Roger E. Moore
installment in this series provides more detail about a network of portals
linking various parts of Faerûn and beyond in the Forgotten Realms
campaign. These portals can take your party to new adventure for
a night or as part of an ongoing campaign across Faerûn.
of the Lost
II: "Voices of the Lost"
description of the elven work, "Voices of the Lost," is necessary
to understand how this particular portal system works. Written
by a master bard late in Illefarn's history, "Voices of the Lost"
is uncomfortably prophetic, a characteristic typical of the finest of
this nation's artistic efforts. In this song, a human wanderer finds a
broad, weathered stone in a field on which elven runes can barely be seen.
He reads of an elven kingdom in a primeval forest that once rose where
the stone lay, a kingdom of such grandeur that the wanderer is staggered
and awed by the story.
night, the wanderer falls asleep on the stone and has a magic dream in
which he journeys into the distant past to speak with the elves of this
kingdom and tell them of their fate. The wanderer hopes to prevent the
fall of this realm, but the elves already know their fate and have elected
not to stop it. The wanderer, amazed and frustrated, travels even further
back in time, meeting kings and mages even at the kingdom's founding over
two hundred centuries earlier, but all of the elves questioned have at
least an inkling of what is to come, and they accept it without question.
song's end, the wanderer realizes that the elves, rather than attempting
to prevent the death of their civilization, elected instead to manage
the life of their kingdom so that it reflected the best of their ideals
at all times, even at its end. The elves avoided the excesses in magic
and temperament that doomed other cultures before and after them, adhering
to their better nature to the end and rejecting hatred and bitterness
at the natural cycles of growth and death. At the kingdom's end, its people
scatter and plant the seeds for later kingdoms that will rise to even
greater achievements, influencing history, civilization, and people on
a gigantic scale. The wanderer awakens, a sad but wise man, and follows
the example of the elves of the unnamed kingdom in living his life well
while also ensuring the world will be a better place long after he dies
and his name is forgotten.
path created for this work was set up along what is now the Delimbiyr
River. The network of portals was one-way and circular. Each portal
was tied to a large circular block of polished marble about 9 feet across.
Runes in the elven tongue of Illefarn (considerably different from "modern"
Elven) encircled each great disk. The magic activating each portal
was of a different sort than exists in present-day Faerûn, such that each
stone would not register as magical until a certain condition was met:
a person standing or walking upon the stone, singing a particular set
of stanzas in Seldruin (the ancient dead language of the elves, especially
of elven high magic) from "Voices of the Lost." The singer's
words and the notes sung would cause the stone to become increasingly
magical, until the last few words of each group of stanzas were said.
These were the trigger phrase to activate the portal, and the singer
would slowly dissolve from view, reappearing over the next portal stone
in 1 round's time. There, the singer would continue singing and the cycle
would repeat. This system was typical of many Illefarn song paths.
system for "Voices of the Lost" began in the capital of Illefarn,
its broken remains now somewhere under the streets of Waterdeep. The first
portal stone originally lay in a broad meadow from which no trace
of the buildings of the city could be seen. (The surrounding forest screened
the structures.) Here, the first stanzas of "Voices of the Lost"
were sung by elves wishing to take the song path. The wanderer's discovery
of the weathered stone was sung, and the song's first part ends with the
wanderer falling asleep on the stone at night, his magic dream beginning.
The portal stone would activate at this point, shifting the singer
to the next stone, which lay exactly where Daggerford is at present.
of the "Voices of the Lost" portal network used the River
Delimbiyr as a metaphor for time. The spot where Daggerford stands now
represented the unnamed elven kingdom (Illefarn, of course) late in its
history, the first stop of the wanderer in his dream. Further portal
stones carried the singer upriver into the Nether Mountains, to the
source stream of the Delimbiyr River, where the wanderer met the earliest
rulers and spellcasters of the kingdom. From here, the portal network
took the singer to the mouth of the Delimbiyr on the Sword Coast, where
the wanderer viewed the fall of the kingdom and began to understand the
elves' ultimate philosophy and goals. The coastal portal then led
back to the starting portal stone, where the wanderer awakened
and set off on his new life. The entire cycle using the portals
took about six hours on the average, counting periods of silence for reflection