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T O P I C    R E V I E W
AJA Posted - 04 Nov 2018 : 06:57:13

(Or Silverymoon, or Irieabor or Westgate, feel free to change any proper nouns and place names)

Originally posted by OMNISCIENT DM VOICE
As you are shouldering through traffic on the High Road or lifting a jack of zzar in your favorite tavern, you look over and see....

Brief FRA-style blurbs of local Waterdhavians.
Entres are taken from a loose 1E - 3E timeframe.
These NPCs are obviously from my personal Realms; non-canonity abounds! "Published" NPCs that I've altered have their original references noted. Speaking of, I've also included reference notes for various minor official NPCs (published or "Ed Says,") for those who can use more Waterdeep lore but aren't interested in any of my natterings.


Aaletha Emmara Raeena Margaster (CN HF Aris)
A noble of House Margaster. Perennial loser of the "Lady Frost" contest at Mother Tathlorn's Annual Snowbound Festival. "Letha" is well known among Waterdeep's high society for her scathing tongue, loud tantrums and black temper. She fled the city in Eleasias of 1370, eloping with the noble Bragaster Raventree and several stolen family heirlooms, but recently returned (without Bragaster or the missing items).

Abaldar Bambrusk (NE HM Aris2/War4/T2)
The Golden Captain. Patriarch of the Bambrusk merchant clan. The Bambrusks, much like their distant blood relatives the Urmbrusks, are plentiful in the eastern parts of Alaron and Gwynneth. They are allied to House Hawkwinter through the marriage of Lord Eremos Hawkwinter to the lady Kyrin Bambrusk. The Hawkwinters regard them as lesser, "rural" cousins, but admire their skill at fighting and forestry. Abaldar divides his time between Waterdeep and Alaron, and is often found at sea aboard the caravel Gloaming Sails, flagship of his small merchant fleet. He specializes in trading elaborate Moonshaen tapestries and floor carpets for good steel weaponry (swordblades, halberd heads, arrowtips, etc.). It is whispered that much of the Bambrusk fortunes were made through supplying Northmen raiders and Moonshaen highwaymen with weaponry, but such tales are best told outside the hearing of Abaldar or his family members.

Abbast el Ammarkhan (N earth genasiM Bar2/F6)
The Red Colossus, The Unbeatable Abbast. A native of Calimshan. Perhaps the most popular "dare-all" (martialist) at the Field of Triumph. These days he prefers unarmed contests of wrestling and brute strength, but in his prime was one of the greatest bloody-blades in Waterdeep. Owns a masterful suit of gold and red mail gifted by the Lord Baerom Thunderstaff, a highcoin patron.

Abradan Lardahar
A master weaponsmith of Silverymoon. Renowned as the crafter of Athar's Shining Blades, a collection of seven masterwork blades (four longswords, two long daggers and a single broadsword) highly sought-after by collectors. The blades are unenchanted (though they would take one easily), with a natural +1 to hit and damage. Their real value lies in their craftsmanship and in their appeal to collectors. Indeed Lord Hawkwinter, owner of the largest single collection, proudly displays his three Lardahar-blades (Righteous Cleave, Knight's Honor and Solemn Duty) on the wall of his private study. Each weapon is etched with intricate details of the life and legend of Athar the Shining Knight, father of the current Open Lord Piergeiron, and all seven are hilt-wrapped in Abradan's trademark white dragonhide.

The Golden Smile. Festhall downdancer, named for the impressive rows of glittering false teeth lining her mouth. Her originals were lost due to the blows of a brutally sadistic Amnian merchant. In return she took his life, his gaudy gold rings (melted down and re-fashioned into her current opulent dentition) and his vitals, which she also had dipped in gold and wore around her neck for a time until her employers claimed they were making customers ill, and demanded she remove them.


Aaldric Talzon [ Source: "Arcane Lore: Spells of Defense," Owen K.C. Stephens, Dragon Magazine #271. Name/Description given ]
Adama Miiralin (CG HM P5 of Tymora) [ Source: "The Reports From Undermountain," Steven Schend, Dragon Magazine #227, p.15. Name/Description/Stats given ]

30   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
sleyvas Posted - 15 Jul 2024 : 18:12:17
ooo... multiple linked entries... I need to read this when I'm less sleepy, but color me intrigued with the red lion stuff.
AJA Posted - 14 Jul 2024 : 02:26:24

Originally posted by AJA

Ruined Selûnite monastery on the banks of the Jesseleor (the Fairy Dancer of the elves, a rattling, stony, iridescent tributary of the Rauvin) in the northeastern reaches of the Evermoors, near to Red Lion's Harrow (a low-lying area of woody marsh and thick, impassable copses of stunted, twisted trees where Red Lion once roamed, before Red Tiger and his powerful cultists finally cornered him, and severed the sinew from his bones).

The Down, Danthaldara's Down, was originally the private hold of the adventuress Danthaldara, built near to the Star-Top Tor ('where on clear nights the moonlight gathers, and spatters, and dances all along its' pointed crest') and held by her against all enemies. Danthaldara moved on after she considered her daughter Mogarna sufficiently reared, leaving her instead in the care of the supplicant Selûnites that had gathered around her, come to ponder and praise the mysteries of the starlit tor. Those Selûnites then raised the walls higher and expanded the orchard, creating a holy redoubt of the faith and swelling the ranks of their initial dozen with more than a hundred new faithful, each one more starry-eyed and eager than the next.

The moonpriests ably defended their isolated home just as Danthaldara had, against troll and giant and fell moor-beast, until a massed orc attack in 1066 finally overcame the walls and put the monastery, and the orchard, and many of the faithful to the torch. Danthaldaras' collection of Lost Years was destroyed by the invaders, as were the starry walls and moonfish the child Mogarna had painted along the original kitchen and dining hall, burnt and charred beyond recognition. The Year of Untied Robes and The Year of The Inspired Sendak, in particular, were singled out as 'a loss most terrible' by no less an eminence than the lady Alustriel of Silverymoon. The priestess Laeruna Moonstar and her husband Palduran Hunthund were among those slain in the attack. Their child Raelorna, a paladin of the White Order, fought and survived and shepherded many of the others to safety, down the banks of the Jesselor and on across the Rauvin towards the settlement of High Hold.

[ ref: Prayers From The Faithful, p.64, "Danthaldown (a now-vanished Selûnite monastery)"; Silver Marches, p.23, "Another, called Startop due to the way moonlight dances on its distinctive pointed tip on clear nights" ]

Laeruna Moonstar [b.1013/d.1066]
(lay-ROONA) Second child of Valadorn/Sharthaea. Faithful of the Moonmaiden. Acolyte at the Waterdhavian temple for a time before journeying to serve at Danthaldown. Married Palduran Hunthund (HUN-thunnd) [b.?/d.1066] in 1040DR, 2 children – Palduran Talmost and Raelorna. Killed in an orc attack on the monastery.

Raelorna Moonstar [b.1044/d.1076]
(rey-LORN-na) Second child of Laeruna/Palduran. A paladin like her father (the White Order, The Knights of Selûne Argent). Two devoted lovers, Jarlarra (died to wyvern attack), and Aumadros (died in the Amnian Moneytrader's Plague), no children. Passed her holy blade on to the aasimar Nelquaera "Etherial-Born", also of the White Order, upon her mortal wounding in combat during the The Battle of Winter Fields against the Black Boar tribe (The Battle of Deep Drifts, The Battle of Two Day's Snowfall).

Red Lion
Most modern legends, although not those of the Uthgardt, conflate Red Lion and Red Tiger as the same being. It would be more accurate to say that Red Lion was to orc beast-cultists as Red Tiger is to human beast-cultists. Danthaldara seized the land that she built her home on from the orc Lion cultists, which is why they finally returned in force, in 1066, to regain their sacred ground near The Harrow. They had hoped that by restoring their claim to the land and to the Star-Top Tor (The Lion's Sharp-Stone, in their telling; 'ozheg-zheg, ozheg-zheg hiss his talons across the tor, raising sacred sparks far in the night, a challenge unveiled before the stars') Red Lion would return to guide them. Unfortunately for them Red Lion was long dead by that time; lessened by Tauraven and less his fang, then cornered and conquered by Red Tiger, and without his divine aid the orc tribe, greatly weakened in their assault on the monastery, were soon attacked, scattered, and slain in turn by raiding giants.

Even the tumbled stones of Danthaldown are now largely gone, disappeared into the undergrowth or gathered up and thrown at passing trolls by the giants of the moor, in their idle sporting amusements.

Tauraven (re-posted from 09 Apr 2019)
A northern slayer of legend. Said to have been raised in the northern wilds by a pride of crag-cats (from whom he learned his mighty battle roar). A popular subject of high-adventure Waterdhavian chapbooks (Tauraven the Terrible, Tauraven Triumphant, and Tauraven and the Lost City of Orphar, to name a few), in which he is floridly (and near-constantly) described as "mithril-thewed." It is also claimed that he fashioned the legendary Red Coat of Tauraven from the pelt of Red Lion, after he defeated the Uthgardt totem god in single combat.

The Red Coat of Tauraven
A magnificent furred crimson cloak hooded by a bejeweled lions head, said to have been fashioned from the pelt of the beast-god Red Lion by the northern slayer Tauraven. It is not known where exactly the lions head itself came from, as Red Lion was known to have kept his even after his humiliating disrobing.

Tauraven was blunt and direct in all things, and the crafting of his cloak was no different. The Red Coat is indeed magnificent as befit his mighty status as a slayer, but its enchantments turned out to be quite utilitarian; resistance to all wind and weather-related discomforts up to the dedicated divine wrath of a deity such as Auril; concealment from the eyes ears and smell of man and all natural, dire, or were- beasts when the wearer wraps themselves up in it and takes their sleep; and certain fighting, tracking, and endurance enhancements when blood (of the wearer or their opponents) has been spilled in combat. These abilities suited Tauraven quite well, but sages learned in such things almost universally lament what they consider the waste of such a potent item, for such underwhelming returns.

Lionsfang (re-posted from 14 Jan 2023)
In some folk tales, after Red Lion loses his pelt to the slayer Tauraven he retreats to Ithûval to lick his wounds and recuperate. He begs a cauldron of fish stew from the lord's wife, giving her as payment his right foremost fang. This is later forged into the bastard sword called Lionsfang (The Lion's Bite in some older sources), still the prized and most sought-after relic of House Cassalanter, descendants of the lords of Ithûval and greatest proponents of this tale. Needless to say, it is best told away from the hearing of any Uthgardt of the Red Lion tribe.

Milkily translucent, like moonstone. Retains inherent memory of the blood and taste of every species and race ever bested by Red Lion, and hungers and strikes accordingly. Growls and grumbles when stalking or having sampled afresh the blood of such prey, bringing terrors of death and sharply increased fear to those so marked.

A mighty castle located 'somewhere' (tales vary) in the North, on the threshold of the Bracken Wilds, the dense, ferny thickets of emerald and crimson and bronze and deep, shadowy places "where the goblinfolk creep and scuttle", whose many sons and daughters, the collected Lords of Ith, roamed the land and did battle and great deeds, as are told of in bard's songs to this very day.

"Ithûval, Ithûval, where the star-light shone fair" (Of Ith and Uth, and Other Kingdoms of Old, Zeltabbar Iliphar, 1347DR)

House Cassalanter likes to claim descent from the mighty Ith Lords, but this is based largely off of nothing more than their former ownership of the legendary sword Lionsfang and their long years of trying to 'brightshine' their humble origins as fisherfolk and (later) moneylenders, arrived to the city from somewhere far to the south of wherever Ithûval and The Bracken Wilds may have been.


Originally posted by AJA
Mogarna was her child and painted the most vivid paintings

Mogarna was eight when her mother left her in the care of the moon-priests, and fifteen when she decided that she had had enough of temple life and was old enough to seek out her own way in the world. She was certainly her mother's child, in that regard. On her trek across the Evermoors she was captured by some giants and held for cooking at a grand feast when a visiting cloud giant, the honored guest in whose name the feast was being held, caught sight of her passing the time before her roasting by painting otherworldly images upon the walls of her cell. This giant, known to all across the North as the legendary Great Blue Lotos (Ancient of Water and Stone, Gnasher of Mountain and Sky), was so taken with her talents that he granted her freedom, and swore that he would take her anywhere in the Realms she wished to go. Mogarna said to him that she wished to be taken to one who knew to use colors the way that she imagined them in her mind, and so Great Blue Lotos took her upon his dragon mount and delivered her far to the South, to the giant-blooded magician Naulonga of Ormpur (who bore a thin slot upon her neck where her evil eye came to leer, but kept her canvas clean and smooth, and brushed her colors in such enigmatic angles that even the pixies and darkling in their most chaotic moods came to sit and watch in silence as she crafted).

After her tutelage Mogarna travelled to Amn, where she honed her craft and made her name, and many came to learn at her feet, and took to calling themselves the Radiant Mogs. Of this, much has already been written. There are many tomes dedicated to the subject in the libraries of Candlekeep and Calimport and, as such, I will not bother to recap it here.

That, of course, was all a very long time ago. But Mogarna still lives today. She still has her talent, if not her burning passion, and now spends entirely too much time instead in the festhalls of Almraiven, drinking and betting on sarlgo slug-racing.

She still paints, but such things are perfunctory and done only to pay for the most egregious of her outstanding debts, just enough to take the sting out of her tabs for rent and for the bar-bills rung up largely through buying wine for her fellow drunks and gamblers. One day her hands will fail to properly hold a brush and deliver a painting, and then those who have long waited will come to collect from her. The demons, who would avidly watch her work through the evil eye in the thin slit upon the neck of Naulonga, or the resident beholder Crown-of-Mauve, to whom most of her sarlgo-debts belong, to name a few.

But before that happens, she is still available for your adventurers to commission just the most marvelous mural to christen their new digs up on Trollskull Alley. All you need to gain her attention is a breathless tale of adventure and the seed of an inspiration.

A grand inspiration, of course. Probably best to have the bard describe it, if you've got one in your party. An attractive priest of Selûne or Tymora couldn't hurt, either. Oh, and a few potions of longevity, she definitely likes those. And the repayment of a couple of her outstanding sarlgo debts… mostly just the ones that require a bit more than a sum of gold to make good.

In return, you will receive a masterpiece like no one has seen in a generation, if not more. Perhaps Ordoth Towering Above The Clouds, or Ashruth Calling Hawks From The Sky, maybe even Jelaith Giving Life To Sunflowers. It will be the talk of the city for absolute months. No guarantee on which one you will get though, and definitely no take-backsies if a certain vengeful arch-fey should come calling, seeking to rip the colors out of your walls. And also the unworthy eyes out of your skull.

AJA Posted - 07 Jul 2024 : 01:29:29

Stole into the Garden of the Cloud-Shadows where is hidden the Loom Colossal, which once wove the deepest vasts of the midnight sky, and broke the ancient seals on fey Maealda's iridescent horns and filled her pockets full of patches of color, before slipping down the mountainside which ever-after bore hues of red, yellows, and pinks. Arsmund sung of her. Mogarna was her child and painted the most vivid paintings, some of which can still be viewed today in the Glorious Tower of Amn and inspired the Radiant Mogs, the school of muralists that arose in her lifetime and still persists. Fey Maealda still persists as well, and has made it her one remaining dread to recover every drop of not only those colors which were stolen from her, but every tint later inspired from them.

Neirorla, Night-Terror of Shar
She Who Lids The Eye ('for when night makes the eye useless, then come the goblins'). A priestess of Shar currently gaining status (and notice) in the heirarchy. Neirorla travels to towns and villages across the trade-roads of the North under guise of a road-wise tinker – Nebla, sometimes, or Tierla or Annathete. She sets down her blanket in inn or hayloft for a few weeks or so at a time and lids her sorcerous eye, sending out nightmares and near-sleep visions; deaths of loved ones, loss of harvests, financial ruin and other vivid hauntings. From the sweats of these terrors she gathers to her essences of fright and fear, tinctures and toxins of hopelessness and despair.
        She donates such foul materials to her senior Nightseers and trades them to warlocks and lower-planar beings in exchange for sorcerous enchantments, binding favors, and rare abyssal goods. She is said to be guarded by two shadow fiends that she can call forth as it pleases her. These may be her servants or they may be the means by which she trades through the Lower Planes. Believed to be the current favorite to one day replace the existing Nightseer of the Dessarin, Emharthla The Dolorous Mystery, in their office.

Pelphlorn the Great Obscurity, Lord of the Reborn Age of Netheril
One of the first archmages to gain power after The Fall, in the new arcane order under the Risen Mystra. He gathered many of the roving bands and scattered settlements around him and declared a Reborn Age, one where he would seek out the New Ways and raise himself and his followers back into the skies as was their destiny. To prove himself thus he sought counsel from Shashandrae Ruil, The Last Witch of Dreaming Selûne (Netherese Selûne, the Selûne of the Prophecies), and was sent forth on his trials but lost his way to the riddles of the beholder-kin Gomburr and Nalgo (one of whom always lies and one of which always tells the truth). He and his entourage disappeared there into the porphyry desolation under what was once the Nalvron Marsh – the Flailtails Marsh, where both the cattails and the cat-kin once flicked their spikey tails in the lazy summer hazes that no longer lie there. Nalgo sometimes claims he ate the last cattail of the marsh, there at the last dying pool where the waters bled away into the dust; Gomburr says that he ate the last cat-kin, instead.
        Without his guiding vision and arcane might Pelphlorn's 'Reborn Age' quickly withered and vanished like all else in the Anauroch wastes; his successor was his least apprentice, Lord Drelmarr of Great Zurr, who was assassinated three times (his guards weren't very effective, but his resurrectionists certainly were) and then that was the end of that. His name was widely known in Anauria and Asram for a time, but is almost entirely forgotten today. The beholder-kin Gomburr and Nalgo may still remember him, but then again they may claim to not.

A mystic of Mystra and self-professed 'rejecter of waking reality'. "For I have touched the reaches of sleep and dream, awake behind the spaces of future nights". Travelled the Realms, gifting black cats strength and tenacity and transforming iris into butterflies, banded with blue and orange. On the eve of her death she joyously chose to be reborn as a wingless wonder, her only demand of her goddess to be graced with twelve tentacles, instead of nine.

A purveyor to the Watchful Order of Waterdeep, specifically in the fields of artifice and arcane alignments. Specializes in crafting or sourcing obscure oddiments of the trade, geometric instruments like spell mitres and helical amberines, engines of elemental deburring, even the occasional extremely rare replica of Osmelgo's chamfer. It is not known where his workshop is located, but he can be contacted by leaving notice at the Tower of the Order or at the private Turnback Court parlor of the sage Méthos of Neverwinter.

AJA Posted - 04 Jul 2024 : 00:42:11
Originally posted by Azar
"So officious and preoccupied with contracts was he that he earned the name 'Paper Tyrant' behind his back."
"I imagine he was not fond of that appellation."
"No, he was not. Soon enough the mouths that mocked most learned that even paper can cut."

Namarda looked down at the scroll before her.

The contents were odd enough, but the seal at the bottom was one she had not seen before. It was very purple and very pronounced, fashioned like a series of overlapping circles, and it threatened to obscure the entire lower half of the document.

And the contract itself. This was just a standard bond between an outgoing caravan and a financing moneylender. The usual six paragraphs of fiduciary outlay and assumed risks along with seven statements listing all known deferments of cause, monstrous or deific or otherwise, and then three more to line out all gate polls and tax-related obligations from city to city. This was the established format that had been in use for ages, since the caravanserai were united under the Seltaph and The Great Trade Road was born.

So why was it so… officious? It was overwrought and overwritten, the simple standard speech turned as purple as the color of the seal that overlapped it. She had never read anything like it. Of course, she had only been here at the Tower for a short amount of time but she had plenty of training and this was just, well, just…

"Absurd," she said aloud, as she held the scroll up and began to turn in her chair. Absolutely absurd. The Overseer must be made to look at this.

The scrape of her turning chair leg stopped with a startled squeak as her attempt to rise met with sudden, unexpected resistance. Namarda flinched with the suddenness of it and jerked around to see what had obstructed her.

A short, squat man stood behind her, his arms clasped behind his back and his sandaled foot wedged up against the leg of her chair. A pleasant, practiced smile dominated the lower half of his face, while just above his eyes were hidden behind a rather large pair of spectacles.

He wore the carefully pleated robes of the Underwriters.

The Underwriters were employed on the Floor below, and by rule were almost never seen among the Reviewers. Namarda wondered what he was doing here, and for one startled moment wondered if it were she herself who had somehow ended up on the wrong Floor.

"Excuse me," the man said, as he leaned down quite close over her and adjusted the overlapping lenses of his glasses. From where she sat they looked very round, and very purple. His smile had not changed in the slightest, but to Namarda it had somehow grown very wide and quite predatory.

"Is there an issue here?"

Azar Posted - 02 Jul 2024 : 01:55:26
"So officious and preoccupied with contracts was he that he earned the name 'Paper Tyrant' behind his back."
"I imagine he was not fond of that appellation."
"No, he was not. Soon enough the mouths that mocked most learned that even paper can cut."
sleyvas Posted - 26 Jun 2024 : 13:42:01
Originally posted by AJA

Originally posted by sleyvas
Love Steldra. Part of me wants to have her secretly having a "ghost writer" who is helping her (as in like a weaveghost who relays stories to her). But then the other part of me thinks that cheapens her. BTW love Tym Waterdeep Limited.

Thanks. I have a House Moonstar lineage that I pick up every so often to tinker with, and so Steldra recently ended up as a part of that. Yes, I would think having a 'ghost-writer' would lessen her character. But it is a fun concept that could easily work for another.

Or what if Murder, She Wrote, but instead of just Angela Lansbury you had a human writer and a weaveghost detective? Or is that too similar to your Jillian Doncastle and her animated sai?

Tym Waterdeep Limited is a Brian Thomsen(?) creation, seen in the Realms Of Magic anthology among others. The head honcho is a halfling named...'Justin Tym'. I am not a fan, but it is what it is.

Yeah, that would be dead on too close to my Jillian and Lorey Hisstory. I was also playing with the idea of her actually uncovering a spellbook that was possessed by the spirit of its own (i.e. the Mage), but again that would be too close to my Sleyvas. Still, I love the character.... and actually having her interacting with my own NPC's would be damned fun now that you mention it. Especially given that Jillian is a mage-priestess of Deneir and a weaveghost, and Steldra went to work in the House of Knowledge, it fits quite easily.

I could see it where Sleyvas might speak to her of spell battles and what he or his opponents did, and then she adapts that into stories about a character with an entirely different personality.

Another idea using this premise... what I've been playing with is that over the past century, Jillian, Lorey, and Sleyvas have been performing missions on both Abeir and Toril in service to the gods of magic. It might be interesting if they were relaying stories of the the people of Toril in Abeir interacting with avatars of lost gods (as in people hosting the godly spirits). What do I mean by that?

A Magician Most Splendid;

A Magician In Disbelief; - the magician (a metahel "rune magician") has to interact against the machinations of mortal avatars serving as hosts for Leira and Savras

The Magician and The Daughter of Dawn; - the magician (a metahel "rune magician") has to aid the mortal avatar serving as host for the metahel god Faerthandir (which the novel gives numerous links to Lathander)

The Magician and The Sons of The Sea; - the magician (a metahel "rune magician") has to aid two metahel whalers sharing a birthday (one adopted) and whose mothers died in childbirth during "the time of blue fire". They were both raised by the elder brother of one of the two, who was a half-Poscadari elf. This elder brother is captured by an invading dragon and its dragonborn soldiers and taken away. The "Sons of the Sea" and "the Magician" must go on a sea voyage across "the boiling sea" (a place of freak storms and whirlpools) to a strange new continent called Shyr to rescue their elder brother. A defining moment comes when the magician discovers that the two "Sons of the Sea" and herself can all trace their bloodline back to the same grandfather, a man who had briefly appeared in each of their tribes during the time of troubles. She begins to wonder if their grandfather was really an avatar of Thoros, Lord of Thunder and Lightning.

The Magician Continues; - after crossing the "boiling sea" with some aid from a powerful "spirit"/"goddess"/"primordial" of the sea named Yaernsacsa, the party lands on the continent of Shyr. Meanwhile, the elder brother escapes from the dragon realms to the realm of Carngor and begins raising an army to help him return home. Ultimately the two groups meet up as the dragon lord that originally invaded catches up to the elder brother and wants to retrieve something he stole. The magician finally makes contact with the goddess Thoordra Thorosdottir, goddess of runes, and with her aid she creates a rune which entraps the dragon to remain in one location.

A Magician Every So Often; - Finding her magic still periodically failing, the magician is told that she must help the gods "anchor magic to make it stable". She meets a weaveghost who claims to have been a mage-priestess of Deneir, a foreign god of runes and symbol magic, and her animated sai, Lorey Hisstory. They go on missions to find powerful divine artifacts.

A Magician Turns Towards Sunset - The magician decides to leave Anchorome and discover more about the world by following the sun as it sets over the horizon. She and a group of metahel sailors set sail and follow the coast south to lands known as Maztica, Lopango, and Katashaka.
AJA Posted - 25 Jun 2024 : 22:09:54
Originally posted by sleyvas
Love Steldra. Part of me wants to have her secretly having a "ghost writer" who is helping her (as in like a weaveghost who relays stories to her). But then the other part of me thinks that cheapens her. BTW love Tym Waterdeep Limited.

Thanks. I have a House Moonstar lineage that I pick up every so often to tinker with, and so Steldra recently ended up as a part of that. Yes, I would think having a 'ghost-writer' would lessen her character. But it is a fun concept that could easily work for another.

Or what if Murder, She Wrote, but instead of just Angela Lansbury you had a human writer and a weaveghost detective? Or is that too similar to your Jillian Doncastle and her animated sai?

Tym Waterdeep Limited is a Brian Thomsen(?) creation, seen in the Realms Of Magic anthology among others. The head honcho is a halfling named...'Justin Tym'. I am not a fan, but it is what it is.

sleyvas Posted - 24 Jun 2024 : 18:20:39
Love Steldra. Part of me wants to have her secretly having a "ghost writer" who is helping her (as in like a weaveghost who relays stories to her). But then the other part of me thinks that cheapens her. BTW love Tym Waterdeep Limited.
AJA Posted - 23 Jun 2024 : 01:22:10

Playwright and head of a local troupe in her native Baldur's Gate in the early 1200s. In 1231DR she was acting lead in the play The Briskbroom of Doom when she was possessed by the vengeful spirit of Bernethel Briskbroom herself, the crazed fishmonger whose various offenses against Man and the gods were once committed in the buildings just next door. The revenant went on quite the rampage before being forcibly unembodied by armsmen of The Flaming Fist. Dulnatha along with her, unfortunately. This incident, of course, is the reason why city ordinances to this day state that no play of true historical or supernatural significance shall be performed within less than six city streets (not counting alleyways, loading lanes or oubliettes) from their inciting location. And also why the play The Briskbroom of Doom hasn't been performed anywhere in the city since. Can't be too careful, you see.

Hlashra of Teziir
Wrote The Conqueror (1247DR, a history of the strategies and politics of the Calishite Qysar Shoon V) and Rulers of Kings (1251DR, a political treatise about how Workers-of-Art inevitably rise to the power behind the throne). Not a spellcaster herself, but definitely held them in great regard. Died in 1259DR, thrown overboard and drowned when the ship she was aboard was attacked in Tazaiir Harbor during a pirate attack. This was doubly unfortunate as she had in her possession at the time the only known copy of Marcammar's Ode To The Spell-Wode, a treatise of the later Netherese Shadowed Age which discussed not only their increasing tortures and twistings of what would afterwards come to be understood as The Weave, but was also the first to examine the great societal pressures– and greater lengths – the arcanists of those later Ages went through to not only create but also differentiate their own "unique, bespoke" spells from a dozen or more already known and named (and also the real-time common desire to find an elder spell to unfavorably compare these new creations to, and to reduce them instead to a quick, preferably pithy, smallname).
        Marcammar's Ode was known to hold a sampling of such spells, including the only extant (spellbook worthy) copies of Baebert's Great Gathering Of Diamond Fire (Baebert's Brilliant Ball), Daztreiya's Forced Gazing Into Unthinkable Depths (Daztreiya's Defenstration), Rigelorn's Great Swarm of Gleaming Points (Rigelorn's Pincushion), and Endelmiira's Inconceivable In The Blackness Before Us (Endelmiira's Summon Grue IV). Mystrans everywhere wept.

Marcammar did as well (well technically he didn't, as he's been a lich for a long while now and they aren't really capable of such things. But he would have if he could). The good news is, you still might be able to get those spells from him if you ask nicely. The...lets say, unfortunate, news'd probably have to ask his master, Larloch, first.

Nordro Teltammar
Author of Far Away To Leeward, a first-hand account as the only survivor of the whale-ship Upright Undreld. In 1317DR, Nordro found himself violently stranded upon the bleak, frozen harbor of Scant-Bread, far from the proper shipping lanes to Ironmaster, where his eyes were constantly drawn to the 'horrid, wicked brightness of the devil-realms to the north' (apparently both his name for, and his reaction to, the northern lights), and his mind constantly assaulted by the twin horrors of the frozen depths and the ever-burning horizon, magnified by delirium and starvation. He was eventually succored by the Ruathymaar ice-wender ship Star-Thistle in 1321DR; he scratched the final passages in his fevered manuscript upon his return to Neverwinter, and expired not long thereafter.
        The priests summoned to his squalid quarters after his death were unable to detect any foul play (including any whiff of brimstone or scorch-mark upon the furniture), but they did huddle and take note of the deep and reddened finger-marks clawed criss-cross into the smoke-stained plaster of the ceiling (the freshest, and most frantic of which, were dug in deep enough to come near to driving through the ceiling-boards – perhaps one last desperate attempt to gain sight of that horrid, wicked brightness, of the devil-realms to the north).

Native of Trades Ward. A washer-woman's daughter, born and raised into the trade. She quickly outshined her mother in matters of writing and numbers for the business, and so gained the eye of Brymb of Berdusk, a local 'small-spells' mage-for-hire and amateur philosopher (and frequent sight in the tankard houses of Trades Ward, where he was known to hold court on a wide variety of topics). Brymb took her under his wing as an apprentice, and introduced her to the professional mysteries of both writing and witticism.
        From there she grew to be the prolific author of the wildly popular Magician series of chapbooks (A Magician Most Splendid; A Magician In Disbelief; The Magician and The Daughter of Dawn; The Magician and The Sons of The Sea; The Magician Continues; A Magician Every So Often; A Magician Turns Towards Sunset, all published under the printing auspices of Tym Waterdeep Limited). Her final offering was meant to put a capstone on the series, but it was later revived without her involvement by her former publishers and a new-hired scribe in an effort to sell more copy. The Magician Adventures Again! was the result, but reviews and readership were both less than kind, and so thankfully put an abrupt end to any further exploitations.
        Steldra also contributed a number of other fantasticals to various broadsheets of the city, but none caught the imagination of the reader as did The Magician (and so goes the fortunes of a chap-writer). Facing lesser returns and lesser payments she eventually retired from writing and spent time as a lay-person at the House of Knowledge, performing menial acts and attending to the master scribes of the Scriptorum there, before being hired on as a tutor and minder for the children of House Moonstar (her employment was championed by the lady Talmeira, a great fan of her writing and sister of Lord Helve), a position she still occupies to the current day.
        The Lady Talmeira also offered a hefty sum of gold (more than Steldra had made in total from the entirety of her chap-book career) for the penning of two brand-new adventures of The Magician. Steldra, having no real desire to revisit such things but also being no fool, quickly wrote out The Magician Comes to House Moonstar and The Magician In The Dragon's Den. Both manuscripts are now ensconced in the library of the House, and only those privileged enough to have been invited into the parlor of the Lady Talmeira have heard her readings from such rare works.
        Steldra, for her part, finds great satisfaction in the minding of her young charges and enjoys the fawnings of Lady Talmeira. Several other nobles have made secretive overtures to hire her away, but she knows they are not true fans of her writings and only seek the social one-upmanship such an act would provide, and as so has turned down their offers. She instead delights in alerting her Lady to such schemings, and in watching the subtle, yet devastating, social responses that follow.

Cormyrean playwright, wrote the popular comedic plays Highsun, Your Highness, A Knight So Brave, Sune In Spring-Time, and Tell Me, Hast Thou? A notorious philanderer and lech who not only seduced various noble and wealthy women, but often cozened them out of a number of their valuables. Was caught by Lord Blacksilver inappropriately engaged with his young daughter at a royal ball, dragged down to Lake Azoun, and had a boat anchor tied round her neck. Lord Blacksilver placed his daughter's undergarments in one hand and his daughter's necklace, earrings and other valuables in the other, and told Tolaranda she could choose one to take with her. Tales vary on which handful Tolaranda chose. Audiences at her plays still throw either undergarments or cheap costume jewelry on stage as the actors gather for a final bow, in memory of this.

AJA Posted - 10 Jun 2024 : 01:23:49

Halaror, The Hawk of The North
It has been said that the Tale of Halaror is long, but not particularly merry. The one humans call The Hawk of The North was a half-elf, born to elves in the High Forest. He was taught of sword and bow and magic by the elves, and he could walk between stripes of sunlight and shadow under the trees and so traverse great distances in the forest. But he was also cursed by a vengeful spirit of Aryvandaar of old and so there was always around him the smell of autumn and the scent of dying leaves, which to the elves was the sign of the Lord of Rot, so he left the forest and the elves and then did great deeds among men, who called him The Hawk and The Lord of Uktar.
        In the Year of the Worm Halaror travelled to Dragonspear Castle, and he joined in the war against the devils there. He fought in the bloody battle at the River Redbanks but when the fighting ended he was gone, vanished and presumed dead or drowned in the river. Only his blade Nembras, long and straight and thin, was found, entangled in the marsh grass with the corpses of fallen men and devils. It is unknown who wields it now.
        But Halaror had not died there at the river. Instead he had fallen in through the whispers and tannins of the Redbanks, far away to The Witch-Hazel Water – the Elrendeskath of elder elven singing, where Rillifane and Amorlil first learned of the subornations of sorcery, or The Greenlil, where Tapann fished nearby on one leg, in the deep pools for perch and sunfish.
        Once there Halaror thought to challenge the water goblins of the Alder Swamp far below, to force his return to Faerûn proper, but due to his curse they believed that he was one of them and so he was allowed to travel the verges freely. But beyond the Alder Swamp and under The Witch-Hazel Water lair the Dark Fey of the Shadowlands, and they knew of his curse because they cast them of old, and it is in their clutches that his end finally came. Tapann knows this because he fished up his bones.
        So if you should ever find yourself lost into The Witch-Hazel Water, before you challenge the riddles of the great and marbled primordial Malaurel or brave the water goblins of the Alder Swamp far below, be sure to ask the fern-fellows and the Speckled Folk of Halaror, The Hawk of The North. They will tell you of his tale.

Sandy-brown hair and trimmed beard, warm brown eyes. A simple-song (novice bard) recently graduated from the college of New Olamn. Orlynnd is obsessed with Jade, the star dancing attraction of the eponymously-named Jade Dancer festhall in South Ward. He has convinced himself that the dancer is a real person, cursed by foul enchantment to dance and perform for her owner. As such, he has taken regular employment at the festhall and looks for any opportunity for even the briefest conversation with his obsession, or any sighting of whoever or whatever it is that controls her. If he spots a suitable company of adventurers among the crowd he may approach them, and try to enlist their services with wild tales of foul spell slavery and true, passionate romance.

Reskanther Orn
Proprietor of Orn's Interesting Ensorcellments, a small back-alley shop on Robin's Way, South Ward (sign of The Left Hand and The Upright Wand); formerly on the site of Two Fat Wizards, a failed potents-and-potables (alcoholic and alchemical drinks) establishment. The Ensorcellments stocks a variety of ingredients and components useful for spellcasting and alchemy – always reasonably fresh and potent, but varied by season and chance availability. They also carry an array of vital essences and tonics (mostly those dedicated to 'Preserving, Strengthening, Beautifying, or Restoring the HAIR and WHISKERS or MOUSTACHES', as well as coloring or preventing them turning grey, but also a number that alleviate limb-ache and tired feet and trail-blindness, and other Traveller's Woes), and in one large corner of the tiny shop stands a well-regarded tinkering operation for mending everyday pot and pan and other kitchen implement. This latter business is headed by Orn's two gnomish 'employees', the sisters Elrisk and Endrevva, and is the true source of the shop's regular income.
        Orn himself is a short, thick-set man, so short and thick he could be mistaken for a dwarf. He has a youthful face that is scrunched down towards his chin, leaving an unnaturally large expanse of forehead towering above a pair of bright, inquisitive eyes and a well-groomed moustache. Elrisk and Endrevva are small and wrinkled, and quite sharp and sarcastic. They were here when the Two Fat Wizards were and, honestly, they liked the drinks then better than the tonics now. They have, however, learned to keep their snickers to themselves when Orn goes on his grandiose sales-pitch about HAIR and WHISKERS and MOUSTACHES.

The White Coursers of Valkur
Softslow and Windwails, or Olorus and Èndakra. At one time the human scouts of Valkur the Wave-Wander, who vanguarded him on his Twelfth Voyage and were then transformed therein. They often turn up in the legends and fey-fancies of both Valkur and Selûne, sent to aid a hero in need or present instead for their own mischief. It is often said that if one were to happen across them at random one might be able to engage the services of these strange white coursers, but when not directed by a deity their aims are their own, and seemingly decided at random.
        In appearance the White Coursers are something not at all human, yet not equine either; they have long sleek, hairless bodies, heads elongated and horse-like, with prominent eyes and teeth and great trailing manes. Great sharp-ridged ribcages, flowing, curling, glossy tails, and great tufts of hair about their lower front and rear legs concealing not hoofs but stubby, prehensile, almost-human appendages.
        The Coursers can run over great distances and never tire and, as their lower extremities never touch the ground unless they wish, they can run over swamp or chasm or the steepest mountain without issue, even across endless leagues of open sea. The pair do have intelligence, and can use their throat and broad, flexible tongue to speak in a thick slurred speech, enough for the most basic conversation, but usually prefer to express themselves in loud whinnying laugh of agreement or mockery. When pressed they can also produce a mighty roar, where their gaunt ribcages expand to great dimensions and the curling hair of their tails suddenly stands stiff and straight. The sound that comes forth then is enough to terrify most any man or animal before them, and greatly damages those creatures not born of this world.
        It should be noted that, although they are far off in form and function, there have been occasional attempts by the churches of both Selûne and Valkur to claim Olorus and Èndakra as the progenitors of the asperii, the magical equine-like wind steeds. Several other faiths, notably that of Aerdrie Faenya, most strongly dispute this, as do most sages and naturalists learned in such things.

"Day after day they sailed past beautiful stars and planets, until one morning they came to a very large cluster of star islands, which were populated with herds of shaggy snow-white cows. And foremost among them was a great circular island, made entirely of glowing rock and breathless ice. Here then was finally The Island of the Moon, where the Goddess Herself sat and weaved and hummed in the crystal-cold darkness, and of such weavings are not only starlight and snowfall formed, but also dreams and ambitions of all manner.
        Olorus and Èndakra, advanced beyond the others and heedless of the warnings of Valkur then moved forth at once, and both spoke aloud their steadfast desire to tame the goddess and to make of her their wife. Selûne did not pause in her weavings or her humming but did briefly unlid half an eye and affect the slightest curl of a lip, even as three of the fingers of her busy left hand waved in what could be described as a most challenging manner."
(excepted from A Re-Reading of The Twelfth Voyage of Valkur Wave-Sailor, Translated From the Original Illuskan, Julstyyr of Asdurel, 1150DR)

The Worthy Stones
A group of travelling dwarven stonemasons and war-time sappers. Led by Darg Larukar, a dwarf formerly of the Adbarran legions (dark amber-toned skin. Furrowed brow, deep-set brown eyes and white-streaked brown beard bound into three neat braids. Garrulous for a dwarf, truly loves the arts of both building up things and tumbling them down).
        The Stones are said to have recently taken their tools and their donkeys and their turquoise-and-orange wagons and travelled to the ruins of Old Summer (a former hunting lodge of the Deepwinter family of Waterdeep, in the foothills ringing the western High Moor) under the employ of the Company of the Flaming Glow-Worm, the adventurers who recently cleared and claimed the dilapidated buildings, and who now seem intent on using them as a base to launch further expeditions into the Moor (in addition, the leader of the company, the Illuskan warrior Torzald – who insists that everyone address him as "Orcsbane" – wants to have the name "Orcsbane's Den" prominently engraved over the vaulted main entrance of the compound, but there seems to be some great disagreement on that latter point).

sleyvas Posted - 03 Jun 2024 : 14:12:17
Originally posted by AJA

Originally posted by Azar
"'Willy the Sharp' as we called him at the pub. Handy with a blade, but his tongue will cut you long before you enter arm's length.", remarked the eldest fellow - Jedreck - while lifting the tankard to his lips.

Gerab raised an impressed eyebrow; he figured that was the extent of expression he ought to risk sharing while in the company of men who chuckled about such matters. A knowing nod and a light smile from Radmus across the table confirmed that he had made the right play.

He was quite the cutting linguist. The girls at the festhall couldn't help but whet themselves.

Sorry, that was a sleyvas-level joke. I feel bad now.

<a book appears floating in the air, flapping its pages like a mouth>

By Deneir, I feel tongue lashed! Thankfully I no longer have ears, or they might bleed.
AJA Posted - 31 May 2024 : 23:27:28
Originally posted by Azar
"'Willy the Sharp' as we called him at the pub. Handy with a blade, but his tongue will cut you long before you enter arm's length.", remarked the eldest fellow - Jedreck - while lifting the tankard to his lips.

Gerab raised an impressed eyebrow; he figured that was the extent of expression he ought to risk sharing while in the company of men who chuckled about such matters. A knowing nod and a light smile from Radmus across the table confirmed that he had made the right play.

He was quite the cutting linguist. The girls at the festhall couldn't help but whet themselves.

Sorry, that was a sleyvas-level joke. I feel bad now.

Azar Posted - 31 May 2024 : 01:35:21
"'Willy the Sharp' as we called him at the pub. Handy with a blade, but his tongue will cut you long before you enter arm's length.", remarked the eldest fellow - Jedreck - while lifting the tankard to his lips.

Gerab raised an impressed eyebrow; he figured that was the extent of expression he ought to risk sharing while in the company of men who chuckled about such matters. A knowing nod and a light smile from Radmus across the table confirmed that he had made the right play.
AJA Posted - 26 May 2024 : 00:31:32

Felrarra Moonstar
A noble of House Moonstar (only daughter of Thassil Moonstar). Enrolled at the Eltorchul Academy. Twenty-seven years of age. Ten years in tutelage, and swiftly coming to the end of her apprenticeship. Works carefully and diligently in all her tasks and studies, but so far shows no signs of originality or new ways of thinking in the Art. Will probably never create a spell that bears her name, but can still have a long and comfortable career transcribing the works of others. Prefers robes of alternating patterns of diagonal sea-blue and sea-green waves, and corset and boots of dark green leather.

A half-elven student at the Eltorchul Academy. Narrow eyes, narrow nose. Wild blue-black eyebrows, short-cropped blue-black hair. Skin pallid as fish-belly, with heavy bluish tints at cheekbones, back-of-neck and shoulders, belly button, elbows and knees. Five years in tutelage. Still has difficulties working within the schools of Abjuration and Necromancy. Her instructors at the Academy believe these are temporary issues that will resolve themselves once her knowledge has matured, although there is occasional talk of assigning her specifically to a Master of Transmutation, to focus her studies. Most often found in loose blouse and long skirt of wavy orange (her favorite color) fabric gathered by a broad leather girdle, and abundant jewelry fashioned of large pieces of warm amber and dangles of cold skydrop.

Rosamund ('Rosie') Saltsheath
A halfling student at the Eltorchul Academy. Her family resides among the coastal salt works of Firedrake Bay near to Port Kir, in Tethyr, where they have long dug and kept the great shallow brine-fields there ('salt-sheaths' being the common Hin name for salters and curers of dried meats, either through dry-curing with salt or seasoned with spices and cured in brine) and trade to the merchants of the Port, who then pack and sell salted or brined fish and shellfish. The salting business has been good enough to allow her family to send her to Waterdeep to study at the Academy (this was her choice; her family would have greatly preferred her to find tutelage closer to home – perhaps with Pelhalond of Velen, or at The House of Shape and Shadow, the conjurer's school recently opened near Darromar – but Rosamund had her heart set on the delights of the City of Splendors), where she has now been three years in training. In those three years she has proven surprisingly accomplished in the finer details of her verbal and somatic components. The latter is quite rare in Hin casters, whose shortened digits often struggle to reproduce finger motions designed by the larger human and elven races. Perhaps too detailed though, which often causes her casting times to lag behind those of her fellow students. Her other troubling issue is her infatuation with the social life of the city. She has been reprimanded a number of times by her teachers for arriving late (or worse, disheveled) to her studies. Ash-grey eyes, elfin ears; wavy, almost frizzy chestnut-brown hair. Prefers to douse herself in scents of spruce and pine and juniper.

Rorsrun the Horse-Hound
A specialized trade factor for Lord Thentivil Tarm, dealing solely in the search for, and acquisition of, Phalorm Painted Horses. Lord Thentivil has the second-most regarded collection of such devices in the region, behind only the nobleman Harolond Agundar (coincidentally his main social rival, a situation which angers him to no end). As a result, Lord Tarm has authorized Rorsrun to utilize any means necessary in his pursuit of such pieces, including opening the purse of House Tarm to pay handsomely for any adventuring company able to bring such prizes* out of the wilds.

* in the time of Delimbyran before the Kingdom of Man, during the reigns of Darnoth I and Darnoth II, the highcoin fashion was for ornate paintings – not of stuffy old lords and ladies, bland pastoral scenes or overwrought images of religious glory, no – their craze was tributes to prized racing steeds and famed war stallions, framed most regally on tor or by stream-side, or in proud profile before war-tent, posed just so to show off their best qualities. Of course, the vast majority of such Painted Horses have been lost to the inevitabilities of time and the cruelties of war and weather, which makes discovering a new canvas quite a big deal to those few who make collecting such things their fancy

Medium height, athletic build. Dark hair shorn close on the left side and braided on the right. Wild brown eyes. A swordswoman who haunts the taverns of Dock Ward, especially the Yawning Portal, looking for a group of adventurers that suits her needs. She seeks to hire them for a delve into the Undermountain to gain vengeance upon the one she calls Bitter Floom, who she swears was the doom of her previous fellowship. She is evasive on details, save that they must descend to the Third Level, and she insists that in their preparations they bring plenty of heads of garlic and a large catch-net, threaded through with little razor-sharp silver hooks that she crafted herself. She offers to pay well, whether in loose gemstones or silver tradebars held in reserve at the Tower of Fortune. If encountered at the Yawning Portal Durnan can vouch for her skills, if not her intentions. It is also known among local delvers that she was indeed part of a company that often descended into the Underhalls, and that the last time they did so she came back, only a tenday or two ago, bloodied and alone.
        Those rare few who might be familiar with the works of the chapbook scribe Renowned Naursk (his name self-given, and often mocked accordingly) may recognize the name 'Bitter Floom' as a somewhat implausible vampiric flumph necromancer, the bane of several of his two-fisted dungeon-delving heroes (as we said, mocked accordingly). Bringing this to the attention of Tarntarra will not deter her in the slightest; she is deadly earnest in this endeavor, and any methods of arcane truth-telling or divine detection of falsehoods will reveal her as such. Whether this is due to her actual experience or her actual delusions remains unknown; it would seem the only way to find out is to accompany her into the depths.

"Illusionists that follow the darker paths can turn your entire lived experience inside-out in the most horrifying ways. There is indeed something down there in the depths, but you'd do well to prepare yourself for a spellcaster that can make you lose count of your fingers right in front of your face, rather than anything involving ridiculous notions of some 'vampiric flumph'."
(Durnan, if he's asked for his opinion – and he likes you or your companions well enough to give an answer)

AJA Posted - 03 May 2024 : 01:40:50
Originally posted by sleyvas
Like this.. haven't read the rest yet... but wanted to make sure I'm reading this correctly. So, previously he was an "owl" form and now he's one of Tempus's horses? Which I totally get and can happen when we're talking divine thing, just want to make sure that's where you were going.... and not that Tempus' horse basically stole his role.

What was Dóskul is now Deiros, yes.

Looking at it with your question in mind I can see where it would be unclear; I made a few changes so hopefully it reads better.

sleyvas Posted - 01 May 2024 : 23:43:25
Originally posted by AJA

Dσskul "The White Watcher," or "The Herald of The High Pillars"
One of the minor powers and potent "place-spirits" of The Thelϋnndae, the ancient Uluthuin (Ice Hunter) pantheon – the scattered survivors of the great and on-going collapsing of Faerϋnian Pantheons which has long-since claimed the most major of their number. Once The Great White Owl, who visited the aftermath of battlefield and slaughter and gently shepherded deceased souls to the afterlife of The Opalescent Unknown; now humbled and punished, and caused to fly no more as Deiros, defeat, one of the two warhorses of Tempus, whose mighty crested mane is manifested of sharp sword-blades, and whose armored flanks strike the earth like the clang of mace on shield; whose nostrils flare wide and run red and viscous with the spilled blood of a thousand thousand battlefields.
        Dσskul remains the ancient, fervid foe of the fiend known as Naulanjar – Keralaskra, "The Feaster-on-Flesh" – the hopping, eyeless crow who plotted and carried out the White Watcher's defeated demotion, and thereafter gloated of the deed when it stood proud upon the left shoulder, and whispered lies into, the ear of The War-God That Was. It is foretold that there will one day come a reckoning between the two but until then the former White Watcher bides their time, even as the sharp sword-blades of their charging crest strike the suffering and regret from the newly slain, and the clang of their armored flanks announces the faithful battlefield fallen with honor, upon their arrival into the Halls of the Wargod.

Like this.. haven't read the rest yet... but wanted to make sure I'm reading this correctly. So, previously he was an "owl" form and now he's one of Tempus's horses? Which I totally get and can happen when we're talking divine thing, just want to make sure that's where you were going.... and not that Tempus' horse basically stole his role.
AJA Posted - 28 Apr 2024 : 01:04:18

Dóskul "The White Watcher," or "The Herald of The High Pillars"
One of the minor powers and potent "place-spirits" of The Thelûnndae, the ancient Uluthuin (Ice Hunter) pantheon – the scattered survivors of the great and on-going collapsing of Faerûnian Pantheons which has long-since claimed the most major of their number. Dσskul was once The Great White Owl, who visited the aftermath of battlefield and slaughter and gently shepherded deceased souls to the afterlife of The Opalescent Unknown; he is now humbled and punished, and caused to fly no more as Deiros, defeat, one of the two warhorses of Tempus, whose mighty crested mane is manifested of sharp sword-blades, and whose armored flanks strike the earth like the clang of mace on shield; whose nostrils flare wide and run red and viscous with the spilled blood of a thousand thousand battlefields.
        Dóskul remains the ancient, fervid foe of the fiend known as Naulanjar – Keralaskra, "The Feaster-on-Flesh" – the hopping, eyeless crow who plotted and carried out the White Watcher's defeated demotion, and thereafter gloated of the deed when it stood proud upon the left shoulder, and whispered lies into, the ear of The War-God That Was. It is foretold that there will one day come a reckoning between the two but until then the former White Watcher bides his time, even as the sharp sword-blades of his charging crest strike the suffering and regret from the newly slain, and the clang of his armored flanks announces the faithful battlefield fallen with honor, upon their arrival into the Halls of the Wargod.

Jondorf "Jondo" Gallowleaf
Hin proprietor of Golden Gallowleaf, a halfling pipeweed-and-sundries shop recently opened along the Hin-dominated stretch of Snail Street (east-front, south of The Street of Curtains, Dock Ward. Sign of the upright Golden Leaf, curled bottommost to the dexter, and hung from a single Knotted Gallow. The shop also boasts a quite heavy brass hin-pipe as a front door-pull). 'First choice of lords and ladies across Faerûn! A heavenly leaf, fragrant enough to robe even Sune's splendid flanks! Without a doubt, the finest pipe-leaf outside the Purple Hills! Look for the Gallowleaf seal on every pouch!'
        Carries many of the popular local and import leafs and blends (earlyspring, shadowsteep, brightgleam, warmadays, foxfae, bluebeauty, among others) but also specializes, of course, in golden gallowleaf, brought direct from his clan holdings in the Purple Hills of Tethyr. Golden Gallowleaf the shop also carries an entire array of 'Brightwater' scents ('bottled straight from the Celestial waters of Sune'), meant to be added to bath or chamberpot (sweet-lime and something called 'elvish lilac' are currently in fashion!), the craftings of which he entrusts entirely to the three Amuilae (am-WHEEL-ae) sisters of Amphail, who do most wondrous things with regional flower tinctures and local horse effluence – though, admittedly, the kinds of things that Jondo's avid shoppers might rather not be informed of.
        Jondorf is a new-ish member of the Belts, a 'secret society' of halfling and gnomish sages, moneylenders, and local merchants (and, increasingly, young roustabouts led by the young Hin rogue Halvas "Halfhand"). While he does quite enjoy the silly pomp and circumstance of the society and values the mercantile connections he has since made, his heart does stir from the impassioned speeches of the young Halfhand, of grand desires to to reclaim the ancient Hin realm of Meiritin or to place one of their own number among the Lords of the city, and he has since pledged his support and finances to their cause.

A native of Turmish, a metal-working artisan who chose to travel the trade-roads westward to learn from the masters of his craft. In the end those travels took him to Waterdeep, where he now works as a gilt-wender (a craftsman who devotes his talents to imitations of true gold – imitations made quite convincingly of alloys of copper and zinc and other, more toxic reagents, used to ornament furniture, moldings, various other architectural details, and even jewelry – all of which are in high demand among the lower class of merchantry who wish to puff up their social status, and even noble families in financial disarray, who have sold off all of their real wealth but are still desperate to claw their way back into relevance via any means necessary).
        Regardless of client, the artistry of a true gilt-caster ranks high among the masters of any other craftsman and is worthy of acclaim, even more so given the dangerous substances they use in the pursuit of their craft (some pray to Gond, some to Tymora, a few even to Ilmater or Grumbar or Finder; their works may benefit more one way or the other, but in the end their tragedy is the same, regardless). Ormalyu himself sees to Kynshab* but also favors Lathander, as the dawn of every day inspires him anew; and also Talos, in that the great destructive properties he works with bring turbulent feelings and physical debilitations, but also masterful, wonderous aftermaths.

* a legendary Turmish place-spirit which shares a name with a mountain in the Orsraun range – the latter also known in Common as The Goldmist, 'where the rivers and the forests alike are enflamed with the vibrant hues of the setting sun'. Kynshab was a fabled giant smith who forged many enchanted blades and shields and bracelets for the heroes of Turmish, and from which the sparks of his hammerings lit up the forests, and illuminated the mountain streams which were used to quench his forgings ('until the very mountain itself glowed as golden').
        Kynshab once forged a sword for the hero Tolagar which was then used to slay Orrenkan of the Red Fangs, a favored stalker of Malar, and in response the Beastlord took out Kynshab's right eye, in order that he might never see properly to forge such a weapon again; and so Knyshab's right eye remains blind and bandaged to this day, but he continues to forge swords – only now his weapons are made to be balanced exclusively for left-handed wielders, as that is all his remaining eye can see – swords for such corrie-fisted heroes as Beyldae Steeltresses and Olbantur Roaringbeard, both of whom are said to have climbed the Goldmist and sought aid from the maimed place-spirit lurking in legend upon its glowing flanks

The Society of Stone-Tongues
An obscure fellowship of sages and specialized lore-hounds dealing in ancient history and ancient stone, whose motto and self-descriptor is an equally-obscure melding of giantish and rock-gnome, with just a bit of galeb-duhr thrown in; astraros, muil ruis onarrd, sar ruel, gohruel, tinla toranja ibnurrg tael, arsh ruel sotaghra ('those eternal, who sit long and listen long, and endure the many elements and their own needs, and forget the world entire, until the whole of the stone becomes their present and past, revealed'). It is actually quite pithy in two of its original tongues, but loses a great deal in the translation – as do many of the members' successful conversations with the varying stone and rock-formations of Faerûn, a known issue with any humanoid sitting and starving oneself in the wilds for lengthy periods of time, regardless of their resolve or mystic technique.
        The larger academic community considers them cranks and crackpots, weirdbeards who fly off the handle at the mere mention of arcane conveniences such as stone tell or speak with stone (seriously, don't mention stone tell or speak with stone around them). Despite this, the Stone-Tongues have indeed proved occasionally effective at sussing out the ancient memories and eternals truths that only the various rock formations of Faerûn now remain to have witnessed, in their long eternal watch.
        There are currently two branches of the Stone-Tongues, one each in Waterdeep and Silverymoon. They both agree that much of their knowledge was descended from the great Gnurrg Grimdrinker, who was said to have sat, and suffered, and learned at the feet of the cruel Nomrauth, Giant King of the Mighty Hills (in 'The Time That Wishes To Be Forgotten', that Elder Age after the giants had been bested by the dragons and driven from many of their rightful realms). Nomrauth is still known to the gnomes as Niskelmaur, The Great Granite, and was once commonly discussed by the Netherese in their ancient texts as Jilkandro, The Abstract and Algebraic*.
        Notable members (Waterdhavian branch only): Annagawl the Blue, Dammarthan Whisp-White ('Weird Eye of Dugmaren'), Hobbramus "Stone Hobb" Hackleberry, Orltambar "Old Troll"

* Gnurrg, of course, later famously accompanied The Black Harpist Ilithember on his epic quest to restore the dimmed star Orobeda to the heavens, and in doing so took up arms against his former master, in the place that was called the Gelbredosk Moruin – once a location of importance to the elder giantfolk, now largely forgotten today and known only to humans as the Asandor (ancient Talfir ascan 'valley', dulir 'stone'), a rugged stone vale lying between the ringing, wind-scoured hills of Baldhead, Big Boulder and Cleanshorn**, of the western Fields of the Dead

** there was also once the Selûnite monastery of Silvery-the-Spire perched high on the shoulder of Cleanshorn, which was said to boast a 'Holy Eye' to the heavens above – specifically devoted to those truths to be percieved there, beneath the skin of the moon. The faithful of the Spires focused their devotions and their Eye upon the luminous being of Celestial Selûne, and it is said that this unwavering zeal did indeed reveal great knowledge; but also that their observances were, in time, answered in kind by terrible fiends bubbling up from whatever truths the 'Eye' managed to perceive from the placid surface of the bright, naked orb overhead.
        Whatever caused its demise, the stones (and scattered bones) of the remnants of Silvery-the-Spires still perch, ruined and silent, on the high shoulder of Cleanshorn today. It seems that none but a few select elder Moonpriests know the full truth of the fall of the monastery, and from where their dooms truly came from, and that all of them have instead sworn a sacred oath to never, ever, speak of such things.
        As a final note, the Stone-Tongue Arbelt once sat among those fallen stones and attuned himself, and attempted a conversation. He was later found some distance down the valley, screaming and incoherent, by the ranger Bitterbreath. He lives, of sorts, today in the care of the healers of Solemn Silver (the Selûnite asylum and refuge in Berdusk), but he also does not speak – with the stones or with anyone else

Telmar Tarunsar
A successful adventurer in Waterdeep and environs in the early 1350s. Over the course of his decade-long career as a fighting-man the tendons and joints of his left shield-arm and right knee received significant enough damage (not only from the stress of repeated combat and hard falls, but also from wight and gelatinous cube and various necromantic energies) to suffer beyond the affordable ministrations of temple cleric and back-alley hands-healer alike, which lead to an early retirement – still, a better fate than many suffered by the average delver, whose endings are most often impaled upon a spike-pit, burned alive in arcane flame, or slain and eaten by the monstrous dwellers of the depths. Before retiring he did manage to loot a number of valuable chalcedony statuettes and paraphernalia* from some cultist chapel in the Undermountain, which he later sold and then used the profits from to invest into a Mariner's Guild-brokered scheme that netted him quite a sum, most of which he banked with the House of Beauty, to be used later to fund the education of his young daughter, in a manner of her eventual choosing.**
        After his adventuring days came to an end Telmar tried for a late apprenticeship at the Cellarers' and Plumbers' Guild, but the dangers of the sewers did not rise to even his lessened expectations, and he quickly grew bored and gravitated back to the haunts of his youth. He now works most eves at the Yawning Portal, as either chamber-ward or door-guard (indoor/outdoor bouncer), in order to still feel the thrill of an armed and dangerous gathering, and to live vicariously through the delvings, successful or otherwise, of those youths with more spirit than sense.
        In the meantime, woe to the fancy-blade come to peacock at the Portal who would disregard Telmar's stature and earned glare, and only see his greyed hair or lamed leg – the latter of which has never been fully healed (despite the efforts of interested parties including his own mother Esdora, who still runs a healing-and-herbalist shop on Carter's Way; and his former companion Isenna of Ilmater, with whom he adventured and loved deeply, but who now serves her faith far from Waterdeep, in the war-torn lands of Tethyr), but with which he has learned to adjust, and regain much of his old movement, and test his mettle – there is a reason that Durnan keeps him employed.
        Indeed, despite his voluntary 'retirement' Telmar remains restless, and – as he comes to realize that his injuries are not quite so career-ending*** – still might be available as henchman to a fellowship that catches his favor (and whose hire-spiel preys upon his love of the depths, but also meets the acknowledged approval of both his daughter and his pipe), and in such a situation he can still be an asset. He is not as fast (MV9) or as strong (STR12) as he once was but his swordarm still strikes true, and he remains a quite-capable company cook (+1 to morale checks for any henchman or hireling who have recently eaten his meals), and his knowledge of dungeon depths and accompanied terrors is still quite formidable (bonus to surprise checks or secret door rolls while in dungeon locations).

* and also a masterful pipe of luminous white-and-green ivory of unknown origin, boasting an overlarge bowl carved halfway between snake and wyrm, with serpentine hinged jaws and slitted eyes aimed true upwards, which sends forth the most intricate smoke-shadows at minimal – or no – effort on the part of the smoker. The pipe speaks to him as he idly puffs, although it often chats in a most peculiar manner, in lovely poems of meter unknown.
        Telmar has no idea of some of the things it speaks, oddities such as the lovelies of dark wendings, or the soft ministrations of Cedilla, but greatly enjoys the jests and riddles that it engages in. So he sits and listens and puffs, especially in fits of depression, as the rhymes and comforts of the enchanted smoke-hook worm their way ever deeper into his mind. He has named the pipe Chogol, or Thinking-Smoke (perhaps an unconscious nod to the Illuskan chargal, or 'unnatural flame')

** that latter would be the young Mistreldrae, who is physically weak, spindly and frail; quiet and given to disregarding the attentions and conversations of others, and instead absorbs herself in reading all the latest 'buckleswash' novels and singing the most awful love-lorn ballads (and none of those attitudes and inclinations should be considered surprising, given that her father would rather spend his time engaged in the company of armed strangers over the attentions of his own daughter). She has also shown an affection for numbers and a possible mind for spellcasting; all Telmar can do is hope that in time she outgrows her rough edges, and pray that in the meanwhile she does not fall under the shadow of either the Dark Gods, or the Dark Art.
        Misteldrae's mother was Elskra, a seamstress and dressmaker and childhood lover of Telmar. Elskra knew that Telmar loved her as well, in a way, but she also knew of his infidelities with his companion Isenna and so she chose to separate herself from him in front of the Lords, and also to give over custody of their child in the (correct) assumption that his adventuring career would yield more gold than her dressmaking. For some time after that Elskra went on with her life and regretted giving over the child she bore, and then instead of regret chose to devote herself to her craft and to the folk around her.
        She rented a single attic room in Dock Ward and became quite familiar with the other residents of her tallhouse, and so her life passed until she found herself squaring off against three sea-devils during The Night of Bloody Waves, in defense of two young siblings from the floor below her. And she was slain, and the children as well, and sometimes in Faerûn that is just the way the dice fall upon The Table Where Tyche's Daughters Laugh. She is now interred in the City of the Dead in the Commoner's Crypts, her cremated remains bound in a purple ribbon and a tiny aquamarine gemstone, a posthumous honorific given to those ordinary citizens who gave their lives for their fellow Waterdhavians during the Battle of Waterdeep Harbor.
        Telmar does not visit the crypts. There is not only Elskra interred there, but also a number of other men and women he once loved and called friend and companion. He did ensure that his daughter knew of her mother's resting place and encouraged her to visit, but is of the belief that Mistledrae never did. In fact, she visits often, in solitude and in secret. She believes that she shares a bond with the spirit of the mother she never really knew, and ascribes many of the exaggerated attributes of the chapbook heroines she reads to her and imagines that, as they visit, they talk, and bond, and sing together.
        Note that she isn't correct in this but, still…. something does talk and sing, and respond to her there; at least in the times when no other visitors or members of the Guild of Chandlers and Lamplighters are lingering nearby.

*** if one were to ask Telmar's pipe Chogol to give its' opinion on that particular matter, it might very well choose to smoke forth and curl quite vigorously about Telmar's right leg. His suddenly-strengthened right leg. It would be quite obvious. But then, Telmar probably wouldn't notice. Or care. In fact, probably neither would you….

AJA Posted - 09 Mar 2024 : 03:06:22

Something Similar, But Said By a Magician! Edition

"Take for instance a sentence such as: 'She and I were born about the same time, and used to live at Brighton.' You may anticipate a story when you hear those words, but you cannot be thrilled by the anticipation. Now take something similar, but said by a magician, Edgar Allan Poe: 'I was a child and she was a child, In a kingdom by the sea.' There you have a spell at once, or at least the beginning of one, one is half enchanted already, one's spirit is prepared already for a far journey, and a very far journey: those simple words call to it far from here, for a kingdom by the sea is far on the way to fairyland."
        Lord Dunsany, The Donellan Lectures, 1943


"Oh! This reminds me of the time old Morelwhiskers summoned a Tuskrel Demon, which came out of the summoning circle and turned half-around and, though still supposedly under compulsion, stepped forth from his enspelled bounds and, with a flourish, grabbed one of his eight sharpened tusks and waggled it in the observed Tuskrel fashion of greetings. He then explained quite clearly that he was travelling forth solely for pleasure, and would hate to be obligated and doomed to inaction. And with that he turned half-round again and leapt a most mighty leap, from the chamber through the opened door, and we never laid eyes upon him again.

I did hear tell some months later that there was a Tuskrel Demon passing his time in the festhalls of Riatavin, and I immediately sent my wife forthwith to invite him to return and spend an evening with us, if it would amuse him, but when she arrived he had already departed, and so he never came to tea with us, although we did again hear afterwards that he had become quite a regular delight among the dancing floors of the cities of the grand Lake of Steam.

As for old Morelwhiskers, well, he has since been removed from the confines of the Summoning chambers. He does receive a periodical missive from his demon, apparently exclaiming great delight in its travels and dancing; and let it be said that the response to these exchanges of letters makes the old man seem frightfully jealous and prone to rage but, otherwise, there seems to be no great harm to have come from any of that."

        Bermiskrel Fish-Hand, War Wizard of Cormyr, Third-Born Heir of House Longbrooke and Accomplished Mage-Graduate of the Seven-Starred Towers
        As I Practiced My Art: or, A Reminiscence
        Year of the Shameful Plea, 1121DR

"It was a lovely night, and Selûne shone brightly and her moonlight brought vision to all things possible and imagined. Nelemdrae was kneeling at the edge of the lake, and in the moonlight reflected in the calm waters she saw as always the birch trees of her youth, and the far star Astandelora glowing brightly through their boughs. The words that Astandelora had come forth and spoken to her two nights ago echoed again, loudly in her head.

'A bird does not swim upon the water fearing what lies beneath it. A bird swims upon the water because it knows that is where it is meant to be. The simplest of deeds are also the most extraordinary, in ways that only the most faithful can see. You still have a fear of what lies beneath, a fear of what lies beyond. Perhaps, instead of fear, choose instead to hear the bird and listen to the extraordinary things it has to say.'

In that moment, a weird cry echoed across the lake. Nelemdrae raised her eyes to see a great, strange bird come swimming upon the water. It had a long blue neck and a white breast, and upon its back was constellations of colorful stars swirling on a shining black sky. The bird swam over the lake so fast that it left a great wake behind it, and then suddenly it dived and was gone. Nelemdrae blinked twice and the words echoed loudly again, 'perhaps, instead of fear, choose instead to hear the bird and listen to the extraordinary things it has to say.'

Then the bird suddenly surfaced before her, impossibly big before the shore, and the stars upon its back grew to encompass the entire heavens overhead, and Nelemdrae knew that she was staring face to face with the goddess herself."

        excerpted from 'Nelemdrae, Who Came To Know Herself'
        Songs Sung Softly to Selûne,
        Feyfancies and Wonder-Tales of The Faith
        Aruen of Mistledale
        Year of the Knight, 1140DR

"Their lusts – for gold, for blood, for wander
Took them all, down where men never see the Sun"

        excerpted from 'The Devils Under The Mountain'
        Ulskendra Fair-Hair
        first printed in the broadsheet Treasure Type V (Berrothea Forgequench, publisher)
        Year of the Banner, 1368DR

"I knew where we were well enough, and did not like the knowledge.

The faint markings on the walls were svirf-runes, at some not-too recent point defiled and scarred over by the grasping spider-font of the drow. What we had presumed was the gnome-halls of Grelnorrd were now given over to the dark elves, and to say that our formerly-reasonable delving had become quite precipitous was to understate. My companions, of course, did not entirely percieve how dreadful a position we were now in.

'Are these symbols so bad as that?' asked Norelnee, the first to register my ill-disguised reaction.

'Just so bad,' I replied."

        Hulemhorn the Ever-Eager
        In Darkness Deep and Black
        Year of the Cold Soul, 1281DR

"It was twilight, and the children soon tired as the stars overhead whirled faster than they could keep up.

The first snow of the new year continued to fall softly, and the vivid glow of the celebratory pyre lit up the encircling faces of the gathered in stark relief. The wizened shaman Efthror reluctantly turned his eyes from the snaps and sparks rising from the pyre and speaking, each one, with the fervid, eager voice of the ancestors of the tribe, and adjusted his view to the looming ring of dark pines beyond, now waving and writhing within strange elfin shadows.

A moment, and then a wolf's howl pierced the enchanted eaves of the forest, the sign of the beast-god he had been awaiting. In ancient response, the wizened Speaker of The Hunt drew breath and gave out his full-throated answer, powerful and direct, to the encroachments of the ringing pines.

The holy call from beyond the darkened eaves echoed forth once again, now unmistakeable in meaning, this time tremendous and hungered. The shaman smiled eagerly, and his eyes grew bright. Through the blazing iridescent flames before him he now perceived, among the encircling young-folk of the tribe, the lupine grins of no less than a dozen – no, more! of blooded and faithful warriors.

Efthror could barely contain himself from hopping, foot to foot, around the fire. The gathered would not know it just yet, but this was going to be a good year, indeed, for the Tribe of the Gray Wolf."

        Leliindra the Long-Tressed, 'The Grey-Worn'; wultheskra, 'In The Shadows'
        formerly of, and exiled from, The Lady's College of Silverymoon,
        My Time And My Transformations Among The Grey Wolf
        Year of the Shield, 1367DR

AJA Posted - 10 Feb 2024 : 07:34:44

Arbane Irauviir
Half-elven author of The Intermittent Elf, An Indescribable Bitterness, and To The Half-Born – musings on, and explorations of, the gulfs between races and between pantheons that he and his fellow "Mortals of Faerie" occupy, and the peculiar struggles and solitudes that come from such. His writings still find purchase not only among half-elves, but also a great number of humans and elves considering engaging in such a union and, perhaps surprisingly, a number of half-orcs who suffer from a similar disconnect in their lives.
        Arbane (no, not that Arbane – no relation, though he is named after one of the two of prominence) split his formative years between the forest of Cormanthor, in the old elven wayhome (now little more than a fastness) of Waevenwode, and in the fields of Deepingdale, in the farm-steading of Featherfalling – and, in his adulthood, experienced the ultimate in both culture shock and inherent human biases, when he settled himself in the Sembian metropolis of Selgaunt. All of these things greatly influenced and guided his writings – and amplified his internal turmoil – but still did not stop him from offering his sword-arm to the defense of Selgaunt, when the rapacious and vengeful wyrm Haraunglaur "Old Bitter Woe" came attacking, during the Dragonflight of 1356DR.
        His surviving daughter Ilveldrae still lives, and keeps shop in the Northmarket of the city of Saerloon. She is married to the human wood-winder Sorlbrin and has four children, three of whom look – and present – perfectly fine as human, to the noble and wealthy of Sembia. The fourth is a dreamer, and rambles on in a childish way of faerie and of reverie, and manages to cause her no amount of trouble and social embarrassment with her peers.

"Averloon of the Sea's Farthest Reach." A warrior of some myth and legend in the coastal human habitations of The North. Said to be a prince of The Evershores, a fabled and fabulous island paradise out beyond the Sea of Swords. Driven to sea (and then, to Waterdeep), when his home city was enveloped and dragged into the ocean depths by the rapacious tentacles of a colossal sea-kraken.
        Sages interested in such things believe that the fantastic tales of Averloon have some basis in the deeds of Averren* Redblade, an Illuskan privateer who escaped the fall of Uthtower some centuries ago. If true, then Averren's sword and loyal companion (the legendary 'sunblade of Averloon' and Waveswise, an ebony dolphin figurine of wondrous power) are still waiting to be found, most likely where Averloon is said to have made his final stand, and met his doom, beset by sahuagin off the northern coast of Mintarn ("Of his bones are coral made, down where sea-devils keep his grave").

* Averloon (Ever-Wander[er]) in modern Northern Common, from the Middle Moonshaen, versus Averren (Sea-Sworn; or, Born-To-The-Sea) from Old Illuskan

Daskra "The Vast Bird of The Sunrise"
One of the minor powers and potent "place-spirits" of The Thelûnndae, the ancient Uluthuin (Ice Hunter) pantheon – the scattered survivors of the great and on-going collapsing of Faer#251;nian Pantheons which has long-since claimed the most major of their number. Formerly the deific embodiment of Ice Hunter relief and release over the annual triumph of The Long Dawn over The Long Night, now only one of a varied collection of Lathander's servitor-heralds of dawn and sunrise – this one of which Lliira has long coveted and tried to claim, due to their personal remit being the joy and bright colors and pent-up emotional release of the first true sunrise after the interminable Northern Night.
        Daskra also once held sway over those clear and colorful gemstones which shone just so in the firelight – said to be frost, burned-bright by heavenly radiance, and to possess various powers locked within, and thus reserved only to the highest ranks of shamans and warriors (in reality, those rich or accomplished enough to trade for the cut stones with arctic dwarves or odd southern merchants), but this part of the legend has faded away almost entirely from the Realms, even among the last of the few remaining faithful.
        The Vast Bird of The Sunrise, perhaps due to their radiant feathers mimicking the full spectrum of the sunrise and being edged in the most molten of golds, has also in recent times come to be conflated with Selûnite legends of the great gold wyrm Malstavryth, 'Midwinter's Silent Overseer' – one of the three mythic pullers of Selûne's celestial sleigh, 'o'er whose moonlit skies flies blithe and bright' (pulled in trio with the great white wyrm Aerargeld 'Glimmer White-Wing', and the great silver wyrm Alshandlaera 'She Whose Scales Shimmer Through the Night'). Selûne herself does not officially encourage these appropriations, but neither does she officially disavow them. It is said that Lathander remains unamused at this, but still encourages the use of Daskra as a messenger between their houses, perhaps in eternal hope that the Dawnlord might come ever closer to the Moonmaiden.

The Enigmatic Company of Companionable Enchanters
Adventuring company of note in The North. Did have a pair of wizardly enchanters, and a bard who fancied herself as enchanteuse for….other reasons. First achieved prominence upon defeating The Riot of Horns, that fiendish cacaphony, noisy and obscene, a heresy of Milil, which had descended upon and occupied the Dessarin hamlet of Orson's Green. After that, they entered into the halls of bardic fame by slaying The Bedizened (a sorcerous menace claiming to be a fallen lantern archon of Celestia, rather than a relatively mundane spellshade – the remains of a former mage of the Arcane Brotherhood, filled with irradiant menance and delusions of grandeur) and The Medusa of Tyrant Eyes (an abomination whose malevolent locks did not end in stone-hissing snakes, but instead in the bright and terrible orbs of the beholder, powered with all of its' attendant horrors).
        Unfortunately, following on those triumphs, it is said that the Company – the enchanters and the enchanteuse, and the fighter and the priest of Azuth, and all of their half-dozen henchmen – foolishly disappeared into the ensnared eaves of The Spider Plaints (notable for both its' resident phase spider population, and for the numerous remnants of the planar degeneracies of centuries of Netherese experimentation), and have not been seen of, or heard from since.
        It is unlikely that they would have fallen prey to the ethercap, alert as they were, and as so were most likely lured in and set adrift, unwittingly, unmoored further and further, into a linked, chained constellation of mage-horrors and nightmare realms of an elder age – the poisoned sorceries of Wretched Dolorous (formerly The Tulip Skylines), Dimmerloom (The Sotanghon Fields), and Scour-Sky (The Eglantine Weaves) – all formerly bright, if idiosyncratic, other-places manifested by the archmages of Lost Netheril; a series of pocket-planes unmoored and abandoned after their Fall, and terribly fouled in the centuries since by the creeping influences of the fiendish Lower Planes and the maddened Far Realms.
        Most importantly, if anyone should have definitive proof of their fate, the House of Wonder in Waterdeep would be quite interested in hearing of it, as they have a clone of the enchanter Belthraun waiting to be awakened, and the daughter of the fighter Ronsil has been promised a very powerful set of shield and glove, entrusted to their care, to be delivered upon either her sixteenth summer or her sire's demise, and the priest of Azuth left a considerable sum of gems and tradebars to be given over to the House immediately, upon news of her passing.

Dark-skinned, dark-haired. Strong chin, high cheekbones. Arresting, flashing, emerald-green eyes. Slim, sinuous, broad-shouldered. Daughter of a Turmish father and a drow mother met, and later bonded, in a grove sacred to Eilistraee (Iridescent Deep, a hidden forest dell just mid-point on Hoar Head – the most prominent sea-ward bluff jutting off the cliffs ringing the western Trollbark Forest – a local landmark for ships hugging the coast, and source of a large number of overwrought tales of love and betrayal and vengeance, 'as certified by the god Hoar' – in truth, named for the large carpets of Semmer's Veil, the little, pale, white trailing vine-flowers that resemble nothing so much as morning hoar-frost, everpresent on the sward and broken cliff-side beyond).
        Mastered the lyre-harp as a youth, played in a hire-band called The Faint Elfins, travelled the tradeways of the Western Heartlands in search of employment. In 1362DR her troupe was beset by leucrotta out of the Rat Hills, and the few survivors barely managed to flee to the safety of the Southgate of the City of Splendors.
        She now earns coin trading on the novelty of her racial heritage, by working as a barmaid at both The Yawning Portal and The Crawling Spider. Saves her coppers to buy full, unsponsored membership in the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers (in contrast to her success as a tavern-wench she has so far found no one willing to sponsor her, regardless of her evident talents, due to her obvious drow blood) and studiously practices both her spell-song (quite middling, and likely to remain as such without the attentions of a master) and her bladework (deft and deliberate), in hopes of joining an adventuring company set to delve the Undermountain – both for fame and gold, but also for a chance to meet with the rumored good drow of the depths, where she is certain that she would be greeted as a kinded spirit.

sleyvas Posted - 08 Jan 2024 : 18:24:34
Originally posted by AJA

Originally posted by sleyvas
and the "King of the Calicos" (given that most calicos are female cats)...

Indeed! and, as such, his title was always given in mockery and jest; at least, until his eighth life*, that dismal day when the foulest Netherese enclave of Usklurrendurr's Domain** (The Red House of Targus, The Dread That Drives Mothers To Hold Their Children Closer to Their Breast, the floating essence of The Lord of Slaughter***) suddenly reincorporated out of the unprecedented storm-clouds over the Lands of Gulth and the Lands of the Coast, as hungered and as rapacious as the tales of old.

It was there that Tommobus proved that he was worthy to command the prides of Nobanion, and it was there that Tymora came to recognize him personally, and then all of The Calico, and all those of the foo and other pawed and furred inhabitants of The Beastlands who had long mocked him fell in a line and knelt also in his honor; and as so Tommobus, the messenger and the mischief between the Houses of Nobanion and Tymora, truly became King of the Calicos.

....and yet, despite that, poor Tommobus still remained such a great and devastating disappointment to his mother, Fiaufuh the Insoucient, Mistress of the Unclaimed Laps, The Golden Mouser of Waukeen – to whom he was always awfully lacking, and who never failed to scold him loudly at all family gatherings for such unforgivable sins as not being more of a success like 'that great and Gygaxian' Cat Lord, or for not doing his family duty and commiting to court 'that lovely girl from a good family', Bastet!

….and Oh! if you are wondering about what became of the Queen of the Calicos, her foul disappearance, and the mystery of why her dominant title remains open and unclaimed, well, of such things are the tales of Tommobus' tenth life made, now is not the time to tell of them….

* recognizing, as always, that neither time nor temporal presence means much to either cats or elves – especially in regards to the events of Tommobus' infamous third and sixth lives

** a towering, irregular, weeping crimson, crenelated and turreted and spearpointed mass that was The Roar of Triumph (see ***, below)

*** "from which the thunder of hoofbeats could be heard always advancing, from far away"; and, "from which before it, continually fled a long desperate procession of Low Folk, driven from their humble homes by the news of the imminent terror overhead" (referenced from Bwel Bandor's The Savage Songs of The Reaver and The Jelisquerium of Juljellisq the Reddend, respectively)

A shaven pated monk of the Monastery of the Yellow Rose appears as though from the shadows

Ah, yes, Tommobus of the Many Martyrings... it is said that once he led a great many Foo Lions to aid St. Sollars before his own first Martyring, and from him was learned the fighting style known now as the "The Calculated Contrivance of the Chaotically Colored Cats". This is a story much favored by younglings who come to our shrine to be trained.
AJA Posted - 05 Jan 2024 : 23:57:52
Originally posted by sleyvas
and the "King of the Calicos" (given that most calicos are female cats)...

Indeed! and, as such, his title was always given in mockery and jest; at least, until his eighth life*, that dismal day when the foulest Netherese enclave of Usklurrendurr's Domain** (The Red House of Targus, The Dread That Drives Mothers To Hold Their Children Closer to Their Breast, the floating essence of The Lord of Slaughter***) suddenly reincorporated out of the unprecedented storm-clouds over the Lands of Gulth and the Lands of the Coast, as hungered and as rapacious as the tales of old.

It was there that Tommobus proved that he was worthy to command the prides of Nobanion, and it was there that Tymora came to recognize him personally, and then all of The Calico, and all those of the foo and other pawed and furred inhabitants of The Beastlands who had long mocked him fell in a line and knelt also in his honor; and as so Tommobus, the messenger and the mischief between the Houses of Nobanion and Tymora, truly became King of the Calicos.

....and yet, despite that, poor Tommobus still remained such a great and devastating disappointment to his mother, Fiaufuh the Insoucient, Mistress of the Unclaimed Laps, The Golden Mouser of Waukeen – to whom he was always awfully lacking, and who never failed to scold him loudly at all family gatherings for such unforgivable sins as not being more of a success like 'that great and Gygaxian' Cat Lord, or for not doing his family duty and commiting to court 'that lovely girl from a good family', Bastet!

….and Oh! if you are wondering about what became of the Queen of the Calicos, her foul disappearance, and the mystery of why her dominant title remains open and unclaimed, well, of such things are the tales of Tommobus' tenth life made, now is not the time to tell of them….

* recognizing, as always, that neither time nor temporal presence means much to either cats or elves – especially in regards to the events of Tommobus' infamous third and sixth lives

** a towering, irregular, weeping crimson, crenelated and turreted and spearpointed mass that was The Roar of Triumph (see ***, below)

*** "from which the thunder of hoofbeats could be heard always advancing, from far away"; and, "from which before it, continually fled a long desperate procession of Low Folk, driven from their humble homes by the news of the imminent terror overhead" (referenced from Bwel Bandor's The Savage Songs of The Reaver and The Jelisquerium of Juljellisq the Reddend, respectively)

sleyvas Posted - 02 Jan 2024 : 19:19:22
Lol, I need to come back and reread the above when I have more time.... but I love the "unamused muses of Beshaba" and the "King of the Calicos" (given that most calicos are female cats)... I'm betting you have more easter eggs buried in that.
AJA Posted - 31 Dec 2023 : 02:26:32

Gelldra the Spring-Dancer
A dryad of myth, Favored of Chauntea*. It is said that Gelldra was once abducted by the kobolds of Kurtulmak, who wished her for his bride, but she was saved by the rival urds of Kuraulyek, who were so enrapt by her graceful dancing that they then gifted her a glittering pair of wings. So now, when Gelldra dances, her wings can lift her up out of reach of vengeful kobolds (and other assailants) and keep her safe.
        Of course, now while she dances those beating, gittering wings also serve to sweep the heavy snows off of the first green shoots of Chauntea, clearing the way for Nurrenneld, the Wonderful Awakening of the goddess (the first spring thaws). Among the first growths to come forth then are the hardy shoots of the iruvel (honest purples, crocus) – a particular delicacy of the urd and a minor deific boon from Chauntea, to those who succored one of her favored servants.

* "No mere dryad but a druas, a nymph greater than dryad or hamadryad, who was granted life past that of her tree and bound instead to the higher tasks of a nature deity. The druas (both singular/plural) of Chauntea are few these days, and date to an age when she walked Faerûn as The Wildmother. There are also still a spare handful in the Moonshaes; younger, created in her aspect as The Earthmother, instead." ('On Grummerlang and Golden-Arn: or, The Stranger Servitors and Champions of The Deities of Forest and Nature', Thorthel Black-Tipped, 1218DR)

The Black Harpist, "who shot a star to Faerûn (as if it were a game bird)"*. And that star was Orobeda, the Star of Dragonflies and Iridescence. Orobeda captured the Black Harpists heart and he saw her back to health, and then swore a vow to see her returned to her rightful place in the heavens.
        Through the legendary course of this journey the pair met, and met the aid of, such allies as Namma Selkiesworn, and the Laughing Marigolds of the Summerstones, and Tommobus, King of the Calicos; and were in turn opposed, and harried, by such villains as the dragon Murksome Melaukra, and The Unamused Muses of Beshaba, and Nomrauth, Giant King of the Mighty Hills. Even the Great Archer Solonor came forth to Faerûn to walk with them for a time, and gave Ilithember knowledge of the path to gain the coast and a token of the gods, to obtain swift passage once there.
        And so, finally, Ilithember and Orobeda arrived to the coast, and then sailed west across the endless horizon to that celestial stairway called The Dawn Beyond The Sunset, and passed beyond the recorded span of history. Today, Orobeda once again reigns high in her shining spot in the night sky (one of the thirteen that comprise the elven constellation Correlian), but of Ilithember there is nothing more. He is now found on Faerûn only in the form of the Arrow-Leaved Aster (held holy to Solonor Thelandria), and in the heavens overhead, where his one-stringed harp Tanthaltor hangs, a great cosmic bow of iridescent colors (otherwise known to humans as Arathandorl, or the Color Spray Nebula).
        The elves admit to the loss of Ilithember but hold steadfast that, if Tanthaltor should ever be called upon in defense of the elven cause (by either fervent prayer or the highest of elven sorceries), The Black Harpist might come forth once again, standing alongside Solonor Thelandiira, and rain down upon Faerûn such deadly slaying-shafts to defeat even the mightiest massed foes of Elvendom.

* the enduringly popular subject of a litany of myth and legend; folklore, saga, dramas, chapbooks and stage-plays including, but by no means limited to;
The Ilitherial, Ilithember of the Elves, Ilithember The Archer, The Songs of Ilithember, The Song of The Black Harpist, The Harpist Who Shot A Star To Faerûn, The Harpist Who Shot His Star To Faerûn (from Faerevel's Elven Delights), The Archer and The Star (from Baulzend's Hidden Treasures), The Elfin Archer and The Dragonfly (Tales Told By Ol' White Whiskers), The Black Archer and The Celestial Fairy (Mother Maerymna's Menageries), Ilithember Enstarred, One Arrow In Autumn, and Ilithember and Orobeda, A Romance of The Heavens

The Lost Wanderers
The Three Celestial Sisters of Ice Hunter myth. The heavenly kin Karpri, Ulornae (Anadia) and Elkulur (Coliar), left behind to close and latch the Far Gate when the first gods first came forth to Faerûn. Abandoned now to wander the Starry Heath, they constantly seek out over the Rim of the Heavens for the family that travelled onward without them – and yet still the Great Silver Lamp (Selûne) and the Blue Lodge (Faerûn) remain forever out of their reach. And while The Sisters call and wander, and even as their adventures are many and great, it is whispered that, close-by the latch on the Far Gate, wretched fingers emerge there and wriggle forth, and the Latch itself ever moves and comes closer to unfastening whatever is left enclosed behind it.

Melancholy Pale
An echo of an elf-maid of old Eaerlann; wiry, iron-grey of skin and hair, who stalks near to Loudwater on nights of pale green moonlight, accompanied by a fey train of soft silvery radiance and hopping, moon-haunted robin that echo dead. dead. terribly dead. She most often walks insensate in her pale green moonlight and does not see, but on rare occasion her eyes focus sharply and suddenly upon the living who cross her path. Her gaze then is powerful, sometimes sad and sometimes merciful. Those so arrested may pass or may pay a most terrible toll; the robins' echo is the same, regardless.

Eldathan new year's festival, and ceremonial figure of the same name. Most often observed in rural communities and around old-growth forests. The Stornshamber slowly ambles through the streets, a great looming figure wrapped in strips of birch-wood and heavy hooded robe of dark velvet, crowned with elk-horn and mistletoe, handing out clusters of vibrant crimson berries invested by the faith of the goddess with indescribable feelings of warmth and hope and good cheer; then, later in the evening, the birth of the new moon and the quiet peace of the new year is celebrated with great bonfires, and rum and figs and honey.
        Sometimes the Stornshamber is a man, provided and costumed by the local clergy of Eldath. Sometimes the Stornshamber comes forth on its own, emerging from the darkened forest to conduct the holy ritual and then return to the eaves, carrying blood and bone in imitation of the reddened ivory crescent overhead, the sacrifice made to quiet the struggle in the new year to come.*

* "Do not misunderstand what Eldath is. The humans too often make this mistake. Eldath is a presence of the Forests of Old – the Forests of Faerie, before the Intrusions and the Invasions of Man. She walked proud alongside Silvanus in the time before The Oakfather chose to turn from her, to walk with The Wildmother instead. And those were the Younger Days, indeed, before The Wildmother then betrayed herself and set her mind to leave the Forest, to become the content and disgraced Chauntea of the Fields.
        Eldath is of peace, yes. But peace in human terms and peace in the Forest are very, very different things. The pools of the Forest, the pools of Eldath, are sacred and, as such, sometimes require sacrifice."
        Arvendhal Black-Browed, Uoryyndhal** of the High Forest,
        in lecture to his apprentice, the Ostleress Ilnmarlûné
        Year of the Flying Serpent, 833DR

** OO-or-INN-dahl, "Great Beastmaster" (from the High Netherese, similar in meaning to the elvish Andrenothorn, "Wildrunner")

AJA Posted - 10 Dec 2023 : 07:07:01

In the alcove where she had quietly slipped during the noise and exertations of the scene beyond, the Dawn-Hammer and Finder of Heresies Barshaele narrowed her eyes and worried at her lower lip. "The Dawnmaster avails himself of appurtenance not commonly found within the cleansing rituals of Lathander. Curious. I wonder where exactly he studied his tenets?"

Standing just behind her left shoulder, steepling his fingers and obviously unnerved by the presence of the Dawn-Hammer, the Prior Rolder whispered, "Yes, but the child shows undeniable improvement. Can you then argue with the results?"

Barshaele reflexively rubbed the well-polished hilt of the the sword slung at her side, and considered her response for a moment, while she keenly watched the ongoing interaction between the Dawnmaster and his revived patient. "It would indeed appear that this Ghorast has successfully drawn forth the child's infections. But my concerns lie in what else was dragged forth, and seized upon, as well."

Azar Posted - 09 Dec 2023 : 19:14:55
The boy's face was pallid, writhing to-and-fro, practically boiling in sweat. In the dimness above that canvas of agony emerged a wrinkled hand grasping a loose oval of small, dark and grinning skulls threaded by fine silver links; most were carved from obsidian, but some were hematite, onyx and even black opal. As the macabre rictuses gently swayed, a voice - male and sonorous - began to chant in a curiously beatific tongue. Several seconds passed before a hint of relief finally crept into the recitation.

Squirming ceased. Eyes opened. Though the sweat remained, all other indications of suffering were simply gone. Upon meeting the gazes of those skeletal smiles, the youth recoiled. Instantly, the beads were withdrawn and another face appeared above the bed...the kindly visage of an elderly man. "Be at ease, child. Through Lathander's grace have you been saved from sickness.", said Dawnmaster Ghorast, with naked happiness spread across his features.
AJA Posted - 09 Dec 2023 : 02:58:33

Yes! Again More Books (who o'er their lore no bookworm muses)! Edition
"For long ago they learned the fact
That o'er their lore no bookworm muses,
These tomes which half the world collect,
And no one in the world peruses."

        'In A Library', A Song of the Open Road and Other Verses, Louis J. McQuillan, 1916


"It takes an understanding of Mystra's Ways to cast magic. It takes a relationship with Mystra Herself to master it."
        Feldaraskar of the Tower Resplendant, Archmage In Blue and Red
        Weaving Strange Patterns
        Year of the Armarel, 1210DR

"As the elder runes say, 'Rosemary is an Herb of the Sun', and perhaps the foremost; a potent gift come green and fragrant from the earthy bosom of Chauntea and kissed in eager vigor by 'Lathander's ardent light'. Clever goodwives utilize it as a charm against the Plane of Negative Energy and all its' attendant ills; and also for Haleness, being born of growth and bold spirit; and finally, in that it is an dominant herb of Chauntea, that it best represents her ethos of Nurturing and Vigilant Caring."
        Myndilar of Battledale
        Abounding In Our Woods: A Comprehensive Accounting of Two-Hundred-and-Twelve Selected Plants Whose Leaves, Stalks, Roots and Fruits are Presented as Fitting Nourishment for Man and the Major Demi-Races, Vol.1 (of 5)
        Year of Warlords, 1030DR

"'So be on your way, and don't bother my door any more. Bright morning to you!'
And just like that, the little faery-hog turned and vanished into the knotted root under the loam – the door was shut, and I never saw him again afterwards!"

        – concluding conversation of Hedger the faery-hog and narration of Meldra Summerlong,
        'Chapter IV: Meldra Mistakes Her Road, And is Set Right by An Upset Hedgehog'
        On the Road and Under the Oaks
        by Darlathla the Dappled
        published in chapbook form, Year of Maidens, 1361DR and Year of the Helm, 1362DR

"It is time for old ways and old wounds to be put aside. If my brother would offer me his hand, let my brother be my brother again, and let there be no more quarrel between us. Let elf and Man, and dwarf and smallfolk once again stride upon Faerûn in brotherhood, and let once-again those who may oppose our cause tremble in fear.
        Let us ever glory in our cause, and strive to attain those goals which ourselves and our gods have long desired. For these are once again 'days worn warm and bright', as our ancestors praised. Far away, there in those days are my highest aspirations; I cannot reach them alone, but I can look forth and see their righteousness, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. For all that is noble and high and good, I ask now that you would all follow along with me."

        Baeran "the Bold', Duke of Calandor
        A Second Speech to All Mankind
        as written and recorded by his Scribe Most Faithful, Maerdusk
        Year of the Hurled Axe, 928DR
        (whose wording and imagery – from the second passage and following on – was deliberately written to evoke the original 'A Speech to All Mankind', delivered by King Haryd I of Delimbiyran to his soldiers, on the eve of the Battle of Howling Pines, 631DR)

"Reason has Selûne, but those Moons are not hers
The Gold of her Throne is brass, the Silk of her Cosmos becomes drab,
Those 'Enchanted Rocks,' stubbornly defended as the traditionary cause of a hostile few,
An exclusive legendarium rotating in an endless, meaningless panorama

Still, that they lie mirrored in her Celestial sea,
As millions of isinglass stars glint otherwise in the sunlight
Confounding her astromancers
But, oh! delighting me."

        Tloruun of the Luminous Dreams
        The Tides of The Ocean of Stars: or, Obscurities and Inquiries Regarding The True Colorations of Selûne-In-Her-Multitudes
        The Year of the Stone Rose, 1017DR
        (Tloruun, in his time, claimed to be a visionary and sooth-sayer on par with Augathra, and spent many, many words on realigning the Heavens [and base reality] around his vision of the god Selûne – 'his vision' being filtered through the personal lens of a wildly manic love/hate relationship with Her – and whose written word still finds purchase among, and makes hay with, heretics and Sharaans, and temporarily-embarrassed lycanthropes and contrarians of all levels of thought, through to the present day)

AJA Posted - 26 Nov 2023 : 01:52:26

Adbreth the Wanderer
A renowned tutor of many Northern mages during the 13th Century of Dalereckoning. Author of Adbreth's Necessary Instructions, a primer of ninety-seven basic magical rules and incantations mercilessly and endlessly drilled into his students, that still form the basis of much spell-learning in the North to this day. His sigil is one of the nine that flash briefly upon the warding defenses of Ahghairon's Tower, when pressed by potent magical assault. There are a rare few handful of archmages who know that that same sigil also appears upon the shores of Far Ruenthalaum, etched upon the courtyard flagstones of the blood-red halls of Settingsun; there, where the final far-flung isles of what Men still know of as Faerûn disappear into the endless sea, and the flickering hundredfold aurora and the awakened unveiled stars trace the beginnings of the Celestial Halls of the Gods.

Harnra Moonstar
A noble of House Moonstar [b.1140/d.1208]. First child of Alatheene/Danthelorn. Forced by her mother to excel in the Art and in her bladework. Simply wanted to preserve and record the lost creations of elder magicians, not be bound to fling slaying magics and kill her own kin. Married (eloped, which caused great inter-House friction at the time) into House Wands, took up their mantle. Author of the Historical Handbooks of Guarding and Warding (a three-volume series cataloging many obscure, alternative, and lesser defensive spells of the North and the Netherese Diaspora, such as Orosklur's Bewildering Evasion and Nilmyyra's Shadowy Withdrawal, Feldrear's Thorny Isolation and Zelesk's Congregation of Scarlet and Amber). Two children, Lluhaerla and Nemurnra, both continued into the Wands rolls.

A senior apprentice of the master Illuskan book-binder Josselae Juskhalan (of Juskhalan's Sevenfold Bookbindery, Warrior's Way, Castle Ward; three doors north of Waterdeep Way, above the ground-floor shopfront of Of Tethan Vine, a merchantry of Tethyrian wine importers and accompanying tasting-rooms, specializing in the middle-vineyard wines such as Old Wind and Mirtul Melting). He knows not only the obscure secrets of wrangling the lettered page into Ordered Form and Lawful Alignment for suitable Dressing and Binding between solid cover, but has also been educated in such ancient, non-binding, scribes' mysteries such as, "to make golden letters without gold" and "to write letters of secrets" (referring respectively to leaf-ink* and the rare mystic elven moon-runes). He is undeniably proficient at his work, but his troublesome attitude and desire to know the knowledge on the pages instead of simply and ignorantly proceeding with their bindings as paid (which has led to him being caught more than once attempting to peruse a series of runes, or study a typesetting that is beyond his place) has led his master Juskhalan, in desperation, to seek the advice of the clergy of the Font of Knowledge (as they were the ones to originally bring forth Melskevvyn and request this arrangement, which they intimated as a divine direction of Oghma), and to seriously consider dismissing him, regardless of his talents, from his apprenticeship.
        Melskevvyn most often wears a loose overshirt and leggings of striped red and purple, and over that a belted tabard and calf-high soft boots dyed in that fashionable bright icy-green color the Amnians call wyvvergreen. A wrist bracelet and a belt-loop of red waxy beads dangle loose, as is the current fashionable trend among younger (and sexually available) initiates of the Scrivener's and Scribes Guild. When out and about in social situations he daubs dark blue pigment under eyes and on fingertips, purposefully mocking a commonly-known scribes' doom and signifying membership in the Ink Poisonings, a coeterie of young scribes, poets and bards who find fellowship in wine, carousing, wish-fulfillment reveries, and the more scandalous tenets of the god Finder.

* Every fool apprentice dreams of learning the arcane secrets that would allow them to become rich by turning lead into gold. Most of those fool apprentices never measure into anything beyond local hedge-mage, and best they can manage is to turn lead into gold-ish leaf – useful to scribes illuminating book pages, swindlers attempting a quick false-sale, and also highcoin chefs looking to ornament their creative confections in shiny foil (yes, the gaudy gold-foil trimmings eagerly devoured by the noble and wealthy of Waterdeep at their frequent feastings is technically lead, lets move on and not think too hard about that), but not quite that imagined easy windfall, otherwise.

Rovul Merryliir
Author of About Sauces, In A Peat-Flame Kitchen, and The Lore and Legend of the Moonshae Potatoe. One of the greatest chroniclers of Moonshar cookery alive today. His works are well-regarded in culinary circles and have even won him a certain amount of fame in his native Moonshaes, but such renown does little to translate into being able to afford fine lodgings and even finer physical accompaniment in the larger cities of mainland Faer#251;n.
        Instead, he earns much better coin under the pseudonym of Fesk Merryquill, writing made-to-order chapbooks of various romantic (ridiculous and scandalous) situations for wealthy merchants and idle nobility. These frownfrolics* always seem to feature at least one lavishly-described decadent feast or food-inspired lovemaking session, but that is surely just coincidence.

* 'where Oghma frowns, Sharess frolics', the winking motto of the brotherhood of slash, kink, and decadently-deviant coin-scribes across the Heartlands.

Tommobus Arsktamber
Fat, round Hin. Wavy chestnut hair, slightly grey at the temples. Bright eyes, deep laugh-lines, eager smile. Open, friendly. Has a noticeable scarred gash on his upper left lip, and two stained ivory tooth-replacements underneath (the result of being caught up in his first – and last – tavern brawl as a youth. Horrid Uthgardt. Nasty barbarians). He is extremely chatty and has a great deal to say upon most things, especially those which do not concern him.
        Tommobus is the senior bookkeeper for the Castle Ward trading house of Red Hawk Holdings. In his spare time he is head of The Trades Ward Free Sheaf Society, a group of like-minded reading enthusiasts (mostly local Hin, and a surprising number of old "attic witches" who have little in the way of amusements otherwise) who trade well-thumbed chapbooks and months-old broadsheets back and forth among themselves (the fantastical 'Hew It Dead!', a Blade-Tale of Llorst the Ever-Thirsty and the dreadful copper The Necromancer Wore A Russet Cloak being most currently in-demand). They also collectively pay once per year to gather and print a volume of poetry and prose from members and local writers. Such bound-sheaves are of dubious literary quality, but Tommo has heard from reliable sources that copies of no less than two of these volumes have been used separately to gain entrance into the legendary sages' library of Candlekeep – a fact of which he is inordinately proud of, and will bring up in conversation at the slightest prompt.
        His parents named him after Tommobus Ten-Lives, King of the Calicos, a celestial servant long shared under the auspices of the gods Tymora and Nobanion. Tommo of course does not have ten lives, but he has counted no less than ten noticeable moles upon his body, and has thus mapped and presented them to Mother Meldra, "the Transmuter of Tedium", a parlor-witch of note, who has assured him that by carefully calculating size of protuberance and hairs of length, that he is indeed a chosen soul, now living an echo of Tommobus' fourth life, correlating to the time that The Twelve-Toed crept far above the forbidden rafters into Oghma's great Pole-Armory, and then brought forth unto Toril the knowledge of the ten-foot pole, which revolutionized forever the dungeon-delve of Tymora, and also the avoidance of trapping-pits in the Gulthmere that had previously bedeviled the great and noble felines there. According to Mother Meldra's divinations, this means that Tommobus (the Hin) is surely fated then to forever change the method of distribution and access to the printed work, in greater manner than anyone in Waterdeep since Olnoskras the Timid, the Patron of Hand-Books, who brought forth his acquired Lantannar printing-cabinet to the gathered in the great hall of House Maernos, and whose blood then mixed with the first printed chap-books in the city after he was visited, by searching agents of the Ayrorch (how exactly this fate is supposed to come to pass, the parlor-witch has left suspiciously unexplained).
        Tommobus resides in Tamber-Clutter, an apartment in the Warrens (Dock Ward, under Belnimbra's Street, down the Blue Boggart Stairs* at the intersection of Ward's Way), cramped and indeed cluttered with furniture and children (four of his own, and often many of the neighbors), heavy wall-hangings, and numerous colorful unfinished paintings, daubed on old sailcloth or wooden board, and stood on easel or leaned up against any convenient surface, the result of his wife Berrybryl's own artistic hobby. And also the spinning-corner (closest to the hearth, naturally) seized upon by his mother-in-law Tea-Merry, which is inviolate and not to be set upon by any other, be it daughter or daughter's husband, or especially any miserable little scampering hinling. The great orange-striped cats Nimmel and Merry-Mange, however, are allowed to come and go as they please.

* The Blue Boggart Stairs were supposed to be The Blue-Hat Gnome Stairs, but the hired stonecarver had strange notions of what gnomes actually looked like. Or perhaps just a strange sense of whimsy. Regardless, the latter title is their official name and is listed as such on the official maps of the Castle coin-collectors, but to speak of them as such around any local is to reveal oneself as either a foreigner or, worse, a tax-man. There is also the Red-Hat Gnome Stairs at the intersection of Belnimbra's Street and Gut Alley, and the Green-Hat Gnome Stairs on Soldier's Street, but those craftsmen understood their assignments much better and thus there has been no argument given, about their name or physical depiction.

AJA Posted - 01 Nov 2023 : 00:27:04

Aarthur Amblerest
A well-fed and well-rounded Hin, with a sharp eye and a mind well-trained to numbers and the kind of contract-letterings that would make a baatezu nod approvingly. Curly sandy hair, glittering black eyes, and stubby, well-manicured fingers that seem to be vigorously waving in punctuation and hooked through vest-coat in smug satisfaction, simultaneously. A senior member of the Master Mariner's guild – never a sailor or ships master, but one of their foremost salt-binders (drafter of guild laws and contracts between guild members, so-named for the pinch of sea salt sprinkled over every wax seal before official guild agreement and impression). His common dress is a rich brown vest-coat over yellow-and-blue dagger-stripe shirt and smartly-buttoned cuffs; Hin-trousers in the color called "new potatoes"; and low shop-shoes accented in that trendy style the Short Folk call "cow-heels".
        He is a member of the Belts (a 'secret society' of halfling and gnomish sages, moneylenders, and local merchants), and the senior-most "Forthright" (members whose duty it is to hold ceremonial torches, call out the roll and the by-laws of the society, and to serve the refreshments). Aarthur has long been a loyal supporter of the head Belt, the halfling Hobin Boldfoot, and as such is vocally opposed to the recent "invasion" of the society by young Hin, led by the scandalous and disrespectful rogue Halvas "Halfhand," as well as the latter's radical ideas for "reforming" the order.
        Aarthur is a weatherwiser (which is not the same as being weather-wise or having the weather-eye, nor being weather-bitten, mind), one of those strange folk given to know by physical reaction when the weather is bound for an ominous turn – either through change in eye-color, or incessant itchyness of the nose, or in the most peculiar and noticeable wriggling of the earlobes. For Aarth, wise came in the form of nose, which does not itch but feels instead "cold and horrible," and has led to the waist-pockets of his vest being stuffed with nose-rags, sewn up at the corners with the sanctified seals of Talona, Ilmater, and Yondalla, used to sop up any resulting unpleasant effluence.
        He has a particular weakness for the ediram sweets of Tharsult (globular pies made of nammar-bean pounded into a jelly-like consistency, dusted in cinnamon and wrapped up in the edible florescent petals of the fragrant irrael tree), and discreetly favors those shipcaptains whose sails takes them far south to trade in the waters of the Shining Sea.

Bardurast The Storm-Broker
Priest of Talos. A large, warted, ruddy-faced, grey-eyed man, with a soothing voice and an only-occasionally unnerving predatory grin. Astute, ambitious, undeterred in all things. Bardurast is known in the city as a powerful gatherer and sponsor of adventuring fellowships. He enjoys such armed, unruly companies for the chaos and destruction they often bring and he admires their simple-minded drive for magic and treasure. Simple, direct, powerful, as echoes in the storm and ruin of Talos. Such useful tools should be encouraged, and eagerly aided in all things. And occasionally discreetly aimed and unleashed upon an individual or gathering who may stand in opposition to the designs of the Lord of Destruction.

Minor haunting or phantasmal apparition, area of The Street of Silks, Castle Ward. A ghostly presence on darkened nights of the new moon. Stirrings of dark velvet in the corner of ones' vision and whispers of old poems just down the darkened eaves of nearby alleyways. Bardlings of New Olamn and drunken romantics seem unable to resist chasing those whispers down the darkened alleys. Sometimes they even find their way back.

The Corpse-Hedgers
Mercenary company, active throughout the Western Heartlands. Their name is a direct boast to their official motto, that they will "stack our enemies corpses as high as the highest copse-hedges". Commanded by the stern, loud, many-scarred warrior Baruuska – a proud and surviving member of the noble families of Old Phalom – who bears the device of the Quilacanth (sharp-spine, thorn-pig), the giant porcupine of the Ardeep, upon his both his shield and as personal and company crest; but their logistics and tactics (and the true reason they have endured as a fighting force for this long) is due to their 'Merry Mother', the wizened, "all-seeing" table-enchanter, the mystic hin Merylbra Roaldfoot (and also three of her five daughters, the feared "Eyes Above," who also piggyback on their mother's strange talents to scout the battlefield – in advance and in real-time – and relay important information directly to Baruuska and his lieutenants).

Winter's Lemdro
Legendary haunting, South and Trades Ward. On warm winter mornings when the icicles hang most perilously from the eaves come great, shuddering, gusty sighs and the heaving of attic shutters; drip drop, drip drop chant local children after a body is found impaled by a glittering sheaf of frozen daggers. Hang sweet-cress and merren-root* on your door and above your lintel, trust in the morning administrations of Lathander and Tymora, and never look up if you must cross under a heavy overhang. Drip drop, drip drop.

* Merren-root: carrot-like, stubby, three-pronged, with a sharp taste of ginger. Grows wild across the Dessarin and Rauvin vales, and in the stream-side dells of the High Forest. Gnomes love it, Fey despise it. Used in the preparation of body-tonics, health suppositories, and in certain recipies for subduing the gamey taste of monster meats, especially catoblepas and manticore. In Silverymoon they add it as part of a solution used to wipe down and freshen their chamberpots.

AJA Posted - 07 Sep 2023 : 07:27:14
Originally posted by MISC'LLANEA
More Books for the Comfy Shelves of your Cottagecore Caster! Edition

"And as he stood before him now, tall and unbowed, his loose dark hair and fierce blue eyes proved he was indeed Ruathymaar, a native born of that barren island rock which grows nothing but mariners and mariner's widows."
        'Chapter IX: Then On They Gladly Sailed'
        The Sûnesbright Knight and The Shaliera of Dreams
        by Semmer Evvendusk
        published in chapbook form, Year of the Helm, 1362DR

Roreld Thurnbrow*
And, as is then written of in the annals of chap-book fame, The Sûnesbright Knight so discovers that Roreld, his erstwhile captive, was indeed Ruathymaar; but not a born mariner, being instead a tarn-lander, a taciturn and sure-footed native of the central mountain lakes and streams of the inner Cragskarrn region (and so, much more proficient in climbing and traversing the mysteries of the dark forest than the ship-borne masts of the feared Northman sailors). But Roreld's blade was swift and feared, and he soon found ready-coin aboard a number of Ruathymaar merchant ships as a seaguard (a warrior carried aboard merchant ships to fight off pirate boarding parties and port thieves), until the day the vessel he sailed aboard, the Ulthaskyr's Lightning, was overwhelmed off the coast of southern Amn, and all survivors were subdued and taken into slavery – but fortunately, he was soon succored by the auspices of The Knight and the stalwart crew of the Sea-Brave, under command of the captain Oldarr.

And so it was in this same chap-book that Roreld was freed and repaid his life-debt, faithfully serving instead as squire to The Knight on his southward quest, where he was first introduced to the 'Wondrous' Welstevvra (that jade-skinned, emerald-haired, genasi slave-dancer, famed throughout western Faerûn as 'The Harbor of Never-Failing Delights')**, and then he and The Knight fought side-by-side through her captors and slew her slaver, the pasha and debauched panderer Ulsknurram, "The Loathsome Rotundity," and carried forth long enough to see The Knight's gambit succeed; first against Ulsknurram, and then against the mighty, titular Shaleira of Dreams herself.

Afterwards, Roreld voluntarily re-joined The Knight's company during the calamitous events of The Sûnesbright Knight and The Maidens of Manypearls, where he suffered greatly from the attacks of a giant malevolent cray-claws (ed: giant fiendish crawfish) and would have definitely perished, but for the prompt attentions of Welstavvra, who also accompanied The Knight and who, somewhat unexplainedly, had previously gained ownership of The Scepter Colored of Pale Green and Dark Amber (And Possessed of the Powers of Mating and Life, and Birthing and Death, Besides), which served to succor Roreld, and bonded him ever closer to her, his true love.

And finally, after all of that, it was written that he and his true love Welstevvra were wed, and happily retired to the Thurnbrow family farmstead of Thurnwood, in the Rangervales, the southern foothills of the Cragskarrn, and so Roreld occasionally made use of his swift-blade and sure-foot; and Welstravva did also, aided by her own sorcerous talents and powerful Scepter.

        ….and thus things sat for ten unwritten winters, and absolutely nothing noteworthy (to any chap-book author) happened, until…

Roreld was "spun-off" in the Waterdhavian chap-book explosion of the 1360s, where he featured in both the 1365DR Roreld, Amidst The Moon-Splashed World*** ("trapped in that strange fey-wold, where the elves once built their faery palaces out of beautiful thoughts and bright fancies, and the gigantic, powerful, limb-dragging bodies of the Oblong Men now rule over all"); and, having "survived" that, took another headlining turn in the (very much lesser-regarded****), 1367DR Roreld, In The Castle of The Tinnenmen ("lost to that strange, metallic realm, surrounded by weird golems; clockwork in their precision, who doffed their metal caps and whistled in conversation, spun and turned at every predestined position but – when Welstevvra of the Never-Failing Delights came mistakenly calling, their gears suddenly spun widdershins").

His side-journeys then having proved (somewhat) popular, but not enough for any continued written adventures, his story has presumably concluded; therefore, one should feel free to assume that Roreld has triumphed and returned – against all written odds – and as so, still resides with Welstevvra, and their children, in their steading in the Rangervales, fat and content and happy.

        ….unless one should have honest need of his blade (swift and feared), or true use of his wife's sorcerous talents (or her Scepter), and then…


* Thurn is the Ruathymaar linguistic equivalent of Roan (specifically, Blue Roan), and "Thurnbrow" was given as family epithet a long time ago, as their issue have been historically noted for the ubiquity of their "sea-salted" blue-black locks

** Welstevvra Welstyn was indeed born jade-skinned and emerald-haired, but never felt comfortable in his skin, even given his genasi heritage. He long felt the embrace of changing waters, but then decided that he would not kneel to the chaotic whims of Umberlee, nor to the strident peacefulness of Eldath. And so his desire to be enveloped and raptured in the warm embrace of flowing waters found purchase, perhaps surprisingly, in the 'uncaring', unjudging waters of the strange Elemental-God Istishia.

And so Welstyn, once initiated, did then as his nightly visions directed, disrobing and scouring, and climbing up the flanks of the towering peak of Sulaskor Bright-Frozen (a prominent peak of the Orsraun range), directly alongside the banks of Ilhaelor, the Old Singer (a wide and tumbling stream, casually coursing down the pine-fells from the snow-fields of the mountains above), and stopping at every divinely-directed location – to rest and commune with The Mother of All Uncaring Waters, and then sleep through the night. This pilgrimage ended after seven climbs, high among the snows and pines of Sulaskor, where Welstyn was understood to submerge themself in the crystal-cold waters of the deep-plunging rock-pool presented to them here (which has never – even as the Ilhaelor continues to flow – ever been there, before or since).

And so Welstyn did, and so Welstevvra emerged, fresh from her watery bath, and so she began the return climb down, of which her memory is hazy, even when she reached the comfort of low ground, and the limestone grasslands and open rocky slopes of the vineyards of Catoblepas Crossing and Sorlynsong, and so then she was just Welstevvra, and always had been, and always would be.

….and thus, then the rest of her tale began to be told….

*** "A wild, exciting, fantastical tale that will rank with the best chap-stories that have ever been published" (Millithburt "the Discerning Quill," reviewed for The Sword of the City broadsheet, 1365DR)

**** "Roreld once again travels on a strange quest, to a strange land, but the weird wonders of this fancy-tale unfortunately fail to achieve anywhere near the same delights as his previous forth-farings" (Millithburt "the Discerning Quill," reviewed for The Sword of the City broadsheet, 1367DR)

AJA Posted - 07 Sep 2023 : 07:08:23

Haffrundh "Quick-Coins" (LE ½OM Exp)
Grumblegut, Honeyed Haff, The Dreggskin. Often described as "the most crooked merchant north of Amn" (a title he wears with some degree of pleasure). Aside from the Xanathar and the Rundeen, Haffrundh is the biggest mover and purchaser of illegal and ill-gotten merchandise in Dock Ward – bar slaves and smokepowder and necromantic enchantments or artifacts. He is also a long-time associate of Mirt the Moneylender, and the two often cooperate in business ventures (for his part, Mirt has now taken to using Haffrundh as a counter to the more aggressive and rapacious forces of the Xanathar). His title of Dreggskin (or, more accurately, "King of the Dregs") is in reference to his sponsorship (and often, organization) of Dock Ward's teeming population of beggars, urchins, cutpurses and street thugs.
        Keeps a civil front through the Trades Ward meatery of Farsklar's Fine Filletings, on Fillet Lane, just west of The Way of The Dragon. The shop there prominently displays hams, hanging, smoked and salt-cured; and also, inside, all-other manner of meats, presented boned, butterflied, malletted, stuffed, rolled, tied, roasted and braised, along with offal and hoof of all nature, and marrow and bonus bloody-bone prime for attic-stewing. The shop motto is 'all manner of meat, animal or monstrous' and, as so, they not only retain good standing in the Guild of Butchers and pay top coin for the best meat-mongers and filleters available, but also keep on retainer the well-regarded wisebeard Ohlorra Ildrarr (particularly learned of strange meats and edible monster parts) who they consult on occasion, when a most rare and unusual carcass crosses their carving benches.
        In general (and in wealthy) circles, Haffrundh is known to be engaging, erudite and soft-spoken, practiced in finding exactly the right way to charm and cozen anyone he talks to. Not afraid to flaunt his position as a merchant of means; makes sure to have his clothing fashioned out of a base of royal Calishite sharwine (a deep velvety black, accented only by the darkest purple flashes and flares when caught just so by flame-light); accompanied by bold adornments of ruby-red, bright turquoise, brilliant diamond and flashing beljuril. Also not afraid to dig deep and throw out the contents of his coin-purse to any needy nearby, nor invite them to come to Farsklar's upon the next morn, to receive a package of meats of their choice.
        In the course of his (true) profession, when crossed or vexed, he is absolutely black-hearted and barbarous, and feels nothing of adding an enemy to the prepared meats on display at the Fine Filletings counters. Cultivates quite the hidden collection of orcish idols and icons, statuettes of their dark gods and fertility idols carved mainly from clay, wood, ivory and bone, a fascination with a part of his heritage that he tries very hard to make sure that no one else knows of.
        Also along that line, to only his most trusted associates has he revealed his greatest fear, of meeting his doom via the 'feathered fates' (arrows); an end 'foretold' to him by one of those randomly-acquired icons; and in thrall of this dread obsession he has spent a great amount on ever-life elixirs and stoneskin enchantments and hedge-mage mumblings and protective amulets. Mirt is one of the very few of whom he has confided in, and Mirt is one of the very few who would not betray that confidence (not to say that Mirt wouldn't just send Asper in to settle things, if it became necessary – and, unfortunately for Haffrundh, his fellow merchant of means Sammereza Sulphontis has also become aware of this supposed 'fate', and has begun considering just how much of Haffrundh's traffic in illicit goods he would really prefer to have for himself).

Post-mortem: Haffrundh eventually overestimated his position and tried to bribe and blackmail himself into Master of the Butcher's Guild, and simultaneously expand his Dregs to forcibly fight and oust the increasing Lower-Ward influences of the Xanathar. Both attempts met with ruin, but not before Mirt sent in Asper to settle things as planned; a most unfortunate effort at that point which led to her capture by the Xanathar, until a successful raid by sellswords personally directed by Sammereza freed her – and then shortly after also slew Haffrundh, via a massed hail of poisoned crossbow bolts, enough to bring down even the most persistent stoneskin and sharp-bolt wardings – a bleak thorning (in the familiar cant of the Shadow Thieves), delivered in broad daylight right outside the shopfront of Farsklar's Fine Filletings.

        ….and, not long after those events there was held another internal vote for Hidden Lord of Waterdeep, and so the little-regarded and first-time considered Sammereza Sulphontis was both nominated and heavily-pushed by one Mirt the Moneylender. And he won election.

Coincidence, surely.

Ieldranndr "Wave-Bright"
(eyell-DRANN-drr) "who sailed o'er the radiant tides of the Heavens, sunlight-toss'd and starry-turn'd" (as first popularized to a larger outside audience in Lights From a Fading Lamp; or, An Examination of the Vanished (and Vanquished) Elder Pantheons of The North, The Savage North, and The Uttermost North, Sheskrra Bluepine, 1141DR). A deific manifestation of the Northern Lights (or "The High Pillars of Smoke," as the Ice Hunters know them).
        One of the minor powers and potent "place-spirits" of the ancient Ice Hunter religion, scattered survivors of the great and on-going collapsing of Faerûnian Pantheons which has long-since claimed the most major of their number. Now surviving as a servitor of Selûne, sheltered and protected by Her from incursions by the god Lathander, who has so long desired the legend of "Wave-Bright" – he who held Men enthralled with just a look and a word – "the mortal hero in whose upturn'd eyes was reflected the radiant lustres of the Tears of a goddess and whose immortal phantom, beguiling and bright, roams and roams across the Realms Above, 'until the morning's light'" (again, framed in the later words of Sheskrra Bluepine, and not necessarily believed by some modern sages to be true to the faith of the Older Days).
        There are still those Ice Hunters who hold to the older ways, and offer correct worship; there are also those minor converts of Selûne who give offering – and, finally, those sects of the Morninglord whose heresy and sub-worship of "The Dawn-Rider" serves to keep the Sails of Ieldranndr full and fulsome but, as their numbers dwindle (and with continual pressure from outside deities such as Hateful Shar and, yes, Vainglorious Lathander himself), the legend of "Wave-Bright" fades further past, into simple folklore and muddled legend.

A slim, pale, dark-eyed woman of somewhat nervous manner (especially as she scratches idly at her rearmost right jaw when nervous or harshly-questioned. Thin, straight brown hair, streaked with white around the temples. Widowed, has a twelve-year old daughter, Merra, and two younger sons (eight and six), Rarth and Arlion (Arlee). Spends her days employed in carving wooden fretwork for Ylaunnda Arthrae, of Arthrae's Ornamental Eaves, Gables, and Other Architectural Openworks (workshop on the north-eastern extent of The Wagonrace, Trades Ward – no sign, look for the over-arching and over-ornamented eaves, populated by bright green-and-gold archers, and deep purple-and-red mages).
        When in her scarce free time, Nelmra amuses herself in coloring in those rare (relegated to only the best the Waterdhavian printing services have to offer) black-and-white chap-book pictures, via the marvelous (and expensive) color-sticks (chalks) that the gnome peddler Quorldarr over on Robin's Way sometimes offers. Her colorings are true and her true dream is to become an initiate of Oghma or Denier or Mystra, or even Tyr (whose holy-books have many such illustrations of judgement and Lawful punishment that make her shiver, but are, still, quite colorful) – one of those cloistered scribes that illuminate the most holy of books – but none of the attendants of those faiths that she has approached have even let her in past their waiting rooms, and so she has begun to doubt her own abilities.
        In the meantime, she increasingly focuses on her paying wood-carvings for income, and increasingly relies on her daughter to manage and see to her two younger children, even as she realizes that Merra has much the same talents as her, and should soon be apprenticed to a suitable master. But then who would be left to tend the hearth, and keep the house, and see to the boys and make sure that they get fed and put to bed, on those (often) occasions when she has to work late?

The Painter of Dark Colors, The Depicter of Delvings. A canvas-painter currently in high popular demand for her portrayals of the dark hallways and darker ends of The Undermountain ("Truthful and Brutal Depictions of the Deep Ways, As Known to Only the Bold and the Venturesome"). Her ouevre is not 'still lifes' but, more accurately 'slain lives', and her canvasses teem with utter blacks and crimson reds, rendered in slashing, frenzied brush strokes and accompanied by bright daubings of treasures, drippings of suddenly-shocking pastel highlights, and splashes of metallic paints, indictive of cast spells.
        Her latest masterpieces sold (most via commission, although the first to Lord Asbrior Sultlue at surprisingly high price, in private auction) are 'Red and Mauve Pulp on Hallway Wall', 'Bitter Branchings', 'Frothing Flagstones' and, 'Silent In The Darkness (Eyes of Red)'.
        She has herself, in truth, never delved too far on Level One past the bright escape of the Shaft of The Yawning Portal, but she continually gains inspiration from actual delvers and their reminisces, earned deep and dramatic from the depths – no, not only of the depths of Undermountain itself, but especially of the 'depths' of the tankards she eagerly and repeatedly buys to hear of them (and the mild tongue-telling vexes she discreetly places upon their drinkers).

The Thelûnndae
The Thelûnndae is the collective name given for the ancient Ice Hunter pantheon – the main gods and goddesses of which are now long-defeated and subsumed by other Orders; an early-modern part of the great, and on-going collapsing of Pantheons – even as many of the minor powers and potent place-spirits therein often gained from the chaotic strife, putting the ruinous pride of their Elders aside, adapting to it, and surviving – in some form – to the present day, attaching themselves as servitors or pact-givers or aliases of the gods of Faerûn.
        Not to say that many of their number weren't culled as well and now exist singularly in oral saga and fey-fable, myths and legends, recalled now only as Sharp-Swift, Wind's-Cry, Walker Between Star-Lights, Little Silver-Stars, Moon-Lark, Older-Than-The-Stars, and The Dancer Where Shadows Weep, or other – now nameless epithets – drifting still and cold upon the air, and smouldering, forgotten forever, upon unmarked celestial graves.
        But there were those who did manage to survive or persist afterwards, including (previous entries in italics); Aelrónn ("The Voice Among The Pines," later Aenroon and also Warragh 'Bright-Spring'), Angwakuur ("That Which Men Know As Hunger," "The Great Black Dire Wolf of the North"), Daskra ("The Vast Bird of The Sunrise"), Dóskul ("The White Watcher," "The Herald of The High Pillars," now humbled and punished as Deiros), Ieldranndr ("Wave-Bright"), Illendótenn ("The Wearer of A Thousand Skins," "The Illusions of Ice"), Keralaskra ("The Feaster-on-Flesh," later Naulanjar "The Eyeless Crow"), Nammarnaera ("the Unquelled"), Nóskalra ("She Who Makes The Tides Run Red"), Róverynn ("The Thunderer From Afar"), and Naulkundra ("The Mother of Ivory and Bone," "The Battle-Maiden of the Frozen North," "She Who Hunts Beasts and Slays Man").

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