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War Council of the Blessed Isle

[Wednesday, August 8, 2001]

Griflet's Report: "Some oaths are broken, some fulfilled."

NEW MOON IN THE SNARLWASH - Night of the Crab (30th), Lovers' Moon, Year of the Lamia

With Kellin and Windwood and a small retinue of others you leave on the Swanship fitted with a catapult for Zecy.

For two weeks you journey, by land, by river and for the last two days by sea as the year's first moon wanes to a sliver and is gone. A miserable winter rain lashed the decks as you passed through the Quarmallian Canal, but that cleared when you reached the waters of the Sea of the East. Low clouds hang over the ocean. The night of the Crab is pitch black, but you are fairly certain you are approaching the Isle of Zecy. You peer over the railing, peering into the murk as the swanship pitches and rolls through the waves. Your keen eyes spot a shape in the middle distance. The island? No, a sail! It looks like it is headed in your direction. Given the current wind direction, it is likely to gain on you if you continue towards the isle.

"Turn the ship and ready the catapult and ease her slowly forward.", you command, and you order the captain to sound the horn to warn the other vessel.

In the darkness the horn sounds and a low mournful note sounds out across the black water. You watch the ship in the distance. Then you hear a distant answering horn. Straining your ears you hear on the wind the sounds of howling voices.

WILD ELVES ON THE WAVES - Night of the Crab (30th), Lovers' Moon, Year of the Lamia

The ship moves nearer, and you see that although unfamilar it is of slim and elegant design, yet sturdy. The decks are bristling with dark figures and pointed spears. Howls and cries like those you heard near here last spring echo across the water. Grimly, your companions ready their weapons. The catapult is loaded and ready to fire if necessary.

Now the figures on board the ship are visible, all fierce elves with sharp spears and branded with wild tattoos. They outnumber your men three to one. At the prow stands a proud elf, similarly attired to his fellows. The weird howling has subsided and the crew of both ships are deathly silent - for a time there is only the sound of the wind, the sea and the creaking of timbers. At the catapult, Windwood awaits your signal.

"Turn back!" shouts the figure at the prow. "None may set foot on the Blessed Isle and live. This we have sworn, and our oath is unbreakable. Others have tested our word and have met death at our hands. Thus we warn you. Turn back."

A SIGN OF RESPECT - Night of the Crab (30th), Lovers' Moon, Year of the Lamia

You stand forward "And to whom do you swear this oath? To whom are you sworn to serve? Without oaths of faith and honour we are nothing. If I am right you are the loyal guards of my master Celedril. But Celedril is no more and his sons Imric and Coryon are also wasted to the dusty wind. I have spoken to Celedril. He bestowed his sign apon me. BEHOLD! (Showing the sign) He bid me to bury the past and it's ruin of the Elves, he commanded me to rule his people. And so by the command of Celedril I have come to this island again, so that you may know your oaths have been served and are now finished."

There is a stunned silence among all present when you reveal the sign. Then the wild elves tramp their spear-butts on the deck and shout out "Hoi-HO!" in unison. Their leader seems equally moved. "By the Powers I cannot doubt mine own eyes," he says (you notice he speaks with an odd, archaic accent). "Well-met sir!" he shouts "Let us come alongside, that we may parlay without shouting."

He seems to have no warlike intentions, so you allow his request and signal the orders to your crew.

A short time later, your men and the wild tatooed warriors are eyeing each other curiously and expectantly through the rigging of each others' ship, while both bob gently on the waves.

JAERN SHADOWBLADE - Night of the Crab (30th), Lovers' Moon, Year of the Lamia

You meet with the Zecy Elf leader on the main deck of the swan ship. "Greetings, servant of the True King Celedril! I am Jaern Shadowblade, one of the members of the War Council of the Blessed Isle. Last year our great Oath was put to the test and none shirked his duty. The interlopers and the ship which bore them were destroyed.

Kellin abrubtly stands and walks below decks, an unreadable expression on his face. Shadowblade watches him before continuing.

"Until last spring, none had dared to disturb the Blessed Isle for generations and the War Council, once thought of as a relic of our long and glorious history of guardianship, was quickly returned to supreme importance. But the council was divided as to its role. Some traditionalists urged that we continue the policy of punishment for transgression. But others, myself included, while still willing to defend the Blessed Isle to the last drop of blood, believed that by warning away intruders we could avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Therefore I began patrolling the seas. Though others mocked me for a fool or even a pacifist, it is I who have now found you. Though what this meeting means for my people I cannot guess."

"Great things for your people and mine, for we are all children of Celedril and will be no longer divided and bound to a broken past. I must speak to the War council of Zecy. Tell me, how many people govern the council and who stand as traditionalists and what of the others?"

"There are nine on the council, as is fitting. Two others think as I do, but are less outspoken. The others cling to the past as a man overboard clings to a broken spar in the water."

"Send word to the council and summon them to the shore or to a boat if they would permit, so that I may speak to them and harbour their good wishes before I come ashore to the long guarded blessed island. For I truly am the loyal servant of Celedril and bear his command, but they too have served with unquestioning loyalty and their deeds must be duly respected"

"I will do this, but I fear they will not believe without the evidence of their own eyes the sign of Celedril."

"I met another of your kind but far from the island, a wanderer who bears the same Clan title as you. He was the bravest of spirits, and bore the name Lorathan Shadowblade."

He looks surprised and excited. "Why, Lorathon Shadowblade was my great uncle. He left the Isle many years ago, as some of us do - though they all know that they may never return once they have touched the unhallowed soil of the Continent. I did not know him well, but my grandfather always spoke of him with affection, and remorse at his decision to leave."

"There`s an island to the South of here marked on the maps as Xenophon, have you ventured there or no any news from it`s shores?"

"The Isle of Xenophon? No I have never been there, nor has any that I have heard of. We do not venture far from the Blessed Isle these days, lest we shirk our great duty."

After the meeting, Jaern Shadowblade stands and bows. "Fare well, Griflet. I will return with news from the Council. Please remain here until I return, both as a peaceful gesture to the Council, and to aid my navigation." He walks back to his ship, and shortly the ship moves away, leaving you alone in the night.

KELLIN'S SPIRITS EBB - Dawn of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

When Shadowblade and his ship are gone, Kellin emerges from below. "I'm sorry Griflet, but those elves murdered my friend. And for what? A musty old ritual than none of them understand. Kill first, ask questions later, how barbaric. I know that Griff knew the dangers, but it irks me that we are now making deals with murderers." He sighs. "Forgive me, I'm tired and babbling. If you won't be needing me I'll try to get some rest." He turns away.

You too grab some rest, as a murky grey dawn lightens the first day of Snow Moon. It seems like just a moment you have been asleep when you hear "Ships Ahoy!" from the masthead. Groggily you dress and head up on deck.

THE UNWELCOMING COMITTEE - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

Two identical ships are approaching, each filled with warriors. You allow them to draw near. Jaern Shadowblade is on board one, bare-chested but wearing a rich green cape with a golden clasp and a golden torc around his neck. "The council has agreed to your request, sir. They will meet you closer to shore. Please accompany us."

You give the orders and sail with the other two ships in sight. Soon the Isle of Zecy appears on the horizon and grows ever larger as you cross the grey waves. You can see the dark forests which grow thickly all over the island. You've never seen the isle from the sea by day; it is quite spectacular in spite of the gloomy clouds and the chill wind which whips the sails.

You approach a bay on the south shore of the island. A flotilla of small vessels, each filled with tatooed warriors, paddles out to accompany the larger ships. You're not quite sure if it looks like a war party or a welcome. You see that there are buildings at the head of the bay, a shipyard, a dock. There are boats of warriors everywhere. Another larger ship is approaching, flying the flag of Celedril. On the main deck you see eight elves of varying age, each with a green cape and golden torc like Shadowblade. His ship pulls alongside and he suggests that you accompany him to the presence of the Council. You follow him to the flagship, where the eight others watch you suspiciously.

ADDRESSING THE COUNCIL - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

War Council of the Blessed Isle, I am Griflet Graycyon. I have come here today as the last of the Celedrils line." (You show the sign of Celedril) "The King has finally laid to rest and made amends with the past, his orders were for a new future. Imric is no more, slain by dreams of Chaos. Coryon is no more, the last of his tortured soul has been shattered at the Red Rock. Celedril too no longer walks this earth, half alive and half dead. I alone stand before you as the last of the Elven line and I have come here to relieve you of your oaths. You have served them well and your King is surely proud. The oath you swore was a true oath. But the King buried the past and looks to visions of a greater time for Elves in the Future. I am here to seek your assistance in the last dream of Celedril. Will you follow his signs?"

The Councillors are impressed by your speech. Mostly. One named Firvien speaks out: "Sir, this news you bring has shaken the foundations of the Blessed Isle. The sign you bear is beyond doubt the sign of Celedril. Yet may I ask, how came you by this news? How came you by the sign? Celedril alive or dead may be, for none have disturbed his entombment. You say that you are the last of Celedril's line and that may be, although you do not have the look of the royal house, but please tell myself and my worthy associates how these extraordinary events came to pass."

"Indeed I am not of Royal House nor was I before of Royal blood. Called by dreams of Law and the lost King Celedril I found his entombment that is bound and joined by the Law Stones at the three points of power. Here, at the Blessed Isle, to the South at the former shining city of Torvilyus and to the West at Imrics once mighty hold. It was there I found the King merged with a Quarmallian demon, carrying the pain of his wounds and the invasion of chaos. He saw in my humble body hope and bade me to bear his rune. I knelt as I was commanded and watched slowly as he painfully fought the spawn of chaos from his mind and carved his rune in the skin, muscle and blood of my chest. I then followed his orders, to end the line that has for so long been misshapen by Chaos. He said there must be only one. I am here at the bidding of Celedril. I bear his rune and I am the ONLY one. If you did indeed love Celedril as surely your devotion to his tomb has shown, you will accept his wishes. I was not born to lead and nor have I wished to do so. I have served the will of my Lord Imric and the true King Celedril, and I have never shirked from my duties."

"So you came to the Blessed Isle in direct contravention of our most sacred Law with no authority? Comrades, why are we listening to this fellow, when he has clearly acted in a criminal manner?" asks Firvien to the other Council members.

DISSENT - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

This causes a disturbance, and the council members mutter together. Your keen hearing picks up what they are saying:
"Hear him out." - Jaern Shadowblade
"The rune is true, I swear!" - Tallbow Wintershine
"Think of the Law!" - Bright-Star
"How do we know he's telling the truth?" - Ceder
"He must die! The Law says so." - Firvien
"What if he is correct, then he is our King." - Letheon
"Celedril's our king." - Tharisien Goldenbow
"Is he a criminal or a king?" - Andril
"He will destroy all that we have worked for." - Firvien
"He is here to save us." Jaern Shadowblade
"Do you believe him?" - Ceder
"I do." - Thion Bearspear

"I hear Firvien calls my death for my actions, but what right has he to make this call? As members of the War council you must ask yourself: What is the purpose of your oath? Why does this `Law` exist on Zecy? You were sworn to follow the True King Celedril and your oaths were sworn to guard him and protect him, and so the great oath was sworn that none shall set foot upon the blessed isle. These oaths were true, well kept and made in good intentions. I have broken this law.... But! ...... I have broken it with the seal and goodwill of our king. Who are you really sworn to? The War council? Your traditions and the broken past? Or are you truly sworn to the King? You have guarded the King well but the King I have spoken with. I ask the council this with all due respect to it: Are you the truly the loyal followers and guardians of Celedril or have you unknowingly become his jailers? Do you swear loyalty to the True King or merely to the sanctity of this Isle?"

Bright-Star stands up. "Sir Griflet, your coming here presents a legal problem to us of great complexity. Certainly our loyalty lies to Celedril, but also to the Law which he too served. For our Oath has been a sacred and binding one, which has lasted three generations. To break it is death to the breaker. Yet to harm one of royal blood is a greater crime. Comrades! We have heard this fellow speak, we have observed his manner. It is now up to us to decide. If he speaks truth then he has broken our sacred Law, but he is also of the Blood Royal and thus now beyond our punishment. If he lies, he has wasted our time and attempted to deceive us - a most grievious crime - yet he has not broken the Oath because he has never set foot on the Blessed Isle. As we are elves of wisdom and judgement, this is the War Council and so too are we elves of action. I propose a vote, here and now, as to whether this Griflet is now our King."

"This is outrageous!" exclaims Firvien "We need time-"

But Bright-Star holds up his hand. "As is our custom I propose a motion. Will you challenge the custom, Firvien?" Firvien subsides into his chair. Bright-Star continues. "Does any second the motion?"

"I second the motion", says Jaern Shadowblade.

AGREEMENT - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

"Then we vote. All in favour, and against?"

"Aye" - Jaern Shadowblade
"Aye" - Thion Bearspear
"Nay" - Firvien
"Aye" - Andril
"Aye" - Tallbow Wintershine
"Nay" - Tharisien Goldenbow
"Aye" - Bright Star
"Aye" - Letheon
"Aye" - Ceder

Bright-Star turns to you. "The War Council has spoken. We recognise Griflet as heir to Celedril and our ruler. We are at your service, King. What do you command?"

"I ask to enter the Blessed Isle and pay due respect to the Tomb of the Great King Celedril. I ask that my companions can enter too. After these ceremonies have been complete we shall talk of the Elven future - of the dreams of Celedril for our people."

Bright Star agrees to your request, and with the flotilla of curious Wild Elves still watching you from the harbour, you prepare to set foot on the island (for the second time).

QUIET PLANS - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

You confer quickly and quietly with with Kellin. You suggest that the boat be turned back to shore once you leave and to head for Imric's Tower and Leonore will be waiting there, near the base of the old tower. "Just call for him if he is not visible. Futhermore, it is important that none others know of this incident beyond Leonore, Arborius, Windwood, you and myself. Inform the others that they should never speak of our trip to the Tower again. Stop by the trading center to confer with Arborius and I will meet you back at our new home. Go safely and my best wishes to you."

"If you're sure you will be fine here with these..." Kellin trails off, "then I will go and the Powers be with you Griflet."

You then go to the Island and into Celedrils Tower.

BACK IN THE TOMB AGAIN - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

The Council members and many wild elves watching from the trees watch with naked curiosity (and maybe some hostility) as you set foot on the sandy shore of the Blessed Isle. The War-Council members walk with you as you head for the ruined city with its moss-covered central tower. It is very different to walk these forest paths in dappled daylight, surrounded by those who once were your foes. You sense the council-members looking at each other when you confidently make your way around the tower to the collapsed cellar; it seems to confirm in their minds that you have indeed been here before. Firvien begins a protest when you descend into the cellar (none of the other council members follow you this far) but he is silenced by his fellows.

Patting the 'Book of the Shadow Three' in your backpack, you glance at the stone cube on the northern wall where the inscription gleams in the light which filters down from the hole above:

CELEDRIL

Father supreme and fair of face
And soul, in triumph slain
When mirror'd evil came apace.
Let here his heart remain.

You pay your respects to the dead ruler appropriately, in case any of the councillors were watching you through the ceiling hole. Then you put your hand on the cube and the wall becomes translucent as before. You move through the hazy corridor and ascend through the red-vaulted chamber, the chamber of the seas and enter the white archway. You find yourself in Celedril's bloody chamber of the three arches. The air is fresh and cool. On the bed a figure rises. It is Leonore. He looks pale and drawn. "Griflet, is that you? By the Powers, I did not believe you'd come back!" He swings his legs over the bed and comes hobbling toward you, like one who hasn't moved for a long time. "Griflet, what news, where are the others, what has been happening? How much time has passed? I must slow down and let you speak."

THE BOOK OF THE SHADOW THREE - Morning of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

"Master Leonore, I'm sorry my return has been an extended one, I'm glad you are well, or at least you are not ill to any large degree."

"I have parleyed with the Elves of this Blessed Isle and they have recognized me as the Celedrils choosen blood. They know of my transgressions to the Island and I have been absolved by the seal of the old king. They are unaware of you and the others having crossed these shores. Speak no further of it and let this journey forever be a guarded memory."

"Ah, of course Griflet."

"I have uncovered this 'Book of the Shadow three' from the vaults of meditation in Tovilyis where some of Coryon's folk still dwell in darkness, twisted by the ruin of their city and tainted by the Maelstrom of chaos left in the wake of the Quarmallian armies."

"Glimpse through its pages and tell me what you can divine. And tell me good Geomancer is there hope for your salvation?"

He opens the book gratefully, and begins reading "Uh.. it might take me a while to work this out, but thank you for trying, anyway."

You wander over to the great windows while Leonore reads the tome. There's the Tower of Zecy, with its three mossy sides and a crowd of puzzled-looking wild elves at its base. There is overgrown Imric's Hold, with the dragon's entry hole at the top looking like some ghastly lobotomy. All is quiet there. The trees wave in a breeze which you do not feel. In the third window, crumbling Tovilyis is no longer visible. Instead you see a familiar circle of hillls, crawling with industrious figures. Construction evidently continues apace at Whispering Earth. You watch, fascinated, having never seen it from the air. Lying by the window is the coiled rope which you once used to descend to Tovilyis.

After an hour, Leonore says "I believe I am prevented from leaving the tower because I have too much natural power. This book describes two ways in which I can leave. I can expend some of my power in mighty and dangerous incantation, some of which are described here, or I can try to give myself a lobotomy. All incantations are things of Chaos, but there is one here which may be harmless enough. This book describes soul magic - Coryon may have used some of this when he made the Dragon Icon. One incantation describes the construction of a 'spirit vessel', a living or non-living vessel for a soul. If I make, say the gem in my staff such a vessel, then some of my power will be transferred to it; hopefully enough for me to escape. I won't try to transfer my soul to the gem of course. I'm not mad. This could be dangerous, and is definitely unorthodox, but it seems like a better option than a lobotomy, don't you think?"

As you are about to answer, you think of the chaos Coryon unleashed on the world with his soul-transferring experiment. Although you remind yourself that Coryon used as his vessel the Law Stone, and sucked into it the unwilling lifeforce of Bloodbane to create Mysteriones. Leonore does not seem to be proposing anything quite so extreme. Then again... unorthodox, but it seems like a better option than a lobotomy, don't you think?"

"Well, yes, much more preferable. I`m convinced. Let it be done, and I will see you again in happier circumstances."

LEONORE THE GEOMANCER - Day of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

Leonore closes his eyes and places the Book of the Shadow Three in front of him, as well as his Geomancer staff. "You must not make a sound, Griflet, lest the spell is broken." He then begins to chant with a low moaning voice. Wisps of white mist float from his mouth to curl around the gemstone in the staff. He continues to chant, seeming not to draw breath. This goes on and on, for about an hour, while you hold your patience in check and hope for no dire consequences.

Then, Leonore stops chanting and opens his eyes. He seems somehow older, less alive. In a hoarse, tired voice he says, "It's done, but done poorly, I think. Some of my power is now in this staff, but I cannot access it. Perhaps I misspoke a syllable of the spell or maybe it is to do with the enchantment of this place. Ah well, it is most likely for the best; no sorceror am I, nor will ever be now. Nevertheless, I think I can bow escape, having renounced my power. For this I have you to thank Griflet. I won't forget."

You wish him luck and lower the rope to the forest floor near Imric's Hold, telling him to wait for Kellin, who might be a few days. You give him some food from your backpack. He hesitates at the window ledge. "Now it is I who leave you in the tower Griflet. Good luck, and thanks again for my freedom." Then he lowers himself down into the foliage of the Forest of Sibilan. You see him wave at the bottom, the he movess into the thicket and is lost to sight.

Once this is done you shift the ropes to Zeçy and lower yourself down.

NEW MOON'S FEAST - Day of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

As you lower yourself from the tower you are spotted by the Wild Elves, who are stupefied by your latest transgression against their laws. They just stand around and wait for you to descend.

Addressing the Elves: "The ceremony has been completed. Celedrils reign is the source of our history and will remain the most Respected of Elven Tales to be told and retold and never to be forgotten. Now let us feast and talk of the future."

War Councillor Letheon lets out a hesitant cheer, which is raggedly echoed by the crowd, then you retire to a feasting hall constructed of sturdy logs and high beams. Some elves, musicians, with long (10 foot) golden horns and wood flutes begin to play and the feast begins. The music is strange to your ears, but not unpleasant.There are also the first female Wild Elves you've seen; warriors also - every elf is expected to serve to defend the island in some capacity. Although no women sit on the Council as clan heads, they seem to enjoy reasonable status. They sit at a separate table to the men, but the table is equally large and equally well served. The council members sit around you at a third table at the head of the feast-hall, eating, drinking and watching you cautiously.

"So, Sire," says Andril at length "What next for our Isle?"

There is a pause as the other councillors look up from their meals, and nervously exchange glances.

"The Blessed Isle is always to remain Sacred, as the birth of our kin and as the resting place of the True King Celedril. However, other Elves will be allowed to enter the Island and work here on a temporary time limit at the approval of the War Council for the benefit and safety of both the Isle and the New Kingdom to the south." You pause. "The War council will also remain as the governing body of the Isle, it has served Celedril without flaw. However four councillors and their Tribes will come south with me to the land of Black Earths Bloom and the Sighing plain, where the third law stone now rests and re-orders the chaos left by the old War. We must rebuild what we have lost. The War Council shall decide who will go and who will stay. The Clans that leave still hold right to residency of the Isle of Zecy as will their future generations that follow Clan heritage."

"If there are any who harbour objections to these decrees, speak now or let it be done."

Ceder pipes up "Not wanting to object, Sire, but what is this Black Earth's Bloom of which you speak? It sounds most sinister. While none of us have set foot off the island before, yet we have some knowledge of the other lands. But I have never heard of this 'Black Earth's Bloom'."

"The Warchief Ceder raises a valid concern. Black Earth's Bloom is a forest next to the Whispering Plain, South of Torviliyus. It was named so because when I placed the unearthed Law Stone the Black earth, left by the wake of The Quarmallian Chaos, once more began to grow. In doing this I have cemented the binds of Law back to the lands Three of which Zecy is it's pinnacle. In time and with good judgement we will be able to clear the lands of Chaos, including the marauding Beastmen to the East of Zecy."

Firvien says "I wish it to be noted that I object to this meddling with our traditions, though of course I bow to the War Council's decisions. What will happen to the Blessed Isle? With reduced defenses how long before it falls to the beastman filth of the mainland?"

You stand up slowly and looks grimly around at the gathered Elves.

AURANWEIN WORDS - Afternoon of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

"It seems that the Warchief Firvien has little faith in my abilities and yet he has seen nothing to convince him otherwise. I have tracked and trapped the beastmen of the Wild Wold. I was with the party that slained Imrics Thorn in the Briar wood. I have seen the abomination that was once Coryon and lived. I have been beneath the catacombs of Torvilyus and know what still lurks there. I have slain the Dragon Bloodbane whose fires themselves could ruin this Isle in a matter of breaths. I have spoken to Celedril thrown myself at his knees and at his command watched the royal dagger cut deep into my chest. I have seen the demon inside of him and obeyed his every command. I have done all this in service to the Immutable Law which protects us all. I do not feel Firvien has done more than stroll these hallowed shores, and notch a beastman or two. I have seen things that none of you can imagine and with these visions I have gained much knowledge of the world and I am confident that the Isle is safe from the roaming beastmen, for now."

You sit back down, holding your further thoughts to yourself. You realise that Firvien may not be as intractable as Ash was. He doesn't allow hate to blind him. You suspect he is fearful of the change which must come, fearful of losing his own powerful position, and that fear makes him angry. You've read similar feelings on the faces of Imric's kin after the Nightmare and at each Leavetaking. Some reacted with anger, others with resignation or despair. Firvien and the other councillors come from a warrior culture which has rigidly adhered to one way of doing things for three generations. Perhaps his hostility is understandable, if not tolerable.

Firvien says, "I, ah, Sire I, perhaps I spoke in haste, I have without doubt imbibed too much auranwein. I - forgive me, I shall retire for the night." He stands and walks from the room, looking straight ahead.

"Master Firvien! Hold your step! I too have enjoyed this fine auranwine and spoke rashly to you. I have been choosen and was not raised as a prince or groomed to be a King, and as such sometimes lack the sublteltys of Royal Blood. I am not here to meddle in affairs nor am I here as a dictator, but simply as one who hopes to re-establish the Greatness that Elves deserve. It is not time for you to retire Firvien, you are a member of the War council and have not shirked from your duties thus far. There is still much to discuss. Important decisions must be made tonight. Hard decisions that need the sound judgement and leadership of the War Council. The War Council numbers nine...."

You gesture to Firvien's seat. Firvien hesitates, then returns and sits down quietly.

WAR COUNCIL OF ZECY - Afternoon of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

"Some Members of the council feel that the sanctity of the island will be compromised by such a quick exodus of warriors, I am not to disagree, though feel confident in it`s security for now and from what I have discovered about the world to the West. You have preserved the Island this long I believe in your judgements. But there are good Elves to the South, on the Sighing Plain. Elves who would shed their blood for Elves. These are the last of Imrics kin, once desperate, now reinvigored with hope of a new kingdom. We are not two kingdoms but one. Once divided by turmultuous Chaos and Quarmallian ruin, Celedril has sacrificed himself for union. We have enemies, for Elves they are abundant. Let`s not stand alone and slowly be beaten by the hoarde that comes so unruly and yet numerous."

"I need warriors and builders to guard the Triangle of Law. I need warriors and builders to help establish a port to the East of these lands. A harbour which we`ll link Zecy to the Southern Kingdom. Once established the Blessed Isle will be more safely stored as Warriors from the South will easily and willingly be shipped to aid if the need arises, and this will be reciprocated to The Whispering Plain and Black Earth`s Bloom. The forest is our home and cradle, but as Jaern Shadowblades foresight divines, the sea will be our future and our hope. Therefore I ask the War Council to send what builders and warriors they can spare to the South with me and make plans for strong ships and sails to be prepared for battle and mutual trade between the two bounds of Law."

Griflet waits for the Council to begin their discussion and decision.

Tallbow Wintershine says "Sire, the council has accepted you as Celedril's heir; I have heard your fine words and I believe mine own eyes. I for one will follow you this Black Earth's Bloom, to be of what service I may."
"And I." says Jaern Shadowblade.
"Your speech hath impressed me. I'm with you." - Thion Bearspear.
"I suppose we must begin the selection and organisation of the warriors and shipbuilders to depart..." muses Ceder, half to himself.
"It seems you have your answer, Griflet." says Bright Star.
"Yes," murmurs Tharisien Goldenbow, "Celedril wanted us to be one once more."

"Then let us toast our decision."

"To the future of the People" toasts Bright Star

"Furthermore We will strengthen our communications between the two cities by using carrier birds. 50 Birds shall be trained to courier messages between the Blessed Isle and Whispering Earth. If the two cities are ever in trouble, they will let loss the flock with the call for assistance. I will need the best falconers among you to help establish this vital link."

"A good plan, Sire. I will see to it personally...once I have set eyes on this new land myself" - Thion Bearspear.

CONVERSATIONS WITH THE COUNCIL - Evening of the Hare (1st), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

Griflet's Question: "How did the Elves deal with attempted assaults on the island?"

The Council's Answer: "Very few have attempted to land on, let alone invade the island. Last year there was an attack, a human; he was executed as per the custom, and his boat burned to the waterline by the new navy."

(Hmmmm.... Lucky Kellin is not here.)

Griflet's Question: "What do you know of the Lands to the East?"

The Council's Answer: "Sometimes we watch their ships sailing far to the south and east of us. Human scum, but their empires are old for their race, and perhaps less tainted by the Quarmallians than their kin to the west."

Yes. I know little of the East, so let notes be kept of the ships you see passing to and from this direction.

Griflet's Question: "The Isle of Xenophon to the South?"

The Council's Answer: "A desolate isle of windswept crags and crannies, known only for the winds' strange howlings and moanings. None live there to our knowledge. Why do you ask of that place?"

Well our shipping lines will run close by this Island and we must ensure secrey and safe passage North and South. If there are some kind of men, beasts or civilzation here we should be wary. For now, we will trace the shipping lanes close to the mainland and avoid contact with this island untill more is known about it.

Griflet's Question: "What remains of the old city of Zecy?"

The Council's Answer: "After the Battle of Sorrows, the city - which had been badly damaged in the Quarmallian attack, was abandoned out of respect for Celedril. His two sons headed for the mainland and even we, who swore never to cease our guardianship, moved ourselves to smaller settlements elsewhere on the island."

Celedril's memory shall never be tarnished - but if there is knowledge of the great Kings rule here, this philosophy and thinking must also be preserved and learnt by Elves of today and the future.

Griflet's Question: "Do you have an old Library on the Island?"

The Council's Answer: "There are books and records of the clans and genealogies and the Law. Our archivists maintain them. It is an honourable profession for those who can no longer fight."

Maybe one day I can examine these if you will permit. It is only respectful that I should learn some of the history of the Clans of the blessed Isle, if I am to lead them.

Griflet's Question: "Are there any among you who know the incantations of Law?"

The Council's Answer: "Bright-Star is our expert on the council (Bright-Star inclines his head gravely when he overhears this), but he refers for complex matters to the archives we mentioned."

Indeed this is reassuring that we have such Wisdom amongst our leaders. There will no doubt be times when I will need your counsel Bright-Star. I know little of such matters and the Geomancers of Imrics kin have been greatly famished in recent times.

After the celebrations have taken their due course you retire to bed.

SAILING ON - Morning of the Minnow (2nd), Snow Moon, Year of the Lamia

The next morning the sea and sky are a brilliant blue, though the morning is cool. You give the orders to prepare your ship. "It will take at least few days to get supplies together and select the warriors to travel, Sire." says Ceder, coming up beside you, accompanied by Letheon, who says, "It's not every day the people are uprooted from their natural home. It takes some getting used to."

"Well, let us wait here - for this is the most beautiful land I have seen in my travels, and the sojourn will be a luxury to me. I am not one for wasting time however, let`s share our knowledge and share our ways."

Six days later, you depart the Isle of Zeçy in the Wild Elf ship Greenwolf, accompanied by Jaern Shadowblade, Thion Bearspear, Andril, Tallbow Wintershine and their warriors. You are bound for Black Earth's Bloom.

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