Sunset Vale Saga

Hardbuckler Diplomacy
Sunset Vale Saga #41


Session Recap:

  1. In light of the recent murder and kidnapping, Valter humbly requests that the party use the teleportation hub atop the Hall Of The Guardian to evacuate the refugees and their children to a safe settlement. The party agrees that the city of Iriaebor would be the safest place. Caerwyn and his star elf father, Sazraen, agree to stay behind and cast the numerous teleportation spells necessary to evacuate all 79 refugees.
  2. Orryn uses the teleportation hub to transport the party to Hardbuckler, as it is in the Trielta Hills just 20 miles away from the Red Roost that Arcturus is being held prisoner at. Also Adros is in the vicinity. The party is greeted by Captain-Magistrate Grenna Gornsh, who catches them up on what has happened since the they last spoke.
  3. Apparently, the plague in Hill’s Edge came to a boiling point and there was a coup. The Marwoods (Varia’s family) and their allies seized control of the city. The city council then by fiat declared the quarantine over, held a sham trial that found the gnomes Hardbuckler in league with the Joydancers of Lliira guilty of starting the Cackle Fever epidemic, outlawed the worship of Lliira and destroyed the Cry Of Joy temple. Worse still, Hill’s Edge is holding over two dozen former gnome relief workers as hostages. No one knows what happened to the paladins of Torm that were maintaining the quarantine in the city. Grenna assumes that they were either imprisoned or killed by the new regime.
  4. Grenna explains furthermore, a day ago Adros came to the gates of Hardbuckler introducing himself as an emissary of the Netherese Empire. Grenna turned him away at once, but Adros said he would return when Varia and Toggel’s group arrived back in Hardbuckler.
  5. True to his word, Adros is announced to be waiting at the gates. The party comes up with a plan and quickly splits up, with Orryn and Mizugo openly escorting Grenna and her guards, while the rest of the party stealthily surround Adros. Adros once again presents his credentials to Grenna, which Orryn certifies to be legitimate. “Ambassador Adros” is the designated envoy of Prince Brennus Tanthul, one of the twelve Princes Of Shade, the rulers of the Netherese Empire.
  6. Ambassador Adros then explains that he was sent by Prince Brennus to open peaceful diplomatic relations with Hardbuckler, which the Netherese considers to be a former gnomish colony of the Empire before it fell. As a token of good will, Ambassador Adros says that he can “help” have the gnome hostages in Hill’s Edge released safely. With that offer on the table Grenna cannot immediately refuse, and must take it to the Elder Council of Hardbuckler.
  7. Ambassador Adros and his two heavily cloaked and hooded escorts make their way back to their camp, with an invisible Aerith & Miriel stalking close behind. Miriel uses the opportunity to steal back Toggel’s Instant Fortress from Adros, who eventually notices that it is missing and starts tracking it back to her before she stuffs it into an extradimensional Hidden Pocket.
  8. The rest of the party start gathering information, supplies, and spend some quality time with those dear to them in the town. But time is short. In one day, Arcturus will be forced to participate in a deathmatch with the guildmaster of The Nail, Black Siderious. And who knows how long the gnome hostages in Hill’s Edge will last before Hardbuckler will have to graciously accept the “help” of Ambassador Adros.
Assassin's Rhapsody
Sunset Vale Saga #40


Session Recap:

  1. Aerith and Neiriel continue to reeks havoc among the Nail assassins, as Neiriel also uses Honeybadger magic to try and revive Varia and Arcturus, but to little effect. Meanwhile, Caerwyn floods the entire battlefield with Daylight.
  2. Valter and Mizugo arrive on the scene and Valter moves to protect Caerwyn as once again he goes down. Meanwhile Orryn back at the Hall of the Guardian scrying the battlefield detects the invisible presence of the murderous bard just as she is plunges a dagger into the downed Caerwyn’s chest to cut out his heart.
  3. Mizugo starts noticing that the bodies of fallen assassins, as well as the corpse of the crashed hippogriff have been pulled into the earth by large insect-like creatures that have burrowed up through the grassland floor.
  4. Toggel arrives on the scene in time to engage a stag-headed winged beast that the bard woman summoned to take the body of Caerwyn away, with Neiriel finishing off the beast and it dropping Caerwyn right on top of Valter.
  5. Toggel and Neiriel continue to provide covering fire to Aerith from a good distance now that they have ample light to fire at greater range. Even though Aerith unable to teleport in such conditions, he manages to hold is own.
  6. The sinister, yet shapely bard woman briefly appears, wakes up Arcturus with a soft touch, and speaks an arcane word that makes them both disappear. The surviving assassins leap down one of the insect holes to escape the party.
  7. Neiriel examines Miriel’s and Varia’s bodies and determines that Miriel just needs bedrest while Varia has been poisoned with Swiftsleep from a shoulder wound and she neutralizes the poison.
  8. Varia wakes up, resummons Elsa, and flies herself and the unconscious Miriel back to the Hall of the Guardian ahead of the party. Valter assists Toggel with restoring the fallen Furious and they both fly back to the Hall Of the Guardian to join the rest of the party.
  9. Orryn informs the party that Arcturus is being held prisoner in the dungeons of the Red Roost, which is somewhere in the Trielta Hills west of Hardbuckler.
  10. Varia tells the party that the bard is Gwyneira, a fellow student and her sworn blood-sister that she stabbed to save the life of a child over a year ago.
  11. The party takes a long rest. The morning will come with hard decisions to make.
Murderous Whispers
Sunset Vale Saga #39


Session Recap

  1. Neiriel, Toggel, and Aerith engage in combat with the somewhat amused, overly confident, and highly melodramatic pale woman with dark features, dressed in black and red playing a haunting flute.
  2. After Caerwyn and Mizugo arrive and illuminate the wreckage of Furious, the woman receives devastating blows from Aerith and Toggel, and she teleports away with a melodious word.
  3. Neiriel determines that the woman has not teleported far, and flies off with Caerwyn to catch up with her, with Aerith following on the ground. Toggel and Mizugo stay behind and keep searching for Arcturus and the other missing party members.
  4. Valter Kenric and 4 other refugees armed with simple tools arrive at the wreckage to assist. Valter is unable to quicken Furious to life, as too much time had passed since the mecha-eagle went down.
  5. Neiriel and Caerwyn find the woman in a cleared out area of the grassy plains inscribing arcane runes in a circle, while six dark figures drag 3 bodies into it: Arcturus, Miriel, and Varia. They are not moving. Neiriel and Caerwyn dive towards the circle to attack while Aerith teleports into melee.
  6. Caerwyn quickly goes down, but Aerith and Neiriel hold their own against the dark assailants and their musical mistress, who they now recognize as members of The Nail assassins guild that they tangled with in Corm Orp.
  7. Caerwyn is revived, but in poor condition to continue the fight.
  8. Aerith reeks havoc among the enemy; stunning, blinding, teleporting, and generally causing confusion while Neiriel harries them with crippling ice arrows.
  9. During the confused combat, the black & crimson clad woman once again teleports away. But the fight is far from over …
The Halls Of The Guardian
Sunset Vale Saga #38

Session Recap:

  1. Toggel came up with a basic plan to gather a little bit of Arcturus’s blood each day to prepare vaccine vials. But no character has enough medical knowledge right now to know exactly what to do to make that happen.
  2. The party discussed their next step (Return to Qheldin’s Mask, Go to Hill’s Edge, Go to Hardbuckler) and not getting much of anywhere.
  3. Valter left to go set the evening watch.
  4. Tycho came back briefly and took Sturgis and Arcturus to teach them a couple secret Harper signs and contacts, should they need to reach out.
  5. Orryn recommended that if Adros is truly their enemy, then they should go to Hardbuckler and attempt to gather basic military intelligence on him.
  6. The party briefly met Idara as she herded the children past them and into the upper halls for the evening.
  7. Valter returned and Miriel went to bring back Arcturus and Sturgis to get their input on Orryn’s recommendation.
  8. The party went to consider their options separately.
  9. Toggel and Neiriel took flight to hunt for some meat in the foothills of the Sunset Mountains.
  10. Varia went to meditate in the Sword Room for guidance on the best thing to do.
  11. Aerith and Caerwyn went to the roof of the temple with Valter; Aerith to begin his evening devotionals, Caerwyn to study the Teleportation Rose atop the Abjurer’s Tower.
  12. Caerwyn‘s father, Saezraen teleports back from Qheldin’s Mask, very excited about some of what he learned from the hidden shrine to Mystra.
  13. Toggel and Neiriel discover Tycho’s body in a ditch just outside of the Ruins of Hluthvar. He had been dead for a little over 2 hours. Toggel directs Furious to fly the body to the temple.
  14. Varia receives a vision of her memory when she saved the little boy from her blood-sworn sister, except in this version the boy has Miriel’s face, and the dagger kills her.
  15. Neiriel and Toggel alert the refugee watch and track the murderer (human female) all the way back the the temple … where she left with Arcturus and Sturgis.
  16. Toggel directs Furious to drop the body in mid-flight and to find Arcturus. The body drops right next to a meditative Aerith.
  17. Neiriel contacts Arcturus through her Sending Stone. He says everything is fine and that he is just going with his friend, “Gwyneira”.
  18. Hluthvar is now on alert for a murderer. The party begins to pursuit. First to find Arcturus is Furious, who sees him carrying a body over his shoulder. Furious snatches Arcturus from the ground to bring him back to Toggel and Arcturus drops the body he was carrying.
  19. The party closes in, but are separated by some distance from each other. Varia on Elsa fly past Neiriel and Toggel as they search for Miriel by scent alone. Aerith leapt from the top of the temple and is catching up with Neiriel and Toggel, who are the closest to Furious and Arcturus. Mizugo and Caerwyn are the last.
  20. Something lands on the back of Furious. At the same time, Arcturus reaches up and touches Furious to pulse a wave of negative energy into the bird. The mysterious rider then delivers its own attack and Furious crashes down.
  21. Aerith activates his invisibility and arrives at the crash site first and he finds no one there. He finds tracks leading south from the crash site and follows.
  22. Neiriel arrives at the crash site next, and instantly senses danger just as a poisoned dart sinks into the side of her ribcage. She looks to where the attack came from and sees a pale woman with dark features, dressed in black and red.
The Fist Of The Future
Sunset Vale Saga #30

1. Neiriel & Caerwyn purchase holy symbols of Mielikki & Mystra, respectively.
2. Neiriel visits Silent Hall and speaks to a Weirwood tree.
3. The party wins flying mounts.
4. Arcturus (inadvertently) frees a captured pegasus.

Talona's Price
Sunset Vale Saga #29

1. Toggel informs the party that the Moontower can help Neiriel.
2. The party is teleported to Silent Hall by Old Lady Macanaster.
3. The party meets Mizugo and
4. The party check in to The Sign Of The Dreaming Dragon and meet Jobin and Esbelle.
5. Toggel visits Cod & The Boss and Murdock Diamantaire.
6. The party meets Caerwyn.

Very Bad Things
Sunste Vale Saga #26

Neiriel stood atop the roof of The Ladyhouse in Corm Orp in the dark of the late night. Three hooded, black-cloaked figures stood beneath her behind the that temple, ice-cold arrows sticking out from their forms. Their initial surprise worn off, the black-cloaked figures launched their own volley of darts at Neiriel. Three struck home deep into Neiriel’s chest and abdomen, and the poison quickly hit her heart and lungs, causing her to gasp in pain as her vision blurred and her legs went wobbly. Aeron quickly ran up the side of the building to her, and put her on the winged lioness, Elsa.

The lioness telepathed to her mistress.

Archon, there are enemy at the temple and the ranger is hurt. We need help.

Then she roared towards Aeron.

Get on! We are leaving!

Not without Ziv, Neireil sputtered, coughing up blood. Take us to the front of the temple, Elsa.

Meanwhile, inside the entrance of The Ladyhouse, Aerith confronted the two dark figures that had entered that way. One of them wore a fearsome metal mask and wielded a dark-bladed rapier with a black diamond pommel. They were on Aerith in a flash, and with two swift strokes, the masked assassin had killed Aerith before he could do anything. The other assassin quickly started dragging Aerith’s dead body deeper into the temple.

By the main entrance to the hamlet, Varia received Elsa’s message, but had her hand full controlling the three-score gnolls she had persuaded to turn against their tribe after the defeat of Ghostaxe, The Last Alpha. Miriel, Arcturus, and the newly arrived Avil (with his equally newly acquired black iron greataxe) rushed to the temple, instead. Toggel and Bree atop Furious were soon to follow.

Meanwhile, Neiriel and Aeron mounted on Elsa circled to the front of the Ladyhouse and landed. There they saw the masked assassin cleaning a freshly bloodied black rapier blade. Neiriel let fly her icy arrows, missing with one but pinning the masked assassin’s arm to his body with the other. With a roar of pain he broke the icy shaft off, then he laughed to himself.

Can’t have any loose ends, now can we??

Then he lunged at Neiriel with his black blade, piercing her heart. Neiriel’s vision went dark as she slumped, slid, and then fell lifelessly off Elsa. Aeron in half-shock leapt off Elsa and charged at the masked assassin, silver blades in hand. Elsa pounced on the dark figure, almost knocking him down. But his black blade found purchase in the heart of the winged lioness, and soon she was naught but wisps of golden light dispersed into the night air.

Miriel, Arcturus, and Avil arrived only moments later to see Neiriel’s body fallen on the ground, and Aeron violently engaged with a dark cloaked figure. Avil pulled out his new black iron axe and charged at the assassin while Arcturus went to help Neiriel and Miriel provided covering fire. Under the combined assault of Aeron and Avil, the masked assassin threw a dagger from under his sleeve towards the darkness of the temple beyond, and then vanished.

Arcturus used his recently acquired power over death to quickly revivify Neiriel to life once again. Miriel scouted ahead and found the lifeless body of Aerith, but quickly moved on. She surmised that something else was going on. She peaked around the corner and saw that the kitchen was completely engulfed in flames.

By this time, Toggel and Bree atop Furious had arrived and circled the second story of the temple to find away to see inside.

Aeron went to examine Aerith‘s body, when a dagger shot out of darkness from the back of the Ladyhouse and found purchase in his side. Suddenly, the masked assassin was there at Aeron’s side, holding the dagger in his hand and bringing his rapier in for the kill, but Aeron avoided the fatal strike to his heart, and only took a glancing blow. Avil re-engaged the masked assassin and swung a mighty blow into his side with the black-iron greataxe. Arcturus saw his opportunity to end this, and reached from behind and clutched the masked assassin’s throat, the black energy of death smouldering from his fingers as he appeared to choke the very life out of this deadly foe. The masked assassin fell to the ground. Arcturus quickly grabbed the dark-bladed rapier, and took possession of it before it did any more harm. As soon as he did, there was a quick series of whistles from the fallen assassin, and a volley of darts came out of the gloom somewhere in the back of the temple towards Arcturus. Most of them missed, and the one that did hit annoyed Arcturus more than hurt him. But as he looked down, the masked assassin’s form had vanished yet again.

Meanwhile, aloft outside the second story of the temple, Furious had broken through one of the windows, and Toggel had spotted one of the assassins and took a shot at it with his thunder cannon, Muad’dib.

The fookers are in the fooking rafters!, Toggel yelled down to whoever could hear.

Upon hearing that, Aeron summoned up a cloud of fog inside the Ladyhouse that obscured the line of fire of anyone further inside. It also provided cover for Bree as she jumped down through the window and onto the temple floor. From that vantage point she could see at least a quarter of the Ladyhouse was aflame, and the fire was spreading quickly.

But by this point, the curse of the black axe took complete hold of Avil. Once the masked assassin had disappeared again, Avil was in such a maddened rage that he could not tell friend from foe, and he went completely berserk. He turned his draconic rage onto the party and suddenly attacked Aeron with wild swings from the black-iron axe, but he missed badly. Miriel distracted the rampaging dragonborn with a shot right into his chest. Avil charged the elfmaiden with all his fury and unleashed a pair of vicious axe blows that nearly cut Miriel in half. Only the intercession of Arcturus with his devastating death touch saved Miriel from being hacked to pieces. Unfortunately for Avil, the final judgement of the Hand Of Kelemvor is absolute, and the dragonborn barbarian was reduced to naught but dust.

Arcturus then took advantage of the fog cover to revivify Aerith and quickly briefed him on the current situation. Aerith shadowstepped into the rafters directly above, made sure there was no immediate danger, and then took a moment to recover from his recent ordeal. The smoke up there was becoming more and more prevalent, as the Ladyhouse was now half engulfed in flames as the fire approached where most of the party was. With no good targets, and not much for them to do, Toggel and Furious flew to see if they could help Varia at the front line with the gnoll situation.

Bree warned the party that the temple also had underground grain stores, and if they should ignite the whole building could go. But she also mentioned that there could be powerful sacred items that need to be recovered. Aeron volunteered to go deeper into the burning temple to see what he could recover. Aerith, instead, began his pursuit of the assassins, who by now had fled the building they had set aflame.

Meanwhile, south of Corm Orp, Varia and the gnolls she had convinced to turn against their tribe had caught up to the massive gnoll warband and clashed. Varia‘s tactically placed Wall Of Fire spells combined with her ability to whip the gnolls loyal to her to a savage fervor, and her use of the Fear spell, made it impossible for her foes to reach her. Toggel arrived on Furious in time to provide close air support on the battlefield against the remaining gnoll tribe Betas, who were attempting to get to Varia. But the White Fury and Black Howler Betas were forced to flee, while the Red Fang Beta was incinerated by Varia’s abyssal sorcery. At that point, with no gnoll leadership, the battlefield became a free-for-all brawl with every gnoll fighting for himself for supremacy over the tribe. Toggel had Furious pick up Varia, and they watched the ensuing carnage from a safe distance.

Back by the burning temple to Sheela Peryroyl, Aerith was on the trail of the assassins while Aeron was searching as best as he could for the items described by Bree in the burning temple itself. Suddenly a small explosion, then a bigger one. Aeron had to escape before it was too late. CRASH!! A burning rafter fell on top of the elf, trapping him in the doomed building. With all of his barbarian might, Aeron shoved the flaming timber off of himself, and got to his feet. Arcturus was waiting by the entrance and cast some healing magic Aeron’s way to shore him up. The party got away from the building as fast as they could as the final grain store ignited and the whole temple exploded in a sunburst of fire and burning wood.

Toggel and Varia saw the explosion even as far away as they were. Toggel assured Varia that everything was alright and that making sure these gnolls were finished off was the more important concern. As the battlefield winnowed down to two bloody and battered gnolls … and then finally one, Furious swooped in low, allowing Toggel to finish the last standing gnoll of the horde off with a final shot.

Having no luck finding any trail of the dark-cloaked assassins, Aerith returned to the party members at what remained of the Ladyhouse. Somewhat singed, they all managed to survive the explosion. The temple, though, was a smoldering ruin. As Toggel, Varia, and Furious flew back to rejoin their companions. They saw from the sky that the glowing flames of the ruined temple formed a pattern that looked like the symbol of Cyric, The Dark Sun, burning itself into the earth.

Exhausted, burnt, and wounded, the party made their way back to the Hungry Halfling Inn. It still stood, as did the rest of Corm Orp, save the Ladyhouse. Not only did the party save the inhabitants, defeat the horde, and kill the last alpha, they managed to save the hamlet and all the homes therein. And so, after many days in the wilderness, facing incredible dangers, and even death, the party retired to the very comfortable beds of the Hungry Halfling Inn for a well deserved and well earned rest.

Ghostaxe, The Last Alpha
Sunset Vale Saga #25
The Destruction Of Corm Orp
Sunset Vale Saga #24

Aeron stood before Sahila in careful thought. Corm Orp was in danger. The gnoll horde led by Ghostaxe, the Last Alpha was moving towards the small hamlet. But he also had a new responsibility to consider.

Finally, he stated his choice of what type of druidic tradition he wished to follow. Sahila nodded and told him that he should go to the Circle Of Standing Stones. Arcturus had a vision of her mother, Shadra, there after drinking water from the Wellspring. If Aeron did the same, Shadra would be able to advise him on the proper rites of passage.

But first the party set out with Syl to investigate the Fey Crossroads depicted in etched relief on Aeron’s scimitars, and whereabouts of Filverus and the mysterious archer cloaked in white feathers seen protecting him. Aerith, set out on his own towards Corm Orp, as he could cover the great distance quickly and beat the gnolls there, warning the residents in time.

“Be safe, cousin,” Neiriel told Aerith. “Do not try to fight ”/wikis/Ghostaxe/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Ghostaxe on your own."
“Only if I have to.” Neiriel gave Aerith a sending stone, and then he was off.

When the party arrived at the Fey Crossroads, they found a score of freshly killed Red Fang gnolls. All signs pointed to Filverus crossing safely into the Feywild, but apart from the white-fletched arrows sticking from the bodies of her victims, there was no sign of the mysterious bow-woman in white.

Using his newly acquired power over death, Arcturus spoke with one of the dead gnolls as best he could with Neiriel’s translations. The interrogation yielded some further intelligence to the party regarding the current movements of the gnoll tribes and Ghostaxe, the last Alpha.

The party made their way towards the Circle Of Standing Stones now, backtracking through the Guardian’s Grove as the sun began to set. When the party arrived, night had fallen. Everyone drank the sacred water from the Wellspring, but only a few could hold it long enough to see the vision of Shadra in their minds. The party explained to the vision the need to go to Corm Orp as soon as possible to save the residents of the hamlet from the gnoll horde bearing down on the unsuspecting village.

After Aeron proved his understanding of the connection all things have to each other in this world, Shadra explained to him the oldest form of cooperative magic in the Realms is within the Circle Of Standing Stones. With the help of his companions Arcturus, Neiriel, and Varia, Aeron was able to channel a powerful nature magic far beyond his normal capabilities to open a portal in a nearby tree that lead to another tree in Corm Orp. Quickly the party stepped through, finally parting ways with Syl.

The party arrived at a small fruit orchard near The Ladyhouse, the temple to the halfling goddess of nature, agriculture, music, and romance, Sheela Peryroyl. Neiriel contacted Aerith and let him know the party made it to Corm Orp. Aerith briefed Neiriel on the composition and the gnoll horde and their estimated numbers. Meanwhile, Arcturus and Toggel set off to rouse the residents, and the rest of the party found Old Lady Macanaster and informed her of the dire situation. She quickly summoned the mayor of Corm Orp, Dumar Marsk.

Lady Macanaster, Mayor Marsk, and the party evaluated the options and came to agree that a full evacuation south, following the base of the Sunset Mountains towards the ruins of Hluthvar was the safest option for the residents. Miriel was also able to convince Lady Macanaster to send a message to an old gnome wizard friend she knew in Hardbuckler, and have him teleport Bree Topplebottle and the giant mecha-eagle Furious directly to Corm Orp in order to assist.

Mayor Marsk informed the guards of the gnoll danger and the evacuation plan, and then dispatched them to inform the residents of both. After a few hours, the hundreds of families that called Corm Orp their home had packed themselves, their loved ones, and whatever valuables they could carry or cart. The party was given free leave of whatever they needed from the hamlet’s armory to defend the settlement or waylay the horde as they saw fit. Then without ceremony or circumstance, Lady Macanaster and Mayor Marsk led their fellow villagers into the dark foothills of the Sunset Mountains.

The hamlet was empty now, save for the brave adventurers willing to face Ghostaxe, the Last Alpha, and his horde.

Requiem For Ryton
SVS Epilogue #1

San’dorial had returned to Skatterhawk Manor with the tragic tidings of Ryton Skatterhawk, heir of the noble house of Cormyr dead. He brought the desiccated body of the scion upon his very own shield to his parents. The mission was a failure. He and Ryton found no truly powerful weapon that could defeat the Netherese Empire. All San’dorial could present was a magic gold sword created by the wizard Qheldin. Powerful, to be sure, but nothing that could stand against the Shadovar.

All that meant little to Lord and Lady Skatterhawk at that moment.

Who is responsible for my son’s death?

San’dorial spoke up. The rumor was correct in that there is indeed a Netherese agent working in the Sunset Vale. His undead minions killed Ryton.

And with that, San’dorial told the assembled the basic events that transpired since he set out with Ryton.

Lord and Lady Skatterhawk were hiding their sorrow well. Nobles are well practised at hiding their true emotions. But Alastra Nightsong seemed more visibly shaken at the recounting of the story. Her sister, Nieriel, had fallen. What more, the mysterious woman Faerveren had returned from the mists of her family’s past.

Lady Skatterhawk’s somber elven voice broke through Alastra’s reeling mind.

It is my deepest sorrow that our child will never know their older brother. We can tell them how brave he was, but they will never truly know.

She placed her hand knowingly on her abdomen and held it there for a long moment. Then with her other hand, she dismissed the elven wizard and half-elf bard. San’dorial and Alastra bowed and left the audience room.

As they both walked down the manor hall, San’dorial spoke. Your sister is in over her head.

We are dealing with the Netherese. We are all in over our head.

You should get her out of there before it’s too late. You are her elder sister, no?

There is nothing more in this world that I want to do, San’dorial. But … I can’t. But what I will do is give my notice to Lord Aubrin. There is a debt now between my family and House Skatterhawk. If they will have me, I shall serve as governess to this last heir. I will make it so that child WILL know of Ryton’s bravery and noble sacrifice. I will burnish it into their heart.

San’dorial seemed perplexed. You would give up your trusted place in a great Cormyrean noble house for this unborn child, but not raise a finger to help your own sister?

I do not expect you to understand. I have already done too much to help my little sister as it stands. Any more and I risk my family. Again, I do not expect you to understand. But my honor as a Daleswoman, and as a Nightsong tells me I owe the Skatterhawks. My sister lives while their son died. I shall serve their house from now on to repay that debt.

San’dorial waved both of his hands in the air as if to surrender. Clearly half-elven foolishness is truly without limit. I shall return home in the morning. Dealing with humans and halfbreeds is giving me a headache. Goodnight.

And with that, San’dorial entered his guest quarters and left Alastra alone in the hall. She took a few steps toward her guest room, braced her back against the wall, slumped down, and cried.


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