Legends & Prophecies - Darkmere Wardens
Following story has been compiled from diaries and notes of Faladmir Windhover, the founder and first grandmaster of the Darkmere Wardens.
They never lose faith; they never falter in their courage. This has been said about the Darkmere Wardens, the relentless seekers of knowledge, and finders of carefully veiled secrets. As a small nation of rangers, the Darkmere Wardens have their base on the Isle of Veldain, where the town of Mithras stands. Built densely around the Lanslet Keep, surrounded by a stone wall from all directions, Mithras is truly more a citadel than town. The flag of Mithras has a green rowan leaf on white background.
During the last decades of the First Age, the anoran expeditions ran far and wide. One of the most keen cartographers of the time was Faladmir Windhover. He was not particularly famous or brave, but his thirst to reveal the undiscovered parts of the world paled with none. Having a desire to find out what lied in the southwest beyond the great marshes that even luthani refused to cross, Faladmir prepared for a journey that would change his life forever. Departing Calador, he traveled through the land until he reached the outskirts of the known world, then he pushed forward into the unknown.
Long he roamed; far he traveled. Following the coast of Neverending Ocean, Faladmir mapped each cove and cape, witnessing miracles of nature. With fame gleaming in their eyes, the entire expedition blindly walked behind their leader, knowing that successful conclusion would earn them admiration like no other. Weather turned warmer as they reached the lands that are now known as Dalashar of Narachel. The great emptiness of the region struck them with awe, for no anoran had ever walked these unmarked paths, but Faladmir was not satisfied. He wanted more.
Penetrating into the dark rain forest of Melendar, Faladmir did not know what he was getting himself into. The forest changed from warm and brilliant splendour of sunshine and color into suffocating, hazy labyrinth. Members of his expedition began to show signs of a mysterious illness, causing high fever that eventually led to inevitable death. They all heard it, the call inside their heads, and it was the only thing that kept them going. It forced them to keep going, for they could not resist the sweetness of it lingering in the thick air.
Too sick to realize, or care, that he was the only one left, Faladmir continued to crawl deeper into the grove. He had difficulties to see, but he could have sworn that he noticed movement in the forest, unnatural movement that could not have been an animal of any kind. Spending days crawling and nights shivering on the ground, trying to refresh himself from the small puddles that formed during nightly rains, Faladmir was beginning to understand that his journey was about to end. Letting out a final sigh, he closed his eyes and prepared to die. Merciful darkness took over, allowing him to sink into comfortable sleep.
Cracking his eyes, Faladmir saw a bright sky of stars, felt a gentle wind upon his face and someone sitting next to him, holding his hands firmly. The creature was beautiful to look at with strangely large eyes that reflected moonlight in thousand shades of blues and greens, the same as her skin. Too tired, too sick to be afraid, Faladmir gazed at her face, feeling warmth in his heart and bringing tears to his eyes. So beautiful was the creature to look at that he found himself short of breath, watching her to tend his suffering body. But, as he laid there quietly, he could already feel the strength returning to his limbs. In the corner of his eye, he could see movement around him. Many similar creatures darted around merrily, and with them walked the trees. So many questions, yet all he could do was to fall back asleep, reviving, sweet sleep.
Slowly, Faladmir recovered, and was able to take a better look at the wondrous place he had discovered, or it had discovered him. The woman who had tended him back to health returned and introduced herself as Nizzreth. The name did not tell anything to Faladmir, but when she explained that he was in Melendar, and the lake in the middle of the vale was Dalnaril, or Lake Darkmere, he began to understand, although he found it difficult to believe at first. According to what she told him, Faladmir had discovered the place where Immortal Mariel rekindled the world after Sagriel's deception. It was all described in the Tome of Ages, so he was well familiar with the ancient legend, but he never thought he would have the honor of standing on such sacred ground.
It is not fully known what all Faladmir learned during his stay, but it is, however, very clear that he fell in love with Nizzreth, and the creature, later known as a dryad, shared his feelings. Faladmir's notes become very vague as he goes on to describe the wonders of Melendar, but it is clear that he develops a deep bond with the land and its inhabitants, swearing to protect them with his blood and steel. Touched by the waters of Dalnaril, Faladmir was granted free passage to the sacred grove, and when he left, he and Nizzreth made a commitment to each other that could be compared to that of marriage.
When Faladmir Windhover returned to Calador, he immediately began to seek out like-minded people that would be the first members of the order now known as Darkmere Wardens. The dreadful times of Tempest loomed ahead, but the young order would stand the ultimate test and become one of the most legendary orders among the future nations. Despite the yearning in his heart, it would take a very long time before Faladmir would see the shores of Lake Darkmere again. The Tempest struck, breaking the world, and he worked relentlessly to guide his followers through the complete destruction. At the very high age of 133, he was finally able to head back and reunite with his ageless love. Spending the rest of his time in Melendar, Faladmir died in Nizzreth's loving arms at the age of 134.
Faladmir Windhover was succeeded by Malgred Stormheart as the second grandmaster of the Darkmere Wardens. In the aftermath of Tempest, he brought the surviving members of the order to a safe haven, called Isle of Veldain, and began to build the famous library that would also serve as an accommodation for the wardens. Malgred Stormheart was succeeded by Lanslet Longrover as the third grandmaster of the Darkmere Wardens, and he would complete the citadel we know as Mithras. He also had the Lanslet Keep built as a grand hall for the library, serving as the center of administration.
The Darkmere Wardens continue to serve as gatherers of knowledge under the blessing of Mariel. Their unique relationship with the dryads is truly one of a kind, for only a true warden may visit the sacred grove without losing their sanity and life.