Thursday, January 6, 2011

Friday Epilogue

When they arrived at the gates of Nerath, the five heroes were overwhelmed by its splendor. Word of their arrival had preceeded them thanks to Bartleby’s owl companion, and five armored figures stood on the wide bridge entrance.  Two stood forth from the others, one in shimmering Mithral armour, the sash of rank across his chest denoting him as Lord General. The other wore pure gold plate, and a crown of rubies and delicate etching sat atop his head. Thus all were greeted by the sight of Emperor Gairdyr himself. The heroes knelt in deference, as Redra rushed forward to embrace Gairdyr. She turned to look at the man next to him, and smiled. “You are not the traitor from my dreams.” The Lord General laughed. “My lady, it would be an honor to feature in the dreams of one so fair. The traitor Hathera is no more.” Gairdyr bid those before him to rise. “Welcome, friends of Nerath. My thanks, and the thanks of my Empire are owed you, for saving this dear girl. I am Gairdyr, Emperor of Nerath, and I invite you to make my city as your home, for as long as you’ll stay.” He turned to indicate the man besides him. “This is Lord General Mikkal, leader of the Blade Wardens, my personal guard. Behind us are his comrades, Lucan, Merric, and Ander.” Gairdyr pointed to each in turn, identifying the Half-Elf, the Human, and the Halfling behind them. “Now, please, make yourselves at home within my city.”
            Two days passed in Nerath, and the adventurers saw marvel after marvel. As they sat for noon meal with Bartleby the second day, they discussed the ordeal. Even after searching the massive Nerathi library, one mystery still remained. Bartleby had found no reference of any sort to the word Gethzerian. A knock at the door interrupted the conversation, and Gairdyr entered the room, Redra and Mikkal behind him. As Redra walked in, dressed in the garments that were her birth-right, Shallahai realized why her Fey connection had been so strong in the forest. Not Half-Elven, Redra was Half-Eladrin. She’d been able to outpace them in the forest so easily by Fey-stepping. Gairdyr spoke, “Friends, Bartleby has told me that he offered my coffers to pay your reward for this effort. He has also told me that my gold is the least of the reasons you accepted this task. I’d like to make you an offer. As I told you when we met, the Blade Wardens are my personal guard. But they are also far more than that. They are my personal problem solvers, the fiercest warriors in all of my empire. And I would like you to join their number.” All were taken aback. Each had heard of the Blade Wardens and their reputation, and also knew that for those who were not Human or Elf-kin to join would be a first for Nerath. “There are grave dangers facing my empire, and threats both within and without. I need heroes such as you.” Kuori accepted instantly, as did Damakos, Chaedi, and Tordek. Shallahai paused, unsure of leaving his forests behind for such a grand city, but the Emperors assurances that he could leave whenever he desired and his wish to remain with his friends convinced him.
            The addition of the newest Blade Wardens made the team stronger than ever. Five years after arriving in Nerath, they stood together as witnesses to a wedding, as Redra married Lord General Mikkal. There was sadness as well, as Bartleby passed on the next summer. Twenty years after they arrived in Nerath, a shining hope was born, in the form of Redra’s daughter Yulani.

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