by Eric L. Boyd
Moonsilver is one of the legendary bards of the Forgotten Realms, and
tales of his adventures have long been recounted around hearthfires across
the North in musical, poetic, and narrative forms. Transcribed in Silverymoon's
Vault of the Sages by the Keeper of the Vault, Mintiper's Chapbook is
a compilation of the Lonely Harpist's ballads, poems, and tales. Selected
pages of this chapbook have been annotated and passed into this chronicler's
hands and shall be revealed here in a periodic column.
turning yields leaves of gold,
mantle fit for woodland kings.
nymphs weep cold tears of sorrow,
yet the fair Hamagess sings.
to Mintiper Moonsilver
of the Moonfall (1344 DR)
confused with the Nether Scrolls , the Leaves of Gold
are an obscure magical phenomena believed to be unique to the northern
High Forest, specifically the region of the woods that lies near the city
of Everlund and is commonly known as the Woods of Turlang. 
The Leaves of Gold take the form of living oak leaves fashioned of pure
gold, each of which is inscribed with the runes of a single wizards
spell.  No more than a dozen such gilded leaf-scrolls
have been recovered in a single season, and each has been found near the
base of ancient tree believed to have once been a great treant in centuries
at face value, the first two lines of Mintipers poem seem to describe
the changing hues of northern woodlands. However, those familiar with
the legend of the Leaves of Gold believe that Mintiper is alluding here
to the time of year when such treasures of the Art may be gathered. The
reference to woodland kings is then interpreted as "Wood Rulers,"
a title by which the treants of the High Forest are most commonly referred
to, yielding the general location where the Leaves of Gold can be gathered.
the most straightforward level, the next two lines again refer to the
cycle of life, death and rebirth. "Wood nymphs" is a common
appellation for dryads and their ilk, and the reference to "cold
tears of sorrow" suggests the coming of winter. The Hamagess is an
obscure name sometimes employed by the faithful of Mielikki for Our Lady
of the Forest, and her singing can be seen as a promise that the cycle
of life will continue and that winter will be of finite length. However,
once again Mintipers words can be read at another level, this time
alluding to an obscure tale from centuries past.
the fall of Netheril, when the Eaerlanni elves ruled the High Forest,
there appeared a hamadryad skilled in sorcery whose mastery of the Art
was said to rival that of the most accomplished elven High Mages. The
Hamagess, as she is sometimes known, is said to have sprung from the heart
of a Turlang, the first wood nymph born of a treant and not an ordinary
oak tree. Turlang and the Hamagess ruled the High Forest as king and queen
for over a millennium before the fall of Ascalhorn in the Year of the
Curse (882 DR) threatened the High Forest with the taint of the Abyss.
The Hamagess is said to have given her life to form a living mantle around
the High Forest to shield it from infestation by the twisted vegetation
of the Abyss.  Although her death was an occasion
of great sorrow for those races that live in harmony with the great woodlands,
it is said that the Hamagess songs still drift through the Woods
of Turlang each autumn, whispering words of comfort and magic to her mate.
If her breath touches a brilliant yellow leaf in the process of drifting
to the ground from the limb of a long-slumbering treant, it leaves in
its eddy a leaf of pure gold inscribed with the workings of a rare or
unique spell. Through these Leaves of Gold the forest can be defended
against looming threats to its existence. 
The Nether Scrolls are 100 sheets of platinum and gold whose discovery
precipitated the rise of Netheril as an empire of human wizards. Consisting
of two sets of 50 scrolls each, the Nether Scrolls are believed to have
been penned by the Creator Races and collectively compose the foundation
on which the Art of modern wizardry is built. One entire set, known
to the elves as the QuessArTeranthvar and said to
have been transformed by an elven High Mage into a slim, golden beech
tree with leaves of gold, was held in Myth Drannor in Windsong Tower
ere the City of Song was overrun by fiends, but its current location
is not known. The fate of the other set of Nether Scrolls is wholly
unknown, but, at various times over the years, a series of unsubstantiated
claims have been made that one or two of the Nether Scrolls have been
recovered, leading some sages to speculate that this set is no longer
a single collection but individual scrolls scattered about the Realms.
The Woods of Turlang were once the home of Turlang the Thoughtful, ruler
of the hundred or more treants who inhabit the High Forest and respected
elder of the countless dryads, hamadryads, centaurs, korreds, leprechauns,
and other faerie folk that dwell within the depths of the great woods.
Since the destruction of Hellgate Keep in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369
DR), Turlang and most of his treant subjects have moved east and south
within the High Forest, animating trees from deep within the forest
to spread the tree line across the Upvale to connect with the Far Forests.
the departure of the Wood Rulers, the Woods of Turlang have become a
quiet region inhabited only by ancient trees, other vegetation, and
abundant wildlife. In keeping with the varying personalities of their
former treant guardians, the various stretches of woodland still range
from immaculately clean tree gardens to dense, dark, and eerie, seemingly
haunted forest, although natures hand is slowly distorting the
more unnatural features.
interlopers into the former Home of the Wood Rulers have discovered
that the treants did not leave Turlangs old court unguarded in
their absence. Those who seek to harm or plunder the Woods of Turlang
find their passage thwarted at every turn by thick brambles, sharp thorns,
and entwined vines that seem to spring up along their chosen path, no
matter how much the intruders change their course. Sudden heavy rain
showers quickly douse fires in this area, and even the faintest breeze
seems to regularly whip heavy branches against intruders with killing
The Leaves of Gold are equivalent to unbound pages in a wizards
spellbook, not scrolls whose magic can be unleashed by reading the inscribed
The Leaves of Gold can be gathered anywhere within the Woods of
Turlang that oak trees grow during the autumn season, although most
have been found just as the northern High Forest reaches its peak color
and the first leaves begin to fall. As a good number of Leaves of Gold
have been brought out from the depths of the High Forest over the years,
examples of these spell pages may also be found scattered about the
The living mantle that envelops the High Forest is somewhat akin to
a powerful ward or minor mythal. While it stands, vegetation native
to the Lower Planes, such as viper trees, cannot grow within the borders
of the High Forest, and the taint of fiends from the Lower Planes cannot
corrupt any plant that grows within the confines of the great woods.
(The Dire Woods are believed to be an exception of sorts to these restrictions.)
If Turlang and his allies succeed in their efforts to extend the High
Forests northeastern boundary to encompass the Far Forests, then
the Hamagess surviving form will slowly purge that woods of its
centuries old taint as well.
The Folio of the Hamagess is a unique wizards libram assembled
by the half-elven archdruid-magess Dalanaer Llundlar of Tall Trees in
the Year of the Staff (1366 DR). The Folio contains more than
half of the Leaves of Gold known to have been recovered, and
it continues to grow as those who venerate Mielikki make additional
Moonsilver contributed a leaf inscribed with the 6th level
spell known as The Hamagess Staffsprout, detailed
below, to the Folio of the Hamagess. This spell is most commonly
used when an archmage wishes to arm a small group with single-shot magical
devices that can all be unleashed in a single round, and it has been
used to great effect by small bands of green elves against large orc
V, S, M
Two rounds per branch created
Area of Effect:
One wooden rod, staff, or wand
This spell affects
only wooden rods, staves, and wands of magical construction that are
usable by wizards and have more than two charges remaining. This spell
or similar variants can affect such items at most once per thirty days.
When cast upon such items, the Hamagess Staffsprout spell
causes small branches to sprout along the length of the target. At most
one such branch can be created for every two levels of experience of
the caster, although less can be created if desired. The number of branches
is further limited by the number of charges in the targeted item, as
As chosen by the
caster, this spell directs a single spell effect from the target magic
item and the corresponding number of required charges to unleash it
into each created branch. (Note that the effects of breaking the original
item, such as the retributive strike power of a staff of power,
a magical attack and damage bonus, or any other effect not powered by
charges cannot be directed into a branch.) Each branch can then be broken
off and employed as a single shot magical item capable of unleashing
only the chosen spell effect at the cost of the siphoned charges. Once
cast, charges siphoned off into branches by this spell cannot be restored
(although it remains possible to recharge the original target if normally
possible). The use of this spell always expends one more charge than
the total needed to power the effects imbued in all of the branches,
regardless of the total number of branches created. In addition, at
least one charge must remain within the original magic item after the
casting. As such, the number of available charges limits the number
of branches that can be created.
Once created, each
branch has a unique word of activation, as specified during the casting
by the creator. Each branch must be used within twenty-four hours of
its creation or the magic fades and the charges are lost. A branch cannot
be recharged, and its spell effects function at the same level as the
The material components
for this spell are the magical rod, staff, or wand to be targeted and
a green (just broken off) branch from a tree of the same species as
that was used to fashion the wooden item. That tree must have grown
for at least nine years while in contact with an item bearing an enchantment,
either among its roots, stored in a hollow within it, or that the tree
has grown around. Also, the tree must have been in continuous contact
with that enchanted item at the time the green branch is broken off.
The Nether Scrolls are discussed in FR5 The Savage
Frontier, pp. 3, 60, The North: The Wilderness,
pp. 8, 62, 81, REF5 Lords of Darkness, p. 39,
Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves, pp. 33, 34, 158-160, Netheril:
The Winds of Netheril, pp. 5, 6, 8-9, 10, and Netheril:
Encyclopedia Arcana, p. 8.
- The Woods of Turlang
and Turlang the Thoughtful are discussed in The North: The
Wilderness, pp. 52, 58, 68, and in FR5 The Savage
Frontier, pp. 10, 49.
- Eaerlann is discussed
in FR5 The Savage Frontier, pp. 39, 49, 51, The
North: The Wilderness, pp. 7-8, 13, 52-53, 55-58, 61, The
North: Cities, p. 61, Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves,
pp. 33, 34, and Netheril: The Winds of Netheril, pp. 5,
16, 65, 91.
- The Fall of Netheril
is dated in Cormanthyr: Empire of Elves, p. 35, and Netheril:
The Winds of Netheril, pp. 11-12.
Hamadryads were most recently detailed in the Monstrous Compendium
Annual, Volume 3, p. 34.
fall is dated in Hellgate Keep, p. 8. The efforts to prevent
the spreading taint of the tanarri from infecting the High Forest
are noted in Hellgate Keep, p. 5.
- Viper trees are
detailed in Planes of Chaos: Monstrous Supplement, pp.
30-31, and For Duty and Deity, pp. 63-64.
The druids of Tall Trees are discussed in FR5 The
Savage Frontier, pp. 6, 8, 49, and The North: The Wilderness,
pp. 20, 51-53, 55-57, 67-68. House Llundlar, known for its many half-elven
members, is discussed in Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves,
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