The Border Kingdoms08/23/2006


Free Barony of Felshroun



This independent town stands between Shandolphyn's Reach, the Realm of the Smoking Star, and the Barony of Blacksaddle, where roads from all three places meet. An important trading market and neutral ground meeting-place in the Borders (much visited by outlander traders), Felshroun is the center of a highly-regarded horse breeding industry.

Its swiftly-expanding number of horse farms (ranches) rear hardy, go-anywhere mounts (such as the Feathermane and the Dusky) that are larger than ponies but smaller than most riding horses, yet have the stamina and sure-footedness to carry saddle loads over rough terrain like the best mountain ponies. Word of these practical, rather plain horses is spreading in the Vilhon and Tashalar, and every year more buyers come to Felshroun to procure all the horses they can.

Ruled (very lightly) by an elected-for-a-decade Free Baron, Felshroun claims as its protectorate domain all land north of the Duskwood between Lammatar's Water and the West Dusking River. This pleasant, rolling meadowland is given over to horse farms, open pasture, small walled gardens, and coppices from which folk of the Free Barony cut their fence posts and rails. It holds few perils beyond a rare banshee or doppelganger.

The Free Baron

Since the founding of the barony, there have been six Free Barons. Although certain Felshrounans have always suspected the Four Mages of subtly steering this or that baron (especially Baeroph Heglaern, the second baron, who had decidedly dishonest tendencies) into acting as they saw best, or directed unwitting Foresters into encounters with forces advancing to attack the town stealthily on their own terms, such meddling has never been proven.

The current Baron -- the fat, gruff, and widely-loved Balaethan "the Bald" Aromm (LG male Tashalan human Ftr7 who has enormous hands, an even larger mustache, and twinkling green eyes) -- is two years into his second consecutive term. He would be honestly shocked at any suggestion that the Unseen Friends (as he calls the Four Mages) are involved in statecraft in any way.

Balaethan adjudicates crimes, trade disputes, and visitor and citizen complaints in the Hall of Domes at the center of town. He likes nothing better than playing the generous host to visiting merchants. His bodyguard of a dozen scarred and hard-faced women (heavily-armed former Inner Sea pirates) mistrust all visitors and keep their hold person wands (provided by the Four Mages) at the ready.

The Hall of Domes has an armory and a dungeon, but the Free Baron prefers to use its meeting rooms, dining lounges, and -- only when he must -- its Hall of High State. Any visitor or citizen is entitled to bring complaints before the Baron or his three Knights of Justice (black-masked and robed judges appointed by the Baron, who at the moment all happen to be elderly matrons of the town known for their practical sentencing and shrewd judgements of human and demi-human nature). Fines, exile for a season or a decade, and "the tenday lockup" or "the month of rotting" (in a dungeon cell) are the usual punishments handed out. There's an emphasis on restitution to the victims of crimes and a "forgive but don't forget" attitude. Habitual criminals may find a watchful Forester or even one of the Baron's bodyguard at their elbows whenever they set foot out of their homes in Felshroun. ("There goes Aldhoun, with his tail wagging behind him" is a typical local comment on this sort of vigilant escort.)

Disputes between merchants are more often settled by negotiations and the payment of damages than jailing. This tolerance, coupled with light taxation (10 gp/building owned/year, plus 1 sp/wagon owned/gate passage) has made Felshroun a popular "echo of Waterdeep."

The Foresters of Felshroun

Felshroun keeps order in its domain by means of the Foresters, highly skilled rangers who know and love the land they patrol. They dress informally in brown, green, and gray battle leathers adorned only with maroon sashes marked with their symbol -- a watchful falcon's head, beak to the right, atop a bear pawprint, nails downward, all in silver except the falcon's eyeball, which is emerald green).

The Foresters do as much diligent planting, irrigation, and burning away of diseased plants and trees as they do drawing swords against miscreants. They ride the Free Barony in dozen-strong mounted patrols bolstered by priests of Chauntea, Mielikki, or even an apprentice of the Four Mages if trouble is expected. The patrol leader (a ranger of 8th or higher level) carries a silver hunting horn and wears a ring of shooting stars crafted so that its light power consists of a blinding burst of amber-hued fireworks that blossoms 200 feet into the air.

This fireburst or a ranger's horn call alerts local Watchers (usually tavernmasters or farmers) to light one of three beacons which are always ready to each Watcher. A lit beacon summons aid in the form of two dozen Foresters riding pegasi and accompanied by at least two battle-ready apprentice mages. This backup force is stationed on Highgirt Hold (a grassy hill on the edge of the Duskwood). As a result, brigand and monster raids in the Free Barony are few and brief.

Apprentices of the Four

In fact, the Four Mages truly do rule Felshroun. They don't allow their apprentices to tutor others. Two who did take on pupils of their own (Elegur Dathday, LN male Chondathan human Wiz8, Str 17, Int 18; and Jaluene Presyae, CG female half-elf Wiz7, Dex 17, Int 17, Cha 17) found the their teachers' gates closed to them. They soon left Felshroun, and their current whereabouts are unknown.

At present, the Four can collectively muster almost three dozen apprentices (human and half-elven Wiz5-7). The most accomplished of these are listed below.

  • Skaera Attulbrae (LG female Turami human Wiz11; Dex 17, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 17) is a formerly shy, studious lass of great beauty who's recently discovered that she likes battle. Now she enthusiastically charges into every fray with her ankle-length red hair swirling behind her. Currently Skaera is trying to perfect a spell that creates two dancing swords to fight for her at once. She can now manage to create and send one animated blade into battle for her while she works other magics or cause a dozen daggers to briefly (2 rounds) become flying, foe-seeking, animated perils.
  • Nouloxer Hethmountain (NG male Mulan human Wiz10; Int 18, Wis 18) is a quiet, rather shy man who dresses all in black or wine-dark purple. Nouloxer always has a backup plan, escape route, or spare spell or trick at the ready and is becoming a master of barrier spells -- in particular, spells that allow one thing but bar another. "Careful" is the word often used to describe him.
  • Anathander Berej (LN male Calishite human Wiz9; Str 16, Dex 17, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 17) is a darkly handsome rake. He is constantly the subject of dark rumors involving the summoning of baatezu and links to the Red Wizards, the Arcane Brotherhood, or this or that other evil master. These rumors are untrue, though Anathander cultivates a mysterious air and is an accomplished escort of many handy ladies (frequently all at the same time).
  • Sortalan Baerimbar (NG male Illuskan human Wiz9) has, like his brother Caladreth, an unshakeable calm and superior qualities of observation and memory. The Baerimbar brothers are the Free Barony's most experienced and often-encountered patrol escorts.
  • Caladreth Baerimbar (NG male Illuskan human Wiz8) shares many traits with his brother Sortalan but is clean-shaven where his brother sports a neat, pointed black beard.

The Four Mages

The Free Barony of Felshroun exists because of its Four Mages, who forged that rarest of things -- an agreement among powerful wizards to dwell near each other in peace, without trying to control or watch over each other, trusting in common cause and skill to keep their shared demesne safe and in good order. The Mages founded the offices of the Free Baron and the Foresters, then let both function unhampered by sorcerous meddling. They raised the wall around Felshroun and the towers at its four corners -- towers each still occupies today, almost a century later.

The Four Mages keep to their towers, working on their magic, and are usually seen in public only at the festivals of Midsummer, Shieldmeet, Greengrass, and the Feast of the Founding (the fourth day of Ches -- it marks the day they raised the town walls around what was then largely farm fields and announced their pact and the formation of the Free Barony). They prefer seclusion and magical study to statecraft or adventuring and take ever-fewer apprentices -- though the stream of hopefuls arriving in town is increasing. Some of these would-be mages take apprenticeships with the only other known mage in Felshroun, Ladalas the Fearless (NG male Chondathan human Wiz7; Int 18, Wis 16), who is old, forgetful, frail, and more than a bit of a ditherer. Most drift on to other Border realms if the Four refuse them.

The Four Mages are Immirton Loaden, Selcheress Mhairtal, Durendair Hammask, and Araundra Golaunstone.

Redcloak

Immirton "Redcloak" Loaden (NG male Tashalar human Wiz14/Master Transmogrifist10 [formerly a LG transmuter]; Str 17, Int 18, Wis 17) dwells in Lakelight Tower at the northern corner of Felshroun's walls. The Redcloaked Mage is the eldest, most imperious, strict, and personally forbidding of the Four, and is sometimes called "the Master" or "the Foremost of the Four." His studies (which involve chamber-filling pools of water heated to various temperatures plus a room full of mud) concern the perfection of control over one's own form -- both shape change magic and immunities to petrification, paralyzation, and hostile polymorph magic -- and the mastery of body forms suited to life and functioning in other than dry land with breathable air.

Redcloak is thought to have largely perfected his personal immunity to such attack forms and to operate more or less constantly under a shape change spell that allows him to smoothly reshape his body as he desires (for instance, extending an impossibly long arm to catch something or flattening himself to pass through a narrow opening or hide behind something small).

He is fussy about uncluttered cleanliness in his abode and given to instructing apprentices to sit naked, calmly studying spellbooks, on the tower battlements during raging winter blizzards. (His intention is that they'll learn to shift their body conditions to match their surroundings or at least get used to the pain of failing to do so).

The Master fears and thinks about the safety of Felshroun often, and always keeps a lookout for possible invading forces mustering nearby, infiltrators spying on the Free Barony, and possible alliances against his beloved town. At all times he will have spells prepared and magic items to hand to deal with attacks against himself or Felshroun.

Redcloak's studies have led him to create several physical duplicates of himself. These move and gesture as he does but cannot speak. He uses these as decoys to make observers believe he's departing or at a certain place when he's in truth elsewhere, and he has devised a means of casting spells so that they emerge (are launched, or appear to be cast) from one or more of his decoys rather than himself. Both the duplicates and this spell-effect-transference are experimental and often misfire -- even the slightest damage to one of his duplicates often causes it to slump down into the mud it was fashioned from.

The Manyfaced Lady

The Sentinel, the eastern wall-tower of Felshroun, is home to Selcheress Mhairtal (CG female half-elf Wiz17/Horizon Walker2; Dex 18, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 17), who hides her features behind a collection of colorfully-decorated masks. This serene, peace-loving beauty is (falsely) rumored in town to choose her apprentices -- human males only (another false belief) -- on the basis of their rugged good looks.

Selcheress is often called the "Manyfaced Lady" or the "Masked, Manyfaced One." She's intensely interested in Realmspace and the other crystal spheres of the multiverse and what lies between them. Scrying spells of truly awesome range and magics that can pierce phlogiston and crystal spheres alike are her chief work. She also maintains an ever-growing collection of maps of, and items from, other crystal spheres. In the same vein, she keeps track of major events, both recent and from the distant past, seeking to learn which races went where and did what in the vast spaces around Toril. Though she rarely travels out of her tower, her more capable apprentices are often loaded down with magical gear (much of this gear is laden with spells that allow Selcheress to trace her apprentices and/or spy upon their surroundings). These apprentices are sent forth to explore the spheres aboard the Manyfaced Lady's skyship [Unearthed Arcana], which is grounded in Highgirt Hold -- the unused White Tower at the south end of Highgirt Hill -- plus several more of various types and sizes kept concealed in a ravine in the Duskwood.

Though she dislikes violence, the Lady is prepared to defend herself with various wands, a ring that allows her to fly and cast reverse gravity at others, and with a spell of her own crafting that duplicates the effect of beads of force. Her hobbies are said to include sad elven minstrelry and flying in the moonlight. Sometimes she combines the two, swooping over Faerûn in search of firesides, taverns, faraway elven musicians, or moonlit glades where the sorrowful music she loves is rising up.

Selcheress is widely rumored to be hopelessly, unhappily in love with someone, but there is fierce disagreement among local gossips who that is. Candidates include one of her fellow Four, a proud elf prince half the world away (that would explain the music), a respected, powerful mage already married to another -- perhaps even Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun of Waterdeep! No one knows for sure, and the Manyfaced Lady says nothing about such matters.

Greenshadow

Durendair "Greenshadow" Hammask (NG male Illuskan human Wiz14/Horizon Walker4/MysticTheurge2; Str 17, Dex 16, Int 18, Wis 18) is a gentle, nondescript man whose attention is bent on the forest and all growing things. He specializes in spells that rejuvenate and reshape them. He dwells in Watchwood Tower, Felshroun's southern wall-tower, which he's fashioned into a shaft open to the sky wherein trees, shrubs, and mosses grow and a waterfall cascades endlessly into a pool only to magically flow up the wall and plunge down again. Durendair's magic keeps the water flowing, the temperature moderate even when the sky above is howling with the worst winter storms, and new plants appearing, transported from the Deep Duskwood. A balcony-like ramp with a parapet spirals up the inside wall of the tower, around and around the small enclosed woodland bower. It leads to the chambers of various apprentices (set into the thickness where the town walls meet the turret) and a lofty room open to the stars but roofed with an invisible barrier by means of Durendair's magic. A round bed of lush mosses floats in the room.

When arising, Durendair likes to leap from his bed in a spectacular dive down into the pool, to frolic or bathe or simply float and think. A feather fall governing the entire central shaft-chamber can be activated by anyone uttering the word "softly" if they misjudge their plunge into the waters.

Durendair has unruly brown hair and a tired face, and he wears either torn forester's leathers or nothing. Quiet and unassuming, he avoids the company of anyone talkative in favor of silent contemplation among the sounds of nature. His habit of walking or drifting (feet just clear of tangled shrubbery) silently through forests earned him his nickname of Greenshadow, but his few apprentices prefer to refer to him as "Silent Thought."

Durendari urges his apprentices to go naked, drink spring water, eat berries, and take beast-shape often to learn the balances and hidden ways of living things. The folk of the Free Barony have learned not to hunt or molest beasts that fly, trot, or prowl to or from the Watchwood Tower. Wherever the apprentices roam, they know that if they call on their master by name, he will hear, and can reply with a voice in their minds, even linking them all mentally if he desires. Greenshadow often challenges would-be apprentices, male and female, to mud-wrestling matches and gauges their suitability by the enthusiasm of their response.

Durendair's magic can pluck fearsome monsters from remote corners of the Realms and unleash them in the heart of an encamped enemy. He did this famously in the Year of the Saddle (1345 DR) when greedy mercenaries settling in Shandolphyn's Reach foolishly decided that, with winter coming down upon them, making a short ride east to seize a likely-looking town would be easier than building shelter of their own before the snows came.

Greenshadow is also said to be able to animate trees as a treant does and use an arcane version of transport via plants at will.

Durendair often runs with wolves and wrestles bears for sport. A man of lusty tastes, he occasionally appears at feasts put on by the Baron, where he devours prodigious amounts of food -- roasts by the score, wine by a hand-count of casks, and whole tables of prepared sweets and vegetables. None of this seems to have any ill or intoxicating effect on him. By the same token, he can go for a month or more without appearing to eat anything. Durendair's also been known to sleep for days on end, muttering and growling softly as if he was a bear or wolf, and to walk about unaffected by extreme cold, wetness, forest fires, or beating sunlight, even when he's naked.

Some of his apprentices believe he has found, or is on the verge of finding, a new path to near-immortality. This method is believed to embrace life rather than the undeath of lichdom. The quiet, unassuming Silent Thought is unlikely, however, to tell anyone his true goals and achievements.

Black Flame

Araundra Golaunstone is better known as "Black Flame" because of her magical style. At will she can hurl magical black flame from her palms. These black, crawling bolts of force are said to sear flesh and life energy alike, leaving only bones behind. They are in truth equal to darkfire (Magic of Faerun, Spell Compendium) except that they deal damage equal to 1d4 plus 1 point for each of her character levels -- currently 1d4+18. She's also sometimes called "the Lady of Folly Tower" because she lives in Felshroun's Folly, the western corner tower of the town.

Black Flame (CG female Rashemi human Wiz16/Arch2; Dex 18, Int 18, Cha 18) is icily beautiful. Her wild fury fascinates and awes most citizens of the Free Barony, who see not only her stunning good looks but something wild and driven in her eyes on the rare occasions when she walks among them.

Black-haired and black-gowned, Araundra loves to dance with wild abandon, becoming a wild, fluid thing that draws mens' eyes as she loses herself in sweating acrobatics, bounding and twirling in abandon. Sometimes she sobs as she dances. To those who watch, it always seems as if something frightening is lurking on the verge of being released.

Golaunstone never talks about how she gained her black flame, but she's known to fly into shrieking hatred at the sight of neogi, chasme, and yochlol, often screaming "Juiblex!" repeatedly even after her foes are destroyed or routed. Madness and deadly loss of control never seem far beneath her arrestingly-beautiful surface. Araundra takes very few apprentices, and the occasional flashes, rumbles, and shrieks from the high windows of Folly Tower hint at why.

She loves battle. Some Borderers swear they've seen Black Flame fly out of nowhere to join battles between forces that must be strangers to her just to have something to lash out against. At heights of battle-stress, she shifts shape into something large, scaled, and ugly -- a pyrohydra that spits the same black flame she hurls in human form.

Hers was the fury that routed the attacks on Felshroun that the Four repulsed. Hers is the seemingly unsleeping vigilance that most diligently scours the Border Kingdoms for frays to burst into the midst of (adventurers, be warned!) and scrutinizes the Free Barony and the lands around it for approaching trouble. Guards who've done duty on the town battlements say the uppermost chamber in Folly Tower holds a gigantic, black crystal ball. It rises up, wreathed in sparkling, starry radiance, to float in midair whenever Black Flame enters the chamber -- and she sometimes flies slowly around it, black gown flapping, as she watches something in its heart.

Elminster of Shadowdale has said that he knows Black Flame's story (her precise powers and how she acquired them) but that any adventurer who wants to know the truth had best have the backbone to go to the Dancing Sorceress and ask her -- and the agility to flee like the very wind if he wants to survive having asked the question.

Luckily for citizens of the Free Barony, Black Flame seems to love Felshroun and to cherish her friendship with her fellow founding mages. She rarely shows more than sad cynicism when displeased by a citizen's deeds and prefers to avoid evenly-matched brawls and confrontations within the town. Sorcerers, brigands, and drunken merchants foolish enough to attack or threaten the raven-haired Lady of Folly Tower, however, and anyone who marauds in the countryside of the Barony, had best beware a black-gowned woman who flies like an arrow and hurls black, slaying flame. To ignore that advice generally means death. It's a choice Araundra Golaunstone seems to take a grim delight in giving many folk who do violence. Some of them even make the right choice.

What Meets The Eye In Felshroun

Felshroun is a town of walled gardens, tall houses, and narrow, winding, crowded streets.

It stands in the shape of a large diamond with towers at each compass-point corner and gates in the center of each wall between. Each tower can be entered (by those on foot, in the conventional manner) only through a huge double door on the inside of the town walls, in the angle where two walls meet. Each swinging door of these entries is actually a stone golem, and the two golems grind open to reveal an iron inner door that is an iron golem. Beyond it is a gauntlet of traps and holding areas that vary from mage to mage but are known to include trained mimics, portcullises that fall in closely spaced grids to create pillar-like trap areas just large enough to encase an immobile standing man, and so on. Defenses are typically activated by any use of hostile or destructive magic, any attempt to dig, pry open, or shatter any part of the walls, floor, or ceiling near the doors, or whenever a scrying apprentice believes that visitors mean ill to those in the tower.

The northern turret is Lakelight Tower, and the gate on the northeastern wall is the Dusking Gate. The road out of it to the Duskfords is called Ralavar's Way.

The eastern tower is called The Sentinel. It commands an easterly view clear across the Waevendusk to the far banks.

The southeastern gate is Lambsgate, so called because it opens onto a meadow divided into paddocks where sheep are marshaled for market rather than emitting a road that goes anywhere.

The southern turret is named Watchwood Tower because it overlooks the Duskwood, and the southwestern gate is Burning Banner Gate thanks to a long-ago battle between competing mercenary bands which hoped to rule Felshroun (both came to bad ends, one at the hands of the other and the survivor at the hands of the Four Mages). The road out of it is Westwater Way, named for the ford over Lammatar's Water, where the road winds on its way southwest to Luthbaern and the Barony of Blacksaddle.

The town's western tower is Felshroun's Folly (or more often simply "the Folly"). The name comes from the grizzled old farmer whose lands these once were. He built a ramshackle wooden lookout tower on this spot just because he wanted to, only to see it fall down in high winds, several times, though he kept calmly rebuilding it. The gate in the northwestern wall is Reach Gate (so named because the Shore Road, which runs out of it, shortly enters the realm of Shandolphyn's Reach).

Inside the town walls is a cramped labyrinth of four- and five-floor houses, winding flagstone streets, little walled gardens with pump-wells and public benches, many cats wandering as public pets, and two focal areas -- the central Hall of Domes (seat of the Free Baron) and Sevenways, where seven streets meet in a crazy conjunction of angled alleys.

The best tavern in Felshroun is the Moldy Cheese And Laughing Spoon (Good/Moderate), with The Rum Boot (Fair/Cheap) and Pinchbeck'sTankard (Poor/Cheap) as competition. The best inn is The Sunset Swan (Excellent/Expensive), but folk who feel uneasy in haughty luxury prefer the less formal The Gone Gallant(Good/Moderate), the more spartan BlackBoar's Eye (Fair/Cheap), or Dunselbow's House (Poor/Cheap).

There are also rooming houses (Mother Fustin's is generally considered the best, thanks to her meat pie with sharp cheese) and The Beardhouse, a warriors' hostel (bare bunk and outhouse for 1 cp/night), where six gruff dwarves keep order and make sure there's no thievery from sleeping men.

In such a bustling town, shops and deals change with bewildering rapidity, but one superb establishment deserves lasting mention -- the Rolling Gnome music shop, where instruments, sheet music, and touchstones (small, smooth, hand-sized rocks enchanted so as to replay the same short tune whenever touched by a bare finger) are sold. The five proprietors are a human couple, a male elf, and two half-elven females who live in the shop attic and make weird harp and flute music at night (it's rumored that they play for the benefit of dancing sprites and other fey). All are retired minstrels rumored to be Harpers. (In truth, they are all Harper 'friends', acting as observers and providing safe house accommodations to visiting Harpers. None are adventurers but all are expert musicians and instrument makers. The humans are Paerlin and Andustra Taunbellow, the moon elf is Dalyeon Darmintshadow, and the half-elves are Daundra Crownlock and Yaryespra Huntingwood.) 'The Gnome' stands on Baraedur Lane.

Fendle Street is the busiest street for small shops. Used goods and sundries are sold, and the aforementioned Moldy Cheese can be found, as well as several cheap 'soup and frybun' eateries.

Lorndragon Lane is the haughtiest Felshrounan address, lined with gem shops with glittering windows, dealers of fine furnishings, high-coin scent shops, and brightcloak establishments (high fashion clothiers) stand amid the many-balconied, arch-gated, high-walled mansions of the very wealthy.

Storrockh Street is where mounts can be stabled, coaches and horse-carts (suitably narrow for navigating the cramped town streets) rented or bought, and strongshoulders (loaders and moving men) hired by the day (typically 2 sp/head) or half-day (1 sp/head).

Houndworm Street is the seediest part of town. Brawls and muggings befall wanderers on dark nights, bodyguards and fast-dagger toughs can be hired, and the cheapest 'alley-comfort' lasses offer their wares. Those contemplating mayhem are warned that maskfaced Foresters visit the Houndworm often, keeping watch for troublemakers. ("Maskfaced" refers to the Foresters using disguises or otherwise operating undercover, not to the wearing of actual masks.)

The Future of the Barony

Thanks to its trade-friendliness and its horseflesh, the Free Barony of Felshroun is one of the best-known Border locales among folk outside the Border Kingdoms. Minstrels sing of it often when performing the ballads "The Rider O'er The Moon" and "The Dryad and the Gargoyle."

The Free Barony is an attractive place. The Zhentarim, the Red Wizards, the Arcane Brotherhood, and half a dozen smaller mage-cabals (particularly Calishite who are shut out of the paths to power in their own country) all watch Felshroun with an eye to seizing control. That won't happen untiul (and if) someone catches the Four Mages napping.

Several of these groups believe they may be ready to conquer Felshroun through spell-battle, but to win the Barony that way would smash it. Its value depends on residents and visitors trading enthusiastically, but that relies on the current security and fair rule. Whoever seizes Felshroun must do it covertly or the prize will be shattered in the taking. If open battle broke out in the streets, merchants and their money would flee in all directions, leaving behind little more than a horse market. The anticipated difficulty of a behind-the-scenes takeover has kept the gathering wolves at bay for two decades, but sometime soon, someone will grow too impatient to hold off any longer.

Llll In the meantime, crowding within the town walls is becoming a real problem, and there's ever-increasing pressure on the Free Baron to allow building around the town--and to hire mages to blast a way down through the lofty cliffs at the shore of the Lake of Steam, to create a port similarly friendly to merchants. So far, the Baron has done nothing to further such plans, though it's widely believed in town that he's asked the Four Mages for their advice, and is awaiting a reply.

For their part, the Four Mages diligently defend the town they founded. During the Night of Fire (Tarsakh 17 in the Year of the Bow, 1354 DR) when they fought off a direct attack by the Red Wizards. The great battle took place high in the sky with wizards standing on empty air and hurling spectacular, sky-spanning lightning and other spells. Two years later, the Four Mages are thought to have headed off a destructive wyrm during the Flight of Dragons, though no one actually saw them take to the air above Felshroun on that occasion.

Far more recently (Mirtul 6 in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR), they caused the blaze that slew Ibryn Shelarnshoa of Calimshan and destroyed the top of his tower on Shuttle Street. The Four let their involvement be publicly known by a series of magic mouth spells that appeared on the bar that same night in the most popular tavern in town, the Moldy Cheese And Laughing Spoon on Fendle Street. Their message informed all that they would not tolerate evil sorcerers dwelling in Felshroun or the "unwise summoning of things from beyond" to do ill to other citizens.

All of this is why some folk think Felshroun is the best place to dwell they've yet found in Faerûn -- and others think it is doomed.

About the Author

Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .

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