Beacons (short story)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: Beacons

Author: Mirkk (prime)

Standing in the courtyard of the Sylvanfair Manse, Rohese slipped outside the door and met Mirkk in the very early hours of the morning, the only light from several glass lanterns placed at the base of the lilac trees by the doors. “My dear,” he quietly greeted her. She smiled at him as she wrapped her dressing gown tightly around her. He glanced over his shoulder at their stablehand Jyor who was holding the reins of Mirkk’s mahogany mare. Jyor mumbled something and turned away, his focus now on the mare.

“My love. Please be safe. Return quickly to me,” she said softly. He nodded in assent.

“As quickly as I can, darling,” he whispered. She stepped toward him, leaning forward. He closed his eyes in response, expecting to feel her soft lips upon his own. He felt her press something into his hand and he glanced down, seeing her avian-crested signet ring in his hand.

“Seal the second letter with this. And use your own name,” she quietly reminded him. He glanced back at her and nodded in acknowledgement. He closed his eyes once more, kissing her gently on the lips. Reluctantly releasing her hand, he turned and walked over to Jyor, taking the reins. He glanced over his shoulder once more at Rohese, exchanging a meaningful look with her, and mounted the mare. Throwing his hand up in a wave, she returned it with her own and he immediately clicked his heels, the mare starting a trot.

Rohese watched as Mirkk rode through the wrought iron gate to Sylvarraend Road and out of sight. With a worried sigh, she smiled politely at Jyor, saying, “Jyor, please see that Aavia puts on tea for you. Or coffee, if you prefer.”

“Yes, m’lady. Thank you,” he said hoarsely.

She glanced out the iron gate once more and with a worried sigh turned and walked back into the manse.

“Easy girl! Easy,” Mirkk reassured Lelyanna as her hoof slid slightly off slate, startling her. “We’re almost there,” he whispered. Lelyanna handled well the rough switchbacks and narrow rocky trails that moved beyond the timberline on their approach to the top of the Dragonspine range. Mirkk reticently lifted his head, exposing his face and neck to the cooler air of this elevation, a stark contrast to the temperate climate of Ta’Illistim’s summer. “And look at that,” he whispered to the mare. “We’re here.”

Lelyanna continued her slow, cautious walk up the narrow trail, the first rays of the sun shining from the east across the lands of the United City-States, warming both of their bones wearied from the cooler air. With a soft clicking sound, he tugged lightly on her reins and she responsively changed her heading, approaching a squat, stone tower.

Mirkk hoisted his leg over and, as gingerly as he could, dismounted, though his cold feet felt the earth beneath with a sudden shock, even though his boots. He led Lelyanna to a nearby scrub brush. “Sorry there’s not more to eat, girl,” he whispered as he patted her muzzle gently. “I did bring a couple of these,” he said as he produced a bright green apple from his satchel, holding it to her mouth. She gobbled it up quickly. “Don’t wander far. I’ve got another for once I’m done.”

He turned away from the mare and studied the stone tower. He had been here once before, a long time ago, and had all but forgotten about it until Rohese mentioned the beacon tower of Glimae’den just a few days prior. The elves had built this tower, long abandoned in favor of another farther up the range with better vantage, which stood resolute against the winds that often whipped across the mountaintop. He turned and saw the remnants of the beacon itself, a raised stone platform now devoid of wood and oil.

It suffers the affliction of having been built by the elves. It endures time.

Turning east, the golden air of the morning was illuminating the land of the elves. He could clearly see Zhindel’s Post and Mreanith Lake, and was able to distinguish Lake Fear and rolling hills and what was likely Ta’Vaalor beyond, but it was hard to tell. He turned slowly to the south, expecting to see Kragsfell, but it seemed the last vestiges of the mountains themselves hid everything in that direction as they stretched toward Rhoska-Tor.

With a slow exhale, he turned west. He could see the mist lurking over the Wyrdeep, but would not be able to see the forest itself until the mist burned off closer to midday. The whole of the Turamzzyrian Empire was still cloaked in darkness, though he watched as a definitive line of light crept from the seas toward him, separating daylight from the darkness.

I suppose there is no more suitable place than here.

He turned and walked toward the heavy wooden door of the tower which was slightly ajar. He pushed it open and it made a loud scuff across the interior stone floor. Lelyanna whinnied and he shot her a glance to make certain she wasn’t going to run. Reassured, he walked inside.

Sunlight streamed through the slit windows, producing enough light for him to find the wooden table. Drawing a small candle and a match from his satchel, he lit the candle, creating a glow across the room. A few wooden bowls and a pitcher were all that remained of what was formerly the kitchen and eating area for the elves once stationed here. Stone steps circled along the back of the tower leading to what was once the sleeping area.

Lookouts responsible for lighting the beacons to inform the City-States of Imperial troop movements. Let us make sure those beacons will never be needed again.

He sat at the wooden bench that ran along the table, his hand reaching into his satchel once more to procure two sheets of paper that he laid side by side against the ironwood tabletop. Reaching up behind his ear, he removed his white feather quill,and with a heavy sigh pressed his quill to the paper.

To the Emperor of the Turammzyrian Empire,

The repeal of the decree by Emperor Chaston Kestrel of 4310, oft referred to as Chaston’s Edict, and the allowance of those of “elven stock” to once again own land and businesses does not make the two races equal before the Sun Throne. Liberty, equality, and justice for the elves within the Turammzyrian Empire will be what prevents another Human-Elven war. All denizens of the Empire decide how favorably history will look upon the repeal of this edict.

Long have some of our families in Bourth and throughout the Empire worn the white feather, a symbol of solidarity with our elven friends. Our work is not over. We have hosted them in our homes, supped with them, often to the disdain of our own neighbors. We have brokered the deals that send oft-desired Nalfein goods west of the Dragonspine, just as the consumers of those goods frowned at the thought of our neighbors to the east. We have been labeled charlatans and rabble-rousers by some, freedom fighters and patriots by others.

I outline below some basic principles with which we all as cohabitants should agree by which to live, and that those courageous enough should promote.


The repeal of Chaston’s Edict, in principle, grants a certain level of liberty to the elves – to walk about towns and cities, to purchase homes, businesses, and farms. This is a start. However, it is upon the baronies, the nobility, and the local populace to ensure elves are able to exercise these liberties - to move about freely, from one town, barony or county to the next; to discuss opinions openly, including grievances against the Throne; and to gather peacefully, all without fear of harassment or persecution.

This implies the necessity for cooperation.


Equality, simply stated, is that all deserve access to the same rewards, resources and opportunities, regardless of race. Elves within the Turamzzyrian Empire need a voice, and at present, they do not have it. Equality means appropriate representation at court before the Emperor. Discrimination against elves and half-elves alike must be at the least frowned upon, and at best abolished.

This implies the necessity for advocacy.


One who violates the laws of the Throne deserves punishment fitting of the crime, no matter their race or culture. Harsher punishments for one group and lesser for another will create contempt between the two. The Throne, duchies and baronies, counties and localities must ensure justice is fair and balanced.

Additionally, there is the consideration for reparations – The Sun Throne must be advised there are elves alive to this day that were stripped of their lands, businesses, and holdings over five hundred years ago. Allowing them or their descendants the opportunity to buy new lands, businesses, and holdings may not be well received, as they may perceive certain things to be theirs already, albeit wrongfully appropriated. To be direct, what now belongs to the humans once belonged to the elves, and in some instances, before belonged to others such as the Fey.

This implies the necessity for fairness.


There will be some, both human and elvenkind, which will decide to move toward malfeasance or violence in order to capitalize upon the situation for personal or organizational gain. These individuals do not represent the whole of human or elvenkind! These acts, though we know not at present how they will manifest, will only set into backward motion the small gains recently made. It is our duty to be ever vigilant of these efforts – to thwart any nefarious activities within the scope of the laws themselves.

Additionally, with word of sea trade becoming more available between the east and the west, concerns of tariffs may arise. While this letter is not economic in intent, the nature of the repeal itself lends to the nature of trade and goods. Liberty, equality, and justice are not limited to the cities, towns, and hamlets. No, these principles extend to ports, the littorals, and the open seas. It is beneficial to both the Empire and the City-States that trade be open and free, and we treat all that sail beside or dock at our piers with the fairness we would expect from our friends to the east.


I call upon those who wear the white feather, as well as those who may not be aware of the custom, to remember why we wear it – because we desire liberty, equality, and justice for the elves as our equals before the Sun Throne. Continue to wear that symbol to allow those around you to know our work is not finished, it has only just begun. Continue to raise awareness for what the white feather means. Most importantly, be the advocate that is needed in times such as these.

To those who may now only be aware of the custom of wearing the white feather, if you agree, don the feather. Do not simply embrace the aforementioned principles, live them. Be them.

This order of the white feather has a new purpose. Those with power and influence that believe in these principles must fearlessly promote the cause of the elves as equal members of our society and politics. I challenge you, imperial inhabitants, to challenge the ill-favored actions that may arise by the principalities, powers, and rulers in high places. Hold them accountable to the decree of the Emperor. Avoidance of another conflict is essential, and so are the principles of liberty, equality, and justice.

For all,

Mirkk Timbertree-Bayvel of Bourth and Ta’Illistim

Upon completion, he reviewed both letters, ensuring they were exact replicas of one another. Satisfied, he folded the first and placed it in an envelope. He held a stick of silver wax against the candle flame and, when ready, placed a blob against the envelope, pressing a simple signet into it. Lifting the signet, he saw the oak leaf left in relief upon the wax. He nodded in approval, turning the envelope over and addressing it, “Emperor Aurmont Chandrennin Anodheles”, adding a second line “And the Citizens of the Empire”.

Repeating the process with the second letter, he reached into his pocket and retrieved the signet ring Rohese had given him the hours before. Pressing it into the wax, he lifted it and observed the dove imprinted upon the wax, the seal of House Bayvel. Hesitantly, he turned over the second envelope, on the first line writing in elven, “The Argent Mirror”, and “Care of the Office of the Seneschal” on the second.

He glanced uncertainly at his writing, worried if his elven handwriting was sufficient. He had been practicing addressing the letter in his journal over the past two days. He quickly scooped up the letters, not allowing himself to overthink any longer. Placing them in his satchel, he blew out the candle and departed the tower.

Two riders were dispatched from Sylvanfair Manse later that day, one in a slow walk toward Ta’Illistim, the second at full gallop destined for Tamzyrr.

”Times They Are A-Changin” ~ Eddie Vedder