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Seledra05

26 Flamerule 1372

Mother's coachman dropped Ralenthra and me off at my townhouse just as Silverymoon's bells tolled twelve. Maybe hurrying home wasn't such a good idea. I hurt all over and I've barely tranced in the...two days it's been since we left Amalith.

Along the way, Ralenthra and I chatted intermittently about Tordrin and I not only advised her to open up to him but I encouraged her to join the Harpers. Hopefully, that will give her more character-vouching so she can stay here. When I brought her back with me to Silverymoon, I knowingly lied through my teeth to the Knights in Silver, giving them her good-girl alias Mayurra Aerynae. Hopefully, that won't be catching up with me as long as she manages to stay out of trouble.

After about a four-hour trance upon returning, I awoke and surprisingly saw Ralenthra sleeping soundly in her room. I had never known her to sleep before. Perhaps it is Tordrin's influence, or perhaps she is finally starting to feel safe here. I smiled and headed back into my room to change. I pulled out my uniform from my last day on duty and discovered to my chagrin that the lining of my leather bodice had been horribly ripped (Sune's tits, we had been quite, um, passionate that night, hadn't we) and that my outer robes were, shall we say, a bit soiled. Oops.

I put them into my pack and got dressed in an extra uniform I had in my closet, then headed out to the Glade, first to report to Tathshandra, then to start my rounds for the day. Hopefully, I would have time to drop off my uniform for cleaning and repairs before my shift was over. I think I might ask Ralenthra if she wants to pop in at the Dancing Goat for a drink or two after hours.

Tathshandra seemed to sense that my anxiety had somewhat abated since I'd last seen her and was pleased to hear of my Song of Trees ceremony in Amalith, as well as all the fit-for-public-consumption details about the wedding ceremony and reception. I was entertaining the idea of telling her about Methrammar and had thought against it when she handed me a note that had arrived just before I had.

My dearest Seledra,

I thank Mystra that we met that wonderful day in Everlund and I hope to see you again soon. You are quite charming and I think you have quite a promising career in Silverymoon ahead of you. I would appreciate it if you joined me for the Midsummer festival. This is a high-profile event, so I'm sure I don't need to stress to you the importance of holding up a good public image. Wear something nice and try to keep a safe distance from your drow friend, at least until your reputation has been further cemented. I will send a coach for you on the evening in question.

Yours,

Methrammar Aerasumé, High Marshal of the Argent Legion, Rauvinwatch Keep


I had briefly allowed myself to be excited, but my heart sank at Methrammar's request to distance myself from my friend. He and I would have to have a little chat about how I am not one of his soldiers and therefore that he has no place to give me orders. I could take my own coach, thank you very much, and Ralenthra would ride there with me if she wanted to go. I crumpled up the note and put it in a pocket in the front of my cloak.

The three day long Midsummer Riverfest would start the day after tomorrow and culminate on Midsummer proper with the ritual bathing of all citizens in the Rauvin river and the planting of seeds in the Garden of Silvanus. The ritual would be followed by a huge concert played by many musicians on the Moonbridge while the Spellguard caused the waters of the Rauvin to spray up in dazzling patterns and illusionists filled the air with colored lights.

I can't wait to see the look on her face when she sees it.

In the meantime, she'll probably make a killing with all the tourists in town.

After my visit with Tathshandra was through, I visited with my shift supervisor, a half-elf by the name of Shiera Huxley. She informed me that my patrol would be limited to the Northbank district (luckily, I can take the same portal back that I took to get here) where it was my turn to check in on the cat colony on Many Cat's Lane and perform inspections at the Garden of Silvanus.

Druidry is a spiritual practice that carries a lot of divine power, but it's also a job. After I step out from the portal to Northbank and walk out onto the street, people will often stop me - a young halfling will ask for advice on how to deal with the snails in her garden, a little old lady will ask me for advice on how to adjust her dog's diet and surprise visits to domestic animal breeders are performed so that the city's ordinances are being followed to the letter. On many days, things don't go according to schedule. Lost pets have to be returned to their owners, a horse owner may stop me to help his filly birth a foal or a druid may have to work in conjunction with the Knights in Silver for criminal offenses. Druids test the Rauvin to make sure it is clean and healthy, check the trees for disease and harvest from the public gardens for the poor.

A paladin of Helm from Waterdeep by the name of Tam Waynolt tried to register a complaint with me about the halfling leaf his neighbor was growing in her garden and I had to remind him that this is Silverymoon and not Waterdeep, so halfling leaf is legal here. Knowing ordinances is important too. He could probably use some halfling leaf himself, but I wasn't about to suggest it while on duty.

The cats swarmed me as I approached. It was nice to be missed. A queen had recently given birth and had too many kittens to feed, so I took the odd runt back to the Northbank druid station to be fed special teas and gruels to make it strong and healthy. I also brought back another druid to help me retrieve the queen and the rest of the kittens so that the queen could be spayed before being returned to the colony. After dropping off the queen and her brood, I continued with my inspections. An old tom named Tybalt was dying. I sat down, held him in my lap and gave him an herbal concoction that would end his suffering quickly and painlessly. I stayed with him till his shudder told me he was gone. It's the most difficult part of my job, to deal death. The tenets of my faith say that life must be culled in order to thrive, but the nuts and bolts of culling life are...painful for me. Still, I would be lying if I said that I didn't have to kill at least one creature a day for one reason or another, be it sickness, injury or simply necessity.

After I visited with and inspected the rest of the cats, I headed west towards the Garden of Silvanus. Many of the poor cultivate their own plots here, since they cannot afford a yard of their own and many volunteers from all walks of life come here to grow food for others less fortunate than themselves. The Garden is a little more like a farm than just a garden. Sure, there are fruit trees, grape vines and rows upon rows of vegetables, grains and herbs, but there are also a few goats and cows that produce milk and cheese, there are chickens raised for their eggs, an extensive apiary with busy bees and easy access to the river for fishing. The land is lush and well watered due to its proximity to the river and fertilizer is plentiful due to the couple of cows and fish. The druids are here to direct the volunteers, to point out what is a weed and what isn't, to show which plants need more fertilizer and to nurture the animals that help us in the garden; the bees, ladybugs, praying mantises, spiders and earthworms. I could spend all day here and know of a million more things that still need to get done.

Apparently, there had been an incident. One of the richer citizens had been raising Cormyrian snails as a delicacy, and some had escaped, only to have invaded the surrounding gardens and bred out of control. He had been fined for his carelessness and the snails that were plaguing the gardens needed to be destroyed. Salt works fine for individuals, but it cannot be used on a large scale as it causes gardens to turn fallow. Individual crushing was required for this job. Some of the more advanced druids and a few volunteers who were spellcasters used spells such as shocking touch or ray of frost. I had to get snail goo on my boots. Yuck. I spent hours fishing out and crushing snails before my shift was over and I was relieved.

Before I left the Garden, I took a dip in the Rauvin and swam for a bit, soothing my sore muscles and cooling my heated skin. After drying off and getting dressed, I stopped at the local tailor/washerwoman establishment, Tiggywinkles. Tiggywinkles was a family run establishment that practically had a monopoly in the western section of the Northbank district. Run by a family of industrious Lantanese gnomes, Tiggywinkles set the standard for thrifty, environmentally sustainable business in Silverymoon, and like many gnomes, they also made a fortune doing it. Contrary to popular belief, the family name is not Tiggywinkles (it's Glittersmoke; Mr. Glittersmoke's brother Arberin runs a fireworks shop around the corner), but it was named after a series of beloved pet hedgehogs.

The matriarch of the Glittersmoke clan, Aribelle, was manning the counter. "Hello, dearie." She greeted me in much the same way she greeted everyone and commenced to inspecting what was left of my uniform. Wearing a complicated looking eyepiece, she checked out my leather bodice first. "Your bodice requires a new liner and new stitches. It can be ready by tomorrow, if you need it. If you want it properly buffed and polished, however, you can't pick it up until the afternoon." I didn't need it back immediately and it could use a new polish, so I took that option.

"This, however..." She lifted my cloak and sniffed it, "I cannot do here. I can give you a solution to clean it at home in your bathtub, but...well, I can't risk it...contaminating...the clothes of my other clients." She tossed me a vial. "Put that directly on the stain. Wash it in boiling water first, with a cold water rinse. If the color fades, bring it in and I can re-dye it at a discount due to the...inconvenience." I was about to protest, but I realized that my privacy was more important than convenience. Mrs. Glittersmoke was known far and wide as a discreet businesswoman, but her six daughters were well known to be a bit on the...gossipy side. I put my cloak back in my back with the vial and headed home.

I wasn't home any later than usual, but Ralenthra wasn't there. I fed and played with Selune awhile, changed my clothes and headed towards the Dancing Goat, hoping I would find her there already.

Comments

In Rob's original module, wasn't the festival we attended outside the city proper? Mind you, I'm not opposed to retconning, because I like what you've aid out, here (and, boy, would I be something of a hypocrite if I opposed retconning).

Otherwise, I like it. The whole "this is my day job" thing is a nice change of pace.

Two questions: 1) Were you thinking that Sun and Moon would be playing right away, or would they be waiting a night, since they probably just got into town this morning? (Or were you thinking their gig didn't start until after Midsummer?)

2) When Ralenthra asks Seledra if she heard from Methrammar, what will Seledra tell her?
what you've aid out, here

*laid
It was, as you said, originally plotted to be outside Silverymoon, but the old Silverymoon Project's "Silverymoon - Gem of the North" pdf had such nice details about festivals and the like that I deemed it a shame not to borrow from it.

1) I was thinking that Sun & Moon probably wasn't going to play until the festival began, which means they perform on one of the stages lining the river. Don't know whether they are performing on the "big night", so to speak, but it might explain why Tordrin is not there immediately to try to bail Ralenthra out of trouble.

2) This is the beginning of a long conflict between Methrammar and Seledra, that is, between how she behaves and how he wants her to behave (always for the good of Silverymoon, of course). He has ideas and plans for her that he doesn't want her morally dubious friends or her adventuring lifestyle (which he opposes) to get in the way of. That having been said, Seledra may be naive enough at first to tell Ralenthra what the note said, if only to say that she was going to do what she wanted anyway. I think.
Yeah, I'm already thinking that Methrammar has no clue what he's gotten himself into. (Funny how he had no problem with her dubious friends when no one important was around to see...)

Anyway, that helps me plan my next post. I actually already started writing, so some things will have to change, but I deliberately made it so I could alter them easily based on new information.
Lots of tense shift issues in this one, and it's jarring, so I'll point out the ones I'm catching on this first read:

"He and I will have to have a little chat about..." should be "He and I would have to..." and make that change throughout that paragraph.

Same thing in the next paragraph. "The three day long Midsummer Riversfest starts" should be "would start," with that same convention following throughout.

I can see why you would keep "It's the most difficult part of my job, to deal death" in present tense since it's a truism, but considering how problematic the following paragraph is, I'm tempted to tell you to put the whole thing in past. (Claudia, your thoughts?)

The following paragraph should all be in past: "Many of the poor cultivate their own plots" and that should be in past, along with the rest of the paragraph. For consistency's sake. Otherwise it gets too difficult to make decisions as to what should be in what tense. (This makes me relieved I use present tense with Magnos. Ha!)

Also, the meeting with Tathshandra seems an ideal place to have a little bit of a conversation, maybe about Methrammar's note? Something there that's shown rather than told to give us more information about Tathshandra and her relationship with Seledra.

We've had this discussion before, but I'm really not sure a druid all versed in naturey goodness would kill snails by stomping. I haven't googled it or anything, but I'd imagine there's a more elegant method, say cracking with a little hand spade or whatever they call those things (Claudia again?)

Love the name "Tiggywinkles." Sounds gnomish and Dickensian and full of character.

Good entry. Adds a lot of local color and shading to the character's life.
Tiggywinkles comes from Beatrix Potter, actually. The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is about, wait for it, a hedgehog washer woman.

I will take a second look based on your comments. I tend to have tense issues, myself, which is probably why I didn't notice them. It's hard to use past tense consistently and also convey a sense of immediacy.
I don't know about the tenses. I agree that the festival description should be put in past tense, because that's the tense that she's been using for her other narration. The other paragraph you mention (the description of the garden), however, isn't really part of the narrative, per se. It's a description of something that arguably still exists in that form in whatever present the narrator is speaking to us from. It's ongoing, not a point in time in the story, therefore I might consider it separate.

But then, I suppose I must put in a disclaimer here that my formal writing training is mostly in essay writing, not fiction*, so I really don't know what the "standard" is for this sort of thing. I can see switching to past tense just as a matter of remaining consistent.

Also, even if she switches to past tense, I'm not sure I'd have her do it to the "most difficult part of my job" line, because, again, presumably it's still a part of her job from when ever she's writing, and unlike the description of the garden, is also a generality.

*The only fiction writing class I ever took was utter shite. It really only taught me not to take creative writing at Joliet Junior College.
Not sure if there is a rule for it, and too lazy to look it up. My main concern is that the constant shifting back and forth breaks me out of the narrative as a reader. That is probably the strongest reason for keeping it in a consistent past tense. Plus, my head starts to hurt when I start thinking of "Okay, so this part is still currently in existence in this form and that part is a general truth about life, but then is this part still going on according to the continuity we hope to establish later on? And when IS Seledra telling this story anyway? Is she an older woman looking back on her life, or is she telling this three weeks from now or what?"

Makes my head hurt. I'll probably have to check a few novels written in past tense to see how this is handled.
Since I tend to go with the past tense, myself, I also wonder when, exactly, we're telling the story from. It changes from post to post for me, as some of them I think of more as narratives, and some of them I think of more as diary entries, which is part of why I sometimes blithely ignore tense, because I write as though R. is reflecting back on what just happened to her as well as looking forward to the future, rather than reporting those reflections from some point in the future.

I would tend to go with what seems best from the reader's point of view, which is probably a more consistent use of tense. Although I still think maybe we can make exceptions for things like truisms, since we probably don't have those very often.

And all this academic technical discussion has probably gone on long enough. Sabrina's probably thinking "What the hell are you people doing?! Shut up!"
A couple of things Danny didn't mention:

Mother's coachman dropped Ralenthra and I off at my townhouse

Again with the hyper-correction error.

the nuts and bolts of culling life is...painful

Is "nuts and bolts" considered singular for purposes of subject/verb agreement, since it's idiomatic? I've always thought of it as plural. Danny?
I don't think I've ever seen idioms exempted from subject-verb agreement. I'd go with "are."
I agree with earlier comments regarding basic content. The 'daily log' feel is a nice change of pace, and it's interesting to see a slice of Seledra 'ordinary' life. I admit there were moments where it was almost too diary like; I really wanted some conversation with Tathshandra. I'm not sure which way to go--not having an interaction with her preserves the diary aspect, but it seems unfair to leave out Tathshandra when Aribelle gets a scene. (It helps preserve the feel that we only hear Aribelle's voice and not Seledra's--this isn't a true dialog, just a reporting of what was said.)

I also concur on the matter of tense shifting, although I defer to the others' more learned comments regarding details. I also suspect this text has been revised since those comments were made.

I really like this. My remaining comments are (mostly) wiseguy reactions as I was reading it--feel free to ignore...

and I've barely tranced in the...two days it's been since we left Amalith. Where does the time go? Heh, heh...

Wear something nice and try to keep a safe distance from your drow friend, at least until your reputation has been further cemented. Dick!!

so halfling leaf is legal here..... He could probably use some halfling leaf himself [winces] Ooohh...I sense a running gag in the making here....how many 'leafheads' wander the streets of Silverymoon, questing for corn chips? [dodges rocks thrown at me]

The druids are here to direct the volunteers, to point out what is a weed and what isn't... See how tempting this could become...for...me? (Yes, I'll cop to it...)

She tossed me a vial. My initial reaction: would a woman who would greet someone with "Hello, dearie" toss someone a vial? The greeting is a sort of shorthand for "nice grandmotherly gnome lady". This is how I pictured Aribelle. I'd expect a person like that to hand someone a vial (she's lived long enough to know people sometimes don't catch what's thrown to them, and doesn't want the vial to break). Of course, maybe there's more to Aribelle than I realize--maybe she's a salt-of-the-earth type who calls people "dearie" as a sort of eccentricity; or maybe she's known Seledra long enough to know she's a very good catch.
Since everybody has now voted, it looks like I'll be spinning up a convo with Tathshandra sometime very soon. :)

Aribelle is more of a salt of the earth type, and she is also familiar enough with Seledra to call her "dearie".

The thing with Methrammar is not so much that he's a dick, is that he is extremely concerned about image. Even according to his official bio, there are questions as to whether he is qualified for his position and whether said power had been finagled by Mama Alustriel. He is already under heavy scrutiny and knows that Seledra becoming his girlfriend means that scrutiny is passed on to her as well. Whether he's in touch enough with his emotions to actually express this is a question I'm wrestling with, since if I don't start showing a little more vulnerability (other than in his pocketbook) people are really going to hate him.