Meeting with Royalty

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Meeting with Royalty

Postby Lilira » Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:25 am

We met up at the City Center in Leuthilspar. Our impending audience with Queen Amluril had not gone without notice and a few other citizens of Leuthilspar gathered to accompany us. One of them looked vaguely familiar, and I wracked my brain trying to remember where from, but it failed to come to me at that time as I had other things on my mind. They introduced themselves as Alonwynn and Joesidiah. Deshana had appeared as well, and a young warrior named Cimimaen who had been of assistance to me in the past. I had taken him into the chamber to get another’s perspective. He hadn’t gotten any further than Ashiwi, Sotana, Celethe and myself. That’s another tale however, and perhaps some day I’ll tell it.

I had taken great pains in the effort to make myself presentable, and I smoothed my hands over the skirt of my pale blue silken dress in a nervous gesture, played with the rose gold ring I had placed on a chain around my neck, and ensured the circlet I had placed over my silver cap of hair was straight. My fidgets drew Sotana’s attention, and she grinned at my fussing. To avoid pacing, I started chattering.

“Have you heard from Lorsalian Tana?” I asked.

“Yes actually,” she replied.

“The youngster that shares my name?” Deshana queried.

“I will be welling him in shortly.” Sotana told me. I nodded at her, before turning to Deshana.

“Lorsalian?” I asked shrugging.

Deshana nodded, “Lorsalian Silvermist.” I didn’t know that her last name had been Silvermist. But then I didn’t meet her until after she had married Nilan. An elven cat wandered over and rubbed up against my legs. I reached down and petted it for a moment. It regally accepted my attention, before padding over to Deshana, who knelt down to pet it, murmuring softly. The cat purred contentedly.

“Hrm...I suppose there are very few places that are still open to moonwells here,” Sotana pondered thoughtfully.

“The guild as ever Sotana,” spoke the elven druidess. Sotana nodded her thanks, and Deshana smiled then returned her attention to the cat who was relishing the love.

My stomach was jumping, and I fidgeted with my necklace some more. Sotana wandered off, presumably to create a portal for Lorsalian to arrive. Deshana continued her murmured conversation with the cat, who purred loudly. Apparently this cat was no stranger to the soldiers who stood guard, here for one of them reached down and gave it a pet, before standing and looking around again.

“Best thing about kooshies... they're smart enough not to chase the cats.” Deshana grinned, winking at the cat. A kooshie wandered over and sniffed the hem of my dress. I reached down to give him a pet, reminded of my friend from the forests near Larallyn. Deshana got to her feet, and the animals wandered off to roam some more.

Lorsalian and the who I assumed was Camimmae, the elf Azelrus had asked to come in her stead, followed Sotana as she returned to the city center. Camimmae bowed deeply, as I smiled at Lorsalian in greeting. Deshana grinned at Lorsalian before kissing him on the cheek. The others looked appraisingly at the new arrivals, Alonwyn shifting her weight.

“Welcome Lorsalian,” I said quietly, still feeling jittery.

“Good to see you lad,” Deshana told him.

“Hello, everyone,” Lorsalian told us all in greeting.

“It is good to be home again,” Camimmae added, looking around. The others silently nodded their acknowledgment of the new arrivals

“You must be the one Azelrus spoke of,” I asked quietly of Camimmae, who nodded.


“Quite a gathering. And here I was thinking this was a guardedly secret audience,” said Lorsalian, chuckling.

“Will you forgive a novice Lilira?” Deshana asked me.

“Hmm?” So wrapped up in my own thoughts, I wasn’t sure what Deshana spoke of, but she had pulled out a harp. Of course I didn’t mind listening to her play. It wasn’t like I hadn’t heard her before on those odd occasions I had stopped by Mir and she’d been there with Nilan. In fact we had sung together before. It might not be her chosen life-path, but Deshana was not a novice. I was getting edgy. Were we expected to make our own way to the palace? Would we be “fetched”? I had received no instruction other than to meet in the city’s center. Deshana leaned against the fountain, and played a few silvery notes on her harp. “Deshana, you have been to the court before…”

“So few things seem to say secret around here...” Sotana murmured with a grin.

“This day's court was well announced ahead of time, sir ranger,” one of the guards at the fountain stated, as Deshana nodded in answer to my question. I smiled at the guard. He had answered my internal question about how Deshana, Alonwynn and Joesidiah had known of this impending audience. Lorsalian nodded to him.

“If so, that would be the only secret to me, it seems,” Lorsalian snickered in response to Sotana.

“I found out from Lilira, I am embarrassed to say I was lost in the woods,” added Cimimaen, “spend too much time among humans I guess.”

“More then once Lilira,” Deshana told me.

“Would you lead the way, I have never been,” I requested of her.

“My oaths to Him stand above all others,” Deshana said. What in the world did that mean? I had the feeling today would be a day filled with bewildering moments. I would just have to do my best to let them slide, and perhaps question about them later.

“She will send a page when the court is prepared, but it shouldn't be long now,” the same guard interrupted politely.

I nodded at him gratefully. “Thank you sir,” I replied somewhat breathlessly, FINALLY someone with an answer. Everyone else nodded in acknowledgement of his words.

Deshana shrugged a little, bowed her head over her harp and lost herself in soft music

“Hopefully not the same page who wished to become a Ranger. I think I confused him,” bantered Lorsalian, chuckling softly. Cimimaen joined in Lorsalian’s laughter. Nervously I smoothed my skirt and checked my circlet again. To my surprise, I found that I had been humming in harmony with the song Deshana had been playing, and that calmed me. No matter the impression I made, no matter how badly I might mess something up, there would always be music.

Camimmae, who had been standing nervously to the side, visibly relaxed while the music continued, and started whispering softly to herself.

A young elven lad strode up to the guards and bowed to them. I smiled at him hoping this was the “page” the guards had spoken of. Deshana silenced the strings of her harp and put it away bowing before the young lad.

“Hello,” Lorsalian said to him. The others all greeted him with a nod or a bow.

“Her Majesty, Queen Amlaruil of the Blessed Isle, Chosen of the Seldarine, bids you welcome,” the page stammered. He bowed deeply. The poor young lad sounded as nervous as I felt. I smiled at his words, as did others. “If you will but follow me, I shall guide you to her chamber.”

He led us to the peaceful shrine where the elfgate drops elves that enter from Chrysalis and through the gates there into a wonder. I stopped abruptly, eyes dazzled by the beauty that was the palace. It seemed to be built entirely of a bluish quartz crystal, rising from the floor of the woods. In the daylight it would reflect the light of the sun. This evening, it softly reflected the light of the stars and moon. Cimimaen nudged me gently and I gathered my scattered wits, and followed the page distractedly, gazing around with the air of a country bumpkin visiting a huge city for the first time. I had enough wit to ensure my jaw wasn’t hanging open. I could smell the sweet fragrance of fruit as we entered a hallway that stretched on forever to the west, and could hear the sweetest of music playing. The nervousness that had my stomach in knots, smoothed out and I was overwhelmed by the tranquility of this place. We passed several doorways, one of them open and I peeked in. It was filled with books and scrolls, a library of which I had never seen the like. I fought off the urge to slip in and brows the shelves. The queen was waiting, and I doubted seriously she would be pleased with a bard sneaking off to stick her nose in a book.

Finally we reached what appeared to be a guard room. I caught up with the others, Cimimaen has stayed with me to keep me from wandering off in my bemusement, and I smiled at the page once more.

''Please remember to place your weapons into a safe place, as they are not permitted in Her Majesty's presence,” the page was telling everyone, before opening the door and stepping into another room. I had left my weapons at the inn. Those who had brought their weapons secured them with peace ties. We followed the page and stepped into a chamber filled with chairs lining the walls. On low tables were trays filled with fresh fruits, breads and cheeses, along with decanters of liquid refreshments.

The page unlocked the door, opened it and stepped to the side. The others filed through and I took a moment to thank the page for leading us here.

Sotana and I looked at each other a moment, she took a deep breath and we stepped through with Cimimaen bringing up the rear. Prepared by my earlier response to the palace entrance, I managed to keep my wits as the beauty of the throne room threatened to overwhelm me.

Graceful pillars of mixed crystal and oak twined their way up to the vaulted ceiling in this grand hall. Light seemed to glow gently from within the fluted crystal swirls, and the oak had a powerful luster to it. The floor was a large mosaic, cast in a woodland scene with various fey creatures that could be seen in the lifelike rendition. Plants seemed to grow freely, with ivy tendrils snaking in through windows to climb the walls and stretch out upon the floor. At the head of the hall, a small table looked to have been coaxed straight out of the ground. Intricate swirls of delicate elven script coated the surface of the table. There were a number of chairs around the table, as well as a larger chair currently serving as the throne where Queen Amlaruil was seated, awaiting our arrival. Seated beside her a slender, silver haired elf languidly picked at her harp. Her grey eyes were half-closed seeming unconcerned, almost bored, with the events going on around her. The image of complacent indifference was marred, however, by her slender hands' motion upon her harp strings, gleaming silver nails plucking the strands faster
as she quietly regarded her surroundings. The rhythms of her song were increasing in complexity the longer I listened.

I managed to take this all in as we strode the length of the hall and stopped before her majesty, catching up with the others who had already bowed and curtsied their respectful greeting. Deshana and Lorsalian waited, kneeling before her. Camimmae followed their lead while Sotana, Cimimaen and I approached, and knelt as well. I felt, more than saw, the hitch in Sotana’s step as her eyes met a figure who I hadn’t seen at first.

“Tanyl,” she murmured almost silently to me, staring at the mage briefly in surprise. I took a moment only to look at the War Wizard Lysiana had told us about. His eyes were a deep blue which captured my attention immediately and I asked myself how I could have missed him. His sharp facial features wore an expression of confident aloofness. His hair was gathered into a ponytail which flowed down his back. Errant wisps seemed to have a life of their own, and I felt the shivery feeling of great power as we finally reached the queen. Tanyl Evenara gave the briefest of nods in ‘tana’s direction as we dropped into low curtsies, and then knelt before the queen waiting patiently. I heard the whisper of motion behind me as Cimimaen gave a low bow.

“Your Majesty,” Alonwynn murmured in greeting.

“Welcome,” the fiery tressed, ageless queen bid us. I had a momentary twinge of jealousy. Her hair was the color I had always yearned for growing up, plagued as I was by my colorless appearance. “Please, this promises to perhaps take some time. You may be seated if you wish.” Those of us kneeling rose gracefully as a group and everyone was seated in the chairs around the table.

“Thank you,” Lorsalian said as he took a seat.

“Some of you are known to us, by deed if not by person,” the queen told us, her voice melodious. Deshana gave a rueful chuckle, almost involuntarily. I fiddled with the chain again, while everyone else listened. I caught Sotana’s gaze as she glanced around the table at everyone. “Still others, were well represented by the geomancer Zhoanest, for whom this gathering was called.”

I nodded at the queen’s words. Tanyl looked thoughtful.

“The lady Lysiana has informed us of her charge to you, and while I do not agree with her method I cannot fault her heart,” Amlaruil said, nodding at me. I felt my jaw clench angrily, and once more I nodded. Sotana grinned slightly, flashing a glance my way. I forced my expression to smooth, unclenching my jaw. Lorsalian looked at me with a puzzled expression. I mouthed “Later” at him, and he nodded. The others silently observed the exchange.

“Have you experienced any success with your charge, Lilira Shadowlyre?” came the question I had been waiting for. I met the queen’s gaze.

“I have found the Chamber your Majesty.”

I immediately felt the weight of everyone’s regard, Tanyl’s the heaviest of all. I noted, then ignored them, focusing my attention on the queen before me.

“There is a guardian. Myself and two others have been working to pass it,” I continued quietly. “We have not been successful.” Disappointment in our failure hung heavily on my shoulders. A total of six had seen the guardian, but three of us had literally spent days trying everything we could to pass the creature. Sotana frowned at the memory.

The queen smiled. “And is it as truly wondrous as the tales would make it to be?”

“It is,” I told her. “I cannot speak of the pocket.”

“It might be more so if we could see more of the gem-laden tunnels,” Sotana added in a low murmur.

“But the Chamber is beauty itself,” I finished. The War Wizard shifted as if he wished to interject, but resumed his position silently. Sotana and I regarded him thoughtfully for a moment. He hasn’t said anything, yet my great grandmother had told us to speak to him with questions. I had wanted as much time as possible to attempt to gain entry to the pocket before this meeting, and Lysiana had indicated to Sotana and I that he was a busy man. I’d had no wish to disturb him with riddles. I returned my gaze to the queen.

“If I may, I offer my aid Lilira. Your Majesty's permission pending of course,” Deshana spoke quietly.

Queen Amlaruil nodded at the druidess, before turning to me. “That there is a guardian is of no surprise. What is its nature? Perhaps we may add our wisdom to the cause. The need is great, for the very Isle itself is threatened.”

I pictured it in my mind, and began my description. “The guardian is an earth elemental. With armor created of emeralds.”

“It appears to be the earth itself,” interjected Cimimaen. “I thought it looked gnomish, with all the gems encrusted.”

Alonwynn looked thoughtful, and Deshana eyes widened slightly, then narrowed in thought. Queen Amlaruil cast a hooded glance at Tanyl briefly, who returned it with a nod, before returning her gaze to the gathering.

“We have attempted to bypass it with magic, and that failed. We attempted words, hoping perhaps one would let us pass,” I continued, my feelings of frustration renewed as I spoke. Sotana reminded me we’d tried giving it things which it ignored. “It is impervious to spells.”

“You can say that again,” Sotana muttered. I choked back the urge to laugh wildly.

“And it repairs itself,” I finished, flushing slightly at revealing we’d attacked it.

Speaking firmly, Tanyl asked, “What spells did you use in your endeavor?”

“Darkness, elemental forms of fog,” Cimimaen began. He’d only been there for the last attempt. I nodded my agreement.

“As well as what spells of offense I possess,” Sotana added. I could see the others pondering our words.

“We saw no effect,” Cimimaen continued.

“Great and small, together?” Tanyl asked.

“I attempted a sonic attack, and that did not work,” I mentioned.

“And the way it repairs itself . . . it's most frightening,” stated Cimimaen. I shivered. That had been amazing to watch.

“I used great and small both but not one while someone was casting the other,” Sotana answered Tanyl, shrugging helplessly.

“Large and small? If it can be damaged physically then I can speak of it. It is well beyond any of my skills,” Cimimaen added.

Cammimae and the others sat back, watching quietly.

“I sense healing magic among you. Tell me then, the nature of the elemental's repair...” Tanyl requested.

“It was more than healing...” Sotana told him, while Queen Amlaruil steepled her fingers and watched the conversation. “His magics seemed to instantly repair him fully no matter what damage he sustained.” Sotana frowned in remembered frustration.

“Yes Sotana speaks truthfully,” Cimimaen confirmed.

“Sotana even sought to heal it,” I added, feeling somewhat foolish. We really had tried everything. Sotana nodded at my words.

“Did you cut its connection to Toril?” Deshana asked. Sotana blinked and I raised an eyebrow at the elven druid.

“Have you attempted to free the elemental of the magics enabling its guardianship?” asked Tanyl, who regarded Deshana shrewdly as their questions collided.

“The area may not, strictly, be within the bounds of Toril,” Amlaruil suggested.

“I mean… the earth beneath it,” Deshana continued, as Sotana nodded at the queen. Cammimae peered intently at her. “No druid will destroy the earth, but perhaps that heals it. That may be the source of its instant healing.” Sotana nodded again, and I frowned in thought.

“It had no effect at all...less than the spiked stones I cast at him,” Sotana told Deshana.

“We did raise it from the ground,” Cimimaen pointed out. That’s right, he had been there for that attempt.

Deshana nodded. “I wasn't there, so twas but a theory”

“I don't remember attempting to dispel its magic,” I replied to the war mage, frowning.

“Did it speak to you at all?” Alonwynn queried. Sotana shook her head negatively in response.

“Perhaps if it was not touching what it draws its strength from,” Joesidiah added to Deshana’s line of questioning.

“There is one far better suited to detail the nature of where and what the Chamber may be but my understanding is, that it was crafted during the forging of Evermeet itself,” the queen interjected. Deshana nodded at the queen’s words.

“I am puzzled that he is not present, however,” Lorsalian interjected.

“Who? I would desire to understand more of the chamber and guardian there,” Sotana asked, curious.

“Forged so far back? It is older than any recorded history,” stated Cimimaen.

“Not any history,” Deshana corrected, “there are some that know.”

“The Oracle. Zhoanest has no ability to know of what is not of Toril,” Queen Amlaruil informed us. Different expressions ranging from surprise to agreement swept around the table.

“Shall I fetch the Oracle, my Lady?” Tanyl offered, kissing her majesty’s hand.

“Please my Lord, her link is greater even than my own,” requested the queen. Tanyl bowed deeply and left the throne room.

“Her? Are we not speaking of Deneir's oracle?” Lorsalian asked, puzzled. Deshana shook her head at Lorsalian. Alonwynn let out a sharp breath.

Through the door of the throne room, the respectful gaze of every elf in the room following her, came a tiny ancient elf woman. Her piercing azure eyes swept the room as she approached the queen, who smiled to see her.

Sotana stood and curtsied to the woman while the rest of us studied her curiously.

“This is of whom I speak,” Amlaruil confirmed.

Deshana nodded a greeting to the Oracle of the Seldarine as if they had met before. “Its been a while,” whispered the druid. The Oracle nodded in reply before focusing her attention on the fiery haired monarch.

“My Queen, how may I serve?” asked the Oracle softly. Tanyl assisted her to a comfortable seat.

“We seek knowledge of the crafting of Evermeet, and the birth of the Tree of Life,” the queen informed her.

The Oracle of the Seldarine smiles sadly.

“It was a sad time in our history, when the predations of the Dark Elves threatened our continued existence,” the Oracle began, smiling sadly. I focused my attention on her tale, attempting to block out the movements of the others.

“We were established upon this land from our exile from Tintageer, but Lloth's children had settled here long before our own flight.”

“In desperation, the Circle of High Magi turned to the magic that had caused their exile in the first place, hoping for salvation. The High Magic.”

The queen of Tel'Quessir took a long, deep breath at those words. I took a moment to look around. Everyone was listening with rapt expressions on their faces, though Deshana had the air of someone who had heard this tale before. The war wizard grinned fiercely.

“The High Magic of that day was terrible in its power. The great casting that led us to these lands destroyed our home. Now, they sought to use that same magic to forge a new home,” continued the Oracle softly.

“The Circle chose an unusual focus this time however, a young wild elf known as Starleaf. She had aptitude but was untrained, and served merely as the conduit through which the magic would flow.”

“They cast their spell, and Faerun suffered. The magic ripped into the fabric of the land and tore it asunder, drawing upon the life force of the Circle to drive its power. Starleaf, was a helpless observer as the High Magi gave up their lives in turn to the magic.” Different expressions of sympathy ran through us all, as she continued.

“In their arrogance, the High Magi unleashed the same force that led no more than 100 of our people to escape the fall of Tintageer. Only this time, another force intervened.”

“Corellon and Angharradh took the strands of power that were tearing Faerun asunder, and forged a link between Arvandor and one of the pieces of Faerun that had torn free of Her body.”

I glanced sharply at Sotana who met my gaze evenly, before I returned my attention to the Oracle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Cimimaen whisper something to the druid.

“A 'child' of Faerun,” Lorsalian said quietly. I nodded at him. The Oracle continued.

“The Magi who nearly brought about the doom of their people, consented instead to become the last salvation of them. Their souls were blocked from Arvandor's forests, and linked to the Tree of Life. When planted, it will provide the power for the High Magic in that location, and cannot be transplanted thereafter.”

“Explaining why Tsakchanar was able to take me to the Fields so easily,” Deshana whispered to herself in some surprise. The bard and I glanced at Deshana, who looked apologetic at her interruption.

“The place of the forging of that link, was reached through the Chamber of Travelling, through a pool of the darkest ebony.”

“What is this ebony substance made out of?” Camimmae asked.

Tired of the interruptions, I shushed her. “Let her finish.” I whispered. She stared at me then returned her attention to the Oracle.

“Starleaf, survived the casting and led a contingent of her wild elven brethren to these shores, to await the coming of the rest of the People.”

“That is the tale, known in part to some, of the crafting of Evermeet and the Tree of Life,” the Oracle concluded in her soft voice.

“Thank you. That is the tale, and why Zhoanest is unable to reach those caverns you speak of,” Queen Amlaruil added. Tanyl appeared deep in thought, and nodded at something before looking around again. In the back ground, the bard still played softly.

Lorsalian appeared confused. "Yet is it the taint of the Cyrite on this isle that Faerun feels?" he mumbled questioningly.

“My Lady, shall I guide the Oracle back?” Tanyl asked the queen who nodded her approval.

Joesidiah whispered something to the Oracle as the rest of us offered our thanks for the tale. He bowed to the woman.

“I would be happy to, Tanyl, if you'd like to stay,” Alonwynn offered.

Shaking his head politely, Tanyl helped the Oracle to her feet, and escorted her out of the room. As a group we digested the information we had just heard, until Tanyl returned, breaking our collective reveries.

“It is not simply the taint of the cyrite mage, but the taint of those within Arvandor with no right to be there,” the queen answered Lorsalian’s earlier question, as Tanyl returned to his place at Amlaruil’s right shoulder. Confusion was seen on several faces, and the ruler continued. “From the swell of goodwill from the defeat of Auzorm'tvorl, and my own compassion, I allowed sanctuary to a group of human... brigands who had aided one of our vessels. They are only the most recent indignity to befoul the Blessed Isle, but by my oath we may not drive them hence.”

Expressions of confusion covered the faces of almost everyone.

Sotana spoke first. “And they will not leave? Are they still in danger?”

“My Lady, did you say that there are people in Arvandor who should not be there?” Alonwynn added. Restlessly, I ran my fingers through my hair, inwardly cursing as I dislodged my circlet, which I surreptitiously straightened.

“Many upon our Isle, on this bridge of Arvandor, should not be here,” the queen explained.

Alonwynn nodded. “'I apologize, I understand now.”

Tanyl Evanara cracked his knuckles, causing myself and couple of the others to jump.

“So that's it...” Camimmae whispered.

“What we seek now, of the Chamber and what lies beyond, is the means to prevent further defilement until we can cleanse their taint,” Queen Amlaruil added.

“Thank you for asking that Alonwynn. I wondered too, but didn't want to ask,” Lorsalian stated, sighing loudly.

“Some of you, may recognize this,” the queen said, pulling out the remnant of a once-massive emerald and dropping it on the table. One of the guards with a concerned look at the gathered adventurers, picked it up.

“The connection is much closer then I had realized,” Deshana murmured to herself.

Something about the emerald teased my mind, something to do with the Vile One. “Is that…” I started.

“It is ok, you may let it rest in the open,” Amlaruil reassured the guard, who placed it back on the table. Cimimaen picked up the stone, earning glares from some and puzzled looks from others.

“Making sure he doesn’t pick it up again before everyone has a good look,” Cimimaen muttered in explanation, returning Joesidiah’s glare.

“In the open, please,” the queen requested/commanded.

Cimimaen carefully placed the stone back in the middle of the table, then cuffing Joesidiah, growled, “Glare elsewhere.”

Joesidiah raised his eyebrow. “You lack manners youngling.”

“As do you pup,” retorted Cimimaen.

I muttered curses softly under my breath about the male species in general as the two sparred. Here we were in audience with the queen of Leuthilspar and these two seemed to have forgotten it. Amlaruil glanced at her guards briefly. Time to stick my hand in before this got any farther.

“Gentlemen...” I cautioned, “Have a care?”

“My apology,” Cimimaen responded immediately. He stood, bowed before the queen and took his leave. I sat for a moment bewildered by his sudden departure. Tanyl had been watching the exchange with great amusement.

“And back to the matter at hand?” Sotana murmured. I nodded and examined the gem on the table. It was roughly cut and unpolished all along most of its facings. Despite the lack of refinement, there were obvious lines and facets within the depths of the gem. In exception to the generally rough state of the emerald, one segment was as smooth as if a chisel had been taken to the surface, coming together to a triangular point. Directly opposite the point was a darker patch on the surface that looked almost like a wave.

“That gem,” the queen explained, “Was what was known as the Twilight Raven to a group that adventured Faerun for a time.” Deshana made a choking noise, and Sotana glanced at Lorsalian questioningly.

“I.. see.” Deshana murmured.

Lorsalian shook his head at Sotana. "I was away when they located it, and they never spoke of it afterwards." She nodded.

“A piece of it had been incorporated into Auzorm'tvorl's form, putting our Isle in incredible danger,” the queen continued, “Also providing ME the link I required to deflect some of His strikes however.” She smiled mirthlessly. Deshana nodded agreement.

Aha! That was the missing piece I needed. I remember hearing of this gem in one of the tales floating around during our efforts to destroy the Vile One. “I heard rumors of such, somewhere,” I said quietly. Lorsalian shivered and crossed his right arm to his left.

“More importantly, it originates from within those tunnels you discovered,” Amlaruil concluded.

“Ahh…” Sotana said, while everyone’s attention shifted to the Oracle.

“Greetings, again,” beamed Lorsalian to the Oracle.

The Oracle said softly “I bring fresh news, of the Chamber and beyond. To uncover what we require, spells of basic and elemental nature are required.” That grabbed everyone’s attention. Sotana sat up abruptly, Deshana pondered the Oracle’s words and I listened more intently than before.

“Darts,” Deshana blurted. “Earth darts.” I could see her pondering something.

“Elemental? What more can you tell us?” Sotana asked the Oracle.

“They can not, or will not, reveal what the magics required are, or what we require to recover, only that they are linked to that,” the Oracle told us, gesturing at the gem on the table. Sotana frowned slightly in confusion. Queen Amlaruil picked up the gem.

“I thank you, Oracle,” Tanyl said firmly, bowing deeply before the Oracle. “Will the nature of the magic be apparent within the chamber?”

I rubbed my forehead, a slight headache brewing, while I thought about what the Oracle had told us.

“That has not been made clear, only that due to the primal nature of the magic that infuses the chambers, simple spells will be required,” she answered Tanyl, before bowing to Queen Amlaruil, and leaving the room again.

“It is my hope that with what is discovered in those chambers, we can restore and re-empower the mythal to once again shield Evermeet from its despoilers,” Amlaruil told us. What in the world is a mythal? Tanyl Evanara whispered something to Amlaruil who nodded in response.

I could see everyone pondering the queen’s words. Camimmae was looking around the room. Lorsalian sat in silence.

Amlaruil directed her gaze at Lorsalian. “Your presence in these chambers proofs you against the warding Ranger. It is only those with no right to Arvandor that are barred from free travel within her bounds.”

My thoughts were mired in the words of the Oracle. I listened to the rest in a detached manner, my brain taking notes, while I pondered. Small spells of elemental power… or basic magic. I stared at the ceiling absently toying with the ring, the reason I was even present, on a chain around my neck. I had traveled in the company of those who controlled the elements, as well as those who controlled nature. The mess of spells that backfired were results of High Magic, not divine.

“Like human clerics?” Cammimae asked the queen. Tanyl snorted lewdly.

“Those without elven blood.. surface of course,” Deshana told Cammimae.

“We do not intrude upon the human's paradise, for whatever passes as such, and would ask they do us the same courtesy,” the queen added.

My thoughts continued to churn. Druidic magic was divine in nature, not magical the way a mage’s would be, hence the need for an Elementalist. But deities had been involved. Would we need a druid there as well? Or a cleric of elven heritage?

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Cammimae responded.

But the Oracle said magic basic AND elemental in nature. “So, one who controls the elements, not the earth is needed.” I muttered to myself, then blushed slightly realizing I had said that aloud. It appeared no one had noticed to my relief.

“I suspect the elven geomancer will be required, nonetheless,” Tanyl was saying as I pulled myself out of my reverie. The queen nodded at the mage, then returned her regard to the rest of us.

“Evermeet was forged, summoned, paid for by the lives and souls of the High Magi as our refuge against the depredations of the dark elven hunters and those they would ally with. We seek to see some of the sanctity returned to her shores, with your aid if you are willing.”

“I am willing, your majesty,” I responded immediately. I really had only one other choice, but I was not going to let that woman win. Besides, think of the stories! Its not every bard that gets the chance to help the queen of the Elves, and the elves as a whole to be honest, though some would argue that the elves sealing themselves up on their isle is not a good thing. If I had it right, the only ones that wouldn’t be able to come and go would be NON-elves… The elves and half-elves would still be able to come and go as they please. I think.

Camimmae sat silently in response to the queen’s question.

Lorsalian nodded, “As I.”

“I am indeed willing,” Sotana agreed.

Alonwynn added, “As always, I am at Your Majesty's service.”

“As ever Majesty,” Deshana stated.

Joesidiah bowed deeply, “I am forever your servant.”

“I'm....” Camimmae began, then stared at the floor. The bard snickered softly.

“I only wish I had not been forced into my charge. But that is a matter I will deal with another time,” I vocalized with a tiny hint of spite. Yes, it still burned, no one likes finding out things about themselves that shows them at their less than best. I wanted the queen to know I would have helped without being coerced. She might have appreciated Lysiana’s motives, but I sure didn’t. I received a nod from the queen before she continued.

“The geomancer, and perhaps others of our allies will be required before we may begin the healing. That, we shall address when it is time.”

Deshana chuckled. “Healing... there’s much to be said for it,” she said with a sad smile.

Camimmae seemed torn, and kept looking at the queen, then looking away.

“Yet to accomplish it, we must overcome that of the guardian,” Lorsalian mentioned, then began pondering again.

“We will continue our efforts to reach the pocket, your majesty,” I thought to reassure her. Tanyl looked us over briefly, and Sotana nodded her agreement. “I have traveled much, and met many along the way.”

“Yes, it will require the sort of resourcefulness that those who travel most frequently often find themselves in need of,” Amlaruil agreed.

Speaking firmly, Tanyl interrupted. “Let us prepare ourselves for the journey and set a date. I have unfinished business.”

“And I am due to meet with Mab again, and must take my own leave,” the queen added. Of course, we had taken enough of her time. Lorsalian raised an eyebrow at her.

With a strange magical gesture, the queen created an elfgate in the middle of the throne room. I stared at it surprised for a moment.

“Your talents impress me, my Lady, as always,” the war wizard told her, kissing her hand in farewell.

“Avail yourselves of that gate when you wish to depart the palace, but I must take my leave,” she told us, before smiling at Tanyl.

As a group, we rose and bowed and curtsied our farewells to the ruler of the elves.

“Thank you for your audience, Majesty,” Alonwynn said.

“Thank you your majesty for your time,” I spoke, as Deshana handed the queen a rose.

Camimmae handed the queen a pink silk scarf.

“Strength of the Seldarine be with you,” the beauteous queen told us before vanishing through the elfgate she had summoned.

“I cannot offer my servitude, My Queen, but I can give you that scarf,” with woman said with a snicker.

“I will convey your sentiment.” Tanyl nodded to Camimmae, who bowed in response and murmured a thank you.

We all turned to Tanyl.

“Would six days hence be sufficient time for preparations?” I asked everyone. Tanyl nodded and the others agreed. We took our leave one by one, entering through the elfgate the queen had provided.

Sorry this took so very long. That was alot to edit and wiggle around so it made sense. Pardon any typos. *g*

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