Thursday, July 8, 2021

Duendewood vs. Solari 2: Negotiations with the Abbess

"Werendril," said the Abbess, "this is Ellywick. Ellywick, this is the paladin Werendril and the druid Shondrelle. Ellywick is our librarian."

Werendril bowed to the robed gnome. "A pleasure."

"Likewise, and very much so," she answered, studying him. "You're a true elf?"

Werendril nodded. 

"But you're not the father of...?" she trailed off, waggling her fingers vaguely in what might have been the direction of the practice yard. 

"No." Werendril shook his head. "Neither of them." 

"Yes, well, that would be a bit of all or nothing, wouldn't it? The Abbess tells me that you might have access to some historical documents." 

Werendril tilted his head and lifted his gaze to regard the Abbess. 

Hilda smiled. "The treaties," she said. "The ones that those adventurers obtained, the ones that form the basis for all those elvish claims to human lands. The ones that almost certainly aren't forgeries, no matter how much the King and certain nobles might protest. I think it might change things a bit if we, too, had copies of those treaties -- copies created and certified by an established historian from our order, and one or more from yours."

Werendril considered that. It made a sort of sense, though politics had never been his strength: the more well-established and widely available the documents were, the harder it would be for the aristocracy of Sol Povos to deny their existence or argue against their authenticity. A joint study wouldn't be unassailable, but it would be much harder to argue with than the claims of elvish scholars who kept the documents to themselves. "So what do you propose?" 

"I would like to send for a scholar from Caristhium, with your permission. He is a well-known historian, and has a particular focus on Saint Margery. I would like to send him along with Ellywick into Duendewood, under your care, to look over the treaties and make copies for our archives here."

"Does he have a name?" asked Werendril, interested at this insight into the way the Temple of Amun functioned: they were merciful, they were charitable, and they were not at all above playing politics or even going into battle if it would better people's situations. 

"Domian Ulthres," answered the Abbess. "Do you know him?" 

Werendril had heard the name, but that was all. He shook his head. "Not really. Enough to have heard him discussed, not enough to have an opinion about him." 

Hilda smiled. "Well, for my purposes what matters most is that he's an established scholar and a full-blooded human, without any particular political axe to grind. Pair him with an elvish scholar of similar standing, and while they might quibble over details I expect we'll get a firm assessment of the facts. Let Ellywick add a voice that's neither human nor elven but has an eye for the work of the divine, and..."

Werendril nodded. "It's a good balance, one that comes from both sides. Hard to take issue with something like that. Which is not to say that some on both sides won't try."

"They will," the Abbess said, "but anything that slows our headlong rush to war is all to the good. And while you're there, you can deliver my proposal to Sar Nathlinel."

Werendril glanced at Shondrelle, who nodded firmly. "Very well. So you want me to conduct these two scholars back to Duendewood, and try to arrange such a study?" He'd need his master's help for that, and possibly the weight of the entire order, but he thought it could be done. The Order of the Golden Bow served Corellon, and Corellon would desire above all else the preservation of the elves. 

"Just so," said Hilda. "I also thought I might send a couple of others along, to help protect the scholars. A priest and a paladin, perhaps."

Werendril raised one finger and opened his mouth, then sighed and let his finger drop. "In the meantime, your people will help funnel our refugees into Duendewood?" 

"We would do that anyway," said the Abbess. "I only regret that we didn't see the need for it earlier."

Werendril turned to look at the painting of the monastery. To his left, this felt very much like the right thing to do, and held the possibility of achieving some considerable good in the world. To his right, it was not going to please the human king -- or, very likely, the paladins of Helios -- or some of the political factions in Annun; they might all be condemned for treason, each by their own people. And that was leaving out entirely the possibility of having to introduce the wizard Baethira to the mothers of her grandchildren, a prospect that frightened him in an entirely different set of ways. Still, it was a task that needed doing, and it had fallen to him. He nodded gently to himself.

But it was Shondrelle who stepped forward, met his gaze, and nodded back. Then she turned and half-bowed to Ellywick, and finally she turned to the Abbess Hilda. "You entrust your people to our care," she said. "We value that. We will not disappoint you."

Werendril swallowed, then nodded. "Corellon grant it be so."

Apparently they were going to do this.

Sar Nathlinel is the head of the Exalted Order of the Bow Made Golden by the Touch of Dawn... erm, the Order of the Golden Bow... and Abbess Hilda Sturmgart's proposal to him is essentially a non-aggression treaty between the paladins of Corellon Larethian and Temple of Amun (which includes both the paladins of the Order of the Titan King and the priesthood of Amun). Essentially, they will avoid each other on the battlefield and may assist each other in healing the wounded and protecting bystanders. Abbess Hilda is entirely serious about trying to prevent the war and rescue everyone they can in the meantime.

It was July 20th in-game when the Abbess sent for Werendril; he arrived around August 5th; so the expedition back to Duendewood will probably leave the Temple around August 10.Which means that Ruin is not going to learn about the existence of his children until at least then, probably closer to August 20, unless... Oh.

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