As the moon rose in the dark sky above, an exquisite and mysterious woman entered the Grinning Snowcat Inn. As she pulled the hood of her cloak back, she attracted the attention of everyone in the tavern that served as a frontroom with her almost luminous complexion and shimmering silver-blue hair. The retired warrior near the bar recognized her immediately as a Shard of Selune. He positioned himself near the innkeeper to listen as she approached.
The man behind the bar seemed mesmerized for a moment, then greeted her with a smile on his face.
“Welcome to the Grinning Snowcat. You’re a Shard, right? Selune’s priestesses are always welcome here. Can I offer you a mutton dinner and hot mead to warm you?” said Lars, the innkeeper and bartender.
The blue-haired woman smiled graciously and accepted his offer of a hot meal. She seated herself at the bar, removing her snow white fur cloak and carefully draping it over the stool next to her. When Lars returned with the food, she introduced herself.
“My name is Airen.” She shook Lars’s hand. “I’m looking for a young woman, a friend of mine. The daughter of a friend of mine. She’s a bard in her early twenties, brown hair, very pretty. Her name is Katra. Has she been through here?”
Lars shook his head. “No, we haven’t seen any bards for almost a year. Sorry..” He left to refill a stein for another customer.
Airen sighed quietly, a discouraged look on her face. After thinking for a moment, she uttered a quiet prayer to Selune and began to eat in silence.
The man nearby, who had been listening as discretely as a warrior could, now saw his opportunity to talk to the Shard.
“Hi, Airen was it? I’m Kavik.”
Airen turned toward the warrior to look at him. He was a tall man with white blond hair hanging just barely out of his eyes. He had high cheekbones, an angular jaw and blue eyes as clear as glacial waters. Despite his paunch middle, the muscles in his arms and legs looked corded and taught, and there were numerous small scars showing on his strong frame.
“It’s nice to meet you Kavik.” Always happy to meet someone new with a kind spirit, Airen gave him a friendly smile and they started talking like old friends.
* * *
Lirela woke to a knock at her door. She had given her attendant, Rachel, the night off, and was sitting alone in a large, comfortable chair in front of a crackling fire in the fireplace. Her teacup rested on the table next to her, filled with tea that had long since grown cold. She rose to her feet and wrapped her robe more tightly around her. Lately, Lirela spent little of her time here at home, wandering from inn to hostel, staying away from the people and places she knew in an attempt to make herself less easily found by Tvorlites. Wherever she was residing, however, she was almost always alone and in front of a fireplace if one could be found.
Sighing softly and stretching her back as she walked across the room, Lirela wondered who would be at her door at this hour. Rounding the corner into the windowed foyer, she realized it wasn’t as late as she thought; the sun had not yet begun to set.
Before opening the door, Lirela donned a bracelet made of jade which would allow her to see her visitor through the closed door. A middle-aged, barrel-chested, weathered man stood waiting on the other side. He wore leather clothing dusty with travel upon his muscular frame, and a large bladed weapon hung conveniently at his hip.
With a tiny squeal of excitement and recognition, Lirela threw open the door and leaped into the arms of the man on her doorstep.
“Kavik, my goodness! Where did you come from? Come inside! Come inside!” She squeezed the warrior tightly before releasing him from the hug, then pulled him by the hand into her home and closed the door on the world outside.
Kavik paused a moment and then grinned, a little surprised at Lirela’s reaction. Kavik set his gear down near the wall, removed his boots and laid his dusty travel cloak on top as he explained his unexpected appearance on Lirela’s doorstep, while the Shard leaned against the wall, staring in wonderment at the unexpected and very happy surprise.
As Kavik began to weave his tale, Lirela led him into her sitting room for a rest and a hot meal. Eagerly, she listened to his story.
“I’ve been living up north near Griffon’s Nest. A woman came through two weeks ago looking for someone. She had blue hair, like yours, so I told her that I knew someone long ago who looked like her.”
Lirela was surprised to hear that Airen, another of Selune’s Shards like herself, had made it so far north in such a short time.
“We got to talking,” Kavik continued, “and discovered that we both knew you. I was happily surprised to hear about you after all this time, and reminiscing about you was easy for both of us,” he said with a grin. Then Kavik’s expression changed. He became serious and a frown descended upon his face. “But Airen told me about your troubles, your late husband. . .I’m sorry,” Kavik laid his hand on Lirela’s, “your missing daughter, and a little bit about the danger you’re in. . .I thought I might be able to help.”
Lirela, who up until that time had done her best to keep a calm, peaceful façade about her, suddenly found herself falling to pieces. She hadn’t really given herself the chance to deal with what had happened, and all the emotion she had blocked up inside her came spilling out in an embarrassing, uncontrolled mess. No one had seen her like this, not even her late husband Bradon. Kavik moved over to sit next to her, and let his mourning friend lean on him as it all came rushing out. He was only slightly concerned about the tears staining his leather jerkin through the waterproofing.
After the floodwaters receded and Lirela was relatively calm again, Kavik poured her some tea, which she held with shaky hands and didn’t drink. Half an hour after that, when she felt like she was able to talk again, Lirela filled him in on events since they parted ways.
She had returned to her parents’ home for a visit, and ended up marrying her childhood friend Bradon. They started a family, and her daughter Katra was five years old when they moved to Waterdeep, where Lirela would again work in the campaign against the Vile One. When their daughter was old enough, and through her extreme persistence, Lirela and Bradon enrolled Katra in bardic school. Her studies often took her on long journeys where she would study history and folklore and heraldry. Lirela had thought Katra was on one of these trips when Bradon fell ill. He had chest pains one day and never really recovered. His condition continued to worsen, and Lirela couldn’t locate Katra to tell her about her father’s illness. She soon understood that Bradon would not recover and she didn’t have much time left to find Katra. Lirela contacted the college Katra belonged to, and they sent bards in every direction to look for her, to no avail. Several days after the news that the bards couldn’t find Katra, Lirela’s husband died, leaving her alone in a large house with an immense responsibility on her shoulders.
Amidst all of this, Lirela was also involved in the effort against Auzormt’vorl, called the Vile One, a great cancerous evil that threatens to enslave all creatures and destroy the realm. She had been named the Weaver, one of the Three who are necessary to prevent mortals from being possessed by Auzormt’vorl in the final battle. As The Weaver, Lirela is capable of weaving moonlight to copy an artifact necklace. The spirit of one of thousands of warriors who battled the Vile One centuries ago will accompany each person wearing one of these copies in the final battle. These spirits will guide the heroes’ actions and prevent the Vile One from possessing the wearers. Being a moonweaver capable of this has put Lirela’s life in jeopardy, as Tvorlites (those who worship Auzormt’vorl) seek to destroy her and prevent the Alliance from claiming victory in the final battle.
As the story progressed, Lirela looked more and more weary. When she was finally finished talking, she slumped against the back of the chair where she sat.
Kavik simply raised his eyebrows and responded with, “More tea?” which made Lirela smile weakly.
“I’ve still got some, thanks.” Lirela’s tea was cold and untouched, but she found comfort in simply holding the cup.
The warrior grinned at his friend, one of those charming grins that made her feel a little better. “What can I do to help?” he asked.
Lirela sighed softly and looked into the fireplace at the dying fire, then into Kavik’s ice-blue eyes. “I could use your protection. Until now, a drow friend has been guarding me, but it’s impractical to rely on him always. Our worlds don’t mesh well.” She took a drink of her tea, seeming to forget that it was no longer hot. She made a face and then continued, “I can’t stay in one place too long, and even when I travel I’m in danger. I can’t possibly minister to people who need Selune’s blessings like this.”
“Not to mention that the fate of the realm balances on your well-being,” Kavik added.
“Right, that too." That made Kavik grin. "I try not to think about it too much.” Lirela blinked slowly several times.
“If it’s my protection you need, then you have it.” Kavik put his arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze.
Lirela sighed and smiled, and relaxed for the first time in what felt like an eternity.
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