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Cormyr: The Smile of Chauntea

Spoilers for Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor by Sean K. Reynolds

Continued from last correspondence:

The few minutes that we waited by the gate of Castle Cormanthor were among the most nervoius of my life; it felt like a basilisk was crawling up my spine. Just the sight of the gatehouse at close range, its granite walls, hard stone battlements, a portcullis of dire steel spears, and an opening so large and so tall that a storm giant would barely need to stoop, would have been enough to want to send me fleeing back to Sembia had I not been consumed by the insanity of our errand.

As we waited, I observed my companion with new eyes, looking for familiar behavior. Aron played with the pommel of his sword - he was unhappy that he was forced to conceal his dire flail beneath his cloak for a less distinctive weapon. Aron, like a dumb beast, sometimes has to be yanked with hard, deliberate tugs toward the trough of survival.

Kord was obvious trying harder to be inconspicuous - it's a good thing I've never learned any invsibility magic, for I am certain he would want them as often as possible. Still, I get the sense that this place is having a profound effect on even his emotions. His eyes glance hither and yon when he thinks no one is looking at him, and the traces of the old elfwork besot him, and he longs for the drought.

Ulrick was standing erect as a well-trained horse, not a surprise. Truth to tell, I think he has even less appreciation for the beauty and heritage of this place than Aron. He was driven by duty and by the mission, and blind to all else, like a stern father lecturing his child for getting one note of a performance wrong when a lad has sung like an angel - it is not a way I'd choose to live. Of course, if he got us out of here alive and successful, it would be boorish of me to complain too loudly. Ulrick was focusing on the chief guard, a tall man who was as broad as an ogre and wore a great black steel helm with bone inlays, shaped like a dragon's skull and whose few patches of visible skin are markedly scaly.

"Half-dragon..." I whispered to Aron, hoping that he won't openly inquire about the man and put us in mortal danger. Of course, the lummox of a Wyvernspur probably can't hear a whisper in that huge helmet anyway.

"We've completed our patrol," I heard Ulrick repeat. "No losses, praise the Dragon!" And with that, the huge half-dragon nodded, shouted something virtually incoherant and, with a metallic squeal and a carillon of chain rattles, the great gate was pulled up in a staggering motion until its grid of pointed spears loomed thirty feet above our heads.

"Enter," the half-dragon proclaimed. "Praise the dragon." Such a quaint little cult. I'm not sure whether I should answer him, but I follow Ulrick's lead and remained silent. We entered the castle grounds without incident. We were but mice in a shattered cathedral - the glory of Castle Cormanthos is not simply its physical beauty but its many magcks, its dance of dweomers, here an alteration, there an alteration, interwoven with such skill that when one sees it and has learned enough of dweomercraft to appreciate true artistry, all of the chest-swollen pretension of our brethren in Sembia seems amateurish and vulgar by comparison. This description does no justice to what I saw - in truth, I longed to cast the most basic spells and examine its dweomercraft more carefully, but the necessity of the quest prevented any spellcasting until we reach our goal.

We spoke to no one. We appeared to be no one worth speaking with, and that suited our purposes splendidly.

We strode purposely down a long, delicate spiral staircase of some unearthly blue stone, inlaid with mother of pearl trimmings, and descended into the first underground level, where we walked under an elven sky as they must have seen in it in the hoary-lore days when man was still a young race. There were many patrols here, but by feigning a martial posture - which even I can do convincingly - we managed to avoid drawing attention to ourselves.

Praise the dragon, your minions are idiots.

We said farewell to the cavern of elven memories for darker realms, for dungeons and caverns wrought from crudely hewed stone. These were not dwarf-work. As the baelnorn said, there were patrols of undead and dragon-men here. We avoided them, almost without effort. It was more taxing finding the damned secret entrance to the Pool of Radiance level.

The tunnel was pitch dark; even Ulrick's Cormyte commander's ring wouldn't illuminate this blackness. We became aware of each other's movement, the familiar clatter of metal on stone. To say that the descent seemed to go on forever would be melodramatic, but not far from how it felt. Anticipation gaveway to tedium and slight fatigue. Finally, we came to a dead stop, a great stone slab barred our way. Aron and Ulrick, straining mightily, managed to pry the seal open, and there we were. The Pool.

To call this cavern large would be an understatement, like everything else in Myth Drannor, this place was determined to impress us with its size. The walls were black granite, basalt perhaps, rising several hundred feet above us, where the shadows seemed to swirl over our heads. The shadows were cast by the light from large green-white pool that loomed in front of us. The Pool of Radiance was about fifty feet in diameter, perhaps larger, and crossed by several natural land bridges that rose over the central depression where the Pool sat. Beyond it was an altar, adorned with the trappings of the Sammasterites. Behind the altar, was a glass case - glassteel, I'd wager, in which the phylactery of Pelendralaar is contained.

Near the altar, kneeling in prayer, were two men in black robes. Necromancers I gathered, I might even guess that one of them is the great Shamoor, writer of letters. Truth to tell, I didn't give a damn in the Nine Hells who these people are, what their boyhood suffering might have been, how badly they were treated by children and pets. They were human offal, who needed to be thrown into the streets with the rest of the offal, and ground under horses' hooves. Some say that they need to know and understand their enemies to fully battle them, but deluded cultists such as these are such apocalyptic simpletons that they engage no sense of curiosity, only contempt. No death was too swift for such swine.

Unfortunately, they were not the only people here. There were also two huge dragon-men, alertly guarding against the unlikely possibility that the guardians of Faerun might invade their sanctum. More ominously, however, was the figure of a huge red dragon that was poised several hundred feet away on our right hand side.

"Five guards!" Kord whined. "What are five guards doing here? There should only be two guards! This was supposed to be a cakewalk!"

I think even Aron looked at him like he was completely mad. Ulrick shrugged, and he and Aron drew their weapons and immediately charged. Kord took cover near the door and drew his bow. We would not try to bluff our way through this battle.

"Kill the intruders!" the necromancer who's probably Shamoor shoued at the dragon.

My main tactic was to get as close to the phylactery as possible, and use the bone scepter to cast a shatter spell, but the dragon posed the most immediate problem. We noticed that the dragon's movement had a staggered quality to it, and its hide looked ragged, not at all well groomed. We also remembered encountering a red dragon that flew above us in Myth Drannor - which the baelnorn later told us had been slain by the same adventuring party that was now confronting Pelendralaar. Could this be that selfsame dragon, now animated as a zombie? Perhaps its body was placed here as a recepticle for Pelendralaar should his hopes fail?

And I smiled, for now I knew how to deal with it. First I hastened myself, then I raised a magical shield, and finally I used the scepter to cast a holding spell on the red dragon, a spell that only affected undead. The dragon froze in its tracks.

"Thought so," I smiled, advancing toward the phylactery, skirting the edge of the Pool itself. The one weakness in my plan was that the shatter spell required me to cast it at close range, whereas I wanted to be as far away from the fray s possible. By this time, Aron and Ulrick had reached the mages and were slashing away at them, though Ulrick was determined to destroy the phylactery as quickly as possible. The two mages raised dweomermirrors to protect themselves, but Aron, either through Tymora's grace (or just pure stupidity that allows him to see through a complex illusion), managed to connect with the true mage, cracking his skull with hideous and wondrous power. The other mage fired arcane bolts at Aron (who's been struck by so many during the course of our campaign that I'm surprised he hasn't grown armor against them) and dispeled the holding spell I'd placed on the zombie. I smiled, restored the spell, and aimed a lightning bolt at the two dragon-men - who were sweeping towards me as fast as their wings will carry them.

Great. You were supposed to engage Ulrick, you idiots!

They shrug off the effects of the lightning bolts and one of them grappled me. His strength was monstrous, but fortunately for me he was so anxious to hurl me into the pool that he didn't secure his grip, and I managed to wriggle free. The other dragon-man took a swing at me, only to receive an arrow between the eyes for his trouble, courtesy of Kord. The other dragon-man got hold of me, and also triedto throw me into the Pool. Somehow, perhaps knowing that the waters would prove fatal, gave me the strength to resist. Either that, or the baelnorn's spells were at work. Either way, as long as I was still breathing at the end of the day, I did not care in the least.

To make matters worse, spirits issue from the bodies of the dead necromancer and the dead dragon: Mythal ghosts I guessed. They've absorbed so much magic from the mythal of Myth Drannor and the Pool that the dweomer has permeated their entire bodies. Kord, employing an arsenal of magic arrows, slew the dragon-man-ghost thing too. The other ran down a long tunnel, silently screaming for assistance.

Now our attention was focused on Shamoor. Realizing that the words "praise the dragon" meant absolutely nothing when you're surrounded in a ring of foes, decided to leap headlong into the Pool and see what happens. Unfortunately, the Pool dissolves magic - and Shamoor, like the others, had become permeated with the energies of the Weave. Like a living, hungry thing, the Pool devoured him like a sweet treat that dissolves on one's tongue. Good riddance.

Ulrick finally shatterec the glassteel case and Aron struck a heavy blow with his flail. I attempted to cast a shatter spell, but the phylactery resisted. How annoying. What it doesn't resist is the second blow from Aron's flail. The phylactery fall to pieces. Our work was done.

We proceeded to the exit, and noted that from the exit where the mythal-ghost went, another dragon emerged. This one was breathing smoke from its nostrils. I had a brief thought of casting a lightning bolt at it, but common sense prevailed. Our one problem was that the dragon lies between Kord and ourselves - Kord loves to fix himself to a good sniper's position and not budge. Fortunately, seeing our retreat, the dragon returned to Pelendralaar's lair. Kord rejoined us, and we escaped down the tunnel.

Eventually, we followed the tunnel out of Myth Drannor; as we were warned, we crossed a Null Magic zone along the way. We finally met the baelnorn, who thanked us for our service, and asked us where we'd like to go. I expected to be sent to the Wyvernspur lands, to help save Aron's family from the troll infestation - he's certainly done us enough of a service that we should turn our attention to helping him. Kord, however, was adamant about seeing his family at Silverymoon and refused to entertain any other course of action; Ulrick, lusting after a holy avenger weapon, thought he could trade the Book and Sword of Lathander at his Silverymoon temple, and Aron hoped to join a holy order of the temple of Selune at Silverymoon.

"I'll get you as close to Silverymoon as I can," the baelnorn promised, and he raised his arms to cast a spell.

"But what about --" I said, meaning to ask about Wheloon, the benighted city that Ulrick essentially abandoned for his quest to stop the dracolich. But it's too late. We reappeared somewhere in the high mountains, in a freezing wind. The snow blew hard in our faces, stabbing like ice.
 
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Broccli_Head

Explorer
MulhorandSage said:
Spoilers for Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor by Sean K. Reynolds



"But what about --" I said, meaning to ask about Wheloon, the benighted city that Ulrick essentially abandoned for his quest to stop the dracolich. But it's too late. We reappeared somewhere in the high mountains, in a freezing wind. The snow blew hard in our faces, stabbing like ice.

Funny! Ulrick shirking his responsibility.

Now I wonder where they are.
 
####

28th day of Uktar, in the Year of the Standing Stone, 1372.
Silverymoon

Dear sister,

How dare he!

Curse me for a fool to ally with paladins and Cormytes! I'd wish a plague upon my head as punishment, except that a plague would be an improvement over my current situation. The abyss take all paladins! Take them all and shroud them in shadow and maggots! All of my designs are undone because this fop of a Cormaeril chose glory over duty!

We supposed that the baelnorn sent us as close as it could to the place where we requested - Silverymoon - unfortunately it must have used a moongate that connected to a mountaintop located some distance from the town. How like that fool Ulrick, who, pursuing a greedy goal while claiming to be above such base emotions, led us into a place where I nearly froze both my vitals and my spellfingers.

At that moment my sister, I wondered which plane of chill would be best suited to send him and repay the favor.

We were atop the battlements of an ancient fortress, surrounded on all sides by impassable cliffs. There's a shrine to Halani, one of Kord's conceited elven gods (the goddess of staring at one's self in the mirror for unending hours, methinks) and naturally the oblivious elf wanted to pray to her, probably for the removal of that mole on his back. I suppose I should have been curious whether that arrogant elven-bitch would answer Kord's prayer, instead, I was busy experiencing a more bitter chill than any my necromancer adversaries in Myth Drannor had shown me. I was certainly glad I did not cast my spells with my toes.

I digress, again. It is, I think, that natural human trait that inspires one to talk about the weather as frequently as possible, especially when it's conspiring to kill you.

Kord's prayer was interrupted, but not by anything divine - more infernal I think. A glowing ball of energy, dancing like a fey in mid-air, suddenly rose from a nook in the shrine and fired a tiny bolt of lightning hat struck the prayer-addled elf in its vespers, ending its supplication in a manner that would have been amusing had I been less hypothermiac.

Ulrick, failing to sense the ambush, but sensing (correctly, I suspect) that it would get much worse the longer I stayed there, pointed us toward a downward facing staircase. We fled downward, our numb feet nearly tripping on the stairs.

"Why are you so cold?" Aron asked. "I can barely feel it."

"That's because you're wearing a traveller's cloak, you dolt!" I shouted back at the irritating lummox. Unfortunately, the other members of the company had, during an expedition when I was indisposed, discovered a cache of traveller's cloaks. Of course would these allegedly hardy human slabs of meat actually deign to lend such a wondrous thing to a less physically adept soul in his hour of need? Of course not! I suppose the next thing I'll hear as that they're expecting me, as a wizard. to have prepared the appropriate spell to keep myself warm (even though it had been midsummer's heat at Myth Drannor). If so, I'll fireball the lot of them and warm myself on their carcasses!

In the meantime, the one source of warmth was one we were all desperate to avoid - the painful lightning jolts of the fey-lights, which flickered in and out of existance and proved so agile that they were nearly impossible to hit - Aron, who's usually a capable swordsman, floundered like an overconfident apprentice trying to hit the blasted things.

The fey things play a cat and mouse game with us, popping in and out before we can deal with them. Ulrick urges us on, agreeing that we're probably being herded, but seeing little alternative. Of course, neither could I. The jolts from the fey-orb were painful (after receiving a solid flash on the buttocks, I was careful to raise a magical shield and keep it interposed between me and the light) but not lethal.

We ended up in an open courtyard of a large temple complex, a huge altar of black stone - basalt, I'd guess, or I'm a Cormyte - grinning at us with dark power. Its acolytes were about a dozen muscle-bound men, as broad-shouldered and thick-chested as Aron, clad in the meagerest leather straps, they flaunted themselves in a manner that even a Chessentan self-pageanteer would find embarrassing.

(Fine sister. On the last point, I exagerate. But it was an odd sight indeed to come face to face with these wolf-bloods. And despite the potential danger I faced, I couldn't help but be preoccupied with one thought - how could anyone survive wearing such scant clothing when the ice-wind was freeze-burning my flesh and flaying it from my bones?)

The leather pageanteer looked up at the sudden instrusion, clearly annoyed that we disrupted some ritual, and one of them, drawing a whip from his belt, pointed at me menacingly. Great, I told myself. I recognized who they were, or at least what they served - Loviatar. The baelnorn just had tp send us into a stronghold of the bitch of pain. Ignoring the growling sounds of my comrades. I put up my hands in a gesture of non-violence and began to walk around them. They were clearly evil, or harbored such intent, but I rarely debate a man's religious dogma unless they're presenting a warped view of the arcane, and I don't believe in killing people because their ethos differs from mine (else I would have gutted that paladin like a spawning salmon a long time ago). But the Loviatarites had other ideas. The lash leapt out of the Loviatarite's hand, lazily flying above the rim of my protection spells, and stung the side of my cheek, drawing the blood of Sembia. I believe the others thought me a fool for not attacking on sight. They charged into the fray, even Kord (though he did so to avoid the fey-light that was driving him from behind. There's nothing Kord hates more than being flanked, except perhaps for common sense and the practicality of reigning in one's bloodthirst).

The battle that followed was welcome, if only because the blood rushing through my veins was sufficiently warming that I no longer felt like I was freezing to death. Truth to tell, when it comes to warming one's body, and one is forced to choose between a whore in one's bed, warm brandy in one's hand, and the fear of a sudden death in one's heart, the latter is by the poorest of the available options. One of the pageanteers cornered me, whip in hand; almost giddy at the prospect that he would flay me like cattle. I didn't wish to cast one of my more powerful magicks, not yet, so I took the bone scepter, and drawing it with one swift motion, slammed it into the ample acreage of his chest. The impact did much more than I expected. Immediately, the enemy's health faltered, and his broad frame became emaciated as a sickly wizard; he fell to one knee, then lay prone at my feet, and then (to my astonishment) I heard his death rattle. Looking at my hands and wrists, I found that they had thickened noticeably, and briefly sliding my left hand over my upper right arm, there was a hardness and a bulge that is not the norm for one of my slender (fine, call it frail if you must!) physique.

Necromancy. I could get used to this.

The Loviatarites had bitten off more than they could chew, but they were not fighting alone, as several of these fey-orbs had now materialized and continued to pelt us with lightning. Briefly Aron swayed, clutched his belt for a healing potion bottle that wasn't there, and we suddenly realized we were dying the death of a thousand cuts. Kord pushed ahead into a guardtower door, and we found ourselves facing animated suits of flying armor - helmed horrors. We managed to disable them, and continued fighting our way into the keep, hoping that we'd eventually make our way to a safe egress. But resistance only grew stronger as we penetrated deeper within the keep, and with Aron and Ulrick both badly wounded and little healing left to us, I decided on a desperation gambit. We unloaded much of what we had taken from the Sammasterite's tower, all of the masterwork quality armor and weapons that burdened us, and lightened our load so I could support our descent with a levitation spell. We worked our way to a window, and stared down the sheer, ice-sharded face of the cliff. It looked like a straight drop of several thousand feet. Taking a deep breath, knowing that all it would take is one well-cast dispel magic to send us all plummeting to certain death, I cast the spell, and we began a controlled descent to the valley floor.

Several minutes later, as the fell winds battered us like the buffet of white dragon wings, we finally descended below the altitude where ice held the mountain as its thrall, and finally arrived in climes where a heavy cloak could shield you from the wind with shivers.

"I know where we are," Kord said - he was born in these lands. "I'm not sure I want to take you there. You might embarass me."

Our collective jaws dropped.

"Let's see," I laughed. "Silverymoon is dedicated to the peaceful unity of Men, Elves, and Dwarves - among other races - and we've just helped safeguard some of elvendom's most valuable artifacts, as well as risked our lives fighting against an evil that had desecrated your most hollowed sanctuary west of Evermeet, and we're still not worthy of entering Silverymoon?"

"Yeah," Kord replied.

"But I'll never be able to join a specialty order of Selune!" Aron protested.

"And we need to get the book and sword of Lathander back to the temple." Ulrick said.

"Oh." I could hear the moneychanging going off in Kord's head. "Two major artifacts, that's worth at least 125,000 Gold each." Kord gleefully chortled. "For 250,000 Gold, I can easily take you to my city!"

I would have told him that it's highly unlikely that even a cathedral as rich as Lathander's would keep that much currency around - for one thing, it'd attract far too many thieves - but I said nothing. It's best to let this treasure-besotted fool live with his delusions, then smile when reality inevitably shatters them. Life's more fun that way.

The sun was waxing when we arrived at the Cathedral of Lathander, as grand and as gaudy a temple as I've ever seen, even more than the Grand Register of Waukeen in Saerloon, which I marvelled at as a boy. The walls had a slight yellow tint, magically pigments I'd wager, which made the building appear pearl-colored at dawn and dusk, and a deep gold at noon. Such were the aspects of Lathander Morninglord (or those aspects he'd claim as his own, which for the gods is much the same thing.)

We entered the cathedral to find it busier than the market district of Saerloon at Highharvestide. There were dozens of adventurers seated at table, piled next to assorted relics and weapons, awaiting nervously as the priests made a circuit of the room, divining the properties of those goods they'd been brought. Since, two years again, the Queen Alustriel had founded the Kingdom of Luruar (now called the Silver Marches, a more religiously neutral name), many adventurers have scavenged the ancient dwarf ruins of the North, unearthing treasures enchanted by the ancient elven masters of the northern forests, which vied with Netheril when the world was young, and the dwarrow-delvers of the great dwarf kingdom of Delzoun. At least some of them must have lain in a dragon's hoard, for they had a draconic stench, half-offal, half overwhelming spice.

We watched patiently as the priests fawned and marveled over the discoveries - I got the distinct impression that their pretty speech was intended to bespell them without actually throwing an enchantment - and smiled as we anticipated their words to us. Kord's face was lit up as if it were a living gateway to the treasures that would be awarded to him. I had the brief and quite horrifying mental picture of a naked Kord swimming through a hoard of gold like a great wyrm, throwing coins in his wake.

Then the priest came to our table, laid their eyes upon our find, and the fawning mask dropped and was instantly replaced with wonder. The high priest of Lathander, a gaudy creature clad in gold like a eunuch, was immediately summoned to inspect the book and the sword. He cast a spell. Suddenly the temple went pitch dark, and then the book shone, and a crack of light came out of the ceiling and illuminated Ulrick. This was followed by a light that surrounded the sword, and the blade levitated in place, then drifted into the hands of a Lathanderite paladin.

"Hey! Our treasure!" Kord exclaimed, though his voice was lost in the moment. And I seemed to recall that Aron was the one who suffered taking the sword from Lathander's light.

"Truly the prophecy has been fulfilled," the chief priest said, pointing at Ulrick. "One has come, bearing relics from the dark, and the darkness came but could not restrain him."

There was a very unsettling feeling in my stomach when I heard that damned word "prophecy".

"You must become our new high priest," the priest added.

I knew, of course, that Ulrick would have to decline now and put an end to this nonsense. Clearly Cormyr needed his help far more than Silverymoon, and no paladin of Torm could abandon his subjects for very long, even one as neglectful as Ulrick. Furthermore, the portals we had so carefully studied lay near Cormyr, but not (to our knowledge) Silverymoon. I had pinned all my hopes on mastering the portal network, wresting them from the control of the great Orc King, taming them and using them to facilitate commerce between the Dales, Sembia, and Cormyr - control of those portals would make us all richer than kings.

Ulrick looked at us - and I knew even he wouldn't make any hasty decision without consulting us. After all, taking the position of high priest of Lathander (for which he was utterly unqualified) would have serious consequences for our partnership, and no paladin who prized loyalty would take that decision without talking it over with us. And I am a Wizard, not a Dullard: it is my chief purpose in life to provide advice to Men at such critical moments.

"I accept," Ulrick said, and suddenly I realized I'd been betrayed. No, not betrayal in the grand conspiracy, dagger-in-the-back sense, the labyrinthine court plotting that one finds in potboilers and history. No, this was betrayal in a very personal sense, betrayal through neglect and disregard. For it is easy to be a comrade in a time of great need, but when that need is gone, and one can be casually disregarded in the everyday scheme of events, then one is not a comrade, one is a lapdog.

I had once seen greatness in this man's mien, a potential to achieve triumphs beyond the scope of lesser men, and such a man is worth keeping close, for he will lead you to interesting places. But now he has become besotted by his new religion, which forced him to make a choice between two places: the easy and the hard; on one hand the prosperous avenues of Silverymoon, on the other, the starvation-ridden streets of Wheloon. A great man never choses the easier of two such paths, but that is precisely what Ulrick has done, and he who makes such a coward's choice may be useless to me now.

I will go nowhere, sister, if I remain this Lathanderite's lapdog for much longer.

His decision was made without malice - I suspect he will be surprised when I tell him he's betrayed me, and treat the accusation lightly. He will be mistaken. In a friend or comrade, neglect is ofttimes far worse than hate. I do not know what my next move will be. But I shall have to make it shortly.

In love, and regard, still thy brother,

Ascarin Nevermoon
 
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Morte

Explorer
Great stuff, Mr Sage. I cannot wait to read Ascarin's caustic description of the trouble that ensues...
 
29th day of Uktar, in the Year of the Standing Stone, 1372.
Saerloon.

Dear Ascarin,

You are an idiot.

Yes, I'm talking to you, you snivelling egotist! A few weeks ago, you were wizard and friend to a minor Cormyte despot who had so many enemies that he couldn't swing a sword without hitting one. Now you're the wizard and friend of the high priest of Lathander in *Silverymoon*. What is *wrong* with you? Your position has improved more than I can describe, and all you can do is whine like a battered cur!

So he ignored you and disregarded you. Well, what else did you expect? It is the fate of wizards to be ignored! They told us that in the first week at the Academy - to be a wizard is to become frustrated with the rest of mankind, for they will never heed you! And given how much of the blame for the current problems in Cormyr can be attributed to the incompetant advice of the War Wizards, is it any wonder Ulrick doesn't seek your advice or approval? Would you, in his place?

Yes, you've lost your opportunity to exploit those portals, and gotten rich over the misfortune of the wealthy but starving Cormytes. That's a shame. But there's more than one portal in Toril, and more ways to become rich than trade routes. Oh dear. Your plan failed, and now you need to come up with another one. Such a dire tragedy I have not heard in at least three days! For the sake of heavens and treasures, brother, use your brain for more than just moping! While I have no faith in Cormytes or paladins, I do trust those in power. Stay close to this Ulrick, at least for now. Stop being such a romantic idiot.

By the way, I am very glad to hear of your continued survival. Though your reports are so fretful about the least little threat to your person that they've dulled the impact of your narrative, I am quite proud that you survived the Sammasterites.

I was going to describe my new spell to transform people's clothing into a steel vise that crushes them, but your idiocy has worked me up into such an exasperated state that I simply care not to describe it now.

Stop being such a child. It's a good thing father didn't see your last correspondence, or you'd never have heard the end of it.

Your loving (though sometimes I don't know why) sister,

Gevrael
 

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