Last of the Llómyd-Landil

Essays:
Kin
Background

Player: Drew
Race: Elf
Class: Fighter 2 / Battle Sorcerer 4 / Bladedancer 3
Alignment: Neutral
Size: Medium
CL: 9
Age: 251
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 125 lbs.

55 NORMAL
17
TOUCH
15
FLAT
12
ARMOR WORN
Masterwork fey leather

STR 10 +0 FORT +5 +5 Base Attack: +8/+3 +1 icy burst elven thinblade
+1 flaming burst elven thinblade
+1 dagger
sandals of the shifting sands

vial of antitoxin
DEX 20 +5 REF +4 +9 Initiative: +5
CON 10 +0 WILL +7 +7 Speed: 35 ft.
INT 12 +1 BASE MOD
WIS 10 +0
CHR 14 +2
BASE MOD
Ranks Only:
Balance 2
Concentration 7
Craft (weaponsmithing) 1
Jump 5
Knowledge (arcana) 1
Perform (dance) 12
Speak Draconic
Tumble 12
Bladesong
Combat Expertise
Dodge
Mobility
Spring Attack
Improved Critical (thinblade)
Two-Weapon Fighting
Weapon Finesse
Languages: Elvish, Sylvan, Common
+4 racial save bonus vs. acid and electricity
Immunity to magic sleep spells and effects
Low-light vision
Magic affinity
Otherworldly touch
Bladedance 2/day
Movement master
Slashing blades
Fast movement +5 ft.
Bonded blades I: flaming/frost
Bonded blades II: flaming burst/icy burst

BLADESONG [General]
You employ lithe movements and subtle tactics in battle, blending art, swordplay, and arcane magic into a harmonious combat style.
Prerequisite: Elf, Dex 15, Cha 13.
Benefit: Tumble and Perform (Dance) are class skills for you. In addition, the character may use Perform (dance) to produce Bardic Music effects.
Special: A fighter may select Bladesong as one of his fighter bonus feats.


Spells Known:
0-level
Daze
Detect Magic
Disrupt Undead
Light
Mage Hand
Read Magic
1st Level
Feather Fall
Magic Missile
Shield
True Strike
2nd Level
Bladeweave
Cat's Grace
Fly, Swift

Spells per Day:
0-level: 5
1st level: 6
2nd level: 4

Potions
Cure serious wounds (3d8+13) x2
Lesser restoration
Protection from energy (130 minutes)
Sheltered vitality (13 minutes)

XP Reserve: 650 XP

939 A.L.

It is the season of spring in the elven vale. The flowers are in full bloom in Fil-Garil. The scent of apple blossoms and jasmine fill the air. The strumming of harp strings and the mourning whistle of twin-flutes, that seem to come from the trees themselves, add to the mystical aura of the ancient city of Isil-Gäde. The resonance of the wildlife can be heard by those accustomed to such sounds: the elves.

It has been four and one half decades since Sebrilia, the ninth and last Everqueen, added her luminescence to the Constellation of Sabirine at the Rim of the World. During this time many of the elven people have made the journey to the shores of Istalion in preparation of the fulfillment of their destiny. Fil-Garil is but a shadow of her former glory. The departure of so many of her people seems to have saddened the flora and fauna of the region. Of the once great population of the Evercourt, there linger but a handful of clans who have yet to depart the Hither Lands. Soon, they will all be gone; all save the dancers of Llómydien: the Bladesingers.

Among the handful of elven families that linger in Fil-Garil at this time, there is the life-mated couple of Vondir Calmcacíl and Alatariel Ancalímon. Their tale is special in that Alatariel carries Vondir’s unborn child… the last scion of Fil-Garil.

***

Alatariel dances effortlessly in the grass with the grace that can only come from years of practice, dedication, and passion. She is truly a beauty to behold. Her flowing platinum blonde tresses accent her movements as a light breeze blows fallen rose petals through the air around her. She has been dancing for hours yet never seems to tire. Her porcelain skin glistens with an ever-so-slight sheen of perspiration that only emphasizes her beauty. Her emerald eyes sparkle as she spies her lover, Vondir, observing her from the bough of a large tree.

“You should come down and join me.” She says with a coy grin.

“I never was much of a dancer, my love. But watching the symphony that is your beauty, truly inspires me,” he says with admiration as he nimbly leaps from the tree and catches her in an embrace.

Alatariel gazes into his icy sapphire eyes, strokes his ebony mane longingly, and smiles. “You are quite the charmer, Vondir.”

“Perhaps, but it was not always so. You have given me more in the last thirty years than I could have ever possibly imagined.” As he says this, he caresses her growing belly.

“Our times together would have been much longer had you not been out gallivanting with your friends for the four hundred years prior to that.” She teasingly pokes at his strong chest.

“Ah yes, the folly of youth.” He sighs mockingly as they both laugh.

They sit on the lush grass and gaze at the azure skies above their home and listen to the sounds of nature in silence until Alatariel speaks. “What troubles your thoughts, Vondir? Do you worry about our son? I assure you my dancing pleases him and does not harm the babe in the least.”

“It is not that...”

“What then?”

Vondir pauses thoughtfully before he speaks again. “We must make the journey, dearest. I feel the call.”

“Do you not think I feel it too? I know we must go, but others still remain in Fil-Garil… for now.”

“Yes, but why do we tarry? You no longer dance as you once did for the Evercourt. You dance only for yourself.”

“That is my choice.”

“My anvil and hammer have gone cold. I have felt no need to make weapons.”

“That is your choice.”

The uncomfortable silence that follows is soon broken by the chattering of two squirrels on Vondir’s former perch.

“They bicker as we do, Alatariel.” He says with a smirk.

“Yes… silly, aren’t they?” she smiles as she continues. “I am sorry, my love.”

“As am I.”

“I want our son to see Fil-Garil as we were able to. Why should he be denied the many pleasures of Elfhome? To live among the fey and beasts, and go wild in the heath?

“There will be time enough for that in Istalion for him, my love.”

“It is not the same! Valandil should be allowed to grow in Fil-Garil as every other living elf has, including those hermits in Llómydien!” She crosses her arms as she pouts, tears welling in her beautiful green eyes.

Valandil…Son of the Stars?”

“Yes…” Her voice trembles and a single tear rolls down her cheek as she continues, “I thought it would suit him since his forebears will watch over him even after we are gone.”

Vondir turns Alatariel’s face to his own as he whispers reassuringly to her. “My love, do not despair. Our son, Valandil, will know the joys that we have known. I will tell him the stories of Warriors past underneath the tree that you and I shared our first kiss. He will dance in this very spot with his mother where the grass is the greenest in the land. He will learn all we can teach him of our people and our heritage. If we are the last family to journey to Istalion, then so be it… Valandil will know Fil-Garil.”

960 A.L.

Winter has come again in the elven vale. The last of the autumn leaves have fallen from the trees in Fil-Garil. The beauty of the land is reminiscent of a tapestry painted in flame. The whistling of night birds echo in the distance as snow begins to fall lightly on the hillside homestead of the Eagle clan. Dragonflies hover and dart around the small elf boy that sits cross-legged in their midst on the tall knoll overlooking the Tower of Llómydien to the east. The boy hears the screech of a raptor in the distance behind him. Possibly in celebration of a meal caught in the southern river of the Lake of Vandess.

He has seen twenty winters of man yet he is barely an infant in the eyes of his people. His white locks glisten with a silver sheen cascading past his shoulders. The wind blows wisps of his hair before his pale ice blue eyes. He is fully aware of his surroundings, but unaware that he is being watched by his parents from their home above him. His attention is fixed on the Tower of Llómydien in the glade far below and the sword-dance of one of its occupants in the courtyard.

***

Vondir’s concern is readily apparent in his voice as he approaches his son. “You missed dinner, Valandil… again.”

The child didn’t avert his gaze when he responded. “I am not hungry, ada.”

Valandil’s mix of the elvish language and mastery of the common tongue amused and pleased his father, so he decided to follow suit. “Your naneth is not happy with you.” He scolded. “For several days you have observed him and missed as many evening meals.”

He turned and looked plaintively into his father’s eyes that matched his own. “I am sorry, father. Please ask mother not to be too displeased with me.”

“You will have to ask her that yourself.” He said with a smirk, “Let us go home.”

“But ada…” he said with a child’s whine, “…he just started.” He gestured to the figure in the courtyard of Llómydien. “Can’t we stay for just a little while longer, Pleeease? You promised you would tell me about him. He’s-the-only-one -I’ve-ever-seen -come-out -of-the-Tower -and-he-dances-better-than-mother -but-with-a-sword- like-yours-and…”

“All right, little eagle, all right....” Vondir conceded as he sat next to his triumphantly grinning son. “…but when we return home, you will have to explain to your mother where we have been, Valandil.”

The child nodded vigorously as he redirected his gaze to the spectacle in the courtyard. “Who is he, ada? You told me that the Llómyd-Landil rarely, if ever, left Llómydien. Yet he has been coming out of the Tower and dancing under the stars for the last few days.”

Vondir was not quick to answer as he enjoyed the exhibition with Valandil while wondering aloud why this solitary elf had left the confines of Llómydien. “He must be preparing for the journey to Istalion. Nevertheless, he isn’t exactly one of the Llómyd-Landil, my son. Although, he does enjoy their privileges and is treated with the same respect and admiration as his sire and those he commands. He, Valandil, is a legend among the elves and the other good races… he is Khraelyn Steelmoon, the son of Calin Stormblade.”

***

Valandil’s jaw dropped in awe as Vondir recounted Khraelyn’s Epic as written by the great bard, Imbarto Bomilcar, along with other poems and songs written by the elves throughout the ages. As Vondir concluded into the night with the tragic tale of the death of Sebrilia, the ninth and last Everqueen, he pointed to the Constellation of Sabirine. “There, my son... there is Sebrilia alongside her glorious predecessors!”

They both sat in silence and watched as Khraelyn finished his sword-dance, a tribute to Sebrilia… his Everqueen. As the portal to the Tower of Llómydien closed behind Khraelyn Steelmoon, Vondir continued, “…and he, my son… is her Champion.”

Valandil turned his tear-streaked face towards his father in appreciation and smiled. Father and son rose together and slowly walked towards their home and the silhouette of Alatariel.

1015 A.L.

The two elves sparred with great fervor on the grassy hillside overlooking the Tower of Llómydien. Neither one of them asking nor giving quarter. They each wielded an elven thinblade and lightblade with unmatched precision and grace. Alatariel smiled with pride as she observed her husband Vondir and her son Valandil perform their battle dance. Vondir was very graceful and precise in his strikes, but each one of Valandil’s deceptively lazy parries combined with his unparalleled tumbling skills thwarted his father’s repeated blows. The mischievous smile on the young elf’s face made his mother giggle.

“Whose side are you on?” Vondir’s feigned heartbreak made Alatariel laugh even more.

“Whichever one of you who wins of course, my love!” she said playfully.

Her laughter caused her family to cease their sparring practice for the time being and join her lying on the grass. The two parents looked at their well grown son as if studying his features. Valandil’s hair was as pale as his mother’s. Her flowing tresses seemed to be touched by the sun, whereas his mane was as silver as the stars. His ice blue eyes matched Vondir’s exactly. Valandil resembled his father greatly in all but Vondir’s contrasting raven locks. Alatariel and Vondir marveled at how their son seemed to have gained all of their best features.

“What is it? Why do you stare at me so?” The quizzical look on the young elf’s face only made his parents smile.

“Right there… your mother gives me that same look that you seem to have inherited.” Vondir said.

“We are very proud of you, Valandil…” Alatariel chimed in. “…you have grown fine and strong.”

“You should praise yourselves for making me so.” Valandil blushed as his parents continued.

“Your fighting style is reminiscent of Cadaith with a little bit of Sethai…” remarked Vondir, “… have you been studying the Aspects?”

“I’ve studied what you and mother have taught me of them…and I combined your training of swordplay with what mother taught me of dancing.” Valandil looked at them with a wince as if he expected to be scolded.

Alatariel and Vondir looked at each other with a slight hint of concern. Their unspoken dialogue worried Valandil until Vondir spoke.

“How did you teach yourself to combine the two without instruction, my son?”

Valandil relaxed somewhat before responding. “Do you remember those years ago when you told me about Khraelyn? Well, as I watched him those months before he departed for Istalion I studied his movements and adjusted them slightly to take advantage of my own speed and coordination.”

Alatariel looked at Vondir with resignation and said “It seems to work for him, Vondir… he kept you at bay.”

Vondir nodded in agreement and replied “Yes… he did.” Vondir stood and drew his finely crafted blades. “Show me what you have learned… all of it.”

“There is something else ada… naneth…” As he stood, Valandil raised his empty hands in front of him and concentrated as his weapons drifted effortlessly to his hands from their sheathes. “… I don’t know how I do it… I just do.”

The look of surprise on the faces of his parents spoke volumes. The uncomfortable silence was broken by Vondir’s unexpected chuckle.

“What is it, Vondir?” asked Alatariel.

“He gets that from your side of the family.” He said, barely controlling his laughter.

Alatariel’s disarming smile towards Valandil relaxed the young elf somewhat. “You have a natural gift, my son, which many have to study their entire lives to master. You will have to be taught the proper way. When your father is done laughing, we will share with you the complete history and purpose of the Llómyd-Landil.”

***

The family talked into the night for many hours. Alatariel spoke of the Leggad Druidae and the seven Stormbringers. Vondir told him of the Farseers, the history of Llómydien, the Tower named for him, and the loss of the Farseer Staff. They recounted the tale of Calin Stormblade, Grand Master of the Order of Bladesingers and creator of the Bladesong. They spoke of the role of the Llómyd-Landil and their role as the defenders of the custodians of the Tower of Llómydien: The Archon Talqavist and his fellow wizards. Valandil had heard all of the tales of times past during his earlier years, but he never paid so much attention as he did now.

Over the months that passed, Valandil had many questions that his parents answered in great detail. Vondir continued to train him in the arts of the sword. Alatariel continued to dance with her son while opening his mind to his newly found arcane powers. Valandil’s destiny awaited him.

***

1065 A.L.

Many elves have departed to Istalion over the years… there are very few left in Fil-Garil. A mere handful of families remain and all of them feel the call… except one solitary male: Valandil, the son of Vondir and Alatariel of the Eagle clan. Everyone he knows has been making the journey to Istalion. He listens intently as his parents discuss their own plans for departure each day. Valandil doesn’t feel the call. He doesn’t ever want to leave his home. He wonders silently if there’s something wrong with him. Why does he not feel the urgent need to go to Istalion? He has seen one hundred and twenty-five winters... all of them in Fil-Garil. Everything he knows is in Elfhome. Every tree, grassy knoll, and hillock has been permanently imprinted in his memories over the years. How many times had he found his way home just from following the scent of the orange blossoms that bloom on the hillside of their homestead as he has done this spring evening? He pauses in his reflections as he crosses the threshold of his families’ home. His parents seem to have been awaiting his arrival.

Vondir was pleased to see Valandil, yet his concerned look for his son was barely masked by his resolve as he spoke. “Valandil, we have made arrangements to leave for Istalion within the next few months with the last group of our people.”

Alatariel spoke with an uncharacteristic sadness. “We trust you have been saying your farewells to the fey and your animal friends.”

Valandil looked at each of his parents intently and took a deep breath before he spoke. “No… I did not feel that was necessary. I am not making the journey to Istalion with you. I have not felt the call as you have.”

“We feared as much, my son.” Vondir sighed. “Your uneasiness whenever your mother and I spoke of the journey was very apparent.”

“You must come with us, Valandil!” Alatariel could not stop herself from weeping as she spoke. “Everyone is making the journey to Istalion! We have no choice, my son!”

The tears in his mother’s emerald eyes truly saddened Valandil. He felt a lump in his throat as he tried to retain his composure. “Naneth… I do not feel the call… I do not wish to leave.”

“You would abandon us so?” Vondir held his sobbing wife as he searched his son’s face for an answer.

“Ada… this is not a decision that I have made lightly.” Valandil’s voice wavered slightly as he continued. “…you have each other.”

“But who will you have, Valandil… who will you have? Every elf will be in Istalion.” The wisdom in Alatariel’s words pierced Valandil’s heart.

Valandil scanned the floor as if searching for an unseen answer. “I…I will have Fil-Garil!” He blurted in desperation.

“My son, Fil-Garil will always be with you no matter where you go. You must reconsider your life’s course and come with us to Istalion.” Vondir plead compassionately.

Valandil stared hard at his parents as tears welled in his light azure eyes. “No, ada… I will remain here in Fil-Garil.” He locked eyes with Alatariel as he continued, “Naneth, I owe my life and so much more to the both of you. But it is just that…my life, to do with as I will. It is the strength, inherited from you both, that has helped me to make this most difficult of decisions. Would you have me ignore my heart’s true call?”

Alatariel regained her composure and squeezed Vondir’s hand warmly as she spoke to her son. “My little eagle...” his parent’s childhood nickname for him made Valandil smile warmly even as a tear streaked down his left cheek. “…it seems that it is time for you to soar without us.”

Vondir kept hold of his wife’s hand as he reached to clasp his son’s shoulder with the other. “Although I feel that you should make the journey with us, Valandil, your path has been chosen by the stars. Hopefully that path will one day lead you back to us. Do what you must and know that we will always be with you.”

Alatariel completed the family circle by holding Valandil’s hand and said, “Will you dance with me again before we leave, my son?”

Valandil smiled warmly and replied, “I would not allow you to depart if we did not, naneth.”

***

In the months that followed Valandil spent every waking moment with his parents. They reminisced about Valandil’s childhood while exploring the land of Fil-Garil from their home near the Tower of Llómydien, to the sprawling tree-city of Isil-Gäde, and back again. All the while Vondir and Alatariel hoped that their son would feel the call to Istalion as they did… but he did not. He sparred often with his father during the days and at nighttime he practiced using his arcane powers as he danced with his mother under the canopy of stars. The family savored their last days together immensely.

Valandil watched his parents leave for Istalion along with the last few families of elves. Although Fil-Garil still teemed with wildlife and fey beings, for the first time in his immortal life… Valandil of the Eagle clan was alone.

***

1090 A.L.

In the years that followed the departure of his parents to Istalion, Valandil explored the vast land of Fil-Garil in its entirety, never staying in an area for more than a year at a time. He lived off the land using the skills his father and mother taught him. He went in search of other elves that also may have not heard the call to Istalion… no one else remained behind. He sought other good races for conversation and amusement in Finilmandel to the northwest and Dabu-Nareen and Corianton in the south. Still, he was alone.

He always seemed to go back to his childhood home overlooking the Tower of Llómydien. His life seemed empty compared to what it once was when his parents and the other elves were around. Valandil wept nightly in his solitude and still… he didn’t hear the call. Many nights he thought he would waste away and perish from loneliness. Having lost his sense of self-worth with nowhere and no one left to turn to, Valandil sought sanctuary in the Tower of Llómydien.

***

Valandil, the young but faded elf, approached the entrance to the Tower of Llómydien tentatively. He remembered all of the tales that his parents told him, but he still did not know what to fully expect. He was apprehensive as he stood before the portal, internally debating if this was the right course. His solitude was surely driving him mad for him to actually seek an audience with the Llómyd-Landil. He wasn’t sure if he should rap on the immense doors or call out to the heavens for entrance.

As he stood there battling his inner demons, the immense doors silently and slowly opened to reveal a being that Valandil had not seen in over two decades… another elf. The stranger was as tall as Valandil but he seemed to tower over the nervous young elf. His long braided hair was the color of spun gold and his eyes shone in amber hues. His bronze skin seemed dusky in contrast to Valandil’s almost alabaster flesh. He wore blue robes that shimmered like woven starlight. Valandil stared at the imposing elf in wonder not knowing what to say or do. The stranger looked at Valandil and gestured for him to speak. To Valandil’s horror, he still could not find the words to express himself. The amber-eyed elf sensed Valandil’s trepidation and decided to break the uncomfortable silence.

“Open your mouth, boy.” The melodic yet commanding voice confused Valandil but he complied anyway as the stranger looked inside his mouth. “You are not missing your tongue, so why is it that you do not speak?”

“I—I beg your pardon for being impolite. It is just that I have not seen any of my people in five and twenty years… I thought myself mad and you, just a vision.” Valandil averted his gaze to the marble floor in the tower antechamber.

“Surely, Valandil, your parents told you of the Llómyd-Landil.” He asked with a hint of accusation in his voice.

“Yes, they taught… you know my name?” Valandil’s surprise was evident.

“Obviously.” The mysterious elf added dryly. “Did you think that the last elf in Fil-Garil would go unnoticed by the Llómyd-Landil, son of Vondir? We have pledged our lives to defend all of elvendom… including a foolish young elf that decided not to make the journey to Istalion.”

His words struck Valandil like a sword thrust as he collapsed to his knees in a sobbing heap. “I—I am lost. I have nothing left. I am reminded of my idiotic decision daily in my loneliness… but to hear the words, it is more than I can endure! I still do not hear the call to Istalion, but I hear the phantom voices of my parents and friends who have long since departed! The voices threaten to consume me. My life is an empty shell of what it once was. I am… hollow. Have mercy and end my eternity of suffering. My life is forfeit.” His shoulders bobbed as he continued to weep.

The nameless elf listened to Valandil’s tear-filled words with an arched eyebrow. He purposely baited Valandil to elicit a response that would have him bare his innermost thoughts for the entire world to hear, and he took it. Although it had to be done, after witnessing the anguish of Valandil, he wished there was another way. The change in pitch in the elf’s voice showed compassion that was not formerly apparent. “That is not our way young one. Every elven life is precious. Your own life is no different than our own. You said yourself that you are lost. The stars led you to the Llómyd-Landil to follow the Lost Way of the Bladesingers… a retreat from your grief and loneliness. Will you continue to follow the path the stars have led you to?”

Valandil looked up at this strange elf that knew so much about him. “Who are you?”

“Will you continue to follow the path the stars have led you to?” the mysterious elf reiterated.

“Y—yes.” Valandil responded slowly.

“Very well then. You have much to learn, young Valandil… very much to learn. My name is Úril. I will be your first teacher. Come… I will take you to your quarters. Tomorrow you shall meet with the rest of the Llómyd-Landil and the following morning your initiate training will begin.” Úril turned away from Valandil and walked deeper into the Bladesinger Fane as the portal to the Tower closed slowly.

Valandil stood and followed closely behind Úril and said, “Thank you, Úril; I don’t know what to say.”

Úril continued to walk and answered cryptically, “You will, son of Vondir, you will.”

***

1140 A.L.

How long had he been here… years, decades, centuries? Valandil did not know. Time in the Tower of Llómydien seemed to flow differently than the rest of the Hither Lands. It did not matter to Valandil. His life was now dedicated to the Lost Way. He memorized and studied from the Querimhinue, a massive tome scribed by Calin Stormblade the Grand Master of the Order, for what seemed like years before any of his teachers would allow him to physically train in the arts of sword and sorcery. So many of the secrets of the Llómyd-Landil were revealed within the pages of the book: the lessons of concentration, of movement memory, the dance of the fighter, the arcane arts; it was all there to be learned. Valandil studied diligently, earning accolades from his many teachers.

***

1165 A.L.

The day arrived when Valandil was permitted to meditate on runes of power in an attempt to refocus his pain of loneliness and despair into arcane might and strength of arms. Úril and many other instructors chanted to Valandil during his meditative trances. They instilled their combined knowledge into the young Initiate while burning many different varieties of incense around him. He experienced visions which he did not fully understand in his reverie. Many of which involved a hairless sleeping man surrounded by kneeling people praying inside a great hall.

***

1180 A.L.

Valandil had not used a sword since his last sparring session with his father over a century ago. He was very nervous as Aldien, a physically powerful elf with short cropped brown hair and striking green eyes, presented him with a pair of blades. Aldien was one of the resident weaponsmiths of the Llómyd-Landil who also took part in Valandil’s training. It seemed as if all of the Bladesingers imparted some knowledge to their youngest member. The blades were sheathed as Aldien casually tossed them to Valandil from a few paces away. The young elf caught them very nimbly by the hilts as Aldien walked towards him.

“It’s time you had weapons suited for a Bladesinger, young one.” Aldien’s voice, though typically melodic, was very deep. “Unsheathe them and see how they feel in your hands.”

Valandil unsheathed the two elven thinblades. The first one had angular designs on the azure hilt with silver filigree and a matching scabbard. The blade had a slight tinge of blue and was cold to the touch. The second blade matched the first blade in all but color. The hilt on this blade had softer curves in the design and was crimson with gold filigree as was the scabbard. The blade had a slight hint of red and seemed warm as if just quenched from the forge. They were both superbly balanced and seemed to suit Valandil very well.

“They are magnificent, Aldien…” Valandil smiled warmly as he continued. “…but I have not held a sword in many winters.”

Aldien smirked at the young elf’s apprehension and said, “You are holding two of them right now. They are called Dîsenheleg and Ruinendagor. Make them a part of you, Valandil.”

Valandil translated the elven titles in his response. “Bride of Ice and Red Flame of Battle… I will, Aldien. Words cannot fully express my gratitude, thank you.”

“Wield them with excellence and that will be thanks enough, young one. Come with me. I believe Írentil won the chance to spar with you first.” Aldien’s mischievous grin made Valandil slightly nervous as they proceeded to the sparring area in the Fane.

***

1190 A.L.

In the decade that followed his first official sparring session as an Initiate, Valandil excelled greatly in swordplay and arcane combat. Combining everything he had learned from his parents with what he had learned so far from his brethren in the Llómyd-Landil. When Valandil finally figured out how time was reckoned in the Tower of Llómydien some years ago, he realized that he had been with the Bladesingers for the last one hundred years. He still missed his parents immensely, but his studies and training with the Llómyd-Landil taught him how to focus his loneliness into their fanatic oath to defend elvendom and the stewards of the Tower of Llómydien, specifically the Archon Talqavist, from harm.

During his time in the Bladesinger Fane, Valandil had met with the Grand Master of the Order, Calin Stormblade, only once upon his arrival, and saw him a mere handful of times since then. Valandil had no idea how his life would change in his next meeting with Grand Master Stormblade.

***

Valandil sat cross-legged in a meditative state. The lingering scent of incense permeated the air around him. Normally his trance would produce a euphoric feeling upon completion. Lately his visions continued to intensify during his reverie and he felt as if a storm was on the horizon. He was brought out of his trance by a vaguely familiar voice.

“Son of Vondir, you will join me in the sanctum sanctorum.” The calm yet commanding voice belonged to none other than Calin Stormblade.

Valandil came out of his reverie instantly upon recognizing the voice. “G—Grand Master Stormblade! I was…”

“Now, Valandil.” The mightiest of the Llómyd-Landil interrupted. The penetrating gaze of Calin’s steel grey eyes made Valandil feel like a child as he complied obediently.

As he followed a respectful distance behind the Grand Master, Valandil looked at Calin’s long silver mane and silently wondered just how long the ancient elf had wandered the Hither Lands before his self-imposed exile in the Fane. Valandil’s musings were cut short as he noticed the cabal of Llómyd-Landil seated against the walls around him in the sanctum sanctorum as he and Calin entered. The silence of his teachers and the Grand Master worried Valandil. What could he have possibly done to warrant this amount of attention? Calin took his chair on the dais reserved for his station while Valandil looked around the large and ornately decorated room for a vacant seat of his own. They were all occupied. He remained standing in the center of the room. Valandil felt as if they were all looking at him, and indeed they were. Calin gazed thoughtfully upon him as if studying the young elf’s progression.

“Do you know why you have been summoned, Valandil?” Calin asked the obviously worried younger elf.

“No, Grand Master, I do not.” Valandil said softly.

“How long have you been within the Tower walls?” Calin asked although he knew the answer.

“One century to the day, Grand Master.”

“Have you ventured outside during that time?”

“An Initiate is not permitted to leave the Bladesinger Fane during training, Grand Master.” Valandil quoted one of the cardinal rules from the Querimhinue directly.

Calin nodded as if Valandil had just passed a test. “You have done very well in your time among us, Son of Vondir. You have exceeded my expectations. There has not been an Initiate of the Order for centuries, and when you arrived I did not think you had the mettle for it.” Calin paused as if waiting for Valandil to digest his words. The young elf stood in silence with a stoical expression upon his angular face as Calin continued. “I am glad I was wrong.”

Valandil found it difficult to remain impassive as his chest swelled with pride. “I am indebted to you all for the knowledge you have shared and your patience during my training, Grand Master.”

“Your training is not yet over, Valandil.” Calin’s words sparked a look of confusion on Valandil’s face. “I have a task for you that upon completion shall end your time as an Initiate.”

Valandil’s look of confusion became one of determination as he spoke. “What would you have me do, Grand Master?”

Calin searched the young elf’s face for any sign of weakness before he answered… he found none. “The Archon Talqavist will be journeying outside the land of Fil-Garil to the Atân monastery on Mt. Farastu. It is a long journey and he will require an escort from the Llómyd-Landil. You will be that escort, Valandil.”

The emotions that churned within Valandil were evident on his fair face. He had never been beyond the borders of Fil-Garil before. He was excited and nervous at the same time. He clearly recognized his duty to the Bladesingers and The Archon, as he looked around the room and responded. “Grand Master, brethren, I am honored to represent the Llómyd-Landil in this task. I will not fail you.”

“I have no doubt, Valandil. Prepare yourself; you will make your voyage within the next few months.” The uncharacteristic smile of Calin Stormblade caused the youngest of the Order to sigh in relief which elicited chuckles from his many teachers.

Although the Grand Master stated that his Initiate training would be completed after this assignment, Valandil had an unerring suspicion that his trials were just beginning.