Esserae and Her Nails/Esserae's Tale
Title: The Tale of Esserae and Her Nails
Author: Esserae Estasi of River's Rest
Weeks ago, when Selandrial closed the log to do alterations in River's Rest, dozens of us sat together for hours waiting to see who would be chosen. This gave me an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful community living in River's Rest. I also wondered what in the world I would have Selandrial make for me if I was selected for an alteration.
Fortunately, I wasn't chosen, because I had no idea what I would ask him to make and was terrified of being put on the spot and emerging with some trite bardess glyph stitched on my pert bottom. Not that bardess glyphs are trite, but ones stitched to a Sylvan derriere reflect a certain inability to look beyond one's best physical attributes. Which obviously is how I view it. My bottom, I mean.
At any rate, later that day I stumbled across a dented nail while hunting. And it struck me. I would collect one of every nail in the Lands and save them in case I was ever selected for an alteration. What would be more compelling than a Cloak of Nails? "Looking closer, you see that the cloak is made of an assortment of nails: bent, dented, polished, tarnished, rusted and corroded." I'd have to get it lightened, of course...
I put out a call on the amunet for nails, hoping to find one of each of the six or seven types that cropped up in the killing fields. And when people suddenly began offering me nails that I already had, I couldn't stand to turn them down. I know what a pain it is to pick up a clear zircon when you're hunting. (In fact, Zephina and Aluisa are the only ones I know who do it regularly.) So nails?! That does take a special commitment.
Every time I turned around, there was another person standing with a nail in their hand. Old friends, new friends and strangers seemed eager to help my Quest, even though no one had any idea what my plan was for the nails. In my desire to please my friends, I accepted all sorts of nails and multiples of each type. Soon I had a few dozen nails. And they kept coming in.
I set a target. 200 nails was my goal. A few times a day I would request people to save nails for me, which led to many vague discussions about what I would be doing with all of these nails. Which led me down a very murky path. My desire for a cloak of nails waned as my nail bounty increased. But what, I wondered, could I do with all of these nails?
Juspera had the first of many clever suggestions: have someone cast invisibility on me and run through the Landing dropping nails and shouting "Nail Invasion" on the net. (Editor's note: my suggestion made much more sense than this in reality, but we humor Esserae.) As I mulled and pondered, two things happened.
The first was that my nail collection exceeded my carrying capabilities. I now know that my music satchel can hold 60 nails, which weigh just over 50 pounds. I'm sure this will be a valuable negotiating point if I ever sell the satchel. I kept another 25 in my backpack. And 40 were stored in the lockers of two friends.
Suddenly, I discovered that I couldn't hunt effectively. I cleaned my cloak and backpack of all nonessentials and still was waiting 8 and 9 seconds between swings--down from my normal 5. Since it only takes me two seconds to goose a warfarer, that was too much extra time.
The second was that the novelty was wearing thin for me. I'm a girl on the go! I was getting the urge to move on, to tackle bigger and better projects. The nails were becoming my albatross.
The solution came to me in a flash while wandering the Trollfang looking for stray nails. There he was: the Mercantylers' Guild overseer standing around watching his giantmen chop trees for Solhaven Road. Winter was coming. Who wants to build a road in the dead of winter? I decided to bribe the overseer, and ask him to winter in River's Rest. My nails--a rare commodity in a land without hardware stores--would be the perfect bribe.
I announced my intentions on the town board and on the amunet, and on the night of December 22 a large handful of River's Rest residents set off for the Trollfang. Joining me on the Quest were Lord Prata, Lord Ranil, Asthalan, Bakrell, Jura, Sarynee, Lady Flaer, Lady Kkar, Lord Segia, Lord Emeraldwand, Lady Arwen and Ambree.
As we strode toward the Trollfang, Sarynee sang a little ditty for us, "We're off to see the overseer, the wonderful overseer of da guild. Because, because, because, because of the wonderful things he builds." And then, suddenly, we were there.
I looked around. If you've ever been in this area, you'll know that even the tallest of the Giantmen feels dwarfed by the huge trees that grow here. Reaching heights of 500 feet and with diameters of up to 30 feet, these tremendous trees are possibly as old as the land itself. A crew of woodcutters were at work at felling some of the smaller trees. I also saw the Mercantylers' Guild overseer.
The Guild overseer was a grim looking Giantman wearing mithril chainmail beneath a slate grey tabard embroidered with a bulging money pouch. He rested a black glaes flamberge over one shoulder as he watched his crew work.
I curtsied. Sarynee smiled at the Guild overseer. And the Guild overseer leaned against a tree. He stopped for a moment to speak with me, but it was just a passing comment about Solhaven. He then exchanged casual words with Ambree, Sarynee, Jura and Emeraldwand.
I got straight to the point. Speaking directly to the Guild overseer, I said, "Overseer, we know that winter is fast approaching and your workers are looking for someplace warm to work. We'd like to invite you to quit this road construction and come with us to River's Rest."
Emeraldwand removed a flagon of Lorekeepers' lockerbrew from inside his spidersilk backpack. Emeraldwand showed the Guild overseer his Lorekeepers' lockerbrew. Emeraldwand said, "Ya get as much of this stuffs as ya want if ya come down there."
Arwen glanced at me and I continued, "We have nails for you. A rare commodity. And some cider." Arwen, thinking of the slow progress of the woodcutters, asked me, "You sure you want them? They seem a bit slow to me." I told her that I thought the cider would be a good incentive for them to work faster.
We offered a few more enticements. Flaer spoke of the huge quantities of milk available in River's Rest, while Emeraldwand and Prata mentioned the free ale that regularly floats about town.
Still, the overseer didn't seem sold. I decided to show him the goods. I removed a rusty nail from inside my black leather backpack. I dropped a rusty nail. I continued pulling nails from my backpack and dropping them at the Guild overseer's feet. This continued for some time.
Emeraldwand said, "Oh boy."
I removed a bent nail from inside my black leather backpack. I dropped a bent nail. Jura said, "Be sure to put down some polished ones." Sarynee told the overseer, "We've brought ya nails!" Jura pointed at a bent nail.
The Guild overseer leaned against a tree and watched as I continued.
I removed a scratched nail from inside my silk music satchel. I dropped a scratched nail. I removed a shiny nail from inside my silk music satchel. I dropped a shiny nail. Prata said, "These are high quality nails, Overseer. Well, some of them are." I removed a tarnished nail from inside my silk music satchel. I dropped a tarnished nail. An adventurer named Metadi arrived in the area and said, "Hmm, used nails, attractive." I continued dropping nails.
Flaer said, "Ohhhhh looks like the overseer is faint! He's overwhelmed by our offer." Flaer purred. The Guild overseer continued leaning against a tree. Emeraldwand exclaimed, "Look at the variety!" Emeraldwand nodded to the Guild overseer.
A halfling with a weakness for tarts, Emeraldwand asked, "If I collect 250 tarts, will I get a tart shop?" Arwen laughed and said, "You couldn't do it. No way you could have 250 tarts and not eat them." Emeraldwand thought for a second and replied, "Yer right, I'd eat it all."
I removed a shiny nail from inside my silk music satchel. Sarynee exclaimed, "But wait, Guild overseer, there's more!" I dropped a shiny nail. I removed a corroded nail from inside my silk music satchel. I dropped a corroded nail. Prata grinned. Emeraldwand said, "He's startin to take notice."
Glancing at the Guild overseer, Flaer said, "Actually overseer, could ye hurry up and work, then everyone go Solhaven and all of Rivers Rest's milk is MINE. All MINE!" She purred.
There are more where these come from, Overseer," Prata said, as I wiped the sweat from my brow and glanced into my empty silk music satchel.
I glanced around the room again.
I saw a tarnished nail, a tarnished nail, a corroded nail, a dented nail, a scratched nail, a shiny nail, a tarnished nail, a dented nail, a polished nail, a polished nail, a corroded nail, a scratched nail, a shiny nail, a corroded nail, a dented nail, a tarnished nail, a scratched nail, a corroded nail, a polished nail, a corroded nail, a scratched nail, a polished nail, a scratched nail, a dented nail, a scratched nail, a shiny nail, a tarnished nail, a polished nail, a shiny nail, a shiny nail, a dented nail, a corroded nail, a scratched nail, a polished nail, a scratched nail, a corroded nail and a dented nail.
I also saw a polished nail, a corroded nail, a corroded nail, a scratched nail, a corroded nail, a polished nail, a shiny nail, a polished nail, a polished nail, a scratched nail, a polished nail, a scratched nail, a polished nail, a shiny nail, a polished nail, a tarnished nail, a corroded nail, a scratched nail, a scratched nail, a bent nail, a bent nail, a bent nail and a bent nail.
Beneath those nails, I saw a bent nail, a bent nail, a bent nail, a bent nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail, a rusty nail and a rusty nail.
And I saw a white mouse who was sitting, the Mercantylers' Guild overseer, Lord Prata, Martaine, Lord Kaag, Sarynee, Azatoth, Lord Darrean, Lord Tanzra, Lord Metadi, Lord Ranil, Asthalan, Bakrell, Jura, Lady Flaer, Lady Kkar, Lord Segia, Lord Emeraldwand, Lady Arwen and Ambree.
Wise beyond her years, Jura asked, "What if it turns out they really need hammers?" Azatoth laughed! I cackled! Jura winced. Arwen asked, "Esserae, are the buildings still standing in Rivers Rest?"
I curtsied to the Guild overseer and spoke. "This is our offering, overseer. Plus all the ale Aubery leave for your workers."
Prata added, "Overseer...consider these nails an expression of our good will" And Flaer removed a table leg from her stalking cloak and sweetened the pot, adding, "Okay overseer, this a SPECIAL table leg, signed by Vindartin and one of only six. And it ALLLLL yers ififn ye agree."
Prata asked, "Well, Overseer?" Jura said, "He sure is nonchalant about a big pile of nails." Prata said, "Esserae...that's a truly amazing collection of nails." The Guild overseer raised an eyebrow in Arwen's direction. Flaer grinned. I nodded to Prata.
Sarynee dropped a crystal amulet and said, "There, now he can make the trip."
Emeraldwand grabbed the Guild overseer, and moved him away from the crowd to talk with him for a bit. He seemed to be trying to show the overseer something with his hands.
We tried to hear Emeraldwand speak, but his voice was drowned out by the clamor of the workmen's axes. We heard him say, "....and once ya got to Rivers Rest...ale, and we also got some good milk too... guarantee your workers will always have a place to rest, and will be well fed."
An adventurer named Siline arrived, looked around and said, "Wo... whats with the nails?" Siline asked, "What are you guys doing?"
Prata said, "We're trying to bribe the Overseer." Arwen asked, "You trying to influence the overseer?" I clarified the matter, "We're hiring the overseer." Prata backpedaled and said, "Hire...that's what I meant. Did I say bribe? I meant hire."
Prata spoke up, "The nails are merely a token of our esteem." Jura noted, "He's listening, he just doesn't have what he wants yet." Then Flaer called out to the overseer "And I'll even gives ye some catnip fer ye efforts!"
We could hear Emeraldwand continue his case. "Will you listen to me? Have you even been to Rivers Rest? ...No your road isn't more important... Our town needs some fine construction workers. Now here's our terms." The Mercantylers' Guild overseer looked over towards Emeraldwand and nodded.
Prata added, "It's a nice quiet place, River's Rest... no orcs to pester you while you work."
Suddenly, the Mercantylers' Guild overseer collected the nails. All of them! Sarynee's jaw dropped. I shrieked. Prata blinked. Flaer and Sarynee beamed and Jura applauded. Prata asked, "Did you see that?" I looked around.
And all I saw were a white mouse who is sitting, the Mercantylers' Guild overseer, Lord Prata, Martaine, Lord Kaag, Sarynee, Azatoth, Lord Darrean, Lord Tanzra, Lord Metadi, Lord Ranil, Asthalan, Bakrell, Jura, Lady Flaer, Lady Kkar, Lord Segia, Lord Emeraldwand, Lady Arwen and Ambree. There were no nails. The nails were gone.
Emeraldwand said, "Great. So you'll consider it? Once yer done with this here pavilion and all."
The Mercantylers' Guild overseer looked over towards Emeraldwand and nodded. The Mercantylers' Guild overseer said, "I'll consider your request."
Sarynee flung herself against me, bounced off of me, and giggled madly! Prata bowed to the Guild overseer. Suddenly, I burst into tears of delight!
Flaer said, "Thank ye much! Would ye like to set a price? Many RRers have the silver and would no mind pooling it."
Emeraldwand told the overseer, "You drop us a note. We'll provide transportation and everything."
Prata took a raven feathered silk cap off his head, turned towards the Guild overseer and rendered a sharp salute with his feathered silk cap.
The Mercantylers' Guild overseer asked us, "Did I not mention that at the same time we are working on this northern road, we are completing work on a southern passage?"
With this exciting news, the Guild overseer excused himself, noting that he was rather busy. Merrily, we made our way back through the log to River's Rest. Now we await the completion of the southern passage and the arrival of the Mercantylers' Guild overseer and his men to the relaxing town of River's Rest.
And that is The Tale of Esserae and Her Nails.