Letter from Ardama Farstrider
Author: Ardama Kel'gren FarstriderThe following is the transcription of a blood-stained letter found by Laurante after the killing of Celeste Silverbow. He tells me that a page is missing somewhere, as he was unable to recover it in time. The rest I have put in what I believe to be the appropriate order. I am copying the letter verbatim, preserving what I think are likely grammatical errors. I am also marking the page breaks, in case there is a way to recover the lost page.
Place/Gathering Discovered: Storytellers VII
Date: September 14, 1012
Transcribed by: Demetria Highwater
You do know me though I have known many of you be deed, if not be name, for years.
I keep the promises I make.
I am Ardama Kel'gren Farstrider, eldest of four children born to two elves who did not survive the Ascension night and subsequent chaos. Their names are nothing now. They are mere memories of a different time.
You wanted to know everything...and so I will tell it all to you.
I am a high elf, a noble race of elves, and descended from one of the founding tribes of Moonhaven. Our history is a long one. That tale is recounted in one of the bundles of information I am leaving you. From those ancient elves, Moonhaven was founded by the grace of the Goddess Luna. We bid our sun-worshiping brethren farewell as they left for the western kingdom of Armont. With their departure, there were only elves who worshiped the moon goddess left in our settlement. All of that is ancient history, even for me. I do not scorn other elves... the wild elves, the wood elves, the dark elves. They are what they are and I am what I am.
I was born in the same year as Lyasha Shadowseeker and my parents had designs on me wedding the Archivist's eldest daughter. I could not see myself joining the ranks of the Archivists and their traditions for I was never bookish nor meek. Far from it. I relished martial skill and thought to become a master-at-arms. Duty to my parents outweighed my dreams. I was a soldier in spirit if not in practice and their command was mine to follow. I learned much from the Archivist and his other apprentices, but my path to marry Lyasha seemed to turn to dust when her eye was caught by a young human man. I did not question it. I never loved her. I continued to do what was expected of me and went through the motions of courtship though I was largely ignored by her. So be it. Both of them are long dead.
That was the mantra of which I lived my life. Do what is expected of you. Do your duty. Find solace in that you are faithful in your word and action.
You may think me callous.
I may be, but it is how I always have been. I have dedicated my life to serve and so serve I shall.
There is not much else to say about me. Would knowing personal things about me make me seem less of a monster? Very well. I enjoy the water. I enjoy soft music. A perfect evening for me is being alone at night overlooking a lake while sharpening my sword and thinking. Does it make me more palatable as an ally to know that I enjoy simple things in life? Perhaps not. I do not care either way.
I remember well the night of the Ascension.
In the Year of the Red Moon, An'kardisa Shadowseeker was born. The Archivist read the signs his ancestors had recorded and the prophecies...he saw the signs in his own daughter as she spouted prophecy even at a young age. She was to ascend to be the avatar of the Moon Goddess.
Truthfully, I did not care for the girl. She was rebellious and skittish. Defiant and meek. She was a paradox of emotion. She was of an age with my youngest brother and the two were often playmates growing up. I had other concerns than the affairs of the younger children. My life had been decided for me by my parents. Or so I had thought.
The night of the Ascension, she seemed different. There was an underlying confidence in the sacred child. Time seemed to stop as those outside the ritual chamber heard the screams of the symbolic priests. I was there with my siblings and mother. My father's screams echoes through the chambers. I think he was the last to die standing in the role as the Gray Man. I remember feeling nothing. The bloody scene before us when the chamber door opened stirred no emotion in me. I could hear my mother sobbing and the cries of my little sister.
And then things changed.
I remember pain most of all. A life leaching cold. A cold that stole your breath...and then fire.
Power like nothing you could imagine coursed through me. It was a flood of boiling water washed over me. Pain and pleasure. And a voice.
I heard An'kardisa and the Waking Child speak as one in my mind and to the people gathered. I was chosen.
When the pain subsided and I blinked the tears from my eyes, I saw the others. My brother Vol'desh was laughing and crying like a mad man. My brother Yuri, prostrated himself before the feet of the girl-child turned avatar. A girl, Celeste Silverbow, cried to the heavens and gouged out her eyes with joy. She smiled as she pledged her life to An'kardisa, the Prophet. I heard myself saying the same words as I too knelt to the girl-child. Deep within me I knew. I knew all of what she said to the people gathered though I did not hear it. I felt the power of the Waking Child, Herald of Truth. It was the first time I truly believed in the gods and the thought that we had been worshiping them wrong for so many years filled me with dread and a grim determination that I would do anything to save my people from the lies we were brought up to believe.
My life was dedicated to service before, now that service had a meaning and a purpose.
The Prophet recanted her knowledge to the people. Some cried out in fear and terror. Some cried out in disbelief. And when she names us...my brothers, Celeste, and I as the new priests to lead us out of our dark age and into the Truth, the cried out in opposition.
The power I felt grew within me and I knew. This was my calling and I lept to obey.
I will not bore you with the details of the slaughter. It is safe to say that we culled the weak and foolish and no one was spared who would dare speak out against our new found salvation.
With the sacrifice of the children to create the new guardian spirits, of which Vol'desh gave over our sister A'sara, the job was finished.
We took the word of the Waking Childing, Herald of Truth, and youngest child of Gaia of whom the prophecies spoke to the humans nearby. Not a man, woman, or child was left alive as we purged them of their sacrilege.
It was not until the next moonrise when we realized that we were sealed in the caverns of Moonhaven did we realize we had to seek penance for our past heresy. So we prayed...and waited.
The other priests and I never grew older, nor did the Prophet. It was a blessing from the Waking Child. As we watched others live a diminished lifetime, we still lived.
I gave many people to the icy waters for the Gray Man to carry away to their afterlife for centuries in Moonhaven and in the years since we have been freed. Whether it was a nameless, faceless human or my own mother...it did not matter. I did what what needed to be done. I was the executioner.
I still did not question my orders even though I felt empty and sick each day for the last decade and a half. I do not know what changed. The feeling was there before the stone door was opened. The blood on my hands never bothered me. The silence that followed when I prayed...maybe the Prophet had other things on her mind. Maybe the others found more favor with the Waking Child. for me there was always my duty and the resounding silence that followed me everywhere.
I have said that An'kardisa Shadowseeker is gifted with Prophesy. She seemed more and more in turmoil since we have been released from our prison and it shows in he prophecies. After you butchered my brother like a mad dog, she was silent for a time...and then she sent me this prophecy. Only to me, her most loyal and dutiful servant.
Madness, power, duty, love...hear my word.
Four blind men serve the dancer on the sword.
One will die in madness, cut down like a weed.
One will die in power, betrayed by hatred and need.
One will die in duty, begging, he'll cut the cord.
One will live to die, only for the one he adored.
Why do you want to die so badly Ardama? I fear death...I fear for my people should I die.
I can't save you anymore. Cut the cord. For me. For yourself.
Since then, I feel nothing. No rage or hatred, no sorrow or lament. I feel empty. Is there even really a Gray Man, a Luna? Do the gods even really exist?
To hell with all of them.
To hell with my duty. To hell with my "faith". To hell with everything.
If there is nothing for me, then there will be nothing for them all. And I will start with Celeste. Without my Drowned Men, she will have minimal defenses. Kill her, then kill them all. You already butchered my brother, Vol'desh. Perhaps we are not so different. Are you too an
unfeeling killer? Are we one in the same?
I hope so.
Here is everything you ever wanted to know.
I hope the knowledge keeps you warm at night and keeps the fire of your self righteous quest alive. Or maybe you too will be a soldier who loses faith. If that is the case, then we are more alike than I care to think.
Remember our deal.
Ardama Kel'gren Farstrider
Found with it was a map of the Realms with marked locations. The red X's were on the front, and the labels on the back. I have copied them all onto on side for convenience's sake.
Created by Demetria Highwater (Rhiannon Chiacchiaro) at 09-24-12 08:44 PM
Last Modified by Demetria Highwater (Rhiannon Chiacchiaro) at 10-01-12 11:31 AM