What is the Green Regent?
Those of you new to Loudwater and the Delimbiyr Vale may be asking yourself, "What is the Green Regent?" Well, my friends, the answer is delightfully easy and yet tricky. For the answer is, "It depends."
Daughter of Talanthe Truesilver
Year of Wild Magic
A dream made manifest. The Delimbiyr Vale is dear to the goddess Mielikki, who watches over the land, and protects it from those who would despoil its verdant beauty. Mielikki dreams of a harmony between civilization and nature, and seeks to make the lands around the River Shining a haven for her ideals and her worshippers. This dream is the rule of the Green Regent.
Rule may be a misnomer. The Green Regent holds no real temporal power, but rather rules over the hearts and minds of the good people of Loudwater. Holding no castles, owning no land, and lacking the allegiance of any real army, the Green Regent’s rule is symbolic, but with some very real effects.
Under the Green Regent, hunters are careful to maintain the animal population. Timbering is almost unknown, with most firewood coming from deadfall. When timber is needed, loggers selectively harvest the forest and replant saplings when it thins too much. The rangers and druids provide guidance as needed, and the clerics of Mielikki keep a watchful eye on the Delimbiyr Vale.
The Green Regent traditionally guards the valley from incursions, invasions, and other threats to the Forest Maiden's harmony. This protector is served by scions: an oathsworn few who share the dream. Bards liken the lands around the River Shining to a lush garden—where natural beauty is carefully pruned to produce an almost supernatural paradise. Much of this is due to the tireless efforts of the Green Regents and their scions.
If the Green Regent’s rule is this dream’s manifestation, Loudwater is its reflection. The City of Grottos’s gardens bloom with flowers amid lush grass. Ivy climbs over the buildings pulling the town deep into nature's embrace. Beyond the city’s wards and earthen ramparts, fields are exceptionally fertile and farmers raise outstanding vegetables. The meadows are bedecked with wild flowers throughout most of the year. The forests are the province of fey, centaurs, and unicorns.
The Green Regent is a Chosen of Mielikki. Much like the Magister is the champion of the gods of magic, the Green Regent works to put forward Mielikki's will in Faerûn. Its mantle has passed from person to person through the centuries as the needs of the Lady of the Forest dictate. Only those who embrace Mielikki's dream and are willing to dedicate themselves to her ascend as the Green Regent.
In contrast to the Magister’s history, the mantle of the Green Regent passes in a peaceful ceremony each Shieldmeet. The title carries no life sentence; no person has ever carried the mantle for more than four years.
The ceremony to choose the Green Regent starts simply. During the Shieldmeet celebration, all interested young men and women gather at the Risen Moon Market before the High Lord's Hall. There, in a mysterious ceremony under the supervision of the Circle of the Stag—a reclusive group of druid in the service Mielikki—the candidates drink a concoction called the greendraught from the Lady's Chalice. The exact nature of the greendraught is a closely guarded secret, but it doesn't radiate magic, though the Lady’s Chalice does. If Mielikki accepts the drinker as a Scion of the Green Regent, her symbol, glowing with an emerald illumination appears on the person's forehead. If Mielikki rejects the drinker, the scion hopeful is nauseated, unable to keep the greendraught down.
After the ceremony, all the scions fast for a day, drinking nothing but water from a flowing stream. That night, each keeps a separate vigil in a different part of the High Forest, north of Loudwater. Tradition allows the scion to keep a small fire for warmth and light, as long as it does not endanger the forest. During the night, a magnificent unicorn appears to one of the scions. The scion follows the creature deep into the forest. Where the unicorn leads the scion, or what happens in that place is only known by Mielikki and the Green Regent, but it must be extraordinary for when the former scion returns, the individual carries the mantle of the Green Regent and the marks of the Chosen of Mielikki—intricate emerald symbols that entwine like ivy along the person’s entire body. When a Green Regent’s reign is over (though time passed, or by death) the markings remain, but turn black, resembling normal tattoos.
Talos and Malar hate Mielikki's dream, and they set their followers against the Green Regent at every turn. Several times cults to the Destroyer have attempted to bring carnage and violence to the idyllic lands around the Delimbiyr River. The most notable attempt was 25 years ago when Kalathar Twohands, the current High Lord of Loudwater, served as the Green Regent. Talos worshippers summoned a tempest—a terrible storm elemental blight—deep in the Greypeaks south and east of the Delimbiyr Vale. The Talosians loosed the creature on Llorkh and Orlbar. Rain pummeled the countryside and the Tempest ripped at cottages with its fierce winds. The Greyflow flooded its banks and large portions of Llorkh were washed away. Under the domination of the cult to Talos, the Tempest seemed intent to devastate the entire Greyvale.
Kalathar led a coterie of scions against the cult, and after a fierce fight in a raging thunderstorm on a mountaintop reversed the summoning spell that bound the tempest to Faerûn. With their leaders slain and their plot undone, the cult scattered.
The depredations of the bestial followers of Malar were never as grand as those of Talos. Instead, they have sought to disrupt the harmony that is the dream of Mielikki through terrorizing small villages or isolated farmsteads. Malarites scorn what they see as the soft weakness of those under the Green Regent and thoroughly enjoy bringing fear to the Delimbiyr Vale. The Malarites, many of them lycanthropes, lurk deep in the High Forest in a place they call The Thicket.
Three years ago, a blood red moon rose over the Delimbiyr Vale. The Malarites interpreted this as an omen from their dread god, and erupted from the High Forest in a frenzy of hunting and killing. For the next three nights, the lycanthropes hunted, breaking into houses and driving out the fear-stricken citizens of Loudwater and smaller homesteads around the city. The folk of the City of Grottos fought back, and a young Stedd Rein earned particular distinction in those pitch battles, but Malarite bloodlust pressed on. The Green Regent at the time, Galaer Grasswave, was slain by the followers of the Beastlord; his head impaled on a sharpened stick outside of the earth ramparts of Loudwater. After three nights, the moon returned to its normal shade and the Malarites disappeared back into the forest, their retreat as irrational as their assault.
The identity of the first Green Regent is lost to the passage of time, but it suspected that Mielikki did not first designate her champions until humans spread across the Savage Frontier from Illuskan. As Melikki's faith grew, she selected several Green Regents from the Kingdom of Athalantar before its fall. When the Tethyrians began to settle about the Delimbiyr River, the Lady of the Forest drew them into her vision, and the Green Regent was alive and well throughout the Tethyrian Kingdoms of Phalorm and Delimbiyrian. After the collapse of Delimbiyrian, civilization in the vale fragmented into small city-states, but the Green Regent continued to guard the forests, the people of the river valley, and Mielikki's dream.
The reign of the Green Regent has been broken only a few times. Though the recent death of the last Green Regent has broken the rule for the past three years, by far the worse disruptions came when the Calishite Rensha family took over the vale in the Year of the Scourge. Mielikki's attention must have been elsewhere, as the Rensha banned the practice of selecting new scions at Shieldmeet and hunted the Green Regent down as a threat to their power. After several years of this persecution, the Green Regent disappeared for well over a century.
The Rensha Rule brought with it the golden touch of wealth and regular contact to the world outside the vale. But with prosperity came a disregard for the harmony between civilization and nature. Woodcutters pushed the forests back from the river, and farmers planted new fields. Miners pulled ore from the mountains at a prodigious rate. The wealth of the land poured down the River Shining.
With the passage of years, the Rensha lords fell into deeper and deeper decadence, and while doing so spiraled closer to their doom. Pasuuk, the last of their line, sealed his fate when he commanded a group of skilled mercenary hunters to bring him a horn of the unicorn. Why he needed this horn is unknown, but speculators whispered that he needed the horn for a foul magic rite that would bridge a gap between his hall and some infernal pit. Later revelations confirmed that Pasuuk Rensha dabbled in diabolism.
After weeks of searching, the hunters tracked a unicorn and tricked it into using its teleport ability. The hunters cornered the creature at a treacherous bend of the Unicorn Run. The captain of the company ordered its newest member—the son of a displaced Nimbral noble—to strike the killing blow. The young man raised and blade and stepped forward to do his captain's bidding, but as he looked into the eyes the beautiful beast his heart broke. His sword still raised, he turned to the others and told them he would not kill such a magnificent beast and would defend it against all that would despoil it. In that instance of courage, Nanathlar Greysword became the first Green Regent since beginning of the Rensha Rule.
Nanathlar and twelve of his fellow hunters overthrew their captain. Upon doing so, the glowing symbol of the Green Regent appeared on each of their foreheads, and the telltale marking the Green Regent slithered up Nanathlar’s body. The unicorn revealed itself as an avatar of Mielikki, and tasked the thirteen hunters to rid the vale of the horrible Rensha blight.
Two winters of fierce battles raged between the ragtag forces of the Green Regent and Pasuuk's diabolical regime. The War of the Returned Regent ended in the Battle of Tanglefork where Nanathlar called upon the power of his goddess to turn the very trees against Pasuuk. Pasuuk unleashed a coven of devil upon the servants of Mielikki, but the awakened trees utterly destroyed Pasuuk and his fiendish allies, and scattered their remains like ordure. And that is why the soil of those woods is now as black as midnight.
Nanathlar Greysword assumed rulership of Loudwater and brought a new era of prosperous rule to the Delimbiyr Vale. The heavy loggings and strip mines were abandoned, but the Delimbiyr maintained its contacts with the lands outside the Vale. Nanathlar brought health and growth back to the land that had soured under the rule of the Rensha.
Since Nanathlar became the Green Regent Returned, more than a dozen have taken the mantle of the Green Regent, including the current High Lord of Loudwater, Kalathar Twohands. Past Green Regents have been a varied group of people. Mielikki does not always choose the most obvious candidate as her regent. In the past she has picked simple farmers over great rangers of renown, and even seemly heartless mercenaries over devout priests of her ethos. There is a saying among the folk of the vale that, “It is our fate to be bemused by her winding way, until we reach the destination.” All of her choices, to this point, have ended up being exactly the right person for the task ahead. That said, her current choice for Green Regent has even the staunchest worshiper questioning her wisdom.
Ever since the City of Shade appeared over the Dire Woods, orcs have been migrating out of the High Forest toward the Greypeak Mountains. These “Gray Migrations,” as the folks of the vale have dubbed them, are disruptive and sometimes frightening, but thus far not nearly as deadly as they could be. The orcs have tended to stay away from settlements while traveling east.
There have been exceptions. One exception, even more shocking than the Fendrell Massacre, was this year’s Sheildmeet celebration. The Circle of the Stag was not the only group to come out of the High Forest for the ritual, with them came a band of High Forest orcs, lead by a young chieftain called Otar. Orcs entering the High Moon Market was shocking to the people of Loudwater, but not nearly as shocking as when Otar drank the greendraught and keep it down without a wince. Their shock turned to horror when the next day Otar came out of the High Forest with the marks of the Green Regent glowing upon his gray skin.
The old elven noble families openly rejected the choice, accusing the Circle of the Stag of trickery and blasphemy. Halitan Phelaniityr, the patriarch of the city’s only sun elf house promised to personally rectify the situation before the vale became a “cesspool of bestial orcish scum.” Before violence broke out, the druid, along with Otar and his orcs retreated back to the High Forest, leaving some angry, some frightened for the future, and the new scions without a leader. Stedd Rein, the hero of the Night of the Blood Moon and the favored wager to take the Green Regent mantle, defiant of Mielikki’s choice tacked his manifesto upon the message pillar of the Red Boar Inn, but that story will have to wait until next time….