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The Painting


After a hard fought battle against the Jailer’s minions, Tandreli decides it is time to rest with a rich desert and a fine wine. She returns to the Broker’s lounge in Oribos, spotting an empty seat at a table with two Sylvar couriers discussing the events of the day. The Sylvar are at first startled by Tandreli’s approach but then relax their guard.

“Greetings mortal! How fare you in the realm of death?” “I feel as lost here as I was on Azeroth but I have rediscovered a family member, so there is comfort in that. If that seat is not taken…?” “Not at all. You appear exhausted and battle-worn. Please sit, rest, and eat. Please tell us your story.” As if Tandreli needed and invitation to spin a tale. She was always one to have a lively tongue and fertile mind, even as a child, telling fanciful stories of town gobbling dragons and fearful giants and the brave, hardy warriors that slew them. She regaled them with her travel beyond the vail and the amazing sights she has beheld in the Shadowlands from the angelic Kyrian of Bastion to the gruesome denizens of Maldraxxus, from the lush verdant forests of Ardenweald to the stately gothic spires of Revendreth. The Sylvar remained fixed on her brightly glowing eyes as she passionately described her greatest victories over Sire Denathrius’ forces and those who would cast their lot with Zovaal.

“And before he could even raise his arms to cast the final evocation, I leapt and spun towards him with my blade like a vortex of steel, slicing his arm then…” It was then when the Kyrian minstrel entered and caught Tandreli’s attention. It was not his heavenly appearance nor his bold yet elegant stature, but rather the instrument he carried strapped to his back – a lute – that was Tandreli’s focus. The musician approached the bar and begged for a drink but having no money, the keep refused him service initially. Begging and pleading, the Kyrian offered to entertain the guests to which the keep slung a glass of brandy across the bar and said, “I hope you are proficient for if you turn my guests away, I have many chores in the back room that would serve as payment!”

The instrument and the tune stirred something in Tandreli! Another broken memory from her life arose to her consciousness and overwhelmed her psyche, sending her adrift in a sea of fragmented recollections. Quietly sneaking up a staircase, young Tandreli slips away from the family to investigate the attic. She was told never to go there. There was nothing of interest to her and nothing that she was allowed to see. But like most curous children, forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. Reaching the top of the stairs she ever so gently opens the hatch and squeezes through, being careful not to make even the slightest sound. Whilst all elves were known for their amazing hearing, parents were even more heightened than common folk.

At last she was here! Fancy gowns that her mother used to wear in her younger days, several ornate blades that Father probably wore with his military uniforms for presentations to the court, old toys from her brother’s younger days, and even the little crib that Tandreli herself was rocked as an infant. So much to explore and over in the corner, what appeared to be a very attractive picture frame.

Little Tandy tiptoes over to the corner for a closer examination. Indeed, it’s a family portrait from when she was not even a year old! She recognized each one – Father, Mother, herself of course, her brother, and then this other young male. But who? He looked like brother Leomarrin, but older perhaps? Could this have been a visiting relative? And such fancy, ostentatious clothing with huge puffy silken sleeves and colorful pantaloons with a beautiful wide brimmed hat that had a rainbow dyed plume on the top! And an instrument! THE most gorgeous lute with the finest filigree adorning the sound hole, neck, and head! She stares for several minutes in amazement – who is this?

“I told you NEVER to come here, Tandreli. There is nothing for you here!” “I’m so sorry, Father. I was curious. Please do not punish me. I meant no harm.” “I suppose. Let’s go back downstairs with the family and I will forget this.” “Just one question, Father. Who is the elf bard in the portrait? Perhaps a friend come visiting or maybe a distant relation?” Her father was visibly shaken, stumbling for an appropriate answer. “It’s too soon to speak of this. You are too young and it has not been long enough. Come now let us retreat downstairs before I forget you are forgiven!” “But Father! Please, I j-j-just want to know who…” “Silence! We will speak NO MORE of this man!”

“Mortal! Mortal! What happened after you sliced through the evil conjurer’s arm? Are you not well or perhaps possessed?”

“I-I-I. What happened? I’m sorry. Apologies to all. I must go now.” The Sylvar, bewildered at Tandreli’s odd behavior, rise to bow and excuse her. She is shaken. Yet another piece of her “before life” has returned to haunt her like a specter of her past, leaving even more questions without answers. Who was the man in the portrait, and why was Father so reluctant to speak of him? Uggh more mysteries as yet unsolved but easily soothed with more of this delicious cake and rich wine, which Tandreli bundled and quickly took with her. So many questions.

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