(LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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Almarea90
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(LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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First Name: Edelgarde
Last Name: None Spades

Music Theme


Race: Tiefling
Age: 23
Date of Birth: 21st of Alturiak 1333 (Year of the Striking Falcon)
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 50kg
Eyes: Dark Red
Hair: Bright red, long and straight.

Personality Profile: Edelgarde appears as a polite and modest person. She insists on calling everyone by title as she believes respect is due to everyone. She has a sharp mind and is fond of books and lore, since for her knowledge means freedom. Even at first glance she might appear boring and cold, she has a strong sense of humor and likes people's company. She hates unreasonable constriction, especially the taint of her blood. Thus, her moderate behavior is her way to defy that innate and wicked instinct. Edelgarde fears loneliness that's why her piglet familiar Betty always accompanies her. In order to hide her heavily scarred hands she never removes her gloves.

Her arrival on the Coast marked a path of great evolution. Most of those she met didn't judge her for her blood and she found a place to belong, this made her more confident and sociable. Now she would be way less strict with her manners, albeit recurring to them in formal occasions. The increasing responsibilities of her roles in both Candlekeep and House of Spades made her less afraid of taking decisions, although she wouldn't define herself a good leader.
On the other hand, her new life caused her "dark side" to evolve as well. No longer made of blind rage at those who wronged her, her darkness now feeds on the respect and admiration of those around her, seeking some measure of control over them. This, though, caused some manner of balance with her "bright side" that instead seeks to help others no matter their attitude toward her: darkness would be quieted down by their loyalty and appreciation, causing it to stir less. Regardless, Edelgarde would still keep it chained, refraining herself from committing actions driven by it.

The appearance of the Child of Darkness caused the foundations of Edelgarde's new life to heavily shake and it's only thanks to her newfound family and friends that she found the strength to fight back.
These hardships took away most of her naivety and optimism, as she now sees the life on the Coast as something that takes the new comers' hopes and dreams away, leaving them numb and devoid of enthusiasm.
Edelgarde saw her friends' lives at risk many times and, especially when she saw Jalib on the verge of death twice, something in her snapped. She developed an anxiety disorder, with the constant need of checking on her friends to make sure they are fine.
This new situation caused her darkness to stir, weakening its containment. She would sometimes feel spike of rage that would cause her to snap at people. In order to let it go, she would focus it toward unintelligent enemies or object. This new feeling would however collide with her insecurity, causing an internal struggle.
Despite all, however, Edelgarde stubbornly refused to let hope go. Firmly believing that in giving up she would have already lost, she refuses to stay down. Hardship made her wiser and now not only she found her own light, but she now fully understand what it means. After giving up on absolute hope that everything is going to be alright and will fix itself on its own, she realized her hopes aren't to be placed in the tide of fate but in people's actions, as in time even the wind can reshape mountains. Faith is now the essence of her "bright side": faith in her allies, in the gods and in her own determination to keep fighting despite all odds.

Another milestone in Edelgarde's life was the growth of the House of Spades as a place to belong for those who don't have one and the progressive definition of its goals. In a time of growing intolerance and violence on the Coast, Edelgarde's efforts strive toward peace and dialogue, even with those considered questionable or frowned upon by the majority of people for their origin or heritage. Now more than ever, she is driven by of her most important ideals: nobody was born evil, nobody is destined to be evil. At the same time, her role in the House strengthened her sense of responsibility toward the House members: no matter how desperate the situation they might find themselves in, nobody will be left behind.

Deity: Deneir the scribe.
Initial Alignment: Chaotic Good
Edelgarde's blood gives her a pull toward chaos. Chaos in her blood caused her to rebel against the evil pull of the blood itself, which, in a way, is fighting itself.
After she joined Candlekeep, her extreme loyalty toward Guide Isabella Villame constantly pulled her toward order, however Jalib and Jasnah's influence keep tugging her toward chaos, causing her to sit in between the two.

Profession: Candlekeep Scribe
Base Class & Proposed Development: Wizard/Thaumaturge/Arcane Scholar
Habits/Hobbies: Reading, embroidering. Loves animals.
Languages: Common, Abyssal, Elven, Dwarven, Illuskan, Celestial, Draconinc, Arcane, Chondathan, Thorass, Infernal, Netherese.
Weapon of Choice: light crossbow Firefly (staff)

Background:

"Your horns and tail are just a few notes in a whole song. And not even loud ones."
Isabella Villame


Edelgarde was born in a small settlement near Neverwinter. Her parents are unknown and she was raised by an elderly woman she always considered her grandmother. Since early childhood she could feel the tug of her blood, pushing forward the most wicked and feral sides of her personality.
When Edelgarde was eight years old, her grandmother passed away. Due to her abyssal inheritance, nobody took her in and Edelgarde found herself living off scraps and sleeping on the streets. She knew beatings, starvation and cold.
One day, three of the local kids that liked to harass her took her doll. They dismembered it and dropped the now formless rags into a puddle. As she lost the last memory of her grandmother, the taint of her blood took control and she killed one of the kids. After that, she ran away fearing the reaction of the village.
Two days after, Lord Wilric Serebald, a noble mage from Neverwinter found her and took her in. He needed an assistant for his research that could handle dangerous and corrosive reagents and her innate resistance allowed her to do so unharmed. Most of the time.
She was well fed and cared for. Her master taught her manners and the basic spells she needed in order to aid him. However, the other servants avoided her and even her master seemed to barely notice her. Edelgarde soon found herself preferring the company of animals.
The years passed and she grew fond of books and knowledge. She felt that every notion and concept shaped her into a better creature, giving her the power to discern. Of course, the darkness was still there and the more it tried to pull her strings, the more she forced herself to live up to the values of civilization. Moderation, culture and knowledge defied the bestiality inside of her and, as she soon found out, defiance felt rather good.
As the years passed she realized that her master would always consider her inferior, so she started defying him as well. By stealing books forbidden to her she learnt how to summon creatures from other planes. She grew bolder and bolder. By observing her master for a long time, she memorized all his wards and protections and how to pass them unscathed. One night, while he was away, Edelgarde managed to sneak into his private quarters and discovered that his master's research was about a particular demon he was trying to summon and bind to his will.
Without thinking of the consequences, she destroyed his notes, stole his books and all the money she could carry. Then she fled the manor and caught the first ship for Baldurs Gate.


Goals: Help to stop the devils, knowledge, write a chronicle of the war, writing a complete compendium of planar lore, supporting House of Spades.

Possible Plot-Hook Ideas and Misc Facts:
Lord Sarebald is still around and most likely fuming.
Her mother might still be alive.
She is currently teaching the orphans at the temple of Ilmater how to read and write.

Planar Allies:

"I Call to serve, not to command."

Edelgarde is a thaumaturge and deals with different planar entities. Apart from Jasnah who is her Planar Cohort and is constantly on the Material Plane, she would occasionally call on other Celestials depending on the situation. Edelgarde wouldn't command them or force them to fight. She would instead act as conduit to allow them access to the Material Plane and assist them in fulfilling their mission. Therefore, she would only summon a specific Celestial only on certain occasion that would align with their goals.

Jasnah - Asura
Image
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Embodies: Hope, Freedom
Deity: Ilmater
Music Theme

"There are two types of rules: those meant to protect who can't fight back and those meant to be broken."

Jasnah used to roam the Prime Material and help those in need to break free from the chains of evil. She accepted to accompany Edelgarde when she saw her inner struggle between the darkness of her blood and her own light, but also her effort to break free from the prejudices associated with her kind.
Jasnah at first didn't want to commit to a lasting collaboration, explaining that she wasn't fond of lasting commitments. Later on, Edelgarde found out that Jasnah, being immortal, was destined to outlive any of her mortal allies and that this was the cause of her diffidence toward lasting bonds. Her grumpy and sometimes dismissive demeanor is also a result of this.
Regardless, she would fight fiercely to protect those in need, more so if they face devils or other tyrannic creatures.
Jasnah doesn't care about social conventions or manners and would sometimes act in the spur of the moment taking off to the sky or speaking her mind. Regardless she is a creature of great wisdom and would never act rashly or in a way that would put others in danger.

Asriel - Planetar
Image
Alignment: Lawful Good
Embodies: Loyalty, Wisdom
Deity: Deneir
Oath: I will employ my knowledge for the greater good and stand against those who seek to use it for evil purposes.

There is no such a thing as "evil knowledge". Only evil scholars.

Faithful servant of Edelgarde's patron deity, he noticed her efforts in preserving knowledge and employing it for the greater good. He would lend his strength in retrieving knowledge needed for a good cause or to stop those who would use it for evil purposes.

Azure - Ghaele
Image
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Embodies: Kindness, Purity
Deity: Selune
Oath: "I will never strike first, may it be with sword, spell or words."
Music Theme

"You can't grow crops without planting the seeds. You can't build peace without listening".

Like the rest of her kind, this Celestial enjoys spending time on the Prime Material and is sworn to protect the mortals, especially those pure and good. She would answer promptly a call to heal those wounded or protect them from an enemy that would otherwise overwhelm them.

Lightbringer - Solar
Image
Alignment: Lawful Good
Embodies: Justice, Perseverance
Deity: Lathander
Oath: I will protect life, even when all seems lost.
Music Theme

"You have met with a terrible fate, haven't you? This is truly an unjust game. On your feet child, I am here to even the odds."

This is the most powerful Celestial Edelgarde is able to call and would only ask for his help when the situation is extremely dire. Lightbringer would only lend his strength to tip the scales of a struggle against formidable foes whose presence on the Prime Material is considered a menace for the lives of many and whose power or numbers would make them an unfair threat for mortals.
So far, Edelgarde called on him only three times, showing great reverence and ready to follow his lead.
Last edited by Almarea90 on Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:58 am, edited 29 times in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

1. Jasnah



Edelgarde kept repeating the spell in her mind, while walking the short distance to her destination.
The Lion's Way was lit by Selune's light. The quiet of the night disturbed only by the occasional chirping of a bombardier beatle.

Edelgarde looked over her shoulder for a moment, staring at the bulk of Candlekeep, a dark shadow in the star sprinkled sky.
She briefly considered going back to her quarters, but she immediately shook that thought off her mind and kept walking. Her tail and the hem of her black acolyte robes brushing on the wet grass.

She made her way through a small, thick patch of trees, her eyes still sharp even in the complete darkness, until she emerged in a small moonlit clearing.

With shaking hands and her heart pounding in her chest, she traced the calling diagram she had practiced so many times at the Keep.
The aseptic words of her Planar Lore book kept resonating ominously in her head:

If as much as an hair disturbs the lines of the calling diagram, the outsider will be free and may attack the conjurer.

She kept telling herself a celestial wouldn't chop her head off as first thing upon seeing her. Yet she couldn't completely sure something else would answer the call, could she?
What if her blood attracted a demon?
What if the Upper Planes refused to aid a demonspawn?
This and many other questions scratched at her resolve, while she inspected the newly traced diagram for any imperfection, until finally she forced them out.

With a deep breath, she tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear and started casting the spell. Although she had practiced the words and movements countless times, acting through them on the Weave still felt awkward and stiff.
It felt like cooking a dish for the first time, albeit one whose recipe she knew by heart. It was always like this when casting a spell for the first time.
This time though, she couldn't afford to make a mistake.

While the Weave unraveled around her, she could feel that weird sensation of getting closer and closer to "somewhere else" without moving one inch. And then, finally, she could feel them: the Outer Planes.

She felt the unspeakable evil of the Lower Planes and, with a sigh of relief, she realized it was out of reach for her.
She passed the shifting masses of Limbo, but didn't linger there. Instead, she grasped that faint feeling of peace and brightness, following it with her mind like a thread to the Upper Planes.

With a spike of panic, she realized this was the most important part. She felt the multitude of souls that populated that part of the realm moving and shifting.
She had just a few moments to make her choice.

Edelgarde reached for one of those bright points. Aided by the Weave, she made contact with the creature, who now had noticed her, conveying a simple request of aid.
She wasn't in immediate danger, but she needed aid nonetheless. The creature surely wouldn't mind this detail, would they?
The celestial accepted her call and Edelgarde shaped the Weave's tendrils, breaking through the planes.
And pulled.

The shape of a winged figure appeared inside the calling diagram, becoming more and more definite. Edelgarde observed her in awe, recognizing the creature as an Asura.
She looked like a tall woman in light armor. Her crimson, feathered wings were open, of the same color of her hair. She fell into a fighting stance, her scimitar alight with flames.

Image

For a few moments, her glowing eyes darted around, looking for some hidden foe, then it rested on the calling diagram. Her expression changed from surprise to disappointment.

"What's the meaning of this?" she snapped, her gaze now locked on Edelgarde.

The acolyte stood for a few moments, unable to utter a word.
The speech she had prepared had fled her mind as fast as a hare would flee from a predator.
Finally, feeling the weight of that gaze, she started recalling a few bits and strands.

"Your... Grace..." she said with a dry mouth. "I would first of all convey my most sincere apologies for the sudden call, but unfortunately the situation is di..."

"Cut the crap, child" the Asura cut her mid-sentence. "It's not a hard question. Why. Am. I. In a calling diagram?"

"I... I am a Thaumaturge" said Edelgarde, fighting the urge of running back to Candlekeep. "It was all I could do... Forging a bond with a planar creature and fight the devils at Dragonspear Castle. I mean... look around... Gnolls, Ogres... And this is just the Lion's Way."

The Asura shrugged. "Let me see if I got it right, child. You want -me- to be bound to you?"

Edelgarde considered for a moment the implications of that question. At the back of her mind she still managed to feel surprised at being called "child" at the age of twenty-two. But, thinking of it, she must have looked like a child to an immortal creature.

"Yes. Would you be my Planar Cohort?" she asked, opting for an honest approach.

"No" said the creature bluntly. "Listen" she added. "I am not really fond of long term commitments, as I am not really fond of your kind."

Edelgarde lowered her gaze. Of course she would have said that and she was a fool to think otherwise.

"You mean demonspawns?" she asked rhetorically.

"I mean Conjurers" said the Asura. "Now I know this might sound quite shocking, but tieflings don't have the exclusive on wickedness. Although fiendish blood surely doesn't push you toward holiness."

"One foot in the grave and the other in the proverbial bar of soap" Edelgarde muttered, mostly to herself.

"What?" asked the Asura.

"Oh, nothing" said Edelgarde. "Just something my grandmother used to say."

"The demonic one?" asked the celestial.

"What?! No!" said Edelgarde flustered. "I am not even sure if we were blood related..."

"I was joking" the Asura cut her off, now a hint of amusement on her otherwise stern face. "Look, I know how these things go. You start all in awe and reverence when you summon for the first time. Then you get used to it, as if it was owed to you, until you start trowing angels at your foes as if they were fireballs."

"I can assure you, this is not my intention" said Edelgarde.

"Yes, sure. The road to Abyss is paved with good intentions. No offence" the Asura replied dryly. "Do you think I need your help to fight devils? Why would I?"

With a stab of panic, Edelgarde realised she didn't know nearly as much about Conjuration as she believed she did. One thing was laying a coat of oil from the Plane of Earth, another, completely different thing was dealing with a complex, intelligent being like a celestial. She felt like a child playing in her parents' garden.

"Wards!" she said, recalling her studies in a spark of clarity. Asuras preferred martial prowess over magic and very few of them were casters. "Most of the spells I know are wards. All together they could give you a great advantage."

The creature considered for a few moments. "That might be true, but still it doesn't make me trust you more."

Edelgarde asked herself if it was really over. What else could she do to gain her trust?
Then, her gaze rested on the calling diagram. How could she demand trust if she wasn't giving it in the first place? The prologue of her Conjuration book kept buzzing in her head, dryly enumerating the countless ways a celestial could terminate her life if they deemed her wicked.
Surprisingly, another part of her needed to know if there was hope for her as well. She stepped ahead and with her booted foot she scraped the lines of the diagram, breaking it.

The Asura froze in place, with a dumbfounded expression, but she didn't step out of the circle, nor she unsheathed her sword.

"Have you lost your mind?" she said with a frown.

"No. I just realized I can't demand trust to someone I am not trusting myself" Edelgarde said, holding the creature's bright gaze for the first time.

"Didn't they teach you at Conjuration school that breaking the circle is the best way to get yourself killed?" the creature snapped.

"Yes, but at this point, if a creature as wise and holy as a celestial decides I am evil beyond salvation the world is better off without me" said the acolyte, with a hint of sadness in her voice.

The Asura cracked a faint smile, the first one, sitting on the grass with her legs crossed. Her stern mask was slowly crumbling, replaced by a more serene expression. Edelgarde could read curiosity in it, but also something else. It was as if part of her desperately wanted to trust humankind again.

"Oh this is going to be interesting" she said with a long sigh. "Let us say I am willing to listen to you and I might tag along, for now. If anything, because you need someone to stop you from getting your head chopped off. However I want to know your story first. Start from the beginning and be honest. I will know if you are lying."

"So would a three years old" said Edelgarde. "No offence."

The Asura let out a small chuckle. "What is your name, child?"

"Oh. That was rude of me" said the acolyte, realizing she didn't introduce herself. Her grandmother would have been disappointed. "My name is Edelgarde."

"Good" said the Asura. "You may call me Jasnah. And please, no more Your Graces or similar nonsense. I am not an Astral Daeva. But you might have already noticed, since I wear clothes."

Edelgarde chuckled lightly, surprised by the sudden display of humor, and finally after taking a deep breath, she unraveled her story.
Last edited by Almarea90 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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2. Find Your Own Light



The first memory that flourished on Edelgarde's mind was a simple one.
She was sitting on the wooden floor of her childhood house. Outside, the rain pelted the window shutters, turning the dirt roads of the small nameless village into rivers of mud.

Edelgarde's neck was craned toward the table, that, from her perspective, looked incredibly high. Like every other piece of furniture in the house it was very old but kept clean and in order.
Behind it, the curve and squat figure of her grandmother was kneading the dough for the bread. The sleeves of her smock, tucked in at the elbow, showed her tan wrinkled skin. A strand of grey hair that had escaped her headscarf was plastered to her forehead.
While her tail brushed the floor tail, Edelgarde's gaze was drawn to the woman's wooden pendant, etched with Ilmater's symbol, swinging in mesmerizing patterns.

Image

Her stomach growled, but the bread was not yet ready. She stood and reached for the uncooked dough, but the elderly lady caught her small hand mid air.

"Not yet, Edy" she said. "Wait until it's baked."

Edelgarde sighed heavily and slumped on the floor again. Her empty stomach was upsetting her, just like the rain outside. It reminded her that the other children would have spent the following day playing with mud. She wanted to play too, but it wasn't allowed.
Why couldn't she play with them? Her grandmother said it was to protect her.
She couldn't help but think that if they disappeared she would have had the road all for herself.

Then she felt it.
That familiar sensation at the pit of her stomach, that slowly enveloped her completely, like a cloak of darkness.
That sensation suffocated every thing that was good, leaving only a cruel, irrational hatred. Hatred at the children, at her hunger, at everything else.
She just wanted to hurt, render, break and look at the result.

Then, she had enough and sprang to her feet. She marched toward the table, bare feet stomping on the floor. Then quickly grabbed an egg, too quickly for her grandmother to react, and smashed it on the floor.
She observed it in awe, wondering if a human being would break the same way.
At that point, she realized how wrong it was. Normal people didn't think things like that, did they?
She shut her eyes closed to send away that image, ready to count to ten, as her nan had taught her.

"Edelgarde!" the elderly lady's voice brought her back to reality. "Why did you do that? You know I work for that food."

Edelgarde just stared at her, not knowing what to say. The darkness had already started to retreat, leaving only loneliness and sadness like shells on a beach after a tidal wave.

"It's too dark" she said, unable to express with words the maelstrom she felt inside.

Her grandmother sighed, then cleaned the flour on her hand with a rag and sat on her rocking chair.

"Come here" she said, patting her lap.

Edelgarde jogged there, big tears running down her cheeks, and huddled on her woman's lap.

"You know what makes darkness shy away?" she said, patting the girl's short red hair.

"Light" she answered, now seeing reality around her a bit brighter. "But there was none earlier."

"You must find your own light" said her grandmother. "There will be moments when you won't find any light in you. But if you find light outside, if you keep it close, it will chase the darkness away."

"How do I find light?" the child asked.

"Now, that's easier than you think, Edy" said the elderly lady. "Just think of something you really, really like."

"That's easy!" Edelgarde said, her pitch high with excitement. "Story time!"

"Let's make a deal, then" said her grandmother, extending her had toward her. "If you behave, I will tell you a story. And if the darkness comes, just think of it and scare it away."

"You promise?" asked the little girl, shaking her hand.

"I promise" said her nan, nodding vigorously.

Now Edelgarde could almost feel it: that joy and expectation glowed like a small globe of light. She smiled, holding onto it. In that moment, she felt as if darkness couldn't reach her.

"Nan" she said with a sudden realization. "You make the light."

The elderly lady regarded her for a long moment, deep sadness clouding her green eyes. A sadness Edelgarde would only understand sixteen years after, while relating the story to a celestial on the Lion's Way.
It was the sadness of someone who knew that her time on Toril was running out. Someone who knew that she would take the light away with her.

"You know, there are many sources of light" she said finally. "You must find as many as you can. Now, story time. Do you like princesses?"

"I like the fairy godmother better" said Edelgarde. "She can do magic. I want to be a fairy godmother when I grow up."

Little she knew that two years from that day she would hear her last story.

"Did you manage to become a fairy godmother?" asked Jasnah, cocking her head on the side.

"Do I look like a fairy to you?" said Edelgarde, rising an eyebrow.

"You see" the Asura answered unfazed. "Being a fairy godmother is more about improving someone's day and less about having wings and being small. Besides you already use magic."

"I would make the weirdest fairy godmother Toril has ever seen" said Edelgarde.

"Nah. I have seen far weirder faes. Now carry on with your story. I believe you are way past bedtime" said Jasnah, clearly waiting for the tiefling's reaction.

Edelgarde opened her mouth to reply, but caught the hint of amusement in the eyes of the Asura and gave up, resuming her story.
Last edited by Almarea90 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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3. Blood in the Mud



Edelgarde shivered in the dark, huddled in the narrow space between two buildings. She was covered in mud and felt weak. How long had she been going without any food?
She clutched her rag doll in her hands: Betty was a present from her grandmother, given to her for her eight birthday, and now the last memory of her.

A cloudy morning of two months before, the elderly lady didn't wake up.
Edelgarde still saw her face when she closed her eyes, pale and stiff like wax. That made her feel extremely sad. This was not how she wanted to remember her.
Desperately she had called for help and it took her several tries to find someone who didn't shoo her away.

Shortly after she was watching the local priest mutter his prayers next to a coffin of splintered wood, that had been lowered down a freshly dug grave.
It hadn't felt real. Her mind refusing to acknowledge her grandmother was in there.

She was kicked out of her house and nobody wanted to take her in. For two months she had been living on the streets alone.
She could bear the hunger, feeding only on scraps, or the beatings of the other kids. It was loneliness, though, that threatened to overwhelm her. A dark maze with no way out.
So she clutched her doll, the memories it carried the only source of light.

Suddenly, she could hear quick steps scraping the dirt, before a shadow darkened her corner.
She craned her neck and met the familiar, hostile glares of a ragged group of kids. Instinctively, she curled to a ball to protect herself.

"Find your own light" she muttered with her eyes shut.

"The hell are you saying?" said one of the kids, clutching her shoulders and forcing her on her feet.

What was his name? No. She didn't want to remember, not even fourteen years after. It was easier this way.

"What is this?" he said, noticing the doll. "Is it some kind of fiendish thing? Is that how you curse people?"

Edelgarde didn't answer. She knew well that it would have been useless.
Suddenly, the kid grabbed her wrist and twisted it, trying to wrestle the doll free. The girl struggled to resist, but he was older and her arms, which had never been strong to begin with, were now weakened by hunger.

"Give it back!" she shouted.

But he just laughed and unraveled the rags, tossing them in a puddle.
Edelgarde froze in place, her eyes wide. The last sign left by her nan was no more. That kid had just erased her last memory, as if she had never existed.
The sudden realization hit her like a punch, snuffing out what little light she had left in her.

She screamed at the top of her lungs.
Darkness swallowed her from the inside and then... it became real.
Dark tendrils grew from her extended hands enveloping her and the group of kids.
The one directly in front of her took a step back, but stumbled on his feet and fell in the mud. He frantically looked around, feeling for his surrounding, and Edelgarde found herself smiling at the terror in his eyes.

She could see as easily as if it was broad daylight and immediately spotted the shard of a broken pot, forgotten in the dirt. She jumped and grabbed it, uncaring as it cut her finger.
She darted toward the kid, skidding behind him on her knees. In a moment that felt like an eternity, she surrounded his shoulders with her left arm and slit his throat. Warm blood drenched her arms while he thrashed weakly, before sliding limply to the ground.

Edelgarde didn't move. She couldn't tell how long she spent staring at the pool of blood widening under the boy's body.
It felt good. Until she realized that it shouldn't.

The darkness inside of her retreated with a snap, while that outside had already faded and the blood on her hands dried. In a spike of clarity she understood: by keeping her sheltered, her grandmother wasn't protecting her, but the rest of the village.

Run!
Her instinct took over and prompted her to move. She darted toward the woods and stopped only when she came across a small stream, trickling down the rocks. She washed the blood away, squatting in the icy water, before moving again. She walked toward a random direction for hours before acknowledging that she was lost.

Exhausted, Edelgarde sat with her back against a tree, holding her knees close to her chest. She listened, holding her breath. Any noise to her sounded like the howl of a feral creature ready to devour her.
Despite her fear, though, she soon fell into an agitated sleep.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

4. Voices in the Woods



Image

Days passed.
Edelgarde was covered in cuts and bruised, her body barely sustaining on berries and fruits.
She didn't sleep much. They were looking for her and she could hear voices in the distance every now and then, calling her name. When that happened, she hid in the thicket, remaining as still as possible.
She wasn't so naive to believe they wouldn't have killed her.

"How do you know she's here, my lord?" said the familiar voice of Jonas, one of the local farmers. "She might have gone back to Hell."

Edelgarde hid, holding her breath.

"That I seriously doubt" said an unknown voice. "She -is- here, somewhere."

Now she could see them. Jonas was talking to an unknown man. He wore fine, pristine clothes, his black hair and short trimmed beard were clean and perfectly groomed. He was holding his cape, preventing it from touching the soil, and walked carefully, as if afraid of soiling his polished boots. He held a worn, dirty rag pinched between his thumb and forefinger, as if trying to touch it as little as possible.
Edelgarde recognized it: what remained of Betty.

The man gladly gave the rag to Jonas for him to hold, then he started speaking in an unknown tongue, gesturing in an odd way. After a few moments, he stopped and quickly looked around. Finally, his gaze rested on the exact spot where she was hiding.

Edelgarde started shaking violently as he walked toward her.
Was he a mage? If he was, she had no chance of survival.
In a last, desperate attempt, she sprang into motion, running for her life, but Jonas was quicker and caught her in an iron grip.

"No more running, demon" said the portly man, tightening his grip, as she struggled and shouted helplessly. "Thank you for your help, my lord. Now we can free the village of this taint."

The other man ignored him and came closer, regarding her with his ice blue eyes. Light and shadows danced on his face, filtering through the canopy of trees.

"Now, child you have a choice" he said coldly. "When the good man lets you go you can run away, be captured and killed or starve in the woods for all I care. Or you can come with me. Do you understand?"

Edelgarde nodded once, a spark of hope in her eyes.

"But my lord" said Jonas insecurely. "She must be punished for what she did."

The lord regarded him with disdain and Edelgarde was sure she felt Jonas cowering.

"I am not insensitive to the tragedy that befell on you good folk" the lord said, fishing a heavy looking bag from his belonging and handling it to the man. "That's why I want to give my contribution, as small as it might be. I hope this will be of help in the days coming."

Jonas froze in place and slowly left Edelgarde go, his attention now completely absorbed by the purse. He tentatively took it and looked inside.

"That... is very generous, Lord Sarebald" said Jonas, his eyes widening in surprise. "We will follow your example and have mercy on the... child."

"Well, child, you made a wise choice in staying here" Lord Sarebald went back to Edelgarde. "You see, I could really use the help of one of your... kind. In exchange, I will see that you have food and shelter. And education, of course."

He didn't wait for an answer.
After nodding to Jonas, the two men walked away. Edelgarde immediately jogged after them and followed Lord Sarebald out of the woods.

"Now you know my secret..." said Edelgarde staring at the blades of grass under her. "There is darkness in me. This is what I have been fighting every single day. There is something wrong with me, no matter what I do."

"That there was something wrong with you" Jasnah said. "I had already figured out when you broke the calling diagram."

"Not that kind of wrong..." Edelgarde said, surprised at the unblinking reaction.

"At least you are putting up a fight" Jasnah said. "What's the merit of being on the top of a mountain that you've never climbed? Someone who's climbing but is still half way from the top has far more credit."

Edelgarde considered for a moment. She had never seen things from this point of view.

"Are you going to stare in contemplation much longer?" asked the Asura, interrupting her thoughts. "Just asking."

Edelgarde held a small chuckle and carried on with her story.
Last edited by Almarea90 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

5. Scars



Edelgarde stared at the brewing potion, observing the small bubbles raising to the top, the globe of light she had conjured casting a bluish light in the room.

Five years had passed since Lord Sarebald had taken her in, but it felt like a lifetime. She was no longer the ragged child lost in the woods.
Now she wore ladylike clothes, albeit simple ones, hiding her tail under the loose skirts. Her long hair was neatly braided and, of course, she was taught manners.
But it wasn't just appearance. She had also learnt how to read, write and basic numeracy skills.
And magic.
She knew only easy cantrips, but it felt amazing regardless.

Only two things hadn't changed.
One was her loneliness. None of the servants had been openly hostile to her, but they ignored her most of the time, unless they were ordered to do otherwise. Even Lord Sarebald kept his interactions with her to a minimum.
And of course, her darkness was still with her. Since that day, her efforts to contain it had redoubled, but it was still there, at the back of her mind during the day and in her nightmares at night.

The hourglass on the table run out, marking the time to pour the acid in.
She took the bottle in her right hand, but it slipped across her sweaty palm. She pushed her left hand forward, in the attempt to catch it mid-air, but it only caused the content to spill on both her hands and forearms.
Good thing her skin was resistant to mild acids.

Pail flared across her hands and forearms.
Surprise left its place to horror, then pain fogged everything else. Her sight waned and finally, blackness surrounded her.

She woke up in bed.
Her hands and forearms were alight with pain and she didn't dare to move. When she mustered the courage to crane her neck, she could see that they were wrapped in several layers of white bandages.
A spike of panic hit her across the sea of pain. Would she be able to use her hands again? To hold a quill? Or cast any magic?
An unpleasant thought started crawling at the back of her mind: if even those things were taken from her, wasn't she better off dead?

A quick knock distracted her from her thoughts.
Lord Sarebald was standing at the door, his clothes impeccable and pristine as usual. Without waiting for an answer, he stepped into the room and dragged the only chair close to the bed before sitting.

Image

"How are you feeling?" he asked, a slight frown on his brow.

"It hurts" she said in a whisper through her parched throat.

"I know, child" he said. "And believe me, if I could I would have already called a priest from one of the temples. But none of the holy gods would ever provide the power to heal someone of your kind."

Edelgarde didn't answer, feeling warm tears rolling down her cheeks.

"I know" he said opening his arms in resignation. "Not many would accept you. Not even the gods. Look at the bright side, child, you were lucky that one of those few found you."

Why then that bright side didn't look bright at all to her?
That familiar sense of loneliness came back to her, like a faithful hound. If even the gods had forsaken her, what was she left with? Lord Sarebald said he was one of the few who would accept her regardless. Yet that didn't make her feel any better.

"If that makes you feel any better" ha said, as if reading her mind."There is no better way to fight the evil in your body and soul. On my end, I will do what is in my power to find the one responsible."

"The one responsible?" asked Edelgarde, turning her head toward the man.

She had assumed it had been an accident, but she had been naive to believe so.

"It was intentional" said Lord Sarebald. "Someone replaced the content of the bottle with a stronger acid."

Before she could utter an answer, the man left the room, leaving her alone again in the dimly it room.

"Did you find the one responsible?" asked Jasnah, twenty-two years after.

"In a way" said Edelgarde. "There is no way one of the servants could have done it. They could barely read and write. None of them had the necessary notions. That leaves only one suspect. But I figured it out only recently."

"You think he did it?" asked Jasnah in disbelief. "Why?"

"To prove me everyone hated me." Edelgarde said dryly.. "Everyone except him."

"There are other ways to get someone's obedience that don't include acid" the Asura said.

"He wanted a pet" Edelgarde said grimly. "Someone who would waggle their tail for him, no matter what. And for me, it was the easiest thing to do."

The frown on Jasnah's brow deepened, then her gaze rested on the tiefling's gloves. "Those are to cover the scars, I guess."

Edelgarde just nodded.

"You could have those healed properly if you wish" she added. "What he said about the gods was a load of bullshit."

"I had figured that out a while ago" Edelgarde said with a scoff. "But I don't really want to bother a god for a few scars. My hands are still functional... just a bit stiff and itchy every now and then.

Jasnah just nodded and waited for her to resume her story.
Last edited by Almarea90 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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6. Betty



Edelgarde sat in the dusty cellar of the manor, observing the circle she had just traced. After deciding it looked passable, she opened her spellbook at the marked page, awkwardly holding it in her bandaged hands, and took a deep breath, resting her gaze on the circle again.

"Don't move, or you'll be bacon tonight" she said.

The piglet, resting inside the circle, regarded her with curious eyes, and Edelgarde couldn't help but ask herself how on Toril she ended up in that situation.

Image

While recovering from her wounds she had been exempted from her duties, therefore she found herself wondering what to do with her time.
She spent most of her days reading any book she was allowed to take. The small, dim-lit room in the servant's quarters, where she had been spending the first days of her recovery, felt terribly oppressive, so she spent most of the day outside.
At first she enjoyed the time spent in the quiet and well cared gardens of the manor, but she quickly grew tired of them.

She relocated in the stables area, that also hosted the coops and pig pen, and found that she could spend hours just observing the animals.
After a few days, she mustered enough courage to interact with them as well. She was especially fond of pigs, as they were incredibly smart creatures. There was a pig sow who just gave birth to a number of piglets. She would have to scrub herself clean of the smell afterwards, but she enjoyed playing with them regardless. That earned her a few stares from the servants, but nobody approached her anyway.

One morning, Edelgarde found that the pigs weren't there anymore.
For a moment, she considered asking one of the servants, but she soon noticed the blood darkening the dirt in front of the empty pen.
She brought her bandaged hand to her mouth and slumped against the wall, tears running down her cheeks.

What did she expect? That they would have kept them as pets?
Edelgarde cursed herself for a fool, but she couldn't stop the darkness from boiling at the pit of her stomach.

Then, suddenly, she froze in place. Did she just hear a squeaky grunt? No. It was probably just in her head.
No matter what she told herself, she could still hear it, albeit barely.
With a sigh, she stood up on her feet and walked toward the nearby stable.
Now she could definitely hear something grunting and scratching at the wood, but she couldn't pinpoint the source, disturbed by the snorting of the horses.
Some more listening revealed that the noise came from underneath the floor. After all, there was an empty gap between the tiles and the ground.

She stumbled on a loose tile, the wood creaking under her foot.
Squatting on the wooden floor, Edelgarde could now hear a high pitched squeal. She smiled and lifted the tile, peaking underneath, heart drumming in her chest.
The small pink creature jumped out of the wedge she just opened and snuggled against her legs. Somehow, the piglet had managed to escape out of the pen, in the stable. It had then managed to squeeze under a lifted tile, trapping itself underneath.

Edelgarde lifted the piglet in her arms, noticing that it was a girl, and darted toward the main building, hiding her in the folds of her dress.
Luckily, nobody stopped her, as she took the less busy path. She entered one of the side corridors of the manor and stopped, catching her breath.

What now?

Edelgarde looked left and right, then pushed the cellar's door open with her shoulder. In a moment, after closing the door behind her with a push of her foot, she could feel her eyes adapting to darkness, outlining her surroundings perfectly at the expense of color brightness.

She forged ahead, randomly opening one of the doors that led to smaller rooms, where the wine was stored, hoping that the servant wouldn't choose to serve the wine kept in there for lunch.

Edelgarde paced back and forth for a while, unsure on what to do.
She wouldn't keep her there. They would find her sooner or later, but where could she hide her?
Finally, an idea struck her like a lightning bolt. Maybe she didn't have to hide her at all.

Twelve hours later, exhausted after completing the binding ritual, Edelgarde looked at her new familiar. Although the piglet still looked exactly the same, she could now feel a connection. It was mostly made of simple sensations at the back of her mind, like hunger or boredom, but that somehow made her feel less lonely.

"You will be Betty, from now on" Edelgarde said solemnly. "Hopefully you will be luckier than your homonym".
Last edited by Almarea90 on Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

7. Heartache



Edelgarde looked at her image in the corridor's mirror one last time, checking for any strand of hair straying from her braid and smoothing any wrinkle on her dress. Finally she grabbed the tray, loaded with fruit and wine, and walked toward the guest's room.
She stopped in front of the door and took a deep breath, then knocked twice, her heart racing in her chest.
After a few moments that felt like hours, the door unlocked with a clank and Lord Covenspear's tall figure appeared in front of her. The Waterdhavian lord smiled, fine clothes and brown hair impeccable as usual. Edelgarde quickly glanced into his green eyes, wondering if that was how an Astral Daeva looked like.

"Good morning, my lord" she said, finally remembering to speak. " I hope you will enjoy the refreshments".

"That's very kind of you" he said, lifting the tray from her gloved hands.

"With your permission, my lord" Edelgarde said bowing curtly, ready to take her leave.

"Oh! Where are my manners" he said, stepping at the side of the door and pointing inside of the room. "Please, take a seat".

Edelgarde froze in place, her mouth agape. "Thank you for your kind offer, but I must attend..."

"I insist" he said. "I will speak with Lord Sarebald if necessary."

Lord Covenspear had arrived three days before as Lord Sarebald's guest. He had always been kind to her, as if she was no different from everybody else.
Since then, she had always tried to be the one attending to his requests. She surely didn't expect he would invite her in.

She uncertainly stepped in and reached for the jug of wine, ready to pour it in the glass. He stopped her, moving the chair back for her to sit.

"Please" he said, pouring the wine in two glasses. "I've been sitting around all day. Allow me to pour some wine at least".

"I... Thank you..." she sat down in the most composed way she could manage, nervously clutching her skirt.

"Edelgarde, is that right?" he asked, offering her a glass of wine.

"That's correct" she said with a smile, realizing he remembered her name.

She looked at the wine: it was the first time she drank. Well, the first time excluding that time when she stole her grandmother's liquor at the age of six, but that was another story.
She felt his gaze on her, suddenly aware of her white horns sticking out as a sore thumb.

"How long have you been working here?" he asked, sipping at his wine.

"Lord Sarebald took me in twelve years ago" Edelgarde said.

"It's been a long time" Lord Covenspear replied. "No wonder your manners are so excellent".

Edelgarde smiled faintly, feeling hot around her cheeks.
The time passed quickly before she realized they had been talking for hours. Although she initially worried for her lack of knowledge about politics and the other topics popular among the nobility, the conversation carried on smoothly, He seemed genuinely curious about her pastimes and she discovered he was fond of books as well.
When she left his room, many questions swirled in her mind. She was well aware he would leave in a few days and didn't even know what she was hoping for.
Yet, for the first time in years, she felt truly happy.

The following day, after getting ready, she strolled to the kitchen, ready to bring the usual refreshments to lord Covenspear's room.

"Edelgarde" Lord Sarebald's voice caused her to freeze in place. "Come here a moment, would you?"

"Yes, master" she said walking closer. Praying at every step that it was just some trivial assignment.

"It's about Lord Covenspear" he said coldly. "Feel free to skip whatever you are doing. He requested another servant to be assigned to him".

Edelgarde felt her legs unsteady as if the very earth was collapsing under her feet. For a few moments she didn't answer, voice refusing to leave her throat.

"D-did he say why?" she asked, her voice quavering.

Lord Sarebald shrugged. "Who am I to question our guest's demand?"

"I... I thought..." she said, not even knowing how to end her sentence.

"You thought what, child? Oh! Don't tell me you..." he barked a cold laugh, leaving the phrase hanging. "You were a novelty, nothing more. Now understand this and save yourself a heartache: you can be a plaything. You can be a pet, albeit a cherished one. But you will never be one of us".

Every word hurt like a stab wound.
She felt tears burning her eyes and the darkness she had kept locked up for so long was now pounding furiously at her door. For a moment, she considered letting it out, letting it bite and render at that man. Who would care if she died in the process?
Then, something tugged at her resolve, shouting not today!
He wanted to see her as a pet and as sure as the gods she wouldn't prove him right in giving him the chance of putting her down as a rabid dog.
Now she had tasted what it was like to be one of them, no matter if it wasn't real. She was not going back.

Something else surfaced in the maelstrom of her darkness. Or maybe it had always been there. Something that wanted her to snap her leash and dangle it in the face of her master.
For the first time in her life, she tasted defiance.
And it felt good.

"Yes master" she said coldly, sustaining his gaze.

A plan started brewing in her mind.

"It was just about time" Jasnah said with a sigh, two years after.

"It's just another side of the same coin" Edelgarde said. "Defiance, darkness... They are all part of the same demon. I... I don't even know if the very resolve that keeps me fighting is just another form of what I'm fighting".

"It just means your demon is a very dumb one, because it's fighting itself" Jasnah said with a shrug.

"I can't let one thing come out and leave the rest in" Edelgarde said shaking her head. "It comes from the same place".

"So does your pretty red hair" Jasnah waffled a hand. "But I don't see you going around bald".

"That...That's another thing entirely!" Edelgarde pouted, grimacing at the idea of shaving her head. "It's just hair".

"Fine, I'll give you a better example" Jasnah sighed again. "If you are a slave and your master forgets his keys in plain sight what would you do? Do you snatch the keys, free yourself and the other slaves and toss him in the cage, or do you waste time whining about how the keys represent slavery in modern society? You need to be more pragmatic".

"Well then" Edelgarde said with a smirk. "Listen to the end of the story and tell me if I've been pragmatic enough for your tastes".
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

8. Defiance



Edelgarde walked the dark corridor, careful to pick up any noise. If someone spotted her there at that hour of the night she would be in serious troubles, but it was too late to back off now.
Of one thing she was sure: the following morning would see her either free or dead.

Since that day, two years before, she had sworn to never be a pet again.
Of course, she would still behave the same way to avoid any suspect, but behind the fake smiles, she planned her next move. The first thing she did was improving her magic and surely she couldn't achieve it with the few books her master allowed her to read.
Her night trips to the library became more and more frequent. She would take one book at time and read it in the quiet of her room, returning it before anyone could notice its absence.
This way she learnt new spells, mostly Conjuration, as Lord Sarebald collected mostly books on that School. Regardless, she would read any book that appealed her curiosity.

She soon found out that the things her master allowed her to learn were only a fraction of what was out there.
She studied Planar Lore, Arcane Lore, Religion and many more. In reading about the House of Knowledge and the notes of the scribes, she grew particularly fond of Deneir's teachings: knowledge was a powerful tool, that could achieve many things. It was also a dangerous one, to be used wisely. The words of the scribes, preserved on parchments, revealed one by one all the lies Lord Sarebald had been feeding her. It was now clear that the gods didn't forsake her and one of them was now helping her in breaking her chains of ignorance.

When she came across a book about Candlekeep, the bastion of knowledge of the Sword Coast, she promised she would become a scribe and preserve the knowledge she had gathered. If that helped even one person and set them free, it would be an achievement worth years of study.

After two years, Edelgarde decided it was time to leave that place, however there was still something she had to do. She was sure the secret Lord Sarebald wanted to keep hidden were in his quarters. Of course, she had to see them.
For months she observed him and studied the wards he placed at the door. After all, she was invisible to him and he would never suspect what was going on.

That day, Lord Sarebald had left for a journey of a few days. He had left a spare key, sure that the wards would have stopped any intruder. At times, Edelgarde suspected he did it on purpose, to test his servants' obedience and since she had managed to steal it from the servant it had been entrusted to, she had the feeling he was going to be very disappointed.

Now, Edelgarde observed the sturdy door, clutching the key in her hands. If she used it now to unlock the door, a Hold Monster spell would block her in place. Not to mention Lord Sarebald would most likely teleport in the middle of the corridor in a matter of minutes.
However, in order for him to access his quarters without being paralyzed himself, there was a way to safely disarm the trap. It was a combination of lines to be traced on the door and a passphrase. In Thorass.

Edelgarde tried to stead the tremor in her hands and voice, reproducing the movements and words she had practiced for months. After all, it was no different from a spell, was it?
For a long moment, she expected to be locked in place, but that didn't happen. Once she was sure the ward had been disabled, she fished a scroll from her pocket. It was a spell of Non Detection she had stolen from the library a week prior. Although she didn't have proof of it, she was sure Lord Sarebald would place an Alarm spell in the room.
Edelgarde recited the scroll, trying not to think it was well beyond what she was able to cast. Finally, the parchment was consumed in her hands and she immediately felt the spell's effect on her.
Then, she unlocked the door with the key.

Edelgarde stepped inside, expecting Lord Sarebald to materialize in front of her. She took a few steps in the small antechamber, after locking the door behind her.
There was a door on either side of the room. The one on her left was slightly open and she could see a bed and some furniture from her position.
She decided to ignore it, opening the opposite one.
The room behind looked like a laboratory. Those walls that were not occupied by bookshelves were covered in parchments crowded with notes. The large table at the center hosted an open spellbook and was crammed with reagents, vials and more scattered notes. She was quite sure those depicted various calling diagrams.
Curious, Edelgarde squinted at the small side notes, written in a language she had never seen before. Immediately she froze in place, realizing she could understand it.

With her heart pounding, she quickly read through the pages, cold sweat running down her back. Although most of it was beyond her level of knowledge, she could grasp the general purpose of the notes.
Lord Sarebald intended to use her to track her ancestor and bind it. That's when she noticed a strand of red hair in one of the vials. Her hair.
With a spike of panic, she wondered what could happen to her if he managed to achieve his objective. Would she be killed? Most likely. Or was he too fond of her pet?
She certainly wasn't going to stay long enough to find out.

For a moment, Edelgarde considered grabbing the notes and bringing them to the guards, but she was fairly sure they would accuse her instead. Maybe not immediately, but it was her word against Lord Sarebald's.
So she did the only thing she could think of. With shaking hands, she gathered the parchments and, after conjuring a small flame in her palm, she burnt them one by one. She tucked the spellbook in her satchel and scattered the reagents around, breaking the bottles and vials as a measure of caution.
Before leaving, she gathered all the coin she could find, realizing she wouldn't go far without.

Once she was ready to leave, Edelgarde darted toward the door, but then stopped. She almost forgot there was one last thing she had to do.
She fished a letter from her pocked and placed it open in the middle of the table, in plain sight among that chaos. Finally she ran out of the room, in the dark corridors, until she was out of the mansion.
Breathing in the chilled air of the night, she forged ahead through the unknown streets.

A few days after, Lord Sarebald would find the following letter in his ravage quarters.

Dear Lord Sarebald,

I hope you will forgive my hasty departure.
Although I am not good at long farewells, nor short ones, I still did not want to take my leave before writing a few lines.
For these fourteen years, from the bottom of my heart:
GO F*** YOURSELF.

In kindness,
Edelgarde


"And here I am" Edelgarde said. "Well... I joined Candlekeep in the meantime."

"Well, I guess I will tag along. For now" Jasnah said, dusting herself and standing up. "Call if you need."

"Wait!" Edelgarde said. "I would like to know your thoughts..."

"A word of advice, child" Jasnah said, looking at her again. "Find the light inside of you, not just outside."

"Inside?" Edelgarde said. "I'm no priest or paladin."

"There isn't only one light" Jasnah's stern mask finally crumbled completely, revealing a timeless kindness. "Some lights burn and sear like the sun itself. Some have the power to guide, like a lighthouse in a storm. Your light is neither of those. It's like the light of a firefly. It might not sear or blind, but it can gift an unexpected smile on a midsummer night or comfort a child afraid of the dark. In a time when everyone looks for glory and fame, and violence appears to be the only solution, the gods know we need more fireflies" she paused. "Well I will be off now. I missed flying in the skies of the Prime Material".

"Wait!" Edelgarde said, snapping out of the swirl of thoughts Jasnah's words had set in motion. "What if someone sees you and shoots-" She stopped mid-sentence, as the Asura had already launched in the sky, and sighed. "Oh well, at least I'm not going to get bored..."
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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9. Like a Firefly on a Midsummer Night



Six months later...

Edelgarde walked the short distance separating Candlekeep from the small campfire on the Lion's Way. Her red hair and blue scribe robes flowed around her in the chilling night air of Hammer, but she didn't care, protected by her fiendish blood and long-sleeved robes.
She unceremoniously dropped her satchel on the grass and slumped on one of the logs placed around the fire, surveying her surroundings for any sign of Jasnah. A few moments after, a red winged figure landed on the log opposite to hers.

"Just about time!" Edelgarde playfully said, crossing her arms.

"Come on, you've just arrived yourself" Jasnah said. "Also, congratulations Scribe".

Edelgarde smiled faintly. Being called Scribe still sounded odd to her. Only six months before she was a black-robed acolyte. During those months, she had tirelessly gathered texts and authored some of her own, gaining the rank of Seeker and then Scribe.
Her choice surprised many, as most avowed chose the more flexible and free path of the Reader. Yet, Edelgarde felt she was meant to follow the Divine Scribe's path and few things in her life were as clear as that. Every time she filled a page with her neat, elegant handwriting or even her colorful margin stories, she still was still marveled at the idea that someone, maybe even centuries in the future, would read those very pages.

"You could have at least paid us a visit at the promotion party" Edelgarde pouted.

"Your friends didn't have enough wine in their bodies to eventually prevent them from pointing at the red-winged Celestial" Jasnah replied dryly.

Edelgarde sighed. Although in the previous months the Asura became less defensive around her, she still was distrustful around others. She had seen that answer coming.
The tiefling retrieved her satchel and produced a bundle of cloth. In opening it, she revealed some food stashed within.

"The cake was already gone before I could gather the leftovers" Edelgarde handed the bundle to Jasnah.

"Shame" the Celestial said, taking it from her hands.

The day prior, her promotion party took place on the beach near the Lion's Way, an idea of Guide Isabella. Six months before she would never have imagined that so many people would attend. Few people seemed to care about her blood. Some were curious, others pragmatic, but the majority was just plainly indifferent, as if her tail was no different from a weird eye color. That didn't surprise her anymore though: Baldur's Gate seemed to be populated by people of all sorts. Humans, elves, tieflings, aasimars and many more, they like tiles of a huge mosaic.

Once, when she was still an acolyte, Isabella told her that her fiendish traits were only a few notes in a whole song and not even loud ones. At the time, it had sounded odd, but had also meant the world to her.
Isabella's words never failed to remind her she was home, a home that wasn't only a roof and walls. It was people, moments. It was the crackling of the pages in the silence of the library, the water trickling down the fountain or an afternoon idly spent at the portal with Isabella, Jalib and Zaelphion.
She suppressed a smile thinking about the latter. She knew she would eventually end up with a broken heart, but preferred not to hide that thought at the back of her mind.
Nevertheless, she couldn't really complain. Many things had changed for the best.

Acceptance was all Edelgarde had always wanted, but also what she was starting to fear. She had experienced kindness and, at times, admiration, affection, loyalty... And part of her wanted more and more of those. Sometimes it felt as if her darkness had somehow evolved into something more subtle and manipulative. Sometimes she feared this was the real her and, despite all her efforts, she was only keeping it hidden in a basement, shrouded in lies.
Recently, Edelgarde started having a recurring nightmare. Diamonds rested in her hands, engraved like those used to bind outsiders, however the engraved names were familiar to her: Jasnah, Isabella, Zaelphion, Jalib and all those who trusted her. In that moment, she would feel happy, knowing what these people would do for her. Would they kill for her? Would they die? Then, with a spike of panic, something inside of her would shout how wrong it was and she would wake up, heart pounding in her chest.

"Of course ya were happy" Jalib had commented nonchalantly when she told him. "I would be happy if I could summon myself."

That had placed a smile on her face. After all, that's what family does.
Family was something else she had only found recently. Originally, Isabella had suggested that someone else who shared her fiendish blood would better understand her struggle. She had found Jalib and she had found that "sister" had a nice ring to it.

"So, the war's over" Jasnah said, digging in her food.

With a spike of panic, Edelgarde was brought back to reality. Finally, the portal at Dragonspear Casle had been closed, stopping the devil's invasion. That was the very reason she met Jasnah in the first place. After all, she was supposed to stay only for the duration of the war.

"I guess that's it then" Edelgarde said abruptly.

"Nah, I have yet to finish my food" Jasnah shrugged.

"I might as well put this time to a good use" Edelgarde took a deep breath. "Thank you for been at my side all these months. For believing in me even more than I believed in myself."

"Alright child, let's make a deal" the Asura cut her off. "You cut the crap and I skip the part where I tell you the Sword Coast is still dark and full of terrors."

"What are you trying to say?" Edelgarde asked curiously.

"Do you remember what I told you six months ago? About your little firefly light?" Jasnah's expression relaxed, a little smile appeared on her lips. "I think I will linger in this Midsummer night a little longer."

Edelgarde spent a few moments in silence, noticing a veil of sadness in the eyes of the Asura. It was the same sadness she saw in her grandmother's eyes so many years before, just for the opposite reason. Only then she realized that, to Jasnah, her lifespan must feel just like a Midsummer night: a short, pleasant moment amidst an existence as vast as the sky.

"What you told me about thaumaturges not being trustworthy... It was a lie, wasn't it?" Edelgarde asked.

"More of an half-truth" Jasnah said with a smirk.

The two of them remained silent for a few moments, then the Asura unceremoniously grabbed Edelgarde's wrist, pulling her closer and whispered something in her ear.

"What was that?" she asked.

"What do you think it was?" Jasnah let go of her and slumped back on her log. "It's my True Name."

Edelgarde stared at her with a dumbfounded expression. "Thank you" she finally said.

Jasnah just nodded. There were a million questions the tiefling wanted to ask, a million things she wanted to say. But even if she managed to put that storm she felt inside into words, the Asura would just shrug it off and tell her to cut the crap. That was just the way she was: for her some things were better left unspoken.

Is that why they call you Jasnah? I mean that was some weird name

Why do you think outsiders keep their name secret? We still have a dignity to defend...
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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9. Like a Firefly on a Midsummer Night



Six months later...

Edelgarde walked the short distance separating Candlekeep from the small campfire on the Lion's Way. Her red hair and blue scribe robes flowed around her in the chilling night air of Hammer, but she didn't care, protected by her fiendish blood and long-sleeved robes.
She unceremoniously dropped her satchel on the grass and slumped on one of the logs placed around the fire, surveying her surroundings for any sign of Jasnah. A few moments after, a red winged figure landed on the log opposite to hers.

"Just about time!" Edelgarde playfully said, crossing her arms.

"Come on, you've just arrived yourself" Jasnah said. "Also, congratulations Scribe".

Edelgarde smiled faintly. Being called Scribe still sounded odd to her. Only six months before she was a black-robed acolyte. During those months, she had tirelessly gathered texts and authored some of her own, gaining the rank of Seeker and then Scribe.
Her choice surprised many, as most avowed chose the more flexible and free path of the Reader. Yet, Edelgarde felt she was meant to follow the Divine Scribe's path and few things in her life were as clear as that. Every time she filled a page with her neat, elegant handwriting or even her colorful margin stories, she still was still marveled at the idea that someone, maybe even centuries in the future, would read those very pages.

"You could have at least paid us a visit at the promotion party" Edelgarde pouted.

"Your friends didn't have enough wine in their bodies to eventually prevent them from pointing at the red-winged Celestial" Jasnah replied dryly.

Edelgarde sighed. Although in the previous months the Asura became less defensive around her, she still was distrustful around others. She had seen that answer coming.
The tiefling retrieved her satchel and produced a bundle of cloth. In opening it, she revealed some food stashed within.

"The cake was already gone before I could gather the leftovers" Edelgarde handed the bundle to Jasnah.

"Shame" the Celestial said, taking it from her hands.

The day prior, her promotion party took place on the beach near the Lion's Way, an idea of Guide Isabella. Six months before she would never have imagined that so many people would attend. Few people seemed to care about her blood. Some were curious, others pragmatic, but the majority was just plainly indifferent, as if her tail was no different from a weird eye color. That didn't surprise her anymore though: Baldur's Gate seemed to be populated by people of all sorts. Humans, elves, tieflings, aasimars and many more, they like tiles of a huge mosaic.

Once, when she was still an acolyte, Isabella told her that her fiendish traits were only a few notes in a whole song and not even loud ones. At the time, it had sounded odd, but had also meant the world to her.
Isabella's words never failed to remind her she was home, a home that wasn't only a roof and walls. It was people, moments. It was the crackling of the pages in the silence of the library, the water trickling down the fountain or an afternoon idly spent at the portal with Isabella, Jalib and Zaelphion.
She suppressed a smile thinking about the latter. She knew she would eventually end up with a broken heart, but preferred not to hide that thought at the back of her mind.
Nevertheless, she couldn't really complain. Many things had changed for the best.

Acceptance was all Edelgarde had always wanted, but also what she was starting to fear. She had experienced kindness and, at times, admiration, affection, loyalty... And part of her wanted more and more of those. Sometimes it felt as if her darkness had somehow evolved into something more subtle and manipulative. Sometimes she feared this was the real her and, despite all her efforts, she was only keeping it hidden in a basement, shrouded in lies.
Recently, Edelgarde started having a recurring nightmare. Diamonds rested in her hands, engraved like those used to bind outsiders, however the engraved names were familiar to her: Jasnah, Isabella, Zaelphion, Jalib and all those who trusted her. In that moment, she would feel happy, knowing what these people would do for her. Would they kill for her? Would they die? Then, with a spike of panic, something inside of her would shout how wrong it was and she would wake up, heart pounding in her chest.

"Of course ya were happy" Jalib had commented nonchalantly when she told him. "I would be happy if I could summon myself."

That had placed a smile on her face. After all, that's what family does.
Family was something else she had only found recently. Originally, Isabella had suggested that someone else who shared her fiendish blood would better understand her struggle. She had found Jalib and she had found that "sister" had a nice ring to it.

"So, the war's over" Jasnah said, digging in her food.

With a spike of panic, Edelgarde was brought back to reality. Finally, the portal at Dragonspear Casle had been closed, stopping the devil's invasion. That was the very reason she met Jasnah in the first place. After all, she was supposed to stay only for the duration of the war.

"I guess that's it then" Edelgarde said abruptly.

"Nah, I have yet to finish my food" Jasnah shrugged.

"I might as well put this time to a good use" Edelgarde took a deep breath. "Thank you for been at my side all these months. For believing in me even more than I believed in myself."

"Alright child, let's make a deal" the Asura cut her off. "You cut the crap and I skip the part where I tell you the Sword Coast is still dark and full of terrors."

"What are you trying to say?" Edelgarde asked curiously.

"Do you remember what I told you six months ago? About your little firefly light?" Jasnah's expression relaxed, a little smile appeared on her lips. "I think I will linger in this Midsummer night a little longer."

Edelgarde spent a few moments in silence, noticing a veil of sadness in the eyes of the Asura. It was the same sadness she saw in her grandmother's eyes so many years before, just for the opposite reason. Only then she realized that, to Jasnah, her lifespan must feel just like a Midsummer night: a short, pleasant moment amidst an existence as vast as the sky.

"What you told me about thaumaturges not being trustworthy... It was a lie, wasn't it?" Edelgarde asked.

"More of an half-truth" Jasnah said with a smirk.

The two of them remained silent for a few moments, then the Asura unceremoniously grabbed Edelgarde's wrist, pulling her closer and whispered something in her ear.

"What was that?" she asked.

"What do you think it was?" Jasnah let go of her and slumped back on her log. "It's my True Name."

Edelgarde stared at her with a dumbfounded expression. "Thank you" she finally said.

Jasnah just nodded. There were a million questions the tiefling wanted to ask, a million things she wanted to say. But even if she managed to put that storm she felt inside into words, the Asura would just shrug it off and tell her to cut the crap. That was just the way she was: for her some things were better left unspoken.

Is that why they call you Jasnah? I mean that was some weird name.

Why do you think outsiders keep their name secret? We still have a dignity to defend...
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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Part II

1. Who am I?


Edelgarde was kicked out of her house and nobody wanted to take her in. For two months she had been living on the streets alone.
She could bear the hunger, feeding only on scraps, or the beatings of the other kids. It was loneliness, though, that threatened to overwhelm her. A dark maze with no way out.
So she clutched her doll, the memories it carried the only source of light.

Suddenly, she could hear quick steps scraping the dirt, before a shadow darkened her corner.
She craned her neck and met the familiar, hostile glares of a ragged group of kids. Instinctively, she curled to a ball to protect herself.

"Find your own light" she muttered with her eyes shut.

"The hell are you saying?" said one of the kids, clutching her shoulders and forcing her on her feet.

What was his name? No. She didn't want to remember, not even fourteen years after. It was easier this way.

"What is this?" he said, noticing the doll. "Is it some kind of fiendish thing? Is that how you curse people?"

Edelgarde didn't answer. She knew well that it would have been useless.
Suddenly, the kid grabbed her wrist and twisted it, trying to wrestle the doll free. The girl struggled to resist, but he was older and her arms, which had never been strong to begin with, were now weakened by hunger.

"Give it back!" she shouted.

But he just laughed and unraveled the rags, tossing them in a puddle.
Edelgarde froze in place, her eyes wide. The last sign left by her nan was no more. That kid had just erased her last memory, as if she had never existed.
The sudden realization hit her like a punch, snuffing out what little light she had left in her.
Mercy

What was that? I can't see... It's so dark.

Kindness

Nan? I can't find my light... There's no light in here.

Modesty

Wait... I know these voices. They feel a lifetime away.

Piety

Were they all a dream? Or... perhaps this is a dream.

How did I end up here? Edelgarde asked herself in a sudden spark of lucidity. After all, if you thought about it in a dream you are supposed to wake up. Where did she read it?
Then, a new memory flooded her mind like a tidal wave. Quite literally. So literally she could almost hear the waves crashing.
The day prior, her promotion party took place on the beach near the Lion's Way, an idea of Guide Isabella. Six months before she would never have imagined that so many people would attend. Few people seemed to care about her blood. Some were curious, others pragmatic, but the majority was just plainly indifferent, as if her tail was no different from a weird eye color.
Now those chanting voices reached to her more clearly, ripping her haziness like a veil.

Scribe...
Edelgarde smiled faintly. Being called Scribe still sounded odd to her. Only six months before she was a black-robed acolyte. During those months, she had tirelessly gathered texts and authored some of her own, gaining the rank of Seeker and then Scribe.
Her choice surprised many, as most avowed chose the more flexible and free path of the Reader. Yet, Edelgarde felt she was meant to follow the Divine Scribe's path and few things in her life were as clear as that. Every time she filled a page with her neat, elegant handwriting or even her colorful margin stories, she still was still marveled at the idea that someone, maybe even centuries in the future, would read those very pages.
Isabella. Jalib. Tarina. Candlekeep. Jasnah. Hoppy. Theadric. House of Spades. The orphanage. The children... And many other names lashed chaotically at her, like ice during an hailstorm. At first She couldn't quite place them, but this helped her regain a measure of steadiness. Then, all the pieces started to click in place, defining the other chunks of her existence outside of that haunted memory of her childhood, yet she had no idea where she was now. She didn't even know when now was.
The memory of her promotion party was too old, yet she held onto it like a drowning man would hold onto a floating log.

Edelgarde staggered back on her unsteady feet, letting her most logical and rational self take over.
She needed to see the bigger picture around her and the only way to do that was retracing her most recent steps.

How did I end up here, again?
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

Unread post by Almarea90 »

2. The Cold Grip of the Past



Three weeks earlier...

The crisp morning air accompanied the usual sounds of the bustling activity of Candlekeep, interrupted only by the crashing of the waves at the beach below.
Edelgarde sat on a stool in front of the gate, the Guide and the hin Merorry on the bench in front of her. The sound of approaching steps caused the three of them to turn their heads toward the path.
A woman in simple brown clothes strolled toward them, an ilmatari symbol tucked discretely under her collar bouncing above the hemline. She was a familiar face, but Edelgarde couldn't quite place her.

After the three of them greeted her, she spoke in a gentle soothing slow and precise manner. "Seeker Edelgarde, yes? I am not quite sure if we have met. I am a tutor at the orphanage. I teach young girls and boys to read."

"It's Scribe now" Edelgarde said with a note of pride in her voice. "I don't think we have met. How can I help?"

"My apologies Scribe" replied the ilmatari, after greeting the other two women. "I believe you have been helping at the orphanages.. Am I correct?"

"That is correct. I have been teaching letters to the orphans myself. It's always good to meet a fellow teacher" Edalgarde said with a smile.

"Of course..." the woman hesitated for a moment. "Would you like to go for a walk with me Scribe?" Then she addressed the other two "Would that be quite alright?"

"Of course, it would be my pleasure" Edelgarde said, not noticing the hint of worry in the ilmatari's expression.


"So how has been your day so far?" Edelgarde asked while the two of them strolled in the Lion's Way.

"Well, Edelgarde.. I must tell you I am slightly concerned" the woman looked at her with hands outstretched open, her posture open and concerned.

The tiefling frowned, quietly praying that the undead plague hadn't reached as far as the orphanage. "Oh... did something happen?"

The other woman pulled her to the side gently, toward the Bladestone Foundation's gates. "It's.. About your letters, I have been very impressed with your penmanship and it is an honor to have a scholar of Candlekeep take an interest in the lives of those forgotten by the city."

Edelgarde felt a cold grip clutching her guts. She never wrote any letter to the children, as she had always delivered her lessons in person. Regardless, she forced out an answer: "I believe everyone should have the instruments to access knowledge.

"It is because of Illmater's teachings and on your previous letter's that I visit you in person and with such great concern" the ilmatari continued. "But in one of your recent letter's to the children.. There were some.. Concerning features."

Edelgarde frowned deeply, numb at the tip of her fingers. The other woman regarded her with a sympathetic but stern expression, before reaching beneath her jacket. "Because of interesting diplomatic relations of Candlekeep and your previous record of wonderful letters, I.. I do hope there is a reasonable explanation for this."

The Scribe regarded the folder page with a deep frown. "I don't remember writing any letter though. I have been teaching the children in person."

There was no answer while the letter was handed to her. She opened it with trembling hands, recognizing immediately her penmanship and her vein of writing, reaching out to children who had a similar childhood to hers, using learning and books as their escape and climb out of being powerless. However, a few runes were marked with large ink drops, as though the quill were pressed into the parchment with force.
Edelgarde froze in place as something in her mind clicked in place: with a mote of horror she realizes that the language she was reading was no longer Common, but something she hadn't seen since that day in Lord Sarebald's quarters. Symbols belonging to the Abyssal language greeted her as an old friend, cursing her former master and describing how she still hurt like a child, wishing she had more power to stop it.

"I... I have never wrote this letter..." she said through a dry throat. She felt the old familiar sensation of darkness stirring slowly at the pit of her stomach.

The other woman sighed with the intensity of the situation, clearing her throat as she allowed Edelgarde to react.

"I would never use that language... I would never speak it let alone write in it to children..." Edelgade carried on. "Whoever wrote this letter knew me well... that's for sure..."

The Scribe took a deep breath, trying to approach the situation logically. If she didn't write that letter it must have been a forgery very well made. She needed to track the sender.

"When was the letter received?" Edelgard asked fretting. "Who delivered it?"

"Yesterday morning" the woman said. "Our usual boy, he stays with us. He is a big fan of your works on the Lower Planes."

"Would that be possible to speak with him?" Edelgarde asked.

"We always admired how you described these events at a distance" she carried on, barely acknowledging her words. "Until..." she frowned at the letter. " I'm afraid I am going to have to ask you not to visit any longer Edelgarde."If.. Something is troubling you... I would encourage you to speak to one of our brothers or sisters at Illmater's church, away from the children and in a neutral location. Whenever you are ready Edelgarde, you may ask for Sister Anne, perhaps Sister Rachel could help you as well."

The rest of Sister Anne's words washed around without reaching her. She barely remembered parting from her and staggering toward the keep.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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3. Distrust



Edelgarde stepped inside the Blushing Mermaid, Melissar and Dundee of the Church of Ilmater at her side, clad in their armors.
In the last ten-day her life had been falling apart piece by piece: first she was forbidden to enter the orphanage, then she had to stay away from the library, in case Sister Anne was right and she had really written that letter.
Shortly after, Sister Anne had sent Melissar, a paladin of Ilmater, to speak with her and assess what was troubling her. Unlike the former, she believed her and the two of them started suspecting an impostor had taken the likeness of Sister Anne.
They decided to spring the trap and invite the teacher to discuss in neutral territory.

The tavern was bustling with activity, however Edelgarde could notice at the corner of her eye Tarina, Theadric and Jalib drinking at the bar. They had decided to disguise as patrons in case things got violent.
Sister Anne was waiting for them in her usual attire. Khalso, the guard of the temple, stood behind her with a stern expression.

"Sister Anne" Edelgarde said approaching her.

"Edelgarde, you look well, I am glad you have reached out to me again" Anne said, after the other two greeted her.

"These have been some challenging weeks. How are you?" Edelgarde said, suddenly aware of the weight of those days on her shoulders.

After congedating Khalso, who didn't move, Anne nodded to those before her, her eyes lingering on Tarina for a moment before smiling. "Melissar, you have taken Brother Marcus' heedance then? I see you are Edelgarde's companion now? And another faithful of the learned god?" She added, smiling to Dundee. "You keep good company in these troubled times Edelgarde, I am warmed to see this."

"We have to stick together" Edelgarde said, half listening to her other friends droning in the background. "Besides Melissar company has been invaluable. Shall we take a seat?"

"Of course" Anne said. "Khalso has gotten us a room, I assumed you would prefer privacy for this matter?"

"I do indeed. Thank you" Edelgarde said, following the group in another room.

They all sat around a wooden table, except Khalso who waited outside, in front of the closed door, and Sister Anne, who just stood behind one of the chairs.

"I have a personal oath to never sit until my duties are finished, I hope you will not take my standing as an offence" she explained. "When the day is done and I have served the children of Illmater with all my power, only then do I permit myself to rest."

"You did well to bring someone with you. I must admit I was quite surprised you walked alone all the way to Candlekeep" Edelgarde said, bringing up the first suspicious element.

"The walk from the beach to Candlekeep was not too perilous, I arrived by boat" the other woman said, keeping her composure.

The tiefling barely held a sigh. "I must admit I was quite surprised since you told me not to visit for a while."

"Edelgarde.." Anne said before a long pause. "I have not received any letters since the last we spoke, have your burdens eased at all? Perhaps the companionship of brothers and sisters of the faith have been a ready ear and eased your... Emotions?"

"My emotions were fine before that letter" Edelgarde could tell her words were landing on deaf ears and fought to keep her composure. "They got worse since the orphanage received a letter I don't remember writing.I spoke with the Guide, I have no memory holes and there is no trace of charm on me."

"The children still argue over who gets to read your stories often." Sister Anne said finally. "The doll's Pyotr made seem to have gone missing though."

That gave Edelgarde a pause. She missed the children with an intensity that made her heart ache. "What did the doll look like?"

"Strange..." the woman continued. "As a few days later we found it burned to cinders."

A moment of silence followed and smiles vanished from the faces of those present.

"So this letter I allegedly wrote appears. I don't attend for weeks and during this time one of the children sprouts a tail and a doll catches fire" now a note of alarm was clearly audible in the tiefling's voice. "So... I find it quite strange that all these events are happening one after the other. Even if I wrote this letter, which I did not. I surely wasn't there to set the doll on fire."

"Edelgarde.. I.." Sister Anne shook her head "I did not mean to suggest you were responsible. It is one thing for your... Problematic history to make it's way into text, but had I thought you were a danger to the children in person I would not have accepted this meeting. The safety of the orphanage, I would give my life for them."

"So would I." Every suspect was now melting like snow on a sunny day, leaving in front of her only a woman worried for her children. "Sister Anne, do you really believe that I willingly wrote that letter in abyssal, reread it and dispatched it?"

"Sister, it seems that there's a third party at work here" Melissar intervened.

"Of course not, it seemed most uncharacteristic, this is why I made the voyage to Candlekeep..." Anne continued, ignoring the knight's comment. "I sensed you were not of your right mind."

"Someone else did" Melissar said, eyeing the letter on the table. "Sister Anne, so do you think it would be fine if Edelgarde continues helping the children at the orphanage?"

"I would love to see her return to the Orphanage Meslissar, as I have told you..." Anne said softly and scholarly, almost like a teacher. "However it would be unsafe for me to allow this until we are certain this... Mystery, as you put it is solved. It is a great burden to see you separated from the work that you do. I can sense it is important to you. We receive many visitors the Orphanage, some are nobles wishing to make themselves appear charitable to the dukes. Some are adventurers who bear lip service after a great war, never to return. But I always sensed this was important to you. And the children felt it as well. This is why I have taken to helping you Edelgarde. However I can, whatever it is you are going through, the church will never turn away those who wish to unburden themselves. However I cannot allow you into the Orphanage at this moment."

"You still believe I wrote it, don't you?" the tiefling asked with sadness.

"I do not believe the Edelgarde that wrote that letter is the same as the one who had visited" the woman said."The details of this distinction elude me, I am truthfully not a priestess of Illmater, I am simply a teacher at the orphanage. And my knowledge of the planes and magic, well.. It is limited by what you have shared during your time here."

"There is only one Edelgarde" she said, now resigned to the fact that the other woman would never believe her. "Does it happen often that dolls catch fire at the orphanage?"

"Such acts are not unheard of, though the timing is strange with Marleq, he seems more troubled as of late" Sister Anne then glanced toward the knight. "How did he appear to you, Melissar?"

"He seems to me that he's a fine child" the armored woman said.

"He is the only Tiefling we have at the orphanage currently" Anne carried on. "Melissar do you remember how he got his name?"

"It's just a nickname given by the kids due to his tail, originally called Marle, but that's how he introduces himself" Melissar promptly answered.

"Yes the "q" was supposed to be a reference to his tail" the teacher explained. "The children have been treating him like quite the outcast. They have lessened lately, since your visits, and hearing your stories about the planes has instilled a fear in him instead. I mean the other children, they seem cautious around Marleq now, the other day I found one of them hiding in a barrel, and yet he was sitting peacefully in his room."

Melissar leaned closer to her and spoke almost in a whisper. "I think someone wants to hurt Edelgarde, and might want her to appear like this on purpose."

Anne looked at the tiefling instead. "Edelgarde, you will not like me saying this... But... If you do have any unresolved issues with your past... If you are doing anything to hurt these children, I beg you to face your internal fears."

Those words felt like a thousand knives. They didn't just think it was her, but they feared her. It felt like going back in time and she could almost see the eyes of her village folk in those people's eyes.

"I would never, ever hurt these children" she said, voice broken by sorrow. "It wasn't my intention to cause fear in them, but quite the contrary. Should I have lied to them? When they asked me why Marleq had a tail? Should I have lied when they asked what a fiend is? I explained at the best of my possibilities we shouldn't be held accountable for our ancestors. That our destiny is our only."

"Melissar, what are your thoughts on all this?" Sister Anne asked. "Your judgement as a knight must be one sharpened by the troubled road adventuring brings, no? Dundee?"

"I trust Edelgarde, Sister, I don't believe she would do anything bad for the children, all the opposite" the knight said, unyielding.

"I'm not sure exactly the contents of the note but it seems like the punishment would only allow the third party to win because they could simply disappear and we may never find them" Dundee spoke for the first time. "Some people have been known to have diseases that cause them to awake in the night and do actions not under their control but if Edelgarde was cleared for such then could be ruled out, and no one can write in a letter in a language they have never written not without great error."

"Then how do you explain the writi-" Sister Anne paused, realizing she almost lashed. "This is above my place. I apologize... It is not my place to judge or question, I am here to guide and counsel those in need. I cannot help you come to understand whatever affliction or eldritch occurence is happening, but I trust that you have wise counsel, given your status in Candlekeep, and the kind ears of these Ilmaterians. But you cannot deny that is your writing Edelgarde. I will leave it in your hands to investigate how this letter came to be. Your restraint is admirable, your patience is similar to that of my own. It is why we are drawn to the path of teaching."

"Endure. And in enduring grow strong" Edelgarde said bitterly. "That's all we can do sometimes."

Sister Anne rubbed her back for a moment before quickly recomposing her hands to her front. "I will pray for you Edelgarde, for endurance and the wisdom to path this course you are on. Be safe and persevere, I pray for your early return."

Silence lingered in the air, then the group left the room and walked toward the exit. Edelgarde looked at Anne exchanging some hushed words with Khalso, before Melissar approached her.

"We have to find an explanation for all this then" she said.

"There is only one thing that comes to my mind" the tiefling answered in a surge of something that could either be ire or determination. "We must scry that letter."

Then, she walked toward the door.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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Almarea90
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Re: (LBE) Edelgarde - Gleam of the Firefly

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4. The kinght, the windmill and the tiefling



"Well, let's get this scry done" Edelgarde said, placing the letter on the table of a locked room at the Elfsong Tavern.
She, Jalib, Tarina and Theadric had been waiting there for Melissar and Dundee who decided to visit the orphanage. Their return didn't bring any good news, as apparently Marleq was still going through an hard period and Melissar believed the sooner Edelgarde returned there the better for the child.
Before she started, the knight insisted on tracing a Circle of Protection Against Evil around her, who caused Jalib to cringe in the corner. Edelgarde had always believed this reaction was proof of the strength of his fiendish blood.

Edelgarde concentrated on the letter, repeating the words of the memorized spell. Then, she absentmindedly produced a hand mirror from her satchel to use as focus, carefully pointing it away from her brother.

"...I asked ya to warn" he muttered, mostly to himself.

Edelgarde peered in the mirror, her attention drawing her nearer and nearer as if she was being sucked inside. Progressively, the voices and presence of her friends became murmurs in the background, until they disappeared completely. And then... she couldn't hear or see anything, simply drifting in crystalline clouds. She observed her surrounding, unsure of what she felt, or if she could feel at all. Then, suddenly, her vision became clearer and she could see symbols appearing in the clouds. No, the crystalline clouds themselves became real clouds and her gaze was drawn downward, toward what looked like a man opening a creaky gate. It felt nearby and the tiefling immediately realized that she recognised the symbol of the Order of the Radiant Heart on the yellow cape of the man.
Her heart lost a beat when she realized she knew him: he was Sir Lance Renslin. She had met the Lathanderite knight only once or twice and didn't have the slightest idea of what he had to do with all this.
There was no time for questions now, as she felt two different pulls tugging at her focus, as if she was being pulled by tethers in two different directions. She focused, measuring her gestures in the precise way taught her by her studies and managed to follow one of the two, until she was drawn somewhere else.
Before she realized where she was, her attention was captured by the sound of beating propulsion, that she recognised as a windmill. As her vision focused, the pull drew her beneath the floorboards. She could hear the carving of wood, a saw in motion.
As sudden as a lightning bolt, pain flared in her eyes, as if something sharp was clawing them, obscuring her sight. A piercing shout left her throat as she covered her eyes with her hands. Before she could react, Edelgarde felt herself falling upward, her foucus tugged by another tether. Without any more options, she followed it gritting her teeth, as her eyes slowly returned to normal.
What she saw was even more painful than whatever clawed at her eyes earlier. She saw herself looking in a mirror, her friends standing around her looking concerned.

Her hands felt suddenly numb and just the noise of glass shattering let her realize that she had just dropped her mirror.

"No... No no no no" she said falling on her knees, uncaring of the broken mirror. "This can't be true...This is all wrong!"

So that letter really came from her? But what were those images then? And what had Sir Renslin to do with all this? She had more question than before she scryed the mirror.
She could hear the concerned voices of her friends washing over her, someone even tried to catch her.

"I saw three things" she said with shaking voice. "Sir Renslin at the Radiant Heart, a windmill... and myself. I felt pulled in three different directions. I didn't even know it was possible.

"Searing Hearts, eh" Jalib said. "What did these damnable paladins do?"

Edelgarde startled, suddenly aware of the broken mirror, and scrabled with the pieces, trying to hide them from the sight of her brother.

"I doubt they did anything, Jalib" Tarina said.

"Maybe we can go talk to Lance?" Melissar asked.

"To say what?" Edelgarde snapped, feeling on the verge of tears. "Look, there is a letter in Abyssal written in my handwriting. I scryed it and saw you. Did you write it by any chance?"

"Maybe we need to go find this windmill" Melissar said and the others seemed to agree.

"I don't even know where it is!" Edelgarde said. "I just... I've never seen something like that. It was as if the person who wrote the letter was in three places at the same time."

The others discussed, then finally they decided to move toward Ulgoth's beard when Dundee reminded them that there was a windmill.

Hours later, Edelgarde could swear they had visited half of the mills in the Sword Coast. Yet, none of them seemed familiar. She let out a tired sigh, knowing she was missing something that couldn't quite pinpoint.
These circumstances were surely unusual as Scry normally allowed to see only one target, yet this one behaved differently. It showed the Radiant Heart Chapterhouse, in the Farmlands, and herself at the Elfsong Tavern... then...

"It was close... Everything was close" Edelgarde said, lost in thoughts. "The Farmlands! It must have been a windmill in the Farmlands!"

The group rushed back where they started, but this time a crowd had gathered near the Radiant Heart Chapterhouse and the yellow cape of Sir Renslin was easily spotted among them. He was talking with the members of his Order and a grey clad seer named Linetheil. She tilted her head slowly to the side. She looked pale, eyes tired. Her skin was darker underneath her eyes.

"Greetings. May you be looking for something?" she inquired softly.

"It's a... long story" Jalib answered. "But there's been a real weird scrying we just had."

"A vision?" the seer asked. "...Of a horse? Because this one just saw said horse run right through you."

"No horses involved" Edelgarde said, not surprised at the sentence. After all, Linetheil could often see thruths in symbolic ways.

"Edelgarde, you mentioned wishing to speak with me?" Sir Renslin intervened.

"Yes. But maybe in a quieter place" the tiefling answered. "Linetheil is welcome to join, though."

He fidgeted with a flap at his belt, pulling it a little more tightened and secured, before nodding and gesturing toward the Chapterhouse.

"Very well. Linetheil is a friend and her wisdom is highly valued" he said, glancing at the Seer with a smile.

The heavy gates were opened for them and they stepped in the Chapterhouse, followed by a large group of Radiants.
Part of Edelgarde marveled at the majestic architecture of the building, seeing it for the first time. Most of her thoughts, however were absorbed by the matter at hand.
At her request, the majority of the members of the Order left the room, leaving only her companions, Sir Renslin, Merorry and Linetheil. When the room was left echoing with silence, Edelgarde started her story.

"Hrm. I'm not quite certain how I would fit into the scry of this letter written in Abyssal" Lance Renslin commented furrowing his brow, once she was finished.

"This letter apparently links the two of us and something hiding underneath the floorboards of a Mill in the Farrmlands" Edelgarde said, placing the tattered letter on the table.

Linetheil reached for the letter, touching it with a pale hand. Her hand clenched as soon as she touched the paper, crumbling some of it with her. Edelgarde startled at the sudden reaction of the Seer, whose eyes stared before her absently, a wall of mist falling before them, the color fading in the briefest moment. Finally, the woman fell back to her seat, releasing the hold of the paper. While all around the table murmurs of concerns filled the room, she exhaled softly, and closed her eyes for a moment, then reached to tuck a wayward lock of hair underneath her hood she had not removed and glanced about the table idly.
In the meantime, Sir Reislin glanced down to his belt, flipping open a pouch. He removed a single hair that glowed a soft blue hue before placing it on the table.

"That horse again" Linetheil commented.

"This hair here was the result of an investigation Protector Izz and I conducted after a farmer was seen chasing a horse" Lance explained.

The resounding sound of the door unlocking suddenly interrupted him and the man gazed at the entrance with a sharply raised brow as his elven wife, Vanira Reislin, stumbled into the room, eyes locked into Linetheil's. The Seer's eyes flickered and this time, instead of looking past Vanira, they locked right onto hers. Lance moved his lips to speak, but he immediately paused, watching the strange movements of his wife, who didn't avert her eyes from Linetheil and kept pacing toward her.

"What's going on?!" asked Edelgarde, as Linetheil stood.

There was no answer. Only Tarina looked toward Vanira and then Edelgarde, probably seeing something the others couldn't. Finally, the elven woman froze in place. Linetheil kept staring at her, an unusual thing for the often absent-minded Seer. The tiredness in them was evident as she appeared to struggle to hold the eye-contact. She blinked rapidly and offered her hand to the other woman, who reached out and took it in the silence heavy with expectation. Linetheil's hand twitched at the touch, as if she was not used to such a movement.

"This... one is here" she said slowly, in tired affirmation, referring to herself in third person. "She is here."

After observing them for long moments, Tarina stood and walked over to the other two. Then, she reached out to take Linetheil's other hand that started glowing slightly. The two of them stood there, seemingly frozen in time, while Tarina rested her other hand on the Seer's shoulder, giving her support.
A moment after, the whole room was bathed in bright light, bleeding out of a tear in space like blood from a wound. Edelgarde held her breath, covering her mouth with her hand, while the concerned voices of those present overlapped one over the other.
The door slammed open and a blonde armorclad man, that Edelgarde recognised as Sir Sean, entered the room.

"Guards!" he shouted. "Seal the gate and send for Sir Lyonaler!"

As the light grew brighter and brighter, everyone scrambled on their feet and readied their weapons or started warding. Edelgarde shielded her eyes with her hand, noticing a portal from the cracks between her fingers and Vanira walking right into it.
More people stepped into the room as the glow on Linetheil's skin seeped into Tarina's, then she walked past the elf and disappeared into the portal.

"Pull them apart!" Sir Sean shouted, his voice somehow shaking those present into action.

Melissar, Sir Renslin and even the small Merorry rushed to separate the women.

"No!" Vanira groaned, trying to resist as a steady flume of mist parted from her mouth, erupting into a geyser. "Let us... Please!"

The mist filled the Radiant Heart Chapterhouse as she began choking, her eyes bulging in fear.

Then, she and Tarina were sucked into the portal, apparently the source of the mist. This shook Edelgarde from her stupor, causing her to bolt toward the portal after her friend. Her eyes vaguely registered Sean and other of those present diving into the portal themselves.
Edelgarde Spades - Scribe of Candlekeep, Quill of House Spades and a Disney princess in the wrong tale

Gleam of the Firefly - In your darkest hour, look for the firefly

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