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It has been a very busy fortnight since my return from the Nightmare and Nightlund.  I am currently at sea aboard my vessel with Kai'Alhana.  We are, at the moment, sailing for Palanthus with the entirety of the Silvenesti fleet and some sixty thousand elven soldiers.

I had been in the wilderness discussing what had been found in the Nightmare with our scouts and soldiers when I received a summons from the Master of Goodlund, Ke'Lanthinel Devir, calling me to meet him in his Tower.  I returned to Silvanost and traveled through the arcane portal there to Goodlund (though I have noted that the Master of Goodlund has started alternating between calling it Lorsarcum--its original name when it served as the Tower of High Sorcery for the Black Robes--and Goodlund; admittedly, Lorsarcum is its official name and has fewer associations with kender).  I met him in his study in the Tower where he asked me to relate a message to Kr'yün of all people.  The message itself was enigmatic:  "I do not believe the Solamnic is responsible, though I am still investigating other leads.  Please continue searching, but you should probably widen your net."

I left Goodlund and made my way to my cousin.  I was suspicious, of course--we both realized that Lanthinel was attempting some kind of subterfuge, though we were unsure what it was.  Kr'yün told me that Lanthinel had come to him concerning his belief that an individual had somehow given Cyan Bloodbane the literal key to causing the Nightmare in some kind of bargain.  Knowing that Lanthinel was trying to use me as a distraction, my cousin and I began working together to uncover the truth of the matter. 

I was following a lead in Tarsis when I was suddenly visited by Lanthinel, who ushered me into a small pocket dimension briefly.  He asked me to contact Alhana and tell her that he had discovered something very dangerous and that he needed to tell the Speaker of the Stars in private first before the news was announced to the court at large.  He asked me to ask Kai'Alhana to meet him in his Tower as secretly as possible.  I relayed the message, made it plain that I wasn't sure what the information was but only that it was "dangerous" and endangered Silvenesti's role on the Swordsheath Scroll and could lead to Silvenesti going to war with Solamnia, Thorbardin, Ergoth, and Qualinesti. 

She agreed to meet with him, and when she returned, she called me to meet with her.  She told me what Lanthinel had told her.

Apparently, in order to cause the Nightmare to happen as spectacularly and as suddenly as it did, Cyan needed a proper catalyst.  Part of that catalyst was the name Silvanos had spoken when he first established the realm of Silvenesti -- the secret, royal name for the land.  Even Ke'Lorac and Kai'Alhana did not know this name, so Cyan had to take measures to acquire the name so that when Lorac--the Speaker of the Stars at the time and direct descendent of Silvanos, using the green dragonorb--tried to turn back the Dragonarmies using the orb, the "key" could be turned and the Nightmare unleashed.

Cyan's opportunity to learn the name came when a "monk" from Solamnia came to the court in the weeks leading up to the beginning of the Nightmare.  This monk sought to copy holy texts of Paladine safeguarded by the court of Silvanos since the Age of Dreams.  Ke'Lorac refused, and the monk left to make his way back to Solamnia.  On the way out, Cyan and a Chaos specter of some kind known as the Dark Scribe appeared and detained the monk.

The monk, it seems, was Astinus of the Great Library of Palanthus.  While within the Library, Astinus is protected and seemingly fulfills the role ordained for him by the gods and the Tobril.  However, whenever he leaves the Library, he is only a man.  Astinus' role is apparently very important to the integrity of the Tobril, and his death outside of the Library could have dire consequences that even he cannot see.  So, as a safeguard, Astinus was bound by a mystical imperative while outside of the Library; in exchange for free passage and safety from any who might accost him, he must answer one question.  Or, at least, Cyan managed to have the Dark Scribe ask this question (it seems to be her own purpose within Chaos, to ask questions), which Astinus had to answer.  The question of course was "What is the name of Silvenesti?"  Armed with this knowledge, Cyan's plan moved forward.

Apparently, when Lanthinel had confronted Astinus, the sage had ultimately confessed the entire affair, and Astinus had asked Lanthinel to pass along a series of tomes to Kai'Alhana -- the names...and abbreviated, abridged (half-remembered) biographies...of every elf who had been Lost to the Nightmare.  Alhana was furious, angry -- sick with anger -- but she asked my counsel.

I recognized, much as Lanthinel had (and I'm sure as Alhana had) that the temptation to strike out at Astinus would be great...almost undeniable.  To do so, though, would require an invasion of Palanthus--and therefore Solamnia.  In invading Solamnia, we would be breaking the Swordsheath Scroll, and the other states on the Scroll (Ergoth, Qualinesti, Thorbardin) would be bound to come to Solamnia's defense.  Silvenesti would be embroiled in a war not only against the Dragonarmies and Chaos but also her former allies.

I did my best--even as I understood the enormity of what had happened--to persuade Alhana that, if Astinus was bound by such divine ordinances, he had no choice.  Our true adversaries, the true villains, had not changed--they remained Galan Dracos' dragons, especially Cyan Bloodbane.

Alhana considered this for a moment, finally telling me to alert all of the Houses that we were going to war and to prepare.  I asked her if we were to pursue revenge.  At first she said no, but she corrected herself:  our revenge would be against those most deserving.  Obeying her command, I began rousing the Houses.  That night, at the Tower of the Stars, she made her announcement:  Silvenesti would be emptied, her armies marching to bring war to our enemies.  One army would march west across the Plains of Dust to take the New Coast and to link up with Thorbardin, Qualinesti, and ultimately Solamnia.  Another army would head north and east, into Kern and Balifor against the Dragonarmies there.  Finally, the fleets and a third army would sail for Palanthus, to work with the Knights of Solamnia to retake Sancrist so that the Swordsheath Scroll could be affirmed once against in the Whitestone Glade.  I was to command the forces heading to Palanthus.  She did not mention Astinus’ role at all.

Finally, to the White Robes -- elves and otherwise -- she made it known that they had two years to discover a way to cleanse the Nightmare or she would return with the elves and burn down the woods and cut out the taint at the roots. 

So now we are sailing to Saifhum, the island of the Sea Barbarians, there to port for a time before continuing on to Palanthus.  We hope to resupply, acquire a few galleys to serve as dragon transports, and perhaps to find mercenaries or allies among the mariners of Saifhum.  I also hope that we can come to some accord that will limit raids on our shipping by the mariners, at least.

I have apprised Gunther uth Wistan, the Grandmaster of the Knights of Solamnia, of our destination and mission so that the Knights will not be surprised by a few hundred elven ships sailing into port in a few weeks.

-- early 373 AC

Date: 2006-08-24 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kalshann.livejournal.com
The sea barbarians will call a general assembely to make some decisions.
- they will allow fair (and equal) trade.
- They will grant safe passage for a period of 2 years without treaty. Privateers will avoid your ships and stolen goods stamped with the royal seal or recognized house seals will be denied sale in their ports. (Ofcourse true pirates will not heed this, but then- laws don't do much for criminals.)
- they will sell ships but not allow the hire of crews without a signed treaty.

If they were to have a treaty they would want a colony site along the coast of elven lands. They have too many people and not enough land. In exchange they will provide escort for support ships, 40 warships (about a 1/4 of their total fleets) and an open treaty for the elves to hire more ships and manpower. Alhana will do the negotiations but is on the fence, most her advisors are against such a treaty but she feels it would help open Silvanost (and the barbarians are the first eastern nations willing to negotiate instead of dictate terms?) she will ask Keleren's opinion?

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August 2006

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