Scales of War
A dark-haired and gold-robed half-elf, grown old before her time
“My name is Lavinya,” she tells you. “I’m the last priestess here; the others all departed years ago, when the Nine Bells went all to seed, and the temples with it. I keep it open and functioning as best I can on my own, but . . ” She shakes her head, as though reminding herself to stay on topic. “Do you know Haelyn?” she asks.
“Haelyn is a wonderful old woman. She’s the caretaker of the shrine to Erathis, over in Tradetown.”
“I’m sure you know,” she continues, “that most worship of Erathis in Overlook takes place there, rather than here. I must admit, I haven’t always been a friend to Haelyn. I was . . . bitter, very bitter, at what happened to my temple. But after a time, we got to know each other, and we’ve become great friends.
“And that’s why I need you!” Lavinya looks up, her eyes suddenly narrowed. “Something is wrong! Something’s happened to Haelyn, I know it, and maybe not just to her!”
“A few weeks ago, Haelyn just disappeared. I went by the shrine to speak with her and she was gone. There’s a man named Grovald maintaining the shrine now. I don’t know him; I’ve never met him before, and nobody I talk to knows him, either. He told me that Haelyn left on a spiritual retreat and would be back in a few months. “But I know better! Haelyn needed no ‘spiritual retreat.’ Her faith was strong, and it was centered on that shrine! And even if she had, she wouldn’t have up and left—not without telling me.”
“I must confess, I went back at night and snooped around a bit, not just in the shrine, but peering through the windows of the groundskeeper’s cottage. I’ve offered penance to Erathis for my trespass, but I had to know what happened! I didn’t . . . I found no trace of Haelyn, but I did catch a glimpse of a letter through the cracks in the shutters. I couldn’t read much of it, and I dared not stay long, but I’m certain it was addressed to ‘G’—that must be Grovald, right?—and it began with ‘I am commanded to ask if you’ve had any further problems with the worshipers of . . .’ That’s all I saw, but it sounds sinister enough! “And that,” she says morosely, “is where things got even worse. I went to the authorities, but they told me there was nothing to look into, that Haelyn—or any citizen—can travel as they please. I spoke to some of the other priests—Aelys of Bahamut, Durkik of Moradin at the Stone Anvil, Kyrrist of Avandra, even Matron Volorvyn of the Raven Queen. Some of these have long been my friends, and even those who were not have at least been respected colleagues. And all of them brushed me off! They were distant, uncaring, even cold, as though my worries were of no moment! Volorvyn appeared barely to recognize me, and while we’ve never been close, we’ve known one another on and off for years.”
“And that’s when I thought of you, Overlook’s new heroes. I’m terrified that something has happened to my friend and that something is wrong with my fellow priests. I should, we all should, be showering you with gifts and thanks, not heaping even more cares onto your shoulders—but I’ve little influence left in this city, and I have nobody else to whom I can turn.”
“You could talk to one of the priests, I suppose,” she mutters doubtfully. “I’m not sure they’d agree to speak with you at any length, though. Everyone’s so busy with the mobilization. And these are important people; you can’t just, uh, ‘hero’ your way into the building and confront them,” she adds with a smile. “Still you might learn something from them. “You could examine the shrine of Erathis. You might well find something I missed. Or you could search Haelyn’s home, which is on the same lot as the shrine. I looked for her there, but when she didn’t answer, it felt wrong for me to just barge in. But now . . .” She shrugs.