The Restoration of the Bard’s Guild in Our Time
(Crossing, Zoluren: 349th Year, the Year of the Crystal Snow Hare )
[Author’s note: It is important to understand that the Bard’s Guild in the Crossing is relatively new. The Guild, and almost all the Bards in Elanthia, had been killed a few hundred years prior by the Dragon Priests. That story, and the tales of Savrin and Neithrel, can be found, among other places, in the library of the Crossing’s Cleric’s Guild.]
It has come to my attention that almost none of the Bards, the historians of Elanthia, know the history of their own guild. I shall endeavor to relate the history of opening of the Bard Guild of the Crossing, and give the proper credit to those involved. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly when these events took place. Perhaps my Elven blood makes me less perceptive to the passing of time… days blend into months, months into years. I do know that it was in the 349th year of the Victory of Lanival the Redeemer, but the exact month and day elude me.
I woke from my nap in Town Green staring straight up at the Phoenix, a large red star symbolizing the goddess Murrula. The Phoenix was pulsing brightly for the third straight day. Misty Sabroxelle, a Moon Mage, had explained to me that the pulsing signified an event of great festivity or singing, and I prayed that the event would be the return of Bards to Elanthia. The other residents of the Crossing were almost certain that it must signify a great festival, as the disturbance in the Raven constellation a year before had portended.
My ruminations were cut short, however, by the sounds of fighting very nearby. I looked around, and noticed Eben Ap’Rhys, a Paladin, fighting an irate fanatic in Town Green. The fanatic was a S’kra Mur warrior wearing a symbol on his breastplate that I recognized from my studies as the symbol of the Dragon Priests.
“What’s going on?” I asked Eben.
“I have no idea,” was Eben’s reply, “This guy showed up and started attacking me, I’m just defending myself.”
“Well, where did he come from?” I persisted.
“How should I know?” Eben countered between swings of his sword.
I immediately prepared for combat, made sure my armor was on, readied my bow, and started to fire on the fanatical S’kra. Eben killed it, and told me that there were apparently many such warriors in town. I attached my gwethdesuan to my head, and sure enough, there were reports of these fanatics all throughout town. Suddenly, another S’kra entered the room with the air of authority, wearing the Dragon Priest symbol on a suit of plate armor. He addressed me plainly, and told me that I must die to stop the song. Eben engaged him, and I vainly fired arrows at him, though I wasn’t able to do much harm. Eben soon defeated this one, as well.
“I must die to stop the song? What in the world does that mean?” I asked myself. I realized that this must certainly have to do with the Bard’s Guild in some way.
I ran as fast as I could from the Green, to the location of the old Bard’s Guild on Clanthew Avenue. On the way I found Aiffe of the Islands, another Bard in waiting. She had had a similar experience with a Priest requesting her death. We joined up and both headed to the guild.
There we found Silvyrfrost, a reclusive Bard, and a student of Siryn Mistbringer. Silvyrfrost and Siryn had both been seen around the Crossing, telling stories or singing songs, some of which had magical powers! Siryn, however, was nowhere to be found. I related to Silvyrfrost that the Dragon Priests were attacking, and showed her one of the ceremonial tailbands to lend credence to my story. As we were speaking, a large force of Dragon Priests arrived.
Many of the residents of the Crossing had already assembled at or around the Bard’s Guild, and the Dragon Priests were not prepared for the number of skilled warriors present. Their fanatics, archers, and priests engaged a determined band of the Crossing’s best barbarians, paladins, moon mages, and warrior mages. In short time, all the Dragon Priests were defeated, and only a few of the younger defenders were killed. We began to help the dead and wounded when a second wave of Dragon Priests arrived. This group had learned from the first wave, and attacked many areas of Crossing simultaneously. We were forced to split up to fight all the attackers, but the Dragon Priests were not skilled enough to win victory. Silvyrfrost, however, disappeared in the confusion of the battle.
Suddenly, we heard booming laughter that sounded like a peal of thunder from the skies above us. Aiffe and I weren’t sure what to make of this, and none of the others with us were certain what could cause such a sound. Aiffe and I took a quick look around town hoping to find Silvyrfrost, and returned to the Bard’s Guild to find her outside it again. Silvyrfrost felt it was imperative that Siryn be located. She left to search for her teacher, and instructed us to contact her over the gwethdesuan if we should locate Siryn.
A few moments after Silvyrfrost’s departure, Siryn arrived back in front of the Guild. She collapsed onto the ground, unable to speak. Her skin was cut and peeled all over her body, her face badly slashed, her platinum hair matted with her own blood. Siryn was unable to speak, her wounds too terrible for her to even stand. She tried to communicate with us, but the noise and confusion made it difficult to understand her. Revela Incane-Durrock was unable to heal Siryn’s injuries, and established they must have been caused by some sort of foul magic.
A flash of lightning lit the sky momentarily, and a dark cloud of smoke and gas blew into the area. Stepping from the cloud, a tall and haughty S’kra Mur appeared. He announced himself as Tenebraus, the High Priest of the Dragon Priests.
“Good evening, bardlings!” he hissed while taking an overly polite bow. “I see you have found my friend, Siryn.”
On hearing his voice, Siryn began to scream. Not an articulate scream, but a scream of terror and rage and hopelessness all at once. Tenebraus stroked her cheek with a bloody hand.
“No use, Siryn!” he hissed again, showing Siryn her cutlass, broken beyond repair. “Tell me where your apprentices are!”
“I won’t allow you to die until you talk,” he continued arrogantly.
At this point, people began to prepare weapons and advance on Tenebraus, eager to exact revenge for Siryn.
“Don’t even think it!” he bellowed. “If anyone touches me, Siryn dies!”
He turned his attention to Siryn again, “Forty years, Sssiryn. Forty years of chasing you across this forsaken planet. It ends tonight. You will tell me where you sent your apprentices.”
Siryn bowed her head, as if to surrender, then leaped forward and tackled Tenebraus. She was unable to do any serious harm to him, however, due to her wounds. Tenebraus laughed and gestured, and Siryn’s body was wracked in torment.
“It…must…open…” Siryn managed to gasp. “Evil… must…die.”
“Kill him!” she shrieked.
Immediately, those present began to advance on Tenebraus, readying their weapons and firing bows and crossbows. Tenebraus uttered a few powerful arcane words, and Siryn’s body was again seized in torment. She screamed and writhed in torment, caught in the power of the dark spell.
“For your impetuousness, Siryn dies!” Tenebraus declared.
Tenebraus gestured as Mir Devoir’s axe cut into him, striking a killing blow. Siryn gasped once more, and collapsed a final time, dead.
We were still trying to make sense of everything that had just happened, and began to call for clerics for Siryn when we heard a familiar, mocking laughter.
“Fools! My vengeance reaches from beyond the grave!” Tenebraus stood up from where, not a moment before, he had been lying dead. I don’t know what sort of dark sorcery was able to bring him back from the dead, but that set all of us back a step.
“You could have had your precious Siryn,” Tenebraus taunted. “You preferred allowing me to kill her, as I said I would. Now you will have a guild, but no future.”
“Now I will say one thing, children.” Tenebraus continued, in the haughty tone of a conqueror, “Siryn will not return. But I and my progeny? We will never fall!”
“Anything that happened, children,” Tenebraus concluded, “you brought upon yourselves.”
Suddenly we heard Siryn’s voice, “You forget Tenebraus, I am gone, but all of my children are bards.”
“And as we stood before you before,” she continued, “we shall stand before you again. And this time, you will know true death.”
“They will never measure up, Siryn. They will never be as strong,” Tenebraus countered, “they are weaklings! Quick to act and slow to think, not like the old breed.”
“They cannot sing.” Tenebraus stated flatly.
Siryn’s voice grew stronger, “Sing!” she insisted.
We began to sing, out of rage, joy, anguish- all the jumbled emotions affecting us. In hindsight, they weren’t very good song, but the spirit and heart conveyed in them was enough. Tenebraus lost control over his magic and soon began to die from the power of our songs. We didn’t stop singing until well after he collapsed dead. Snapping back to reality, we called for a cleric for Siryn.
“No, please. I enjoyed my time here,” she said. “Thank you for entertaining me.”
“I… do not forget.” She said as her voice began to fade away. “Do not forget me.”
As her body began to fade away, a silvery mist began to rise, and we heard her last word, “Farewell.” As she began her final walk on the Starry Road, the doors to the guild opened.
It is said in myths that the Phoenix rises from its ashes when it dies- it is born again through death. That night, the Bard Guild opened on the Wings of the Phoenix, on Siryn’s wings.
I promised that night I would never forget the sacrifice made by her. Olak Vanderos took Siryn’s cutlass, and fashioned it on a display with a plaque reading, “May this blade remind you of all that has been sacrificed to allow music in these lands.”
How soon we forget.
– Agraynel Rosmar-Lambelle, in Siryn’s memory.
This piece of history is dedicated to all the Bards in the days before song. Their patience, spirit, and love are what make the Bard’s Guild the best in the Realms. To Aife, Aiffe, Anvar, Babble, Brin, Brite, Canu, Danner, Dreamheart Keriala, Keyna, Nesbit, Robinton, Sollitude, Terrance, Valeiria, and Whispersoft, – Dreams do come true.