THE STORY OF ENDELTHIL
Setting: 1.5 Years Before Party
Endelthil narrowed his keen elven eyes in annoyance as a tattered figure shambled towards his post. Despite the distance and the cover of the night, he could identify the approaching figure as a human male – worn and frail by the looks of it.
Not another one, he thought. I grow weary of these beggars. The lesser races always come to us to solve their problems! Their very existence is a gaping void, waiting to drain the time and life out of everyone they encounter! Our energy would be far better spent on our own personal development.
An ever-growing disdain grew inside him. His hand reached back into his quiver and lightly caressed the fletching an arrow. He would not actually nock it, of course – but he felt satisfied knowing that the fate of the approaching wretch rested squarely in his hands.
His closest friends knew of his dislike of the weaker races. It was ever his goal to dissuade them from investing their time and effort into aiding those who could never achieve the greatness of the elves. However, his closest friend, Naelthos, was a much more compassionate soul – and Endelthil's superior. In fact, it had been Naelthos that had instructed Endelthil to keep watch this very night. Other races seeking help had come to the Elven homeland frequently of late, particularly in the cover of night. Naelthos' hope, Endelthil knew, was that a more compassionate disposition would develop within him if he were to witness the sincerity and despair on the faces of the weak as they entreated him for aid. This, of course, was simply not the case.
As the wayward man came within 10 yards, Endelthil sprang from the edge of the forest and landed squarely in front of him. He glared menacingly at the stranger from under his hooded cloak. "What do you want from us?" he questioned, his voice surging with both elegance and disdain.
" I – I, I only seek you aid, sir elf." The man fell on one knee, and trembling sought to discern Endelthil's features and demeanor - but to no avail. "Our town of Westbridge is under frequent attack by our enemies, and we cannot hold out much longer!"
"What a surprise!" The elf made no attempt to hide the condescending smirk spreading across his face - though he thought it a shame that it could not be seen in the cover of darkness. He tilted his head downward toward the wearisome petitioner. Before he could do anything else, however, the man leaped to his feet, grabbed Endelthil's arms, and began to shout.
"Please! Give us your aid! You must speak with my brother, Wendell Crestfallen. He is the townmaster there." The smell of alcohol on the man's breath was so concentrated that the elf, in a fit of disgust, promptly thrust his foot in the man's chest and sent him flying backwards.
"Find your aid, elsewhere," Endelthil retorted. "You are detestable! Now, leave before we do worse to you than your enemies!" The man, confused and frightened, scrambled to his feet and bolted out of sight. As he ran, documents flew from his garments and settled onto the earth below.
Endelthil stood staring until both the man and his wailing cries were far off in the distance. When all had faded, he quietly gathered the documents strewn on the ground. Among them he found a missive written to his kin by the man's brother, Wendell, entreating the "good elves" for their aid. Endelthil scoffed and revealed the next document. To his disgust – but not surprise – he identified it as an application to the Redbrand organization within the region of Phandolin!
The elf laughed out loud, "And to think I almost felt sorry for the poor fool! It seems he will do whatever it takes to save his own hide. Wretch." As he looked down at the tattered application, he identified the man's name. "Frank Crestfallen," he read aloud. "Well, good luck, Frank. Hope that I never see you again or it will by my arrow in your chest."
__________ The events below are summarized. To be fleshed out later._________
Unfortunately for Endelthil, Naelthos soon discovered the details of his little misdeed. As both punishment and correction, Naelthos temporarily exiled Endelthil to the town of Westbridge. There he was to to teach, train, and aid the people until they were fully equipped to protect themselves from enemy attacks, and fully equipped to advance as a community. Once this was accomplished, Naelthos hoped Endelthil would be a changed man, able to see for himself that the weak are able to progress if the are given the right tools - that there is hope for them to be great.
Of course, Endelthil was not happy to be sent on such a long, arduous and repulsive task. Though he knew the completion of his assignment would mean restoration to his kin, he dreaded the many many months of trying to make noble and capable leaders out of the backwards and ignoble leeches of Westbridge.
After many days travel, the elf arrived at his destination. There to greet him was the lay-leader of the meager village, Wendell Crestfallen. He had formed the town from a group of outcasts and misfits in hope of a new life. Unsurprisingly, Endelthil found himself at odds with Wendell due to their philosophical differences towards the underdeveloped masses. Wendell believed they should all be given both the tools and resources to develop, while the Ranger believed that such a pursuit was worthless and a detriment to the personal development of the noble and the capable - those like himself.
However, as the months passed, Endelthil found himself more open to Wendell and his views. He took note that the townmaster, while offering everyone a chance, had expelled some of the members from the community due to their refusal to pursue their own personal development and the good of the town. Now that they had the tools and the training, they were expected to give their best. Not to be perfect, but to progress. It was only those that refused such pursuit, those that chose to leech off the time and talents of the others, that he sent away to live out the consequences of their own way of life. He allowed them to return to the town only on the condition that they aggressively pursue their own personal development and that of the community.
Such passion Endelthil saw in Wendell - such a desire not only for his own development, but for that of those around him. Wendell was compassionate and understanding, to be sure. But, he was not tolerant of those who chose to be less than what they could become - those who chose to take rather than develop and give. Those like Frank, Wendell’s own brother, whom Endelthil learned had been exiled not long ago for this very reason.
And so it came to pass that Endelthil and Wendell became close friends. Together, the forged an able-bodied town that was continually progressing in every way. Endelthil made many friends in the town. Excitement grew within him each time he saw those he trained eagerly develop into more than they dreamed the could be - soldiers, artisans, traders, philosophers. They had been restored. They had become what they should be.
Aside from Wendell though, Endelthil developed a deep friendship with only one other member of the town - a man who had once murdered his dearest friend, but because of Endelthil, had been given a second chance to become something better. To give life instead of take it. The man’s name was Lucien Highwinter. Not much will be said of him here, but you will soon learn more of him.
Eventually, the time came for Endelthil to part ways with the town. The time for the elf to return to his kinsfolk and to Naelthos with a renewed soul and purpose. He bade all a fond farewell and took with him only a gift and a letter from Wendell.
However, on his way back he caught wind of a great threat that loomed large over another nearby settlement. A threat to great to conquer on his own. Before he returned to his homeland, he would provide aid - but he could not do it alone.
Thankfully, the elf knew that nearby lived a young copper dragon who could lend him aid. The dragon, Kaelthiros, was known for his wit and his cunning in battle - but also for his pride and lust for gems. The dragon, however, refused to help Endelthil with his plight. He did not think it worth his time to help the mortal races of the land. To him they were a lost cause. It was at this moment that Endelthil knew - experienced - how Frank must have felt when the elf rejected him. It was a moment of revelation.
Still, the elf was undaunted. He chose to pursue the threat alone - and was killed. So ended the life of the Elven Ranger, Endelthil.
THE STORY OF KAELTHIROS, THE COPPER DRAGON
Setting: 3 Days Before Party
Bahamut looked down upon Kaelthiros and was not pleased. His arrogance had caused the death of an elf only on the verge of a new way of life. Such a loss. Such a tragedy. With her sheer will, Bahamut, summoned Kaelthiros in front of her that very moment. She communicated to him her great displeasure of his misdeed. However, she would allow him a chance to redeem himself. The conditions of this chance were, she told Kaelthiros, that his soul would be sent to indwell the resurrected body of Endelthil. Kaelthiros would lose his memories of his life as a dragon and live out in the elf’s body the life Endelthil should have lived. Should he live well, the young copper dragon would be returned to his original form with his memory restored. And so with a simple nod of the draconic deity’s head, it began . . .
[The following are select entries from the journal of Kaelthiros, living in the body of Endelthil]
Day 1, Year Unknown
I have just experienced the most disturbing development of my life. Or, at least I can only assume that it is, as I cannot remember anything prior to the uncanny events of this past night – save for my own name. My first memory is regaining consciousness in this particular wooded area only some short hours ago. The chilling raindrops which struck my face, and the thunder echoing across the night sky roused me from my senseless state. Soaked and confused, I remember struggling to my feet and shaking my head to regain any recollection of my past – but nothing came.
And here I sit, on the verge of dawn, with only the faintest of clues as to my past life, and absolutely no hint of why I find myself here. My past is all but lost, and my future is yet unknown to me. But I will not dwell on this presently, as only frustration will follow.
Fortunately, the belongings that I - by all appearances - had carried with me are proving useful. My bow and a full quiver of arrows are at my disposal. To my satisfaction I find myself able to strike my mark with precision and ease – a small happiness amidst my distress. Beyond this, in my backpack, I found some basic supplies, rations, woodcarving tools, and other necessities. However, the most interesting item I found within it's confines was a folded letter addressed to me:
My dearest friend, no words can describe my thanks for what you have done. You left your comfort all those years ago to come to our common village. You taught us, trained us, protected us, and befriended us. We are forever in your debt for all that you have bestowed upon our community. You are a hero among the common and the downtrodden.
Now, we know that you must go. Take these woodcarving tools we made for you so that you may never forget us. Fashion your arrows as you fashion you your destiny. I have no doubt that this destiny that beckons you in your dreams and floods your hours of meditation will become the most acute reality for you. I wish you well, my brother.
Peace and Hope,
So many questions. What common village? Who is Wendell? What destiny calls to me in my hours of meditation? Meditation. Rest. That is what I need. I will write later.
An exciting turn of events! During my hours of meditation, a mysterious riddle was revealed to me:
The Forgotten quivers
deny home’s hearth
for brumal desolation,
a raven heart,
swallow celadon wind
that abducts breath,
hold steel resolve
against an azure tempest,
forge fortune and
oppose greed’s blushing furnace
The Realms travail
The words came so clearly, yet its meaning remains largely unknown to me. Despite this, I am confident that I must pursue this destiny, and that I have a significant role to play it its unfolding. I venture out this morning – into realms unknown!
*you flip ahead several pages in the journal*
I have joined the Zhentarim, led by Hollia here in Phandolin. They are a shrewd and resourceful lot. I hope to gain resources and training from them as needed. However, I don't think the others would approve. I'll keep this to myself.
I still can't believe Bardu was so dense! I almost killed the poor fool! No perception whatsoever! Oh well. We were successful in our invasion of the Redbrand hideout nonetheless. Poor Frank, though. I did rather enjoy the fellow.
*You already know this stuff so you flip through several dozen pages, eager to learn of Endelthil's doings after Gundren's funeral. You're eyes stop at this entry.*
Such frustration! I am no closer to regaining my memory and I have decimated everything! Gundren and his brothers are dead. I alone am at fault. Why was I so drawn to the gems? Why!? Gundren, forgive me! I will redeem myself.
I attended Gundren's funeral – avoiding all who know me. A growing dread and sadness overwhelms me. What did Wendell ever see in me? Was it really me who aided their entire village? Am I even the same person now? How can I atone for my misdeeds? How can I become the person I once was – the person I no longer know?
The Browncloaks are now demanding taxes from all in Phandolin in exchange for the protection of the town. Quelline, however, is refusing to pay. She feels that the Browncloaks' rise to power was unjust. As both a Browncloak and a friend of Qeulline, I find myself torn.
After much discussion with Hollia, she has refused to grant Quelline any leniency. She escorted Quelline through the town, directly to the prison. It was then that I did what must be done. I rose up before the townspeople and publicly withstood Hollia, the leader of the Browncloaks, to the face. I have a great deal of respect for her, but she has gone to far this time!
After the event, Hollia and I spoke again in private. She was far less harsh than I expected. Though she stripped me of my position within the Browncloaks, she has agreed to continue my training within the Zhentarim. Evidently, she was impressed by my resolve. Perhaps she will rethink her methods in the future. In any case, her plan is to exile Quelline from Phandolin in the morning. It is growing late. I will visit Quelline in her cell to see if there is any way I can help her.
Last night I offered to spring Quelline from her cell, but she refused. She simply thanked me for my public stance against Hollia, and forbade me to become any more involved. She did not want me to take any more risks.
This morning she was released by Hollia and told not to return to Phandolin until she was ready to pay her dues. I'm not sure, but I think I noted a twinge of sadness in Hollia's expression. She may be quite a bit softer than she looks.
I have accompanied Quelline and her son on their journey to the next town where they can restart their lives. I have given her some of my personal funds. It should be enough to give them a solid foundation for their future. We said our goodbyes, and I promised to visit. For now though, I must continue on my own journey.
Day 105 – Final Entry
Reidoth is not here. It was my hope that I could convince him to resurrect Gundren once the body is found. Perhaps it was a faulty idea, anyway. Yes, it is for the best. I will return to Phandolin in the morning. I am not sure how, but I will redeem myself. I will remember. I will become who I once was. I am close now. I can feel it.
And so it was that Kaelthiros (as you now know him to be) did become his former self that next day. For, that morning he returned to Phandolin only to see it being assailed by two evil dragons - a green and a white. Houses were burning and the townsfolk of Phandolin lie dying in the raging inferno. Full of despair and rage, our brave ranger raced to the midst of the chaos and engaged the evil duo. But the noble conflict would end in his death. And it was then, at the time of his death, that all became clear.
Upon his death, he was once again transported before Bahamut - and his memory restored. She looked at Kaelthiros with mixed emotions. She expressed to him both her displeasure of the young dragon’s negligent murder of Gundren, and her happiness at the stand Kaelthiros took in Quelline’s defense. The dragon queen noted further that Kaelthiros had not yet fully redeemed himself - his soul was not yet pure. To help him accomplish this purification she informed him that his soul should would once again be sent into the body of Endelthil. However, this time the soul and memories of Endelthil would join his soul and memories within the elf’s body. The two would live as one. Endelthil living again and purifying the soul of Kaelthiros in the process.
Before he could respond, Kaelthiros suddenly found himself back in Phandolin - as a dragon. Quickly noting this, he lashed out at the evil dragons which were still ravaging the town. Severely wounded, they bolted through the sky in a desperate retreat. For now, they were defeated.
Then, with a jolting flash of light, Kaelthiros’ body dissipated and his soul entered Endelthil’s lifeless corpse. In an overwhelmingly fantastic moment, the elf stood. Endelthil and Kaelthiros were one. A flood of emotions and memories overwhelmed him - overwhelmed them. In a violent surge of panic the two beings clashed at the realization of inhabiting the same body. However, after many intentional moments of progressive deescalation, they sorted their memories, feelings, and priorities. In a great act of humility and desire for true redemption, Kaelthiros allowed Endelthil’s persona to take the lead.
In the following moments of lucidity, Endelthil found Hollia dying nearby. He cradled her in his arms and spoke words of encouragement as her soul passed. Over the next few weeks, Endelthil, enlightened and renewed, helped the town rebuild and then decided to seek out his long lost friend, Wendell Crestfallen.
After a journey full of reflection, Endelthil arrived in Westbridge. He and Wendell reunited and shared stories of their time apart - although it took Wendell some time to come to terms with the truth of his friend’s story. Much needed refreshment and mutual encouragement was shared by both. Endelthil remained with his friend for a short time and then decided to reunite with Mullyn, who Wendell informed him was in Burdusk. From there he could rejoin his party and continue his new life of restoration and redemption.
But how could he tell his story to his friends? Would they believe such a fantastic tale? They already resented him - well Kaelthiros, anyway. Perhaps it would be easier just to show them that he is different now. That he is a new person - or rather the person he used to be - the person they never knew. Yes. That is what he would do. He would prove it to them.