Name: Falco, Elder of the Erevel Community (hem, N, Sage)

Submitted By: Jade Williams

From: Welcar, scribe to the fledgling Erevel community of Arylon

To: Loremaster Ethan Grange, Herald of Candlekeep.

My friend,
Your last missive was most interesting. Is this really how they see us? Falco tells us we must accept their views of us, but many here are not so convinced. They, like you, do not realise why we should listen to him. I know him. I know why he is, and why he tries so hard for us.
Such a small word for such a big concept. How much history do we have? Can we measure it? By the roll of years, we have little compared to the elder races, but we know more of it- an achievement that the other races envy. By our social and political power, we have still less. No kingdoms or empires rise and fall in our tales, great armies do not march, or heroes rise to lead their people. But by our numbers we are great, by our diversity, our locations throughout the realms, that is our strength. We HAVE history- it is intertwined with all the other races in this world. We exist in the shadows- everywhere if you look, and nowhere if you don't. "Beware of shadows, they move when you're not looking," as a wise man once said. I have taken it upon myself to detail 'our' history. I could start from the very beginnings- when the first union of species created a (shudder) half-elf, but that would be the popular misconception of our race. It is not a physical difference that makes us, but a spiritual one. We think of ourselves not in terms of half of another species. We are Erevel born of Erevel. Where we began, or who, or how, is not important.
But, all things must have a start, and so I present the history of our elder-Falco, as an introduction from our race to yours:

Falco- elder of the Erevel community. (hem, N, Sage- astronomy, history of the Erevel, elven history, geography of the Heartlands. ) Falco is an old half-elf, he inherited a long life from his elven father, and a sharp mind from his human mother. He is very intelligent and his extensive knowledge is self-taught. He has lived 412 winters, almost three times longer than the average, and is showing his age- he has a wrinkled face, silver-grey hair, and needs a cane to walk. Despite this, his mind is still as sharp as ever, and he is still looked upon as the spokesman for the Erevel.

His father was a half-gold elf from Cormyr, who was asked to purchase a ship for a band of elves that wished to cross to Evermeet, and his mother was the captain of the 'Starlight Dancer'. After selling her ship, they travelled together for many years, fell in love, got married, but never settled in one place.

The elves were just beginning to withdraw into their own communities, after the grievous losses dealt to them from the fall of Myth Drannor, and the humans were struggling hard to keep the hordes of goblin-kin at bay, without the buffer zones provided by the elves. Neither race had any time for the half-elves.

Falco was born in Waterdeep, but his parents travelled round the Sword Coast for many years as he was growing up. He was brought up on the move, and gained an interest in the stars as he spent many nights out looking up at them as a young boy.

He was introduced to the brutal life of an adventurer, when the caravan he was travelling with was attacked by brigands, who were operating near the town of Llorkh, which had been hit hard by the orc hordes roaming the area. Falco realised both races (elf and human) were becoming more separated, as the years rolled by, and the half-elves were being left in the middle. Falco left his parents while they were passing through Waterdeep again, and like many young people, decided to become an adventurer and get fame and money to be able to follow his dreams. He apprenticed himself to the mage, Aspen Moonglow, and spent several weeks training with her. She had recently come into possession of a document detailing the location of a long-lost Netherese blast sceptre. Despite Falco's cautioning, Aspen hurried around recruiting a party of adventurers to protect her while she went into Undermountain to retrieve the sceptre.

The expedition never really started, as one of the adventurers was a slaver in disguise, and they were ambushed just after entering. Aspen, Falco, and two dwarven fighters were captured, while the rest of the inexperienced band were killed or fled. The slavers sold them to a Drow merchant called Visprak, who took them through several gates to his lair on a lower level. The Dwarves were sold to a merchant of one of the noble houses in a nearby city. As Falco was being taken to the worker pens in a nearby fungus farm, he was selected by a Priestess for 'other duties'. Falco says little about the next two years of his life. However, from accounts from other prisoners of the Drow that I have read, it seems a safe assumption that he witnessed, and was probably part of, many brutal and depraved acts during the time he spent in Lolth's temple. It is my assumption, he was somehow 'favoured' by the priestess, as I have heard of few half-elves, and certainly no full elves, surviving more than a few days, before the Drow butcher them in unholy rituals to Lolth. I do know that Falco won his freedom by killing the priestess while in bed with her, although decency forbids me from inquiring as to further details.

The fate of Aspen is also not recorded, although Visprak was in possession of a blast sceptre when adventurers next encountered him, it seems likely that she was interrogated by the merchant, and probably died during, or shortly after it.

Falco escaped the Drow, and spent months wandering through the layers of Undermountain. Falco apparently encountered a powerful mage during this time, and after performing an unknown task, gained the unique ability to generate a starry sky in any room he sleeps in. This seems to have saved his sanity, having been cut off from the wilderness he knew for so long.

In time he found his way to Skullport, and stayed there while his body healed, and he tried to plan what to do next. He knew he could get transport by ship to the surface, which he desperately wanted to do. His answer came a few hours later when a band of powerful adventurers were dumped through a nearby gate, and headed into Skullport. The paladins and priests of the Truth & Glory band were immediately angered by the amount of evil in the city, and strode in, swords drawn and spells flying. Falco then watched in confusion as the individuals who made up Skullport became one large community and turned on these adventurers. Drow and Illithid, rivals in business stood side by side hurling fell magic back at these adventurers, while the pirates that would kill for a gold coin in the alleys and docks, banded together to swarm over, and take down a paladin. Old women and young children would throw stones, and tip sewage from the walkways onto them, giving them nowhere to turn or hide. The adventurers suffered heavy losses and retreated, leaving Skullport to get back to it's normal self- serving way of life.

Falco resolved there and then, that if these diverse, evil people could gain a sense of community, and fight for it, then his people- his Erevel- would also. As he came to this decision, Falco was approached by one of the floating skulls which existed around the city and it gave him the task to bring back a jewel from the caverns to the North. Having seen what happened to those who disobeyed, Falco headed into the caverns, and came upon a band of adventurers being attacked by the same slavers who captured him and Aspen. He joined the battle, and helped to route the slavers, killing the one whom had betrayed him in personal combat. One survivor was a wounded half-elf named Sapphire Elliot.

With his 'jewel' by his side, and the slavers treasure in their pockets, Falco returned to Skullport, and was accepted by the skulls who directed them to another, rarely used side cave. They found a long hidden gate in there, and went through. Falco immediately recognised the area- it was the compound of Visprak. With his new companions by his side they stormed the complex, finding very little resistance. As they got inside, a bloodbath greeted them, there was carnage everywhere, as though a huge battle had raged through the rooms ending in the main chamber. However, there were no bodies, save for Visprak's in the main room. A search of the area found several slaves cowering in a small storeroom. From them the adventurers learned a pale skinned, dark robed man had entered the complex, accompanied by a variety of undead. They killed the outer guards, and subdued and carried away all of the elves and half-elves inside. The man then turned, and showing his fangs, fell upon the non- elves to feed his thirst for blood. Vampire!

The adventurers took the freed slaves with them, and burned the complex to the ground as they left. They found the nearby gate that Falco had been brought through from the upper levels, and were soon out of Undermountain.

Falco declared that he was tired of adventuring life, and with Sapphire they bought a small farm near Silverymoon and retired. He and Sapphire were married, and spent sixty years living happily, and raising three children. Falco was aware that he was ageing less as the years rolled by- as Sapphire grew older Falco retained his youthful appearance. Falco also got the urge to go adventuring again, and see the Heartlands he had missed for so long. He parted from Sapphire in the spring of 1045DR, leaving her and his two younger children to work the farm, and travelled with his elder daughter, Kayeth. They joined a large wagon train owned by a group of human merchants. The merchants had gathered a group of half-elves who travelled around the Heartlands acting as a work-force for whomever needed them. They believed this would integrate the half-elves into the communities, whilst retaining an independence that would prevent them from being shunned if they stayed there.

Falco spoke out against the merchants, and the lifestyle they were forcing the half elves to live. Falco believed the half-elves could develop a separate identity, without needing to fit in to the established cities. The response was a swift beating, by the planted spies in the caravan. This did not stop Falco, he continued to argue against the work they were being forced to do. His speeches attracted the attention of the merchants, who dispatched a band of thugs to stop him. They found Falco alone near Elturel, as he was scouting the area to find additional work for the caravan. He was badly beaten, and saved from death only by the timely intervention of Kayeth. Her spells drove off the thugs, and healed Falco, but she warned him he would not be welcome back in the caravan. She had discovered there were spies among the half-elves, and she knew Falco would be killed if he returned. She urged him to leave, and avoid the merchants until he found enough help to free the caravan for good.

Falco saw his little girl grow up before his eyes, and bid her a tearful farewell. He turned and left, for the east, away from the merchants. Unfortunately, the 'thugs' they had hired were part of a mercenary company who prided themselves on completing a contract, and they pursued him across Cormyr, and into the Dalelands. Falco spent twenty years travelling through Faerun, moving east whenever the mercenaries closed in on him. During this time, while he travelled with many adventuring groups, he preferred to lie low, and try to avoid drawing attention to himself.

He saw many things on his journeys- from the desolation of Anauroch, to the verdant forests of Cormanthyr. He met many people, and saw how the races were treated in the cities across the Realms. From the xenophobic Hillsfar, and the Isolated Yuirwood, to the open Dales, and cautious Cormyr.

He saw many great deeds done by the adventurers around him, building great bridges and dams, slaying fell beasts, and defending kingdoms. Falco realised that these people were following their dreams, and if they could do it, so could he.

His journey ended when the mercenaries caught up to him in Thay. They cut off his escape routes, and herded him into the Tharchion of Thaymount, intending to hunt him down, as he was trapped. However, Falco lured the mercenaries to the estate of a Red Wizard, called Tauren Dire, and as he hid, he watched the paranoid Tauren attack the mercenaries, and they ended up killing each other. Searching the estate, Falco found about a hundred slaves working there, and after telling them what had occurred, tried to lead them to safety. However, many of the slaves wanted revenge on the Wizards who kept them enslaved, and as Falco left they took up arms and marched towards the nearest estate. Falco was less than three hundred yards away when the other Red Wizards arrived- they had learned of Tauren's death and came to claim his magic. Fireballs cut down the armed slaves marching towards the next estate, and then the wizards fell upon each other, eager to gain the magic lying around the estate.

Falco escaped with less than a dozen slaves. His time in Thay taught him many things- few of the slaves could be freed, and their descendants would be slaves also- the slaves were a race of sorts- but Falco also realised Thay would collapse without them. Without the slaves, Thay's economy would collapse, there would be mass starvation, and refugees would flood into Aglarond, Rashemen, and Mulhorand, until their economies collapsed also. Thay would become a barren wasteland, fought over by Aglarond, Mulhorand, and Rashemen, with the Red wizards scattering to individual holds throughout Faerun. He saw in this country, a parallel with his own peoples plight- they couldn't rebel, or change who they were- they were Erevel, and their descendants would be Erevel. They couldn't rebel against the other races either, there was no one person or race responsible for them, just as no one Red Wizard was responsible for the slavery in Thay. Falco saw they had to work with what they had.

Falco left Thay, and headed Southwest, intending to go through Turmish, Tethyr, Calimshan, and Amn, then north up into the Heartlands to find his family again. As he made his way back to the Heartlands, he eventually gained allies and magic enough to ensure his safety when he returned to the caravan.

In the meantime, Kayeth, a priestess of Oghma had been educating the half- elves, and the merchants had seen the unrest she was generating, so they began pulling their resources out. By the time Falco returned, and showed the half- elves how the merchants had used them, there were only a few overseers and little spare money left in the area. This angered many of the younger members, and they struck out violently, wanting revenge on the humans who had used them for so long. Falco was horrified- he had wanted to shock the caravan with the truth, so they would be easier to persuade with his dream of a half- elven community. Instead he watched as the overseers were killed, and surrounding farms were raided for food and supplies. Kayeth stepped in then-she had become a wise priestess of Oghma, and she rallied the older half-elves that had followed Falco to find the ones responsible for the violence, who were turned over to the local authorities. She stayed with Falco and taught him about the younger half-elves who knew only the way of humans or elves. Her council helped Falco keep his people together as the older generation passed away.

Kayeth was elected as the caravan leader, and, now calling themselves Erevel, they went about rebuilding the caravan into what it should have been. With the help of a priest of Gond the caravans were enlarged, and the Erevel became a travelling merchant company. With these new wagons, Falco set up a trading company that travelled throughout the Heartlands. They used contacts they had cultivated in the cities, and soon gained a reputation for being able to transport goods long distances with few losses.

The half-elves that joined this company learned they could have their own society- not one based on the culture of others. They composed their own songs, carved their wagons and made their own style of clothing and furniture, which they often sold to half-elves who were still living in the cities. While life was not ideal, Falco, who was getting very old at this point, was content to stay with the caravan style of living. He wanted to give the Erevel something more permanent- a community of their own, but did not want to risk changing the group again if it could cause another outbreak of violence. Falco also worried that there was no one to take over as leader of the people when he died, even his current children were not as charismatic as Kayeth, who had left to become a high priestess of Oghma in Silverymoon.

This changed when The Brothers (Eldocar, Madocar, Felcar, Welcar, and Zendocar) turned up. They were a mysterious, charismatic group who had the will and the drive to keep a community together. After getting to know these brothers, Falco immediately put his idea of an Erevel community into action. He had been through Arylon several times- not being tied to a central base meant his trading company could travel longer distances than normal caravan routes. Arylon seemed like the ideal place for his new community. He knew it was a relatively new city that hadn't yet developed distinct separate areas (like the wards of Waterdeep). That would make inserting the Erevel into the area much easier- they wouldn't stand out or be isolated into a specific row of houses. Arylon was also big enough to accept the influx of Erevel without upsetting the current balance of trade or resources, as had happened when Falco was young. With the city's background (being formed from an alliance of various countries and cities), Falco hoped they would be more tolerant of newcomers, and the Erevel could integrate themselves into the city and not feel lost as would have happened in another, larger city.

He came to the city, and after lengthy discussions with the Council, invested a sizeable sum into purchasing specific tracts of land. Most of his people then moved into the city. The caravan still operates, albeit in a much reduced capacity, being a small player now, but it brings word to the half-elves around the Heartlands that the Erevel community is open to any who seek refuge there. Falco pushes the community, trying to get it stabilised before he dies, and hopefully giving them a sense of identity so it can last, and flourish.

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