Part II of an open-ended, multi-setting, event-driven Forgotten Realms campaign

De Exilio continues the adventures of the eclectic band of "Misfits" who seem to have been chosen by the gods to stop the mysterious Samber, as they struggle to find a way to return from exile far in the northern wastelands of Toril.

The adventure continues what began in Part I: Imago_Deorum

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A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral: Scroll II
Politics & Power
Officially, Bral is an unchartered monarchy. Officially, the prince is the ultimate authority. In practice, there are several governing bodies. There is a Council of the City, which has 30 representatives of the city neighborhoods who are appointed for life. The Councilmen serve as advisors to the prince. Hypothetically, they can overrule the Prince by a unanimous vote, but it has never happened.

There is also the Noble Council, with all 37 chartered landowners as members. (Thus, I sat on this council, though we rarely ever met.) This Council, by majority vote, can disenfranchise any other landowner. Notably, the prince, as a landowner, sits on the council, and his vote alone counts as 49%, meaning again, that it would take a unanimous vote to overturn any decision he made to disenfranchise.

A final council is the Council of Captains, composed of any individual or company owning five or more spelljamming vessels and owning or leasing land on the Rock. This council is responsible for the regulation of trade and is, by far, the most powerful of the three councils, as Andru only has a tie-breaking vote, though he may veto decisions.

There are three magistrates, one for each major section of the city. These magistrates have troops at their disposal if needed; however, there is no regular city watch; no one keeps order in the streets. The only time that the law gets involved is if someone seeks a magistrate out and asks them to. This is often considered not worth the time and effort, so most criminals are dealt with by other means, such as hired guards. The city, essentially, polices itself.

An exception to this rule is arson, but it goes beyond that — anyone caught starting a fire might be lynched on the spot. If turned in to authorities, the minimum penalty would be ten years of hard labor in the Underside fields. Why so strict a rule? Remember that the Rock only has a limited air supply. Starting a fire risks fouling or depleting the atmosphere in addition to the risk of destroying the city. If a citizen needs light, she uses magical or alchemical means. If she needs heat, she puts on more clothes and waits for Toril to stop blocking the sun.

The punishments on the Rock of Bral are steep, even though sentencing is rare. Shoplifting earns a year of forced labor, but you are more likely to be killed first by shop guards or else pay off the magistrate for 500 gold pieces. Smuggling earns five years labor, but you are more likely to be found to have "accidentally neglected to declare customs." Arson earns you being jettisoned, which is the most common form of capital punishment.

Bral considers itself a neutral entity in matters of Realmspace politics, which it must do if it is to remain a center of trade. Its military exists to protect the Rock itself from invasion and pirate raids. The fact that the Rock of Bral has maintained its neutrality speaks more to the diplomatic skill of Prince Andru than to the power of his navy. While Andru has not formed a direct alliance with the elves, he grants the Elven Imperial Navy landing rights. The only race Andru seems hesitant to deal with are the neogi. (The neogi, in case Your Majesty did not know, are a despicable race of wildspace, which I might describe as a crossing between eels and giant spiders.)

Coinage & Commerce
The city has countless shops, such as my own curio shop, which, as you know, the King once visited with the old sage himself. Beyond the many shops, Bral has two open marketplaces, much like the Queen's Market in Darromar. The Great Market is the larger and tends to be a place to display the newest off-Rock shipments and items too large to fit indoors. The smaller "Thieves' Market", as might be expected, is a place to find all manner of blackmarket goods. Andru has thus far done nothing to stifle the trade flowing through the Thieves' Market. It is rumored that one can find goods from a hundred different worlds in the markets of Bral, a slight exaggeration perhaps.

There are four classes of traders: the trading companies, the merchant houses, small merchants (such as myself), and independent captains. The trading companies are large entities based on multiple worlds. Merchant houses are smaller and are usually run by a family, usually one of the noble families of Bral.

Bral is not picky about coinage. It accepts coins from at least 30 different countries and multiple worlds. The merchants refuse, however, any paper currency.

Most everything mundane costs about half again as much as it might in Tethyr. In an appendix, I will list typical prices and wages as I recall them for everyday items and services.

Air on the rock is free to citizens, but there is an air tax for docking vessels.

Since the Rock cannot get any bigger, land is expensive, especially to own, but even to rent. When I left, there was an 18-month waiting list for commercial rental property.

The following section has been stricken.

The Rock has only been populated by humans for a couple hundred years. Evidence exists that it was originally used as an illithid outpost some 800 years ago. Presumably, the illithids — or even an earlier race — created its gravity plane. It appears that the illithids were then exterminated by a beholder colony who then annihilated themselves in infighting. Next came a dwarven clan. Archeological evidence suggests that they vanished mysteriously, with sword blades still on their anvils. No satisfactory theory has been proposed at what happened to them.

Finally, 170 years ago, a spacepirate by the name of Captain Bral made the Rock his hideout. He took the time to "seed" it with plants and trees and lived within its caverns. A charismatic leader, he gathered a band of corsairs, the Black Brotherhood to him, and his hideout grew into a lawless, raucous-filled town.

Bral had numerous bounties on his head for his crimes of piracy, and he eventually died in an ambush orchestrated by the elven star navy, about 10 years after he discovered his asteroid home. During his wild party of a wake back on the Rock, the surviving Black Brotherhood pirates named the town in his honor.

Approximately 60 years passed with Bral being nothing more than an anarchy. However, over that time, more and more brave merchants came to live there. They could make a lot of money from the loot-spending, gambling, entertainment-seeking pirates. Most pirates were not concerned by the change, but one wise captain named Cozar recognized this as an opportunity. Cozar systematically used his stolen gold to purchase every lot of land from the merchants. Those who opposed him were simply bought out, with promises of free leases to them and their descendants. Within a year, with the exception of a few powerful holdouts, Cozar essentially owned the whole asteroid. (The few others who still owned land would eventually become the nobility of Bral.)

After this, Cozar "evicted" any pirate competitor who could not pay a lease for a home or a legitimate business. Cozar had made himself prince of Bral. He created a "Royal Charter" and even wrote up a code of law. To the surprise of the pirates who did not attempt to rebel against their new prince, it turned out that a life of trade was more profitable than a life of piracy. By most accounts, Cozar was a wise and good ruler. By the time of his death, the town of Bral was now the merchant spaceport city of Bral.

Bral's son Frun was not like his father. He allowed the city to slip back into lawlessness, caring only for his own entertainment and pleasure. Thankfully, for Bral, the free market continued to allow her to thrive. To his credit, Prince Frun did delight in building projects, which actually did prove beneficial. He commissioned the Citadel and the Donjon, the former of which was able to defend the Rock of Bral against a neogi fleet. While the Bralians won the day, the neogi did cause great destruction to the Middle City by sending an abandoned dwarven spelljamming craft crashing into the Rock. (Frun turned the wrecked city quarter into a festival ground and used the rubble from the dwarven craft to build an area there.)

I came to the Rock in the Year of the Striking Falcon, while Prince Frun was in the middle of his reign of 35 years.

Frun died in the middle of a great party he had thrown in memory of his father's birthday, having spent most of the royal treasury before his death. His oldest son, Calar, took the throne, and most expected that House Cozar would die out and Bral to return to complete anarchy, as Prince Calar was as decadent as his father. However, six days later, someone jettisoned Prince Calar into space along with the daily rubbish. His younger brother, Andru took the throne. When Calar's wife protested that her son Aric should be prince, Andru rewrote the rules of succession. Andru investigated the assassination and found one of the Underbarons, that is, a crime boss, guilty in collaboration with a contingent of illithids. The supposed assassins were executed.

Prince Andru has now been reigning for 18 years. Despite what was undoubtedly in my mind a corrupt rise to power, Andru's rule may have saved the city from collapsing to anarchy. From the day I moved to Bral to a few years ago when I left to come back to Spellshire, I must admit that the city has become more lawful and peaceful than it had been, which was a welcome change. I leave Your Majesty to decide on the justness of Prince Andru's rule; I simply state the facts as I know them.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral: Scroll I
A Brief Overview of the Rock of Bral

Excerpts from a document originally entitled

A Report to Her Majesty on the Rock of Bral

By Lord Gamalon Idogyr
Count of Spellshire & Court Sage of Tethyr

Copied for posterity with permission from the government of Tethyr at the request of Lady Perendra Raslemtar on behalf of High Lady Alustriel.
Certain paragraphs have been stricken without further comment at the request of the Queen of Tethyr as a matter of state security.

Your Majesty,

My most humble greetings to you once again.

At your request, I record here the history and current affairs of the city of Bral and the celestial body upon which it rests, the Rock of Bral. I speak from the experience of my many years spent there as a land-holding noble, so that Tethyr may decide its stance toward the government of Prince Andru. I shall use the same format that I have used in my previous diplomatic reports for the throne.

Ever your servant,
Count Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire
On the 11th of the month Uktar, the Year of the Unstrung Harp, Year 1585 by the Tethyrreckoning

Here follows the report.

Geography & Climate
The Rock is what scholars of the Sea of Night call an asteroid. A rock is precisely what an asteroid is. This asteroid's length is approximately one mile. It is roughly half a mile in both width and depth, making it a crude ellipsoid. It is not large enough to be identified from Faerûn, but it is with the other Tears of Selûne, following behind her.

The Rock has what we "spelljammers" call its own "gravity plane". Something or someone, at some unknown time ago, used a great magic to create a field of gravity that holds things to its surface just as on our own world of Toril. Only, a gravity plane is flat, not round as Toril is. Gravity on the Rock of Bral — and on all spelljamming craft and on other settlements found in the Tears — has a "top" and a "bottom". "Down" is in completely the opposite direction for someone on the Topside of Bral than for someone on the Underside of Bral. The gravity plane runs lengthwise through the center of the Rock.

The edges of the Rock, between the two sides, are steep like cliffs. Hypothetically, if one fell off the edge — and managed to avoid hitting any outcropping rock — the body would settle (eventually) at the same level as the gravity plane, after falling repeatedly in opposite directions over and and over.

The City of Bral is found on the "upper" half of the Rock. The "lower" half of the Rock is owned by the prince. We call it the Underside. The Underside is primarily farmlands and trees to provide both food and air for the Rock. Here, so-called "servants of the king" — which in actuality are convicted criminals and indentured slaves — keep the fields. These fields can only produce enough food to feed 3,000 people. For this reason, most food is imported from other worlds or from asteroid farms. No livestock are kept on Bral, as it is too expensive. It cost my family of four about 25 gold pieces per month for groceries, despite Mynda's best deal-hunting! (You can see now why she always delighted when your husband, the king, would bring Calishite spices!)

The Underside also contains the Citadel, a battle fortress armed with catapults, ballistae, and bombards to defend the Rock from invasion. Also on the Underside are the Vanes, massive sails used to magically steer the Rock if need be. Finally, the Underside is where the private fleet of the prince is docked.

The edge pointing in the direction of motion around the center of mass of the Tears is called the leading edge. Along this edge lie the docks, which are wooden and appear much like any docks you would find at an ocean port in Myratma or Zazesspur. A massive set of caverns below the docks, at the level of the gravity plane, are used for spelljammers that can land and as a loading dock. Spelljammers that can land may also use Drydock, an open, flat area typically used for repairs and found on the Topside surface.

The city itself is divided into the High City, Middle City, and Low City. The High City is at the trailing edge, literally elevated higher than the rest of Bral, and is where the prince's palace castle sits. It is also separated from the Middle City by a wall and a lake.

The Rock of Bral has a single large lake, uncreatively named Lake Bral, deep enough to cross through the gravity plane, such that it is said to have two surfaces, one on the Topside, and one deep underground in a subterranean cavern. The lake provides most of the water needs for the Rock. Water is purified by filth-eating monsters kept for such purposes. The water is by no means eternal. Every four to seven years, the Bralian Navy must tow an ice asteroid, break it up, and deposit the pieces, one by one, into the lake to melt and provide more water. The process takes months. The city has a superb public water-pumping system, which carries fresh water all the way to the docks.

The Rock has its own "Underdark" of a sort, a maze of caverns throughout its interior, most of which have not been thoroughly explored.

Civilized Races
It is nigh impossible to take an accurate census of the populace, as many visitors and permanent residents alike do not want to be registered, but I would estimate that there are over 12,000 citizens. Humans (including the Shou) are certainly the primary race, but halflings, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and even beholders and illithids call the Rock home. There are also some races that Your Majesty is not likely to know, such as the dracon and the giff, both races from other crystal spheres than our own. Most of these races tend to congregate in their own neighborhoods. Many have official embassies.

(In my humble opinion, if Your Majesty is inclined to begin trade negotiations with Kara-Tur, it could end up more profitable to work through the Shou embassy on Bral than to send diplomats overland through the Hordelands to the eastern end of Toril.)

Social Customs
It is said that courtesy is king on the Rock of Bral, and coin is queen. Warring races set aside their differences and are cordial to each other for the sake of trade. This does not mean that it is wise to wander dark alleys! A mind flayer may not eat your brain when you are trying to sell it something, but if you wander into a dark alley when one is hungry and no one else is around....

Folk are told, first, to mind their own business, and second, that enough gold can fix anything.

The city is always bustling, "night" — when Toril blocks the sun — and "day". It has a rather outlandish collection of citizens, but nearly all "officially" are merchants or work for merchants or are longshoremen. Of course, the city is always packed with visiting sailors and spelljammer crewmen. Walking in the Low City, one finds it hard to breath, it is so crowded. The Middle City, where I kept my shop on the starboard side of the Great Market, is better.

There are few on Bral who are truly poor, as there is always work to be had at the docks, but the nobles living close to the High City live very different lives in their small, luxurious plantations.

Clothing styles on Bral are simple and plain among true natives, even the rich, but one finds a plethora of styles from all of the visitors from many worlds.

There is no official language on the Rock, but as on Toril, most everyone speaks enough Common to get by, albeit with thick accents of all varieties.

Religion in wildspace is... different than on the surface of Toril. For example, the Church of Tyr is strong here, but it would be almost unrecognizable to a visitor from Faerûn. There are also what are called Polygots and Pantheists, which I will not describe here, since I am not a religious scholar. The Church of Ptah is well-established here, even though the god has no following on Toril. I suspect his name has never reached your ears before. There is also the Path and the Way and any number of racial pantheons present.

Nevertheless, there is no state religion, nor does Prince Andru seem to care much for divine matters.

Most of the temples and shrines are clustered around Lake Bral. Oftentimes, temples are devoted to a grouping of related deities rather than one.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
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Interlude: Library Research: Part II
Szordrin was faring better in this second study, the Cosmology Study. While Solisar likely knew the information that he was learning already, Szordrin had never been taught much about the "worlds above". He knew of the Dawn Heralds, the two stars that could be seen in the mornings, and the Five Wanderers, those stars that seemed to wander about the night sky, but he had never learned their names. After all, he had never even seen the stars until a few years ago.

   Toril was only one of eight worlds circling their sun, the third. The two Dawn Heralds were named Anadia and Coliar. They were closer to the sun than Toril.

   Anadia was said to be a hot, desert world, where life could only thrive at the poles. A race of people related to the hin, the halflings, were said to live there.

   Coliar was a world of floating islands and deep clouds, some of which were inhabited by dragons, others by lizardfolk, and others by a bird-like race called aarakocra.

   Selûne, it was claimed, despite Garth Garthson's doubts, did in fact have residents, unique races of both elves and humans. A warning was given, however, that Selûnians were xenophobic of anyone from Toril.

   The Five Wanderers included Karpi, Chandos, Glyth, Garden, and H'Catha. Karpi and Chandos were water worlds; Glyth was a world with rings and ruled by illithids, brain-sucking mind flayers; Garden was actually a cluster of asteroids sharing an atmosphere and tethered together by massive plant life; and H'Catha was a discworld infested with beholders.

   Szordrin did not have time to read further about the planets; he wanted to know more about the Tears of Selûne. There were hundreds of asteroids making up the Tears, he learned, but only about a dozen were thought large enough to support life. It was hard to find more information about any of them in particular, beyond a few names, such as Dragon Rock and, of course, the Rock of Bral. It seemed like most astronomers and cosmologists of Toril cared little about the planets as worlds with their own histories and thought of them as barely more than fancy stars in the sky. He needed someone who had actually spelljammed and been to one of them, the Rock of Bral in particular.

   As he skimmed the pages, the word "Tethyr" jumped out at him: "The Court Sage of the new kingdom of Tethyr, Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire, was rumored to have actually lived much of his life on the Rock of Bral." Idogyr, he thought. That name seems familiar....

   "Custodian," he said aloud, "Do you have any works by one Gamalon Idogyr? They would be relatively new, written in the last few years even."


The next store Solisar visited was A Handful of Stars. As the clerk at the Map House has suggested, this place was full of all variety of navigational paraphernalia. The place was candle-lit and cramped, but the Selûnite priestesses working there were very helpful to him. When Solisar left the shop, he had in his possession maps of Faerûn, Toril, and Realmspace, which included the orbits of the other seven planets that shared the same crystal sphere. He also had purchased a kit with a collection of navigational tools, a sextant, a Sembian astrolabe, a compass, and measuring instruments.

   Entering the Market next, on the eastern side of Northbank, Solisar strolled past countless vendors of all the major, peaceful races selling their wares. Upon reaching the other side of the Market, just before entering the religious district, he noted a shop called Mornbright's Dyes. A sign in the window advertised, "The only source of shimmer cloth in the Realms!" Intrigued, Solisar entered and ended up purchasing some as a gift for Ilthian.

   His next stop was the famous Everdusk Hall. Solisar knew that Everdusk Hall was a famous elven temple and house of knowledge for elven genealogies, poetry, history, and philosophy. It was the oldest temple in Silverymoon, existing from before the place was a human settlement. About twenty years ago, news reached as far as Evermeet that it had burned to the ground in a tragic fire, and many artifacts of religious importance to elves were lost forever. The temple, obviously, had been rebuilt, to look almost exactly as it had before. Among humans, it was said that Everdusk Hall was the place to go to learn about elves from elves.

   Solisar found the temple easily enough and stepped into one of the most beautiful buildings he had ever seen on Faerûn. It reminded him of the structures of Evermeet, his elven home. The building was diamond-shaped. The ceiling of the first floor was held up by gorgeously carved beams that looked like growing trees. The marble floor was tiled to look like a sea of clouds.

   The lower chamber was set up as a shrine to each of the members of the Seldarine. Large marble statues of each of the elven gods and goddesses were spaced along the four walls.

   Solisar was snapped out of his trance-like state of admiration by a male voice greeting him. "Welcome to Everdusk Hall, my brother, the site of the oldest temple in Silverymoon. May you find the friendship of lost Myth Drannor here." The speaker was a sun elf like he, dressed in the finest garb.

   "I welcome your friendship, my kin," said Solisar, "and I offer mine. Would you be willing to grant a friend and scholar access to the libraries?"

   "Let me introduce you to Loremaster Rivermantle," said the other elf. "Please take peace while I retrieve her."

   Solisar admired the craftsmanship of a nearby statue, one clearly depicting the artist's impression of the Trickster, Erevan Ilesere. Ereven was perhaps the least revered of the Seldarine among the sun elves. The green elves of Evermeet, Belvin's distant kin, respected him more than other elves, but for the most part, he was considered a rogue god; Corellon's Grove, one of the most sacred religious sites on Evermeet, ignored Erevan altogether. He was considered too unpredictable for most elves and interacted with a strange assortment of gods from other pantheons, it was said. Solisar was not sure what to think about him.

   "Excuse me, my brother. Are you the guest who wishes to see the lore of our people?"

   Solisar turned. The melodic voice came from a slender elven woman of exactly his height. She had striking eyes with black irises, a somewhat rare color among sun elves like himself. Her hair was the color of golden thread, but it was disheveled and covered in dust. Most races considered elven maidens beautiful and sun elves more so than other elves; while intelligence appealed to Solisar more than outward appearance, he had to admit that she was one of the most beautiful sun elves he had ever seen. The dust and unkempt hair did nothing to change this in his eyes.

   He was also struck by her youth. She must have lived for less than a century and a half; he expected a master of elven lore to be at least twice that old!

   He then remembered himself and answered her. "Yes, I am he. I presume that you are Loremaster Rivermantle? I am Solisar Keryth, from the isle of Evermeet. Well met."

   "The pleasure is mine. I am Vadalathra Sumathir," said the loremaster, using the elven translation of her surname. "I will happily show you the histories of our people stored here in this sacred place. Follow me."

   She led him to the delicately carved wooden staircase in the back corner of the building, which led to a mezzanine and then branched to the left and the right. "For which kind of lore do you seek, if I may ask," she said, as they walked, "that I may guide you to your goal more quickly?"

   "I recently returned from the Fugue Plane," Solisar began.

   "You are a planewalker?"

   "Alas, I did not travel there willingly," said Solisar, "but by the efforts of my companions, my time there was short. While there, I learned that the Seldarine are greatly interested in the activities of a human wizard whom my companions have been pursuing since before I met them."

   "Sharti tra fanil,..." said Vadalathra.

   "...niffi orisa," Solisar completed. The elvish parable could be translated, "Where the tree fails, the seed grows," and referred to how an unfortunate event could often have unforeseen and beneficial results. "Yet the seed needs watering, if you will permit me to continue the analogy," said Solisar. "While several of my companions have been quested by their gods to stop this wizard, I, however, have not learned what purpose I have in all of this. I am here to seek direction from the Seldarine. I have found that they most often speak to me through histories and tomes. Where better to seek such guidance than in Everdusk Hall, a place both a temple and a house of knowledge?"

   Vadalathra smiled. "A priest would tell you to visit one of the shrines below us," she said, as they stepped onto the second floor, "but I understand you completely. This," she said, as she waved her arm at the space before them, "is my sactuary."

   The library before him was a true work of art. Scattered about like a forest of knowledge, the scroll racks were carved to look like trees, with scroll tubes in the branches, organized to match their relationship to each other. Along the walls were the bookshelves, which were curved such that if a reader stood in the right spot, the books on the bottom shelves were exactly the same distance to reach as those on the upper shelves. Everything, of course, was made from the finest of woods of multiple shades of color.

   "Where shall we begin?" asked Vadalathra with such excitement that it seemed as if she had never seen this library before.

   "I have reason to believe that this wizard recovered either knowledge of how to create kiira or other artifacts based on that magic."

   "Lore stones?" Vadalathra grew even more visibly interested.

   "I was hoping that I could find something about kiira in the histories recorded in this place, so that I might better understand his goals."

   "The kiira were symbols of status for the great Houses of Myth Drannor. We have a bookshelf dedicated to each of the Houses. I expect that we shall find a record of each of the stones and their last known locations in the annals of each House. I know for certain that this is the case for House Alastrarra, for I read those annals myself. Their stone was given to the human mage Elminster for safekeeping after the slaying of Iymbryl Alastrarra in the middle of the second century after the Standing Stone, though he later returned it to the elves."

   "Your memory of details is impressive," said Solisar.

   "It is a gift I have," said Vadalathra, her bronze skin blushing. "But did you not say that this wizard was a human? A human cannot wear a kiira. It would destroy her mind!"

   "Such were my thoughts at first," said Solisar, "yet he attempts it nonetheless. I also believe he is seeking to make himself equal with the gods, so his ambitions are not small. If we also discover any histories of others who attempted such feats and recordings of how the Seldarine responded, this too would be immensely useful to me."

   "Come," said Vadalathra. "We have much reading to do!"
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
Interlude: Library Research: Part I
"We may as well start with the Vault of the Sages for the things we seek," said Solisar, after the tour guide had left them, "since we are on the southbank."

   Szordrin agreed, and they returned to the horseshoe-shaped great library.

   Once within, Solisar began strolling about the open gallery, while Szordrin approached one of the priests of Deneir, a tall and thin man with large eyes who looked like he had not blinked in a very long time. The man had a golden circlet about his head with the holy symbol of the Lord of All Glyphs affixed to it. His vestments were a tan tunic with a stiff circular collar. Over this, he wore a black-and-white striped swirl cloak. At his right hip was belted a triangular, leather writing kit. (Szordrin remembered hearing a joke in a pub about how priests of Deneir would rather be caught naked than without their writing kits.)

   "Excuse me," Szordrin asked, "I am a faculty member from the college at Waterdeep. I am looking for works by the great Galormansko."

   "Well met, Professor," said the scribe. "Do you mean from Blackstaff Academy?"

   "Of course," said Szordrin. "Is there any other?"

   "None as prestigious, no!" said the man. "Unfortunately, I am only an Applicant. You should speak with one of the Priest Illuminators, in the gray cloaks."

   Szordrin came up to one of the priests in a gray cloak with black trim, a middle-aged woman with gray hair tied up in a large bun. "How may I help you?"

   "I am a faculty member from Blackstaff Academy. I am looking for works by the great Galormansko."

   "Old Khelben's school! I am good friends with a couple of the faculty members there. How is young Tammert these days?"

   "Tammert is well, though I admit that I do not know him well; I am a visiting scholar from Calimport and have not gotten to know the others well yet."

   "You do not look Calishite," said the woman. "Are you Tethyrian by birth?"

   "I am," said Szordrin, "but about Galormansko?"

   "I admit that I have never heard the name, but I am certain that we can find out about him. Would you like to schedule an appointment with a sage? Or do you know which book is needed and I shall send someone to retrieve it for you?"

   "Excuse me," interrupted Solisar, and Szordrin stepped aside from the priest for a moment. "Disappointingly, Delblood's Atlas of Faerûn has little information any student of geography would not already know. I am going to head to the Map House along the river and then to Everdusk Hall in the religious district. I shall meet you later on the Moonbridge with Leokas."

   Szordrin nodded and Solisar departed. The tiefling wizard then turned back toward the gray-haired woman. "Yes, I would like to speak with one of the sages. What times are available?"

   "I would have to look at our calendar, but I think I recall their being an opening tomorrow afternoon."

   "Tomorrow, afternoon? Nothing today?"

   The woman shook her head.

   "That is disappointing, as I only have the day to visit Silverymoon," said Szordrin. "At least show me to your history collection, so that I may investigate the history of the Tears of Selûne. I expect to find one of Galormansko's works there."

   "Certainly," said the Priest Illuminator. "Because you are visiting faculty, I will not charge you for this duraph token." She removed a delicate chain from a pouch and handed it to him. It was a necklace with a silver token. The token was shaped like a diamond and about the size of a thimble. "You must wear that token at all times in order to enter the third through fifth floors of the Vault," she says. "The halls and rooms are protected by magic and will repel anyone not wearing one. Come, follow me, and I shall lead you to the History Study."


   Solisar approached a soaring stone keep with walls at least three-stories high and a tower that overlooked the River Rauvin from the north. He entered the Map House and waited behind another patron at the front desk. Gazing around the entry hall, he admired the massive tapestries covered with maps of several of the larger countries and regions of Faerûn.

   "How might I help you?" asked the desk clerk, after the previous guest had paid the five-dragon entry fee and been let in.

   "I am looking for star charts or an orrery that includes Toril, the moon, and the Tears of Selûne," said Solisar.

   "Ah," said the man, "most of the heraldry, genealogy, and maps in our collection cover all the surface realms of the North and the Heartlands, but while our collection is vast, to be honest, our coverage of other areas of Faerûn is spotty at best, and you are asking for maps of places outside of Toril!

   "I can help you though and save you five dragons. The Vault of the Sages over on Southbank has maps as well. While a smaller collection, they will certainly have both tomes and maps on Realmspace.

   "Another place that you might wish to visit is A Handful of Stars. They sell navigational implements of all varieties. They have a magic domed ceiling covered with a glowing star chart, so I would not be surprised if they have orreries there to purchase."


Szordrin sat at a large, wooden table in a square room surrounded on all walls by bookshelves. A wooden placcard above each shelf described the topics of its volumes: "The Crown Wars", "God-Kings of the East", "Realms of the High Forest", "Fallen Netheril", "The Imperial South", "The Dream of Cromanthyr", and "The Old North". Disappointingly, none of these topics included the history of any worlds outside of Toril. The custodian of the History Study, another priest of Deneir, a young male half-elf, had asked Szordrin to wait while he retrieved a scroll from the basement stacks, which were older and rarer.

   The door opened again and the custodian entered, carried a large tome. "I think this book is exactly what you are seeking," said the half-elf. He set it on the table with a thud. "It will be five dragons," said the custodian.

   "Do you take coins from other lands?" asked Szordrin. The custodian nodded, and so Szordrin paid the fee.

   "Collected Legends of Selûne's Tears: An Expose of the Various Myths of Their Creation by Garth Garthson," Szordrin read from the worn cover. Then he opened the book and began to peruse. The book was organized by racial background, as every culture seemed to have its own history of the Tears.

   The Shou Lung people of Kara-Tur, far to the east of Faerûn, who were said to be excellent historians, claim that the Tears first appeared in the sky behind the moon 4,800 years ago. A Shou astronomer, named Tu Pi Chei, recorded being so fortunate as to be mapping the surface of Selûne through a sort of spyglass when they simply burst into existence. Tu Pi woke the emperor from his sleep. The emperor, disturbed at the new lights in the sky, summoned his astrologers, the best in his empire. Some predicted that the sign in the sky meant that the empire would expand its territory. Others predicted that there would be a death in the imperial family. One astrologer claimed that the emperor himself would become pregnant. Insulted, the emperor had this astrologer beheaded. He then began a military campaign that indeed expanded his territory. Within a short time, the emperor's wife became pregnant; she died in childbirth at the end of her pregnancy.

   Many human cultures, including the Shou, reported massive tidal waves around the same time period.

   The elves of Evermeet also saw the Tears when they first appeared in the sky, and their records matched well with a date of 4,800 years ago. Their star-watchers took the phenomenon as a sign from the Seldarine that the gods were pleased with the elves' recent magical discoveries.

   The goblinoid races had an oral tradition that the Tears were created by human mages in an attempt to bring more light to the night sky and make it more difficult for the goblinoid peoples to thrive. Goblin children are taught that if the humans become too populous, they will create more moons in the sky until the night is as bright as the day, and there will no longer be a safe time to live.

   A strange second-hand tale was recorded by Netherese spelljammers that related that residents of the far side of Selûne believed that an orbiting castle was at the center of the Tears, where lived a young god who desired to remain hidden from the other gods of Realmspace. So this new god created the rest of the Tears to hide his presence. (Interestingly, the author of the book that Szrodrin was reading found the idea of people living on the moon Selûne more difficult to believe than the idea of a castle floating in the middle of the Tears. The author thought that the Netherese story was made up and not an accurate portrayal of any people's true legends.)

   Beyond this strange Netherese story, several human myths about the goddess Selûne had it that she had fallen in love with a handsome warrior, only in truth, this warrior was a shapechanging monstrous fiend who had tricked her. When she discovered this deception, he sacrificed a large amount of her own essence to create a gem prison for the monster and his servants. Then she wept deeply at her lost love, and her literal tears formed into the celestial bodies now following behind her moon.

   The final legend included in the book was one from the dragons. At great risk to his own life, Garth Garthson told that he had interviewed an ancient red wyrm and learned from it the following tale: the dragons created the Tears by accident. In an attempt to join together and destroy a comet known as the King-Killer Star, whose appearance periodically caused all dragons to go mad, they fired a great burst of magical energy into wildspace toward the comet, hoping to destroy it. They missed, instead striking the surface of the moon, causing an explosion that blasted the Tears into existence.

   Szordrin closed the cover of the book. He was disappointed. While somewhat interesting, the stories of the Tears told him nothing useful at all about the Rock of Bral, much less the Interlink Consortium.

   "Did you find what you needed?" asked the custodian.

   "Sadly, I did not. Is there perhaps another study, a study dedicated not to cosmology?"

   "Of course! I can take you there immediately. Follow me now, and I shall have one of the attendants return the book to the stacks later."


On his way to Shadowstars Lane, where he was told A Handful of Stars could be found, Solisar was walking along Brightbuckler Street, and he came to a stone building with a round, blue-painted door. Thinking that this might be the magical shop that Leokas had mentioned to him, he walked up the crumbling steps. Sure enough, the sign read "The Shining Scroll". He noted that the silver runes carved into the door along its edge were nonsensical — typical deceptive human marketing. Nevertheless, this shop might have the spell that he was hoping could protect their new spelljammer from scrying, so he paused his journey to the map store, turned the golden knob at the center of the circular door, and opened it.

   Inside, the area was far smaller than it seemed from the outside. There was only a single stool on which a waiting customer might sit and barely enough room to pace. There was a counter, behind which were a couple shelves full of potion vials and rolled-up scrolls. Nothing was available to view on the door-side of the counter.

   Solisar sat down. "Alae?


   Solisar jumped from the stool, startled. Looking up toward the sound, he saw a large raven, standing atop one of the shelves of scrolls.

   "Xara, customer!" said the raven.

   A curtain behind the counter parted, and a short woman entered from the back of the shop. She was wearing a black corset over a simple dark green gown. She had reddish, honey-colored hair and striking green eyes.

   "Welcome to my shop," she said.

   "My shop!" crowed the raven. "My shop!"

   The woman ignored the bird. "I am Xara Tantlor, proprietress. How may I help you?"

   "Alae?. I am primarily interested in a scroll of a particular spell of Mordenkainen's, such that my party can conduct conversations in private without fear of listening ears or scrying eyes. I believe that he called it, 'Private Sanctum'. In addition to that, I am always interested in rarer spells, ones that are less distributed throughout the spell shops of Faerûn,... though nothing from the schools of necromancy or enchantment as these schools are prohibited to me."

   "Caw! Customer has something to hide!" said the raven. "Must be treasure."

   "Quiet, Villynk," said Xara. Then to Solisar she said, "Yes, I believe that I do have a copy of his private sanctum spell here somewhere. Let me retrieve it from my shelves." She turned and began scanning the scroll tubes that were stacked behind her. "Mordenkainen's spell are difficult to master," she said as she searched. "You must not be one of the students of the Conclave. Are you a new faculty member? Or are you an adventurer."

   "Adventurer! Adventurer!" said Villynk. "Villynk is not fooled!"

   "I am a seeker of history," said Solisar. "One day I may consider joining the faculty; however, there is much I still have to learn before settling down to teach."

   "Here it is," she said, finding the scroll. She turned and set it on the counter. "It is 112 unicorns and five dragons," she said. Then she added, "A seeker of history? I am very much a seeker of history myself. I am fascinated by the many tombs and ruins one can find in the north. I am not powerful or brave enough to explore them alone, but I am always ready to buy if one has any 'history' that one might be willing to sell." She looked at him expectantly.

   "Though these did not come from a ruin in the north, I do have a couple scrolls and a potion which I would like to sell," Solisar replied, and he withdrew a vial of oil and a couple scrolls that they had acquired in their travels. "Would you buy these off me?"

   Xara looked at one of the scrolls with keen interest. "If I am not mistaken, this scroll does not access the Weave.... An alternate power source...?" She seemed to realize that she was speaking aloud and decided it best to keep the rest of her thoughts to herself. "Yes, I do have a collection of rarer spells," she said suddenly, rolling up the scrolls that Solisar had handed her. "I am quite happy to show them to you. Give me one moment." She turned and passed through the curtain.

   "Adventurer! Adventurer!" cawed Villynk.

   The short woman reappeared, her arms full of scroll tubes like one would carry logs to a firepit. "Have you heard of the wizard Nezram?" she asked.

   "The 'World-Walker' of Mulhorand?" Solisar replied. "Of course. Who has not?"

   "Only two of my customers ever have," said Xara, looking at the sun elf strangely. "Most elves think I am talking of Nezras the Traitor, of the Weeping War."

   "Ah, but Nezras was Nezram's grand-nephew," said Solisar.

   "A man of history," said Xara. "Were you not my great-great-grandfather's age, I might ask you out for an ale!"

   Villynk cawed, perhaps out of jealousy.

   "So then," said Xara. "I have an assortment of spells from his very collection that I acquired from some wizards from the southeast."

   "I very much would like to see these and perhaps purchase them from you," said Solisar excitedly.

   Solisar ended up purchasing two spells. One of them was one of Nezram's own inventions, a spell to create a screen of blue protective force around the caster. The second spell was one that gave that caster tolerance against many of the harmful effects of traveling the other planes of existence.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
Interlude: Campus Tour
~ fifth-day, 25th of Nightal, The Year of Wild Magic, evening
somewhere over Anarouch

"How about Frihet?" suggested Ilthian. "That is the Giant word for 'freedom'. Since you are now free of having to work for that cold, floating man."

   Most of the adventurers were eating together in the Captain's Cabin of the spelljammer, which was Ilthian's room, so that she would have some company, since they rarely let her leave the room any more to protect her from whoever it was who was still scrying on her daily. They were on their way to Silverymoon for a second time, and the topic of conversation was what to name their new vessel.

   "I like that," said Solisar.

   "Snake in a Barrel," said Belvin, "since we slew a snake on this craft, which is wooden and cramped like a barrel."

   "I am not sure why," said Leokas, "but I feel perhaps a divine nudge to call her Enterprise. It is, after all, a significant enterprise that we are undertaking to stop one as powerful as Samber."

   "Lede lys!" shouted Kytharrah.

   "What does that mean?" asked Hakam.

   "Guiding light," said Solisar and Ilthian at exactly the same time. (This made her blush.)

   "You want to call everything that!" said Szordrin.


They had chosen Silverymoon over a larger city, such as Waterdeep, since Leokas had spoken so highly of its beauty and because Solisar informed them that the city was known, even among the elves of Evermeet, for its university of magic. Then they would visit Sseth on the way to Teshburl to investigate more about Walker and to sell some items not likely to sell in Silverymoon — the extra camels, the cursed robe, and vials of various poisons.

   Sailing through the sky all night, they arrived east of Silverymoon at dawn of the next day and settled the vessel carefully in the River Rauvin.

   Ilthian was frustrated that they would not let her come into the city for her own protection. "Can someone at least buy me some more fabric, sewing needles, and thread?" she asked. Solisar agreed.

   Despite Leokas' good words about the city, Belvin claimed that he was not in the mood for a city, and so he stayed behind on the vessel with her. Kytharrah was asked to remain as well, since they were not sure how the city folk would react to a minotaur.

   As Leokas, Szordrin, Solisar, and Hakam descended the rope from the deck to the shallow water, Solisar stopped. "Hakam, whoever has been scrying on Ilthian is now scrying on you."

   "The scrier must have seen Hakam's face from when he rode on camelback with Ilthian," said Szordrin, "and now he or she is trying a new plan to find out what we are up to."

   "It seems that I shall be staying then," said Hakam. "Leokas, would you be so kind as to return to the Tyrran temple and purchase for me a few items?"

   "What do you need?" said the wood elf.

   "If we wish to perform some scrying of our own, it would be necessary to keep a small fount of holy water on the spelljammer. In addition, I saw that they had a phylactery there, which would strengthen the bond that I have with my god."

   "I shall do what I can do," said Leokas.

   So the two elves and Szordrin journeyed up the road to the city. Entering again by the Mulgate, they were friendlily greeted by two human Knights in Silver.

   "Can you direct us to the University of Magic?" asked Szordrin.

   "The Conclave?" answered the guard. "Which school? Many of the schools are located here at the Southbank campus, but others are scattered elsewhere."

   "I am personally interested in visiting Everdusk Hall and wherever I might study some maps," said Solisar, "but I imagine that my companion here is interested in the Lady's College."

   "Everdusk Hall is in Northbank, in the religious district, as it is as much a temple as a library for the Conclave. For maps, you certainly will want to visit the Map House. It is on the southeastern side of Northbank, a soaring stone keep overlooking the river. The Lady's College is just up the road here on Southbank on your left. You cannot miss it."

   They thanked the guards and entered the city. During the day, the city had a different feel than at night. It was still beautiful but the fey feeling was replaced with a jolly cheerfulness. A diverse population filled the streets. They saw nearly as many elves or half-elves as humans, but one in ten folk were dwarves, and there were halflings and gnomes as well. There was laughter to be heard around most corners and happy music could be heard in the breeze.

   As the Kinghts had said, they found a large sign on the left of the Moonway, the wide road on which they were walking:
Conclave of Silverymoon
Southbank Campus

Lady's College
Miresk's School of Thaumaturgy
Arkhen's Invocatorium

   "I know my way to the Market," said Leokas, "and to the Temple of Tyr. You two spend the morning at the Conclave. I shall meet you both later at the Moonbridge at highsun."


"This brand new building is Arkhen's Invocatorium," said their tour guide, "having moved to its new location on Southbank campus. We offer one of the only schools in Faerûn dedicated to innate magics, what some call sorcery as opposed to wizardry. Here at the Conclave of Silverymoon we do not judge one form of magic over another."

   Szordrin and Solisar looked on the building, which looked like a large castle and stood on the south side of the street.

   "They tried to capture the feel of the original location on Northbank when designing the new building," continued the guide. "Our students particularly enjoy all the animated constructs throughout the building, which act as servants and teaching assistants.

   "As we walk to our next stop, let me tell you some of the history of the Conclave. It was one of Lady Alustriel's final acts as High Mage of Silverymoon to create the university, combining together the many schools already present within this city with the newer Lady's College. The High Lady still is involved in the institution, personally defraying some of our costs with donations and research funding for the faculty and even assisting the students themselves with scholarships.

   "Tuition depends on one's skill as a wizard. For those with no magical talent at all, starting tuition is 500 gold dragons per year. We offer seven years worth of education. But I imagine both of you are skilled wizards already and are not seeking to attend?"

   "We are here for research," said Szordrin.

   "Ah, I should note that we do offer established wizards the opportunity to join the Conclave as fellows for only 5,000 dragons per year. We also offer a 50% discount for those attendees or fellows who serve half-time in the Spellguard. You will not find such a deal at other institutions!

   "Here to the right and left are some of our dormitories. As students are on campus, we shall not give you a tour of those premises, but if you were to come in the summer, we would be able to show you the pleasant accomidations. Students rate our housing-halls second best in Faerûn, according to the Magic Today. The housing-halls currenly room just over 100 students. Many more live off-campus, and there is still a waiting list, so we are working with the city to find a location to build another dormitory.

   "Follow me into this building. Here is the refectory of the Lady's College, but students from all schools of the Conclave may dine here. The food is surprisingly good. I know that all colleges say that, but I eat here myself. They even have good wine, and the meals are accompanied by song, dance, poetry readings, or magical illusions for entertainment, all performed by the students themselves."

   The tour guide led them back outside. They were coming up to a dark stone building with flying buttresses, side turrets, and balconies. "And here is Miresk's School of Thaumaturgy, originally the home of one of our famous wizards, Eltro Miresk. Indeed, he still lives here. The School focuses on cantrips and what Miresk calls 'everytday' magic. Since joining the Conclave it is the first stop for new, younger students, as most of the first year of classes are held here and it is here that students are evaluated for placement into other programs at the Lady's Collge or the Invocatorium.

   "Miresk is an interesting man, but the students love him. He is known for many of his sayings, which act almost as models for this particular college. For example, 'the novice who knows all the ways an unseen servant can be useful is worth six reckless fireball-hurlers.'

   "Let us turn back now and head toward the Lady's College. As we go, I should point out that this path here leads up to Utrumm's Music Conservatory. It also has a new location on Southbank, though it is detached somewhat from the rest of this campus. It is a school of music both mundane and magical. The new location houses more than 40 sound-shielded practice chambers. Rental fees for the rooms are one silver shield per two hours. The Conservatory also has many free recitals and performances for students and the public to attend.

   "Here we are back at the Lady's College, the newest school and the heart of the Conclave. The Lady's College teaches not only wizardry but also the history of magic. The professors, the Masters of Art, as they are called here, teach tolerance and cooperation; all philosophies of magic and schools of spells are taught here, and we require exposure of all of them to all attentding students.

   "Now, follow me as we cross the Moonway to another off-campus location that I am sure needs no introduction. While it is true that Candlekeep contains more books by number, few would argue that anywhere else in Faerûn has the wealth of actual knowledge contained in our library, the Vault of the Sages, for we make up for the fewer books with a greater number of learned sages on our staff. And we by no means have few books, only fewer than Candlekeep.

   They were now within sight of a massive structure roughly in the shape of a horseshoe that was five stories tall.

   "I can only take you into the Forehall," said the guide.

   "How does one get to see the works within the library?" asked Solisar.

   "There is a five-dragon reading fee per mudane tome and the fee doubles for tomes about magic. No works may leave the vault, and copying is strictly forbidden; in fact, you will be searched and any writing materials will be confiscated. However, one can pay a two-dragon-per-page fee to have one of our scribes on staff copy text, up to ten pages per day. Maps, of course, take more work to copy and generally require two days turn-around and a fee of 50 dragons. One can also hire one of our sages for 50 dragons per hour for specific matters of lore. Many of the sages are also priests of Deneir.

   "On the first floor and the second floor, you can see here, are the open book galleries, where there are no fees. After the tour, feel free to return and peruse the volumes there." Large broadsheets hung on the walls announcing news from the various parts of Faerûn.
Debate still rages in Neverwinter over the public execution of Aribeth de Tylmarande.

Gold continues to pour from the Deadsnows region.

Elminster quoted saying that Lady Alustriel would do better to return to Silverymoon.

   Before they left the Forehall of the Vault, Solisar and Szordrin read some of the titles of the books lying about in the open book gallery — Delblood's Atlas of Faerûn, Gaurdront's Guide to Monstrous Beasts, Revendro's Roll of the Years.

   "The Vault used to be housed across the river, where the Map House now is," said the guide as they left the great library. "That site, which is part of the Conclave also, still stores maps and genealogies. Though most of them are copies of the originals, it is still a treasure trove nonetheless. Visitors may browse the maps there for five dragons per hour.

   "This building here is owned by the Conclave but is currently empty. It was once the home of the legendary bard college Focluchan, but it was destroyed by fire over 100 years ago. The Lady Alustriel would like for us to have the place restored. If the fundraising campaign is successful, the new House of the Harp, the Conclave's current bard school, will move to this site once the restorations are complete. The House of the Harp is currently located in Northbank.

   "And here we are, back where we started," said the guide.
Session: 92nd Game Session - Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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