Song of the Morning

8 Mirtul 1368

After meeting Gavin at the Temple in Beregost, he agrees to take us to Dawn Priest Blaise so I can deliver Sister Sapientia’s letter. He leads us to the vestibule on the west side of the temple.

We find Dawn Priest Blaise inside.

Dawn Priest Blaise: Or can I assist you in some other matter?

Aegon: Excuse me, I am looking for Dawn Priest Blaise. Sister Sapientia of Candlekeep sent me.

Dawn Priest Blaise: I am Dawn Priest Blaise. Sister Sapientia sent you? She is well? She has a message? But excuse me – I forget my manners. She wrote about the children of Candlekeep at times and you have that look about you… Would you be Aegon of Candlekeep? Gorion’s child?

Aegon: Yes, Gorion was my foster father. But he… he died.

Dawn Priest Blaise: I mourned when news of Gorion’s death reached this Temple. The world of monastic scholarship is quiet and unlikely to shake the world, but he was one of our bright stars.

But I have a thought! Perhaps you could help me with something.

Aegon: Wait – I have a letter for you!

Dawn Priest Blaise: A… letter? From Sister Sapientia? Oh, let me see!

She is well… hm, interesting thoughts on metempsychosis…

What’s this about frogs?

Aegon: Oh, the *freak accident*. Yes, Candlekeep is well known for its, uh, freak accidents.

Dawn Priest Blaise: Never mind. Oh, but thank you so much! I only wish that I could reward you as you deserve, but I belong to a mendicant order.

Aegon: How long have you two been writing?

Dawn Priest Blaise: We have been trading letters back and forth for, oh, forty years now. Sapientia and I have never met, though. Monastics don’t get out much – you know how it is.

There is another matter.

Among my duties for the Song of the Morning Temple is my work as an illuminator. I prepare manuscripts and make their pages joyful in the eyes of Lathander.

For some time I have been using the skills I learned in Lathander’s service for somewhat selfish reasons – I have been making a book of prayers and daily offices as a gift for my dear friend.

But now, with all the troubles – the Iron Crisis, the bandits jumping out the hedgerows and coppices, rumours of war with Amn…

It is difficult to find a reliable messenger.

Aegon: I might be able to take the book for you. I seem to carry for half the Sword Coast as it is.

Dawn Priest Blaise: Perhaps…

Will you take the book, and care for it, and deliver it safely to my friend? You look sturdy and capable and used to resolving difficulties. I have no gold to give, just my thanks, though they would be sincere. Will you deliver it?

Aegon: I do not know where my travels will take me, but if you entrust me with this book, I swear I will deliver it or find someone reliable to take it past the gates.

Dawn Priest Blaise: It is enough.

Thank you. Oh, *thank you*.

He gives me the book to deliver for him. I quickly flick through it, but I don’t read every one of the prayers.

I tuck it into my book bag.

Gavin and I take some time to get to know each other a little better.

Aegon: All right. Why don’t you introduce yourself properly.

Gavin: I’ve said that I’m a cleric of Lathander. I was born in Ulgoth’s Beard, but I entered the service of the temple as a novice when I was twelve. Can it really be sixteen years ago? Anyway, I have been a Dawnbringer, or full priest, nine years, now.

Aegon: So why did you become a cleric?

Gavin: It is rather unlikely, isn’t it? My parents were certainly never overly religious. But I always had a strong reverence for Lathander, though, and felt his presence in my life moreso than any of the other gods my family worshipped. My mother worshipped Lathander especially, though, so maybe that isn’t so strange.

Shortly before I joined the order, I found that with Lathander’s power moving through me, I could do things other people my age could not.

But how about you?

Aegon: Well, you know my name is Aegon, and I was raised in Candlekeep by a sage named Gorion. It was a fairly typical childhood really.

Gavin: That is one of the best childhoods a person could have. Did you like Candlekeep?

Aegon: Very much. It was a small community, so everyone knew everyone else, and it was very friendly. And I loved the library.

Gavin: That does sound appealing. The town where I grew up was small, too, but they did not have that library. I did not learn to read at all until I joined the temple, but I enjoy it now.

But come, let us catch up. We’ll have time to talk as we travel, I imagine.

Gavin does indeed catch up with the other Dawn Priests in the vestibule.

Gavin: Hello, Blane. How’s the back today?

Dawn Priest Blane: You’d best be watchin’ you don’t track mud all over my floors, Gavin.

Aegon: And who may you be?

Dawn Priest Blane: Nobody important. Go see Kelddath for some temple business. I just clean the floors. ‘Tis lean times.

Garrick: He’s right, Aegon. Kelddath is the High Priest of Lathander in this region.

The third Dawn Priest is more worried about the doors than the floor.

Gavin: What a pity! Let’s hope they needed the gold they brought more than the temple.

Dawn Priest Bram: Heh. I s’pose. Fine floor isn’t it?

Gavin: It’s beautiful, Bram.

Dawn Priest Bram: Mind you stay away from the gate, lad. Next time old Bram might not be around to let you back out.

Gavin: Yes, sir.

Garrick: Uh, okay.

These priests seem overly concerned about keeping their floor clean. I might be misremembering, but I’m sure Lathander isn’t the god of floors.

Gavin wants to show us the temple so we pass through the cloisters to the main courtyard. There are two women here. One of is a tattooed human with red hair dressed in matching red robes. The other has pointed ears and horns. Emily is uneasy at the latter’s presence.

Aegon: She’s an innocent, Emily. I’m not going to hurt her, and I’m curious about her.

Emily: Oh, I didn’t say I would actually do it! Just felt the need. Maybe that did sound a bit disturbing. Never mind me!

I talk to the tiefling.

Sirene: Forgive my unsightly appearance. I am but a guest at this temple. The priests are within, if that is your intent for visiting these grounds.

Aegon: You look like you were beaten pretty badly. What happened?

Sirene: Nothing special… the roads are simply dangerous. I suffered a few injuries facing the bandits that plague the Sword Coast on my way to Beregost. Thankfully, I reached the Song of the Morning while I was still capable of walking.

My name is Sirene. I’m a follower of Ilmater, the Crying God. I’m no priestess, however. I follow the order of the Holy Warriors of Suffering.

Aegon: Forgive me, but I could not help but take notice of your appearance.

Sirene: …Aye. I see my appearance did not escape you. It never does, does it?

She sighs.

Sirene: I’m a tiefling. The blood of devils flows through in my veins. I wish it were not the case, but I am who I am. It has caused complications in the past, confrontations I do not care to remember.

I do hope that I will not have to repeat another incident. We of the Ilmatari seek to relieve suffering, not cause it.

Aegon: Do you know anything about the troubles down south?

Sirene: Only what anyone else could tell you. They say the iron coming from the Nashkel mines is poisoned to the point of being useless, and some say it is the work of demons.

I attempted to look into the issue personally, but my appearance caused… problems. I was turned away, and not peacefully.

Hmm… there is little for me to accomplish alone. You have an aura of evil about you, so I believe you can be trusted. If you would have me, I would join your side.

Aegon: Certainly, I’m sure you will make a valuable friend. My name’s Aegon, by the way.

Sirene: Aegon it is, then. Shall we go?

This is Sirine by TheArtisan. I’ve never played with this NPC before so it should be interesting.

I have read about tieflings. They are descended from devils and are often evil. A Martyr of Ilmater is an unusual occupation for their kind.

Emily wants to talk combat tactics.

Aegon: I would rather just use magic.

Emily: Magic, hmm? Still, you never know when you’re out of spells and need to attack from afar still.

I’m a bit indecisive between the longbow and the crossbow. But I’ll use whichever you prefer me to use of course.

It’s just a shame there isn’t much quality ammunition to stockpile on for either of them.

Aegon: It is. Do you have any ideas?

Emily: I guess that is what makes battle dangerous. Someone else could have better, top notch equipment over us, someone more wicked and malicious.

It makes me wonder if training can overcome quality equipment.

Aegon: Once they fall, their good equipment is our equipment for the taking.

Emily: Isn’t that stealing? Sort of? I mean if they’re dead? It does make me feel guilty sometimes when we take things from the dead… I know, it’s weird! You know what? Forget I said anything.

You can also run out ammo. At least with magic a quick bit of study and some rest and you have it back. Ammo costs money.

Garrick is a little uneasy with a tiefling with us, and decides to leave the party for now.

Braegar: Oh future generations will be so grateful, I’m sure. What better way to build a legacy than your horrible caterwauling!

Garrick: Hmh, you are an ignoramus and always will be!

Or maybe I’ll go east and look up the Lady in Red…

Garrick’s tales likely won’t speak well of Braegar…

Sirene is hurt, but she still looks ready for a fight.

She is a Martyr in the service of Ilmater.

Martyrs are a kind of paladin, so they are able to Lay on Hands and heal people.

They are also able to Detect Evil.

As a Martyr she can Sacrifice her own health to heal others.

She wears splint mail armour, and carries a two handed sword she calls the Brimstone.

We talk to the other woman here. It turns out she knows a lot about the history of Beregost and its temple.

Rashel: What kind of aid can I give you?

Aegon: Please, tell me about this temple.

Her face lights up with pride.

Rashel: The Song of the Morning is the name of our Temple, consecrated in the name of the Morning Lord, Lathander. We protect the good people of Beregost. The servants of the Morning Lord also tend temple fields of potatoes and herb flowers east of the road, and keep sheep on the slopes of the hill topped by the ruined school of Ulcaster.

The sheep are more easily watched there, preventing theft and raiding beasts from ravaging them. It allows us some control over expeditions into the ruins and to prevent expansion of Beregost.

Over the years, various Amnian merchants have shown a distressing tendency to lay claim to all land within easy reach of the Coast Way that’s not too strongly defended.

Is there anything else you wish to know?

Aegon: Do you sell magical healing or scrolls?

Rashel: The Most Radiant of Lathander Kelddath Ormlyr should be able to help you with this, my good man. He can be found in the Song of the Morning Temple.

Is there anything else you wish to know?

Aegon: Can you tell us about the lands nearby?

Rashel: You are now in Beregost, my good man. It was a village once, under the protection of the School of Wizardry. The Ulcaster School it was called, for it was founded by Ulcaster, a conjurer of some renown, but it was ruined by Calishate mages out of fear.

But the Most Radiant of Lathander, Kelddath Ormlyr, frowns upon us talking of this haunted place, let alone approaching it.

Craumerdaun family of Amn has estates nearby and they breed fine horses, highly prized in Amn and Tethyr.

To northwest stands High Hedge, the estate of Thalantyr the Conjurer. He is a loner, I think, and doesn’t welcome visitors. However, he’s said to be interested in far-off places and things, so if you have anything peculiar for sale, you might try your luck.

Is there anything else you wish to know?

Aegon: No, thank you, Rashel. Have a good day.

Rashel: Walk in the blessed light of the Sun, my good man.

Gavin asks me how I feel about my old friends.

Aegon: It does seem like I’ve lost touch with everyone.

Gavin: That’s unfortunate. It does seem to be a consequence of getting older though.

Aegon: I do try and keep some friends around me, even if they aren’t old friends. I don’t like to be alone.

Gavin: It’s only natural, but no one can be with their friends all the time.

I still keep in touch with my family, of course, and most of the friends I’ve mad over the years, but sometimes, you need to do things alone. The rest of my friends will understand.

Aegon: Very true. Friends do understand.

Gavin: And then, when it’s all over, we can all tell our stories.

It’s odd that I struggle to keep in touch with people, given that I’m always delivering letters for people. Perhaps I should send some letters of my own.

We make our way inside the temple. Beside a giant statue of the Morning Lord and some actual sirines, we find the Most Radiant of Lathander, Kelddath Ormlyr.

Sirene: Thank you for your sacred hospitality, Lord Kelddath. You have been most generous during my time here.

Kelddath Ormlyr: It is no trouble, my child. The Ilmatari are forever welcome within the Morning Lord’s halls. Come and go as you please.

Sirene: Thank you, my lord,

Kelddath Ormlyr: Look towards the dawn, good paladin.

We look through the temple’s services. They have a lot of weapons and magic items useful to priests and paladins, but we have no money to purchase anything.

It’s time to return to Beregost. Nashkel is still a few days away – we have time to explore the town before we continue our journey south.

We walk by the Thunderhammer Smithy and find a few coins by the side of the street.

Maybe if we scrape around a little we can make enough to purchase some more ammunition, or spend the night in an inn with a bath.

The house next to the smithy is locked. Aura tells me she can take care of that.

Well, we have to go inside now…

Inside we find a chest holding a long sword and an enchanted dagger, which Aura identifies for us.

None of us really use daggers so we store it in our Bag of Holding for now. There is another locked chest here. Aura is able to open it and finds some jewellery inside.

We should be able to afford that room now. Possibly even at Feldepost’s Inn! I search the book case and find two books I haven’t read before. Hidden behind them is an enchanted long sword.

It’s a Long Sword +1. Its description is basically the same as a normal long sword, so I won’t post another screenshot. Emily knows how to use a sword, so I give this to her and sit down to read the new books. The first is the History of the Dragon Coast.

The Dragon Coast may still be a dangerous place to visit to this day. The second book covers the more recent History of the North.

The Sword Coast isn’t the only place with troubles. At least we only have to deal with bandits and not trolls.

We leave and make our way to the next building. Inside we meet one of the occupants.

Borland: Hello, Gavin. It’s been years. You look well.

Gavin: Hello, yourself! Good to see you again, old friend. Is the family keeping well?

Borland: They are, but Darla is visiting her mother with the children, so I have the place to myself for a while. Let us catch up on old times some other time, though. Was there anything you wanted?

Sirene: Who might you be, sir?

Borland: I “might” be Borland of Beregost. My door is always open to any who might need shelter. You are on your honour not to misuse my trust, and may come and go as you wish.

While we were talking, Aura slipped into the back room. When she follows us out she tells us she managed to “acquire” a silver necklace and hand axe. She feeds the necklace to Muffy as I stash the axe in my Bag of Holding.

The next building on the street turns out to be Gavin’s old home.

Gavin: I do not recognise this man, but that is hardly surprising.

Of course, the man lets us know who he is.

It’s probably best we leave here despite Gavin’s memories of the place. Of course I notice Aura slipping away to “acquire” more equipment…

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