Sage of Shadowdale has something to say about pretty much everything.
Despite having outlets in Dragon Magazine, Dungeon
Adventures, and Polyhedron Newszine, the Old Mage still
has more to say about Faerûn. Not wanting to anger an archmage, we decided
it would be best to give him a regular column from which to discuss the
well, young one...
I've armed ye with particulars to spare regarding the operation of the
portal often used by Perendra to enter or leave Voonlar unseen by Zhents
and other unfriendly folk, 'tis time to tell ye what to expect at its
Harpers have warned me that the same portal leads elsewhere -- to various
Sword Coast locations, according to those who are muttering secrets my
way -- if commanded by different words. However, those I know and have
already given lead to a locale surprising to some: the uppermost room
of a ruined, leaning stone tower in the heart of the southern city of
Delzimmer. Specifically, they lead to a windowless, conical stone chamber
with a lofty vaulted ceiling that stands within the spire of Malthuk's
is reputed locally to be haunted by the ghosts of two human mages who
slew each other therein. Malthuk, one of the mages who died in therein,
is said to have either built or inherited the tower some four centuries
ago. He dwelt there for twoscore-and-some years before being attacked
by a former apprentice, the overly ambitious, flame-red-bearded Halrith
Esral. Some have seen their silent phantoms chasing each other up and
down the crumbling spiral stone stair at the heart of the Tower, hurling
spells at each other whose visual displays are vivid, but -- like the
battling mages themselves--no more than harmless illusions.
itself exhibits a pronounced lean to the northeast, and its walls display
many long, interlinked cracks -- but those walls are over a foot thick
and have withstood many, many attempts on the part of young mages to fell
them with blasting spells. No doubt some such fool will succeed in bringing
it down, someday, but at my every visit it has seemed sturdy enough.
stands within a modest ring of broken-down walls, the space within given
over to the stone rubble of collapsed outbuildings, crawling vines and
shrubbery (dominated, I must say, by an overabundance of thorns), occasional
rats, and far more than occasional snakes. Indeed, small dusty vipers
seem to glide everywhere, most of them possessing poison feeble enough
not to slay outright but quite strong enough to keep the ruins uninhabited
despite their central location in Delzimmer.
clear that many folk have scoured the ruins repeatedly for treasure, even
to the extent of hammering holes in the interior walls of the Tower rooms,
and that they either successfully plundered it long ago or left empty-handed.
are three cellar rooms: the well cellar; another an apparent granary or
pantry; and the third a cell for confining slaves, beasts, or perhaps
persons kidnapped for ransom or perhaps to suffer magical experimentation.
My own explorations have led me to suspect that the well in the tower
cellar still yields drinkable water and that its shaft probably conceals
a storage niche for some magical treasure or other (behind a loose stone,
probably). However, many strong spells lie in wait guarding whatever lies
in the well -- and the guarded area is submerged beneath the water. Moreover,
evidence suggests that someone in Delzimmer maintains some sort of magical
alarm that alerts him or her to persons entering the well cellar, whom
they soon attack.
may wander the rest of the Tower environs freely without attracting such
attention. Such explorers are warned that the well within the compound
walls but outside the Tower proper (in the southwest corner, under three
stunted bitterthorn trees) is tainted, probably by carrion.
outlaws, spies, and persons arranging clandestine meetings for various
lawless purposes frequent the Tower compound, but no one dwells there
long, and there is no easily found treasure of any sort left for intruders
itself boasts five levels of empty rooms opening off its stair (all but
the uppermost pierced by many tall, narrow, arch-topped windows, and thus
given over to birds and years upon years of their accumulated droppings),
but it seems much less interesting than bustling Delzimmer, beyond its
ring walls, so in my next missive, we'll venture out into that city.
the previous Elminster Speaks
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