S7E5-ValornEdricErys

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn was blank faced, with stern eyes. As he paced forward with Ed, he wasn't actively refusing to talk, but was just sort of lost in his own feelings. His head didn't move as he walked. He just looked straight forward. One foot and then the other. A face he had not seen for decades. And Erys was involved with his family? How was this to end? He only wished he could've convinced Duenor not to fall in battle. Damned dwarves. Just keep walking.

Edric Serall

Concerned for his friend, despite nearly being blown up by the one he had called son, Edric had kept his eye on Valorn carefully since he had been brought back from the brink. More than anyone except Erys, he knew that he was hurting badly inside after such a confrontation. More and more, it seemed like the past would not let them go, and in the back of his mind he dreaded what would occur in his own future. "Hey…if you need someone to talk to, I'm ready and willing." In truth, talking people through their problems wasn't honestly his strong suit, having often relegated to staying out of such moral quandaries, but since no one else was stepping up…

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn did not turn to Edric, and his face remained expressionless. He talked in a somber tone. "I don't know, Ed. I don't know. Dwarves always joke about how they live in a small, compressed world where we all know each other, but…" Valorn took a deep breath through his nose. "But that hit way too close to home." His face angled downwards, his eyes looking towards the ground. "I loved Duenor like a son, and the idea that some aristocratic knob corrupted him to do something like this breaks my heart."

Edric Serall

Listening to him, he sighed as he walked, thinking how ill equipped he was to deal with this. Valorn had been a father to this dwarf, something he had no comprehension of, as someone who had only existed as a fatherless son, he had no concept of either side of that relationship. His hands fiddled with the amulet of Sune he had made him under his robes, as he considered that he owed him at least this compassion. "I can't imagine, Val. I guess I sort of understand why he might attack Erys, but he was even willing to fight you. Whoever this Finale is, he's probably the worst person I've ever come so close to meeting."

Erys Moongem

Erys unclenches her fist, makes a conscious effort to calm herself, and slows her pace just enough to join the boys. She shook her head, not sure she could even begin to approach this. So she figured she… just had to dive in. "Around fifty years ago, there was a delegation of dwarves from Shad Dunbar dispatched to Evereska on some kind of diplomatic mission." She swallowed, for once not at all struggling to remember these particular historical details. "They were under strict orders to watch themselves with the elven women, particularly the nobles. I'm not sure why or what the deal was. The order certainly wasn't known to us. And I shouldn't have said or done or…. or…" She sighed. "I was just being an immature little skank and I just… thought he was cute. And he was. They all looked so incredible in their armor and their rigid stances and Goddess help me, I'd never seen anything like it before. He shoved me away when I wouldn't give up, just in time for one of my mothers to see, and she decked him. I mean outright, ran up and slammed her fist into his face. I tried to scream for everyone to stop but, nobody did, they got ready to defend themselves against what looked like an attack, maybe assuming I'd been a distraction? For fifty years, Evereska and Shad Dunbar have had a contentious relationship, and that's my doing. But also… I heard a few years later that Hadrin Greenhammer, the captain of the guard who'd," She scoffed again. "'attacked me so recklessly,' had died. He'd lost his position, status, everything. All because I didn't get stupid nobility rules. Hadrin didn't do anything to me I didn't deserve. But nobody listened. And now his son's life is added to that."

Valorn Aenethal

As Valorn listened to her story, he thought back to his only knowledge of Evereska. How his friend Hadrin had been so brutally defamed despite his intense honor. How he had amassed these nasty rumors that were certainly baseless. He had almost forgotten that Erys and Onys were from there. They were nothing like the elves he assumed must inhabit the city. When she began to talk about the particular event, his eyes went wide. His face went white. When she mentioned Hadrin by name he had already filled in the gaps in his head. He stopped walking. He looked her directly in the eyes with a very uncertain expression. "You… you…" Tears welled in Valorn's eyes. He never expected to meet the woman from this side of the story. He certainly never expected to befriend her. His mouth stumbled a bit as he talked. "Why must good people suffer like this?" Valorn started shaking his head. He started walking again. "Hadrin was a good man, certainly far better than I."

Erys Moongem

"He stood up to my attempts to entice him – and like a fool," she gestured to herself for clarity's sake "I wouldn't cease. Nearly a half hour he stood there stone-faced and solid and obeying his orders and standing firm. I understood that he'd been ordered, obviously, but it seemed like a game at the time. See if you can get the stoic dwarf to smile. Barely fifty myself, mind. Hardly knew a damn thing about the world outside. But because he got irritated for a split-second, ultimately, now, his boy's dead. And Valorn, if you knew him—-" Erys steels herself. "If you knew him, does that mean you know how I can get the real story out? That it was a big, stupid, moronic misunderstanding on the part of my family? That I asked him to bed with me and he…" The parallels between their own early encounters strike her, and she can't look Valorn in the eyes anymore. "This is one of the worst things I've ever done, Valorn. I want to fix it. Best we… even can, now. And we have to see to this horseshit first, absolutely. But tonight, when we're back to the inn? Can we draft a letter, something?"

Valorn Aenethal

Valorn went back to staring at the ground. It didn't feel like a time for action. He couldn't believe that the actions of the beautiful elf woman in front of him tens and tens of years ago had impacted his life so significantly, even to this day. Valorn would never even be here if it weren't for Hadrin's incredibly unfortunate fall. Baraas still ran the Forge. Gah. "I don't know exactly who we would send a letter to. I know dwarves, but I'm no politician. All I know is I will be contacting Hadrin's son as soon as possible. He's back in Neverwinter, operating my smith." Valorn took a deep breath. "What a thing. What a damned thing."

Edric Serall

As the two commiserated on this tragedy, one thing in particular stuck out for Edric, as he listened to their two tales. Something he hadn't ever properly internalized, if such a thing was meant to be proper in the first place, as someone who had existed on the lowest rungs of society, rather than amongst it's middle or top. "I…really can't help but think that neither of you were at fault." He looked at Erys. "You, Duenor, Hadrin, you're all just…victims of the nobility, aren't you? I mean maybe I just don't 'get it', but why the hell did anyone have to die for some archaic rules about who rules who, who's family is important, and all that horseshit?" Maybe he was just angry at the situation, but he'd long held these anti-nobility views, and seeing that these rules he'd railed against for being pointless for so long cause so much suffering was making him more vocal about it. "No one had to die because of a stupid little attempt at a tryst, especially one as innocent as it was."(edited)

Valorn Aenethal

"That's the thing about nobility that I've always known, Ed. There's less bad people than you think, just a bad social structure." Valorn was bristling.

Edric Serall

"Point is, it wasn't your fault any of this happened. You didn't know the rules, and the rules were screwed up to begin with. No one should have to live with that."

Erys Moongem

"Had—- he only enjoyed the status and responsibility he did because of the fucking structure. He was only ever put in front of me because he was expected to live up to all these ridiculous behavioral… fucking… things. If they'd just listened to me, he would've been fine. I was fine. Riddled with guilt, I guess. Not that that even measures up to what I was told Hadrin went through. It's one thing to be born without status, it's another to lose it."

Valorn Aenethal

"Hadrin had two sons, Duenor and his older brother Baraas. They were but adolescents when I took them in and they both decided to become my apprentices. They had some sort of-" Valorn frowned. "stupid disagreement about one of Hadrin's things. Who got his best chalice, or something like that. They were fatherless, and even though I tried to do my best – this was before I fell in love with Bavina – they were destined to get into scuffles. One day the spat turned into a question of honor. A question of honor turned into a punch. A punch turned into kicking. Duenor was embarassed, on the floor in defeat. He stormed out, tears in his eyes, cursing the Greenhammer name and vowing never to return. That's the last time I saw him before today. An unlucky father, an unlucky son."

Erys Moongem

Erys nodded a few times, closing her eyes in shame. It had been one thing to destroy a dwarf, but his entire family had suffered as well, and with only the firstborn left? "The boy you mentioned who took over the Aenethal forge?"

Valorn Aenethal

"Aye. I had nearly expelled Baraas from my tutelage but despite his troubles he proved himself fully. He is an excellent manager and is the sole inheritor of the Forge in my will. Despite all of this horrible mess, I truly think he reached his potential working with ore."

Edric Serall

"It's good to know at least one of them escaped this tragedy, although I fear once he learns the fate of his brother, even he won't be untouched by the cruel fate inflicted upon them." Edric had no real family, and so he struggled to empathize with the situation. Was he lucky to have been born so isolated, so that the pain of such loss could not touch him?

Erys Moongem

"Valorn… at the very least, when next we make it to Neverwinter. I don't know. I'd like to make amends. Somehow. At least let him know that it was a misunderstanding and that his father was truly honorable and never deserved what happened." Erys paused for just a moment. "We're almost there. We'd better set this aside for now."

S7E5-ValornEdricErys

Phandelver + Storm King and beyond CapitalistPig peramene