Tyranny of Dragons
An Enigmatic Wood Elf Warlock
Yérënia, or ‘Ren’ to those who know her well, is relentlessly dedicated to protecting the chaotic and unpredictable nature of the wilds of Faerûn, but her dedication is belied by her eccentric personality. Prone to the caprice of her race, she is quick to act on her whims. This is only compounded by her many years spent in the Feywild, which never having lost their impact on her, have made her listless and wary of the artificial order of civilization. In spite of this, she is equally capable of being charming as erratic, a duality mirrored in her often beautiful and abstract paintings.
While her true skill rests in arcane practices, she is a capable wielder of her beautiful elven daggers. All of her aptitudes, both magic and martial, have helped her to navigate the dangers of the wild and engage in her favorite pastime: confounding those who seek to tame the wilderness.
Ren’s face has a soft beauty exceptional even amongst her kin, but with her mischievous grin, some might call her ‘cute’. She has the narrow waist typical of her people, but unlike most other elves, her hips and thighs are quite fleshy and she knows quite well how to flaunt this attribute. Her hair is dark and her skin olive and lightly striped, as is typical of woodland elves, but her green eyes are flecked with gold. She wears scant jewelry, most notably a body chain bearing a plum-sized golden dragon scale with which she focuses some of her powers. Typical of her tribe, her long hair is ever peppered with leaves, and she bears elven mendi on her hands and feet, which tells a story for those canny enough to understand it. Preferring comfortable clothing, she wears a light cloth made of elven silk which reflects the hues of the forest. Unlike her high elf and woodland ranger cousins, she is not so modest as to hide all of her skin in breeches or gowns. On a cord around her waist, she wears two curved elven daggers.
Wand of Web
Bag of Tricks
Bangles of Defense
Gold-colored dragon scale arcane focus with inscription in an unknown language reading “_ovegon hen _yn_or” in a proto-elvish script.
A cage was in a cradle built
Of leaves and flesh and hidden gilt.
A wrong was righted, justice served,
But pointed claw was slightly curved.
Beginnings – 1361 DR
I was born long ago, I should think, though I have no proof of this, for neither my father nor mother are known to me. A golden dragon scale was I clutching when I was found, a babe in a thicket, and such a warm thing that scale was, and still is too. Ailuriel, the sister to whom I was given, not my blood sister mind you, but someone’s all the same, was an artisan of exceptional cleverness and skilled with spinning gold into beautiful inlays on the nicest of wooden trinkets. I should think I took on a fancy to painting the wilds from watching her weave those golden vines and abalone florets.
My tribe, for it was a tribe and not a proper elfin family clan, was called the Gwaneniel, the ‘daughters of the departed’ in the common tongue. It was called such because in a great war long before my time, when elves in arms left for the east never to return, the elf daughters were left behind to tend the mothers in their grief. As the mothers disappeared from society, the daughters took up arms and taught themselves to fight. As the creation of life is incongruous with its destruction, the daughters forewent producing elflings and instead took in those baby girls, like me, abandoned, lost or orphaned by the world beyond our borders.
When I was still but a child, the daemonfey and dark elves with their spider queen sailed to my home, leaving ruin in their wake as their assault was undone. Many of my sisters were undone as well, on the shores of Evermeet and far off east across the sea and mountains in Everska. In the time of peace that followed, I grew older and was called precocious and that sort of thing, for I was ever involved in mischief. In 1385 by the Dale Reckoning, though, the world changed due to some tumult of gods, but as the lands across the sea were twisted and torn, ours simply faded away into the realm of eternal dusk.
Into the Feywild – 1385 DR
It was there, in the feywild, which swallowed the villages of Evermeet that I would spend my next few decades. I was not to long in that place before I became inured to its peculiarities, I being somewhat peculiar myself, and with my comfort there, I became more adventurous. You see, I have always been one to wander about, part of my desire to fly, I think, for I do so in my dreams, and elf life in peacetime is rather more dull than one might expect. As I ceased to miss the comforts of cobbled paths and featherbeds, my adventures in the wild grew longer and longer until at long last, I did not return.
Then, in the dappled darkness beneath the boughs of great and ancient trees, I befriended many a fey folk, from pixies to nymphs to dryads, and even the occasional satyr or tree shepherd. The forest, I came to gather, was a being unto itself with its own motivations and desires—its own wild personality. This being, the spirit of the forest perhaps, a friend of the elves and the fey folk both, could not be tamed or shaped or bound, any more than I could. We are alike, really, and as I fell more enamoured with the forest, I did my best to emulate it. Though, I should say that I’ve never attained the forest’s patience, or height for that matter.
By my fortieth year, or there abouts, I encountered a most peculiar fellow for the first time, whom I supposed was a pervert or some cheeky fellow, as he sat a-whistling beside the pool where the nymphs and I bathed. This is not unusual, as the feywild is rampant with perverts and degenerates and other odd sorts. This fellow though was large of hat and cloak and naught of face, which is not to say that there was no face upon his head, but masked in shadows it was by his wide brim.
He told the girls and me that there were better pools around with wisps and flowers and that he knew of the best one in which to bathe and play. He popped up from time to time after that, telling of the best meadows and climbing trees and groves, but his tales would oft as not lead my friends and me into murky fens or bullywug dens. He was tricky that way, and having given his name as Sel, we came to call him Sel Superlative on account of his concern with bests.
In time, as my desire to paint the world of both my surroundings and dreams grew, perhaps in nostalgia for the clever works of the Gwaneniel, I realized a queer magic in my pictures. They were not content to rest in stillness as many a picture does, and with fluttering leaves and shifting shadows and dancing nymphs abounding in my paintings, I almost didn’t notice the interloper whom my brush did not intend. Its face was wooden like a mask fashioned from bark, wreathed in leaves and its body was dark and shapeless like ink drifting through oil. While my dreams would take me aloft in strange and foreign places, the figure who began to pervade my paintings would beckon me deeper into the forest.
Around my sixtieth year, the figure, with whom I had become quite accustomed, did something unexpected, even for a fellow who appeared to me unbidden by my brush or hand. He spoke. His voice was familiar, and as he prattled, it struck me that he shared it with my old Sel Superlative. What a trickster he was indeed to watch me from my paintings, and truly a voyeur if ever there was one. He announced himself now as Agridhama of the old Archfey, the demigods to whom many of the druids of the deep woods gave their prayers. He said that he was a great collector of experiences, and known in the Faerie Court as Agridhama the Connoisseur. It was long into his self praise and meandering that he came to his point. He would give me the power to protect my beloved wilderness for all my days if I would collect for him the perfect evening.
His instructions were as garbled as his normal speak, but I understood them well enough. “Off with thee to find a view, and capture it in canny hue, in deepest verdant fine detail, of skill and wit you should avail, and next onto a tougher task, to go and fetch a matching cask, and as the cork away does fling, a matching song which you should sing, but trust that such song must be bold, and chosen wine be filling, and gather me a fire old to stop my feet from chilling. Now leave the twilight realm behind, and seek a wood of warmly kind, and there you’ll find a lovely quest, for those few things I deem the best, and ne’er you cease ‘til I’m impressed!”
Certainly the task was odd, but fitting for an old godling of the feywild. As I felt my newfound magic bloom and prepared to leave the feywild for unknown destination, I began to long all of a sudden for the sisters I had left behind. It was by this longing that I found myself on the borders of Gwaneniel grove with its ancient fey pines stretching high into the air and its flets and stairs and bridges well out of sight. It was there that I realized the extent of my agreement with the creature Agridhama, as he, in his queer enormity, enveloped the grove and within his inky form I saw the loosed arrows of my kin hanging still in mid air.
A smiling mask emerged from the confines of his form and I tried not to betray my ire. “Be still, be still my quarrelous quarry, your Yérënia will see you freed, and should you for a moment worry, I beg you beg Ren meet my need.” Agridhama’s uncanny smile widened and nearly split the wood of his mask in twain. “Don’t fret my beauty, your wayward sisters will be fine, if your desires should be mine, and should you need a starting hinter, I offer to you: Neverwinter.”
Eastward – 1480 DR
There was a thin area between the realms near Greywater, the former port town of Evermeet and it was there that I left the Feywild and found a ship in berth laden with elven goods. It’s half-elven helmsman was acquainted with the works of the Gwaneniel and with some convincing, I secured passage to a place he called Waterdeep. It was during the three week journey across the sea that I learned of the current year: 1480 by the Dale Reckoning. I had aged around sixty years, but the world outside the Feywild had aged over a century.
The quartermaster told me of the geography of Faerun, of its customs and of money, to which I was not accustomed. “Be wary of cities, lass, and the men within them. They’ll see a pretty face and figure like yours, hear your accent and scant words in common speak, and they’ll mark you for easy prey.” After his warning, I practiced my common speak with the few human deckhands and the helmsman as I’d not soon change my face or figure. As the harbour of Waterdeep loomed in the distance, I had grown confident that I could in the very least find my way to Neverwinter.
I quickly found a distaste for Waterdeep with its sprawling blocks and busy throngs of people and after finding a small group of elvish merchants, I sought my first chance to make my way to Neverwinter. I conversed with them in the ten day journey about the tales I had heard on the ship and many questions did they have about the tricks of business in which the captain was involved. As we neared the walls of Neverwinter, they pointed me toward the forest that lurked in a haze of fog to the northeast and with a flurry of ‘farewells’ they told me to seek out an elf named Aedhril once the opportunity arose.
A New Tribe in Neverwinter – 1481 DR
The Neverwinter Wood was a comforting reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Waterdeep and over the coming months, I grew to love its trees and creatures and warm pools and the views from its mountains. As I began to wander farther out into its reaches, I discovered that I was not the only lone elf who watched the paths and borders. In time, one of these elves approached me, a druid named Indomë. She explained that she was a Winterstalker of the Emerald Enclave, a group that seemed to share my protective instinct for the wild. “So, what do you say, hina, how would you like to give some purpose to your meandering? There are many who enter the forest that do not understand its will and when their fear and ignorance is met with that will, there will always be trouble afoot.”
I was a Summerstrider of the Emerald Enclave when finally the name Aedhril made its way back to my ears. There was word spreading through the Enclave that a moot of sorts was imminent and Nataûr, one of the Autumnweavers said that he had received a scroll from a Harper called Aedhril in regard to the presence of the Zhentarim at the moot. I plied him for information, but knowing of my ways and my reputation in the Enclave, he was guarded. “I’ll not have your tricks, Mallûriel. It’s not enough that you lead travelers in circles and leave them for days at a time to shiver and starve, but now you want to, what? Travel to the city and trick this Harper into the fires of Hotenow? I’ll see Master Daro strip you of your hart if you don’t shape up.” Nataûr was foremost among many things, a turnip.
While, as a general rule, I tried to stay out of the city, I spent a week there searching out Aedhril, who was staying at an inn near the Merchant’s Quarter. I told him of how I learned his name and he told me of his part in the battle of Evereska over a hundred years before. I shared some of the talk I had heard from the merchants I ferried through the forest, he shared the names and sigils of those who sought to build at the expense of the wood, and we shared too many dwarven ales. I spent another week in the city and in that time realized a new love of mine which combined my mischief and my art. Once or twice I was almost caught making my paintings on the walls of lordly homes. The ‘wealthy’ I had learned, prize their stone cages and while my paintings were beautiful, the phrases and epithets that accompanied them were not.
I continued to provoke the mixed emotions of the Enclave over the next few years and after the moot, my actions were monitored more closely. I managed to keep my exchanges with Aedhril secret enough, but one or two of my fellow stags began to suspect me of being the “Everwinter Vandal.” I suppose my forest scape with the sprawling caption “I eat lordlings” was telling of the mentality of the vandal. Furthermore, there was the issue of my losing a fat little merchant in the wild for five days, but it was impossible for me to know that he would be kicked whilst attempting to turn his horse into food.
Scales in the Dark – 1493
On the eve of the Spring Equinox in the Year of the Purple Dragon, I was sat upon the bough of a tree whilst painting a particularly beautiful sunset when another painting peculiarity occurred. I recognized the drowsy feeling that had accompanied my paintings of Sel in the Feywild, but upon my stirring to proper consciousness I found myself upon the ground, my arm broken and head ringing. Instead of the familiar wooded face, there was a pair of bright white eyes surrounded by silvery scales within my painting. I could not be sure of this reality, however, as my vision again began to cloud.
There are wings in the dark, beating, curling, golden. The fire is hot, it laps, but it does not burn. There is the sun in the night sky, growing brighter amidst the stars. The hunter is the hunted, but the quarry is too slow.
I awoke in a room, my arm bound but feeling spry and barely aching. My chest was hot. The familiar face of Aedhril came into view. “Ren, I’m sorry, one of your stags saw me carrying you. I found you on the forest floor with a painting of a mountain rising from a sea. I know you may want to rest, but there is something urgent we must discuss. Tell me, what do you know of caravans?”