Note: This got kind of longer than planned. For the busy/uninterested, the TL;DR is that Abbot accepts an offer to work for Sehanine more full-time than half-time. It’s the explanation for the paragon path that he’s taking which is Shadow Assassin, re-flavored for Sehanine/Nightcloaks.
Up in his room in the Grey Guard keep, Abbot is, surprisingly, reading a book. It’s called Evard’s Almanac on the Lands of the Fae. It was the least insufferable book he could find on it, since most of the others in Ansalon’s library were written by eladrin with no small chip on their shoulders about their home plane. Several pages of notes lay on the table, as did a motley selection of weapons and a bottle of wine he snagged from the festivities outside. Wasn’t very good, but when you’ve grown up on the crap they have on tap at The Rusty Razor, you learn to swallow first and taste it later.
It’s funny, really. The notes were the only part of his life that he actually kept in a semblance of order. And that was only because his Zaedos, his oldest (possibly only) friend kept egging him on. Twenty years in Sarthel together, and he had never stopped in trying to get Abbot to crack open a book. It was only after he had to flee the city that he had actually followed through on that urging.
Abbot put the book down and rubbed at his eyes. He hadn’t seen Zaedos in months now. He hadn’t even wrote to tell him that he was okay and, oh hey, I’m going to the Feywild on a suicide mission, probably won’t see you again, bye.
…damn it. There was a week before he left. He’d send a letter. Something.
There was a knock at the door. Abbot’s hand half-heartedly went to his dagger before settling down. “Come in.”
The door opened, and Melandra walks in, carrying a small bundle. She looks at the weapons and the book on the table, looks back at Abbot and asks, “Are you free to talk? I was hoping to speak to you about something before you leave. Something that you may find useful in your next travels.”
Abbot raises an eyebrow. “I’d never refuse help in a situation like this. After all, I don’t even know where it is I’m going from here, much less who I’ll have to fight when I get there. But what help can you offer?”
She sits at table, and pours herself some of the wine. She sniffs it, winces the tiniest fraction, and then takes a drink. “You’re going to be fighting something very ancient and very dangerous. And in such a situation you need every edge you can get. And I know our Lady’s mark is upon you.” She holds up a hand to forestall his question. “It’s not very visible. But I have walked in the Lady’s shadows for longer than you’ve been alive. If nothing else, I am quite attuned to her signs and sigils.”
“I see,” responds Abbot, “but how does that affect the help you can give me?”
“Because, I think you have the potential to help bring back an organization that has long been derelict, at least in this world. I want you to help me resurrect the Nightcloaks.”
“Who?” Abbot asks. “I’ve never heard of them. Not that I’m exactly well learned here…”
“They were once one of Sehanine’s orders, alongside the famed Moonbows. They were the blade to the Moonbow’s arrow, skilled at stealth and trickery, and were protectors of those who sought paths free from the chains of fate, as well as silent allies to Sehanine’s fellow pantheon. Not even Corellon, Sehanine’s husband, knows of all the things which her agents have assisted him and his devoted in.”
“But they’re gone.”
“Yes,” said Melandra. “The order began to face higher and higher casualties as other gods and entities began to take notice of their activities. Eventually, it was disbanded since it could no longer hide in the shadows from all the enemies it had made. But Sehanine needs those who strike from the shadows now more than ever, and most of its enemies have long moved on to other battles. That’s why I have come tonight, to ask you to take up the mantle of the Nightcloak, both in service of our Lady, and to protect you in what transpires in the days ahead.”
She places the bundle on the table now, and unwraps it to reveal armor of midnight black, as well as a rapier and a buckler of silvery metal. “I know it’s a lot to thrust upon you, but you have time to consider before you leave. When you’ve reached a decision, please let me know.” She rises to leave, then pauses and adds, “It was so many years ago that we found you about to be killed on that plain. Even if you choose another path from here on out, what you’ve done and the person you’ve grown to be is something you should be proud of. Let no one take that from you, especially just for being drow.”
Abbot doesn’t respond, unsure of what to say. Melandra nods at him, and walks out the door, closing it quietly behind her. He reaches for his book, stops, and looks at the bundle laid out on the table.
He could take up this armor, this… regalia. There would be power, purpose in that. But even for a goddess that values making one’s own path, to do so would be different than the offer he made a year ago. To take up this offer would be to commit to Sehanine’s service. Not forever perhaps, but well beyond the forseeable future.
It was a lot to give up. But there was a lot to gain as well. And if there was ever anyone who he thought worthy of serving, it was the Lady. It was said that there was never an honest deal made in Sarthel, but the Lady had offered in true.
Abbot reaches into his shirt and pulls out the symbol he found back in Sarthel. He could almost swear it was glowing faintly. “You have a deal, Sehanine. For now.” He walks to the window and looks out at the moon. “The Nightcloaks are back, tonight.”