Tales of Darkmoon Vale
Ithilien's Journal 2
he three companions settled in around the small campfire. The paladin rhythmically ran his whetstone back and forth across the keen blade of his sword while staring at the small fire. He momentarily glanced at the man sitting to his right. The man, dressed in alternating shades of grey and black flipped a small dagger back and forth across all four knuckles of his right hand as he sat quietly, lost in thought. The paladin marveled at how coordinated and dextrous the young man was for someone who as far as he knew, had not a trace of elven blood in him. After more than two years of traveling with the darkly clad man, the paladin also knew that he had no formal combat training, more roguish skills than combat skills. Yet he wielded his two slender swords more lethally than any battle-hardened warrior the paladin had ever known. So fast… so blindingly fast… the paladin let out a derisive snort, he had to be part elvish, whether he knew it or not.
“What, are you making fun of me?” The statement slapped the paladin out of his meanderings. Speaking of all things elvish, the paladin mused to himself as he turned to his other companion seated to his left. “I’m sorry Welverin, why would I be making fun of you?” the paladin asked. His other companion was almost a caricature in his obviousness about two very distinct characteristics: he was an elf, and he was a wizard. Everything about Welverin Alurthilar screamed these two obvious statements about his very being. “You are making fun of me because of how ridiculously inept I am at cooking this miserable animal,” the wizard quipped. The paladin looked at the skinned coney skewered upon a stick which the wizard was holding over the fire. Half of the coney was burnt and charred while the other half was still pink and rather raw. The wizard let out an exasperated sigh, he wiggled the fingers of his other hand while quietly whispering sibilant words of magic. The charred end of the coney, as well as the raw end both slowly changed. What was left was a seemingly perfectly cooked rabbit. The wizard looked at the paladin’s incredulous look and stated proudly, “prestidigitation”. When the confusing look upon the paladin’s face did not change, the elf stated again, clearly enunciating each syllable, “pres-ti-di-gi-ta-tion”. The darkly clad rogue suddenly burst into laughter, “I think he heard the word wizard, he just doesn’t understand what it means.” The wizard flashed a slightly embarrassed smile, “Oh, well of course Thaylen, how silly of me. Well the spell is not actually even a spell, it is actually a cantrip, which by the way originated from the elvish word ehcantisar which literally translates to ‘minor trick’. Um what was I saying? Oh anyways, it is a universal cantrip not belonging to any particular sphere of magic, although obviously I just used it as a transmutative incantation. It simulates many other minor spells and could be different every time it is cast, actually it is more a …..”
Thaylen and the paladin, Ithilien Thaspardian each took a bit of the perfectly cooked coney and enjoyed the lengthy monologue discoursed by the elven wizard. His calm, serene voice was easy to listen to and although neither human paid much attention to what was actually said, they were thankful for the break in the silence. The paladin had met the wizard roughly the same time he had met Thaylen. Welverin was sort of a conundrum to the paladin, he could not possibly fathom why the wizard so enjoyed traveling with them. He had not the slightest bit of interest in anything Thaylen or he so doggedly pursued. He did not crave adventure or excitement, nor did he crave gold or wealth of any kind. He had no divine cause to follow or pursue. As far as the paladin knew, he did not venerate any Ilad at all. All the paladin knew was that for the past two years or so, whatever dangerous quest he took upon himself to undertake, or whatever perilous tomb Thaylen wished to explore, Welverin cheerfully agreed to accompany them. And accompany them he did, more than half of the adventurous undertakings the trio so haphazardly plunged themselves into would have ended in disaster if not for the boundless magical energies wielded by the small, slightly-built elf. Never had the paladin known someone who was so at one with the Art, the magical weave was almost a part of the elven wizard, wielded by him as easily as the paladin drew his sword.
The paladin smiled to himself as the wizard’s discourse turned into a continuing soliloquy since it was obvious Thaylen was no longer listening, and he himself had not heard a single word uttered by the wizard since his first bite of the perfectly cooked coney. He knew their disregard did not matter to the easy-going wizard, Welverin believed they were incapable of understanding his intellect anyway. How lucky the paladin felt to have found such capable and loyal companions as these. The three adventurers had formed an incredibly close bond with each other in the short two years they had spent together. All three were without family: the rogue was an actual orphan, the wizard had been thrown across the heavens away from his homeland by some sort of magical accident, and he himself had lost all ties with his family when he self-exiled himself from his kingdom of birth. They had found a family within themselves, a kinship between each other which can only be forged from experiencing and surviving through countless life-threatening situations together. For Ithilien, their close bond of friendship had filled a black void within his soul, a void caused by the treachery of his actual brother, but alas, that was another long story…..
Later that same evening, when the small campfire had whittled down to slightly glowing embers, Ithilien laid his head down upon his small leather knapsack. Another night spent uncomfortably in his metal armor. The coldness of the metal under his back seemed to melt away as Ithilien looked upon the star-filled night sky. He marveled at the supreme majesty of Anduani and his wondrous creations, there was yet so much goodness upon this world, so much goodness to be saved and protected.
The paladin’s reverie was interrupted by Thaylen’s whispered voice, “I was thinking Ithilien, perhaps it would be wiser from now on if you did not use your family name. I do not know why your younger brother is seeking you so far north of your kingdom, but Welverin and I were able to verify for certain that the special envoy we spoke to last month in Caldoranth was indeed searching for the missing son of Duke Obarthon Thaspardian.” Ithilien quietly pondered what his friend was saying, he knew why his brother was seeking him. With him still alive, Deneron could only be Duke Regent of Valoir. He would somehow have to prove that his older brother was dead in order to truly claim his right to the throne of the Duchy of Valoir.
Ithilien forced a transparent smile, “and what name do you think I should take my friend?” The rogue immediately answered, “Well, we have ventured together for some time now, and many times over, you have proven yourself to be a most worthy comrade. With that being said, I would be honored to call you a brother and have you take my own surname as your own.” Before Ithilien could reply, Welverin’s soft giggle interrupted their conversation. The elf looked up from studying his spellbook, “I do not wish to interrupt this endearing display of human familial bonding, but my dear Thaylen, your name Twinblades is not your actual surname, it is simply a fabricated name you took upon yourself to describe your particular combat style. Why would Ithilien call himself Twinblades when he fights with only one sword?” Thaylen quickly retorted, “a name is a name wizard, this doesn’t even concern you, this is a conversation between two warriors. And for your information, Ithilien carries a second broadsword on his opposite side. Remember when we fought the two ogres just outside the ruins of Etimar? He fought with both broadswords then, did he not?” The wizard smiled warmly, “oh yes, I do remember that ONE time, I stand corrected my friend” he then turned to Ithilien with a congenial salute, “Well met, Ithilien Occasional Twinblades”. The three companions then shared a short round of laughter together.
Thaylen spoke again, albeit hesitantly, “Well perhaps Ithilien Twinblades does sound out of sorts…” Ithilien gripped his companion’s shoulder with one hand, “We do not need to share names for us to share a bond of brotherhood my friend. We are indeed brothers of the blade, and shall be for the rest of our lives.” Thaylen returned Ithilien’s salute with a proud smile. The paladin continued, “You are right though Thaylen, it would probably be a good idea for me to adopt a different name. I would be honored brother if you would select a suitable name for me.”
Thaylen thought for a short while, then deftly drew his silvered shortsword, “After I killed my first werewolf, I had planned to call myself Thaylen Silverblade. It has a nice ring to it, does it not? I believe it is more fitting for you, considering the blue-white flames you so often call forth from your sword.” Ithilien smiled, “Ithilien Silverblade… it is a proud, strong name my friend. I thank you.” Thaylen returned Ithilien’s respectful bow.
The elf suddenly looked up from studying his spellbook once more and stated dryly, “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather be called Ithilien Bluish-whiteblade? After all, that is actually closer to the color of the divine flames you conjure upon your sword.” Ithilien and Thaylen nervously glanced at one another, unsure if the elven wizard was simply joking or serious about his proposed name. They had learned a long time ago not to needlessly anger the powerful wizard when he occasionally made such eccentric comments. The uncomfortable silence was suddenly broken by the raucous, yet strangely melodic laughter of the elven wizard. “You should see the stupefied looks upon both of your faces, Oh my ancestors!” After a brief second for both of the warriors to understand what had just transpired, they both joined their elven friend in tumultuous laughter. The three companions continued laughing for most of the evening, jesting with each other, and recounting the many harrowing, yet often comical tales the three had shared since their meeting.