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The Leavetaking

[Friday, 5 December 1997]

Griflet's Report: “A week is a long time in post-Nightmare elven politics.”

POLITICAL REPORT - Day of the Lizard (8th), Frost Moon, Year of the Ogre

You are a scout and warrior, not a talker. Nevertheless, given the urgency of the situation you have spent the last week politicking, orating, cajoling and bargaining with the faction leaders: Ash of the Free Protectors, Tolinthis of House Mercantile, Gorianthas of the Royalists, Crenore of the Servants of Sibilan. Your goal to temporarily relocate the Elven Nation to Vardin's Protectorate has received some support.

THE FREE PROTECTORS: Ash simply will not listen to you. He seems jealous of you because of your rapid promotion into and through the ranks of House Protector. You have tried oratory, bargaining, even invoking the Powers of Law but Ash will not budge. He views your words with suspicion and contempt. “I for one will never shack up with your human ape friends. I will have no part of this degenerate behaviour.” He still intends to depart for human lands, as far as you know. However, the Free Protectors have not gained much support from the other factions this week. Some Royalists were sympathetic, but more of them agree with your point of view (see below). Ash's greatest blunder came a few days ago, when he tried to address a crowd of the unaligned. He was received with stony silence, possibly because the Servants of Sibilan have been most popular with the unaligned elves (see below.) Ash and his faction remain opposed to you and your goal.

HOUSE MERCANTILE: You have impressed Tolinthis and the House Mercantile faction with your words and arguments. “You talk well, Griflet, and profitably too.” The members of this faction are sympathetic and have agreed to the relocation. House Mercantile has also been wooed by Gorianthas and the Royalists; many of the mercantilists (indeed the elves!) are conservative and want a return of the regulated House structure, with House Royal at the top, and hopefully House Mercantile a bit higher up than it once was. House Mercantile is not as united as the other factions. Tolinthis is not a natural leader and House Mercantile could break up or swing quite easily. For now, however, you have their support.

THE ROYALISTS: For some reason you don't understand, the Royalists seem very impressed by you, though you are not won over by their plodding, legalistic style. Gorianthas, who in the past week has gained supporters from both House Mercantile and the Servants of Sibilan, is especially pleased with you. “I was suspicious of you, Griflet,” said Gorianthas “I condemned you for your disregard for propriety and conduct. Your consorting with humans. But I was wrong. You are as loyal servant of the king - the throne - as I am myself. And you are right, we need to leave this place, at least for now.” The Royalist position has gained in popularity as Ash and the Free Protectors have found themselves increasingly isolated. For whatever reason Gorianthas offers his support - and you're not entirely sure of his motives - he makes a useful ally.

SERVANTS OF SIBILAN: This small faction has more than doubled in support over the past week, although some members have split off to join the Traditionalist (Royalist-Mercantile-Sibilan) group. The Servants of Sibilan have grown because of their support from those elves previously uncommitted or uninterested in the political upheaval going on around them. Crenore, one of the faction leaders, is impressed by your words, and your concerns for his safety. He can see that conditions will be difficult for those who remain; nevertheless he and several of his followers intend to anyway. He does concede that it would be prudent to remove to a place of safety (it is only with difficulty that he accepts a human-occupied forest to be such a place.) He says he will not oppose any attempts by you to move the elven population - especially since the move seems like a temporary thing. He says, “You can't move an entire nation for just one season. It is, I'm sure you understand, a major undertaking to move the People. A major undertaking. If you go, I doubt not that you will be gone for a long while. Somebody has to stay to look after this place - just like the mythical Wild Elves, who remained on the Blessed Isle when Lords Imric and Coryon took their leave of that place a thousand years ago and more. So shall I remain here, at Imric's Hold.” You have nonetheless gained the guarded support of the Servants of Sibilan.

POLITICAL SUMMARY, 1st half moon of Frost Moon: After many meetings and discussions, speeches and bargains, you have gained the strong support of the ROYALISTS and some support from HOUSE MERCANTILE and the SERVANTS OF SIBILAN for the winter relocation of the elves to Vardin's Protectorate. The FREE PROTECTORS remain stubbornly opposed to your idea; they neither want to remain at Imric's Hold nor travel to Vardin's Protectorate.

A LETTER FROM VARDIN

Day of the Newt, Frost Moon, Year of the Ogre

Dear Griflet,
Much has happened in these parts since your departure. Out of the South, from ruined Tovilyis came an army of Beggars, led by Demon-men such as the one you captured in the Wild Wold. The Beggar army lay siege to fair Lorn Velpa. Things looked very grim, and my rangers and I were prepared to sell our lives dearly. However at the final hour, something happened to the Demon-men and their creatures of Chaos - a sudden lapse of will perhaps, for they fled, leaving my rangers and the Knights of Lorn Velpa to sally forth and rout the poorly disciplined beggars, who were very many in spite of their poor quality. Thus the Battle of the Twixwater Meadows was won, although I still cannot quite believe my luck.
It seems you have troubles of your own. Some great calamity must have befallen your people if they must now flee their homeland. You have placed me in a difficult position, my friend. My first duty is to the protection of Lorn Velpa and its people. I am concerned that the presence of your people in this land might endanger my duty. Nevertheless you have asked me this favour as a warrior and as a friend, so I will not refuse you. Your people are welcome in my Protectorate. I pray to holy Astalon that this decision brings good fortune.

Your friend,
Vardin, Lord Protector of Lorn Velpa and the Lake-Lands

CRISIS AT THE PORT OF SWAN SHIPS

The Port of Swan Ships on the eastern coast of the Lankhmar Continent has always (as long as you have known of it) had more of a ceremonial than naval function. The Swan Ships themselves - elegant, regal vessels of great antiquity supposedly carried Imric and Elthiria and their kin from the Isle of Zecy, a thousand years or more ago. But since that time they have hardly been used, although they have been kept in operational condition. The Port of Swan Ships has hardly been a concern of the elves, until recently. You were wise to act immediately to secure the Port. Your fame (and notoriety) among the elves means that you have some (mostly younger) supporters, who agreed to infiltrate the Port while you were politicking this week. And a good thing they did. Today, just after you receive Vardin's letter, an out-of-breath elf runner comes panting toward you with serious news - Ash and his hardcore Free Protectors have seized the Port, and are preparing to make sail!

You drop everything and ride as quickly as you can through the cold, misty, pre-dawn forest toward the Port of Swan Ships. You see the elegant shapes of the ships looming out of the mist. The Free Protectors, dressed in all their finery, are loading the ships.

Not a step further, Griflet!” shouts Ash, white-faced and dressed in a fur-lined black and silver cloak. “Not a step further, else I command my men to shoot you down where you stand.”

You realise that your natural stealth has been compromised by your inexperienced infiltrators. (However without them, Ash and his men could be gone by now.) You also know that this will be a black day in elven history if blood is spilled by kin. You have the Free Protectors in attendance, so you address the crowd. You know many of the faces in the crowd, by face or name. They listen as you try to talk them out of this move. You call upon the Powers of Law to aid your words. While you speak - with Ash often interrupting - more elves from the other factions arrive, warned by your young scouts. In the grey light of dawn, two groups of elves face each other, stony-faced across the water. You realise that you have failed to win them over. There is a tense silence which seems to fill the whole world. What will you do?

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