Terror of Nagash
While many Eladrin see the affairs of the world as beneath them (or at the very least, irrelevant), not all share this view. Some believe strongly that the long-lived Eladrin have a certain responsibility to help guide and shape events in the natural world, in the service of the greater good.
The Council of the Golden Hand, formed many thousands of years in the past, hold such a belief. Working in shadow and anonymity, the Council directs its impressive resources towards securing the future of the natural world and, by extension, the Feywild. Ever watchful, the Council finds and capitalizes on opportunities to subtly influence the affairs of the world, securing it against evil. Every action is carefully weighed in an attempt to properly anticipate the likely outcome. The ultimate goal being a methodical, mechanical attempt to achieve the greatest good for the greatest many.
In many cases, nothing more than a subtle injection of gold into a hero’s cause might be in order. In other cases, applying diplomatic pressure and resources to influence a key political outcome may be required. In other, more extreme cases, the assassination of would-be tyrannical leader could the the appropriate course of action.
All for the greater good.
Paelias never really knew who sent him his orders or even how his little roles factored into the greater machinations of the Council, but he didn’t care. His father had served on the council faithfully until his death. This was enough. He, too, would serve, in whatever capacity that entailed.
From very early on in his life, his father had taught him about cause and effect – actions and consequences. “Always seek the greatest good for the greatest many,” he had always said. “but be aware of unforseen effects. Sacrificing one man to save ten might be the right thing to do… but consider what may happen if those those ten are carrying a deadly plague.”
His father, Quaridai, had not just helped shape Paelias’ ideology, but also his physical skills. A capable fighter and cunning diplomat, Quaridai continuously trained Paelias in preparation for service to the Council. Stressing Paelias’ natural tendency towards agility and quickness over strength and braun, Paelias developed into a swift, stealthy operative – a perfect tool for the some of the more covert activities the Council undertook.
If he were to admit it openly, he could not help but be grateful that it was others making the big decisions of the Council; he was more comfortable in his responsibility was carrying out its wishes. The “Hand of the Hand”, as he liked to think of it. Paelias he knew his skills were better applied to field work than ruminating and meditating on the myriad possible outcomes of each action.
Still, in the thirteen months of service that Phaelias has offered the Council so far, the orders he had received had been for mundane tasks. Most, in fact, were nothing more than delivering cryptic messages from strangers to strangers. Once, he had been asked to relieve a merchant of questionable ethics of a medallion that the Council deemed he ought not to have.
Finally, early one morning, he felt a familiar warmth on his left forearm. Looking down, he watched as the elaborate tattoo that extended from the palm of his hand right to his bicep morphed, changing into the spidery language of the Council. He had his orders:
“Travel to Fallcrest in the Nentir vale: Douven Staul, a revered priest of Bahamut, is missing. Discover his whereabouts if he is alive, his fate if he is not. Nobody must know of the Council’s involvement.”
A rush of excitement shot through Paelias as the tatto reverted to its normal state. Finally, a mission of worth and interest. The next morning, he would be on his way to the Nentir Vale.