This is the main page for Etherberan. The author of this work is Yoshimo, please email him with any queries you have. The material contained here is the property of Yoshimo and is used with permission by Candlekeep. Candlekeep claim no rights of ownership to Etherberan and associated material.
Click on a log below to read, or start at the beginning and read of the ongoing events of the tale.
Disclaimer: I do not claim any of the names and their corresponding meanings and descriptions within my story besides The Ranger Hideout, Rangers, Elyis Etherberan, Lily Treefold, Illyndale Greywise, Barrotheil Strongheart, Thailmere Shadowcap, Zerateth, Gorogin Black, Artemis Kemp, Shallows the horse, Gerich Blackvale, and the earring on Elyis' ear named Task. Everything else was conceived through use of Dungeons and Dragons and Forgotten Realms research.
The slight breeze was cool and soothing on the third day of the second tenday of Kythorn month, the thickest parts of the forest showing their full-blooms this time of the year. Butterflies gently skittered throughout the flourishing branches of the trees, displaying their colorful wings to anyone who could or could not take comfort in their magnificence and beauty.
In a vast open glade littered with a brilliant spectacle of flowers that was upon a background of perfectly fresh green patches of short grass, there was a fallen log which jutted out of the dirt nearly parallel to the earth to which it protruded. Upon this hulking log sat an elf. It seemed he fit into the scenery like a perfectly fitting puzzle piece: it would be incomplete without him. This elf had blond hair that fell into his face in front of his fiery blue eyes and flowed down the back of his neck where the strands were brought back into a bunch tied with a brown cloth. He was the possessor of a fine green tunic that squeezed to his chest and stomach and a white shirt that flowed into flared cuffs embroidered with gold thread in intricate designs. His pants were tight at the hips, but flared out toward the knees where they entered brown, fold-topped boots. He possessed a golden earring within his right ear which had inscribed upon it several elvish runes the elf himself could not decipher. He seemed to be a noble, one would commonly misconceive from the exceptional way he dressed himself. The magnificent longsword within the marvelous scabbard latched to his side would cause these predilections to dissipate just as the nearly hidden dagger within his boot he never drew in a battle. He never had a purpose for the little dagger.
Within the elf's large, elegantly red-gloved hands there was a piece of parchment. It seemed to be a scroll of great importance which he read with anticipation. His blue sapphire orbs scanned the text quickly, absorbing every aspect of its meaning. The end of the text produced a slight rise in the corner of the elf's mouth.
'Wanted,' he had read mentally, 'Any and all Rangers, alive or dead: 20,000 gold commons. Double for anyone bringing them dead.'
Elyis Etherberan was the elf's name. Noble-born indeed, this elf had strayed from the path with luxurious paved roads of ease that was set among others in his same respective position. His life as a noble had been set with great care and he would have probably gained the throne of Calimshan had he worked hard in that life doing very little. Yet he, like his father before him, rejected the path of nobility, taking his fortunes with him as he set out on a quest to rid the world of evil. He had turned to a path of secretive and sometimes law breaking actions as one of a band called Rangers. These people were not the people who were constantly searching for enlightenment and justice in the name of the wilderness, but instead more like rogues in a sense who resorted to any means to overcome obstacles for the greater good. Elyis' father began this omnipresent faction and ran it for a few centuries before Elyis knew who his father was and strayed from the ideals of nobility to help lead the Rangers. Now, he was struck with the fact that his father was ailed by a disease not even the greatest of mages could cure. On his deathbed, Thailious Etherberan made his son swear to uphold a line of Rangers and see to it that they were not disgraced no matter the cost.
Elyis carefully rolled the parchment up, straightened it, and slid a small, silver band around it's middle before stuffing it away in the depths of the brown leather pouch of many that were located around his belt and thighs.
He was not occupied by anything of significant value now, so he marveled at the beauty nature showed him. He, like all elves before him, held a love for one particular sort of environment which encapsulated his senses and mesmerized him totally and completely. This was his setting, and one in which he knew he belonged just as his ancestors had so long ago.
His sensitive eyes caught sight of some sort of creature in the distance, perfectly camouflaged in the terrain in which it stood still. The elf could see the outlines of the deer perfectly, though, and said a prayer its soul, hoping the beautiful creature would not be hunted to a bitter end by some ungrateful human or dwarf who commonly hunted upon these grounds.
The slightest snap from a twig in the distance entered the range of the elf's ears. It was caused by pressure from atop them, distributed evenly from a foot that was trying to keep quiet. The depression of the sound reverberating from the forest allowed him to conclude the sound was made by an elf the same size as him. Seeing as he recognized this frame, he found the corner of his mouth lifting into a smile.
"Have a look at this scroll after you're done sneaking around a bit, Illyndale," Elyis spoke without turning to regard the failed stealth of the elf behind him. He spoke with a melodic tone which displayed his birthright as an elf of the surface.
The brown-cloaked figure moved his fingers back along the sides of his cowl, dragging the heavy material to gather behind his neck. The removed cowl revealed the face of a barely aging elf who possessed fire-red hair spiked backwards. There were several silver earrings covering each of his perfectly pointed ears, yet they did not contain any such inscriptions as Elyis' lone one.
"Your refined senses precede your background, Etherberan," the older elf responded as he walked more casually through the grass and flowers from the sneaking stance his demeanor possessed only moments before.
"I do not believe my finely honed sense of hearing is to be praised here, Illyndale, son of Berandale. You grow old and unconditioned, friend, and your footsteps seem to do the same," Elyis refuted.
Illyndale chuckled, "Your mind is sharp, yet your tongue stings like an even sharper sword. Well met, how do you fare this fine morning?"
Elyis swung his lithe figure from the old tree and grasped is cloak before he touched the ground, it being suspended upon a convenient old branch twisting out from the tree's trunk. He donned the darkest of all heavy green cloaks and pushed back the cowl as Illyndale had done.
"My hide seems to come out of a situation I was presented with earlier unscathed, no thanks to your feeble state of mind," Elyis said with a glare toward the second elf.
"Are you referring to the incident encompassing yourself and the Waterdavian Watch nearly a tenday ago?"
"The very same, Illyndale, and I must say you have an uncanny knack for choosing thieves with a backstabbing tendencies toward allied backs," Elyis sarcastically intoned.
"What, that rogue I hired?" Illyndale asked innocently.
"The only reason I was put into the stressful situation with swords up my arse was simply for the reason you lacked the aptitude to select proper hands. I knew, from the first moment I laid eyes on that adept thief, that I could not trust him more so than I could trust a hungry wolf not to nip at my teasing fingers. Your judgment reeks of old age and the days that pass cause it to become even more clouded," Elyis finished.
"I do not believe I have the abilities which guide astral creatures, friend Elyis, nor do I have the sensibilities of a mind-reading gypsy woman. Thus, how was I supposed to know this straightforward thief was a common traitor?" Illyndale said in his own feeble defense.
"Yes, but the fact of the matter was this thief turned my hide into the Waterdavian Watch the first time he possessed an opportunity to line his pocket with coffers. The entire heirloom retrieval was called off for the actions of such a small role. And I do not speak of the thief. Your act should be more cautious, Illyndale. Should it not improve, I shall have to hire a new intelligence operative and relieve myself of the one I currently possess."
Illyndale was now within arms length of the opposite elf, his eyes locked onto those of the other's.
"You speak as though you own the Rangers, Elyis Etherberan. Keep in mind: you are not your father, yet."
"My father is on his deathbed as we speak. If I could have done something to prevent this dilemma, I would have done it immediately. Perhaps we would not be having this same conversation. I, unlike yourself and many others, do not dwell on the past and the events that took place in it. The fact is, my father is on his deadbed and I am the heir to the Rangers. My father is unable to make the decisions that I am able to make, therefore, I will continue to run this guild as I see fit. That is unless I die or, should Selune permit, my father recovers from his sickness. This is the reality of the situation. The choice is yours how you adapt to fit this reality."
Illyndale then broke his gaze and lowered his eyes from the elf and occupied his stare toward a bug crawling gently up a blade of grass.
The younger elf sighed rather inaudibly and eventually took a step forward to place his red-gloved hands on each of Illyndale's shoulders.
"I understand it does not seem correct for me to be leading a band of warriors that have existed long before the time in which I was conceived, yet I am obligated to take these decisions and the pain that is included with it no matter how inexperienced I am in the art of leadership. I can put this burden on no one else's shoulders, for it is a task appointed to myself and only myself," Elyis said softly while he looked at the older elf.
Elyis stepped away from his companion, allowing his words to sink in. He slowly drew a sword from its scabbard with the slightest scrape of metal against metal.
"So what is our plan of action now?" Illyndale asked with anticipation and a new light within his mind lit by the young, insightful elf.
Elyis' fingers carefully slid along the blade of the blade of his sword, admiring the shiny silver glossed finish that reflected every image in the vicinity, and the elvish runes that were placed upon them in the same style and craft as the earring he also possessed.
"The heirloom of your father rests within the hands of a powerful archmage within the Temple of Tears in Waterdeep. We cannot simply walk into the fray of practiced incantations and unknown power."
"The panther watches and waits, unmoving, until the time is right to strike. Yet, he does not, for his prey would expect that. He waits until the most vulnerable point in the prey's behavior is exploited. Then, good Illyndale, what does the panther do?"
Illyndale turned to regard his companion.
With a toothy grin that exposed his elven canines, Elyis said, "It strikes."
Elyis yawned a great, deep yawn before he looked back at his sheet and blanket which were disturbingly tangled from the twisting and turning he had done during the night. He had a perfectionist attitude toward the misshapen blankets, outstretching his hands to straighten them. He shook his head, for that was the attitude of the noble taking its toll on him once again. Still, he would possess that attitude, for the greatest majority of his life was spent in the upbringing within the manors of the highest classed individuals about the city of Athkatla, not to mention the most corrupt. He cursed at the thought, and knew that if he had known his father during those times, he probably would not have committed the crimes he did and would forever regret.
Shaking his head, he cleared his mind of the thoughts and put them to the daily tasks that were ahead of him.
The elf felt the cool breeze that managed to ruffle his hair from his side as he faced the eastern stone wall of the cavernous system that held most all of his clothes. This breeze was soothing, and carried with it the tang of water. Water that was from a waterfall located just outside of the system of caverns that served as their hideout among the forest. This waterfall, Elyis knew, would cover the entire entrance to the caves from the sight of anyone who wanted to enter, for the cave was just underneath the waterfall. This had turned out to be a perfect place for their hideout. It was covered by a waterfall and was located right beside a gigantic lake that would prove to be an opportune getaway should someone or a group of people decide to charge the hideout.
Elyis put on his clothes and strapped the long sword to his hip along with the pouches and pockets that also lined his hips and the sides of his legs. He at last donned his soft, red gloves that possessed velvet inside of them. He chuckled at this thought. Maybe he WAS too much like a noble.
The luxurious cavern was filled with the delicious aroma of a well- cooked meal. Elyis had noticed this before, yet he did not think about the smell until now, for he had been further concerned about reminiscing instead. This was the second best thing about being a Ranger: knowing some people who could actually cook a good meal from the supplies nature handed out freely from her roots and bushes.
The commander walked toward the northern reaches of the cave, toward the entrance, but then took a right into what the elves called the dining area. This is where the smells were the greatest, and were the elf could plainly see the others eating while the cauldron upon the makeshift fireplace still cooked some sort of meat in chicken-flavored broth.
Sitting at the crudely-constructed table were four elves. There was a mesmerizing beauty sitting closest to Elyis with her back to him, an elf woman who seemed to be even younger than him. She possessed auburn hair that reminded him of a beach sunset near the fabulous beaches of Kaladesh. Her skin was fair and smooth, and her eyes were like emeralds burning away at anyone who stared at them for too long. She was dressed in a tunic that was some shade of dark brown and sleeves similar to Elyis'. Her pants were also a dark brown and were tight all around her legs before they sunk into brown fold-topped boots. She seemed fragile, yet tough at the same time. A figure in which you would love and hate at the same time, and you would want to embrace yet also back away from. She was someone who evoked a myriad of alternate emotions and that was where the mysterious attraction came from. Her name was Lily Treefold, and she captivated Elyis in these ways. It was such that he found himself attracted to her. They both shared this mysticism for one another, yet neither could express it, for their missions always brought their emotions down to earth where they did not matter in combat. Thus, they never really had time for sharing idle conversations involving love. Now since he assumed command of the Rangers, the elf captain thought, perhaps they were close enough to talk.
To Lily's left was an elf who wore a sleeveless tan tunic that exposed his unusually large and detailed muscles. His face was fair, yet weathered, which gave his demeanor a tougher aura about it that caused someone confronting him to rethink the assault. His hair hung in a long ponytail that was bound at his skull with a strap of crimson leather that matched the shade of his studded leather pants. His bracers came down over his thumbs and there was a dagger sheathed in the inside of each one of these, hidden for the purpose of throwing at unsuspecting targets. His boots were large and the same as all the others, brown with folded tops. A giant axe with double edges hung at his back, which caused Elyis to think back and search for a time he might have seen the elf separated from the weapon. Yet, he could not think of a time, for none existed. The axe and the elf were inseparable. This elf was named Barrotheil Strongheart. The name Strongheart ran in his line for many generations, being one of the greatest barbarian tribes within the jungles of the Far East. This man was a great asset to the Rangers, and one of the fiercest warriors Elyis had ever seen in battle. The man had felled an entire caste of ogres with the same axe that hung across his back, taking minimal wounds to his large frame.
Next, in the clockwise motion, came a rather gloomy elf who was clad in all black. He was dressed in black leather armor, a black shirt under that, black gloves, black pants, black fold-topped boots, black equipment pouches upon his belt and chest, and a black cloak that covered his frame. His skin was only a bit pale, having still had a bit of sunlight on him to keep a peach color to his cheeks. His jet-black hair was long in front, his bangs spiked a bit so they did not fall into his eyes, yet the sides and back were cut short and were well-kept. There were several earrings lining each of his ears that were also black. When Elyis regarded this elf, he wondered once again if there was anything on the elf's attire that was not black. He then caught the glimmer of the sword sword's pommel that was sticking up diagonally along with hilt of his sword strapped to his back. That possessed a black hilt with silver filigree inlaid within it's intricate spiraling handle, yet the blade itself was a marvelous silver glossed finish that was nothing less than beautiful. This gothic elf was named Thailmere Shadowcap. That particular name was renowned throughout the thieves guilds of Amn and perhaps even all of Faerun. The man himself was not very well known, though his exploits should have been. Elyis had witnessed the stealthy exploits of the man as he and a few others stayed behind shadowy corner within a palace filled with rogue drow warriors. The elf had used every bit of stealth he possessed to sneak up behind every one of these unknowing warriors and cut them down usually in pares of two with two daggers he had long since retired. The elf commander was eager to see the works of Thailmere Shadowcap while he possessed the short sword.
Elyis looked next to the oldest among them, Illyndale Greywise. This old man was picky about his dress and the style in which he had about his hair. Spiked, red hair was not quite looked upon by their elf patrons as a style an elf of his age should have, yet no one ever spoke out to the elf about it, for it never hindered his flawless shot with a warbow. Illyndale was as old as the Rangers were, which was nearly ancient, in the eyes of most of the elves who now resided within the cave. Still, the elf would never admit to his age, and instead tried to show his youth by sporting hairstyles and his dress in that way of a teen elf. That succeeded in most respects, including appearance, yet anyone taking a closer look into the brown eyes of the man would see that he possessed much more experience in the ways of battle than they could ever come to know. This aided greatly to the wisdom their patron elves saw in him, thus, they had high expectations for the Rangers. Elyis saw an elf that was impetuous, yet knew what he was doing, even if the elf did not know people for who they truly were. That seemed to be his only weakness. The elf saw nearly everyone to be trustworthy after a few pints were shared in a local tavern. This, Elyis often found himself uttering to the elf, was not the case, no matter how nice they seemed to be. Yet, Elyis could never fire the elf, for he knew him like a brother and stood on the battlefield too many times to simply throw him out. That would never happen, regardless of the things which came out of his mouth.
Elyis yawned once again and walked around the table where he turned a chair around and sat in it backwards across from Lily, his chest against its back.
"Would you care for any breakfast, Sir Etherberan?" asked Barrotheil who motioned his hand to all the food that was scattered haphazardly about the table.
Elyis disregarded the question with a wave of his hand.
"Something bothering you, Elyis?" asked the female elf across from him.
Elyis shook his head.
"No, I was just thinking about the heirloom, and how much we now in the hole for not retrieving it the first time."
Elyis couldn't help but to glance toward Illyndale who had been looking at him and quickly averted his eyes.
"I do not think anything will result from it," Barrotheil said.
"Last time this occurred, we had a bounty hunter trying to snuff out our little guild. Do you remember that? When my father was running hundreds of Rangers? It was myself, you, my father, and Illyndale who had to contend with this threat. We all narrowly came out of that difficult ordeal alive. Times are changing, bounties are rising, and bounty hunters with even greater skill are emerging. I do not think the skill of all of us elves will be able to repel a squad of well-trained bounty hunters."
"You underestimate our skill, elf-heir Elyis," said Thailmere in a foreboding and chillingly gloomy tone.
If Elyis had a response to that, he showed none, just continued to think with his eyes dazedly staring through the table.
"What about the heirloom, Elyis?" asked Illyndale, "Of what sort of plan shall we procede?"
Elyis looked up to the elf and then the rest in turn.
"The heirloom is in the hands of a powerful archmage, eh?"
"Well, I hear that the Temple of Tears is a place no rogue has ever been able to sneak into without being burned to a crisp in return. Rumors even tell of traps that were hidden so well that no rogue has ever been able to see, much less disarm."
"Yeah, even my Shadowcap lineage has never been able to sneak into that place, for, even though I hate to admit it, we do not have that great amount of skill," Thailmere included.
"So what do you suppose we'll have to do? To get the heirloom back. It seems impossible to get into it," Lily said.
"For rogues..." Illyndale smiled.
Elyis returned the toothy smile, "But not for Rangers..."
The tower was shadowed with night falling over Waterdeep and Selune rising in the sky where her rays gently blanketed the entire city. Shouts outside of the tower were few, but these came from the docks where fishermen and dockworkers attempted to frantically end their day’s work and finally reach their cozy homes with a warm meal waiting. This irritated Illithen Moonsway, for he could not escape their voices, often having to scribble out the words he had written on the parchment.
He sat at his desk again and thought for a moment that he would actually be able to concentrate on his work. He dipped the elegant quill pen into the ink well sitting upon his desk gently, and lowered it to his scroll again. Suddenly, another yell echoed up to the tower and through the thin walls. Illithen flinched and brought the tip of the pen through another of his words in a perfectly good sentence above. The mage cursed and pointed a finger at the scroll in irritation. The scroll burst into flames and a few sparks flew away to the floor.
The agitated man cursed again and walked slowly down the spiraling stairs of his keep, knowing for sure another scroll was not going to get done this night.
He shook his head as his robes trailed behind him and he massaged his temples with both of his index and middle fingers. This was getting to be repetitive. Moonsway could no longer concentrate as he could under different circumstances. It seemed that thoughts were entering his mind as a continuous speed. Thoughts of gaining power through devious means, no matter who was harmed in the process. It began the very same night in which he received the artifact from the thief; a fine artifact it was, indeed. Moonsway could feel its power coursing through his fingers when he held it, yet it also gave him a dire sense of foreboding when he touched it. Now, he knew, the artifact sat upon the mantle of his fireplace some five stories below, his apprentice wizards looking after it carefully.
Yet what power could such an artifact hold for a wizard such as himself? He thought, for when he did touch it, he did not receive the channel of power that he usually did with the common magical objects he owned and used. This one, it seemed, was waiting for something… someone. The artifact was waiting to unleash its power until someone of greater power wielded it.
The mage’s footsteps quickly trailed down the stairs, and he came upon his vast library that held far more books than his personal library at the summit of his tower.
“I need some wine,” he said to a passing apprentice who scurried off very quickly in search for the beverage.
Moonsway walked into the darkened archives and snapped his fingers, lighting every one of the thick wax candles that were mounted about the walls. He sat at that time, elegantly straightening out his robes before he did so, at a table full of books he had read earlier. They all seemed to involve artifacts and their abilities.
There was a sizzle in the air beside Moonsway, and he placed his hand up slightly to grasp the handle of a mug that appeared in a puff of smoke. Immediately, without taking his eyes off of the scrolls to which he referred, he took a swig of the beverage. A smiled lifted to his old face after the drink, sugarbutter wine upon his long, white, fluffy beard.
He then read carefully where a tassel bookmark displayed his last placement in the book’s chapter.
“Artifacts come in different shapes and sizes, many assuming more power than the last. Some of the most powerful artifacts are those that can fit into the palm of a hand or the pouch of a wizard. The list hereafter names every artifact created as of 356DR.”
Moonsway then allowed his finger to trail down the page, for he knew basically what he was looking for. He had seen the artifact in one of these pages before, and he knew there was something that was not right about its origins.
With another turn of a dusty page, the artifact revealed itself and a sense of foreboding swept over him. He shuddered and his eyes scanned the text quickly. His eyes widened all the more as he continued reading, and he felt goosebumps arise on his body when he finished.
“It should not be here…” I said.
Just then, a thunderous knock came on the door, and he was disturbed from his studies. This particular artifact could not go on ignored much longer.
This campaign is still ongoing and updates to this page will appear as and when they are forwarded to us by the DM. Keep an eye on the What's New section for updates, or sign up with the Traveling Minstrel to be notified by email.
Return to Campaign Logs