|Start||Mortal's Moon, 1|
|End||Mortal's Moon, 1|
Mortal's Moon, 1
It is the first night of the Moon of Mortals, and the city of Ironwood is in full party mode. In celebration of the power and vitality of the mortal races, the people of Ironwood and all around the world are celebrating life as they know it.
The elves of Ironwood are drinking, dancing, storytelling, and communing with nature to celebrate their heritage as Nydry, Alar, and Saeriel are carousing down the main drag. Nydry and Saeriel want to skip her lessons with her mentor, Rose Ironwood – her aunt and current Spymistress. Sergent Alar – a Green Knight veteran, family friend, and spiritual guide to Nydry - reminds Nydry of her duties, and they proceed to Fort Ironwood.
Fort Ironwood has been carved from the largest Ironwood in the world and is kept alive by a combination of magic and botany – it is nearly impregnable and has been the family seat of the Ironwoods for thousands of years. As the party approaches the fort, they pass Warden Wormwood and Prince Jade, a scruffy, dirty young elf with piercing green eyes and Nydry's little brother, leaving the fort to go on patrol in the surrounding woods. Her brother is angry and bored with patrols and the learning of the Warden's arts, but Alar reminds him that his duty is very important and even provides him with a deck of playing cards to entertain himself in the woods.
Nydry's sister, Princess Ivy – a tall, lithe, and cunning elf who just recently celebrated her first century - intercepts the group in the halls and expresses her excitement with the festival down in the city. She flirts a little with Saeriel but is more excited at her arcane studies. She demonstrates for the group her newest Fireball spell although it is not as powerful as she had hoped.
Nydry's father, Lord Caspian – a short elf with brown hair and eyes, grizzled features, and a gentle smile – checks to make sure that Nydry is on her way to her lessons and not playing hooky again. Alar assures her old friend that Nydry is being watched and guided as assigned. Caspian kisses Nydry on the cheek and bids them farewell.
With no further interuptions, the party makes their way beyond the lower dungeons into the realm of the Spymistress Rose Ironwood. The door is locked (as usual), and Nydry knows some test or challenge waits beyond. Nydry stumbles on the lockpick and breaks part of her set but opens the door on the second try to reveal inky, magical darkness obscuring all their views into the room beyond. Nydry draws her blade but is immediately chastised by Alar – "What are you going to do? Stab your aunt?" She sheathes her blade and enters the darkness with the group. They pass the veil and see not one but four elven figures resembling Rose. Two are held hostage by the other two and all four insist that the other three are imposters. Nydry cunningly determines who the real Rose is, and Rose chuckles as she congratulates her pupil on her roguish guile.
Rose, on the word of Alar and Saeriel as well as her own observations, now believes that Nydry is ready to take on her first field mission. The Merchant's Guild is currently having an annual conference in the nearby town of Elmdale (where Saeriel is from). Rose has intel that the Merchant's Guild has been manipulating their records to avoid paying taxes to Ironwood, and she would like Nydry to steal their receipts from the offices there to confirm her suspicions. She also says that the process with be substantially easier if Nydry can use her training to construct a false identity that passes the inspection of the guild's undersecretary, Faerun Oak. With this information, she dismisses Nydry and the group with a gentle warning to Alar to keep Nydry in line.
Nydry spends a couple of hours working on her false papers but then convinces Alar that she deserves to go out and celebrate! Alar agrees, and the party goes to the Gilded Skunk – a middle class bar in the city. Nydry attempts to get used to her new disguise by playing it at the bar in an attempt to get laid amongst the common people. Saeriel, however, goes in her full royal attire leaving no one to question who she is. They order drinks and get sufficiently drunk until Saeriel begins to dance on the bar. When Nydry goes to join her, she is unceremoniously pulled from the bar by the gruff bartender, Harden Halfhand. Saeriel scorns the bartender for his treatment of her friend, and he allows the disguised Nydry to dance on the bar away from the major transaction area. As they dance, a few people look at the duo dancing and recognize Nydry! They begin cheering and chanting. The ladies begin to bankroll drinks for the whole bar, and the night is becoming alive!
A handsome young elf approaches the duo and begins to flirt with them. They spend a few minutes chatting, and he invites them up to his room. They follow him up, Saeriel seeming a bit reluctant. As they enter the room, the elf is taking off his shirt and moves to remove Nydry's clothing when the cold edge of a knife presses against her neck. A familiar voice whispers in her ear, "And now you're dead, my niece." "GODDAMIT, AUNT ROSE!!"
Rose scorns her pupil for being so reckless – the weight of the Ironwood line lies on her shoulders. She cannot cavort recklessly like this because there are many people who would want to destroy their family. She also scorns Alar for his complacency in the events and then leaves, jumping from the window into the street below but not before warning them, "I'll be watching."