The heroes were settling in back at the Inn of the Welcome Wench, having secured a table full of food and libations in one of Ostler Gundigoot’s private rooms. Eiravain huddled under a blanket, still traumatized by her treatment at the hands of Lareth the Beautiful, but trying to get back to a sense of normalcy.
“What made you come out here in the first place?” Besilana asked the priestess.
Eiravain’s expression flashed guilty for a moment, but she just looked sad when she met the half-elf’s eyes. “I … found something on one of the bandits that raided Myhalas. A brooch that looked just like one that belonged to your mother.”
Besilana’s eyes widened. “What?”
“I couldn’t be sure, but I thought … I thought maybe I could find out who had taken it from her after … after she fell.” She paused for a long moment. “I suppose I succeeded.”
Furnok produced a jeweled brooch from among the treasure taken from Lareth. “Is this it?”
The half-elf recognized the trinket immediately. “May I see it?” she asked. The rogue handed it to her. “Mother wore this all the time. She said it was a gift … from my father.”
Eiravain lowered her gaze. “I wasn’t sure you would recognize it.”
“Okay,” said Taliesin. “You found something that belonged to Azathir. That doesn’t explain why you would go searching for the thief alone. My sister was beside herself when you didn’t return.”
The priestess winced at the rebuke, and Felicity embraced her, frowning at the druid. “It’s complicated,” said Eiravain. “You were just a child,” she said to Besilana.
“I’m not a child anymore,” said the half-elf. “Help me understand. Please.”
Eiravain sighed, clearly reluctant. “I have … been hard on you. Harder than you deserved. It was just so hard seeing so much of your mother in you. Your face, your dedication, and … just little quirks. Those reminders all hurt. It wasn’t your fault, of course. You’re your mother’s daughter.”
“I don’t…” Besilana started to say, her confusion evident. But the priestess raised a hand to forestall her.
“I loved her, Besi. And I thought that she loved me. Maybe she did, for a time. In her way. But then she came back from one of her adventures pregnant with you. It broke my heart, and she wouldn’t – couldn’t, she said – even tell me who the father was.” Tears started to run down Eiravain’s cheeks. “And then you were born half-human. My heart broke again. It was proof that I was twice-over not someone Azathir could love. Not in the way I wanted.”
“And then she died,” said Besilana, tears staining her face, as well. “And all you had left of her was me.”
“I’m so sorry,” Eiravain wailed. “I did not want to be cruel.” Felicity hugged the priestess all the more, and Besilana joined the sobbing, shaking embrace.
Taliesin and Furnok held their peace while the women had a good cry together. When it seemed like they had had their catharsis, Taliesin said, “You were after closure. Answers to questions that have plagued you for a decade or more.”
Eiravain nodded, slowly extricating herself from the younger women. “Seeing that brooch brought up memories and feelings that I hadn’t allowed myself to recall. I love Taleria as deeply as I ever loved Azathir, and more importantly, she loves me back. This … was for me. I thought I could find the answers I wanted and finally, finally close the door on that part of my life for good. But it all went so wrong. I can never repay you all for saving me from my own folly.”
“We had to come for you,” said Felicity. “You’re my mother.” Eiravain kissed the halfling on the forehead and hugged her tightly again.
Taliesin looked thoughtful. “Lareth said something about Felicity’s father as she died. Gave the name ‘Barkinar’, I think? Do you know anything about that?”
The priestess shook her head. “I don’t know how she knew about any of you. Maybe her prophecy led her to undertake divinations to find out what she could about Azathir’s family and friends?”
“Perhaps,” said Taliesin, standing and approaching Eiravain. “Would you please show them your back?”
“My back?” she said, uncertainly. At the druid’s nod, she stood and dropped the blanket, turning around. Taliesin gingerly lifted her tunic to reveal her back. At the collective gasp, the priestess looked alarmed, “What is it? I know the wounds must be bad from that foul dark elf’s torture, but…”
Felicity showed Eiravain her tattoo, which matched the symbol carved into the priestess’s back. “Wait!? What is this? That’s my mark … Why did she mark you with my mark? What does it have to do with that horrid woman?” she cried.
Eiravain paled further. “I … I have no idea.”
“Whatever it means, Lareth went to a lot of trouble to bait the hook in pursuit of this prophecy,” said Furnok. “And I think I’m somehow part of it.”
“How so?” asked Taliesin.
“The righteous, noble, wild, and pure hold the key…” the rogue recited. “Righteous,” he said, pointing to the paladin. “Wild,” he continued, pointing at the druid. “Pure,” he added, pointing at the halfling cleric. “And I am the noble,” he concluded.
“Are you?” said Besilana, somewhat dubious.
“I’m afraid so,” he said with a sigh. “My friends, I regret that I have deceived you. My name is not ‘Furnok’ and I am not from ‘Ferd’.”
“Wait, wait-wait-wait-wait-wait. What? Then are you a tax collector from Calgary? Oh! Maybe a merchant-prince from Maru? OH! What about a…” said Felicity, flabbergasted yet excited at the sudden intrigue.
“Lord Robilar,” said the man who was not Furnok, gently cutting off the halfling. “I assumed a false identity to protect myself from would-be assassins. My noble family in the Grand Duchy of Geoff was slaughtered, and I believe our end was hastened for political reasons. I escaped with only my manservant, who was killed by bandits in the Kron Hills, no doubt working for the Cult of Elemental Evil. He was very dear to me, and I will have my revenge upon those responsible for his death. And maybe after, we can see to those who destroyed my life.”