Emerald Enclave Portals
By Jeff Quick
Amlaruil has been secretly establishing ties with governments and organizations
across Faerûn. The Emerald Enclave is one of those organizations. In exchange
for unspecified favors, the Enclave commissioned one of their number,
a male wood elf named Selsian Earthenhands (N male wood elf Drd4/Exp12),
famed for his artistry in landscaping, to construct an elven garden to
welcome the slowly returning brothers and sisters from Evermeet. Begun
nearly ten years ago, the entire project has become more of an effort
than anyone ever envisioned.
this was just what it seemed: an opportunity to restore order and balance
to what had become an unruly magically tainted wilderness. In an area
pockmarked with overgrown plants and hidden mythals, Selsian first
went in with a pack of disenchanters and cleared unwanted magic out of
several square miles of forest near the ancient Elven Court.
he developed a blueprint for a garden so rich and beautiful, the like
has never been seen outside of Evermeet. The shapes, colors, textures,
architecture, and plant choices combined in interlocking layers of meaning
that evoked historical, philosophical, religious, and sociological commentary
on elves in Cormanthor. The whole effect was designed to welcome and challenge
returning elves to their millennia-old home. The design had a beauty and
complexity that was nothing less than inspired, and the first phase of
implementation went flawlessly.
was understandably hard for Selsian to accept the tribes of wild elves
that overran his vegetable opus during a complicated inter-tribal contest
that amounted to a bloody game of "capture the flag."
formed. Meetings were called. Discussions took place. The wild elves cared
nothing for it. They continued their barbaric existence unfazed by the
high art being constructed around them.
than fight, Selsian wisely incorporated the wild elves into his masterwork,
using thick shrub barriers and subtle psychology to channel his wild kin
into certain places and away from others. Logically, wild elves are part
of the elven tapestry within Cormanthor. In retrospect, it seemed only
fitting that they should be a living part of the welcome garden, and it
was serendipitous that they "intruded" into the plan before
its completion, allowing for their inclusion. He soon drew up the plans
again, and if anything, the garden took on a deeper, more satisfying subtext
in the interplay of history and present-day life that everyone agreed
was really superior to the previous work.
was understandably even harder for Selsian to accept when the surface
drow in Cormanthor began vandalizing the garden.
cannot be incorporated. Drow must be eliminated.
is a landscaper, not a warrior -- he used the tools at hand. Soon, seemingly
random sections of the garden would spring to life at the very mention
of the word "drow." Tendriculoses, shambling mounds, assassin
vines, and even stranger plant creatures would attack any elf with skin
darker than deep tan. Even spiders larger than four inches across are
killed on sight by scuttling, low carnivorous shrubs.
too has worked surprisingly well. The constant foliage ambushes not only
discourage drow incursion, but also poignantly represent the elves' struggle
against their dark kin through their race's long memory. Once again the
garden neatly encompassed another layer of meaning.
so many layers have been inadvertently added to Selsian's original plan,
that even he has forgotten some of the original signs and meanings locked
within the garden. Among other things, the landscaper has lost the original
portal to Ilghon that brought him to Cormanthor.
he started redrawing plans and giving the landscape free reign to rearrange
itself, Selsian had tried to hide the portal from marauding drow
by having misdirection and permanency spells cast on it,
making it seem to be grass. Now, not even an analyze portal spell
can find it, and the chief landscaper has no idea how to locate it again.
No one of sufficiently high level to cast a limited wish spell
has appeared to help yet, and Selsian needs to find the portal
again before any drow do.
can say for sure now is that the portal is bordered by an archway
surrounded by rosemary somewhere within the shifting boundaries of the
garden. He hopes good elves can find it before the dark elves discover
a way to spread their taint to the hoe of the Emerald Enclave.
to Incorporate the Cormanthor Portal Into Your Campaign
- While walking along
a normally safe road in the forest, a bedraggled, nearly dead drow staggers
into the road, begging for amnesty. One round later, a tendriculos smashes
through a line of trees and tries to grab and swallow the drow. It has
no qualms about going through a PC to do the job.
- If the PCs have
anyone in the party who is wilderness oriented -- druid, ranger, barbarian,
or otherwise -- the whole party is asked to help comb the garden one
day for the lost portal. Every willing forest creature for miles
around is pressed into service in a great portal hunt. From their
hiding places, the drow want to know what's going on.
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