched all the blood she had drunk back up. Akeros nudged the now dead man with the toe of his boot before handing her a bottle. The rather unsophisticated stuff that Wally brewed was terrible, but it did get rid of the taste of the blood, and she swished and spat a few times before downing half the bottle in one long pull. Drunk Dhampir’s were a hazard for everyone so she held off after that. Yelenya knelt beside the corpse and massaged his face until the terrified look eased, then she closed his eyes. A piece of silver in his mouth and a copper over each eye finsihed the preparations. She prayed silently to whatever god was listening, and prayed to Sheylin for forgiveness for herself. When she stood she was steady on her feet. She patted Akeros on the shoulder as she left, she trusted him to do a good job with the investigation. Home she lit one candle as she got ready for bed, more for the warmth than the light. She had moved some of her flowers indoors before she had left for the night and they perfumed the air. She caught sight of herself in the small mirror. She had forgotten to clean the blood off her face. As she slept she dreamed of the faces of all the people, of every species, that she had killed. Tonight had added to the list, it was far longer than she wished, but still she slept on.

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TBD
The Diary of Teret Feron

Once again, we step into a much larger world. Where a young man, worth no more than a private’s stipend, becomes a faithful companion, who swears his allegiance beneath a shaded flag of white and black. When this started, our aim was a tyrant, an abomination upon the land. We picked apart his people, removed each brick, then built our home in his fallen castle.
Now we face the same, every day is a needle pricking at us. Scraping away our patience, our resolve, pushing our dark desires to the forest. The Lebeda house would never have suffered refugees placing themselves upon their land, they would have slaughtered them. While I cannot wholly bring myself to applaud their methods, I can see their design. I cannot say it isnt effective, if brutal. We send a party to tilt against otherworldly beings, things we would engage ourselves, but cannot, lest our own walls crumble. Why, by Iomeade’s grace, should such things even BE here? In some way, small though it be, I understand the Stag Lord’s stupor when we approached him. The burden of command is one that snaps weaker steel in twine. Some, break worse, some deeper imperfection, exposed like a chink in the cleanest mithril suit.

I often find myself longing for the days when we could simply leave the merchant’s crumbling fort in the north, caring not what he thought or needed. He was easy to make the target of our blame and angst. These days, it is not easy by any means one could measure. We have people, many sycophantic, to whom we report. Our every action directed by the plebeian, “to whom do you give your gold m’lord?” Myself! You foolish mink. I step in front of some fire-spewing demon with a chain that tears limbs from body, shits ashes that burn the eyes, and you want to know to what I spend my gold on? A bath and a whore.

Very different these days. Now we face an ever widening responsibility. The scope of our mandate growing. I think the Sword Lords overstep themselves. Pushing our boundaries with no risk to themselves. Probing our ever growing list of enemies. An undead prince, lords of Tigers, a woman who whispers to beings who could tear our city down without a thought. I wonder what the color green holds for this…woman. It is more and more difficult to find proper motivation with each passing moon. Very different, these times.

Still, I find myself drawn to Varn’s Daughter. She is youthful, full of spirit. There is a brashness, but unexpected cleverness that invites me. It is invigorating in a way. I cannot quite name it, and I think, I do not wish to just yet. I will enjoy what I can, a fine meal, a patrol, and simply let it come to pass. I have earned no quarter in that department, and will expect none. Much more to that story, I hope, yes, even dour as the situation feels that there is still more pages in this diary to explore it. That it is not written yet, is something I will hold onto.

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Note / Journal from Wally to the Fey Tristessa
short and sweet, he's no poet.

Hey girl,

So I got some good news to report, though i reckon you already heerd about it. 3 more generations on the side of man! Challenge of the Fang? Check!

Seem strange to me there be so many talking wolves in this forest, appear to me they be in the majority, hell i ain’t seen a non-talkin wolf for months!

It was a fine victory for us tho- full of puzzles and tests of our temperment and such. Finally endin’ in us scaling up a walking treant and storming a hut….
Maybe you had to be there.
Then carving an old woman, still kickin!, from inside some kind of stomach pouch of a witch-wolf!

Speakin of which though, it was a pretty close call for this heer correspondant- but it coulda been worse! That old witch we done pulled out of the wolf-belly told me i got the lycanthropee. Explains why some’a my wounds were a little weepy and itchy. Anyhow, long story short, i been born anew in the old narlmarch! Sad day we couldn’t do the same for my buddy Kundal, he was suffering from the same ‘ffliction and out at all hours of the night assaultin’ them little halflings. But we gave him a hell of a send off!

You know I ain’t much for writin. But we goin’ be having us a big party soon – y’all should come on by!

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Wally's Journal
Retroactive 80's montage style

Staring up at the stars, Wally slowly exhales the smoke in his lungs, while whispering an echo to the question inscribed on the now-burnt note leaving his lungs. “What’s it all about?” he utters before drifting off to sleep.

The stars swirl and he finds himself looking at a wooded valley, the air thick with early summer insects and pollen. Disjointed rumbling precedes the covered wagon lurching into view; the blonde haired barbarian pulling at the reins while a confused horse meanders forward. The perspective flits up to a nearby tree bough with the hum of gossamer wings just in time to watch the wagon pass and head toward a group of tents in the distance.

The image blurs and reforms; now the same wagon is blocked under a shady copse of fur trees with the door open. The pollen and clumsy flying bugs have been replaced by heat and the sonorous hum of cicadas. Noxious odors, the clanking of glassware and occasional swearing emanate from within. A stones throw away sit a young woman and a male laborer around a small but stately table that has been covered with a lush red cloth. Upon the table an active harrow deck and some upturned cards. Suddenly there is a palpable BOOM from the wagon and an acrid smoke billows out. A girl half-elf and a pig, both singed, run squealing from the wagon.

Once again the scene fades and changes, this time to a deep winter’s night. The viewpoint is drawn hesitantly to a small house, where the forest has been largely beaten back. The eyes fly up to a lit window and peer in. Inside, on the hearth a large cauldron bubbles with soup. The wagon-driver is laying face down on the floor next to a younger boy, both repeatedly pushing themselves up with their arms and clapping before lowering themselves and repeating. In the far corner, the harrow-reader and an older but timid man busy themselves with rudimentary prestidigitation.

The images and scenes play out all night- all the while the town in the backdrop taking more and more ground.

Finally at daybreak, Ralla nudges Wally awake from his impromptu bed in the grass. “Hey, breakfast is ready.” He blinks awake “Girl, you look even better than you did in my dreams. Why’d you even wake me for, you got to take first dibs on them eggs since you eatin’ for two.”

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Year One, Glamorfell
The Diary of Teret Feron

With a lightened heart, having at least partially come to turns with the past he left behind, Teret Feron, now Glamorfell nobility, general to his prince’s army, sets his sights forward upon the horizon. The intervening year that has past did nothing to erode the unflinching and unquenchable spirit within. Though most days were spent assisting with order, he found plenty of time and necessity to see to the lands they were now claiming. Farms of the land, men, women and children; forging the destiny of the kingdom. Bulwarks suggested to the smaller settlements. Defensive training and basic drills for those who wanted it. Passing on the lessons learned with the defense of the ragtag outpost that was Oleg’s. The land would learn to protect itself, its people investing in what they would receive, taking pride. All the while, within him, he found himself changing. His loyalty, long to himself first, as his own master, now came to the land. To the people, he met, who lived as best they could, searching for their own freedom. He understood them on a very basic level, he had been them. Reaping and sowing the land, eking out his existence from the pile of mud he had started in. Somewhere in realizing this, what last little bit of his soul that held back from the Council, the Tetrarch that had formed at the heart of Glamorfell, fell away. He felt within him a renewed sense of justice, of honor. Purpose. Within him, as he had in younger years, he dedicated himself to his Lord, Sayd Krynn of Kaer Maga. His brothers and sisters — Walorin, Kaede, Yelenya — became his family. His circle. The intervening year changed him in ways he never expected, and with his 20th year marked on a calendar somewhere, he stopped being the selfish loner he was when thrust upon this scene. He grew up.

His correspondence took a different tone as well. No longer felt the need to send the friendly note, hoping to keep a fragile friendship intact. He now had spoken for hundreds, and then thousands. As a voice for the people, though he acknowledged, not the loudest, he spoke with a bit more tact. He kept relations with Varnhold, as it was established and flourished. He sent correspondence to his Lord Varn, and his daughter quarterly, suggesting that when the city of Foundlings Reach was of proper fit, he would ask for them, sp to visit, and take her on a tour of the countryside. To the Lady Lebeda, Elanna, he too wrote. Wishing her well in her future, hoping to maintain a dialogue. Though the language was not suggestive, he was not explicit in his language. He left things open ended. He kept his options open, knowing that his heart would find solace in his duty, his duty would be to his people. He would lead until his death, but he would seek to ensure his line.

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