Name: Shandril Brightmantle
Aliases: Stargazer, Lantern Lady, Firefly, Shan or Shany
Race: Chondathan Aasimar
Birthday: Unknown but celebrated on the Feast of the Moon
Languages: Chondathan, Elven, Celestial, Dwarven, Draconic, Sylvan & Common
Profession: Astrologer and Guide, Itinerant Silverstar
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 143 lbs (65 kg)
Build: Slim & Elegant
Hair color: Platin Blonde/Silvery
Eye color: Sky Blue
Description: Shandril has long blonde or almost silvery hair, sparkling blue eyes and fair features. Her thinly muscled frame does not give truth to the strength she posses, nor does her beautiful voice and friendly demeanor reveal the impetuous adversary she can be. Joyful and though sometimes whimsical, Shandril seems charming and outgoing. Eager to understand and know everything she stumbles upon, she is driven by her curiosity and always in pursuit of knowledge and inspiration.
Philosophy: Understanding makes way for acceptance and peace, strife and hate is fueled by ignorance, to accept each other we must first understand one another. Inevitably it is a development all the races of the planes and realms must undergo, or perish in their own insatiable hatred.
Shandril is like many of the Silvearen well educated with numerous academic degree's to her name. Having attended the Lady's College for almost six years and a number of private courses beyond that of an ordinary student, her teachers would describe her as ambitious, focused and very diligent. Aside from her academic profession as an astrologer and a guide, she is also a devout follower of the Moonmaiden and an anointed Moonknight to the temple of Silver Stars. She is like most of Selûne's followers open minded albeit a bit frantic in endeavors on behalf of the Moonknights, a common trait among Selûnites of her order.
During her academic enrollment Shandril studied primarilly under Uondeld Aerasumé and the courses she attended at the college of Abjuration in the Halls of the Lady's Playhouse Annex include: Spell Tactics & Stragegy, Abjurative Focus, Magical Fields, Thaumaturgical Disruption & Dispelling. After her completion of the courses Uondeld encouraged her to attend the College of Divination under the magus diviner Vihuel but she only completed two courses, Scrying and Identification of Magical Aura's and Properties, before tranfering to the College of Enchantment.
Whilst attending the College of Enchantment in the Great Garden and completing the courses of Fascination & Allure as well as Enchantment Focus, the College of Bardcraft, formerly located in the Foclucan halls were re-opened and the next semester she was enrolled there.
Shandril majored in all of the courses at the College, taking a bit more than three years and an excessive amount of private lessons, she was now an accomplished bard and one of Evressa Nightingale's finest graduates for her voice was second only to that of the Siren of Silverymoon.
The list of Shandril's completed private courses, degree and instructors can be found bellow:
A nighttime course concerning the movements of the stars in the heavens and the magical theories relating to such, including the relating of fortunes and personality patterns.
History & Culture
A detailed analysis and discussion of the impacts of magic and sorcery on the Realms, including past spell creators and magical empires past and present.
A study of various bodies of literary work, ranging from elven epics to Waterdhavian “copper dreadfuls.”
A broad overview of the art of crafting music, including a brief study of the magical properties of sound.
Instructors: Uoundeld & Evressa Nightinggale
Teaches the spellcaster about the linkages that exist within spells of the same school of magic and how to draw upon those links in order to counterspell others similar to them.
Preparation for Spontaneous Arcanists
Teaches sorcerers and bards how to prepare spells that are altered with metamagic of
some kind, in the way a wizard prepares spells.
Instructor: Reginald Valurian
This is a series of classes that teach methods for altering and adjusting the duration and time-span of spell-work. Two methods are taught of performing this kind of alteration – one of them teaches techniques to allow the spells to draw upon the Weave for continued energy, doubling its effective duration. The other teaches the spell-caster to set up a loop that delays the final completion of the spell, holding it for a few moments before finishing it.
Hands-on activity class that teaches the various methods of meditation and other techniques for achieving the mental clarity necessary to cast spells. Includes both active and passive meditation techniques.
Spell Tactics & Strategy
In-depth study of techniques for casting spells in violent situations. Includes study into use of various spells offensively and defensively, as well as maintaining concentration during stressful situations.
Students are immersed in the language of their choice. These courses are so grueling that a student may only take one per quarter, and a maximum of two per year. The following arcane languages can be learned: Draconic, Auld Wyrmish, Thorass, Espruar, Dethek, Netherese, Celestial, and Infernal.
Shandril's years of exploring the savage frontier from one end to the other, has left her rather well equip for her age, even among successful adventurers. Her upbringing and devotion to the Lady of Silver has been ideal for the life she has led so far, giving her access to a variety of handy remedies for the battles she has fought and pursue, as well as the ability to replenish such supplies giving the proper preparation time and ingridients. Most precious to her among such is the sacred fluid of mingled milk and wine ritually blessed by the Moonmaiden, known as Moonfire. Only the clerics of the faith are able to perform the ritual called Mystery of the Night and Moonfire is therefor not easily obtained.
Moonstone Blade: This masterwork silvery blade was forged from the purest moonstone and silver under the full radiance of Selûne during the Feast of the Moon. Cirindel Brightmantle the moon-elf cleric who forged the blade labored for the full lunar cycle leading up to the night, while the congregation of devoted followers of Selûne danced about the Lunar Forge, performing the Mystery of the Night. During the ritual the Moonmaiden changed the offerings of mixed Milk and Wine into moonfire, flowing from the sacred altar and enveloping the blade in an opalescent, glowing, animate fluid mass with the consistency of custard, bestowing it with several enchantments. The blade glows with a bright milky white color in moonlight and like the goddess it waxes and wanes changing properties with each cycle.
Trollbane: The Trollbane swords are a commonly found weapon in the north. They are the proud if not necessary craftmanship of generations of the smiths hailing from the region of the city Nesme. Huddled along the Evermoors, the large city is often beset by threats from trolls and giantkin, preying on all who dare leave the safety of the tall city walls. The smiths of the north were commisioned to craft blades of this like in the thousands as a call for mercenaries and adventurers was issued by the first speaker Jygil Zelnartha, meanwhile every guard and more famously the Riders of Nesme were also equip with the blades. The price is incredibly high for these blades, considering how commonly they are found throughout the city, some claim they are easier to obtain through service to the council of the Nesme than through trade or purchase.
Mithral Breastplate: Shandril's finely crafted breastplate is the pride of a young dwarven smith called Khadrin Stormhammer. The young dwarf who successfully reforged an elven mithral breastplate was the first of his clan ever to work such a metal and at the mere age of sixty seven years. The breastplate was enchanted by the runepriest Khazzares Stormhammer, father to Khadrin and elder of the clan that came south to the Silver Marches from Icewind Dale in the year 1311 DR when their ancient clanhold was overrun by Frost Giants that nearly wiped them out. The breastplate was a gift to Shandril for saving Khadrin's life on a daring adventure into the ancient ruins of Old Delzoun. Despite its beauty, as it is adorned with several large blue diamonds and two star sapphires resembling a pair of female eyes, the breastplate only has a minor armor enchantment and absorbs acid attacks whilst being immune to rust.
Jewel of the Stars: Of all Shandril's possesions the Jewel of the Stars is her most precious item. The dazzling beauty of it is almost otherworldly and the few of her friends who has seen it found its lure almost irresistible, it is jealously coveted by many and so Shandril keeps it hidden on her person at all times. The brooch was the only possesion her mother left her with and its magical properties are a well kept secret.
Moon Bracers: Covered in mother-of-pearl these Bracers are made by the manifestation of Selûne's moonfire. Functions as bracers of armor and allows the wearer to use haste twice per day.
Gloves of Greater Aptitude: These fine silken gloves appear transparent and only by close inspection would a keen eye spot the faintly shimmering silken threads woven with dust of moonstones. The magical attunement the gloves bestow when equipped makes it a highly sought after item, often found amongst students and even teachers at the academies and institutes of magic and learning. This pair carries the initials S.B. neatly written on the inside of the fabric as to be hidden when equip. The gloves serve as a conduit and when spells are invoked the fingertips spark with magical energies of the arcane and the hands of those whom wield them appear as white blue orbs of pure magic drawn from the weave.
Belt of Thunder: This smooth leather belt is adorned with small moonstones and sapphires resonating with a magical enchantment that absorbs lightning and shine brilliantly at night. The buckle is made of mithral and carries and intricate depiction of a warhammer with crackling thunder enveloping the kingly weapon.
Mooncloak: The silvery-grey cloak is one of the items typically created by the Selunês moonfire, it gives the wearer the abbility to levitate & water-walk once per day, but Shandril's cloak is old and ragged from her years of traveling and its once strong enchantment has faded.
Mirror of the Moon: This finely crafted shield appears to be made out of a silvery metal, likely Platinum and is reinforced with Mithral. It glistens at night and seems to absorb or reflect light dependent on the nature of its source. When Selûne is at her fullest the shield seems a reflection of the goddess and due to its heavy enchantments and the metal it is made of, it barely is a hindrance to Shandril's spell casting.
Mirror of the Moon
Silver Circlet of the Nightsky: Shandril's head wear is a silvery circlet of rings linked together and adorned with a massive flawless diamond upon the forehead. Its magical enchantments makes the diamond glow brightly in any light and empowers Shandril's spontaneous spell casting abilities, making it easier for her to tap into the weave, whilst its sheer beauty fills her with a confidence reflected in her songs.
Band of Starlight: An elegant and beautiful full finger ring, forged from white gold and silver, with countless small diamonds socketed on to it. This mesmerizing piece of jewelry seems to shimmer with a faint purple light, despite its bright metal and gemstones, a testament to its enchantments perhaps that seem to fill its bearer with calm and reason, like a soothing light washing over them.
Ring of the Lady's College: This ring appears as a plain and simple silver band, but secret markings carved into the metal can be seen with invocations of minor spells. It is a signet ring coveted by many sages and scholars alike, if not already in their possession. Many a graduate owe their academic success to these rings or are rewarded with one upon mastery of their track of study. The inside of the band reads "Mastery of Astrology, Shandril Brightmantle - L.C."
Shandril's Ring of Feywarding: This magical ring was forged in ancient times amid the shadowtop tree's of the High Forest, once belonging to the elves of the Eaerlann kingdom. Often worn by elven maids as they sought out their hearts true desires and their spirits mingled with their loved ones eternally till Arvandor embraced them both. Though stories tell many of the rings were passed on and served to ward of the fey's of the Seelie Court and are highly coveted by those who brave the depths of the enchanted and ancient forests of the realms still.
Eaerlann Courtbow of Speed: One of many such bows crafted in the old Elven Empires, these bows were made to bestow such grace upon its wielder, even the most mundane of archers can pull the string with minimum effort and at tremendeous speed.
The hail of arrows these ancient bows once rained upon their rivals is famed for many heroic deeds, but more so for the bright shafts of pure starlight the bow conjures forth, that appeared as so many falling stars when the keen eyed arcane archers rallied to battle during the Crown Wars. Though this bow pre-dates the kingdom of Eaerlann, its last known owner was the ranger general from Lothen of the Silver Spires.
Dragon Lantern of Silverfire: The magical Lantern Shandril carries is said to be an ancient elven artifact from the glory days of Eaerlann, its magical light is unquenchable and seems to glow all the brighter in the absence of a natural light-source. The lantern seems to glow brightly red as that of dragonfire, but the light emitting from it is silvery. How Shandril acquired it is a mystery even to some of her closest associates.
Shandril's Flute of Feycharm: This odd instrument seems to be made out of a peculiar type of wood. It is covered with intricately carved runes in Sylvan and the sound it emits seems mesmerizing and irresistibly beautiful to some humanoids and animals.
Moondraught: This potent liquid is the equivalent of four potions of Cure Light Wounds it can be consumed all at once or in four separate uses. A Lycanthrope who drinks this potion automatically gains the maximum effect. Shandril's talent for crafting these draughts from a mix of herbal remedies and moonfire gives her unlimited access to the valuable potions, if the rare materials can be obtained.
Moonfire Salve: Stored in a translucent white ceramic jar about the size of a flask, moonfire salve is the semisolid residue remaining after a manifestation of moonfire at a holy ritual of Selûne. Depending upon how it is used, it has different magic effects.
Moonmote: This round, pale stone is one of the permanent manifestations of Selûne's moonfire. Once per day it can be commanded to create dancing lights under the control of its bearer.
Shandril knows next to nothing of her true heritage, for she like many other children in Faerun was left on the doorstep of a temple. Wrapped in a thick dark blue cloak and with no note or trace of who had put her there, the doorkeeper to the Temple of Silver Stars found her on a clear night during the Feast of the Moon. The infant girl was healthy and joyous, smiling at the priestess as she cradled the child in her arms. Taking her inside the temple and presenting the child to the High Priestess and the congregation of the faithful, that were joined in song and chant to the Silver Lady on that sacred of nights, they were all intrigued at the markings on the child's forehead. Six blue hued stars above an elaborate depiction of what could only be the tears of Selûne, and the High Priestess Shalyssa Lurialar, deemed that it was an omen from their goddess, for the child to be taken in to their care and raised in the temple.
The priestess Cirindel Brightmantle, who was the doorkeeper that had found her, was tasked with tending to Shandril and as she took the only weeks old girl to her chambers and unwrapped the cloak, she found a piece of jewelry carefully hidden in the many layers of cloth. Shimmering like a star in the pale light of her quarters, the jewelry was adorned with a multitude of sapphires and the metal was undoubtly silver, it was a pin most likely used to clasp the cloak. The beauty of the jewelry was unlike anything the priestess had seen before and it radiated with traces of magical energy as the dim light of the moon struck it through the starshaped window of tinted glass. Realizing the jewelry was meant for the child and assuming it had a significance beyond the comprehension of the priestess, she hid it away carefully till the child would come of age and could seek the answers herself.
Thus Shandril was adopted by the temple and though she was given the surname of Brightmantle after Cirindel, and in all respect saw the priestess as her mother, the whole of the clergy treated the child as their own and raised her according to their doctrine and ideals. Shandril shared quarters with Cirindel for many of her childhood years and was always watched over by the moon elven cleric, for she had come to love her as her own daughter. She was a joyful spirit and very curious, it was far from unusual to find her on the doorstep to the temple chatting up every traveler passing by. Curious of nature, Shandril wanted to know everything and there was no pause to the questions asked, no matter the subject and though no harm came from it, Cirindel decided it was best to keep her occupied.
So at the age of six Shandril began school at Utramm's Conservatory, the traditional school of Silverymoon for teaching children to play instruments, sing and compose music.
Despite her young age, Shandril excelled in several of the subjects the school presented, most notably her vocal lessons, but also the study and composition of music in general. Impressed with the aptitude she had for particular singing, the young girl appeared in minor roles for various concerts throughout the city's many stages, always supervised by her teachers and within sight of the overprotective Cirindel. She was an excellent harpist as well, but was a mundane artist on any other instrument.
As the years went by and Shandril got older and left school, there was a change in her life around the temple grounds. She moved out of the Temple of Silver Stars and into the Maiden's Hall, the barracks style building of the Moonknights, and under Moonlord Seamus Beál she was put to work. At first her chores ranged from kitchen work to greeting people outside the temple grounds and directing them to either the temple or the store, A Handful of Stars, on Shadowstars Lane. Something she took to with great sense of pride and joy, for the outgoing young girl met many strangers and found most of them quite willing to answer her many inquiries of life beyond the city walls.
Many of the locals in the old city and even some on the southbank or new city took a liking to Shandril, for not a dull moment would pass by while she was about. And in the rare case she had her curiosity sated for a moment, and often regardless, she would sing a variety of songs uniquely portrayed by her or spontaneously thought up. Every day seemed a bit brighter when she was skipping about merrily and Seamus Beál was amazed at the revenue increases of both the store but in particular how Shandril could sometimes return with near a hundred silver coins in the afternoon. There was no fee for the services the young girl provided and yet she provided more income than most of the senior knights, at the mere age of ten. It was due to this Seamus and Shalyssa agreed to enroll her at the University of Silverymoon as soon as they would accept her, and that half of what Shandril earned be put aside to fund it, Cirindel was quick to dismiss the idea as she didn't like the thought of her foster daughter tampering with forces they did not comprehend, but after Shandril begged her to say yes, she eventually gave in.
The University of Silverymoon sent one of their instructors, Rhomtal, a wizard and tutor in astrology, history, culture and linguistic, to assess the abbility of Shandril. She had never tried her hands at spells and it was obvious to her that she wasnt a wizard, Rhomtal however was intrigued at the results of the various tests, claming she had an innate abbility of a more spontanious nature and certainly that could qualify as well. It wasnt more than a tenday before he returned to the Maiden's Hall with an associate, they had some more tests for Shandril that would determine their decision she was told.
Shandril was strangely nervous, it was not something she was used to, not even when singing from a stage in the four corners square had she felt so exposed. But the associate of Rhomtal who was none other than Uondeld Aerasumé, one of Lady Alustriel's sons and magus at the Lady's College, assured her there was nothing to fret over. After the series of tests the two wizards discussed at some length and for all they said Shandril barely understood a word, but they seemed genuinely excited. After their lengthy conversation Uondeld told Shandril that she was to young to attend the college and that most of the courses were prohibited for wizards, something she would never become. The young girl could have cried in an instant, had he not smiled kindly at her and told her that she would however begin private lessons under Reginald Valurian when she was twelve.
After Cirindel had explained to Shandril what the cost of each course was, as well as the tracks of study the University had available, Shandril worked with twice the diligence she previously had. The newfound motivation of the young Shandril meant she saw business opportunities in her every endeavor. Not only did she guide people around the entirety of the old city, but she fashioned maps of the interior city of an exceptionally high quality and covered with extravagant artwork dedicated to the Moonmaiden. Cirindel was concerned that Seamus let her run all over the city, so sometimes she would be confined to working the storage of A Handful of Stars, but she was ineffective at that for she would just take to drawing more maps and develop more profitable ideas. At the end of her eleventh year she was all over the city and had an ear everywhere, she would direct carters to the best parking spots for unloading their wares, travelers to any location within the city, trade simple gossip or news from various inns and taverns, point people to the best accommodations and the list grew longer with every passing day and her college fund grew at a rapid pace.
One such day around the market she met two dwarves in a heated debate with an elf called Elurial, he was well known for being somewhat thick headed, curious as always Shandril eavesdropped for a moment before eyeing her chance. The two parts were arguing over a payment for a ware delivery, Elurial refusing the full price given the delay and the dwarf who's name was Khazzares Stormhammer wanted extra for saving the elfs goods from a group of bandits. Shandril was quick to jump in and suggest Khazzares took his demands to the Knights in Silver, for according to the description it was a notorious group of bandits on the western road and the bounty would not stay unclaimed for long. Both parts content with the prospect of more gold on the table quickly settled their differences and concluded their buisness with one another. Thankful of her intervention the dwarf gave Shandril two silver pieces and asked for directions where he might take his claim, Shandril took the opportunity to sell him a map or even walk him there for the standard fee of ten silver, the dwarf laughed heartily and went on at some length about how she must have stone in her blood, for certainly she was a dwarf at heart.
Khazzares was more than happy to pay for a guided tour to the Star Court though he did feel the need to point out he was being robbed, again. He was a kind dwarf and kept laughing at her many questions, answering politely although reluctant to talk of where he came from and why. His son, Khadrin, was a more reserved and quiet dwarf, he simply trotted along and listened, when Shandril had directed questions at him he simply shrugged and answered almost exclusively yes or no. When they arrived at the court, Shandril was about to take her leave but Khazzares begged her do him a favor, against payment of course. Khadrin had neither the patience nor the diplomatic guile of his father, so it be best if Khazzares proceeded alone and rather than starting a tavern brawl Shandril could show him around in the city. Shandril was a bit hesitant but the kind old dwarf promised her he'd compensate her fully for any assessed lost business revenue, calculating as always Shandril accepted.
Khadrin was not particulary interested in the tour and for the first hour or so, he barely said a word, but when they approached the market stalls again he began to warm up to her. He was somewhat intrigued at how such a multi ethnical society thrived, for Silverymoon was something strange to behold for outsides. Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings and numerous other races living side by side in a mutual beneficial peace and understanding, this seemed strange to him for always had he found prejudice amongst one part or the other, but not here. He complained a great deal about some merchant he had met in Mirabar and used what Shandril assumed to be cuss words in dwarven, to describe him among other people that the young dwarf apparently had a notable grudge against.
After the seemingly endless rant Shandril proposed that they went to the Undermarket, located beneath the market square, perhaps it would be a more familiar setting for him she thought. The very notion of going underground seemed to quicken Khadrin's pace and it was as if his mood changed in an instant, overjoyed and excentric he inspected every collum of stone, every bit of craftsmanship put into shaping the spectacular marketplace beneath the city. The vendors and their wares didnt seem to interest him much at first, but when they came across a large stall of steel blunted weapons he had to inspect every weapon closely. The merchant who was another shield dwarf discussed methods of forging the various metals and how the shaft and head of a warhammer best be co-joined in the arts of smithing. For once Shandril found her curiosity to be halted, she just stood there observing the two dwarfs taking turns at swinging the various sized hammers and maces at an old dented shield put there for that very purpose.
Hours later the two emerged from the Undermarket and discovered they had been absent longer than expected, it was near dusk now and Shandril had best get back to the Maiden's Hall lest her foster mother would turnover half the city in search for her. Khadrin assured her they would stop by and give her what was owed as soon as he found his father, and also that he wouldn't go about putting his newly acquired warhammer to the test. So the two of them parted and Shandril ran over the Moonbridge and back home, not knowing that it was the beggining of a long friendship. Khazzares came by the day after while Shandril was out and about, but he left a large purse of coins with Seamus and a sincerely thankful impression to the Moonlord, for she had made him richer than he had dared dream of and it was only fair she got a percentage of the bounty, an overwhelming one hundred gold pieces.
The two dwarves had since left the city and it wasnt untill months later Shandril saw them again, ever since that day when the Stormhammers were in Silverymoon, Khadrin would trade stories with Shandril while Khazzares attended their business and every time Khadrin would promise to one day take her on one of his adventures. The young dwarf was as reluctant as his father to speak of their home, but eventually he did reveal that they had suffered a loss at the hands of their most hated enemies, the Frost Giants, that had forced them to a life of travelling the savage frontier in search of purpose. And though Khadrin was a smith, among the finest in all of his clans history in fact, he spend more time forging giant skulls with his beloved hammers than any metal.
Just as promissed at the age of twelve Shandril began her first private course at the University of Silverymoon, under Reginald Velurian she began to understand her innate ability to tap into the weave. He was a scholar of some repute around the city and an extraordinaire bard, though a very bureaucratic man and very stern as a mentor, he was a perfect match for the somewhat chaotic minded Shandril. During her earliest lessons she adopted Reginalds timeliness, for he had no tolerance for late arrivals, and she has since then been exceptionally thorough and process minded in any of her researches with a keen eye for detail and documenting everything.
Reginald taught Shandril a great deal of how to practise the art through an innate ability such as hers, as well as the difference between the variety of magic users in the realms and their techniques. This formed a basis for understanding of magic and may ultimately have been the seed for her mastery of a variety of later courses. Reginald also taught her how music can be interwoven in spell casting or singularly be made to wield magical properties, something they avoid at Utramm's Conservatory. The courses were tailor made for Shandril and well paid for, but even then she displayed a growing talent and interest for the subjects and instead of her past activities to the temple, she now took to the vault of sages with every spare moment she had during the day. Further increasing her understanding of the subjects at hand and scarcely taking her mind of her studies, she was through and through obsessed.
Eventually Reginald declared her ready for the variety of subjects applicable to her kind of spell casting, if she could get admission from the dean and the various magisters of the university. Her lessons with Reginald would continue at a more sporadic rate in the years to come, as she developed her talent for spellcasting, but already then he saw in her a fiery soul of passion driven by curiosity and knew well that eventually it would take her beyond the confines of the libraries in the Gem of the North. So he went forth to the Temple of Silver Stars and met with Seamus and Cirindel, expressing his concerns that there was a more elementary need for eduction in self defense, for she would undoubtedly take to the road one day. As a result of this meeting Shandril's academic life came to an immediate pause, for prior to initiating any of the courses she had applied for, she would undergo training in the various styles of combat available in the city.
Shandril loathed the sessions of weapon practice, at first she could barely land a proper hit with the heavy mace sacred to the order of Moonknights. But as Seamus kept saying, it would give her arms the strength it needed to master such weapon and thereby any lighter weapon too perhaps. But in truth the techniques were so different and Shandril didn't excel at her lessons at all, for the first time in her life she felt set back and it bothered her greatly. Every moment spend away from the lessons she would seek admission to the Vault of Sages, the Map House or the House of the Harp, in persuit of her own study methods. But eventually she was given a temporary ban under payment from Seamus, at first she was full of resent for him, but she came to appreciate it within a months time.
Her lessons began paying off slowly, her arms were less sore from the endless swinging of the heavy maces and her technique improved significantly, but the weapon which relied so heavily on brute force didn't favor her footwork at all. One day while practicing Khadrin happened to be in town and as always he came to find his lil'sis as he had come to calling her, what he found shocked him. To see Shandril wield a heavy warmace taller than him and nearly her, had never even entered his mind as a possibility, he screamed of laughter as she stepped on her own foot and the sheer weight of the mace brought her to the ground. Pleased with seeing him, albeit embarrassed at her clumsiness, she got up on her feet and greeted him.
Explaining to Khadrin how she was put to this brutish training in order to one day perhaps being able to fend for herself, there was to her surprise no sympathy to be found from her friend. Khadrin was a firm beliver that anyone should be able to slay their first orc before growing a beard, their warlike clan had always sought to educate their young from an early age for the art of war. What surprised him though was the methods of wielding the mace, he even made the notion that the senior knights hadn't a clue about combat. He told her that any fighter can chose a weapon and with enough practice they might become experts indeed, but to master a weapon in combat the weapon must choose you. He proposed she tried a few things with him. As eager as she was at first, as horribly disappointed did she become when he gave her a large stick that lay on the ground. Picking up a stick of his own the two fenced for a while, every time she would throw herself at him without regard for the next blow as he pointed out.
Khadrin spend the whole of the day practicing with Shandril, she wasn't pleased at first having to use a stick, but he convinced her when he compared it to reading, first you must know the alphabet, then the words will come and eventually you can read the whole book he said. Despite being bruised from her wrists to her shoulders and her feet aching from the hours upon hours he had made her dance about, she went to bed that night feeling all the more confident.
The next morning she woke up to the dwarf's coughing as he lit his meerschaum pipe, blinking and rubbing her eyes she looked at him quite puzzled but he simply asked if she was ready. Shandril was half forced to swallow her breakfast and straight into the courtyard carrying on where they had left the day before. Seamus was not sure what to think of the dwarf and his persistence in teaching her at first, but when Khadrin had proposed he dueled any of the Moonknights and disarmed two of them as if child's play, Seamus had condoned it.
The next three months Khadrin stayed in Silverymoon practicing with Shandril every day, when not with weapons he would train her physically to be athletic, fast and surefooted, as well as strong enough to wield any weapon. It didn't take him long to discern her aptitude for sword-fighting over any other styled weapon, though he firmly believed she would be a force to be reckoned with on horse back with a lance. By the end of the three months Shandril was adept with the sword and Khadrin was to thank, but he claimed it was her all along he simply nudged her in the right direction. She made a promise to him that she would keep honing her techniques and exercise so she would be fit enough for anything he could throw at her when next he came to the city.
Seeing Shandril going about her martial training now with the same diligence as her magical studies, Seamus and Cirindel had her ban revoked at the institutes of knowledge as well as contacting Uondeld to let her academic life continue. And despite her ambitions and enthusiasm she knew it had to be structured so she would not forsake any of her pursuits. Thus Shandril scheduled her days carefully for the next many years, exercising, studying and practicing her swordplay on a daily basis nearly, when she had to be flexible and change her schedule she would work all the harder the following day.
At the age of twenty one she was an educated Astrologer and fully emerged in the private courses of Spell Tactics and Battle, as well as Abjurative Focus, both of which she attended under Uondeld Aerasumé at night and while being a student at the College of Enchantment from morning till highsun. Meanwhile she was tending to her duties as a guide around the city and its outskirts, for few among the students in Silverymoon, at that time, had taken more private courses than Shandril. Her desired perfectionism in every endeavor however was costly, between the expenses at the college and the fee for every text, book, map or scroll she felt a need to study at the vault of sages, Shandril was spending thousands on a weekly basis.
As a result of the extravagant academic life, Shandril had to work twice as hard to raise money for it. And what had previously seemed to be easily achieved was now all the harder, for despite her fair features and the beauty which the now young woman was graced with, the charity her childhood charms had generated was a bygone era. Fortune telling, scrying and mapping various locations became a part of her day to day life and since her lessons were paying off, she had become capable enough to embark on some of the more dangerous tasks of the Moonknights. Shandril was escorting merchants about the city at night and sometimes she would go with a contingency of the senior knights as far as to Rauvinwatch Keep, acting as guards and for her part mostly a guide and mapper, but Shandril took to her tasks with a perfectionist's diligence always.
In the year 1346 by Dale reckoning, Shandril was a graduate of all the tracks of study she had engaged in. Though her teachers were advising further study and commitment to many more years at the college halls, circumstances in the surrounding and hostile environment of the savage frontier had taken Shandril's attention beyond the safe walls of her home city.
Of the many forests in the surrounding vales and plains, the Moonwood was most frequently visited by the young bard and her companions, for though the forest was entirely void of the savage orcs and goblinoidss that plagued the north, its inhabitants were no less dangerous. The dense forest was safe enough in the southern regions and from there the senior members of the clergy and the Moonknights struck out at the People of the Black Blood that dwelled in the northern regions of the dense wood. Between the shadowtop, evergreen and duskwood trunks many a battle took place and there were few victories to celebrate.
Shandril took place in more fights than she would like to recall but never in the thickest of the fray, for though she had became strong over the years of training and a lethal adversary with her sword, she was not a knight. And unlike the clergy members of the Moonmaiden, she could not provide cures for the ailments that the local populace may require. Many of the lycanthropes that call the Moonwood home are not of the same malevolent nature as the Malarite tribes that inhabit the forest, they embraced their fate by the waxing and waning of Selûne, many sought to be rid of their afflictions as well and there for their duty was all the more purposeful than the fighting to Shandril.
Her first many visits to the forest was more or less confined to the encampment's they made and its near surroundings, but over the months that passed she strayed further in to the forest depths, though never alone, for Khadrin was always at her side those days. The two of them explored the vales and meadows within the forest and Shandril was delighted to make a note of every tree and elaborate drawings as well as highly detailed maps, but Khadrin was far more enthusiastic when they came across a pile of rocks or a cave, inhabited or not. The stout dwarf once told Shandril that nothing would wake her up in the morning, like a bear coming home to its den, though she laughed as he said it, a part of her feared he might have meant it.
One afternoon as the encampment had moved north of the town Quaervarr, Shandril wandered about the forest regardless of the terrible weather that had dissuaded Khadrin. The heavy rain and mist that engulfed the forest, did not dampen her spirits. She went north from the camp and made notes of her surroundings, then circled around and made yet more notes whilst shielding her map from the rain with her cloak. It was not before the last sunlight faded she gave a thought to time, hours had passed but the rain now fell softly through the less dense leafy canopy above and filled the forest with a fragrance of various plants in the thick moss covered undergrowth, much to Shandril's delight.
At the realization that her companions might be worried for her, she decided to head back, but after surveying her map and surroundings, she saw a clearing ahead that she had not noticed before. Amidst the clearing was a treeless hill and as Shandril approached she saw two figures dance about in a beautiful unimaginable fashion. She stood at the edge of the clearing between two large duskwood tree's and observed the technical display of finesse and elegance from the two females. One was strange to behold Shandril thought, though as flawless in her dance, she was unlike her peer in every other way. A blue hued skin in the light of the moon, pointy ears and silver hair with a pair of radiant topaz eyes, she was no doubt an elf but unlike any Shandril had seen before. The other was as beautiful in her features but a contrast to the first elf, her skin was a deep obsidian black and her hair was grey, her eyes a bright amber and all across her arms and legs beneath the thin robes were tattoos in strange patterns.
Paralyzed in awe at what she beheld, Shandril hardly noticed their enchanting song had come to a stop, until the two elves turned and looked directly at her. A feeling of embarrassment and slight fear took hold of her and Shandril felt her heart pumping even faster as the two elves approached. The blue skinned elf tilted her head as they stopped just a feet in front of her and muttered a sentence in a dialect of elven Shandril did not know, the other elf nodded and laughed in response and Shandril felt a slight relief.
Attempting to greet the pair of elves, rather than holding her silence and awaiting their reaction, seemed the logical move to Shandril. But for all her efforts to master a variety of languages, there was no reward. Barely did the two elves seem interested in communicating with her as they exchanged words in hushed voices and studied her thoroughly. The awkward moment came to a sudden end as the strange looking elf stared in to Shandril's eyes and stiffly asked in the common tongue, why she was trespassing on this sacred place without invitation. Shocked and confused by the question, Shandril did not know what to say but to ask forgiveness, but the words stuck in her throat and instead she stuttered and barely had her mouth opened before the darker of the two elves vanished before her eyes.
The other elf did not react to the obviously frightened Shandril, instead she sighed loudly and shook her head. She turned her eyes to the hill in the clearing and muttered a phrase which to Shandril's relief was in the common elven that she knew, "May the Moon be your friend my lonely dark sister". Her voice was as beautiful as her appearance and to Shandril she seemed almost to perfect and other worldly, for a moment she forgot her fear and asked if she had crossed into the feywild. The question made the elf laugh and she fixed her eyes on Shandril once more and smiled warmly at the young bard, whilst shaking her head.
For most of that evening Shandril sat at the edge of the clearing, exchanging words with the curious looking elf, who explained she had unintentionally wandered into a sacred site for followers of Lady Silverhair. Fascinated by what she learned, Shandril took only few notes and hastily marked the location of the site on her map, as to not appear unfriendly. The elf was Etriel' Cálithil Nimril, Tärien Tel'Giliath and though she would admit to not being a moon elf, she was reluctant to reveal anything else but her name to Shandril. Of the other elf and the treeless hill however, she spoke with much enthusiasm and respect, almost as awestruck as Shandril. The drow elf was a stranger to her but a tenday past, but their paths had crossed at a stream deeper in the woods, where Cálithil had encountered a horrific cave spider of monstrous proportions. The drow elf had apparently saved her and though Shandril wondered why, she quietly listened to the tale without interruption.
As the evening turned to night and the story had come to its end, Shandril knew a great deal more than she had when first she stumbled into the clearing. How the Mouth of Song as it was called, was a sacred site to those who would dance beneath the beauty of the nightskies in honor of Eilistraee, The Dark Maiden. And that among her followers there were some exiles from the City of Spiders, drow elves who had dared the journey to the surface and found sanctuary at the shrine located beneath the hill.
Shandril could have sat by the side of Cálithil for days beyond counting, listening to what the strange elven woman had to tell. But as the stars above shone brightly down upon the two at the edge of the clearing and Selûne made her voyage across the sea of night, Shandril knew she had to make her way back to the encampment. Despite her best attempts to convince Cálithil to accompany her, the two said their farewells and parted for now, but the elf swore they would meet again and Shandril secretly hoped it would be sooner rather than later.
The way back to the encampment took a great deal longer than Shandril had anticipated, but for all the horrors that would stalk the dense woods at night, Shandril saw nothing but hedgehogs, foxes and a great deal of bats, owls and other nocturnal hunters. It was not until the camp was within earshot she thought that something was out of the ordinary. Loud shouting amidst commands being barked at random to whomever was closest was just a preview of what was in store, for as Shandril came to the edge of the encampment she noticed multiple tents or the remains there of smoldering on the ground. The scene that took place was surreal to her, a chaotic battlefield littered with blood and corpses whilst screams of agony and terrifying howls seemed to come from all sides. Hardly was there time to think or seek answer, before a strange man with ratlike features came charging at her, his face and torso was covered in blood and a gashing wound on his forehead and another on his cheek would seem the cause.
Without thought or sympathy, Shandril drew her blade in the same motion as she slashed the man across his chest, he instantly fell to the ground and for a moment his fingers dug into the blood soaked soil. The sound of his last breath before his life ebbed away filled Shandril with remorse and pity, but a familiar voice cheering loudly from behind distracted her from the dead man. She turned and saw Khadrin swinging a warhammer wildly, the first strike missed, but the following blow from his second hammer landed a perfect hit on his enemy. As the hammerhead met with the skull of the towering wolf like creature, blood splashed everywhere and covered the dwarf from the waist and up, the creature fell lifeless to the ground with a loud thump as another assailed Khadrin from behind.
Awash with fear and concern for her companion, Shandril lept over a corpse towards Khadrin, her blade still in her hand and with a determination to do anything in her power to save him, she rushed to his side. But the mere seconds that passed was enough for the battle hardened shield dwarf to bring down his foes, without much effort. As he turned to Shandril he laughed and spat out some blood and part of a chipped tooth, he angrily asked where in the nine hells she had been and before ever she could answer, another werebeast came charging at them. Two hammer blows to the hip and torso forced the beast on its knee's before Khadrin brought his hammer down on its forehead with a loud roar. The hours of that night seemed without end to Shandril as yet more creatures emerged from the darkness of the forest all around them and barely without pause they fought side by side.
When dawn finally arrived and the first rays of sunlight pierced through the woods, the enemy had retreated almost entirely. A few stray or wounded beasts were trying to escape but the relentlessness of the surviving Moonknights gave no quarter. Shandril's arms felt heavy and she swore that her life had been forfeit if not for her dwarven companion, his kills were immeasurable and there was no signs of fatigue or weariness on his stern blood covered face.
The dead were beyond counting and it took many hours to get an estimate of their own casualties, for amidst the flurry of steel and claws every body they turned over was mangled or ripped and slashed so savagely that most were beyond recognition. Bewildered and confused, Shandril stood amidst the camp as her eyes surveyed the dead that had been placed in a line, side by side. Tears began rolling down her cheeks and she felt nauseous as the stench of rot crept up her nostrils, some of them had been dead for nearly half a day now and the thick air beneath the dense canopy above did not allow a single gust of wind through. Hardly could it be any worse Shandril thought, but then her eyes caught a glimpse of a small hand beneath a hulk of a beast, amidst a fallen tent. The large lycanthrophe was tangled up in the cotton fabric of the tent and Shandril could hardly move it at all, she pushed and pulled with all the strength she could muster while repeating the same sentence again and again "Please, no.. let me be wrong."
When she finally managed to roll the monstrous corpse of the dead beast over, she shrieked so loudly the whole camp and forest seemed struck with a paralysis spell. Those around her stopped and lowered their gaze, but for Khadrin who walked up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder. Shandril was on her knee's sobbing uncontrollably, with her head buried in the blood stained clothes of the corpse before her, her wailing was so loud it send chills down the spines of her companions. Khadrin spoke not a word but for a low muttered prayer in his native tongue, had Shandril regarded him then she would have seen the tears in his eyes and the genuine sorrow that he felt on her behalf, but there was nothing in the world to her that moment, but the lifeless corpse of Cirindel.
After a long period that would seem like an eternity to Shandril, two elder knights insisted that they had to move Cirindel and examine the possibilities of ressurection, but for all their attempts to reason with Shandril, there was no logic to be found with the grief struck bard. She did not relent until they forcefully removed her and though many tried to soothe her, there was no comfort for Shandril in all of the realms on that day.
If it was the discovery of her dead foster parent, or the news brought to her afterwards by the clergy members that had assessed the injuries of Cirindel, that made Shandril leave, noone knows. But there was no possible way to bring back her mother and the war against the People of the Black Blood ended that day on Shandril's behalf. For the next many years she would call no place home and though she occasionally returned to Silverymoon and the comforts of her childhood home, she never lingered. The once smiling, joyous and ever curious Shandril was changed, as if a part of her had died with her mother. Most frequently she would take to the road in company of Khadrin and the two of them explored the savage frontier from east to west, often hired as bodyguards by weary travellers or merchants, or simply exploring ancient locations long abandoned.
Of the adventuring years of Shandril and her companions there are many an untold tale, most famously her venture into Old Delzoun and the ruins of the old Earlann empire in the High Forest. Some stories are often told in the Bright Blade Brandished and the Inn of the Wayward Sages, that speak of a strange elf, an obnoxious dwarf and silver minstrel with a milky white blade, that would set out on the most unbelievable of adventures. Most is regarded as tavern talk and exaggerated rumors, but the truth of Shandril's exploits are largely unknown.
In the year 1350 DR, Shandril visited Silverymoon and the Temple of Silver Stars, she collected what few items she still had at her quarters and finally accepted the gift of Cirindel's blade, to wear it against the enemies of the Moonmaiden, in honor of her foster mother. By the cover of night, she left the city alone and the last rumors of her spoke that she would seek her fortune elsewhere so that she might once more gaze upon Selûne and rejoice, rather than be filled with grief for the loss she had suffered.