Green Regent 2004 - Stories|
WHO IS THE GREEN REGENT?
Loudwater, the City of Grottos
You find yourself in Loudwater just before Shieldmeet in the Year of Wild Magic (1372 DR). You may have grown up in the city or it may just be your latest destination in a long life of traveling. Either way, you can see that the summer has been a beautiful one in the Delimbiyr Crescent. The meadows of the valley are bedecked with wild flowers. The farms surrounding the city are exceptionally fertile and blessed with an abundance of outstanding vegetables. The City of Grottosís gardens bloom with flowers amid lush grass. Ivy climbs over the buildings pulling the town deep into nature's embrace. The city is buzzing with talk about the upcoming Shieldmeet celebrations and the choosing of a new Green Regent.
You pass your time in the tenday before the start of Shieldmeet exploring Loudwater. The city is an interesting mixture of human and elven. One night as you are wandering through High Town you pass by the Velti'Enorethal, the elven hall of learning, you see a large crowd gathered around a female elf who is reciting a tale.
"Those of you new to Loudwater and the Delimbiyr Vale may be asking yourself, 'What is the Green Regent?' Well, my friends, the answer is delightfully easy and yet tricky. For the answer is, 'It depends.'"
You ask one of the crowd who the speaker is and they tell you "That is Teseryne Truesilver, daughter of Talanthe Truesilver."
She continues her performance in her strong but sweet elven voice, "The Green Regent is a Dream. A dream made manifest. The Delimbiyr Vale is dear to the goddess Mielikki, who watches over the land, and protects it from those who would despoil its verdant beauty. Mielikki dreams of a harmony between civilization and nature, and seeks to make the lands around the River Shining a haven for her ideals and her worshippers. This dream is the rule of the Green Regent.
Rule may be a misnomer. The Green Regent holds no real temporal power, but rather rules over the hearts and minds of the good people of Loudwater. Holding no castles, owning no land, and lacking the allegiance of any real army, the Green Regentís rule is symbolic, but with some very real effects.
Under the Green Regent, hunters are careful to maintain the animal population. Timbering is almost unknown, with most firewood coming from deadfall. When timber is needed, loggers selectively harvest the forest and replant saplings when it thins too much. The rangers and druids provide guidance as needed, and the clerics of Mielikki keep a watchful eye on the Delimbiyr Vale.
The Green Regent traditionally guards the valley from incursions, invasions, and other threats to the Forest Maiden's harmony. This protector is served by scions: an oathsworn few who share the dream. Bards liken the lands around the River Shining to a lush garden—where natural beauty is carefully pruned to produce an almost supernatural paradise. Much of this is due to the tireless efforts of the Green Regents and their scions.
The Green Regent is a Chosen. The Green Regent is a Chosen of Mielikki. Much like the Magister is the champion of the gods of magic, the Green Regent works to put forward Mielikki's will in FaerŻn. Its mantle has passed from person to person through the centuries as the needs of the Lady of the Forest dictate. Only those who embrace Mielikki's dream and are willing to dedicate themselves to her, ascend as the Green Regent.
In contrast to the Magisterís history, the mantle of the Green Regent passes in a peaceful ceremony each Shieldmeet. The title carries no life sentence; no person has ever carried the mantle for more than four years.
The ceremony to choose the Green Regent starts simply. During the Shieldmeet celebration, all interested young men and women gather at the Risen Moon Market before the High Lord's Hall." Talanthe's voice is suddenly interupted by a high pitched voice from the back of the crowd. "What about halflings!?!" The crowd parts and you see a small halfling with large sideburns standing there. He looks to be a well-to-do merchant. Teseryne looks at him with a look of paitence and kindness and maybe even a little sadness, "Yes, even halflings can become the Green Regent, Master Merrymar. Now, where was I, oh yes, the Risen Moon Market before the High Lord's Hall. There, in a mysterious ceremony under the supervision of the Circle of the Stag—a reclusive group of druids in the service Mielikki—the candidates drink a concoction called the greendraught from the Lady's Chalice. The exact nature of the greendraught is a closely guarded secret, but it doesn't radiate magic, though the Ladyís Chalice does. If Mielikki accepts the drinker as a Scion of the Green Regent, her symbol, glowing with an emerald illumination appears on the person's forehead. If Mielikki rejects the drinker, the scion hopeful is nauseated, unable to keep the greendraught down.
After the ceremony, all the scions fast for a day, drinking nothing but water from a flowing stream. That night, each keeps a separate vigil in a different part of the High Forest, north of Loudwater. Tradition allows the scion to keep a small fire for warmth and light, as long as it does not endanger the forest. During the night, a magnificent unicorn appears to one of the scions. The scion follows the creature deep into the forest. Where the unicorn leads the scion, or what happens in that place is only known by Mielikki and the Green Regent, but it must be extraordinary for when the former scion returns, the individual carries the mantle of the Green Regent and the marks of the Chosen of Mielikki—intricate emerald symbols that entwine like ivy along the personís entire body. When a Green Regentís reign is over (through time passed, or by death) the markings remain, but turn black, resembling normal tattoos like the ones born by Kalahar Twohands.
The Green Regent is a Hero. Talos and Malar hate Mielikki's dream, and they set their followers against the Green Regent at every turn. Several times, cults to the Destroyer have attempted to bring carnage and violence to the idyllic lands around the Delimbiyr River. The most notable attempt was 25 years ago when Kalahar Twohands, the current High Lord of Loudwater, served as the Green Regent." With a rising voice, Teseryn continues, "Talos worshippers summoned a Tempest—a terrible storm elemental blight—deep in the Greypeaks south and east of the Delimbiyr Vale. The Talosians loosed the creature on Llorkh and Orlbar. Rain pummeled the countryside and the Tempest ripped at cottages with its fierce winds. The Greyflow flooded its banks and large portions of Llorkh were washed away. Under the domination of the cult to Talos, the Tempest seemed intent on devastating the entire Greyvale."
A sudden gust of wind whips at the trees of High Town. Teseryn pauses for a moment then calmly continues, "tomorrow is Midsummer festival, go, enjoy yourselves. If you all come back here tomorrow afternoon I will continue the tale of the Green Regent and Kalahar's battle with the Tempest."
The next day dawns clear and warm. You spend the day enjoying the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of the Midsummer Festival in Loudwater. That afternoon you return to the Velti'Enorethal to hear the rest of Teseryn's tale. The beautiful elven woman steps out of the building and addresses the crowd. "I know it is hard on such a bright sunny day as this, but close your eyes for just a moment and imagine the worst storm you have seen with torrents of rain, flashes of lightning, claps of thunder and driving winds. This was the storm summoned by the followers of Talos that was devestating the lands to the east. Kalahar led a coterie of scions into the terrible storm and against the cult. After a fierce fight in the raging thunderstorm on a mountaintop, Kalahar and the scions reversed the summoning spell that bound the tempest to FaerŻn. With their leaders slain and their plot undone, the cult scattered.
As I told you yesterday, the Storm Lord is not the only enemy of Mielikki. Malar also hates her and her dream. The depredations of the bestial followers of Malar were never as grand as those of Talos. Instead, they have sought to disrupt the harmony that is the dream of Mielikki through terrorizing small villages or isolated farmsteads. Malarites scorn what they see as the soft weakness of those under the Green Regent and thoroughly enjoy bringing fear to the Delimbiyr Vale. The Malarites, many of them lycanthropes, lurk deep in the High Forest in a place they call The Thicket.
Three years ago, a blood red moon rose over the Delimbiyr Vale. The Malarites interpreted this as an omen from their dread god, and erupted from the High Forest in a frenzy of hunting and killing. For the next three nights, the lycanthropes hunted, breaking into houses and driving out the fear-stricken citizens of Loudwater and smaller homesteads around the city. The folk of the City of Grottos fought back, and a young Stedd Rein earned particular distinction in those pitch battles, but Malarite bloodlust pressed on. The Green Regent at the time, Galaer Grasswave, was slain by the followers of the Beastlord; his head impaled on a sharpened stick outside of the earth ramparts of Loudwater. After three nights, the moon returned to its normal shade and the Malarites disappeared back into the forest, their retreat as irrational as their assault.
The Green Regent is a Legacy. The identity of the first Green Regent is lost to the passage of time, but it is suspected that Mielikki did not first designate her champions until humans spread across the Savage Frontier from Illuskan. As Melikki's faith grew, she selected several Green Regents from the Kingdom of Athalantar before its fall. When the Tethyrians began to settle about the Delimbiyr River, the Lady of the Forest drew them into her vision, and the Green Regent was alive and well throughout the Tethyrian Kingdoms of Phalorm and Delimbiyrian. After the collapse of Delimbiyrian, civilization in the vale fragmented into small city-states, but the Green Regent continued to guard the forests, the people of the river valley, and Mielikki's dream.
The reign of the Green Regent has been broken only a few times. Though the recent death of the last Green Regent has broken the rule for the past three years, by far the worse disruptions came when the Calishite Rensha family took over the vale in the Year of the Scourge. Mielikki's attention must have been elsewhere, as the Rensha banned the practice of selecting new scions at Shieldmeet and hunted the Green Regent down as a threat to their power. After several years of this persecution, the Green Regent disappeared for well over a century.
The Rensha Rule brought with it the golden touch of wealth and regular contact to the world outside the vale. But with prosperity came a disregard for the harmony between civilization and nature. Woodcutters pushed the forests back from the river, and farmers planted new fields. Miners pulled ore from the mountains at a prodigious rate. The wealth of the land poured down the River Shining.
With the passage of years, the Rensha lords fell into deeper and deeper decadence, and while doing so spiraled closer to their doom. Pasuuk, the last of their line, sealed his fate when he commanded a group of skilled mercenary hunters to bring him a horn of the unicorn. Why he needed this horn is unknown, but speculators whispered that he needed the horn for a foul magic rite that would bridge a gap between his hall and some infernal pit. Later revelations confirmed that Pasuuk Rensha dabbled in diabolism.
After weeks of searching, the hunters tracked a unicorn and tricked it into using its teleport ability. The hunters cornered the creature at a treacherous bend of the Unicorn Run. The captain of the company ordered its newest member—the son of a displaced Nimbral noble—to strike the killing blow. The young man raised the blade and stepped forward to do his captain's bidding, but as he looked into the eyes of the beautiful beast his heart broke. His sword still raised, he turned to the others and told them he would not kill such a magnificent beast and would defend it against all that would despoil it. In that instance of courage, Nanathlar Greysword became the first Green Regent since the beginning of the Rensha Rule.
Nanathlar and twelve of his fellow hunters overthrew their captain. Upon doing so, the glowing symbol of the Green Regent appeared on each of their foreheads, and the telltale marking of the Green Regent slithered up Nanathlarís body. The unicorn revealed itself as an avatar of Mielikki, and tasked the thirteen hunters to rid the vale of the horrible Rensha blight.
Two winters of fierce battles raged between the ragtag forces of the Green Regent and Pasuuk's diabolical regime. The War of the Returned Regent ended in the Battle of Tanglefork where Nanathlar called upon the power of his goddess to turn the very trees against Pasuuk. Pasuuk unleashed a coven of devils upon the servants of Mielikki, but the awakened trees utterly destroyed Pasuuk and his fiendish allies, and scattered their remains like ordure. And that is why the soil of those woods is now as black as midnight.
Nanathlar Greysword assumed rulership of Loudwater and brought a new era of prosperous rule to the Delimbiyr Vale. The heavy loggings and strip mines were abandoned, but the Delimbiyr maintained its contacts with the lands outside the Vale. Nanathlar brought health and growth back to the land that had soured under the rule of the Rensha.
Since Nanathlar became the Green Regent Returned, more than a dozen have taken the mantle of the Green Regent, including the current High Lord of Loudwater, Kalahar Twohands. Past Green Regents have been a varied group of people. Mielikki does not always choose the most obvious candidate as her regent. In the past she has picked simple farmers over great rangers of renown, and even seemly heartless mercenaries over devout priests of her ethos. There is a saying among the folk of the vale that, ďIt is our fate to be bemused by her winding way, until we reach the destination.Ē All of her choices, to this point, have ended up being exactly the right person for the task ahead.
I believe this Sheildmeet will bring a new Green Regent! And I believe whoever is chosen, it will be a surprise."
You leave the Velti'Enorethal and continue your celebration of Midsummer festival. Everywhere people are talking about who will show up at the Risen Moon Market tomorrow to drink from the Lady's Chalice.
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