Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 3, 2021 0:10:51 GMT -5
In the moonturnings following the fall of Cloudstone from the sky into the Wyvernwater, specific tomes are able to be found at the temple of Oghma in Arabel, the temple of Denier in Suzail, the tower of the War Wizard's College, and the Alizarin Academy in Marsember. They are titled:
- Above and Beyond the Beanstalk by M. The Story Collector (with forward by Mynian Copperhand)
//OOC I'll be posting these as time goes on so keep an eye on this thread for further postings of what the tomes contain. Consider it something your PC can search for and find in the places mentioned above.
Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 3, 2021 9:25:45 GMT -5
The Lich of the Marshlands
A true retelling by anonymous marsh drover of the Tunlands. Scribed by Gerald Rothvar, Scholar of Arabel, 1366 DR.
"It was on a day much like this, nearly ten years ago, that it all began. I was still a child then, but I saw the terrible events with my own eyes, and I saw how they affected my father, my family, and my people.
"A foraging party under the huntress Althea returned one evening, reporting that a cluster of previously unknown ruins had risen from the swamp nearby. As these sites often contain treasure, weapons, and other valuable items, preparations were made to explore the ruins. My father, Rehar, was to lead the party.
"A day passed and the party did not return. Some began to worry, especially my mother. Near sunset, a commotion erupted at the edge of the village, and we hurried to investigate.
"A single raft approached the shore, poled along by a solitary figure. As he grew near in the gathering twilight, I saw that it was my father, and rushed forward with a cry. He was clearly wounded and at the limit of his strength. In the bottom of the boat, coated with mud and slime, was a scabbarded broad sword, which my father clutched to him as he stumbled ashore.
"A tumult of questions greeted him. What had happened? Where were the others? What had he found? Had he been ambushed? What was the sword? My father's only response was to fall to his knees, gasping a few incoherent words.
"'We awakened it,' he said. 'It killed Syvo. It's coming here. The sword... It fears the sword...' Then he collapsed, insensate.
"Even before we could recover from the shock of my father's arrival and collapse, a fearsome sound echoed through the village - a bubbling, agitated sound, emanating from the shallows around our island. In horror, we watched as dozens of animated skeletons, hung with marsh weeds, glistening with mud and slime, emerged from the water. I heard my mother scream.
"But the greatest horror was yet to come. An eerie blue glow appeared from beneath the water, and slowly rose to the surface. It was like a corpse-light, or will-o-wisp... a sick, unclean color that nauseated me simply by its appearance. Like a long-sunken bubble of marsh gas, the source of the glow emerged from the water, and the people gathered on the shore drew back as one, gasping with fear.
"It had once been human, but now it was a twisted shell, a rotted amalgam of bones, slimy flesh, tendons, and hair. Twin green flames flickered in its empty sockets, gazing at us with tangible malice. Clad in a long robe which had once been red and gold, it wore a silver circlet on its bony brow. A single green gem glittered and winked from the circlet, the only item on the entire creature which was not coated with slime or mud. It rose above the water, floating freely in the air.
"A rotted arm rose, stabbing a bony finger at my father, who still lay unconscious on the shore. A deep, crackling voice issued from its throat.
"'I am Nyrax, Lord of the Eight Thrones. Return what you have stolen,' it rasped, 'and your deaths will be quick and painless. Otherwise, be assured your fate will be less pleasant.'
"For an instant, no one moved. Endless tales of horror filled my mind, telling of such creatures that rose up from their burial grounds to plague the living. In my heart, I knew that the creature would not spare us, no matter what we did.
"Suddenly, my father's words echoed in my mind. 'It fears the sword.'
"Without further thought, as if my very limbs were driven by the strength of Lathander Morninglord himself, I sprang forward, seizing the scabbarded blade.
"The thing saw me, and drew back with what might be called fear. 'No!' it shrieked. 'You don't know what you're doing!'
"I did not reply, but pulled the weapon from its scabbard. It shone with a white light that virtually blinded me, and I felt myself dragged out into the shallows toward the necrous horror that floated before us.
"'Stop!' the thing screamed. 'Spare me! I will serve you! I will be your slave! Please.'
"I did not heed the monster's pleas, but swung the sword, cutting effortlessly through its robes, its rotted skin, its brittle bones, shattering the Lord of the Eight Thrones into a thousand pieces.
"I do not recall much past that. My fellow villagers told me that, with Nyrax's destruction, the skeletons collapsed and sank back into the swamp. My father, upon his recovery, praised me to the skies. Since then many tales have been told and retold of my confrontation with the lich-king.
"But, my brother, I am no hero. I was inspired by the strength of the Morninglord, and by our mother Chauntea, and did only their bidding. Nyrax, Lord of the Eight Thrones, is slain now, but the sword remains in my keeping, should any creature like him ever again rise from swamps to threaten our lives and freedom."
Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 3, 2021 22:55:48 GMT -5
The Kingdom of Stone and Wind - Forward
A summarized history of the Kingdom of Esparin and the final fall of the Palace of Stone and Wind. Forward written in Elent, 1385 Dalereckoning
On Ches 9 of 1383 Dalereckoning at the Phonix Theater in Arabel for the Patrons & Performers Night me had no intentions of landing a patron with any noble house. To be honest, me were simply shaking the dust off me yarting as it had been a while since me had put on a performance.
So, it were a great surprise to me then when one Lord Raymond Silverthorn and one Lord Fergus Hornbow both requested that me visit they respective estates and respective fathers to see about becoming a house bard for either. Me politely visited both, but gave no promise to join either. After, me requested from both houses to give me time to think upon it as me ain't one to flippantly give oath. Me wanted to do me research on both houses. By that, me means speak to the common folk and adventurers to see what they had to say about the reputation of either house. It were with me contacts in the adventurers that me came across two tomes: The Lich of the Marshlands and The Kingdom of Stone and Wind - Volume 1, both written by Gerald Rothvar, a scholar of Arabel.
The first told the tale of a lich within the Tunlands of Cormyr called Nyrax, Lord of the Eight Thrones, and of a sword found that was used to slay it. The Second was a summarized history of the kingdom of Esparin, previously annexed by Cormyr in 1162 DR. It listed among its previous rulers both Hornbow and Silverthorn kings. Both houses had been noble houses of Esparin who were allowed to retain their noble status after the annexation.
As one who finds bits of history like this to be intriguing, for the most part it did not reveal to me much about the state of either house as they currently were. However, one of the paragraphs in The Kingdom of Stone and Wind had been blotted out. As if someone had purposefully spilled ink upon the page to blot out the words. Me could make out a few letters, but nothing more. This mystery would lead me on a path that me believes Oghma and Tymora wanted me on.
In the effort to find other copies of the first volume me found that all of them had this same paragraph blotted out. It were nay coincidence, it were done on purpose. This paragraph (now restored in this version) were removed to prevent mention of the War Wizards involvement in the Lost Palace in an ill light. As me delved further into this mystery, me discovered that Gerald Rothvar had been missing for over ten years and was believed to be dead.
Through a set of trials and tribulations me were able to procure the second and third volumes of this series. Me also discovered, unfortunately, that Gerald Rothvar had indeed passed away, the third volume ending abruptly and incomplete.
During me journey to find Rothvar, me felt me got to know him. Through old colleagues, through his writings, and through the trail he left behind. Me decided last year that me would eventually take it upon meself to finish what he started. To complete the summarized history of the Kingdom of Stone and Wind in it's entirety, including the final fall of the Lost Palace and last King of Esparin, Alamor Aldrain’Vendorin.
It be me hope that the restoration, revision, and additions to Gerald Rothvar's writings will help people see the hidden truths and to, hopefully, find peace in its completion.
- Mynian Copperhand, Master Bard of the Unicorn's Door Inn - Cloudstone
Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 4, 2021 13:56:42 GMT -5
Kingdom of Stone and Wind - Volume I
A summarized history of the Kingdom of Esparin. Scribed by Gerald Rothvar, Scholar of Arabel, 1353 DR. Restoration by Mynian Copperhand, 1385 DR.
Throughout the kingdom of Cormyr there are many remnants of former realms. In both the west and east we have sunken swamp ruins of ancient realms, and in many places we can find remnants of elven settlements. Another old kingdom is Esparin, said to cover the Stonelands and Stormhorns.
For one reason or another, I cannot find many written accounts of this realm that became part of our great kingdom almost two hundred years ago. It is this lack of recorded history, and the mystery of the Lost Palace of Esparin, that has led me to pen this book of my own.
We shall begin with the founding of Esparin which is a mystery of its own. There are conflicting legends of its founding, surrounding wandering tribes of the north, refugees fleeing from distant realms, and outlaws from Cormyr and other lands, who settled in the rugged mountains and Stonelands. Some legends among mountain-folk speak of a nameless order of dragon worshiping wizards, or more fanciful tales of winged half-nymphs, and plane walking monks seeking a lost silver city. Most likely, the founders of Esparin were indeed wandering humans from the north and east. It is known that Cormyrian outlaws, may also have been among them, but were sometimes viewed with suspicion as Cormyrian spies. It is well known the Esparin had many prominent mages among them, but there is no evidence for any order of dragon worshipers, or plane walking monks for that matter. As for the winged half-nymphs, it is most likely just refering to the winged bird people, the aarakocra, rumored to live in the Storm Horns. Although, they seem to have left the area as of this writing.
[The following paragraph had previously been tampered with in previous releases of this volume. It was only after finding several copies of Volume 1 and piecing together the visible letters from each that me were able to put together what Mister Gerald had previously written. - MC]
As to the date of the founding, I would estimate a rough period between 700 to 1000 DR. However, according to my sources in Suzail, the Lost Palace may have been founded as early as Cormyr itself. I was unable to get an official word, War Wizards being as secretive as ever, but recent rumours suggest that the War Wizards may have used the Lost Palace for imprisoning powerful criminals and traitors for many hundred years.
While the earlier history and founding of Esparin is clouded in mystery, we do have some knowledge of the later kings and history before the annexation, which has been recorded by Cormyrian officials, scholars, and merchants. What follows is a summary of the kings of Esparin from 1020 to 1162 DR that I have been able to verify from several sources.
Kings of Esparin 1020 - 1162 DR
1020-1040 DR Sarevicus 'the Stormowl' Stormcrown King Sarevicus Stormcrown reigned for 20 years and died to a fever sickness. He defended the realm from manticores and goblin hordes, and he moved the royal court from Yerespar (Espar) to the Cloudstone Palace in the Stonelands. He established the Esparin Mage Guard.
1040-1041 DR Barwulf 'the Usurper' Barrowfog King Barwulf 'the Usurper' Barrowfog reigned for six months and seven days until his involvement in King Sarevicus' death was revealed by Conall Hornbow and the Mage Guard. He was tortured and stoned to death by Conall. The Barrowfog family was then exiled from Esparin.
1041-1045 DR Conall 'the Cruel' Hornbow King Conall 'the Cruel' Hornbow reigned for four years with an iron fist. He established the Esparin Inquisition, and rooted out traitors and Cormyrian spies. He is known for the Stone Trials, where one hundred and one traitors of the realm were stoned to death by each other. He is known for his saying "I have a stone for every traitor." The realm flourished under his reign as he established new trade agreements with foreign realms.
1045-1060 DR Justin 'Kingslayer' Silverthorn King Justin 'Kingslayer' Silverthorn reigned for 15 years after slaying King Conall in a duel for the throne. He dismantled the Esparin Inquisition, and granted authoritative powers to the monster hunters known as the Silver Hunters. The realm suffered economically under his reign, but the Silver Hunters kept the Stonelands safer than ever. He did not stone criminals to death, but threw them into a pit of beasts instead, giving them a chance to live if they could kill the beasts. He is known for the words "a man who slays monsters is a man worth saving." He died in his sleep at the age of 77.
1060-1158 DR Uldor 'the Old' Stormcrown King Uldor 'the Old' Stormcrown reigned for 98 years. He was chosen as king by the Esparin royal council in favour of Justin's underage son or his older illegtimate son. Uldor was a great mage who made the Esparin Mage Guard stronger than ever, and expanded the Esparin portal network. Esparin was stable and grew strong for much of his early reign, with the Mage Guard greatly expanding and gaining great powers of stone and wind. However, the practice of dark magic, armed conflicts with Cormyr, and rumours of Uldor being a lich, eventually caused the common folk to rise up against him. He was slain by Enchara in the Peasant Rebellion.
1158-1162 DR Enchara the Warrior-Queen Enchara the Warrior-Queen reigned for four years. Little is known of Enchara's early life, but it is believed she was a peasant girl from Yerespar. She rallied the common folk against Uldor, and gained the support of some noble houses. She defeated Uldor at the decisive Battle of Dead Man's Pass in 1158 DR. The Stormcrown family was then executed, and the other Esparin families swore allegiance to her.
After several battles with Cormyr, most notably the Battle of Yerespar, Enchara made peace through marriage to crown prince Palaghard I Obarskyr, and thus she became queen of Cormyr when Palaghard was later crowned king. That is where the history of Esparin ends, as it was annexed by Cormyr in 1162 DR.
In future volumes of the Kingdom of Stone and Wind series, I shall detail the Esparin noble houses and explore the mysteries of the Lost Palace.
Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 4, 2021 23:51:06 GMT -5
Kingdom of Stone and Wind - Volume II
A summarized history of the Kingdom of Esparin. Scribed by Gerald Rothvar, Scholar of Arabel, 1372 DR.
The Kingdom of Esparin covered much of the Stormhorns, Stonelands, and the western King's Forest until it became part of Cormyr in 1162 DR. In the first volume of the Kingdom of Stone and Wind series published twenty years ago (apologies for the wait, dear reader), I covered some of the kingdom's early history and later kings. In this book I shall cover the most prominent noble houses.
In my research of Esparin I have come across at least twelve Esparin noble houses. Six greater, and six lesser houses. For family trees, see the appendix at the back of the book.
Let us start with a brief look at the smaller houses.
The six lesser houses were: Baerungar, Bracegauntlet, Hasgram, Mornim, Naerbold, and Rook. It is generally said that most of these houses fled from Cormyr when Esparin was annexed in 1162 DR, either to Sembia, Westgate, or elsewhere. My research in Sembia and Westgate as a poor author has been difficult to say the least where every word is valued in coin. From the little I have gathered, it does indeed seem like most of the houses moved east and may have gone extinct.
House Baerungar's last heir died in 1294 DR, and Rook were recorded to have died off in plague as late as 1346 DR. I found very little of houses Hasgram, Mornim and Naerbold, and I believe they were either killed off during the annexation, moved further east, or may have changed their names.
House Bracegauntlet joined Cormyr before the annexation, and fought against Esparin in the years leading up to the marriage between Enchara and Palaghard I Obarskyr. The Bracegauntlets now have their seat in Marsember at the mansion Bracegauntlet Gard. They do not involve themselves much in politics, but have supported the Crown on several occasions.
There is one other house of note that is sometimes counted as an Esparin house, that being house Ulmair. The Ulmairs were once a Cormyrian house who supported Esparin in their conflicts with Cormyr. I have not been able to learn much about them, and I do believe they are extinct today. Like some other Esparin houses, they too have a unicorn as their symbol.
Now, let us take a closer look at the six great houses of Esparin.
House Stormcrown Symbol: owl head with crown. Colors: green, purple and gold. The Stormcrowns are one of the oldest families of Esparin, and the one that likely had the most kings on the throne. In volume I of this series, I listed King Sarevicus and King Uldor 'the Old', but legends speak of older kings before king Sarevicus moved the capital from Yerespar (Espar) to the Cloudstone Palace in the Stonelands. King Yoldar who approximately reigned during the 800's is said to have built the Sword Keep in Yerespar with the support of the Melmanes and Darlreths.
The Stormcrowns are most famous for their great mages, establishing the Esparin Mage Guard, and greatly expanding upon the Esparin portal network. It is speculated that the Esparin Mage Guard was established as a counter to the Cormyrian War Wizards, but some old tales trace their origins back to a nameless order of wizards living in the mountains, or to monks from another world. Regardless, the Mage Guard proved effective, and their knowledge of air and earth magic is legendary, as the Battle of the Storm Horns (the "Stormquake Battle") in 1151 DR proved when seven Esparin mages defeated a vastly outnumbering force of Purple Dragons and War Wizards with storms and earthquakes. A battle rarely mentioned in Cormyr history. The Stormcrown's later history includes the Cormyrian War, where King Uldor fought against King Baerovus I Obarskyr of Cormyr.
House Hornbow Symbol: a ram's head with red eyes. Colors: red and white. The Hornbows are a very old family, perhaps even older than Esparin itself. Oldest mentions of Hornbows go back to mountain tribes a thousand years ago, and it's likely many families in the Storm Horns have a little Hornbow blood in them. The Hornbows are said to have become part of Esparin around the founding of Yerespar as hunters and archers, and later gained more prominence as great architects and traders after they constructed the Cloudstone Palace in the Stonelands. The most famous of their architects are Edna Hornbow (970-1034 DR) and Artair Hornbow (?-1040 DR). Edna was most famous for her statues, crypts, and work on the Esparin portal network. Artair is known for building the Cloudstone Palace in 1031 DR according to Hornbow sources. As noted in Volume I and III, this date is disputed.
There are two possible origins for their name. The first and most common, is the historical records of their skilled archers that held the Storm Horns from invading goblinoids with their mighty bows, thus Hornbow. The second is a more fanciful tale told by mountain folk of the architect Artair who sought for a perfect place for a palace, meant as a gift to King Sarevicus Stormcrow for his daughter's hand in marriage. According to the legend, Artair travelled the Stonelands when a magical storm surprised him. He saw a woman fall from the sky, and climbing over a hill, he found her in a hidden valley. The woman then turned into a dragon, which he slew, and from its mighty horns he made bows. He then took the name Hornbow. Some say there was a dragon and a woman, and he killed the dragon, and married the woman. That version goes against the historical records that he married Moyra Stormcrown, daughter of King Sarevicus.
During the Peasent's Rebellion, the Hornbows fought for King Uldor against Enchara. Eventually, they betrayed Uldor and opened the gates to the Cloudstone Palace for Enchara and her forces. The Hornbows were one of the few houses that became part of Cormyrian nobility when they supported the marriage of Warrior-Queen Enchara with crown prince Palaghard I Obarskyr. They were however stripped of their nobility after they attacked the Silverthorn silver mine in the Storm Horns shortly after the War of the Regency in 1261 DR.
House Silverthorn Symbol: an upright silver sword Colors: black, blue and silver The Silverthorns are one of the younger houses, founded by monster hunter Ethain Thorn in 1040 DR, when he found silver in the Storm Horns and then took the name Silverthorn. During the times of Esparin they were well known as silver miners and monster hunters who kept the borders safe from wild beasts. Of special note are the elite order of monster hunters known as the Silver Hunters.
The Silver Hunters are known to have had magical powers that made them immune to lycanthropy, the bite of a vampire, or possession from evil spirits. I could find only fragments of knowledge regarding the nature of these powers, or how one became a Silver Hunter. It did not appear to be a blessing of any particular deity, more likely some form of enchantment, perhaps even alchemical transmutation, the specifics of which seems lost to time. From the few references I have gathered it appears to have involved the slaying of great beasts, and most importantly, the consuming of silver. The last known Silver Hunter was Casimir Silverthorn (1134-1219 DR) who moved to Arabel after the annexation in 1162 DR. He became a local hero, defending the city from trolls, and was known as the Slayer of Braalgor the Troll King and Defender of Arabel.
Like the Hornbows, the Silverthorns were one of the houses that kept their nobility in Cormyr after the annexation. They remained silver miners until their mine was lost in a catastrophic avalanche caused by Hornbow retainers in 1261 DR. I have not been able to learn much of the reason for this attack.
House Melmane Symbol: unicorn with two crossed spears Colors: yellow and black House Melmane was one of the older houses who were based in Yerespar. They appear to have been known as rangers and hunters in the King's Forest, but most of all as brave warriors, perhaps even one of the most prominent warrior families. Their house retinue certainly influenced the traditional Esparin choice of weapons; the spear and shield. A tightly packed unit of Esparin spearmen were a dangerous opponent for the Cormyrian cavalry. Archers were also no match for the Melmane spearmen, as noted by Hornbow historians in the skirmish between Hornbow and Melmane at Skullpeak in 1003 DR.
During the Peasent's Rebellion, the Melmanes joined Enchara along with the Silverthorns and fought against King Uldor the Old. During Palaghard's Conquest of Esparin, the Melmane spear retinue fought to the bitter end, and most of the family was killed. The rest of the family is said to have attempted to flee Cormyr across the Stormhorns, but were attacked by the white dragon Anthora'vorax who is said to still dwell in those mountains to this day. It is generally believed the family has gone extinct. However, in my research I have come across business and temple records that clearly points to the Melmanes settling in Sembia shortly after the annexation, and it would appear they changed their name to Worgheim. As an Oghmanite, I believe that history should be recorded properly and the truth revealed. I do not believe the old houses has anything to fear from Cormyr today.
House Darlreth Symbol: a prancing unicorn Colors: red and yellow House Darlreth is also one of the older houses, and are known as a house of wizards and alchemists. They were closely aligned with the Stormcrowns or Hornbows for most of Esparin's history, and had many mages in the Esparin Mage Guard. They also stayed loyal to King Uldor during the Peasent's Rebellion, and many family members were killed after Enchara took the throne. Though, they seem to have been rivals of the Melmanes, they fought alongside Melmane spearmen during Palaghard's Conquest of Esparin, and like the Melmanes they met their end to the white dragon Anthora'vorax as they fled over the mountains.
House Barrowfog Symbol: sword wrapped in snake Colors: green, brown and copper The Barrowfogs were a small and short lived noble house of Esparin. They are most well known for King Barwulf 'the Usurper' Barrowfog, and his short reign between 1040 and 1041 DR. Conall 'the Cruel' Hornbow found out that the previous king, Sarevicus Stormcrown, had been poisoned by Barwulf. Conall then stoned Barwulf to death and became king himself. The house was then exiled, and I believe they moved to western Cormyr, perhaps even to dwell among the Marsh Drovers of the Tunlands.
And that concludes Volume II of Stone and Wind. In the third volume we shall explore the mystery of the Lost Palace of Esparin.
Post by ShadowCatJen on Sept 13, 2021 19:23:10 GMT -5
Kingdom of Stone and Wind - Volume III
A summarized history of the Kingdom of Esparin. Scribed by Gerald Rothvar, Scholar of Arabel, 1372 DR. Completed by Mynian Copperhand, Master Bard of the Unicorn's Door Inn of Cloudstone, 1385 DR.
"Dedicated to my Muse, Morven Hornbow" - G. Rothvar
In the first volume of the Kingdom of Stone and Wind series, I covered some of the kingdom's early history and later kings. In the second volume I covered the most prominent noble houses. In this third and final volume, I shall cover the mystery that made me write this series of books. In this book we shall explore the Lost Palace of Esparin, or as it is also known; the Cloudstone Palace.
As briefly noted in previous volumes, the origins of the Lost Palace are disputed. The commonly accepted story is the tale of Artair Hornbow who is said to have built the palace in 1031 DR in a single year.
According to legend, King Sarevicus Stormcrown had a daughter called Moyra. She was a beauty with fair skin and raven hair, who had three suitors; Barwulf Barrowfog, Ethain Thorn and Artair Hornbow. King Sarevicus declared that whoever could bring the finest gift for his princess would win her hand in marriage. They had three years to complete the task, until Moyra's ninteen birthday.
Barwulf travelled into the Tunlands and Farsea swamps and brought back a beautiful wreath of rare blue roses. Moyra was delighted at this, but king Sarevicus was not satisfied. Ethain Thorn travelled the realms, slaying many monsters, and brought back a golden crown studded with emeralds and amethysts, the colours of house Stormcrown. Some say he found it in the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Orva in the Vast Swamp, but Silverthorn sources claim it was from the ruins of Amazandar, the City of Gems in the Anauroch and capital of ancient Anauria. He also brought back the skull of a dragon, from which he had claimed the crown. The king and his daughter were both very impressed, but Artair still had one year to return with a gift.
Artair Hornbow, who was not known for being a great warrior, but a decent archer, a good singer, and an excellent architect, traveled the realms to find a gift. One day when he traveled through the Stonelands, he was suddenly surprised by a magical storm. The rain was green and corrosive, and the thunderclouds flashed with green lightning. Out of the clouds fell a woman, disappearing behind a nearby hill. When Artair hurried after her and climbed the hill, he found a lush valley hidden from the rest of the rocky Stonelands. He found the woman near a clear pool of water, but when he approached she turned into a dragon. He slew the dragon with a single arrow between the dragon's eyes. While Ethain Thorn had already brought back a dragon skull, Artair thought he had found something better. He sang to the stone and wind, and asked the spirits to help him construct a palace worthy of a princess in this hidden valley. And so it came to be that the Cloudstone Palace was built within a year in a remote part of the Stonelands, and Artair won Moyra's hand in marriage. They married later the same year, and King Sarevicus was so impressed with the palace that he moved his court there from Yerespar, making the Cloudstone Palace the capital to the final days of Esparin.
Quite a fanciful tale, but it certainly has some truth to it. The marriage between Artair and Moyra is well recorded, and King Sarevicus moving the capital cannot be disputed. Artair was known for his archery, singing and architecture, and it's possible he may have known some bardic or other magic that could summon elemental spirits. It's not the first time magic is used to quickly build large structures.
What makes me question the tale is the records I've found that points to the War Wizards using the palace as a prison for powerful criminals and traitors for hundreds of years before Artair built the palace, and perhaps even after Esparin was annexed as well. I believe the palace may have been constructed as early as Cormyr itself, perhaps even as a prison by the War Wizards themselves, or by some older kingdom in the region. Esparin's history does not go back that far, suggesting that Artair may have found the palace already built. Perhaps he just renovated the palace, and intentionally or not, history remembers him as the founder of the palace. Some might call this an outrageous claim, meant to slander a house that has already lost much of its former glory. As I've stated in earlier volumes, I have no such intentions, and do not believe the Hornbows of today have anything to fear from the truth.
I believe the palace was built around the early days of Cormyr (26 - 100 DR), and then was used by the War Wizards for some time as a prison. It may then have been closed down, and found by Artair Hornbow who turned it into a palace. When Esparin was annexed by Cormyr, it once again became a prison. I am afraid we'll never know the answer unless we explore the palace ourselves. The War Wizards have avoided my inquiries or stated that they don't know.
The Cloudstone Palace was said to have been built in a hidden valley with a lush environment and a clear pool of water. The palace grounds are supposed to be surrounded by rocks on three sides, and the only way to the palace is through a narrow passage known as Dead Man's Pass. I have found several narrow passages in the Stonelands, but none that lead to a lush valley. There are supposed to be many buildings outside the palace, making up the palace grounds, or a small village of sorts. Both the Hornbows and Silverthorns are said to have their own smaller mansions, and there was also an inn, several shrines or temples of Jergal, Chauntea, Lathander, Talos, and Tempus.
One may think such a large structure and surrounding buildings should be easy to find, but the Lost Palace is not called so for no reason. Esparin were known to have a powerful Mage Guard in service to the king, especially in the later days during King Uldor the Old's and Enchara's reign. The Mage Guard tried to sieze power for themselves when Enchara married crown prince Palaghard Obarskyr, and Cormyr annexed Esparin. As a last resort to gain the power they needed to face the War Wizards, they turned to lichdom, becoming the Mad Liches of Esparin as they are called today. The War Wizards suddenly faced a foe much stronger than they had anticipated, and were forced to desperate measures of their own. In a great ritual, the War Wizards trapped the Mad Wizards in the palace and buried it underground. The palace grounds were then hidden with strong illusions that remain to this day.
This story has always fascinated me. A lost palace in an inhospitable location full of mad liches, and supposedly royal treasures as well. But is it truly what happened? In my research for this series of books, I have come across evidence that points to a slightly different story.
I believe it was not the War Wizards that buried and concealed the palace, but the Mage Guard themselves as a last resort against the War Wizards. While I have no access to official War Wizard records, I have not found any mention of War Wizards utilizing earth magic to such an extent as to hide a palace. Earth and air magic is however the specialty of the Esparin Mage Guard. Is it possible that the Mage Guard made the palace sink into the ground themselves to escape the War Wizards? Is it possible that they also concealed the location with great illusions? A keen reader might argue that the War Wizards hid the palace so they could once again use it as a prison, and it's certainly a possibility.
Furthermore, in my travels across the Storm Horns I have come across tales among the mountain folks that tell of "the curse of Cloudstone", and how anyone who sets foot in those cursed halls shall serve "the court of the dead" until the "sun rises upon the fallen halls of stone and wind". Miayra Aldrain the High Diviner of Esparin, also writes in her 'Book of Omens' during the reign of Uldor the Old (dated 1150 DR) that "the dead shall reign until the fallen heir claims the forsaken throne, and the sun shines upon the hall of stone and wind". It seems clear to me that the Mad Liches were more desperate than mad, that the Esparin royalty may have had some foreknowledge of things to come, and that there may even be a way to end the curse.
My sources in Suzail also claim that adventurers have in fact entered the Cloudstone Palace in recent times (approximately between 1340 and 1360 DR) through the Esparin portal network, and that the War Wizards no longer use the palace as a prison. Even High Wizard Vangerdahast has supposedly entered the palace together with adventurers and destroyed many of the Mad Liches. There were assumed to be thirty-three members of the Mage Guard when they tried to seize power in 1162 DR, but it should be safe to say there are fewer liches today. Although, how many criminals and traitors the War Wizards may have imprisoned or what the Mad Liches may have done over the years is anyone's guess.
The Mage Guard created many portals throughout the kingdom, and many are said to lead to the Cloudstone Palace. I have found
It be here where Gerald Rothvar's writings came to an abrupt end. As unfortunate as it be this volume never saw the light of day until now. Rothvar lost his life in 1372 DR when he went searching for more information with an Illithid by the name of Mister X. Regardless if one would consider it folly or nay, me felt his unwitting sacrifice needed to be repaid. The remainder of this tome be written by me, Mynian Copperhand, and by Oghma's and Deneir's will me hopes me does it justice.
In the following volumes me will cover the last rise and fall of Cloudstone Palace. It will cover the theories put forth by Gerald Rothvar and either support or refute them. There will be a listing of known portals and the final fate of the houses of Esparin.