Scouts & Vela'shil
When he returned to the city, Daedin was dirty, ragged and thin. He was also smiling. For the first time in many years his chest did not feel empty, and the hazy shrowd that had often covered his thoughts had lifted.
Things had changed in Myon as well. The Elraindels had firmly established themselves, and their family, as the rullers of the city, while Forlindel exiled himself to Light Keep. Meanwhile the military had gone through a few changes and the elf known as Xanatos had been named General of the city's armed forces. Within a matter of days Daedin enlisted as a scout, the one position that would allow him to do what he trully wanted, to roam the forest below the city, to guard it and so too Myon.
To this effect he chose a headquarters for himself, a base of operations from where to begin his daily patrols: Lye Astaldera, the ancient elven burial grounds that, some believed, predated even the Mythal.
They were not too far from the city but, at the same time, were isolated enough for his purposes. On top of that, Daedin found it to have a calming effect on him, the leaf covered statues, the monuments and memorials, it all spoke of something greater than himself, a heritage that was worthy of contemplation and, indeed, protection.
For the first few weeks after his return that was all that he, and Boris, did. While the elf rested or reveried on a particularly comfortable tree, just opposite the main gate of the Lye, the bear snored loudly by its roots. Then, once they woke up, Daedin often having to force Boris up with the promisse of food, they set out on long, roundabout patrols of the entire forest.
Some days were quiet and peaceful but that was far from the norm. The two would often have to confront necromancers, grave robbers, drow raids or the daily pestering of Godo Moss, the goblin. In all these things they would often have the support of the other elves, or Erik Silverarms and his knights but, for the most part, Daedin would serve as the first set of eyes and ears of the forest and the elven city.
News reached him from abroad as well, since quite a few of his old connections, and new ones, began visiting him in the burial grounds, to trade news and information. Feste, Dante Lyons, Elvewyn, among others, would drop in on ocasion and, thanks to them, Daedin was kept up to date on all that went on around the island.
After some time, however, this began to change. The military of Myon kept expanding as more and more elves and half elves made their way North from Cordor. Due to this, Xanatos and Trintiren were forced to delagate a greater ammount of responsabilities, with quite a few of these falling on Daedin's shoulders. Chief among those duties was the initial breaking and trainning of new recruits, a task that he not only welcomed but rather enjoyed.
One of his first trainees was someone who was already a familiar face in Myon: Airk Dar'danowin. He was a lean, elegant elf that, most noticeably at least physicaly, had managed to grow a thin moustache, something that Daedin had always blamed on Airk's innate arcane abilities. Despite this inclination for magic, and his often quiet and thoughtful demeanor, there was a shrewd mind at work in between his pointy ears.
Soon after a young, quick tempered and excitable archer joined them: Roznik Naethandriel.
Somehow, the three of them got along easily. The blond and eager youngster, the solemn arcanist, and the pale-skinned, often sullen jack of all trades.
For a couple of weeks Daedin dragged them along with him and Boris on their forest patrols and tried, to the best of his ability, to impart upon the pair whatever knowledge and wisdom he had gathered while, at the same time, he tried his damnest not to let show just how much of it he had learned by trial and much error, rather than any talent of his.
Soon yet others were either sent their way, hand picked by Daedin, or volunteered to join his trainning and teaching sessions. It was in this fashion that, one day, Daedin realized something, while perched on his favorite branch, of his prefered tree at the burial grounds. Gathered below was a distinct assortment of elves:
Naethandriel bickered with the even younger Ele'le, Airk quietly exchanged words with the somber Liunia Lilith (another former Councilor), while Amand Imithysend inspected his shield, stoicaly enduring yet another fiesty berating by Ania. A little ways to the side, near one of the old shrines, Callana whispered soft prayers under her breath.
They were all dirty and covered in wet mud, a result of the day's trainning. Daedin had taken them to the jungles, had made them dig holes and then bury and hide themselves inside, their bodies covered with earth-dirtied cloaks. The main goal had been to teach them camouflage techniques, improvisation and endurance but, more important than that, Daedin had wanted them to go through the hard work and the unpleasantness together.
And now, as he quietly observed their interactions, he became aware of just how much he cared for them. To the point where he could not let their lives be put in danger by the actions, or innactions, of others.
The problem was the rift between himself and Xanatos who, so far as Daedin could tell, prioritized his own glory and growth over the progress of the people under their care. The consequence was that he paid little attention to those serving in his army and instead spent too much of his time hunting and adventuring elsewhere.
All of these things Daedin ultimately reported to the King and Queen and, as a solution, he asked for a command of his own. A unit that, while sitll attached to the general army, was chosen, trained and led by himself, their goal to operate out of Lye Astaldera and protect the surrounding forest. To be the eyes and ears of Myon beyond the Mythal.
The Royals not only aproved his request, but bestowed upon him the rank of Captain, and his unit was, that day, baptized simply as The Scouts.
Together the Scouts were rarely idle and theirs was a life of hard, dangerous work. The forest was the stage for many a battle, skirmish and full blown war. Some they won, some they lost, but all of it they faced together and grew closer because of it.
Daedin in particular found, with no small degree of alarm, that he was feeling increasingly fond of Liunia Lilith. He felt from her an understanding without judgment and, in many ways, a kindred spirit. They would often spend many hours talking and sharing stories and her wisdom and experience were precious to him. Soon, however, Daedin realized that he wished for her company, beyond the military duties, more and more, and he would often feel entranced by her mysterious, silver-haired face.
He was quick to check and stop all of it.
Just as he was quick to avoid, ignore, duck away and flee from Callana's advances. The brave yet often naive priestess was quick to his side whenever he displayed the smallest hint of pain, fatigue or overall discomfort, and what likely started as simple priestly devotion to duty, took an evident turn for something deeper.
Both women, Daedin knew, were far better than what he could ever deserve. Every time he spoke with them he could not help but to hear the distant insults from his wife-to-be, the anger and disapointement and disgust still crawling under his skin. Despite all the years and all the miles that he had placed between himself and Evermeet, she was an ache that clung to his very bones.
Thus he opted to embrace the title that would become another nickname, Captain, an almost paternal figure but distant enough to, at least in theory, avoid getting too attached. The end result was quite the opposite and, the tighter the scouts became as a unit, as friends, as family, the greater was their progress and success.
All of it came to an abrupt end on a dark and bloody day.
Daedin had been summoned to the burial grounds, though he was unsure by who. Boris was away sleep-fishing somewhere and the scouts were, for the most part, busy with previously assigned tasks. Thus he entered the pillared, leaf-carpeted corridor of the outter grounds on his own.
A couple of deer grazed peacefully by the eastern ponds and streams, badgers skittered here and there through the underbush and only the whispering of the branches broke the silence of early dusk.
A sudden voice cut the air with sharp coldness.
"You had no right!"
Daedin withrew his short swords and tried, to no avail, to find the speaker, even if a shiver in his spine already guessed at who it was.
"It is MY army! MY way! Your scouts are nothing, nothing!"
"Xanatos? Where are you? What are you doing?"
"Shut your mouth! Just shut up! This ends now!"
Two arrows burst into his torso and Daedin fell to the ground. He gasped and struggled to breath and sit up.
"MY army! MINE!"
A third arrow pierced his thigh and a fourth went cleanly through a shoulder and, again, he fell backward. Daedin could feel the blood ooze freely from the holes in his flesh, his own lungs pressed tightly as they found no room to expand.
"Xanatos STOP!" - Even as the world faded into a lightless void, Daedin saw a figure leap over his body and, from somewhere far away, so far away, he heard rushing footsteps and alarmed cries.
The ensuing few weeks were chaotic ones for Myon.
Even though Daedin managed to survive, thanks only to the oportune arrival of some of the Scouts, the notion that one of the People would attempt not only to murder, but assassinate another of the City, was virtualy unheard of.
Xanatos fled and disappeared all together, and was officialy exiled from the city, branded a kin-slayer, as vile as a drow.
This left the city without a General and, as a whole, the army in confusion and disarray.
So it was that King Trintiren decided upon a complete overhaul and restructure of the army. First, he renamed Myon's military as the Vela'lateu, "The Blades Of The Crescent Moon." Next, he divided it into three different units: the Vela'Kerym, or simply "The Swords" or "The Blades"; The Vela'Faer, or "Arcane Blades"; And finally the Vela'Shil, or "Shadow Blades."
Daedin was put in charge of the Vela'Shil and most of the Scouts were assimilated into this new unit, while a few were assigned to the other two, according to their talents. For those in the Vela'Shil this meant new duties and operative guide lines, for unlike the Scouts, the Vela'Shil's scope went far byond the forest and reconnaissance missions.
This time their goal was full blown espionage, something that Daedin Angthalion embraced whole heartedly, since he was determined to never be blindsided again, to ensure that he would not risk the lives of those he had grown to love over a threat that he failed to predict.
He began by rekindling old connections from his days in the Blood Ravens and worked hard at forging new ones, all throughout the archipelago. New faces from Myon also joined his ranks, people like Ai, Armathor, Syrian, Jeramaine Arcastus and even the king's former lover, Danaria.
In Daedin's mind, it was far from sufficient.
It was close to midnight, several months later, when he stepped out of the portal in the Cordorian Outskirts. Even if the city never really slept, it was still possible to find hours of the day when it was not being swallowed up by full blown chaos.
Not bothering with cloaks or hoods, Daedin made a straight line for the Nomad. Once inside he ignored the deserted main room and trotted up the steps to the second floor. There he walked to a room named after a man he had met only once and, despite this, produced a key that allowed him to enter the room. He went straight for the chest at the base of the bed and within it found a stack of papers.
Not waisting a single second he took the bundle, cracked open a portal lense, and half a thought later was walking out in the rain at the gates of Wharftown. After passing these, Daedin again went directly to his goal, a house further up the road, opposite the Temple of Selune. Yet once more he searched for one of many keys, opened the door, and quickly entered the house. Inside, standing in the living room, was an elven woman clad in a commoner's garb. They exchanted only a light nod as she handed him another couple of papers and yet another key.
They shared a smile when Daedin took out, for the second time in less than thirty minutes, another portal lense and promptly disappeared.
This time the sudden light delivered him to the ever-autumn of the Forest. Waiting just near the yellow pulse of the portal was a tall, gaunt man, his face hidden under a strange helmet, made of cog wheels and odd metalic parts. A long red robe extended heavily to his feet and a magic staff shone ominously in his hand.
Daedin bowed his head politely even as he stared hard at the figure.
Without further formalities, Daedin handed over the bundle of papers he had picked up in Cordor and was given in turn a large tome with a black fist insignia on its cover.
Despite the exchange, the silence between them was far from a comfortable one. It was a silence layered with latent threats, burdened by promissed betrayals and mistrust, all of it underlined by the certainty that, someday, they would have to trade violence instead of secrets.
This time it was Daedin's turn to be left alone as the Thayan Wizard disapeared into the portal.