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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 08 Sep 2022 :  19:31:25  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think, assuming the geography is all wrong, that Delakeva and Tinnainen would be located in what is now known as the Fallen Lands.

Its close enough to the Barren Mountains where the stories begin but long enough away to take several months to walk.

It also makes more sense for Greenwillow to be a cousin to the High Elves of Siluvanede than Cormanthyr.

Lastly the description of Tinnainen makes more sense if it was in the Fallen Lands. It is described as being devoid of trees on a rocky road, sheep and goat country. This doesnt really fit the forested region of the Border Forest in the east.

Also i imagine it would take a lot more than 2 seasons to walk the entire length of Netheril, from Barren Mountains to Border Forest.


It is also possible to keep all the directions as is. So, if we take a few liberties with the beginning section, what if Sunbright wandered much further south of the Barren Mountains, to the High Forest. Heading east he could end up in the Grey Vale and wander east along that encountering Delakeva (Oberon's Hold), then Tinnainen somewhere in the Greypeak Mountains (Windswept Mountains).

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Edited by - Gary Dallison on 08 Sep 2022 21:31:49
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2022 :  08:44:37  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sword Play (c.-700 DR)
By Clayton Emery

Sunbright Steelshanks
A young human male, tall and gangly, yet laid with ropy muscle. His hair was sun-bright blond, shaved at the temples, then gathered into a topknot from which dangled a short tail. He wore a faded linen shirt that fell to his knees, stout boots of many leather straps and iron rings, and a jerkin made of brown- and white-blotched goatskin, laced across his chest. A rolled blanket was carried over one shoulder, a longbow and quiver over the other, along with his scabbard. [1]
Wields the sword Harvester of Blood. The blade widened at the tip to make a graceful arc, its back face deeply cut into a hook. It looked more like an elongated brush cutter than a sword [1]
Knows Ruellana, Greenwillow the elf [1]
Belongs to the Ravens clan of Rengarth [2]
His mother Monkberry, strong but silent and shamed, for she had borne only one child. And his father, Sevenhaunt, a mighty warrior and shaman, returning to the tribe with yellow scalps when the tribe made war [2]
Harvester of Blood was a steel sword, the only one among the tribe's arsenal of bronze and iron, won by Sunbright's father in the distant past from a source he would never reveal. And being a mighty sword, and well-nigh unbreakable [2]
He saw himself besting the other boys and girls in combat with swords sheathed in reindeer hide, being first the best fighter in the Raven clan, then the best among all the youths of the Rengarth tribe. He relived the night by the ritual fire, the flames heaped with all his childhood possessions and clothes, and the scalp of an enemy, a hated Angardt tribesman killed by his own hand. At this final test of manhood his mother had granted him his father's sword, Harvester of Blood, and gave him a new name. No longer would he be called Mikkl, for "Scrawny One," but Sunbright Steelshanks, for his hair so bright and legs so sturdy that he could outrun everyone in the tribe, youths and adults alike [2]
Fled the Raven clan a year ago. [2]
Since his father had been a great shaman and medicine-healer, Sunbright would be expected to go forth on another solitary quest to find his own shamanistic powers, else he would never become a spirit warrior. [2]
Was rescued by a talking raven that gave him power. The raven was Candlemas’ familiar [3,12]
Has visions, can cast spells (rudimentary healing) [3]
His wilderness training, shaman abilities, and honed reflexes let him follow any sort of trail, warn of danger or changing terrain ahead, predict bad weather, identify poisonous plants, and more. He could heal minor wounds [5]
Sunbright communicates with a cave bear [6]

Other Lore
red-tailed hawks [1]
Raliteff the Second, an exquisite silver statue of a paladin on horseback was pilfered by Candlemas from his birthplace (is Raliteff dead, was he a paladin, was he a king????) [1]
Sumac, plant [2]
Healing spells sap one’s own lifeforce (counterproductive to use on yourself) [3]
A constellation of stars known to the elves as The Bell. Known to the Rengarth as The Panther. [7]
Talos, god of the tempests (Kozah????) [9]

Barren Mountains
Orcs, but not the usual variety. These had grey-green skin, lank black hair, pug noses, and long knotted arms. They wore actual uniforms, almost like human soldiers. Tunics of various leathers had been dyed a consistent lichen grey, and painted on each breast was a not-so-smeary red hand of five spread fingers. Rather than go barefoot, and thus cripple themselves on the scree, they wore sturdy, scuffed boots that came to their knobby knees. And each orc soldier wore a rusty kettle helmet, round with a short brim. In their hands trailed clubs studded with black obsidian, which Sunbright knew to be sharper than his own steel blade, for the layered stone presented not one but a dozen razor edges. The leader had a red hand painted on a placard in the band of its helmet [1]

Rengarth
Thornwing and Blindhawk, schooled children in swordplay when Sunbright was young [1]
The Ravens, Rengarth clan, trekking across the vast and unending tundra, a herd of reindeer driven before them by dogs more savage than snow wolves. Moving season by season from place to place by ancient routes and ancient tradition: cutting through ice for seals in winter, craning from weirs to spear salmon in spring, crawling across a plain of brown skull-like rocks to flush ptarmigan in summer, slipping through cedar forests to shoot moose and elk in fall. And then watching the first snow fall, and steering gradually for the ice that hadn't yet formed, but would, as it had for centuries [2]
Hanging a weapon over the door of their yurt, so her husband's spirit might continue to guard his family [2]
Owldark, new shaman of the Raven clan (murdered Sunbright’s father), given to fits of rage when his head throbbed so mightily his eyes bulged and his face turned as red as a sunset. Jealous of Sunbright and his emerging shamanism. Lied about seeing Sunbright in a vision where he slew the whole clan. The elders debated to kill or sacrifice Sunbright so he fled. [2]
Rengarth tribesmen lived off their herds, which spent the day foraging, so the barbarians had plenty of time for talk and stories and gossip and jokes [2]
Young men and women of his tribe went out alone after sixteen summers to seek wisdom, a totem animal, guidance from the gods, and whatever else they could learn [2]
Rengarth, some said was simply a rendering of "raven" from an ancient tongue [3]
Rengarth do not read, they keep lore of old in stories and songs [7]
The man, who'd bargained fairly at the beginning of the journey, now reneged. By barbarian code, the two fighters could cut him down, chop off his head, then take their pay in money or goods, or else enslave some of these clerks, though they were puny specimens. [7]
legends of the tundra, the stories of undead monsters who sucked the life from men—and yet left them undead to do the same—were the most fearsome.

Language
Rag-faa – mean ???? in orcish (perhaps “charge” or “attack” or “kill”) [1]

Delia
Candlemas was a small, podgy, balding, bearded man in an undyed smock of sackcloth tied with a rope. Candlemas was high steward of Delia. Candlemas oversaw the lesser wizards who oversaw other humans who oversaw their brethren in the manuring of crops, culling of forest growth, diverting of streams and dams, and the maintaining of many lesser castles and barns and granaries, all mundane resources that kept the manor and lands thriving [1]
Sysquemalyn was a woman, taller, flamehaired, dressed in a green tunic that sparkled like fish scales, tight white breeches of soft leather, and pointed red boots that laced to the knee. At her breast hung a pendant sporting a gargoyle face whose expression shifted constantly, but which was always ugly and leering. Sysquemalyn was chamberlain of Delia. Sysquemalyn oversaw her own staff of wizards who in turn supervised others who directed a staggering number of maids and footmen and cooks who kept the castle neat and its people fed; artisans who made furniture, clothing, and other goods; and entertainers and musicians who needed to be prepared at any moment in case the castle's owner dropped by. [1]
Palantir, the smoky globe allows for scrying [1]
Lady Polaris was beautiful, her face calm and poised, her snowwhite hair setting off perfect golden skin. The lady was archmage of Delia, one of many small city-states that made up the Netherese Empire. In the pyramidal power of the empire, Lady Polaris ranked fairly high but was still under the thrall of the preeminent mages. Yet she had under her control many powerful mages of her own, as well as many normal humans. Lady Polaris had vast holdings and vast powers. Known as The Great White Cow or Big White Boar (behind her back????) [1,9,12]
There is something wrong with the wheat harvest. Everyone at court is talking about it, and I said I would take care of the problem, whatever it is. Fix it." The palantir went blank, a black glass globe again. The wheat kernels are hollow and red [1]
Rust, a blight that eats the heart of wheat kernels [1]
Bellstar, maid in Delia, likes hairy men [1]
It was said, by old slaves returned from the castle, that the archmage of Delia ruled all she could see, and since the castle drifted a mile or more high, that was a lot of land. But it was still only a tiny fraction of the Netheril Empire, and Sunbright's people's land was the tiniest fragment of that fraction. [1]
Maids wear a white cap and short white dress with a black apron, the colours of Lady Polaris [3]
Ysgarda, 10 year old page girl in Delia, her father keeps the dovecotes [4]
Lady Polaris, Noble of the Neth, High-born and Beloved of the Gods [4]

Netheril
Archmages were known to slaughter their thralls on short—or no—notice, and anything sent by one was suspect [1]
Crowns, high value coinage [1]
Groundlings, mud men, high netherese terms for low netherese people [1]
far north the tundra barbarians [1]
Moander, beast-lord [2]
wheat rust was everywhere throughout Lady Polaris's lands. The rust had spread to the spring barley crop [2,4]
A tundra barbarian lived with ice eight months a year. [2]
High Netherese wizards amuse themselves by watching and challenging Low Netherese from afar (sending monsters into their path, etc), whom they regard as little more than livestock [2]
Smolyn's eyes, Netherese saying (Smoleyn was an arcanist) [3]
Tipald, arcanist [3]
Village of Augerbend on the River Ost, 13 leagues east of the forest south of the Barren Mountains [3]
Beneficent Traders' Guild of Dalekeva [4]
Quantol's Changer, a spell to change appearance [4]
Dorlas, son of Drigor, dwarf warrior and bodyguard hired by the Beneficent Traders’ Guild of Dalekeva. Came almost to the barbarian's breastbone, though he was twice as wide with arms like the rope hawsers restraining the ferry. His beard was strawberry-blond and braided, his hair the same under a simple steel helmet painted with a compass on the top. He wore all rough-out leather and a steel cuirass besides, easily toted a pack almost as big as himself and a fluted warhammer that Sunbright would have swung to kill an ox. Slain by a Neth Hunter. Dorlas, was originally from a tribe called the Sons of Baltar in the Iron Mountains far to the south [5,6,7]
the High Ones – Low Netherese term for High Netherese [4]
The army of the One King, sire. That's what he calls himself. No one knows much about him, but he's managed to pull together an army of both orcs and men. They cooperate. He flies the banner of the red splayed hand. One King's horde has overrun the city of Tinnainen, killed or enslaved the populace, and made it its headquarters. [4]
the southern deserts (is this in the south of Netheril????) [4]
The Neth had seen hordes before, usually pushed out of the eastern steppes by other hordes pushed west by the growth of empires in distant Kara-Tur. Even the tribe of Sunbright's barbarians had been pushed to the wall of the Barren Mountains a few generations back. [4]
The area east of the Barren Mountains was unable to be scryed. Perhaps there'd been a battle there—that was a safe guess for anyplace in the empire—and residual magic clouded scrying, ancient shields and glamours and hexes. There were several spots in Toril where Netherese magic could not penetrate, but this patch of blankness had moved east. This patch might have been due to the One King casting scrying wards to stop people finding out he is a lich and what he is up to [4,11]
Somewhere in the Barren Mountains region is a book. It's very big, they say, and has a ruby set into the cover. Or a pearl. It's chock-full of ancient lore from a race of nonhumans. Stone people or spirits, or some such. The tome holds the collected wisdom of an ancient, vanished race who predate humans. [4]
Barbarians can't be trusted! They're savages, not much risen above orcs! They've no sense of honor or decency, but pillage and rape and raid without mercy! And they're dirty and infested – Low Netherese opinion of Rengarth [5]
“Tears of Jannath” – Netherese exclamation of frustration [5]
Greenwillow, half elf, of the Moon Elves, cousin to the High Elves of Cormanthyr! Paid to join the diplomatic mission to the One King. Must journey to the court of the One King. I carry a missive for him from the court of the High Elves of Cormanthyr, who are distant cousins. The missive orders the One King to cease his empire building or else. At least 200 years old [5,6]
Red Lake, Hidden Lake, Shylock Mountains, Conifer City, Zweihaus River, High Ice, Fluvion, Frostypaw, Froth-water, Cede Run, Gillan River, Hatchet Mountains, Remembrance, Gods' Legion – places in Netheril [5]
the elder council (of Dalekeva or Netheril????) [5]
In some swamps and fens the barbarian even spotted some antique reptiles, the great long-necked honkers and screechers like giant lizards. Their numbers and lands shrinking [5]
Battle-leaf, Sealkiller, Manslayer, bandits in the One King’s army [5]
A Neth hunt – flying bandits that hunt humans of Low Netheril, but only prey that can defend itself (they ignore useless victims in cities). The Neth Hunt use flying disks and mechanical animals to fly about. They are High Netherese arcanists, the rules are they can use only hand and missile weapons and lances that shoot energy (fire, cold, lightning), no spells allowed. Their armour was fantastically fluted and gilt, and painted in every colour of the rainbow, so they looked like monstrous hummingbirds. The masks were horrific, wolves or lions or such. The hunting rules the Neth abide by were adopted from my cousins, the High Elves of Cormanthyr, who have hunted humans for centuries." She added in defense, "As usual, the human mages have perverted the original purpose, which is lost in ancient times. Believe it or not, the High Elves hunting humans was a compliment, for it marked the ascendancy of mankind and the eventual decline of elves. [6]
By the Rocks of the Reaver – a Netherese expression of anger or revenge [6]
The bear was even grander than Sunbright had imagined. It must have been lazy, or crippled, to only scratch so high on the neighboring trees. It was almost twenty feet long, easily dwarfing a horse, and the barbarian could have walked under its belly while crouching. A relic of earlier times, it looked old, with gray shot through its thick red-brown fur and around its muzzle. But it had the power of a fourspan of oxen, and was angry at being disturbed. It lashed out at every moving target to crush it flat and eat at leisure. The bear lived in a cave near Delakeva [6]
When trouble strikes, Low Netherese cities ask the nearest High Netherese enclave for aid. The enclave demands the Low Netherese investigate and resolve the problem. The Low Netherese then give up and ignore the problem and everyone pretends it doesn’t exist until it is forgotten [7]
Cities in Netheril have a fighters' guild. Part of their function is to see freebooters buried, their goods returned to their families if possible [7]
a soldiers' hostel where the women were separated from the men [7]
bodyguarded them for six months, give or take. One hundred eighty days ... at two silver crowns a day [7]
Thousand Fist orcs (from the Barren Mountains) with neat gray tunics embellished with a red splayed hand. There were six of them, with obsidian-studded clubs or short swords, and three humans. The men wore the same uniforms, and all three had shaved their heads, probably because the tunics came infested with lice and fleas [9]
Selune, She Who Guides [9]
Tyralhorn the Archmage, who was in turn only one of several in this city of Anauria, a High City second only to Most-High Karsus. Lady Polaris herself owned two palaces here and others elsewhere, as well as her "country cottage," what she sometimes called the vast floating castle of Delia, where Candlemas was steward. The highest archmages of Netheril pursued mainly magics and excitement, but somehow wealth and property seemed to stick to their fingers in their search. [9]
One thing all the bored archmages collected avidly was gossip. [9]
Windswept Mountains south of Tinnainen [10]
Sysquemalyn opened a portal to her own demiplane (which draws power from the Nine Hells), in so she cracked the walls of reality, now hundreds of portals were opening all over Netheril (and Toril) disgorging monsters or dragging people to the Nine Hells (rivers of purple slime, hordes of trolls, etc). Sysquemalyn’s demiplane is a nightmare torture pit where the laws of reality do not apply and portals can be opened to anywhere (including into a star). Eventually her use of the demiplane caught the attentions of a pit fiend from the Nine Hells (Prinquis). The Demiplane still exists [13,14,16,17]
Only the greatest archmages of Netheril had ever dared to challenge the Nine Hells, and most of them had never returned. The high mages of the Netherese would come soon to investigate, and they would trace the trail to here. Their punishment for Sysquemalyn, and himself for not stopping her, was too awful to think about. [12]
Reins of Shar, expression of exasperation [14]
By M'dhal's sansevil – Netherese expression [15]
Gwynn the Vampire and Hersent's Sigil (mythical or legendary figures from Netheril’s past????) [15]
Anglin (prismatic wall), Valdick (made stone floor vanish), Xanad (unseen force pushed back enemies), Primidon (a burning cloud) – Netherese spell creators [16]
Great Forest (High Forest????) [17]
archmages have been compelled to step in to close the leaks you sprang in the Nine Hells, Sysquemalyn. In the last two days, we've all had to slave to correct your mistakes, and have labored harder than we have in the past hundred years. Many projects and games and plots had to be abandoned while we cleaned up this mess. You've no idea the total losses in revenues and lives. Even here in my own castle, I was required to pluck the body of a dead maid, entirely drained of blood, off my bed. Nor was I happy to be reminded constantly by the other archmages that it was one of my charges who had slipped her leash [17]
You played; you lost; you pay the forfeit. That's the way of the Netherese [17]
gambling is a curse of the Netherese [17]
Bandits from the One King’s army now journey to the Lich Lord to join his army. The Lich Lord was the One King [18]

Phaerimm
Thousands of feet below, in the blackest cavern, yet only half in Sunbright's dimension, a clutch of strange creatures felt the human's footsteps recede. They returned to their conversation.
Bad, thought one. Words, for it, were useless. Too bad. Dead.
The magic storms come more and more frequently.
More and more the fault of the Above-World.
Neth, they call themselves. Wizards, toying with magic, squandering it.
We starve for magic they waste.
We must tell them, warn them not to trifle. We learned long ago.
We cannot tell them. One of us just exploded trying to do so.
Adding its dweomer to the magic storms raging everywhere, and aggravating the problem.
The beings resembled animate tornados, upright cones with stinger tails formed of polished diamond. They were the phaerimm, the oldest race on Abeir-Toril. And as might be expected, there were few of them. [2]
Men did not know the phaerimm existed, though some had been seen now and then, observers mistaking them for dust devils. [2]
Phaerimm chose not to reveal themselves, for they feared slavery [2]
Phaerimm could move through their own ancient passageways and chambers, or even through soil and rock almost as easily, for then they slipped into another dimension, leaving only a fragment of themselves behind for a toehold. Yet if one of the phaerimm blundered into a magic storm near the surface, it was immediately—and violently—shunted wholly into this dimension. Where soil and rock already existed, the phaerimm ceased to exist, and left only a cone-shaped crater [2]
We tried astral visitation and only drove wizards mad. They clawed out their eyes, tore out their hearts, killed their fellows until at last they killed themselves. We tried visions, we tried lifedrain. Now we've tried direct visitation and failed [2]
Perhaps not. We can move humans hither and thither, we know. Already our lifedrain spells have caused their wheat to rot on the stalk. Starving them sets them moving, searching for food. [2]
the spells work lifedrain. And the drain grows, feeding itself to spread and drain yet more life [2]
Lost. Two more of us, gone. Dead forever. And not even our magic can re-form them. Magic is too much for humans to handle. They do not understand it and never will. We must wipe them out before they spread too far. I suggested that centuries ago, but no one listened. We're listening now. Too late. Too late for us, then. Returning to my suggestion... That again? Gentle beings, we've just witnessed the worst magic-storm in our history. It occurred far below the surface, farther than humans and other spined ilk have ventured before, and killed two of our tribe. Magic seeps downward, and the humans expend it like rainfall. Soon there will be no room for the phaerimm. We can perch here and bewail our fate, but words accomplish nothing. Nor has anyone offered a good suggestion. Our lifedrain has weakened the humans' hold on the earth and generated instability. The lowest masses, the workers, will rise against their masters on the day the last loaf is eaten. Even the high Neth begin to grasp that. As pressures build from below, like a volcano, and resources grow shorter, the strain will tell in the upper levels of their society. Let us contribute to that pressure rather than seek to avoid it, as we cannot. To undermine the Neth, to stir up their magics as tornadoes stir the atmosphere, will force them to expend more. Let them burn bright and hot, and extinguish that much quicker. Let us heap fuel on their fires! Fight fire with fire, as humans say? Yes, until the inferno overtakes them. And we take what is left, which will be next to nothing? We take what remains, true. But now even the earth is not our own. I am in agreement. I, too. And I. So say we all, then. Heap magic on their heads until it burns them. Where do we start? [17]

Augerbend
Ruellana of Augerbend. Curves like a walrus tusk. Green eyes, red hair (might be Sysquemalyn in disguise) [4,5]
farm. It was a fortified cabin with a double-barred door, thick log walls, and a slate roof that would not burn [4]
the village occupied land that jutted squarely into a small river. Hence its name, for the river made a bend like an auger brace used for drilling holes. [4]

Dalekeva
Dalekeva is one of the Low Cities that lie on the eastern outskirts of Netheril, enjoys the love and protection of the empire. Formerly named (during the last dynasty) Oberon's Hold after the great Lord Ober. The high walls of yellow stone, the onion-topped towers, and the colorful town that sprawled around the city and meandered along the many roads into yellow-grained farmland and beyond. Ruled by a city council [4,5,6]
The Bursting Book, small tavern in Dalekeva [7]
Mondar, eldest dwarf in Dalekeva [7]
a bluebird on a yellow circle, symbol of the house of Sunadram of Dalekev, a middle-aged trader with a yellow beard that sells fabrics. Member of the Beneficent Traders' Guild of Dalekeva [7]
Baroness Missos, noble elite of Dalekeva [7]
Mistress Keenid, merchant in Dalekeva. Member of the Beneficent Traders' Guild of Dalekeva
Sister Fjord, a dark-skinned woman with long braided tresses came to his bedside. She wore an unadorned blue gown, the uniform of some sect popular in the city
A pit of the Underdark. It's an old curse laid against the city's founders, according to legend. Like a volcano or hot springs, eruptions sometimes split the surface. In the abandoned quarters, they can go unnoticed and grow. Exorcism and barrowloads of rock plug them
Crying Tower (some kind of religious building where clerics and mages sacrifice to the gods????)
in better times Dalekeva and Tinnainen had traded mutton and beef and hides and ironware for dried fish and silver and grain.

Tinnainen
Tinnainen. It occupied a high plane almost devoid of trees, and the rocky road wended right to its front gates. Another road crossed the main one, and past the city steeper foothills gave way to distant mountains. In this direction, Tinnainen was the first or last city along the road, a fairish size but tiny compared to Dalekeva, yet it served as a market for whole communities scattered through the mountain range. Again, there was a small town surrounding the gray-walled city, which by fresh paint and new stonework showed it had been reinforced for defense, with catapults and ballistae on the largest flat-roofed building. In the distance, crofters' homes were scattered in fertile pockets, but there was no farmland to speak of, for the land was stony and broken. It was sheep and goat country [9]
Tinnainen is only at the fringe of the empire, sire, and is not even a Low City. Lies 20 leagues east of Dalekeva [4]
The One King looked like a bearded, black-haired man carved from wax. He appeared to be middle-aged, was unusually tall with handsome features, black hair and beard, and wore a gaudy crown of platinum set with red and black gems and bewinged with silver. The only jarring feature was the monarch's pale, almost sallow skin, which made him stand out amidst his courtiers, who were either sun-dark or gray-skinned. There was no expression whatsoever on the king's face. No human warmth, no anger at Sunbright's presumption, no sympathy. The king spoke, his tone of voice as flat as his face. [10]
Angriman, the One King's chief minister. Of middling size, stoop-shouldered, and distracted by his duties. If not for his average size and pompous nature, he would have been imposing with his grayish skin, pouchy jowls, black, burning eyes, and dark hair that formed a deep widow's peak. Angriman must have been a soldier at one time, a good one, and was still tough as oak [10,11]
A cave south of Tinnainen in the Windswept Mountains. Within dwells the dread red wyrm Wrathburn, very strong, devilishly wicked, inordinately vain, as I recall. And not too bright. The dragon was immense. Its head was longer than a rowboat, frilled with horns like stalactites, its neck like a stone bridge, its back like a low hill. Details were indistinct, but its scales seemed as big as a man's hand, overlaid so tightly they bristled outward. The beast's pointed ears drooped at the tips, and its nostrils were flame-blackened around the edges. In the wyrm's possession is a great book crowned with a ruby and laden with great and arcane lore. The tome holds the collected wisdom of an ancient, vanished race who predate humans. [10,11]
The One King is a powerful mage, actually a lich disguised as a human (fake skin around a metal frame) [10,11]
Tinnainen was attacked by Wrathburn, The One King was reduced to bone [11]


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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2022 :  08:55:47  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not the best realms novel i've read thus far, not the worst either.

The first half was actually quite enjoyable. The second half where they get into hell was a slog on par with Lord Ginsu novels.

The geography is all wrong, but its not unsalvageable. If we take the novel as though it were a retelling by Sunbright, and therefore entirely his point of view, we could easily explain away the misnomers (enclaves were referred to as castles frequently) and the incorrect geography.
Sunbright wouldnt know Cormanthyr is way off on Netheril's eastern border, his entire world is the Rengarth Ancestral Lands, so he couldnt comprehend how big the empire truly is.

So Sunbright starts off in the Barren Mountains. Heads south, then east, and east, and east. Then he ends up in hell, and gets dropped back again on the borders of the Great Forest (the High Forest).

He keeps talking about the lichlord being east of Cormanthyr but of course that isnt correct, the lichlord was in the west of Netheril and so would be east of the High Forest. Therefore the entire adventure took place in lands south and east of the High Forest which i'm going to place in the Grey Vale and Fallen Lands.

The other alternative is to assume Sunbright got the words for east and west confused, but i dislike that solution more.

Otherwise everything in it still fits. The novel has some quirky bits, like the Neth Hunt, but even that works when you consider that the High Netherese might regard the Low Netherese as animals and that they are above the laws of High Netherese.

The bit where Low Netherese delegates beseech the High Netherese for aid, and then get ordered to solve the problem themselves and report back actually works quite well, its how the modern world operates. Stuff goes wrong, us lowly peasants ask the political leaders for help and invariably the political leaders do nothing and we have to sort it ourselves (or as more often happens, we ignore it because we think they should do something).

Not too much extra lore on Netheril that isnt covered elsewhere, except perhaps a handful of place names and arcanist names, but then thats to be expected because its not an Ed Greenwood novel.

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Athreeren
Learned Scribe

128 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2022 :  15:07:59  Show Profile Send Athreeren a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, this one has some real problems with the lore. Some are really baffling, such as Karsus being mentioned in a time before his birth, even though the second book makes it a plot point that Karsus doesn't exist in the time of the first one. If we take the books at face value, we have to conclude that Karsus was named after another Netherese mage who was more powerful than all the others...
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Gary Dallison
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6346 Posts

Posted - 09 Sep 2022 :  18:30:23  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Huh, didnt notice that one.

I suppose that is why the book is dated around -700 DR according to the wiki, because it references Karsus and he was born in -696 DR.

On its own there appears to be no such problems with the dating, i'll have to look out for the reference that says the first book events occurred before Karsus.

Again it is an easy solution if we assume the tale is being told by Sunbright or someone who heard it from him (Rengarth do not write) and so it is subject to embellishment and artistic licence.

The mention of the Lich Lord actually puts the events of this novel closer to the Fall of Netheril since the Lich Lord appeared in How the Mighty Are Fallen adventure.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 11 Sep 2022 :  19:41:45  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Veiled Dragon (1364 DR)
By Troy Denning

Cormyr
Storm Sprite (named after Storm Silverhand), caravel hired out of Cormyr. Captain Fowler, half orc, Harper friend. Has run cargo for the Ginger Palace (Shou embassy in Elversult). Captain Fowler originally stole the ship [1,2,12]
Arvold, human sailmender serving on the Storm Sprite, a sharp-featured face with a hawkish nose and dark, glistening eyes. Lecherous, hopeless thief, but good with a needle [23]
Cormyr pays a thousand gold for each wyrm head brought to port, and every man gets his share. [1]

Ruha
Storm Silverhand had told her only that she was to sail to the port village of Pros, where an important Harper named Vaerana Hawklyn would be waiting to take her to the city ofElversult. Presumably, Vaerana would explain Ruha's assignment, but even that was not certain. [1]
The Voonlar debacle had been Ruha's first assignment. Storm Silverhand had sent her to work in a Voonlar tavern, where she was to serve as a secret intermediary and messenger. On her first day, a slave smuggler had crossed her palm with a silver coin. Ruha, failing to understand the significance of the gesture, had accepted the offering with thanks, then balked at delivering the expected services. Feeling slighted, the furious slaver had refused to accept the coin's return and drawn his dagger. He would certainly have killed the witch if one of his own men, a Harper spy, had not leapt to her defense. As it was, she and the spy had been forced to fight their way to safety, leaving the smuggler free to sell a hundred men, women, and children into bondage. [1]
the Harper's pin hidden over her heart. It was a small silver brooch fashioned in the shape of a crescent moon, surrounded by four twinkling stars with a harp in the center. The pin had once belonged to Lander of Archenbridge, a valiant scout who had died helping the Bedine tribes resist an army of rapacious Zhentarim invaders. [1]
All of her spells were sewn into the interior lining of her aba. In the desert, paper and ink were precious commodities, but there was always plenty of thread to spare for embroidery. [2]
The Bedine, used large, curled horns called amarats to signal others and ensure they could be found [2]
Ruha's first mirage had been of thousands of butterflies. Later that year, her tribe had been forced to camp at an oasis infested with moths, and soon every piece of cloth in the khowwan was full of holes. Later, the face of a handsome stranger had appeared over that of her husband, Ajaman. Ajaman had died that night; the handsome stranger had arrived soon after to help Ruha's people fight the ones who had murdered her husband. She had eventually taken the stranger, the Harper named Lander, as a lover—only to see him felled by the same enemy that had slain Ajaman.[2]
she had long ago learned that few people understood her visions. Her own tribe had banished her from their camps, believing her wicked magic caused the calamities she foresaw. Even in the Heartlands, she had twice been stoned for warning people of disasters about to befall them, and once she had been accosted for not foreseeing a catastrophe that befell the flirtatious young daughter of the mayor of Teshwave. [2]
Ruha of the Mtair Dhafir [5]
Ruha has already killed three other dragons, in the desert [5]
Stone spells, sand spells, wind spells, sun spells, wood spells, spirit spells [3,4,5,6,7,8]

Other Lore
the Invisible Art, an ancient discipline whose practitioners employed nothing but the power of their own minds to perform supernatural acts. [4]
pieces of gold stamped with the proud raven of the Kingdom of Sembia [6]
remove a gold coin, as large as a palm, and embossed with the image of a camel and several strange letters, comes from Calimshan. [6]
Frankincense and myrrh. They are resins, scraped from beneath the bark of certain trees that grow only on the eastern side of the highest mountains in Anauroch. Frankincense and myrrh used to scent the air around stagnant oases. The tears can also be pressed to create perfumes, or mixed with almond oil to create restorative tonics and soothing lotions, or stirred into elixirs to ease the pains of childbirth." Ruha paused to see if this elicited any interest from the princess. When it did not, she continued, "They are also good for soothing stinging eyes, earaches—even as a remedy to the bites of certain venomous insects, and as an antidote to some kinds of poison. [6]
Lasal leaves, a mind-numbing herb that defended against the effects of the Invisible Art. Unfortunately, it also caused tremors and disorientation, and as often as not left longterm users little better than zombies. Known to the Shou. Also prevents use of magic [7,9]
Thornback lizards, plump and round of body, with blotchy, tan-colored hides indistinguishable from the sand of the desert. Feed on particular species of ants native to their desert homeland. (Native to Shou lands like Quoya Desert????). They puff out their throats and bob their heads up and down in the universal challenge of lacertilians. [7]
Alam'ra Wall, a beautiful oasis where the sweet waters poured from a cliff of white stone (in Anauroch????) [7]
oleander leaves, lantana, castor bean, pink pea, Shou berry, all poisons
Truth potions damage the mind [10]
Use of a love potion on a spirit will bind it to another spirit. If the oil is poured over a vessel containing the spirits of both Yanseldara and Cypress, the two will be joined together forever [10,12]
Shou berry rubbed into skin protects from insect bites [11]
Sharee, half elf tavern maid in Saerloon, Captain Fowler likes her and keeps visiting but she keeps hitting him with tankards in the head [12]
Unseen Mask, Great Lord of Shadows and Master of Deceit, King of Betrayal [14]
Storm sent for you this morning. Some giants up in Oak Dale stole a duke's daughter [Epilogue]

Language
Tonrong – Shou Lung for shark (may literally mean lion of the sea) [3]

Ginger Palace
Situated on an arid plain south of Elversult [4]
Garden of Flickering Tongues, home to the humped back of Five Color Bridge, strode down the opal paved Path of Delight, and stopped beneath the iridescent curve of the Arch of Many-Hued Scales. The park’s desert quarter is home to twenty quartzite boulders imported from Calimshan. Forest quarter, jungle quarter, swamp quarter. Only Prince Tang used the garden [4]
Yuan Ti, company officer of guards at Ginger Palace. Young nobleman. Moon faced. Son of General Fui D’hang [4,11]
The Shou citadel was surrounded by the soldierly ranks of a ginkgo forest, and sat not upon some windswept crag, but upon a square mound of pounded earth. The walls of its outer curtain were plastered smooth and painted white as alabaster, and they were capped along the entire length by a peaked roof of scarlet tiles. At every corner stood a tower with five stacked balconies, each one covered by a scarlet-tiled roof with upswept eaves. Inside the fortress, several buildings rose high enough above the outer curtain to display the same roof styling, lending an aura of harmony and supreme order to the entire edifice. [6]
A Shou sentry armored in a conical brass helmet and a red silk hauberk imprinted with the tessellated pattern of its plate scale lining. Each guard held a long, curve-bladed polearm, the butt resting on the floor between his feet and the shaft rising vertically in front of him. [6]
Chuang, chamberlain of Ginger Palace, referred to as Honoured One. Takes bribes to allow people into Ginger Palace. Executed for taking bribes [6]
General Fui D'hang, a squat, flatcheeked man with an unwavering scowl and granite eyes, commander of the soldiers at the Ginger Palace. He served in Lady Feng’s personal guard before becoming garrison commander of Ginger Palace when it was built, he has been garrison commander ever since. Executed by his son on the orders of Prince Tang for disobeying an order [6,11]
Tanning Vats, where the shou tan leather [6]
Chamber of One Thousand Painful Deaths, a dank, fetid place in the deepest of the palace's sub-basements, filled with all manor of chains, hooks, and grim instruments of agony.[7]
Lady Feng’s private chambers have a secret laboratory that the guards no nothing about (her familiar hides here – a white lemur called Winter Blossom that tore out Hsieh’s eye some time ago [7,10]
Cinnamon House (guest quarters????) [7]
Lady Feng has won favor of Yen-Wang-Yeh, Venerable Scholar of Eighteen Hells (Yen-Wang-Yeh must be a being of the afterlife???? - when Yen-Wang-Yeh's servants came to drag Cypress's wayward spirit down to the Ten Courts of the Afterlife, Tang would recount all the dragon's crimes against himself and Shou Lung, thus insuring a stern verdict that would condemn his foe to ten thousand centuries of torment in the Eighteenth Hell.), the Great Judge, King of Eighteen Hells. [7,11,12]
Hall of Amity, where guests are welcomed
The refinery vault of ylang blossom was hidden in a secret basement beneath the palace's great spicehouse
a small, triangular table of polished mahogany into the Hall of Amity and placed three teak thrones around it. Prince Tang and his wife sat close together on one side, staring at their reflections in the burnished surface, and Minister Hsieh sat alone at the opposite point. The shape of the table represented the trio's nominal equality as members of the Imperial Household of Shou Lung, the seating arrangement reflected their actual status in the Emperor's eyes, and the absence of any guards except the minister's was a concession to his office: only the Emperor himself could bring personal guards into the presence of a mandarin.
Hsieh and Lady Feng were cousins, they disliked each other vehemently and had taken pains to avoid each other for years. It was even whispered that, after some incident involving Lady Feng*s familiar, it had been the mandarin who had arranged the exile of the Third Virtuous Concubine.
the Giant's Run Mountains, a chain of high peaks lying half a day's canter southeast of the Ginger Palace [11]
More than 70 soldiers stationed at the Ginger Palace [11]
Lady Feng, unlike most Shou women, she showed every day of her age—and then some. She wore her gray hair pulled into a tight bun that did little to lessen its unruly appearance, and her skin was as ashen and flaky as lizard scales. She has one normal eye and another eye that pops out of its socket. The crow's-feet at the corners of her eyes fanned out like spiderwebs to veil her entire face. His mother was capable of killing a man with the merest wisp of an incantation. Though he believed she loved him as any mother loved her child, she was a Scholar of Yen-Wang-Yeh, and to scholars of the Great Judge, life and death were merely aspects of one existence; even a son could not be sure his mother would care which state he happened to occupy. [13]
Well of Eighteen Hells, an eternally deep well [13]

Shou Lung
samfu, a long-sleeved used to practice empty-hand defense [4]
Mandarin Hsieh Han Liu, Imperial Minister of Spices to Emperor Kao Tsao Shou Tang, Jade Monarch of Shou Lung and of all Civilized Lands. Visiting the Ginger Palace from Shou Lung, travelled across the Dragonmere by ship from Cormyr to Ilipur [3,8]
Yu Po, physician and Consummate Scribe to Esteemed Mandarin Hsieh Han Liu, once treated the emperor [3,8]
Ginger Lady, trade ship of Shou Lung operating in the Dragonmere (between Ilipur and Elversult), carrying gold, spice, and ylang blossom [3]
Considered bad manners to imply a Shou (especially nobleman) is concealing something (lying, deceiving, etc) [4]
It is a crime to lie to the Emperor or his family. No Shou officer would commit such a treason, and not only because he feared for his family's heads. The offense would dishonor his ancestors, causing them to lose their places in the Celestial Bureaucracy—an offense said ancestors would surely repay with all manner of curses and incurable plagues [4]
Shou punishment. Given the magnitude of their failure, such a light punishment was humiliating. Its temperance implied that Tang believed them incapable of doing better—which happened to be the case, though the prince did not fault the guards for their inadequacy. Even the most devoted sentries could not capture intruders they could not see or hear, or find trespassers who left no tracks. [4]
The Minister of Magic was currently at odds with Tang's own sponsor, Mandarin Hsieh Han Liu, the Imperial Minister of Spices. Consequently, the Emperor's wu-jens were considered too valuable to waste on an inconsequential embassy like the Ginger Palace. Such political frustrations were a daily part of the prince's life, and one of the many reasons he preferred the company of lizards to that of men. [4]
Ministry of Spices of Shou Empire, in charge of trade
Imperial Household of Shou Lung
all of Supreme Harmony, everyone is surprised and most pleased by profits of Ginger Palace
only the Emperor himself could bring personal guards into the presence of a mandarin.
Yellow hauberks of silk-jacketed scale armor. Emblazoned on each of their chests was a scarlet wyvern, the personal crest of the Mandarin Hsieh Han Liu.
Wasp knife, slender throwing dagger employed by Shou [7]
Virtuous Concubine is honored position in house of Shou prince [7]
Lying to a mandarin was both a crime as terrible as treason and an indelible stain on the honor of his ancestors
Shou believe in the Ten Courts of Afterlife. Number Six Court delivers harsh sentences to betrayers [10,14]
Minister of War, in charge of all soldiers of Shou [11]
Land of Extreme Felicity (one of the Shou afterlifes????) [13]
scorpion knife [14]
Cheosong, female clothing [14]
In Shou Lung, the ministers are more dangerous than their protectors and guards [11]
Great Banquet of Apology, how Shou nobles apologize [Epilogue]
Tai Tung (Emperor’s court / palace????) [Epilogue]


Prince Tang
From his earliest childhood, the prince had been taught to retreat from danger and call his guards to take care of the problem. It was a lesson he had not ignored once in thirty years of life. [4]
30 years old [4]
Princess Wei Dao, wife of Prince Tang. Lithe, diminutive. Collects coins. (Trained as some sort of ninja????) [4,6,7]
Prince Tang, wears a maitung (long silken tunic favoured by Shou noblemen) [4]
Recently resigned from the Cult of the Dragon because Cypress took his mother hostage [4]
Lady Feng, Third Virtuous Concubine, Prince Tang’s mother. Taken by Cypress. Lady Feng is a master of spirit magic [4,5]
If Lady Feng is slain, then Prince Tang and his wife (and children) would lose all honour and would be exiled from Shou Lung [4]
The Shou trade In poisons and dark magic. Vaerana Hawklyn has threatened to chase them out of Elversult if they don’t stop [5]
Prince Tang joined the Cult of the Dragon when the Shou arrived in Elversult, he wrongly believed they were benevolent and honourable because of the Shou reverence of dragons. When Prince Tang discovered what they were like he tried to leave the Cult, but Cypress sank all his ships, so Prince Tang agreed to smuggle poisons (puffer fish venom) and spell ingredients (oleander leaves, lantana, castor bean, pink pea, Shou berry) for the Cult. Prince Tang makes lots of money from this arrangement but feels guilty
Prince Tang had been to Cypress’ lair twice with other cult members [11]
Prince Kao Chou Tang [16]

Cypress
Wants ylang oil from Prince Tang to create a love potion. According to Lady Feng, only Prince Tang knows how to press the ylang blossom to produce ylang oil. However, ylang blossoms must be picked in the morning to be potent enough for a love potion that is permanent, otherwise it will wear off. [4,14]
Indrith Shalla, high priestess in service to Cypress. Cypress usually sends his high priestess to do his bidding (rarely he ventures out himself) [4]
Cypress loves Yanseldara and has done for many years, ever since she defeated him and drove him from Elversult. She was the first and only being to defeat her so he is obsessed with her [9,14]
Wei Dao and Tombor are both working for the Cult of the Dragon, exchanging messages through fake foreign coins (that Wei Dao pretends to like) which contain hidden compartments and messages. Wei Dao passed a message to Tombor that Hsieh was coming to replace Prince Tang at the Ginger Palace, so Cypress attacked the ship and tried to kill Mandarin Hsieh [10]
Cypress’ lair lies somewhere southeast of the Ginger Palace, in a small swamp that few know exists and doesn’t appear on any map (the Wetwoods????). The swamps are filled with very large alligators and large swimming vipers, all under Cypress’ command. Cypress’ lair lies at the end of a long tunnel inside a cave in a swampy pool at the back of the cave [11]
When a dracolich's body was destroyed, he lost the ability to speak, cast magic spells, and use his terrible breath weapon. Unfortunately, he could regain those capabilities by consuming a mere tenth of his previous body, which he could always locate via a strange mystical bond—even if the corpse had been burned, shredded, or eaten. [11]
Cypress is guarded by a pair of wyverns [11]
Cypress’ lair. The ceiling and walls were draped with jewelry both ancient and new: thumb-sized diamonds set into gold rings, blood-red rubies strung end-to-end in long chains, emeralds as large as cat eyes dangling from ear clips of pure platinum. From dozens of ancillary passages poured streams large and small, all passing over beds of pearl and opal before they fell into a sparkling lake that filled the lower half of the cavern. [13]
Cypress’ phylactery is the amber gem atop Yanseldara’s staff [14]


Pros
The harbor at Pros seemed equal parts quicksand and mudflat, with just enough water to float the flatbottomed scow carrying the Storm Sprite's survivors toward shore. [5]
The shanty town ahead. Most of the buildings were gray, ramshackle affairs in desperate need of a lime wash. The huts closest to the water hovered above the beach on flimsy stilts that looked ready to pitch their loads into the mud at the slightest push. A half-dozen rickety docks jutted far out into the bay. Two of the piers were empty the rest bustled with fishermen unloading their take. [5]
Cult of the Dragon, since they came to Pros (recently????) they are buying up all the sharks caught by fishermen, and paying very well [5]
Jonas Tempaltar, cooper at Pros, knows Vaerana Hawklyn [5]
William, rows the scow that carries people to shore [5]
Henry and Godfrey, ruffians at the dock known as Black Caps, demand a tax of 1 silver per person coming ashore. Work for the Cult of the Dragon. Slain by Vaerana Hawklyn [5]
Vaerana Hawklyn has a number of Maces of Elversult operating in secret in Pros (she sent them posing as sailors and dockhands during the shark bounty) [5]
The dock road has a dozen ramshackle taverns [5]
Black Caps, criminal band that works with or is part of the Cult of the Dragon in Pros [5]
Surrounded by a wooden stockade with gatehouses [5]
The terrain outside Pros (to the west) was surprisingly clear. Other than a few weed-choked farm plots lying close to the village stockade, the vista was one of grassy, rolling knolls, with a vast sapphire sky hanging so low it seemed they would ride into it. The muddy road snaked its way up a broad, dry valley, meandering back and forth around the base of the dome-shaped hills, gradually growing drier and dustier as it climbed away from the Dragonmere. [5]
The road to Elversult (from Pros). After cresting the dale's headwall, it struck out as straight as an arrow across a broad expanse of flat, featureless tableland, the distance before them seemed immeasurable, there were no knolls or ravines [5]

Elversult
Vaerana Hawklyn, Lord Constable, Harper Agent. The Cult of the Dragon has had a thousand gold coins on her head for two years. [5]
Pierstar Hallowhand and, member of the Maces of Elversult. [5,12]
Tombor the Jolly, member of the Maces of Elversult, portly cleric, has healing magic. Saved Vaerana Hawklyn when the Cult of the Dragon assassins first targeted her. Saved her life twice since at much personal risk (all staged attempts????). Cleric of Mask. Slain by Cypress [5,6,12]
Someone poisoned Yanseldara, she has fallen into some sort of trance. The Cult of the Dragon has grown bold since then. Vaerana sent for Ruha. Sages think someone's trying to steal Yanseldara's spirit. Someone has stolen Yanseldara’s staff given to her by her father, her most prized possession. The staff is a plain rod of oak with a huge topaz on top [5,6]
Cypress came up from the Wetwoods to attack the caravans around Elversult three years ago. Yanseldara said she had killed him [5]
Thunderhand Frostbryn, mage and or Harper working with Vaerana / Yanseldara. Could not break the curse on Yanseldara [5]
The Axe and Hammer, inn, recommended by Tombor (because its safe for Harpers????) [6]
Snake Road, leads from Elversult to the Ginger Palace [6]
Abazm, a greasy-haired dwarf dressed in a striped burnoose, surprisingly thin compared to most dwarves, with bushy eyebrows as black as kohl, a hawkish nose, and the stubble of a dark, coarse beard, merchant, useful tool of the Harpers, but unreliable (doesn’t know he helps the Harpers????). Trades with the Ginger Palace, knows everyone that travels the Snake Road [6]
Local thief in Elversult is counterfeiting Sembian coins (the Maces have confiscated a load and are using them to deal with criminals) [6]
Moonstorm House, Lady Yanseldara’s home. A spacious, hexagonal courtyard of ornamental trees and twining garden pathways. The enormous garden was enclosed by a milky wall, with slender, cone-roofed towers standing at each of the six corners. The castle had no central keep, nor, any sort of inner defense work at all. Pearl Tower in Moonstorm House. Moon Tower in Moonstorm House. A passage links Pearl Tower and Moon Tower [8,12]
Since Ruha blew up Cyrpress’ body, the Cult of the Dragon have been shipping every shark carcass caught out of Pros (they are gathering pieces of her body devoured by sharks) [9]
Yanseldara is a half elf. The Lady Lord lay in an infirmary bed, a honey haired beauty with the slender face and sharply delicate features of a half^ elf. Save for the amethyst circles beneath her eyes, her skin was as pale as pearl. Her cheeks were hollow from the lack of eating, her lips as gray as ash, her brow lined by the strain of a wicked and endless nightmare. [9,16]
John the farrier, burly, black-bearded man, works at Moonstorm House. Has two sons who help him Seeing Silavia the cook (affair or widower????) [12]
Silavia, cook at Moonstorm House. A stout, tousle-haired woman with an ashen, moonshaped face with a bottle nose and plump-lipped frown. Seeing both Tombor and John the Farrier. Murdered by Tombor [12]
Jarvis, a swarthy giant of a man with brown eyes and dark straight hair, head guard at the Pearl Tower in Moonstorm House [12]
Captain Fowler was murdered by Tombor [12]
The Night Castle, atop a hill, the gloomy ruins of what had once been a many-spired fortress of hanging bartizans and dark hoardings. False lair / meeting point used by Cypress [13]
Longnose, one of the Maces of Elversult [13]
Once you hit town, you can see Temple Hill from practically anywhere. Elversult Hall is straight across the market square from there, and the Jailgates—that's the city prison (also functions as Maces barracks) —is a block north of the hall. [14]
Temple Hill— a barren, stone-flanked tor towering high above the city's close-packed heart [15]
Snake Road leads right up Temple Hill [15]
Cypress’ cult militia in Elversult. They wore plain cloaks that did a poor job of concealing the breastplates beneath, and they carried swords and axes on their belts. Though they were not wearing the black caps. [15]
Elversian, name for people from Elversult [15]
The man was tall and broad-shouldered. He wore steel plate as black as jet and carried not a sword, but a sliver of darkness shaped like a sword (it absorbs fire, magic and then reflects it outward and magnifies it, also passes through weapons and armour like it isn’t there but cuts through flesh????). It was impossible to say what the woman looked like; she was a mere silhouette, a night phantom obtruding on the light of day. (leaders of the Cult of the Dragon????). [15]
Elversult Hall, a handsome building of marble pillars and arched entranceways [15]
Ruha burned Cypress with her sun spell. In his panic, Cypress set fire to a good chunk of the city before plunging into one of the city’s many lakes (Hillshadow Lake). His cultists were fighting the Maces in the street while the citizens tried to contain the fires [16]
Baldagar Manor. The villa was the lowest of four keeplike mansions grouped together on the western shore of Hillshadow Lake [16]
Hillshadow Lake. The lake itself lay at the foot of Temple Hill, with beachfront streets encircling one end and magnificent villas the other all along cobblestone roads [16]
soft furniture favored by Elversult merchants [16]


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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2022 :  20:00:20  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Only one novel away from Cormyr a Novel, which i really want to read.

The Veiled Dragon mentions a new dale, presumably in the Dalelands region - Oak Dale.

Quite a bit of superficial lore about Elversult, nothing in depth or historical unfortunately.

One thing that puzzled me is Cypress made its phylactery in the topaz gem atop Yanseldara's staff, which was given to her by her father.

Now Cypress came up out of the Wetwoods several years ago and was defeated by Yanseldara. He then supposedly becomes obsessed with her and this prompts the events of the novel (kidnapping her staff and her spirit and trying to bind their souls together).

Now the question is just how and why.

If Yanseldara kills or nearly kills Cypress, how does a dead/dying dragon manage to steal the gem out of Yanseldara's staff and turn it into his phylactery.

If Yanseldara defeats Cypress but leaves him alive (a monumentally stupid act), then he spends some time building a cult to steal her staff and then becomes a dracolich using her staff as the phylactery.

There is also the possibility that there is more to this story. Maybe Cypress had another phylactery and used the topaz gem just to merge his soul and Yanseldara's.

Alternatively, we know Yanseldara toppled a necromantic regime in Elversult in the mid 1300s. We know the staff (and presumably gem) once belonged to Yanseldara's father. What if the two are connected. Yanseldara's father could have secretly been a necromancer, perhaps involved with the Cult of the Dragon. At this point the gem could already have been chosen and prepared as Cypress' phylactery.

Yanseldara battles Cypress, perhaps to retrieve her father's staff, and slays the dragon, and from that day forth carries the phylactery around with her unknowingly. It wouldnt surprise me if Cypress were able to listen through the gem and so spy on Yanseldara, thereby making it easier to steal the staff again.

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Seravin
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Canada
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Posted - 11 Sep 2022 :  22:34:29  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I didn't mind the Veiled Dragon - I like the character of Ruha.
I know this thread is more about lore than plot or character issues so won't go into it too much - just it was interesting that Yanseldara and Varena Hawklyn are clearly lovers in this book which to me has got to be one of the first FR same-sex couples in a novel (even though Ed I'm sure had more in his world that didn't make their way past the editors--also somehow lesbians had it easier than gay male relationships making their way to fiction in the 80s and 90s).

I liked how the Shou had an embassy for trade built outside of Elversult and on a trading route. You didn't really get that in other books where trade isn't a focus, but interesting to see that nations would have embassies and trade warehouses in other kingdoms/states around the Realms.

I would have liked to understand how Ruha decided to leave the tribes after she was accepted, when we start she's been out of Anaruach for some time and working in the Harper world - feel like we missed the excitement of her seeing lakes, rivers, green fields, forests, etc and learning common language etc. Like we missed a novel between the two we got.

Worst part of the book for me was that no one at all was suspicious of the cleric of Mask that was clearly a Cult member. If you have to write everyone stupid to make your plot work, try again.
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Sep 2022 :  09:15:43  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When i've read all the novels, i really want to go back through the characters and flesh out their backstory. Kelemvor for instance needs his family placing (i think it was suggested by Ed that he be from the lands east or west of Cormyr)

Ruha could do with a lot more backstory for her family and deeds between novels.

I was a fan of the Shou stuff because it added a bit more flavour i hadnt found in the Shou Lung sourcebook, although i must admit i dont know how much in this novel is a direct copy of real world analogues.



As for Tombor the Jolly, i try not to pass judgement on characters based upon what we as the read know. The slight quirks and odd facial expression are odd, but do not immediately scream "im a priest of Mask". His not declaring his god is not suspicious as religion is meant to be private in the realms and asking who you worship is a surefire way to get your face punched in (according to the many ask Ed scrolls on candlekeep).

His suddenly appearing to save Vaerana from assassination attempts is suspicious, but we do not know the whole circumstances. It could be that she was attacked and then she holed up in a random temple and was aided by Tombor. Because it was her choice to go into a building the aid is no longer suspicious, however the Cult could have placed sleeper agents in every temple so it didnt matter about her choice she would have encountered a traitor cleric in every building.

Him risking his life to save her comes naturally as part of building a bond of friendship over 3 years and again does not seem suspicious in and of itself. Some friends will risk their own safety for another friend (not all will though), so as a combat leader she will naturally choose to favour those that are brave and competent.

So in short, to us Tombor's actions scream traitor, but only because we are seeing things at the end game with fresh eyes on the players. To Vaerana, Tombor has been a close ally for many years and has proven himself brave on multiple occasions, so why should she suspect him.

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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 12 Sep 2022 :  18:39:30  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gary, in The Veiled Dragon, did it say anything about the Purple Masks Thieves Guild or give any indication of what thieves guilds were operating there at the time?

Edit: Or, was there any indication of a secret arm of the government operating in Elversult?

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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Edited by - TheIriaeban on 12 Sep 2022 18:41:38
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 12 Sep 2022 :  19:12:07  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Absolutely nothing on Purple Masks or other thieves guilds or secret government organisations.

Lore on Elversult was very shallow in this novel.

The only criminal organisations mentioned were the Cult of the Dragon which was using the Black Caps in Pros and it is suggested that the Black Caps are also operating in Elversult (because Ruha didnt see any in Elversult at the final battle means she was expecting to see them, although that could have been a mistaken assumption on her part).

The Cult of the Dragon are suggested to be very strong in Elversult at this time though, Vaerana reckons they were hours from taking over the city at the end of the book, and they had enough men to threaten the Maces (without the dragon). The black knight and shadowy sorcerer looked dangerous enough to contend with the Maces (minus Ruha and the mandarin) and the black knight in particular had a wickedly powerful sword.

If it were me, i would suggest that the Cult of the Dragon had either taken the Purple Masks into its fold at this time (they cooperate willingly and make money or get infiltrated and taken over), or they were forced out of town while the cult were at their strongest. This period is probably less than a year. Cypress died 3 years past and then presumably spent the rest of his time building his cult cell using his powers, that doesnt happen overnight so i'd guess first year is building power, second year is challenging rivals, third year is maintaining supremacy.

Just my thoughts but the domination of the Cult of the Dragon forces does suggest they run the criminals in Elversult during the novel.

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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 12 Sep 2022 :  19:31:33  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you very much for the clarification. The Purple Masks are mentioned in only two places: FRA and Crypt of the Shadowking by Mark Anthony. Ed has them just about to be taken over by the Harpers in FRA. Mark has them an active organization in Iriaebor a few years later. If Elversult's underworld was in the state you suggest, it would seem that the Harpers did complete their take over and then moved the organization to Iriaebor. This very likely happened around 1360 DR.

The other option is that they moved part of the guild to Iriaebor and left some in Elversult. However, the Elversult faction was very likely wiped out by the Cult of the Dragon prior to The Veiled Dragon (probably a year to two earlier at the latest).

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 16 Sep 2022 :  20:27:52  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Silver Shadows proving as interesting as all the other Elaine Cunningham novels, full of lore as expected, and more about the Moonblades which is good.

One passage i find interesting is in chapter 5, when Arilyn talks to her elfshadow (her moonblade) and it explains that a Moonblade's power is drawn from the souls of elves. Each elf that wields it forms a bond such that when they die they are drawn into the sword.

These souls remain trapped until the blade achieves its true purpose, whereupon the blade becomes dormant and the souls are released.

That means that not all the moonblades were created with the purpose of selecting a ruler of Evermeet. Because Arilyn's moonblade is still active (after the selection of the King), it has another purpose.

Furthermore, because the Craulnober moonblade was dormant and then reactivated, it may mean that it is possible to change the purpose of a Moonblade.


Lots of possibilities you could make with that single passage.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Sep 2022 :  06:25:28  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All of the blades are meant to serve the People while judging a family. Nothing ever said that they'd all go dormant when the king was selected.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 17 Sep 2022 :  07:45:09  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well COrmanthyr Empire of Elves disagrees with you Woolly, but thankfully i agree with you.

If the Moonblades true purpose was to select a King (as intimated by the King Blade ritual hidden within all moonblades according to Cormanthyr), then all moonblades would have become dormant.

Because this didnt happen we can assume that the moonblades had a different purpose or perhaps multiple purposes. The first being to choose a king. The other to occur after the choosing of the king.

If i were to explore the idea of the moonblade ritual having been subverted for evil. I would suggest that each moonblade selects traits most useful to make a good leader of the elves.

The king is chosen, but there are still multiple worthies out there because there are still multiple active moonblades. Furthermore moonblades can be reactivated by the introduction of another worthy candidate (seemingly related by blood) and this candidate need not be a true elf after all. Therefore branch houses could take up the moonblades and half elves or even humans with traces of elven blood.

All the above makes for a bunch of potential leaders that believe themselves worthy because they carry a moonblade and so could result in conflict in the future as worthies try to lead the remaining elves and claim rulership for themselves and come into conflict with evermeet.

Just a thought.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 17 Sep 2022 :  15:46:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Well COrmanthyr Empire of Elves disagrees with you Woolly, but thankfully i agree with you.

If the Moonblades true purpose was to select a King (as intimated by the King Blade ritual hidden within all moonblades according to Cormanthyr), then all moonblades would have become dormant.

Because this didnt happen we can assume that the moonblades had a different purpose or perhaps multiple purposes. The first being to choose a king. The other to occur after the choosing of the king.

If i were to explore the idea of the moonblade ritual having been subverted for evil. I would suggest that each moonblade selects traits most useful to make a good leader of the elves.

The king is chosen, but there are still multiple worthies out there because there are still multiple active moonblades. Furthermore moonblades can be reactivated by the introduction of another worthy candidate (seemingly related by blood) and this candidate need not be a true elf after all. Therefore branch houses could take up the moonblades and half elves or even humans with traces of elven blood.

All the above makes for a bunch of potential leaders that believe themselves worthy because they carry a moonblade and so could result in conflict in the future as worthies try to lead the remaining elves and claim rulership for themselves and come into conflict with evermeet.

Just a thought.



Cormanthyr does not disagree with me. Page 23, emphasis mine: "The moonblades provided power to the worthy in their successes and death to those inharmonious to the betterment of the Tel'Quessir."

So right there is clear that the blades are meant to aid the elves while selecting a ruler. And absolutely nothing has ever indicated the blades would go dormant once a king was selected. Why would that even be a thing? Why would blades that had become powerful and had long been in service to the elven people suddenly become useless?

Every single bit of lore surrounding moonblades has explicitly stated that their purpose was to select a king. I've no idea why you would question this.

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George Krashos
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  02:45:11  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's the great joy of the 4E/5E Realms, isn't it? Moonblades haven't featured as far as I can recall and so no-one knows the answer to this. For what it's worth, Elaine always said that Arilyn's moonblade was "atypical" because it had been dismantled for a time (that position is no doubt due to author self-interest, naturally, to grant her writing flexibility) and wasn't representative of the general pool of moonblades. I think I mentioned before my theory that after Zoar was selected/elected, the moonblades each became somewhat free-willed, each aligning to a different purpose unique to it. Elaine wasn't a fan of my theory.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  08:11:36  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

It's the great joy of the 4E/5E Realms, isn't it? Moonblades haven't featured as far as I can recall and so no-one knows the answer to this. For what it's worth, Elaine always said that Arilyn's moonblade was "atypical" because it had been dismantled for a time (that position is no doubt due to author self-interest, naturally, to grant her writing flexibility) and wasn't representative of the general pool of moonblades. I think I mentioned before my theory that after Zoar was selected/elected, the moonblades each became somewhat free-willed, each aligning to a different purpose unique to it. Elaine wasn't a fan of my theory.

-- George Krashos



Its not a good theory and satisfies most of the weirdness, but i wonder, has anyone looked at the moonblade lore and examined it as written.

Certainly using the statement in Silver Shadows the implications are to define just a few
1 - The moonblades true purpose was not to determine the ruler of Evermeet
2 - The moonnblades had another secret purpose to be fulfilled after the ruler of Evermeet was chosen
3 - The moonblade magic, specifically the kingblade ritual was broken somehow (Starym moonblade corruption)
4 - The kingblade ritual has not actually finished, it is still running and either Zaor and the Amlauril (and their court) lied about it or were deceived.



As always, no lore should be ignored if at all possible. It is certainly possible to include the lore provided by the elfshadow (which apparently is a mixing of the moonblade itself and all the souls inside it as well as Arilyn's, so the moonblade should understand the truth of its own magic better than most).

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  15:03:01  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The statement was about a single specific blade.

Going through your implications...

1 - The moonblades true purpose was not to determine the ruler of Evermeet

Again, it's stated in multiple sources that the purpose of the blades was the determine the ruler of Evermeet. Nothing, anywhere, implies that this is not the case.

2 - The moonnblades had another secret purpose to be fulfilled after the ruler of Evermeet was chosen

Again, nothing anywhere even comes close to implying this.

3 - The moonblade magic, specifically the kingblade ritual was broken somehow (Starym moonblade corruption)

The Starym corruption affected a single blade. It did not affect any others. (Also, the creator of the Starym moonblade said that after its corruption, it was no longer a moonblade)

4 - The kingblade ritual has not actually finished, it is still running and either Zaor and the Amlauril (and their court) lied about it or were deceived.

Again, there is nothing, anywhere, that's even in the general vicinity of implying this.

I find it odd that you say "no lore should be ignored if at all possible" and then ignore everything that doesn't support your idea, which itself isn't supported by any lore at all.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  15:27:08  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I wont try and convince you because you declare rather than debate.

All i will say is that the Silver Shadows novel states that Once a moonblade's purpose is complete the blade becomes dormant.

If as you say the lore indicates that the true purpose of the moonblades is to select a ruler of the elves, then that purpose has been fulfilled and so the statement in Silver Shadows must come in to effect.

I'm merely musing as to why that hasn't occurred.

Just because all possible outcomes and implications have not been declared in lore does not mean they cannot be true. A positive statement only declares the positive, it does not eliminate the negative unless it is explicitly declared so.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  17:37:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I wont try and convince you because you declare rather than debate.

All i will say is that the Silver Shadows novel states that Once a moonblade's purpose is complete the blade becomes dormant.

If as you say the lore indicates that the true purpose of the moonblades is to select a ruler of the elves, then that purpose has been fulfilled and so the statement in Silver Shadows must come in to effect.

I'm merely musing as to why that hasn't occurred.

Just because all possible outcomes and implications have not been declared in lore does not mean they cannot be true. A positive statement only declares the positive, it does not eliminate the negative unless it is explicitly declared so.



Give me an exact reference, please, instead of vague statements and implications, and then we'll have something to debate.

And while I agree that "Just because all possible outcomes and implications have not been declared in lore does not mean they cannot be true" -- that doesn't mean that something being possible means it's likely. It's possible that every moonblade is actually a silver dragon -- nothing has explicitly ruled it out. But with nothing at all indicating that might be the case, I'm quite comfortable ruling it out.

Something doesn't have to be explicitly ruled out to be unlikely, especially when it's not supported by anything.


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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  18:27:26  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm sure you have the book, if you dont trust me enough to accept my word for it, then my quoting it will make no difference.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 18 Sep 2022 :  18:54:15  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I'm sure you have the book, if you dont trust me enough to accept my word for it, then my quoting it will make no difference.



Yes, I do have the book. But you're the one asserting that this one particular reference is so important, so it's on you to prove it. I'm not going to flip thru a few hundred pages of a novel looking for a single line that may or may not prove your point.

Without an exact reference, we don't know that you're remembering the line correctly, or that you're not reading into it something that's not there.

You've already asserted once in this discussion that canon material disagreed with me, and I provided an exact quote to show that it did not. So you'll forgive me if I'm not willing to trust "Well I know what it said" as a reliable reference.

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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 19 Sep 2022 :  13:48:18  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An unusual legend of the wild elves speaks of a battle between the wild elves of Tethir and a race of evil beings (neither human nor ogrish) that draw their power from an image of stone. This race died long ago but they came back as undead with allies from the dark planes.

The elves were losing until a moon elf maid Soora Thea (with a sword of Myth Drannor) brought the lythari to the aid of the wild elves and destroyed the undead creatures and their abyssal allies.


Now this legend is after the fall of myth drannor. I wonder if the Image of Stone refers to the Gorge of the Fallen Idol and the Statue of Nomog Geaya.

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ElfBane
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Posted - 19 Sep 2022 :  15:35:34  Show Profile Send ElfBane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

I'm sure you have the book, if you dont trust me enough to accept my word for it, then my quoting it will make no difference.



Yes, I do have the book. But you're the one asserting that this one particular reference is so important, so it's on you to prove it. I'm not going to flip thru a few hundred pages of a novel looking for a single line that may or may not prove your point.

Without an exact reference, we don't know that you're remembering the line correctly, or that you're not reading into it something that's not there.

You've already asserted once in this discussion that canon material disagreed with me, and I provided an exact quote to show that it did not. So you'll forgive me if I'm not willing to trust "Well I know what it said" as a reliable reference.



At times like this you just wish all the FR novels could be rendered into Kindle format!
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Gary Dallison
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Posted - 19 Sep 2022 :  20:07:55  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Silver Shadows Notes (1364 DR)
By Elaine Cunningham

Forest of Tethir
All of the travellers had heard stories of the Watchers of Tethir, and there wasn't a man or woman in the caravan who did not feel the unseen eyes. [Prelude]
Mosstone, the last human settlement on the trade route that cut through the forest [Prelude]
Dark-hued arrow of a wild elf, a bolt aptly known as "black lightning" to the humans [Prelude]
Zhentil Keep are trying to stir up trouble between elves and caravan guards (slaying caravans and leaving dead elves around to look like they attacked, also use elven arrows in the attack) [Prelude]
in a time not long past, all the elves who made their homes in the land of Tethyr, including those who dwell in the Forest of Tethir, suffered greatly at the hands of the human rulers. To all appearances, the destruction of Tethyr's royal family brought an end to this persecution. It is possible, however, that the elves are retaliating for past wrongs. Since the land of Tethyr remains lawless and chaotic, it is also likely that human settlements, trade routes, and trappers are encroaching upon elven lands. Perhaps the humans are pressing the elves, and the elves are fighting back. [1]
Most Sy-Tel'Quessir are insular-suspicious of all elves from outside their tribe. The People of Tethir have not sworn allegiance to Amlauril, and so they might not receive an ambassador from the island of Evermeet. Pressed as they are, they would likely kill any non-elf who ventured too near their hidden strongholds. [1]
The green elves are a fierce, unpredictable folk, and they were ill-treated by the old royal family of Tethyr. They've ancient grudges aplenty [2]
Most Sy-Tel'Quessir were reclusive, distrustful even of other elves. To be a moon elf was bad enough, but for Arilyn to reveal her half-elven nature would be to court instant death. The forest elves of Tethir had ample reason to hate and distrust humans, and among all of the elven subraces were many elves who regarded half-elves as unspeakable abominations. [2]
Gaylia, a young elf priestess of the same tribe as Foxfire. Hunted by humans with mastiffs [3]
Foxfire, elf, has russet-coloured hair. Accounted the finest archer in the Elmanesse tribe. Of the Talltrees Clan A leader among his people. Carries a bone knife -fire-forged weapons are rare in the forest. Barely 100 years old. It was Foxfire's nature to find the good in every situation and to expect that success would be his in all things. It was his gift to inspire those around him with the same confidence. As war leader, Foxfire was pledged to follow Rhothomir. He might argue with the Speaker-and he did so far more than did any other elf in the tribe-but he respected the older male [3,5,14]
Elmanesse know the common tongue, the tribe used to trade with humans of Tethyr until the risks became too high [3]
The vast forest of Tethir was home to several small groups of elves, and there was little contact between them. It was entirely possible that some of the more reclusive and mysterious elven clans had decided to take up arms against the humans. [3]
Talltrees, Foxfire’s tribe's hidden settlement. Destroyed by fire [5,19]
Mosstone. In times past-in happier, safer times-the elves of the Elmanesse tribe had traded with the humans who lived in this forest-side town. Then came the brutal reign of the Tethyrs, the family of human royals who seemed determined to drive the elves from the land. The Elmanesse had withdrawn into the forest shadows and proclaimed their own government via the Elven Council. For many years, all who ventured into the forests had lived and died by the judgments handed down by this council. But in these troubled times, even the wise, collective voice of the council had faltered and fallen silent. The elven alliance had splintered, and each clan had gone its own way. In particular the Suldusk tribe, always chary of alliance with their Elmanesse brothers and sisters, had all but disappeared into the deep shadows of the south-eastern forest. No one knew for certain how many elves remained in the ancient wood. [5]
Council Glade, a grove half a days walk east of Mosstone, a settlement of elves remained in the Council Glade, and the elders who lived there were still the best source of news and information in the forest. The Elven Council (of Tethir????) sat here. Council Glade and the Elven Council were destroyed by Bunlap and his mercenaries [5,11]
Time of Tyranny, what the elves call the time when the royals of Tethyr persecuted the elves [5]
Korrigash, a dark-haired hunter-warrior who was Foxfire's closest friend. The taciturn elf seldom spoke. Though Korrigash was nearly as dour as a dwarf, there was no one under the stars whom Foxfire loved better or trusted more. The two were friendly rivals and had been since long ago when, as toddlers, they'd pelted each other with whatever weapons they could muster, whether pebbles found on the forest floor or the moss that lined their nappies. These days their rivalry took the form of contests of arms or archery. When they were on patrol or doing battle, Korrigash fell naturally into place at Foxfire's back, instinctively deferring to the flame-haired warrior. Likewise, Foxfire had learned to hear the unspoken thoughts that lay beneath his friend's few words. [5,6]
Tamsin, a stripling youth and brother of Korrigash. Tamsin was fey, even for a green elf. It was likely the youth was seeing the carnage as clearly as if it was happening before him. Such gifts were as much torment as blessing, but Tamsin's was needed. The elf was twin-born, and he had a bond with his equally fey sister (Tamara) that enabled them to speak mind-to-mind. [5,6]
The Elmanesse and the Suldusk were not the only elves in the forest. There were, among these trees, People even more fey and secretive. The lythari (known as Silver Shadows), shapeshifting creatures who were more wolf than elf, had been living in Tethir when Foxfire's ancestors still walked beneath the trees of Cormanthor. Although it had been centuries since anyone in the Talltrees tribe had seen a lythari in elven form, from time to time they caught a glimpse of silvery fur or heard the lytharis' haunting songs soaring upward in search of the unseen moon. [5]
Only a very rash elf would speak lightly of the Silver Shadows or risk incurring their rare but deadly ire [5]
The forest was full of dangerous creatures: ogres, giant spiders, wolves, stirges, wyverns, and even a dragon or two. Many of these grew hungry with the coming of darkness [5]
The elf arrows known as "black lightning" were crafted through a long and mystic process. Green arrows were raw and unfinished by elven standards, deadly enough when launched from elven bows, but lacking the rites that imbued the weapons with forest magic and linked the elven hunter-warriors to their home in ways that no human-and few elves-could fully understand. [5]
Tamara Oakstaff, Tamsin’s twin sister and younger sister of Korrigash. Warrior [5,6]
nodded and raised their hands in a silent gesture of assent, as the elves of Talltrees pledged their lives to their war leader. [6]
Swanmay’s Glade, less than two days march to the east of Talltrees. Here was the largest lake in the forest, and from it a small river wound its way toward Suldusk territory [6,20]
In the wild elves world no force was as feared or as destructive as fire [6]
Sparrow, wild elf warrior. Slain by Bunlap and his band
Hawkwing (a name given by Tamara), elf female, adolescent. Survived the attack on Council Glade by Bunlap, now joined Foxfire and his tribe. Slain by Bunlaps mercenaries [8,16]
Oakstaff Clan of the Elmanesse tribe
The low-lying fens in the south of Tethir. Always dark and cool, in this valley the forest lay under a thick mantle of mist. The massive trunks of several ancient cedars-trees that no longer lived and grew, but whose roots still held firm-had been hollowed out to make emergency shelters. Healing plants grew in abundance. And if the humans followed them so far, they would find a battleground not at all to their liking. The soil was soft, in some places dangerously boggy, and the ground was densely covered with large, fernlike plants large enough to reach an elf's shoulder.
Eldrin, Sontar, Wyndelleu, warriors of Foxfire’s tribe
North of the low lying fens, into the caves that lie beyond the ashenwood. A young white dragon slumbers in the caves, Eileenalana bat Ktheelee (Eileen for short). A hundred years old, has amassed a small pile of treasure. he Forest of Tethir was cool, but hardly cold enough to provide comfort to a dragon of her kind. Eileen spent much of her time in her cave, in a stuporous lethargy. She was nearly thirty feet long and almost full-grown, there were still creatures in the forest who could give her a good fight. Eileen longed for the frozen Northlands of which her parents had spoken-and to which they had returned when she was barely more than a hatchling. Eileen had been too small to keep pace with the larger dragons, but she had managed to fly from her birth-place on the icy peaks of the Snowflake Mountains as far as Tethir. Someday, she would fly to the far north along with the forest's other white dragons who shared her plight (siblings????). Has a particular fondness for wintermint [8,9]
Wintermint, palate cleanser
Monsters had always lived in the forest, but if tavern tales and lost adventuring parties were any fair measure of truth, the sheer variety and number of such creatures was spiralling into nightmarish proportions. To Vhenlar's way of thinking, this was partly the result of the troubles the elves were currently facing. Their attention had been diverted from forest husbandry to the more pressing matter of survival. This was, of course, precisely what Bunlap and the mercenary captain's mysterious employer had intended. [9]
Tales were told of the fearsome reprisals the forest folk took against any who dared to bring fire into the forest [9]
Forest wolves did not pose a serious threat. They were shy, intelligent creatures who kept to themselves and killed only what they needed for survival. Only in the borderlands, where human poaching had stripped the forest of the wolves' natural prey, had they become a nuisance. From time to time, hungry wolves ventured out into the fields and farmlands. Most of these contented themselves with the mice and voles that were plentiful in cultivated lands-wolves could live solely on such prey-but a few developed a taste for mutton. If cornered by an indignant shepherd, a poaching wolf would defend itself. [10]
Extremely rare, although more common in these troubled times, was a rogue wolf, one that either through sickness or despair had left its nature behind to become a ravening beast. Most often the atrocities attributed to them were not committed by wolves at all, but by lycanthropes- humans who'd been cursed with a wolfs form and an unnatural lust for blood. Although Tethir's ancient magic acted as a barrier to many such abominations [10]
Talltrees settlement late that day, slipping easily past the layers of secrecy that enfolded the elven village. The forest had strange magical properties, Ganamede had told her, that distorted the senses of outsiders. Arilyn could hold her direction as well as most rangers, but even she felt oddly disoriented as they neared the hidden village. Nor were these the only magical barriers. Twin dryads-beautiful sylvan creatures who were not quite either human or elven-peeked out at them from behind a stand of beech trees. Any male who wandered near this lair would have the image of wondrously beautiful dryads giggling behind their white hands as his last memory of this part of Tethir forest. A male who fell under a dryad's charm usually awoke, dazed and utterly lost, under some unfamiliar tree. When at last he found his way back to settled lands, he invariably learned that as much as a year had passed without leaving a single footprint upon his memory. It was a gossamer web that the dryads wove, but a powerful one. Beyond the dryads' grove sharp-eyed elven warriors walked the surrounding forest. Other sentries, the birds and squirrels that chattered and scolded in the trees, carried warnings that were heard and heeded by the elven folk. The elven village itself was a wonder. Small dwellings had been fashioned high in the trees, connected by swinging walkways. So cleverly did the settlement blend hi with the forest that no one could see it unless he stood in its midst and looked straight up. [12]
Wild elf garb was simple and scant, fashioned almost without exception from the forest's bounty: tanned hides, rough linen beaten and woven from wild flax, ornaments of feather and bone. But there was nothing primitive or crude about these green elves. They were an ancient people with ancient ways. [12]
Rhothomir, Speaker of the Talltrees tribe, he was lightly clad. His ruddy skin was painted with swirling designs of greens and brown, and his dark brown hair was worn long and plaited back. To the Speaker, all humans were enemies, and half-elves were an obscenity, an abomination. [12,14]
Talltrees dwelling. The dwelling was small and sparsely furnished: a bearskin served as a bed; some large clay pots held personal effects; a few garments hung from pegs on the wall. [12]
The wild elf warriors, taking note of their weapons and the totem animals tattooed onto their shoulders. These totems and spirit guides said much of an elf’s skill and character. [12]
Xanotter, wild elf warrior [13]
Wistari, wild elf warrior, scout [13]
Faunalyn, a young female well named for her doelike eyes and tawny skin. Wild elf warrior and scout [13,14]
Wild elf legends - In a time beyond the years of any here, our people walked beneath a forest far different from the one we now call home," she began. "Cormanthor, it was called, and in its shadows thrived an elven kingdom of such might and wonder as this world has never known. But even there the elves glimpsed the coming twilight. The world changed, and Cormanthor fell. "The People who survived were forced to flee. Many retreated to Evermeet, but there were tribes of green elves who would not forsake the land named Faerun, in honour and in memory of the first elven home. These faithful scattered over the land, carrying with them seedlings from the sacred forest, the children of the maple, the oak, and the elm. We walk beneath these trees today, the children's children of Cormanthor. [13]
Wild elf legends - One of these heroes is remembered with honour by all the People of Tethir: the moon fighter Soora Thea, who carried a sword of Myth Drannor. There was in times past an evil race of beings, neither human nor ogrish, that made war upon the forest folk. Their power came from a vast image of stone, the hideous image of a creature from the dark planes. Long ago these people fell, but at certain times their restless undead ventured from the gorge in which they once bad lived to make war upon the goodly folk. With them were fearsome creatures from the dark planes. From all sides these creatures pressed the elves, and for a time it seemed as if the fall of Cormanthor would be a nightmare relived. But Soora Thea was a mighty war leader, and it is said she had the power to command the silver shadows. In the final great battle, the undead creatures and their Abyssal allies were utterly destroyed (the wild elves marched from their forest to destroy their enemies). What became of Soora Thea, we do not know. Unlike the green folk, she was a traveller, and her home was all of the land. But before she left Tethir, she promised that in times of greatest need, and for as long as the fires of Myth Drannor burned within her sword, a hero would return to the People. (could image of stone refer to Nomog Geaya????). Soora Thea was actually Zoroastria (the wild elves could not pronounce the language of Evermeet). The evil that came to the forest in those long-ago times was great, one that threatened its very fabric. Undead abominations, creatures from the dark plane, and an orcish tribe that fought for them, battled for no purpose other than the pleasure to be found in the death of elves. These creatures were an ulcerous growth upon the land, and so the lythari fought until the enemy was no more. [13,14,16]
The mystic dance settled upon the elves and lulled them to repose. The wounded who could not dance rested comfortably, many smiling softly as their unseeing eyes gazed upon pleasant and healing memories. Most of the children had slipped deep into reverie, and their parents bore them quietly away to their rest. The celebration ended, not in a drunken stupor as did so many human revels, but on a note of quiet exultation. [13]
The Suldusk tribe, stronger and more warlike tribes to the north and west. [14]
Twilight of midsummer eve came late and softly, with a deepening of golden green light. With it came those woodland creatures who would celebrate with the elven tribe. There were fauns, small feral folk with wild thatches of hair, furred hindquarters and legs that ended in dainty cloven hooves. Satyrs-larger, more ribald relatives of the fauns-came as well, already full of mead and high spirits. Several centaurs, grave and dignified even in this most joyous season, brought gifts of fruit and flowers to their elven hosts. There were pixies and sprites and other fey creatures for which Arilyn knew no names. And there were others who seemed to be there one moment, and not the next. At midsummer, she reasoned, the walls between the worlds were so thin that even a half-elf might catch glimpses through the veil. At a certain, very prescribed point in the celebration- when the elves were growing merry and before the satyrs were entirely given over to impulse-the mid-summer prayers were chanted and sung. The elves venerated the Seldarine, particularly the god of the forest, but homage was also paid to the gods of their visitors. At last the music began. A lilting tune played on panpipes was the traditional invitation to dance. As the merrymakers joined in, so did other instruments: pipes, shaken bells, and pulsing drums. Gifts were given, mostly fruit and flowers, then the circle began, the final dance that would celebrate the solstice. [14]
Summer mead, a wondrous honey wine distilled from flowers and fruit. No green elves kept bees, but they carefully harvested a part of that stored nectar that they found in hollowed trees, adding to it the essence of wild raspberries and elven magic. The result was far from primitive. [14]
Many of the Elmanesse clans were slaughtered during the reign of the royal Tethyr family. There are small groups here and there, but they are too few and too far removed from us to be of much assistance. There is a small community of Elmanesse on Tethyr Peninsula, and other clans that live in the forest to the southeast of Trademeet. These elves are unlikely to aid us. In many ways their interests are tied more tightly to those of the humans. They trade with the farming folk who live to their east, and they carry goods north on the same path used by the caravans of humans and halftings. [16]
There are perhaps two hundred elves in the northern forests, the border lands, and the towns. Some are moon folk or gold elves who mostly dwell in towns. There are a number of half-elves as well, but these seldom come to Tethir. Then there are a few solitary elves scattered about the forest: druids, skin-walkers, possibly even some outlaws. [16]
The river that waters half of Tethyr bears the name of the Suldusk people, yet few people know of their existence. They are more remote than most of the Elmanesse, in inclination as well as in distance. In times past the clans of the Elmanesse and Suldusk tribes raided back and forth. In recent centuries we have agreed to abide by the peace and keep our distance. No one even knows how many of the Suldusk remain. [16]
A stream ran southward from the forest. Arilyn set a path along this waterway, which quickly broadened and deepened as it neared the place where it would join the northern branch of the Sulduskoon. A has been hollowed out to make a dwelling with a stumplike chimney and doors along the side. It is an outpost for Bunlap’s fortress. The men stationed here control trade coming and going along this branch of the river. [16]
The Elmanesse have not suffered raids by other tribes for many years, and even the orcs know to keep a wide berth from our hunting lands. [18]
Suldusk hunting grounds are on the eastern edge of the Forest of Tethir. There were few wild elves as hostile and reclusive as the Suldusk. [18]
Eastern Tethir. The terrain here was more uneven and wild than hi the western parts of the forest. The trees grew upon tall hills filled with caves and punctuated by rocky cliffs and ravines. Here the first refugees from Cormanthor had settled so many years ago. The trees they'd brought from the elven forest still watched over the land. The Suldusk, however, had lived beneath the trees of Tethir for time out of memory. Their tribe had been there to greet the refugees from Cormanthor-the elves who, in tune, had become the Elmanesse tribe-and they had received the gift of seedling trees from the northern forest. But relationships did not remain cordial between the tribes. There had been centuries of raiding, followed by an uneasy truce. For many years there had been no contact between the tribes at all. Even the lythari clans did not hunt Suldusk lands. [18]
Suldusk Valley, elven settlement, which was hidden in a valley not far from the eastern edges of the Forest of Tethir. Suldusk Valley was all buy destroyed, the survivors captured by Bunlap and put in cages at the edge of the ravaged forest [18]
Some elders of the Elmanesse remember the battle with Soora Thea (must have happened several centuries ago????) [20]
Ysaltry daughter of Amancathara, Elmanesse elder that fought under Soora Thea [20]
Nimmetar, Elmanesse elder that fought under Soora Thea [20]
Uleeya Morningsong, scout of the Elmanesse Tribe and the Talltrees Clan [20]
Nesstiss, of the centaurs, led 10 centaur warriors to aid the Elmanesse [21]
By common agreement, the elves would rebuild, forming a settlement at the Swanmay's Glade that would embrace Elmanesse and Suldusk alike [24]
Zoastria's Stand, the name for the battle on the eastern borders of the Forest of Tethir [24]

Other Lore
Elves, as a rule, did not sleep. Most of Toril’s elves found repose in a deep, meditative state known as reverie. No elf would approach another elf in reverie except in the direst of emergencies [3]
Elves were loath to disturb those who had passed from this life [4]
Hair the colour of spun sapphires lay over one shoulder. It was the rarest hair colour among moon elves [4]
Except in unusual cases, elves are immortal. We pass from this world on to the realms of Arvandor without tasting death as humans know it [5]
Blue-and-white striped feathers of a bird that brightened the bleak landscape of Cormyr [6]
The sea elf's eyes brightened with adoration at the mention of the elven queen, an expression Arilyn had seen far too often on the face of Macumail, or for that matter anyone else who knew of Queen Amlaruil. Even Elaith Craulnober, a rogue moon elf of Arilyn's acquaintance who'd spent his many years away from Evermeet honing his reputation for battle prowess and cruelty, grew positively misty at the mention of the queen's name. [6]
From the western Moonshae Isles, if his bright red hair and broad, blunt-nosed countenance spoke truth-and he was armed with a two-edged blade and matched dagger common to that area. [6]
A tiny bottle of ink. It was of elven make, a rare deep-purple hue fashioned from a mixture of berries and flowers that grew only on Evermeet. [6]
The Elvish words for Moonblade and Moonflower are so similar in appearance (only a few tiny curves and lines difference). [6]
Elven naming customs were endlessly complicated. Although it was not unusual for an elf to take on a surname that spoke of a particular skill or weapon- names such as Snowrunner or Oakstaff or Ashenbow- these descriptive titles were for common use: a name to use during travels, or to give acquaintances or outsiders, especially dwarves and humans. Among themselves, however, elves considered the giving of a family name and the recitation of lineage to be a vital step in formal exchanges. For Arilyn to identify herself to an elven tribe by only the sword she carried would be an egregious breach of protocol. It would almost certainly shout that her claim as Evermeet's ambassador was spurious. In her case this was particularly true, for moonblades were known to be hereditary swords, and a refusal to identify herself by family would be regarded by the elves as a blatant, arrogant admission that she was not what she claimed to be. [6]
Chultan teak [7]
An ancient sword in a bejewelled scabbard. A magic weapon, Arilyn guessed, noting the distinctive curved pommel that marked it as a sword of Halruaan make. [7]
Moonblades were hereditary swords of fearsome magic, and according to legend, none but moon elves of true blood and noble spirit could wield them. A moonblade could not shed innocent blood.
Amnish stallion
Centaur language, understood by horses
Goat's milk mixed with some chalky mineral that he could not identity. It was a vile concoction, but according to the local alchemist it would in time soothe his sour stomach. [9]
The elven gift of rapport, that mystical closeness that enabled elves to share thoughts and feelings, even across long distances. Rapport was strongest among the twin-born-Tamsin and Tamara shared such a bond with each other and a strong empathy with other elves-but most often rapport occurred between elven lovers who forged a bond strong and bright enough to weld their spirits together for all time. It was the deepest commitment known to elves, rarely undertaken and never done so lightly. Rapport was the most intimate bond between elves, one that would last for the remainder of their mortal lives. It was uncommon even among the People, and almost unheard of for an elf to establish rapport with a human. [11,18]
According to elven myth, Faerie was a place of incredible beauty that would last for a single day, albeit one nearly immeasurable in its length. Some of the elves, knowing that then-day here would eventually end, had ventured beyond Faerie into other worlds in hope that they might find a way to escape the coming night. Or so legend claimed. [11]
Sword lifted it high in a sweeping, formal elven salute [12]
The armour he wore was more affectation than protection. The odd ensemble-metal-studded leather augmented with metal shoulder plates, chest guard, and cod piece-could only have come from the imagination of a Halruaan artificer. Has a spell that creates a field that incinerates anyone firing arrows into the field, identifies him as Halruaan (must be a famous spell????) [13]
The fighting style of the Dalelands-a single sword, a quick and aggressive attack. [13]
Stories of a sleeping hero who would return in a time of great need were told from the Moonshaes to Rashemen. And now she understood why all these stories had in common an ancient, mystic sword. [14]
There had been midsummer festivals in Evereska in the days before her mother's death, but she had been deemed too young to take part. Nor would she have been welcomed to many of the celebrations. Among the elves there were subtle, sacred overtones to such times that none other could share. [14]
Among the elves, midsummer was a time when marriages were celebrated, and lovers rejoiced. Children born of this night were considered a special blessing of the gods. Even those elves who had no special partner often sought out a friend with whom to share the magic that was midsummer. [14]
The night is short," the traditional elven phrase exchanged between the lovers or comrades who shared the gift of midsummer. [14]
The delicate appearance of the elven folk often led other races to make such assumptions, while in reality, elven wines and liquors were among the most potent in all Faerun. [15]
The Zhentarim were devoted to evil gods and their own personal profits, but they often showed a special enmity against the elven people. [16]
The Leafbowers, a moon elven clan were renowned as travellers and fighters [17]
The Knights of the Shield often ordered gold coins to be placed on the eyelids of those slain by their agents. So difficult was it to spend these coins that beggars and pickpockets would often pass such a corpse and leave the treasure untouched, rather than risk the Knights' retribution. There were, however, some people who hoarded these coins and used them in a specialized system of barter. To an assassin or a hired sword, a cache of Knights' coins was a mark of prestige that brought in other lucrative assignments. Such a coin could also be redeemed for favors or information that far surpassed the value of the gold it contained. And from time to time, assassins incurred expenses-such as the need for a new identity or a swift departure to a distant port-that demanded that such coins be melted down and made into more widely accepted currency. [17]
Amn danters, Zazesspur gulders, Saradush zoths, moleans (from Zazesspur????) – all coinage types [17]
Duke Hembreon is a Knight of the Shield. Amid the changeful winds of Zazesspurian power, the Duke stood as unbending as a sycamore. His was an ancient family with vast wealth, and he himself was a grave, distinguished man whose impeccable sense of honor and duty extended to all he did. Therefore, Hembreon tended to view his position in the Knights of the Shield as noblesse oblige. He was also one of the most important leaders of the group, Hhune reminded himself as he shook off his immobility. [21,25]

Tethyr
Chadson Herrick, a grizzled sell-sword who'd made the road his home for many years. Caravan guard, slain by elves in the Forest of Tethir [Prelude]
The humans of Tethyr are not so tolerant of other races as they were even ten or twenty years ago. It would not take much provocation to turn them against the elves. There are far too many ambitious men in Tethyr, looking for a rallying cause to aid their rise to power. I can easily envision the destruction of the elves becoming such a cause. You know what happened under the royal family. Given the general lawlessness of the land, it could be far worse this time. [1]
Tethyr was a land of many contrasts and contradictions. Ancient ways and modern notions, pretensions of royalty and egalitarian fervour commingled uneasily in a land whose natural complexity only magnified her recent woes. Tucked between the moors and mountains of Amn and the vast desert kingdoms of the far south, Tethyr possessed a mostly northern terrain and a temperate climate. The land was a hodgepodge of fertile farmland, deep forests, and sun-baked hills that were as dry and forbidding as any desert. The customs and interests of the peoples who settled each area were as diverse as the land itself. [2]
of the latest caravan attack. The elves have been blamed for this atrocity, as well as for many others. [2]
Great mastiffs, they were, so powerful that two or three of them might bring down a full-grown bear, yet fleet enough to run down a deer [3]
Farm south of Mosstone, grows pipeweed, pays well for wild-elf slaves (they are the best workers once broken) [3]
There were quite a few half-elves in Tethyr, and for the most part they were treated well. [3]
A silver tiara with a pair of pale amethysts. The bridal crown of young Princess Lhayronna, who became queen to her cousin, King Alehandro III (Alehandro is the Calishite name for Alemander III). A reminder that those who wear a crown must face the sword!" he said piously, quoting a common Tethyrian proverb. Locked in the treasure room of Abrum Assante and stolen by Arilyn for Lord Hhune [4]
In Tethyr, land was valued above all other forms of wealth, and possession of enough of it granted instant nobility. In the years following the destruction of the royal family-as well as the decimation of many of the ancient noble houses that possessed royal blood ties-manorial lands, counties, and even duchies changed hands like trinkets at a country fair. Men and women who had enough money to purchase land-or sufficient might to seize it-earned themselves instant titles. Tethyr was peppered with ersatz barons and countesses. [4]
Silvanus and Sune and Ilmater-the preferred deities of Tethyr [5]
The Forest of Tethir was vast and ancient, stretching from its easternmost point in the foothills of the Snowflake Mountains to the Starspire Peninsula, almost to the very edge of the sea. But few elves lived on this swampy western arm of forest land, a part of Tethyr that had long since been abandoned to the humans and their clandestine activities. Poachers cut down the ancient trees for mast poles; pirates docked in fingerlike coves. Even the sahuagin had bases on the Starspire. So, therefore, did the elves. And not just the Sea People. Once the sea creatures had taken to ships, the elven nation of Evermeet had sent in vessels of its own to even the balance. In a deep cove near the tip of the peninsula, shielded from discovery by jagged rocks both real and illusionary, was a small outpost of the elven navy, cloaked with concealing magic and commanded by moon-elven sailors from the royal fleet. Macumail had confided this to Arilyn a couple years back, right after he'd first been named elf-friend and allowed to make port on Evermeet. [6]
Close to Zazesspur piracy was far from uncommon. [6]
Tethyr's guild of wine merchants [7]
Marakir, the farmers' market located at the intersection of the Trade Way with the Sulduskoon River [9]
Quentin Llorish, captain of a caravan running between Marakir and Zazesspur daily. The lord Hhune and guildmaster paid well, and he treated the men and women in his employ with a degree of fairness unusual in Tethyr, which made him quite popular among the people and purchased loyalty more surely than would coin. Quentin was not a man overly constrained by the bounds of loyalty or by a compulsion for honest dealing. He was not above skimming a thicker layer of cream from the caravan's daily profits than that to which he was strictly entitled. Married (unfortunately) [9]
Spitting causes offence [9]
The Sulduskoon was Tethyr's largest river, stretching nearly the entire breadth of the country. From its origins in the foothills of the Snowflake Mountains, the river travelled over five hundred miles until finally it spilled into the sea. Not all of the Sulduskoon was easily navigated. There were stretches of shallow, rapid waters, deep pools inhabited by nixies and other troublesome creatures, and treacherous, rock-strewn passages that claimed a toll of nearly three boats out of ten. [9]
Hail storms were a rare treat in Tethyr [9]
The people of Tethyr were too accustomed to paying tariffs and tributes and out-and-out bribes at every turn, for petty noblemen bred like rabbits in this land. Not a single traveller questioned Bunlap's right to tax their cargo. He held this remote territory with a fortress and men-at-arms. In the mind of the Tethyrians, that made him nobility. [10]
Port Starhaven, one of the few towns that lay along the northern branch (of the Sulduskoon????), near Bunlap’s Fortress [10]
Moon elves. These were common enough in Tethyr, but most were fairly recent arrivals who had settled in the trade cities and farmlands. [10]
The Starspire mountains, which were catacombed with dwarven tribes [10]
The farming folk north of Port Kir live in mortal dread of elven attack. Business in Mosstone has fallen off, except for the hiring of mercenary guards [14]
After Tethyr's civil war, laws were passed in Zazesspur, as well as in several other cities, that strictly limited the arms and forces that any citizen, guild, or private group could maintain. It was quite illegal for Hhune to own the type of fast, maneuverable, and well-armed vessels that could protect his merchant ships from piracy. [14]
Logging in the Forest of Tethir had been forbidden for as long as human memory stretched back. Perhaps because the strictures against this were so deeply ingrained [14]
Most native Tethyrians had olive skin, dark eyes, and hair that ranged from chestnut to black. [15]
Slavery was not uncommon in Tethyr, but the thought of this oddly charming dwarfs being held in servitude was particularly galling to the elf. Times were difficult in Tethyr, especially for those folk not of human blood. [15]
A very profitable and unofficial market in Tethyr dealt in the trading of the country's various coins. There were many types of gold pieces used throughout the land. Many of the larger cities and even some of the more powerful guilds or noblemen minted their own coins. The value of these rose and fell with the changing tides of fortune. Predicting how a given currency might fare, and trading coins in speculation of these changes, was a thriving business in Tethyr. Most merchants and makers of policy argued that there was no real difference in these currencies. The cities with more valuable currencies tended to pay higher wages and charge higher prices that those whose coins enjoyed a lesser reputation. In the end, they reasoned, the value of these coins in barter for goods and services was about the same throughout Tethyr and its neighboring lands. This was true enough, as far as it went, but this argument ignored a simple and rather obvious fact that occurred to remarkably few of Tethir's coin brokers. Many of these coins, though quite different in value and purchasing power, contained about the same amount of gold. Thus it was that a bag of a hundred Zazesspurian gulders, while nearly twice the value of a bag holding an equal number of the zoth minted in Saradush, weighed almost the same. There were in Zazesspur two, perhaps three brokers who would buy up the lesser coins, then melt and recast them as more valuable currency. The services of these enterprising souls also came in handy when one had other reasons for changing the shape of one's wealth. Prime among these were the personal coins, either stolen or given in payment, that were extremely difficult to pass in common trade. At times, possession of such a coin could be deadly. [17]


Zazesspur
Zazesspur, the largest city of this troubled land, looked firmly to the south. A port city with an excellent deepwater harbour, it was set at the mouth of the Sulduskoon River and on the path of important overland routes. Zazesspur saw trade and travellers from many lands. Yet her current ruler, a southerner by the name of Balik, did his best to limit the influence of outsiders. Since Pasha Balik's rise to power some dozen or so years before, parts of the city had taken on a decidedly southern character. Both the best and the worst aspects of the great city of Calimport could be found in Zazesspur. Sleek palaces of white marble, formal gardens filled with exotic plants, wide boulevards, and open-air bazaars redolent with rare spices vied for space with sprawling shanty towns and narrow, crime-ridden streets. [2]
Pasha Balik. The grandson of a Calishite trader, he styled himself as pasha and cultivated an oriental splendour- and a distrust of northerners-that recalled the attitudes of his forebears. Balik was a vain man who allowed himself to be seduced by the notion of his own importance. He had grown increasingly deaf to the voices of the coalition of southerners, royalists, and merchants who had brought bim to power. Seldom these days did he hear anything but his own inclinations. Slain by Ferret on contract to Hasheth after Zoastria’s Stand [2,11,25]
Breaching Whale, a waterfront tavern, usually crowded with hard-drinking sailors out for a bottomless mug and a bit of fun for a few silvers. A dozen or so bedchambers over the taproom, which boasted deep feather beds and pristine linens, not to mention a heavily armed guard at each door. Those who knew well the ports of the Sword Coast came to the Breaching Whale for a clean room and a safe night's sleep, luxuries in any city and a rarity in Zazesspur. Sandusk Truffledigger, the halfling barkeep. [2,6]
The residents of Zazesspur no longer commented on the brief but spectacular displays of fireworks which lit the eastern skies from time to time, except to take the occasional snide jab at newly rich merchants who apparently possessed more money than taste (caused by Tinkersdam). [3]
lamplit streets of Zazesspur [3]
a common enough ploy: a pair of cutpurses chose a mark; then one jostled the victim to distract her while the actual theft occurred from behind [3]
Abrum Assante, a member of her own alleged profession. Once a master assassin, he had retired from the School of Stealth a few years back to enjoy his hard-earned wealth. Owned a silver tiara with a pair of pale amethysts that a rival collector paid Arilyn to steal (Lord Hhune). Except for Assante's personal servants-all of whom were carefully sequestered-there was no man or woman alive who knew the palace's secrets. Assante's owned the posh house of pleasure and healing a bathhouse for the entertainment of his friends and business associates. He held an impressive amount of real estate in Zazesspur. Slain by Ferret and his body dumped in an acid pool [4,19]
Assante's palace, a wonder of pink (Halruaan) marble and clever illusions, was a testament to its owner's wealth and wariness, an enormous vault that held a thousand secrets. The extensive grounds were surrounded by a very high, thick wall that looked relatively easy to scale. This, however, was the first illusion. The wall, near the top, curved gently outward, then jutted straight up in a broad, steeply slanted lip. There was absolutely no handhold, no secure hold beyond for a grappling hook. Arilyn learned that would-be thieves often fell to their deaths on the stone walkways below. Inside the courtyard, which was all that most of Assante's guests ever saw of the complex, lining all four sides of the courtyard, were long, shallow reflecting pools. Rumour had it that the placid-looking pools were filled not with water, but a highly corrosive acid. Several visitors, however, reported seeing gliding swans and flowering water plants in the supposedly deadly moat (swans and plants are illusions). Four graceful bridges, one on each side of the courtyard, spanned the pools, and beyond each was a glowing azure cloud that dispelled any magical illusions. No one could enter the courtyard without either wading the pools or passing through the mist. Most of the garden's statues and gargoyles came in matched pairs. It was rumoured that one of each was either an animated construct or a living creature. No one was certain which was which. The bridges, too, were each flanked by a pair of identical Calishite guards. This was another small ploy, meant to lull would-be challengers into believing there was but one guard and a magical reflection. In reality, each pair of guards consisted of twin-born brothers, carefully chosen and trained to mirror each other's movements with uncanny precision-until the moment when it suited them to strike individually and unexpectedly. Assante, as Arilyn had come to know, possessed a very dark and convoluted mind. The palace itself was a massive, smooth oval: no corners to hide lurkers, no cover of decorative plants around its base, no vines climbing upon its pink walls. Several stories high, it was fashioned after an ancient ziggurat-a stepped pyramid of successively receding, oval-shaped stories. Towers and crenelations there were in plenty, but only on the uppermost level. A high, central tower rose from the top floor. The sentries posted there had an unobstructed view of the grounds, the walls, and several blocks of the city that lay beyond. It was one of the strangest, yet one of the most defensible, fortresses Arilyn had ever encountered. His harem was extensive, and the women apparently came and went quickly enough. [4,19]
Dozens of springs came down to Zazesspur from their origins in the Starspire Mountains. Public bathhouses built over warm, effervescent waters were commonplace in the city. [4]
The Foaming Sands, a bathouse owned by Abrum Assante. Mistress Penelope, the chatelaine and manager. A secret tunnel connects the Foaming Sands to Assante’s palace going through the sewers [4]
Yellow powder that reveals magical dweomers when blown at something [4]
Abrum Assante’s treasure rooms hold: a six-foot harp with a soundboard that had been carved into the shape of a woman whose gilded fingers were poised over the strings. Magical - awaiting a command to set it playing. Paintings, sculpture, and carvings from many lands filled several chambers. The art of taxidermy was also represented: rare beasts, some of which had not been seen alive for several generations, filled an entire room. There were piles of coins from every land Arilyn had ever heard named, and enough rare books to satisfy a dozen voracious scholars. There was an entire shelf of brilliantly coloured vases, fashioned by fire salamanders from melted semiprecious gems. There were jewel-encrusted swords, crowns of long-dead monarchs, court gowns embroidered with silk thread and seed pearls, and a golden sceptre inscribed with the runes of some far-eastern lands. Among these treasures of gems and gold Arilyn finally found the item she sought: a delicate, filigreed tiara set with a multitude of pale purple amethysts. A long case pushed up against the far wall. The case was covered by a low, rounded dome of dusty glass. Within the case was the body of a beautiful elven female (a former wielder of Arilyn’s moonblade), not alive, but not exactly dead, either. The elf looked-empty. The essence of the elf woman was gone, leaving her body behind in some form of deep stasis. The elf's ornaments were of ancient design, and the chain mail that draped her slender form was finer and older than any seen. A single thick braid the colour of spun sapphires lay over one shoulder. It was the rarest hair colour among moon elves. Resting on the elf's thighs was a small shield emblazoned with a strange elven sigil: a curving design made of mirror images reaching out to each other, but not quite touching [4]
Jill (his mother’s name, might not be his real name dwarves give fake names to strangers), a dwarf (male). 70-80 years old, small blonde beard. Enslaved by Abrum Assante and trapped in his palace to clean for the past 10 years. Originally from the Starspire Mountains. Got into a bar fight at the Dusty Throat tavern and the money (he took from Abrum Assante’s palace when Arilyn rescued him) went to repairing the damage and he has to work off the rest as barkeep. Thinking of going back to the Earthfast Mountains and his kin. Jill, the name come down through the clan to male and female alike. And odd enough, it seems like every male dwarf who bears it fights better 'n most. [4,15]
With the fall of the royal family of Tethyr, many of the royalists had fled to Zazesspur. For several years there had been a quiet underground movement to restore the monarchy, perhaps with a new royal family. Balik seemed well on the way to becoming just that, but Arilyn doubted the self-proclaimed pasha would enjoy the royalists' support for long. Pasha Batik's southern sympathies were becoming more and more apparent, and his inner circle was increasingly made up of men from Calimahan and even Halruaa. It would not be long, Arilyn suspected, before Pasha Batik was deposed and yet another powerful man or woman sought the crown. [4]
The threat of a guild takeover had been thoroughly, even ruthlessly, suppressed, but already Zazesspur buzzed with whispers of this baron or that lord gathering strength and supporters. [4]
Hasheth, a younger son of the ruling pasha, was having a great deal of difficulty finding a life-path suited to his ambitions and his exalted sense of self. Arilyn had met the young man several months before, during his attempt to gain fame and wealth as an assassin. He had been charged with killing another assassin, namely Arilyn. She and Danilo had managed, just barely, to convince the proud youth that this assignment was actually a death sentence handed down by guildmasters who wanted Balik's son out of the assassins' guild. Since then, Hasheth had become an ally, helping to insinuate Arilyn into the assassins' guild and sponsoring Danilo in the social life of the palace. And in doing so, he had finally found an activity that suited him. The role of Harper informant appealed to, the young man, for intrigue was a skill highly valued in Tethyr. Yet his Harper activities did not bring him the overt wealth and status he craved. Since he'd left the assassins' guild, he had tasted of a dozen occupations. The latest, apparently, was no more to his liking than any of his previous choices. As a younger, harem-born son, his status was roughly that of a skilled tradesman, and his prospects were considerably less promising. At last count Balik had seven sons from his legal wives; his harem had produced an additional thirteen or fourteen. Hasheth had at least a dozen older brothers. Hasheth’s mother was a Knight of the Shield agent, she died birthing another child to Pasha Balik. Hasheth joined the Knights of the Shield and had Achnib and Bunlap blamed for the troubles in Tethyr, making Hhune look like a hero (Hhune was manipulating him into doing this all along), the price for his joining the Knights of the Shield as a full member was the death of his father [5,11,25]
Garvanell's Fine Ointments. Behind the lavish shop that offered scented oils and spurious potions to the city's wealthy, behind the counting room where the clerks laboured to tally the day's wealth, Garvanell kept a small private room where he received payment of another, more personal sort (women). Garvanell had been born to farmhands who laboured in the distant reaches of the Purple Hills. The gods had gifted him with a handsome face and a certain smarmy charm. He had done well with these modest attributes, trading them for the benefits that came along with the favour of older, wealthy women. Step by step, he worked his way up in society, until at last he married a well-to-do widow of Zazesspur. His wife was a good twenty years older than he, as well as stout and exceedingly homely. Yet all things in life had compensations. The woman possessed a thriving business and an ever-increasing passion for playing at cards. Since she won more often than she lost, Garvanell was pleased she'd found something other than him to occupy her time. He took over the perfume shop and did a thriving business. Although less than half of his earnings were paid in coin, he still managed to turn enough of a profit to maintain appearances. Garvanell was killed by Ferret. [5]
Oil of Minotaur Musk was not an easy commodity to come by, not even the imitations fashioned by unscrupulous Lantanna alchemists. [5]
Ilmater’s Temple. The bells of Ilmater's temple ring out the midnight hour. The temple was but a block away from Garvanell’s Fine Ointments, and at night the bells seemed deafening. [5]
The purple tunics and leggings of the Balik house guard. Clad in tunics and leggings of a distinctive dark purple which marked them as hired swords of the palace, mercenaries who reported to the lesser members of the Balik family. [5,10]
The Knights of the Shield were largely responsible for Pasha Balik’s rise to power [5]
Half-elves were treated well enough in Zazesspur, but they walked a thin rope and most of them knew it. The ever-increasing racial conflicts of Tethyr put half-elves in a tenuous position that prompted them to watch their manners and mind then-own affairs. [6]
In Zazesspur's coastal waters. Colonies of sahuagin abounded; there were even rumours that the creatures had managed to capture several ships, which they used to engage in piracy. These rumours were unconfirmed. Lost ships were not uncommon, but survivors of pirate attacks were rare, and so far none could establish the truth of the strange buccaneers. [6]
Zazesspur’s docks are chained off until dawn [6]
Hanging Garden, a tavern fashioned to reflect the tastes and preferences of Zazesspur's current ruler (Calimport). Danilo came here frequently to enjoy the quality of the wine and the music. Traveling bards, as well as local musicians, performed nightly. [6]
The current fashion, the harpist played the melody of a ballad through once before joining the strings in song. [6]
Harpers were not welcome in troubled Zazesspur, and Harper heroes were hardly an acceptable subject for tavern tales. [6]
Purple Minotaur, the finest and most costly inn in all of Zazesspur, located in the city’s most fashionable quarter. A soaring palace at least 4 floors high [7]
A thick sea mist that settled in with the coming of night [7]
Under Pasha Balik's rule, men enjoyed social dominance
The southern gate, opens at dawn
Secret door in Pasha Balik’s palace was hidden in the stone of the hearth that warmed Hasheth’s room on chill nights, and the tunnel itself was chiselled into the thick walls of the palace. The tunnel leads into the palace gardens, entrance/exit lies in the palace wall beneath the branches of an exotic flowering tree.
Each morning at dawn the massive gates of Zazesspur swung open to admit the flow of commerce that was the city's lifeblood. The city's coffers benefited from tariffs placed on exotic goods that passed through on their way north from Ca#1100;mshan and points east. But the markets of Zazesspur were much more than a stopping place for merchant caravans. The people of Tethyr took great pride in their craftsmanship, and their goods were in great demand in lands to the north and south. [9]
Into the city poured the raw materials that ships and overland caravans brought from all over the known world. Chultan teak and Maztican rosewood were fashioned into the carved wooden boxes for which Tethyr was famed, and delicate contraptions of gears and tiny chimes came from Lantan to transform some of these boxes into wondrous musical toys. Fine metals from the icy Northlands were brought into the city to be worked into vessels and armour and jewellery, gems to be set into sword hilts or ladies' rings. Tethyrian furniture was prized for its durability and elegant lines. For sheer practicality, Myratman fabrics were considered second to none. A cloak woven from the wool of the sheep that grazed the Purple Hills often lasted long enough to be handed down from father to son, and few were the weavers outside Tethyr who could spin thread so fine that the results were nearly waterproof. Another form of commerce, also important to the city's well-being if somewhat less glamorous, was the trading for foodstuffs grown in the fertile Purple Hills south of the city. Daily caravans travelled between Zazesspur and Marakir, the farmers' market located at the intersection of the Trade Way with the Sulduskoon River, to purchase fruit and grain and mutton. It was an important task, but a routine one, and therefore one that seldom fell under close scrutiny. [9]
It was fashionable among society folk to keep a southern woman as mistress [9]
The palace of Pasha Balik was without doubt the largest and most impressive building in all of Zazesspur. At its core was a summer palace built by Alehandro III. Amazingly, it had escaped the destruction of the royal family-followed by the demolition of most of the royal properties-virtually unscathed. When Balik came to power he'd taken it over, bought up the surrounding land, and expanded the original buildings into an enormous marble complex ringed by even more spectacular gardens. One of the newer additions was a large chamber suitable for meetings of state. Here met the Council of Lords [11]
The Council of Lords-a dozen men and women of noble rank-to hear important cases, debate policy, and make decisions that would address the good of all the people of Zazesspur. At least, that was the Council's original and stated intent. The Council, inspired by the lords who ruled Waterdeep, had been created shortly after the downfall of the royal house. Though it was intended to be the ruling body, most of its members came to view their seats as stepping stones toward greater power. In recent years, however, the Council had done little more than carry out the will of the pasha. [11]
Lord Faunce, one of the few noblemen present who had actually inherited his title, member of the Council of Lords [11]
Zonguiar, a priest of Ihnater, member of the Council of Lords [11]
Marquessa D'Morreto, member of the Council of Lords [11]
Smiling Smithy, was the sort of shabby place that replaced cast-off horseshoes and reattached the broken prongs of pitchforks. The sole proprietor and craftsperson, Melissa Miningshaft was a short, squat woman singularly lacking in either physical beauty or social graces. She was half-dwarven, or perhaps a quarter-breed, yet she was nearly as stout and heavily muscled as any full-blooded dwarven smith. Her features brought to mind a dried apple, her graying brown hair was scraped back into a tight bun, and to; call the lumpy, ample form that strained the seams of her brown linsey gown "shapeless" would be erring on the side of compassion. Melissa is an agent of the Knights of the Shield, she is a coin broker, melts down currency of one type and forges it into another. Melissa was extremely particular about those to whom she sold her finer skills. The dwarf woman was capable of making shrewd, clandestine deals and forging incredibly accurate counterfeit coin molds, but if this were to become widely known, she'd be forced to spend too much time and effort guarding the wealth hidden in the walls and cellars of her humble shop and home. She had clients who held an interest in protecting her privacy. Anyone who attempted to betray her secret was likely to become a notch on an assassin's blade, or to be discovered with large gold coins weighing down his eyelids [17]


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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2022 :  20:12:26  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lord Inselm Hhune
Lord Hhune was a powerful man in Zazesspur. Not only was he a wealthy merchant and head of the shipping guild, but he was also a member of the Lords' Council, which carried out the edicts of Pasha Balik. It was therefore likely that he'd been part of the recent attempt to organize a guild takeover of the city. Rumour had it that this man had killed a red dragon. Arilyn was ready to accept that, provided that the dragon in question had still been in the egg at the time. Hhune was a large man, but he looked as if he spent more time downing pastries than wielding a sword. His dark, costly garments were carefully tailored to disguise his bulk, and his hair and thick black moustache were neatly groomed and just beginning to take on a bit of grey. His small black eyes were filmed over with a veneer of civility. Possession of an item of such significance to the old royal family could help Hhune endear himself to nearly any faction or family that happened to rise to power. He might even use it as a prop in making his own bid for royalty. Hhune was accounted a lord for no better reason than the country estate he'd purchased a few years back. [4]
Hhune's estate was an oddly shaped little kingdom-, a collection of small, well-tended farms that stretched along both sides of the Sulduskoon river for several miles-not coincidentally, giving him a certain degree of control over trade on that section of the river. To the north Hhune could see the narrow ribbon of hard-packed earth that was the Trade Way, and farther still, the rooftops of Zazesspur. His country manor was set atop a high hill. Though it was yet early summer, the fertile farmlands of these lands and the Purple Hills region to the south were lush and green. To the west lay the sea, and Hhune could just make out the glimmer of sunlight on the distant waves. He drew considerable wealth from the labours of the farming folk and more still from the sea. His labours as a merchant, and as guildmaster of Zazesspur's influential Shippers' Guild, had won Hhune power and wealth that far surpassed his early goals. But what had once been distant dreams were now merely milestones on Hhune's road to ever greater things. [5]
Hhune was low-born, and he bitterly resented anything that might be construed as a slight. But with him, profit ever came before pride. [5]
Hhune often wondered how and why the guilds' plan to oust Pasha Balik had failed. It had been so carefully planned, so flawlessly executed. Yet the main conspirators had been found slain, and the pasha himself had sponsored laws that severely limited the powers of the guilds. Clearly, word of the plot had reached his ears, yet try as they might, no one could learn who might have turned traitor. [5]
Hhune now knows Danilo Thann is a Harper and helped Pasha Balik foil the plot by the guilds to overthrow his rule. He knows Hasheth knows Danilo and another Harper. [5]
Very little happens in these southern lands (Tethyr) that the Knights have not planned, and by which we do not profit. It is not so in the north. [5]
Lord Hhune’s scribe is called Achnib, he handles the shipping affairs. Achnib was a born sycophant, and such men often enjoyed a degree of success. The scribe curried favor with his master in the most shamelessly obvious ways, even to imitating Lord Hhune's appearance. He sported a thick mustache and smoothed back his black hair with oils as did Hhune. He patronized the same tailor and went so far as to mimic the lord's manner of speaking, his gait, and his meticulous attention to social niceties. What Achnib lacked, however, was Hhune's apparent love of intrigue and his understanding of the nuances of power. Unlike Hhune, the scribe made no attempt whatsoever to ensure the loyalties of those in lesser positions, instead seeking only to bask in the reflected light of greater men. [5,11]
Each summer Hhune travels to Waterdeep to attend the midsummer fair and to receive the report of a Knight of the Shield agent there, a countrywoman, Lucia Thione, who is highly placed both in business and society. The Thione family was related to the royal house of Tethyr. Few members had escaped the sword after the fall of the royal family. That one of these survivors was allied with the Knights of the Shield gave an additional lustre to the secret society. [5]
Guildmaster, merchant, land owner and member of the Council of Lords, Hhune possessed considerable power. [11]
Has a logging camp on the eastern borders of the Forest of Tethir manned with foresters hired from the Vilhon Reach, it is run through many different holding companies (so ownership cannot be traced to Hhune) [14]
Hhune has his own private navy (built with help of the logging camp????) [14]
After Tethyr's civil war, laws were passed in Zazesspur, as well as in several other cities, that strictly limited the arms and forces that any citizen, guild, or private group could maintain. It was quite illegal for Hhune to own the type of fast, manoeuvrable, and well-armed vessels that could protect his merchant ships from piracy. Hhune considered these laws unreasonable, so he'd found ways to circumvent them. Yet within the very guild he strove to protect were those who would gladly betray his activities in the hope of climbing to his position. Guild monies were carefully monitored, and embezzlement was out of the question. And although he was a wealthy man, it was not within his means to finance the sort of fleet he needed. It had occurred to him that the resources he needed were close at hand: the ancient trees of the elven forest. Logging in the Forest of Tethir had been forbidden for as long as human memory stretched back. Perhaps because the strictures against this were so deeply ingrained, Hhune found setting up an operation to be far easier than he expected. First came the chain of merchants and messengers and companies that stood between him and the hiring of foresters from distant reaches of the Vilhon to the east. This had gone well, until attacks by the eastern tribes of elves had brought logging to a standstill. That was when Hhune had hired Bunlap, and the man had proven his worth ten times over. The mercenary captain had at his disposal a veritable army, as well as an information network as efficient as any affiliated with the Knights of the Shield. The captain's knowledge of river traffic was such that loggers could find brief windows of time to float the cut lumber downriver. At a point just south of the Starspire Mountains, below the river's fork on the southern shore, the logs were netted, loaded onto wagons, and brought in overland until they met up with the trade route west of Ithmong and east of the ruins of Castle Tethyr. False papers claimed that the logs come from the forested south. Hhune "paid" for the logs and made a nice profit selling the lumber to a shipyard in Port Kir. He then used the funds-under the guise of several blind companies-to pay for his fleet of illegal ships. It was a good plan, and so far all had gone well. But keeping this information from his guild, from the Knights of the Shield, and from the officials of Zazesspur was becoming an increasingly delicate balancing act. [14]
It did not appear as if the northern outposts of Zazesspur's thieves and assassins guilds would take hold-a pity, for these were favored tools of the Knights of the Shield. And he, Hhune, had been labeled as a member of this hostile group and barred from Waterdeep. The Knights had also lost their capable agent in Waterdeep. The Lady Lucia Thione had been unmasked and exiled. It would be many long years before the Knights of the Shield again managed to place an informant so high in Waterdhavian society. Even so, Hhune felt certain he could turn these losses into personal gain. Although he could not enter the northern city again, there was to be no disruption of shipping between Zazesspur and the north. And Waterdeep was still reeling from a series of disasters: crop failure, incursions of monsters stripping the forests of game and the fields of cattle, political uncertainty. Zazesspur's goods and surplus crops would find an eager, almost desperate market. Finally, he had with him the deposed agent, and he had spent much of the trip southward mentally devising various uses for her. Lucia Thione, formerly the ranking agent of the Knights of the Shield in the north, was a rarity in Tethyr: a surviving member of the old royal family, albeit a very distant relation. The tide of royalist sentiment in Zazesspur was swelling, and who knew what heights an ambitious man might reach with such a consort at his side? In addition to her purple blood, she was a woman of rare beauty and keen business acumen. At one time, Hhune would have counted himself lucky merely to spend time in her company. He was ecstatic to find her utterly in his power! [25]


School of Stealth
Most of the illegal activities of Zazesspur were conducted from the better parts of town. The School of Stealth-a school of the fighting arts which was a thinly veiled front for the powerful assassins' guild-was housed in a sprawling complex at the edge of the city. The system for advancement within the guild was simple: an ambitious assassin merely killed someone of higher rank and took his sash. [2]
School of Stealth, women's guild-house [2]
New contracts posted each night at the School of Stealth in the Council Hall. Latest contracts are some baker wished to avenge an insult dealt to his pastry; a harem girl was willing to pay in trade for the death of a self-avowed and apparently spurious eunuch; a wealthy collector (Lord Hhune) wanted a piece of stolen property retrieved from the treasure house of a rival - a silver tiara studded with pale amethysts. [3]
Removing a choice assignment before other assassins had a chance to bid for it was considered a severe breach of guild etiquette. [3]
Unlike most assignments, this one offered a fee to all and sundry who wished to take up the challenge. A half-dozen fighters had been hired to ensure that no single assassin removed the paper and hoarded the assignment for himself. Apparently, speed was of more concern than money. There were many wealthy men and women in Tethyr who would pay dearly to swiftly eliminate even the possibility of Harper involvement in their multi-layered affairs. [7]
Council Hall [7]
Samir, assassin
Sand hue Sash [14]

Blackstaff Tower
To the casual observer, Blackstaff Tower appeared to be little more than an enormous, tapering cylinder of black granite, a tower some fifty feet tall and surrounded by a curtain wall nearly half that height. Stark and simple, the keep lacked the displays of magic-either fearsome or fanciful- that were so beloved by the wealthy and powerful citizens of Waterdeep. No watchful gargoyles peered down from the tower's flat roof; no animated statues stood guard; no cryptic runes marred the smooth black surface of wall or tower. [1]
Laeral Silverhand. Fully six feet tall and slender as a birch tree, Laeral possessed a strange, fey beauty that hinted of faerie blood. Silvery hair cascaded to her hips, and large green eyes-the deep, silver-green hue peculiar to woodland ponds [1]
In a chamber in the uppermost level, Khelben's consort, the archmage Laeral Arunsun Silverhand, stood before a mirror, a tall oval of silvered glass surrounded by an elaborately carved and gilded frame. She ran her fingers along the carved and gilded wood, seeking the ever-shifting magic that few could perceive, and fewer still could master. When satisfied that she had found the elusive trigger, Laeral spoke a strange phrase and then stepped into the mirror. The portal goes to a deep forested glade in Evermeet. It was a magical bridge between the worlds of the elves and humans, and it had been born with a spark of life that had become a half-elven child-a child that Amlaruil would forever regret. That gate had cost Amlaruil the life of her beloved husband. [1]
Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun-the archmage of Waterdeep, a Master Harper, and her Arilyn’s superior [2]
Khelben has long-dead quarrels with Bran Skorlsun [2]

Evermeet
Amlauril, Lady of Evermeet, Queen of All Elves, 6 ft tall clad in a silken gown of dove-grey, the elven colour of mourning. The elf's vividly blue eyes had seen the birth and death of several centuries, yet her face was youthful, and the flaming lustre of her red-gold hair was undimmed by time. A silver circlet rested on the elf woman's brow. [1]
Half-elves were allowed on Evermeet [6]
Amlaruil, Lady of Evermeet, Queen of the Elven Island [12]
Amlauril was no fragile figurehead to be cozened and protected; she herself was one of the powerful safeguards that kept Evermeet secure. Amlaruil knew the ancient high magic of the elves and carried the special power of the Seldarine. Few were the forces that could get beyond Evermeet's formidable queen. [24]
The queen's features were more delicate, her hair like silk and flame. She was tall, taller even than Arilyn, with a pale, otherworldly beauty that reminded Arilyn or the lythari females. [24]
It is known that those of mixed blood are banned from the island kingdom. You must understand. Evermeet is the last retreat, our only secure refuge from the incursions of humanity. Many of the People, particularly the high elves, fear our culture is giving way to that of the humans. Half-elves may in themselves be no threat, but the symbolism is too powerful. We cannot make exceptions. [24]
To Amlauril’s knowledge no one has ever before had to discover a moonblade's powers alone. Had we known you possessed the potential to wield the moonblade, we would have taken another course. Few elves are up to the demands of an ancient moon-blade," the queen pointed out. "Most have lain dormant for centuries, and only a handful of the swords retain their power. Many elves refuse their inheritance, with no dishonor. It was not unreasonable for us to assume that a half-elven child would be unequal to the challenge. [24]
The wealth of Evermeet is fabled to be beyond reckoning [24]
It had never occurred to Amlauril that the lythari might be able to access the Elfgate. Although no lythari had ever proven traitorous, safeguards must be taken. [24]

Harpers
The decline of the elven people is not an issue the Harpers have traditionally addressed. [1]
want to promote some sort of settlement, a compromise that will end the turmoil and address-at least in part-the concerns of both sides (Tethyrians and Tethir elves), like the Dale Compact. Laeral argued with several of the Master Harpers that the Dale Compact did not last long [1]
They are worried about the disruption of trade and the possibility of increasing the civil unrest in Tethyr [1]

Macumail
Captain Carreigh Macumail, a mass of curly fair hair, his long and neatly braided whiskers, the bright blue-and-green weave of his trademark kilt, the extravagant lace-trimmed ruffles at the throat and cuffs of his white shirt. More than three hundred pounds sat easily on a frame that stood just a^ handspan short of seven feet. [2]
A Moonshae captain, a former pirate who liked to keep a hand in his original trade, had docked in Zazesspur the day before. He had a special fondness for valuable documents- both genuine and contrived-and he possessed a knowledge of elven ways that far outstripped the understanding of most humans. Rumour had it that one of his recent female passengers, a green elven druid, had become his friend, perhaps even his lover. Liaisons between wild elves and humans were exceedingly rare, but Arilyn knew this man well and saw how such might be possible. Indeed, rumour had it that his ship, Mist-Walker, was one of only a handful of human vessels ever permitted to make port on the elven island of Evermeet. [2]
Has a son, red hair and blunt nose. First time sailing this year with his father [6]
Has a fondness for elf women [6]

Arilyn
Arilyn’s mission to help defuse an attempt by the guilds of Zazesspur to depose the ruling pasha and establish guild rule. Pasha Balik is aware of the threat, and Arilyn’s friendship with Prince Hasheth has gained the Harpers a valuable contact in the palace [2]
Laeral Silverhand was one of the few magic-users whom Arilyn trusted and respected. Unlike most arcane scholars, who all too often seemed detached from the world around them and indifferent to the impact their spells might have on others, Laeral possessed a refreshing streak of practicality. A former adventurer and still a bit of a rogue, Lady Arunsun valued results over protocol. She and Arilyn got along just fine, and the half-elf was usually inclined to listen when Laeral spoke. [2]
Royal family wanted Arilyn’s Moonblade, they wanted it some thirty years ago, when Arilyn's mother-the exiled princess Amnestria-had been murdered in distant Evereska, leaving her moonblade to her half-elven daughter. Amnestria's family had come to her funeral-from where, Arilyn had no idea-but she remembered with knife-edged clarity the elves' chagrin when they learned of this bequest, their impassioned claims that only a moon elf of pure blood and noble heart could carry such a sword. Although Amnestria's family had discussed the matter in Arilyn's presence, not one of them had a single word to spare for the grieving child-not one word of comfort or even of acknowledgment. The royal elves had worn mourning veils that obscured their identities. They had not given Arilyn so much as a glimpse of their faces. Now, all of a sudden, this aloof, faceless queen decided to grant Arilyn the honour of a royal mission? One that was most likely impossible and, Arilyn noted cynically, possibly suicidal? [2]
Tinkersdam had become one of her most valued allies. Theirs was a symbiotic relationship. Over the years he'd provided her with any number of gadgets and alchemically derived substances. She devised a practical use for them, in the process often finding new and unanticipated applications that delighted the alchemist. [3]
Three inches short of six feet [3]
Young Prince Hasheth had proven to be a valuable contact. Through him Danilo had gained access to the palace, and she herself had received much useful information about Zazesspur. It was Hasheth who had helped her set up Tinkersdam in a wondrous workshop hidden in the mountains overlooking the city, and who continued to supply the alchemist with needed ingredients, often at his own expense. Yet Arilyn could not forget the particulars of their first meeting: Hasheth had been a student assassin, and she had been his assigned prey. Although the young prince had opened a door for her into the closely held assassins' guild and had since moved on to sample several other professional endeavours, the half-elf did not' miss the predatory gleam in his black eyes whenever he regarded her. [3]
Has achieved the rank of Shadow Sash in the School of Stealth [3]
Once Arilyn had been commissioned to steal back the stuffed and mounted head of a basilisk. That had not been her favourite assignment. On the whole, it would probably have been easier to hunt down and slay a fresh monster. [3]
Arilyn’s Moonblade contains nine runes cut into the blade. One of them is a small shield emblazoned with a strange elven sigil: a curving design made of mirror images reaching out to each other, but not quite touching. [4]
Nine people, including herself, had wielded the moon-blade since its forging in ancient Myth Drannor, and each had added a magical power to the sword. Although Arilyn knew what these powers were, she could not match each one to a rune, or each rune to the elf with whom it had originated. She did not know the name of the elf woman who slept here, but perhaps the answer to this could be found in the glass that entombed her. [4]
Arilyn suggests Prince Hasheth work for Lord Hhune, become a wealthy merchant and inform on Lord Hhune (who the Harpers do not trust) as needed [5]
From an early age she had battled armed men, fought monsters of almost every description, met the Tuigan hoard in the lingering horror that was war. There was only one thing under the stars that Arilyn Moonblade truly feared: the unknown powers hidden in the ancient sword that was strapped to her side. [5]
The moon-blade warned her of danger, struck with preternatural speed and power, enabled her to take on a number of disguises, and gave her a resistance to fire that had spared her life more than once. It was the elfshadow, her own mirror image, that Arilyn dreaded [5]
The ability to form and summon an elfshadow was one of the powers added to the moonblade you carry. By Zoastria (did she do it by shedding her soul into the blade and entering a deathless sleep????) [5,20]
Moonblades contain great magic, and they grow in power with each wielder. But as with all magic, the cost is high." The elfshadow paused and spread her hands, as if inviting Arilyn to observe in her what that cost might be. "My name is chosen well, for I am the shadow of what you will become. You will not die, strictly speaking. Your life essence will enter the moonblade. This is the ultimate source of the sword's magic. Each elf who accepts a moonblade understands that his or her passage to Arvandor will be delayed, perhaps for thousands of years, until the moon-blade's purpose is fulfilled. When a sword fells dormant, the elves are released. It is an enormous sacrifice, but one that certain noble elves take on gladly for the greater good of the People. [5]
Black Pearl, an old friend and a half sea elf, that gave her an enchanted amulet of water breathing [6]
Arilyn had known Ganamede (a lythari in the forest of Tethir) from childhood. As a young lythari he had ventured into the outer world too soon, only to be caught in a snare. Arilyn had been a child herself at the time, willful enough to ignore the warnings about venturing alone into the wild Greycloak Hills that surrounded Evereska, young enough to be charmed with the idea of keeping a pet wolf. Her mother, Zlwryl, had had other ideas. She sent word to the lythari's tribe-exactly how, Arilyn had never learned- and a stern, pale-haired male elf came the next day to whisk away the errant cub. But it seemed that the young lythari had a contrary streak to match Arilyn's own. Many times over the next several years he slipped away to seek out his half-elven playmate. When Arilyn left Evereska after her mother's death, Ganamede had given her a summoning pipe and a knowledge of the "doors to the gate" where she might find him. Only now did Arilyn understand what that meant. Although there was but one gate to the lythari's lair, they could probably emerge at will in Tethir or Evermeet or Cormanthor. But why would they choose to do so, other than to hunt? [11]
As far as Arilyn knew, she was the only moon-blade wielder in the entire history of these ancient swords who was not of pure moon-elf heritage. Not even't, a full-blooded elf of another noble race-the gold elves, V or the green, or the sea folk-had every held such a #1032; sword and lived. What chance would a child of hers›; have against the moonblade's silent test? And knowing what she did about the nature of the elfshadow, how could she pass such a sentence along? Immediate death, or eternal servitude. It was not much of a legacy. [12]
Moonblade, a hereditary blade, and its magic will continue as long as there is a need for it and a worthy descendant to wield it. When its purpose has been fulfilled, it will go dormant. [12]
The moon-blade she carried was of the Moonflower clan, and the line would not die with Arilyn. The gods only knew how many unknown royal aunts and uncles and cousins she had running blithely about on distant Evermeet! Which brought her to a second disturbing realization: since she had no children of her own, she would have to name a blade heir from among her mother's kin. It occurred to her, for the first time, that the ties between her and her mother's people were far more complex than their common bloodlines. "Lamruil," she blurted out, remembering a name from her mother's long-ago tales. "Prince Lamruil of Evermeet, youngest son of Amlaruil and mother's brother to me. I name him blade heir. There are 'doors to the gate' on Evermeet. If I fall, see that he gets the moonblade. [12]
Zoastria, who endowed the moonblade with the elfshadow entity, called forth her own double no more than a few times. Calling forth all the elfshadows takes a tremendous toll upon the sword's wielder but it has been done once in the past (by who????). Unlike most of the moon fighters, I did not die," Zoastria said. "It is possible to pass on the sword to a blade heir without tasting death. This is not a choice lightly made, but I made a pledge to return and this is how it is honored. There are others who have done this. Doubtless, you have heard legends. [14]
Zhents say Arilyn snuck into Darkhold and killed old Cherbil Nimmtr [16]
Gifted a wooden pipe by Ganamede, it approximates the call of a lythari [16]
One of Arilyn's predecessors had endowed the sword with the ability to cast minor glamours over the wield-er. It was a slight effect, a small shifting of perception. Arilyn had learned to work with the moonblade's magic to create a number of personas. Part of the transformation was done with small changes of costume, and she had learned to mimic the stance and movements of each character type she portrayed: a human lad, a courtesan, a gold-elf priestess, and perhaps a half-dozen more. [16]
all the elves who had wielded her moonblade since the days of its forging in long-ago Myth Drannor. There was Zoastria, tiny and wraithlike-the most insubstantial of the elfshadow warriors. The elf woman's angular face was a mask of frustration as she slashed at the human mercenaries with her sword, a sword that drew no more blood than would a breath of wind. Yet Zoastria's efforts were not without effect. The mercenaries shrank away in terror from the ghostly elven warrior-and onto the blades of the others. A tall, ancient elven wizard, his long white hair a mass of tiny braids, held his shadow-moonblade out at arm's length, point-down, as if it were a mage's staff. The sword blazed with blue fire, as did his eyes and the fingertips of his outstretched hand. Pinpricks of blazing eldritch light darted toward the mercenaries like vengeful fireflies. A small, slight male elf held his sword with two hands, yet he wielded the single blade with a dizzying speed that brought to mind the dual swords of a bladesinger's dance. The crest on his tabard, a bright-plummaged bird rising from flames, proclaimed him to be Phoenix Moonflower, the elf who, centuries before, had imbued the sword with its rapid strike. Another male elf, this one with, flame-colored hair, wielded a shadow-sword that flickered and seared with arcane fire. Heat rose from the blade, which glowed a red so intense that it brought to mind a dwarven forge. Arilyn recognized him as Xenophor, the elf who had lent the power of fire resistance to the blade, and she watched in awe as he fought, for his shadow moonblade leaped and darted and licked like wildfire in a capricious wind. There was a tall, rangy elf woman who seemed oddly devoid of colour. Her skin was starkly white, her eyes and hair the colour of jet, her leathers and boots a dusty black. There was nothing colourless about her fighting, though. Never had Arilyn seen anyone fight with such bloody fury. And there were others as well-Arilyn's own elfshadow and two males, one small and fierce and the other taller than the rest and golden-haired. Zberyl, she was as beautiful as Arilyn remembered-as tall as her daughter, with the same milky skin and gold-flecked blue eyes, but her small, fine-featured face was crowned with a cloud of thick, wavy hair the colour of spun sapphires. Beautiful, yes, but grim and terrible. This was not Z'beryl of Evereska, the loving mother and patient instructor of swordcraft This was the elf Z'beryl had once been: Amnestria, daughter of Zaor and Amlaruil of Evermeet, crown princess of the elves, battle wizard, and warrior. And this was the face Amnestria showed to her enemies. [16]
Each wielder of a moonblade added a power to the sword. Two years past, Arilyn had done the same, removing certain restrictions so she might share the moonblade and its magic with her partner. Never once had she suspected that in doing so, she had created an elfshadow entity that linked Danilo to the magic sword-and condemned him to her own fate. [16]
Call forth through stone, Call forth from steel. Command the mirror of myself, But ware the spirit housed within The shadow of the elf. – The legend lore spell cast by Khelben Arunsun coaxed this from the Moonblade [17]
A wielder can only call forth all the souls of the Moonblade once or else risk death [17]
Zoastria murmured the bonding ritual that Arilyn had never been taught [20]
At least four elves have carried the moonblade since Zoastria passed it on, and each added a power to the sword's store of magic. [21]
One of the wielders found himself in a disagreement with a red dragon and ended up endowing the sword with fire resistance. [21]
Arilyn asked Amlauril for a vast tract of land to the east of the Forest of Tethir, stretching from the borders of Castle Spulzeer to the origins of the Sulduskoon River. Have your agents-or the Harpers, or whoever you please-obtain the land. Arilyn intends to have the land replanted with trees [24]
Arilyn’s rune of Rapport was removed by Zoastria. The new rune she added bid the wielder of the Moonblade to return whenever the People of Tethir needed aid [24]

Bunlaps Mercenaries
Bunlap, human, massive size, dark grey cloak that flowed behind him like a storm cloud, iron-toed boots. His face was black-bearded, with a scimitar of a nose and eyes as cold and grey as the snow clouds. Left the Zhentilar behind and built a mercenary band of his own (over a hundred strong at least). Being paid to keep the elves busy (by who????). There was enough elf-hatred in Bunlap's heart to sink Evenneet into the sea (why????). Bunlap was hired by Lord Hhune. Well over 6 feet tall and weighed closer to 300 lbs than 200. He'd killed his first man at the age of thirteen and since then had won his living by the sword. But in his nearly forty years of constant fighting, [3,6,10,11,23]
Vhenlar, archer, worked with Bunlap for many years. The first incident had been several years back, when he and Bunlap were soldiers stationed in the fortress of Darkhold. They'd been assigned to escort an envoy from Zhentil Keep through Yellow Snake Pass. One evening he, Bunlap, and one of their charges had entered into a discussion of the dark gods, one that quickly degenerated into a quarrel. Bunlap "took matters personally" and beat his opponent nearly to death. When they learned that the injured man was a high-ranking priest of Cyric, the new god of strife, they did not stay around to see how the situation played out. They'd headed south until Bunlap thought them beyond the reach of the Dark Network, settled down in Tethyr, and built a mercenary band of considerable strength. But though Bunlap might have left the Zhentilar behind, his goals and methods had not changed for the better. In truth, there were times when Vhenlar dearly wished he could be rid of the man. His own love of profit, however, kept him at the side of the one person he feared and despised above all others. Among the Zhents of Darkhold his aim was almost legendary, and he had over two hundred confirmed kills to his credit. Originally a native of Cormyr. Spent 4 years dodging the Zhents (presumably he deserted along with Bunlap????). Slain by a Satyr [3,6,16,22]
Mercenary band includes foresters, hired swords who'd knocked about in a dozen lands, and a couple of rangers gone bad. A high ticket Halruaan wizard favoured by Bunlap [9]
Mandrake, a mercenary who also doubled as the company surgeon [9]
Tacher and Justin, scouts. [9]
A ranger, a tall, skinny fellow from the Dalelands. Once a noble ranger who fought in the Tuigan war and became disillusioned with humanity and war. Wears a symbol of Mielikki. Slain by Arilyn [9]
Bunlap has a fortress near the Forest of Tethir where he trains new recruits [9]
Bunlap’s fortress had a splendid view of Tethyr and its varied landscapes. To his east lay the Starspire Mountains, their jagged and lofty peaks snow-tipped even now in early summer. On the western side of his land were the rolling foothills, and just north of him the sudden, dense tree line that marked the southern edge of the Forest of Tethir. Located on a cliff overlooking the plain where a dozen or more small waterways converged into a single flow, he could exact a tariff from every small-time farmer or trapper who floated down the tributaries to paddle his goods downriver to the Sulduskoon, and thence to Zazesspur. Can raise a chain across the river to prevent passage [10]
Bunlap (through Hhune) has a fortress near the mouth of the Sulduskoon's northern branch. The logging camp is much farther to the east, where the river and the forest touch. [21]
Perhaps fifty elves of the Suldusk tribe remained alive. It was hard to judge their numbers with any certainty, for they were huddled together in cages built upon the ruined ground, from branches torn from the pillaged trees. The human camp was split, with some men guarding the captives, and others camped near the river. [21]

Starspire Mountains
The mountains were deeply forested, watered by numerous lakes and streams as well as an abundance of rain and even snow. A number of magical conflagrations that had broken out in the area in recent months! [3]
At the base of the southernmost mountain, through the trees to the steep, sheer rock wall they concealed. A vertical crevice slashed through the moss-dappled rock. Into the cave's mouth and made her way down the labyrinth of passages that led to a deep and soaring cavern. Here, hidden from the eyes of the sceptical-and the vengeful-laboured the alchemist known as Tinkersdam of Gond. It was an odd-looking lair, vast and open, yet cluttered enough to give the impression of bustling activity despite the fact that it had but one occupant. Several book-laden shelves were propped against the cave walls, and half-finished mechanical wonders littered a dozen or so long tables. Small cooking fires dotted the cave, and a muted symphony of hissing, crackling sounds rose from pots of bubbling, often luminous, substances. [3]

Tinkersdam
Tinkersdam. A native of Lantan, where Gond the Wondermaker, the god of inventors and artificers, was worshiped almost exclusively, Tinkersdam had the odd colouring typical for the Lantanna-only taken to extreme degrees. His sparse red hair approximated the colour and texture of copper wire, his sallow skin captured the exact hue of yellowed ivory, and his large, rather bulbous eyes were a strange shade of light green that did not occur elsewhere in nature. Out of lifelong habit, Tinkersdam wore a short tunic of bright yellow- the traditional colour of Lantan-and sandals on his bare feet. His plump, extremely bowed legs were hairless, as was his face-no doubt the result of the many explosions that his work occasioned. A skilled inventor and a daring alchemist, Tinkersdam had a particular fondness for lethal gadgets that could kill or disable people in innovative ways. He had been exiled from Lantan years ago when one of his experiments blew up someone influential. He had since been invited to leave several other cities for similar reasons. [3]
An explosion in Suzail a few years back had destroyed a hefty portion of a castle belonging to an influential nobleman and forced Tinkersdam into hiding. Rather than hunt him down whenever she needed him, Arilyn found it worth her while to locate the alchemist near her current base of operations. She paid most of his expenses through the fees she earned adventuring for the Harpers and considered every copper well spent. [3]
not welcome in Saradush, Ithmong, or Myratma [3]
Has not been to Zhentil Keep yet [3]

Waterdeep
The Blushing Mermaid, a luxurious festhall and water spa in the rough-and-tumble Dock Ward [4]

Marakir
Theresa's Fine Woollens, a large wooden stall that offered ready-made clothes. The establishment had a prosperous air, as well as a prime location right next to the river, but Theresa's reputation for high prices kept away all but the most affluent buyers. An assortment of serviceable but quite unremarkable garments: woollen cloaks, trews, gowns, and shawls, as well as shirts of linen or linsey-woolsey. The cost of the garments, Theresa insisted, reflected the quality and the service. The casual patron might assume that by "services" she meant the helpful shop clerks who offered advice and refreshments, or the curtained booths, each walled with silvered glass, that enabled the patrons to dress with privacy. What was not commonly known was that the mirrors were actually hidden doors that allowed well-informed patrons to slip out the back. [9]

Lythari
An enormous silver wolf padded into the clearing. It was twice as large, perhaps even three times as large, as any wolf Ferret had ever seen. In truth, it could be said to resemble a forest wolf only insofar as a unicorn could be likened to a horse, or an elf to a human. The creature's blue eyes were large and intelligent, almond-shaped like those of an elf and its ears were long and pointed above its sharply triangular face. There was a fey grace to its step and lingering about it was an eldritch aura that seemed to capture and embody the essence of the forest's magic. [10]
The lythari, an ancient race of shapechanging elves, the most elusive and most magical of all the forest People. Few knew of their existence beyond those who dwelt in the forest. Those who spoke of the Silver Shadows did so with reverence-and dread. [10]
The lythari were usually as reclusive as the wolves they resembled, but from time to time they moved with incredible ferocity against some enemy of the forest. Even the wild elves, who-next to dryads and treants- were the most attuned to the ways of the woodlands, did not understand the ways of the lythari and occasionally fell under their swift wrath. Few forest dwellers had caught a glimpse of a lythari, and never in elven form. [10]
The den of the shapeshifting elves was not in an underground cave, as Arilyn had anticipated, but in some middle realm, an unseen world. There was no visible passage, no magical gate; one moment they were in Tethir, the next, they were not. in a forest, but one quite different from the dense, cool shade of Tethir. The trees were taller, more majestic, and like nothing that Arilyn had ever seen before. The air was warmer, more alive. But the most compellingly apparent change was that the waning night had been replaced by the long golden shadows of late afternoon. Faerie? Well, not quite. This is a place between the worlds-quite fitting for people such as you and I who are neither wholly one thing nor another. [11]
The lythari were called "silver shadows" for good reason. In his lupine form, Ganamede moved more swiftly and silently than the wind-not even the leaves rustled when he passed. The lythari walked between worlds, even when their feet trod upon the solid face of Toril. [12]
Even the lythari were not immune to the power of the queen, Arilyn thought bitterly. What was it about Amlaruil that inspired such reverence? [12]
Ganamede of the Greycloak tribe [12]
Ganamede's tribe takes its name from the Greycloak Hills-or perhaps it is the other way around. [12]
From time to time the lythari strike against an evil individual-a rogue human, if you will, and sometimes even against an elf. [16]

Ferret
Ferret, the only other female assassin in the School of Stealth. The woman was whip-thin and sharp-featured, with black eyes that seemed not quite human, and a long slender nose that lacked only whiskers and a twitch. Remorseless, relentless, she was ferretlike in character as well. To everyone in the guildhouse, the Ferret was a bit of a mystery. She was never seen without heavy makeup, a tightly wound turban, and gloves. Nor was she ever heard to speak above a whisper. Rumour had it that she'd been disfigured in some accident, but apart from these idiosyncrasies there were no apparent flaws in her beauty, which she flaunted by dressing in scant silk garments so tight they appeared to have been painted onto her lithe form. Tonight, she wore a gown patterned in jewel-like colours that echoed the resplendent plumage of a peacock. Earrings made from the eyes of a peacock's tail feathers dangled from her earlobes, the only part of her ears that were visible beneath her cobalt-blue turban. The woman was said to be omnivorous (in her choice of lover), with an appetite and skills that astonished even those wealthy and jaded Zazesspuran noblemen who sought to imitate the pasha by keeping extensive and exotic harems. Ferret was also very, very good with a blade. Arilyn had wondered more than once why the Ferret had never challenged her. Of all the assassins in the guild, Arilyn thought Ferret the one most likely to successfully relieve her of her Shadow Sash. But the black-eyed woman seemed content with her rank, preferring to spend her time and energy on fee-paying assignments. Knows the language of centaurs [3,8]
Ferret has a mission to kill a single person (who????) [5]
Ferret is really a wild elf, sister to Speaker Rhothomir of Talltrees [12]
Ferret is the lorekeeper/loretalker of the Talltrees tribe [12,13]
Ferret has been promised (betrothed) to Foxfire for many years [14]

Port Kir
The surroundings grew increasingly rougher as he made his way toward the sea. Small shops offering oddities of every description gave way to rough-and-tumble taverns. Before long the wooden walkways grew narrow, and between the boards he could see the dark water of Firedrake Bay lapping at the shore. As he neared his destination, the stench offish became overwhelming. In open warehouses on either side of the dock, men and women went about processing the day's catch, seemingly oblivious to the piles of discarded shells and shrimp heads and fish innards that were heaped around their boots. [14]
Berringer Shipyard was a bustling, noisy, smelly place. Deckhands by the dozen grunted and sweated as they rolled immense logs from flat-bottomed barges onto a large dock. These logs were then handhewn, the outer wood fashioned into planks and beams and the heart of each shaped and smoothed into a strong, tall mast. Some planks, previously cut, soaked in an enormous vat of seawater mixed with some unspeakably vile-smelling concoction. Well-softened planks had been clamped onto curved frames so that they might take on the needed shape as they hardened and dried. A half-built ship rested on enormous trestles, looking for all the world like a well-picked skeleton. Three finished ships stood in dry dock. [14]
The Race, inn, its name taken from the channel of swift winds and dangerous waters that led into Firedrake Bay. Those ships that entered Port Kir ran a gauntlet of Nelanther pirates, a few of whom were bold enough to come ashore. Rumor had it that they drank here. [14]
Kendel Leafbower, dockworker. Kendel had red-gold hair, sky-colored eyes, and a pale skin that no amount of southern sun could darken. He was strong, yet he remained slightly built and stood no more than a hand-span or two over five feet. He was, in short, an elf. Kendel had come to Tethyr before the grandsire of any human in the room had wailed his way into the worlft. He had built a home and raised a family, only to have his property seized when the humans in power decided that no elf could own land. By his sword and his strength he had rebuilt another life, his fortunes rising along with those of the royal faction for which he fought. Then the mood of the Tethyrian kings shifted, and vicious pogroms decimated even the most loyal elven folk. Kendel had survived; the royal family had not. For years an egalitarian fervor had gripped the land, extending even to members of other races. Once again Kendel had thrived, only to see the cycle of public sentiment whirl back toward low ebb. Three years ago, he had been a merchant. Now the best work he could find was as a dockhand. Over 400 years old, possessed of considerable wood lore [15,17]
The Dusty Throat, dockside tavern, rough crowd, bitter ale. Renowned for the ribald wit of its barmaids and the vigorous brawls that broke out almost nightly. Indeed, the tavern had been closed for nearly a tenday following a particularly spectacular fight and was just this night resuming business. Despite the obvious dangers, this particular tavern was favoured by many dockworkers. Burly cook and halfling helper. Half orc oddjob man. Dwarven barkeep (Jill after he escaped Abrum Assante’s palace) [15]

Language
n'tel-que'tethira – elvish (wild elvish perhaps????) – meaning “city dweller” [12]


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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 19 Sep 2022 :  20:30:57  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So much lore in Silver Shadows that it took two posts to fit it all in.

Loved this book, like all of Elaine's books. Filled with interesting bits of lore from start to finish, lots of history for the elves, a new historical war which i dont believe is accounted for in the sourcebooks.

A few things that strike me as possibilities.

Lord Hhune was manipulating Hasheth from the very beginning, leaving bits of information in the ledgers so that he could trace his activities and discover the shipyards and the logging and Bunlap.
Supposedly all this was a test, but that doesnt seem quite right. Hhune was probably setting up a fail safe in case Bunlap failed or worse in case Bunlap went rogue (as he did), so Hhune could blame it all on Bunlap and gain another pawn in the Knights of the Shield.

I do wonder if Hhune deliberate sets up elaborate schemes and plots to induct adequately skilled individuals into the Knights of the Shield and ensure they are indebted to him and involved in his plots. Thus he always has expendable resources around that are capable but not too capable.

However, it strikes me that Hhune may also have manipulated Arilyn into finding the body of Zoastria. If Hhune knew of Hasheth's capabilities and understood his personality enough to predict his actions (given enough information), then he likely also knew about Hasheth's involvement with the Harpers (he would certainly know of Danilo's existence and presence and his association with Arilyn - even though he feigned ignorance in the novel).

So what if Hhune's other plots were also to eliminate Pasha Balik (Hhune stated the Knights were instrumental in the Pasha's rise to power, but did not state he himself was involved or approved). So he puts the contract out to steal an item from a rival art collector, pays well but doesnt really have the right appeal to an assassin, therefore Arilyn is most likely to take it.
He knows the body of Zoastria is in the same vault and knows about the relationship with Arilyn.
This means that Abrum Assante could have been a Knight of the Shield (possible given his power and station and also his skills as a master assassin which are preferred tools of the Knights), which makes Abrum not just a rival collector but a rival Knight.

Abrum's palace was definitely more Calishite like in its opulence than other places in Zazesspur, including his harem and his exclusive bath house for the noble elite (many of whom were now of Calishite origin or tastes thanks to the Pasha).

Knowing Arilyn would want revenge once she discovered Zoastria, Hhune set a chain of events in motion that would lead to the Master Assassin's death and thereby weaken the position of the Pasha (a master assassin supporting you would ensure your protection from other assassins from the same School of Stealth), thus allowing Hasheth to remove his father from power.






Also onto the elves. The Elmanesse are from Cormanthor, fled during the Fall of Myth Drannor. I know not many wild elves have a moonblade but perhaps theres could be a candidate.

Also a moon elf clan. I had heard of moon elf houses. Wild elves have tribes and clans (many families make a clan, many clans make a tribe). Not sure how a moon elf clan fits in, are they non noble groups, or perhaps they are noble only to a single area (whereas a house is considered noble everywhere).



And then the lythari, seemingly able to travel to anywhere on Faerun or perhaps anywhere with an elf made gate. They exist partly on another plane. It seems like they are inhabitants of the fey plane, able to travel between it at will. It could also be that like ghosts exist on the ethereal plane and manifest into the material plane, the lythari exist on the fey plane and manifest into the material plane as huge wolves (but they can also plane shift to the material plane).

I do wonder if the lythari ever really journeyed to Toril from Faerie, or if they just went halfway to the fey plane and stayed there.

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 20 Sep 2022 :  20:10:58  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So Cormyr a novel is next, and its off to a great start with a bit of detective work required.

Chapter 1 describes a golden bull attacking Azoun in the King's Forest. The bull was hiding in a ruined tower by a river. The beacon tower was ancient and not built by humans and had strange script above the door.

Chapter 2 describes the Feint of Honour between Iliphar and Thauglar (with Mistinarperadnacles as a witness, making Mist over 1000 years old in the Alias novel). This feint takes place at a horn tower (i presume that is the name of the location rather than a type of tower) which rose above the trees and was topped with a big crystal in the shape of a flame that glowed brightly (to signal Thauglor to meet presumably). Above the door Iliphar had used magic to carve a warning telling goblins to beware.

Now i'm assuming these two towers are the same ones, given the similarities in function and the words above the door.

Its location beside a river in the Kings Forest and the warning to goblins mean it is likely located in the northern reaches of the forest (Thauglor said goblins came down from the northern mountains) along the banks of the Starwater River (although that river might have moved slightly in 1000 years).

Such a battle sitecould have lingering magic, especially with the explosion of Iliphar's staff (presumably a staff of power).

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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
6346 Posts

Posted - 21 Sep 2022 :  08:35:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not sure if there is a pattern to the time switching in the novels but i wonder if the scene in the Royal Palace (where Duke Bhereu dies) in Chapter 3 and then the scene in chapter 4 on the rocky coastline are again in the same location but at different times.

If so then Alea Dahast and Baerauble Etharr could have met on the site of modern day Suzail.


Interestingly enough, Baerauble called the invaders Dalesmen, from a time before the Dalelands existed. Which possibly means that the region of Jhaamdath from whence these invaders first came was called the Dale. Kind of makes sense since the same people also migrated to the Impiltur region where we also have the Great Dale.

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