An excerpt from the Writings of Tam Soto just before the War of the Three Kingdoms
I knew I was in trouble when I opened the door and she was there. There were no portents to herald her coming, no strange lights in the sky, no rumbling of the ground below, but her relentless will had been harrying me ever since I returned to Alysia like a dire wolf worrying a hare. Any who read this, beware of dealing with the Fey. Worse, beware of helping them unasked with no thought of reward, for then they think they owe you. Or maybe that should be phrased ‘Own you.’ But maybe I am getting too far ahead with my story, for the sake of completeness, let me start at the beginning.
I was sorry to leave the savage world that had become my home these last few years. I was particularly sad to leave Shannon. Of all the Fey I met in that realm she actually seemed to care about me for my own self and not merely for my timely warning of the Volcanolord’s assault. I don’t think I would have survived a week without her guidance and her teaching. She is the one who helped me tap into the power of the natural realm that surrounds us. Nevertheless, I think the Fey have a thing about mortals, we are amusing pets, but here I was muking about in their actual house. Sending me back to Alysia wasn’t for my benefit, it was for theirs, and I understand that. Lord, I’ll miss Shannon though.
I thought that was going to be it. I’d go back to my monastery and try to resume my studies and all would return to normal. But as I rummaged through my supplies I found an ornate wooden box. Obviously planted by Shannon. Inside was an official summons to apply for an elven order of Knights called the Azure Guard. Now the Fey are quick to take umbrage at perceived slights. I figured this was their way of repaying me for the service I had done and refusing it would be terribly inhospitable, perhaps fatally so. And it wasn’t close either. I had to trudge into the north just to get a magical transport to the place, but eventually I arrived. There was a little bit of a bureaucratic snafu at the beginning, it appears I was unexpected and not an elf. I didn’t interfere, if the Fey’s plan to repay me was going to fail, I was damn sure it wasn’t going to be because of something I said or did. I took the free time to explore the area. Whatever the problem, it was sorted out and I was eventually allowed to compete.
As my fellow students at the monastery can attest, I’ve always had a competitive streak. But I felt severely outclassed going into these trials. Everybody seemed stronger, faster, and more skilled than me. They even laughed at me when I asked if I could use magic during the tests. The first contest was archery. I did pretty well, scoring a bulls eye on the first shot. The second test was horsemanship and I did adequately on that test. Finally there was a martial contest against an Azure Knight named Edros.
Luckily, I drew fourth for this contest so I watched Edros match up against three opponents (a dwarf, an elven woman, and a half elf). As I watched the fights, Edros’ tactics revealed themselves. He could take anyone he was matched against. Instead he just seemed to tap them, I assume after tapping them a certain number of times he would take the real strike to take them out, the test was to get a blow through his defenses before that occured. So a strategy revealed itself to me and I went into battle if not entirely confident, at least with a plan.
As we approached each other I drew upon the Fey realms to send forth a bison to aid me. The bison was big enough that if I could keep it between Edros and myself and use my kusarigama, the Azure Knight would be wasting precious time and energy to deal with getting around the bison. The strategy worked, I finally hit Edros after only being rapped once. Edros initial reaction to the bison summoning was very subtle, he scratched its ears. It was a message I got. In any arena other than this one, he could have used the bison against me. Nevertheless, I passed the test.
I triumphantly rode the bison around the arena and soon found that I was among those selected to join the order. I found myself actually enjoying the ceremony, even though I was the only human (there is also a hobbit, a dwarf, and a half elf, however). As I retired to my new quarters that is when I opened the door and there she was. Malan Sidhe. Now I had seen her from afar, like a wren might glimpse a pterodactyl, but here she was in all her glory. It took all my will not to succumb to her presence. Instead I was polite, thanking her for her help, and non committal. I am not sure what her purpose is but the idea that she was my patron chilled me to my very bones.
Worse, that evening we accompanied some Azure Knights and the Queen Lili herself into a grove of power outside the city and I discovered that Queen Lily and the Archdruid hate each other. The penultimate head of my divine order and the penultimate head of my political order do not get along and the Fey seem to be running some sort of game of their own in which I’m a pawn. This does not bode well.
Afterward, we were given sometime to prepare ourselves before we would be relocated to our new home, I took this time to explore some of the places of power. After talking to the animals and plants of a particular grove with an open power source and getting their approval, I planted an acorn to serve as a focus for a Tree Shape spell like Shannon had taught me. It was much more difficult than I expected, but I seem to have succeeded and can now give myself the form of a tree while I sleep and meditate.
A dour man named Taiglin, teleported us to the captial city of the Sylvan Kingdom, a town names Aedramir. We were told that a religous order called the Crimson Guards, normally tasked with enforcing the laws, had become bullies. The evidence of our own eyes revealed the truth of these accusations and we saw the guard cruelly tormenting a woman outside a bar they frequent. I went up to the ruffian beating on the woman and demanded he apologize and the fight began. Bison was summoned and it was a good brawl. One of the Crimson Guard did have a good portion of his face melted off by acid, and the Crimson Sergeant fled from our dwarf. It appears that of my compatriots, I am the only one capable of healing, albeit slowly. There was a party afterwards and I got thoroughly drunk, although I did manage to acquire Maelyn’s address (the woman that had been beaten). We were bivouacked at an estate owned by an Azure Knight called Xander and I planted myself outside in the garden.
Things have been uneventful since then for the most part. Maelyn is gorgeous and we see each other many times a week. There are a lot of exciting places to visit in Aedramir and Maelyn knows them all. I have spent the majority of my time keeping Speak with Animals and Plants active on myself and interviewing all the animals and plants of the city to see what problems they have. The investigative skills I acquired while a monk have become quite useful and I appear to gaining a reputation with the animals of the city as someone to go to if they have a problem I haven’t made contact with any actual druid, although I’m sure they’re around. The evenings I don’t spend with Maelyn, I spend communing with nature. But still, Malan Sidhe’s plan, whatever it is, hangs like a sword over my head.