Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Bards

A Fae and a Tier Dal

Once upon a time, there was a bard named Lyriana from the land of Norrath. A Fae from the treetop city of Kelethin, she had eyes and hair and wings of brilliant green. In battle, she darted around her foes with a pair of blades, slicing and dicing faster than the eye could see.

Lyriana always felt most drawn to the epic songs of destiny, tragedy, and fate, and so she chose the dark path of the Dirge over the more upbeat Troubadour. Dirges especially revered the Tier Dal, the Dark Elves of Norrath, and all Dirges were trained in how to take on the shape of a Dark Elf. This ability actually proved useful to Lyriana in her travels, as it allowed her access to places where a Fae would not be welcome.

The Dark Elves of Neriak were allies of Lucan D'Lere, the evil overlord of Freeport, while the Fae of Kelethin were aligned with the city of Qeynos, Lucan's archrivals. Appearing as a Tier Dal allowed Lyriana to avoid all manner of inconvenient questions from time to time - she even invented a new name for her Dark Elven self; Narilya, Champion of D'Lere (and an anagram of Lyriana's own name).

A Flight and A Voyage

One day, Lyriana traveled to the clifftop city of Teren's Grasp, seeking advice on her latest adventure. She was about to depart for her next errand, when she heard some patrons in the local tavern talking about a mysterious ship that was just about to set sail from the docks of Kylong.

The ship hailed from a far away land called Eberron, a place that none had heard of before, and it was bound to return to the mysterious city of Stormreach. What had caught the attention of the tavernfolk was the strange creature on the crew, a mysterious half-golem half-living creature called a "Warforged". The rumor was that the Warforged were relics crafted during some great ancient war. Lyriana had seen the magical constructs crafted by the Erudites and the great archmage Miragul, but she had never heard of such a creature before. She could only imagine what treasures might be found in a land that had produced such wonders.

Lyriana set out from Teren's Grasp as fast as she could, and arrived at the cliff overlooking the Kylong docks to see that she was too late. The ship had pulled away from the pier and begun to row out of the harbor to unfurl its sails. For most Norrathians, the chance to catch the voyage to adventure had passed. Most Norrathians do not have wings.

With a mighty leap, Lyriana jumped off the cliff, extended her wings, and strained to catch enough of an updraft to glide out over the water and intercept the departing ship. Even with her determined leap, she by all rights should have fallen short and landed in the bay. At the last moment, though, a twist of fate threw Lyriana a literal lifeline.

If one believes in alternate universes, this was surely a moment where two otherwise identical journeys diverge. In one, Lyriana had to return to shore and remained in Norrath to continue her adventures there. In the other, the fate awaiting Lyriana on this particular day, a loose rope flew free from the rigging and whipped just within Lyriana's reach. She grabbed it and held on tightly as it swung her around and slammed her into the side of the ship. She barely managed to hang on, pull herself over the edge, and hide in the shadows to see what she could learn of this ship, its crew, and its homeland.

During the journey, Lyriana learned a number of things about the land of Eberron. There were no Fay in that far-off land, no surprise due to the great distance from her homeland of Faydwer. There were dark elves, but they went by the name "Drow" rather than "Tier Dal". Many of the adventuring professions of Norrath were also practiced in Eberron, but there were enough subtle differences to make even an expert feel like a newbie when attempting the others' techniques. One thing remained constant, though - there were few forces in either Eberron or Norrath as feared as the Dragons.

Unfortunately, that was precisely the fate that awaited the doomed ship that sailed from Kylong. A mighty Frost dragon destroyed the ship, with all hands and passengers, off the coast of an island known as Korthos. Indeed, the dragon continued to menace the island for days to come, until it was driven off by a band of adventures assisted by a new recruit - a Drow bard named Narilya.

A New Beginning
One evening, a young elf noble spent a large sum of gold attempting to get Narilya the bard drunk. As the hour grew late, she asked him if he wanted to hear a secret. When he agreed, she leaned in close, so that only he could hear, and whispered, "I have wings, and someday I will use them to fly away home."

The Drow maiden got up and walked out of the tavern before the elf had even begun to ponder what she might have meant. He followed her out into the darkness but saw no sign of her. All he heard was a distant laugh, like a Fae disappearing into the canopies of the trees.


kaozz said...

Nice read, I love bards also. I think my next EQ2 char might be a one.

Sev said...

Thanks for posting that story GA, an enjoyable read. I found the picture of Lyriana launching from the KP cliffs heading toward the boat really evocative for some reason.