EQ Mafia Epilogue: Memorial Day
It was still several minutes before the memorial service in New Taanan would begin, and Verileah took the time to look over the crowd gathered on that sunny, cheerful day. She immediately spotted the Fanatical Five, all donned in the clean gleaming armor of the Guardians. When Verileah approached them to explain the truth of what had happened to their brother, they immediately offered their assistance in hunting down his true killers, those who had begun what was now popularly called Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Red Days.Ã¢â‚¬Â Verileah was surprised, but gladly accepted their assistance and swore them in on the spot.
At that moment an odd company approached the hastily constructed stage and took their seats. They were unmistakably the companions of Hammerthyn; why else would two wood elves of vastly different profession and a dark elf all be seen together? The trio was quiet and gave sharp, dangerous glances to anyone who sat too near. Even so, their pain was obvious; Hammerthynn would be missed.
Further toward the back, Verileah noticed another group that seemed reluctant to mingle. She smiled when the cluster of Vah Shir finally took a seat, though they still looked apprehensive. Muschi would have been pleased to see her family and friends sitting side by side with those of other races. Soon a family of Barbarians joined them, and Verileah was further pleased when the Vah Shir only winced a little at their somewhat noisy and uncouth presence.
There were several guests that Verileah could not place; a huddle of high elves and human priests, talking animatedly and waving their hands, that could have been the teachers of Carlan and Ladina. Dark elves sitting close together that may have been relatives of Kiltheranos, though one did bear a suspicious resemblance to Jade. An odd mix of folk that Verileah suspected were friends of Andar.
And there was Taylina, talking to one of the Human priests. She was still badly bruised and wore a sling around her arm. It was not yet known if she would ever have the use of it again. Still, it warmed VerileahÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heart to see her smile. She remembered well TaylinaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entrance into the Hall of Guardians the night of the terrible riot. Covered in blood and screaming herself hoarse, she had barged in on a meeting and demanded the Guardians capture the perpetrators and put out the fire that blazed in the Tavern. Alas, by the time they returned the Dark Heroes had escaped, leaving the former Tavern in ashes behind them. The remains of the tavern were, in fact, the base of the memorial for the fallen citizens of Norrath. Verileah thought it a fitting reminder that there was still much to hope for in this world.
Four guests of the memorial service went unnoticed by Verileah. Hidden in the shadows and coated with illusions, they stood at the back waiting for the service to begin. Oddly enough, they did not appear to be smug. One would have thought that they were present to gloat in their victory, but this was apparently not the case. Landau bore a solemn and grave expression. James looked considerably paler than any barbarian had a right to be, and his face seemed more careworn than ever. Szordrin behaved distantly as always, but today he seemed a million miles away, lost in his thoughts. Even their leader, Immeni, had not the glow of victory about her but a shroud of sorrow. While all believed that they had taken the only route to breaking away from the oppression of the League of Mystics, today they would pay their respects and let their sorrow at this course of events show. They had seen their former friends die bravely, and hoped the afterlife was kind to them.
Immeni had insisted that the Dark Heroes make a showing at the memorial service, believing that if one could not face the aftermath of their actions, their actions were unjust to begin with. This is what the foursome pondered as Verileah took to the stage.
Verileah took careful steps up to the platform. Behind her, among the ashes of the tavern, were nine pillars devoted to the nine who had died during the Red Days. Each was surrounded with an array of gifts that would remain there for years to come. As Verileah spoke, she gestured to each pillar in turn.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fahrnold was a great and noble monk. Known as the Guild Leader of the League of Mystics, he will also be remembered as a loving husband and brother. It was out of love that Fahrnold sought justice, and though it ended in more bitter ways than he could have possibly imagined, we must all hope to hold a small bit of the love Fahrnold felt for his people, his world, in our hearts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many saw Andar as somewhat wayward, yet he held greater loyalty than many will ever know. In life he sought a strange mix of redemption and justice, for his own crimes and those done to him. I pray that he found both in the afterlife, and that he and his lost love are reunited.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jade achieved many things over great adversity in her life, but there was one thing she could never seem to find. Peace. I believe she has found that now that her life of pain and mistrust is over. She will be hunted no longer, and perhaps in death her rage will finally be soothed.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Many here would describe Ladina as gifted, though few know the extents of her talents. For reasons beyond my understanding, the gods above chose Ladina for many special purposes. Most obviously, she could bring death and destruction, but she was also blessed with the gift of life. Would that we could have understood this ability to bring back the dead before she passed, but more regrettable still is that this brilliant woman herself was so deeply misunderstood.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And now we come to Carlan. Among the Guardians he carried much respect. So much, in fact, that when the terrible killing began we knew he was the only one we could trust. We agreed that one of our own would disguise herself as the brave Paladin to spy on the those involved, while the true Carlan would remain in hiding under the protection of the Guardians.
Alas, we failed you all. For on the night that the Guardian in disguise was slain, Carlan snuck out of hiding and found her notes, notes revealing one of her killers. In a rage, not only over the loss of his friend but also because he himself had been the target, Carlan pursued Szordrin, hunting him down. In his haze of anger, Carlan challenged Szordrin to a duel to a death, but in the key moment the noble Paladin let his anger consume him, and he fell. It was indeed a terrible night for the Guardians, as we lost two of our most loyal supporters. We know, however, that his bravery, though it came at a great cost, will be rewarded in the afterlife.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Brujah was yet another deeply misunderstood individual. It saddens me deeply that he was never given the benefit of the doubt for being a necromancer. I am sorry that so few people saw past his dark persona to the elf of sharp wit and stunning insight. I am equally sorry that he could not see past his own prejudices at a time when doing so might have saved his life; ironically, he believed another innocent was a criminal until the bitter end. He had much to offer this world, and will be sorely missed. Let his death be a reminder to you all that appearances are not always what they seem, and we can all do better to look at our fellow citizens with love and respect.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kiltheranos was a friend to many, yet known well by few. Though generous with his time and honorable in his intentions and ambitions, it is my belief that he always felt there were few he could trust. His secrets, though, are his own, as were his burdens in life. May his burdens be lifted now.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So many among you believed Hammerthynn to be a guilty party in this tragedy. Hammerthynn was guilty only of seeking stern justice, and perhaps he was brave to a fault in seeking the will of the Tribunal be done. Nonetheless, his will and honor are admirable, even though at times misguided. I believe he has finally found the true path.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Muschi was a Vah Shir with such a pure soul, and her death is a sign to us all that we have a long way to go toward unity in this world. She was suspected at the end of her life for the very reasons she fought so hard against; the isolationism of the Vah Shir. Perhaps in her death she found vindication, though I hope that once again, we will walk away from this service with the knowledge that hope and love and everything good in this world are not exclusive to any one race or being.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Verileah paused for a moment, watching the crowd for their reactions. Several in the crowd had a misty look to their eyes. Many heads were bowed in solemn prayer. A few had left during her speech, so overcome with emotion that they fled to their homes to be alone in their tears. Although emotionally drained from speaking of deaths that were still so close to her, Verileah continued on.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We gather together to remember these nine citizens of Norrath, and to take away what we can learn from this tragedy. Now is the time for us to band together in unity to abolish the true evil in our lands. We must seek, not the justice of mobs and anger, but the true justice of the gods, and of our laws. And we must seek to rebuild our lives, ever hoping that we can do what is noble and right and honest, in the memory of those fallen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
No one could be quite sure when it happened; there were many and varying accounts, and most were contradictory. But of course, no one could deny that apparently a miracle had occurred at the site of the Red Days Memorial. For one morning, New Taanan awoke to find the monument to the dead had changed. All of the gifts around the pillars remained, but it seemed there were some new objects to be found. Two matching swords, glowing with what could only be dragon fire, were placed at the foot of the center pillar. A scrap of cloth that could only be of the Fraser pattern was tied tightly around the base of each column. Most amazingly of all, though, was the nearly blinding beam of light that went miles and miles into the sky from the center of the memorial, surrounded by a fountain of blue fire.