Iron and Leaves

Book 1, Chapter 8: Welcome to Concord

The heroes arrive in Concord and meet the druids

SUMMARY: This was a short session. Moira meets a cousin in Concord and pretends to be Tiaga. Zelu delivers the message and impresses a dragon rider captain. Zelu sees some old apprentices of his former master, but they don’t see him. The group meet the druids and Asger is surprised to learn that the head druid’s husband is from his northern tribe.

As the group draws closer to Concord, the traffic becomes heavier. Rumors of war (and ruined crops that can’t be harvested) have pushed many to seek sanctuary in the city. At the gate, soldiers are inspecting wagons and talking to travelers before letting them in the gate.

Moira recognizes one of the soldiers — it’s Rilien, her cousin on her mother‘s side. He recognizes her as one of his cousin twins and greets her. Realizing he isn’t sure which one she is, Moira pretends to be Tiaga (Zelu plays along, but Asger is confused). Rilien tells her that she must visit him and his husband at their house in the Spires (the main high elf neighborhood in Concord).

Once the heroes are inside, Zelu splits up from the rest to the District at the center to deliver the message from Mayor Eriqua in Lobe. Moira and Asger follow Gammy Mae to the druid Grove, which is on the edge of the Gardens (the main wood elf neighborhood) near the Tangle (the dark elf neighborhood).

Zelu waits in several lines, and is directed to several different lines before he finally finds Homyar, the administrator supposed to receive the message from Mayor Eriqua. Homyar is talking to a Dragon Rider and there are no signs that they’ll end anytime soon. Zelu decides to interrupt; it’s a risky move and the Dragon Rider is annoyed at first, but as Zelu hands them the message and tells them about defeating a frost giant scout so close to Concord, the annoyance turns to respect an interest. The Dragon Rider introduces himself as Sky Captain Ariston and tells Zelu if they ’re interested in any more missions for the Empire to seek him out.

As Zelu leaves, he spots Dentyn and Yanni, two former apprentices of Katerina, his old master (and unlike Coryn, they are both sorcerers in high standing and part of Katerina’s inner circle). He sees them before they see him and is able to escape their notice… for now.

Moira, Asger, and Gammy Mae head to the Druid Grove. They travel through the Gardens and the wood elves there watch them curiously. They pass through several rings of druid sentinels which start very subtle and by the end are armed guards. At each encounter, Gammy Mae gives passphrases, hand gestures, and other signs. Moira watches closely (she’s been studying with Mae as they traveled and she’s strongly considering becoming a druid herself).

In the center they see a beautiful half-elf woman in green robes standing next to a stunning northman in armor. Both of them radiate strength and authority, though in different ways. It’s also clear they’re in love with each other. Gammy Mae introduces the woman as Dani, the head druid of the grove and introduces the man as Lief, her husband and the head guardian of the grove.

They greet Asger and Moira warmly.

Dani tells Moira that her father, Bion Greenoak, was there half a year ago and that last she knew he had gone to Drakkenhall on a mission directly from the High Druid. She tells Moira that they all admire and like her father and hope he is safe.

Lief and Asger ask each other questions about their families and homes until they figure out how they’re related. It turns out they’re both part of the same clan and that Lief is a second cousin of Asger’s father. Since they’re family, they talk about back home and their exploits since.

After awhile, Moira leaves to visit Calanon, Rilien’s husband. Calanon is a minor sorcerer, but more importantly he’s a minor high elf noble who prides himself on his hospitality and sophistication. He greets “Tiaga” (actually Moira) warmly and insists she must stay with them. When she tells him that she has a slovenly northman, a goblin, and a backwoods druid with her, he’s visibly worried (though he stays polite) and he doesn’t try too hard to convince her not to stay in the Grove with the druids when she says that’s her plan.

Eventually Zelu, Moira, and Asger all gather back together in the Grove, where they’ve been invited to stay.

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