The Poet-Champion of Vastyr

Author: Chanter Milius
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By Chanter Milius, Priest of Dibella

In 2E 400, the Potentate Savirien-Chorak held months of celebrations to commemorate four centuries of potentate rule. Among the Imperial City's many games and revels was a poetry competition. Lauded poets, many quite famous, came from all over Tamriel to compose for the potentate's court. From Vastyr came a Breton unknown beyond the Systres Archipelago, a common-born shopkeeper named Nynelle Dumaris.

Many were the great epics and soaring odes composed for the potentate's ears. But to the astonishment of all, the unknown commoner from Galen penned the words that stirred Savirien-Chorak's soul. He named Nynelle Dumaris Poet-Champion, and offered her a place in his court. Yet Nynelle declined, saying she loved her home too much to leave it forever. To Vastyr she returned, composing scores of beautiful works during her long life.

Today we know the winning composition of Nynelle Dumaris as the sonnet "Fearless as the Sun," the lament of a woman sighing over her sailor-love. Despite her love for him, she is powerless to keep him from heeding the voice of her rival, the sea. The "seabird's laugh, the bell, the captain's call," as Nynelle memorably described it. The people of Galen say that the great poet composed from bitter experience, having loved a dashing young sea-captain in her youth.

Famous though "Fearless as the Sun" may be, it is not the poem best loved on Galen. That honor belongs to the sonnet "A Lissome Sprite," a joyful paean to their beautiful island. A casual reader might be forgiven for thinking Nynelle writes of a playful nature spirit. However, the poet is subtler than that. The "sprite" is actually her love of the isle, her heartfelt longing to immerse herself in its "sun-drenched glades" and "sacred mists." Recite a line in any taproom of Vastyr, and the tavern-goers will get to their feet and lay a hand upon their heart until you are done.

Nynelle Dumaris lies in a place of honor in the vault of the Cathedral of the Evening, alongside famous knights and great lords. Many in Vastyr say they are the ones honored to rest in her company—not she in theirs.

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