||2020-10-03 11:44:46 - Update
Episode #4: The History of Kaelis Goldenchord
The Ministry of the Blade Campaign
NPCs mentioned in this Episode:
Aranakaelistaminaral Antha'tal was born in the heart of the elven community; Celene, city of the sun. The mother of "Kaelis" is Aleesta, a beautiful and enchanting language instructor at one of Celene's academies and Kaelis' stepfather is Bretolas, one of Celene's most celebrated artists and sculptors.
In the year 555CY, trade ambassadors from many different countries were slowly approaching an agreement that would establish a bold new trade route that could be used to connect eastern and western markets; introducing bloated western supply with untapped eastern demand. The trade route would be a joint effort from almost a dozen small and large governments, but would have to be built very close to Celene and its surrounding territory. The elves' renowned reclusive nature and protection of their lands proved to be the final sticking point in the negotiations. So after years of revision and planning, an entourage of foreign trade ambassadors were invited to Celene to address once and for all the issues facing the development of the trade route. It would stretch as far north as Blackmoor, and as far to the south as Keoland, and the elves stood to gain much in exchange for just a few concessions.
The group of ambassadors was by far the largest and most diverse group to be granted solace inside Celene for many years. Some of the ambassadors would be the first to enter the elven city in decades and from Veluna and Bissel to The Gran March and Nyrond, all were there to state the concerns of their respective governments. Even the ambassador from the Theocracy of the Pale was given a voice in the Elven Assembly for this special occasion. All were heard, and during the few short weeks of negotiation, a pact was made and the trade route was finally approved. However, much happened on the sidelines during this historic event.
During his stay in Celene, it was the ambassador from Furyondy that one day took notice of Aleesta as he toured one of the elven academies. He was a tall, broad shouldered man who looked as exotic to Aleesta as she did to him with the elves' otherworldly grace. Their hushed and torrid-paced affair ended the morning after the treaties had been signed, and he left Celene with the other ambassadors.
Kaelis' stepfather, Bretolas, is one of the most successful artists in Celene. A sculptor and painter, he was most famous for his spectacular still-life portraits. His reputation and renown grew from his ability to simulate "motion without motion" in his paintings, and was highly sought after for his art. Bretolas travelled extensively, commissioned far and wide to immortalize dignitaries of ruling houses. It was during one such commission that these trade negotiations in Celene were completed, and when he returned, a guilt-ridden Aleesta confessed all to her life mate. Outraged, Bretolas immediately disowned his unborn child.
Aleesta's infidelity sent ripples through the close-knit social circles on Celene, and the aristocratic name of the Anthatal family has fallen since. Puritans looked down upon Bretolas and Aleesta, and division threatened the family from within. True to her heart, Aleesta raised and cared for Kaelis just as she had for her other child, though Bretolas would have no part in it. Kaelis was born into a family as the youngest of four children, a large family by elven standards. Karanthaist and Risalthaist are twins, twenty years Kaelis' seniors. Throughout their childhood, the twins' gifts and interests parted early, Karanthaist with his blades and Risalthaist with his books. While Karanthaist strove to wield his sword as one of the famed Bladesingers of Celene, he was much too young and lacked the social standing to be drafted early into their order. Frustration plagued his training and he became rash and bitter, only to later be accepted with no knowledge of his sponsor. Risalthaist, however, did not share the strength and vigour of his twin. Frail and analytical, Risalthaist had dreams of his own, but they involved wielding the powerful magic of his elven ancestors. His lust for fame and notoriety were looked on poorly by his tutors at the college of magical arts in Celene but he would not be deterred, and his determination served him well. There was a cynical and overconfident way in which Risalthaist dealt with those around him. It made many at the academy uneasy, but his talent could not be denied.
Kaelis' sister Eilhana has always been the nicest to Kaelis during his childhood. More than five decades older than Kaelis, Eilhana always saw both sides of her younger brother's arguments and managed to settle them with ease and understanding. It was little surprise when she told the family that she would pursue a political career in the High Courts of Celene.
As Kaelis grew, it became increasingly obvious he was very different from his brothers. His human blood saw him grow far faster than his pure elven syblings, and this only exaggerated their differences. Aleesta insisted that Kaelis be raised in the elven tradition and learn to live his life as an elf, and not embrace the human side of him which has been the cause for his family's fall from grace. She remained indignant that Kaelis be treated no differently than her other children, and that he be given every advantage they had been. Kaelis immersed himself in study; arts, magic, archery and the elven culture could do nothing to satiate his unending thirst for new sights and new sounds. As he grew into a young adult, Kaelis' love for art and his staggering vocal talent could not be denied. He learned much about art from the father that hated him, and in the time Kaelis spent alone, his voice grew and grew to rival those of the performing artists in the Grand Theatre of Celene.
However, no song that he could sing, no apology that he could utter would erase the prejudice and hatred he endured day after day. Aleesta was always at his side, reassuring the troubled half-elf that he must stay and do what he loved, that Kaelis should ignore those uncultured and intolerant. One of Aleesta's truest of friends, Erryn Silverleaf was life-mate to a well-spoken and influential politician in the Celene cabinet, Jaenys. She supported Aleesta and comforted her many evenings by the fire when Aleesta's sorrow and regret seemed overwhelming.
Kaelis loved his elven heritage, and knew little if anything of the human impulses he experienced and fought with the discipline and logic taught him in Celene. However, the mystery of his father plagued him whenever he shut his eyes, and his one comfort amidst the torment that only young adults can understand was his music. He was taught to sing by a kindly music composer who called himself Axiom, a venerable High Elf who held audience with the Queen herself for special occasions. Axiom would entertain special guests at the request of the royal court, and took Kaelis as a pupil at the request of Eryyn Silverleaf, much to Kaelis' delight.
There was little that Kaelis did not enjoy. His life as a burgeoning singer and the beauty he was surrounded by shielded him from the harsh reality that he must one day leave his beloved city. The art, the music, the peace and complacency he enjoyed within its confines would no longer be his to cherish. After much thought, his adventurous nature and desire for the knowledge that Celene could not offer forced Kaelis to bid farewell to the family that both loved and hated him with a promise to return one day.
Kaelis had to find his real father. It was as strong a feeling as the music that coursed in his veins. Kaelis tried to envision him in his mind as his mother had described him, but it would never be enough. He had to meet him, to speak with him, to learn what he knew. And so, with both reluctance and excitement, Kaelis left Celene.
Eventually Kaelis' search led him to Greyhawk City, a place of wonder and intrigue. Kaelis found he was welcomed with open and unquestioning arms in this grand city. Elves, half-elves and humans mingled as one, gnomes and Halflings dotted the crowds that hustled everywhere in the midday markets. Truly, this was living! What stories they must have, what beautiful music had they heard in their travels? Immersing himself quickly in the day-to-day of Greyhawk City, it wasn't long before Kaelis had learned that many of the ambassadors that took part in the negotiations almost twenty years ago had done so at the request of an elf hailing from Celene! Kaelis couldn't believe it; this elf was none other than the famed Captain of the Knights of Luna, Prince Melf Brightflame!
Kaelis had never met the renowned defender of Celene, but he was encouraged nonetheless. It was well known that Prince Melf rarely visited his homeland, championing elfdom in the lands far and wide. If Kaelis was to find and speak with Melf, what better a city to center his search from than Greyhawk? Kaelis revelled in the night life and teeming crowds that poured into the taverns and galleries of the city, and in no time Kaelis was playing several nights a week at a wonderful hall in the up-scale west end of the city. The unending influx of travellers from countries Kaelis had never heard of provided him with stories and tales, songs and poems enough to entertain for hours. It was a joy Kaelis had never known in Celene. He was becoming truly happy.
Soon, Kaelis' continued success began to earn him a reputation about town. He found himself being fought over as local promoters and small travelling companies competed for his services. His reviews and reputation continued to get better and better, and Kaelis was soon the "reason" for travellers coming to Greyhawk. Still, Kaelis' inquiries turned up nothing about Prince Melf, and letters home to his mother and siblings were of no help in his search.
One evening, during a performance at a small theatre in Greyhawk, Kaelis noticed in the balcony a group of elves. Richly dressed and a regal looking company, Kaelis' heart began to quicken at the thought that his search was over. Kaelis sang with all the passion, pain and promise he could muster, and brought the motley crowd to its feet in applause and praise. After the performance, Kaelis was approached by one of the tall elves, cloaked in a fine silver cloak. His long golden hair was finely braided and he had a beautiful scabbard at his waist. He introduced himself as Tinthalas Kaiyne, and told Kaelis that his inquiries had not gone unnoticed. Tinthalas led Kaelis to a small chalet where Prince Melf was waiting to speak with him.
While Melf was unable to be of much help in recalling details from decades past, Kaelis was more than happy to entertain the weary and travel-fatigued band of Bladesingers. The evening flew by, and Melf extended to Kaelis an offer to join their company for a short time. Kaelis couldn't imagine his luck, and gratefully accepted Melf's offer. Kaelis intrigued Melf, and the feeling was mutual. A lover of music, Melf kept Kaelis on with his Knights and the two soon became unlikely friends. Kaelis wondered at the delicate fury of the Knights of Luna, and sang what were to become some of his favourite ballads about the fierce beauty they wielded.
However, all was not song and camaraderie in the year that Kaelis spent travelling with the Knights of Luna. Melf was a driven and unrelenting leader and Kaelis was called on several times to adopt a more militant role in their travels. Kaelis was dragged through an uneasy introduction to a supporting role in the Knights of Luna, and after a year had passed, on the side of a well-worn road in the cold rain, Melf knighted Kaelis as a Knight of Luna.
Kaelis' dreams were slowly coming true.