by Robert O'Malley (romalley @UALBERTA.CA)
as posted to the Realms-L mailing list
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The history of Evereska is a secret shared with few non-elves, and even most elven residents are uncertain of its origins. Most accounts place its founding at at least -6800 DR, making it at the very least a contemporary of the Netherese, and the most ancient city known in all Faerun. Why such a remote site was chosen is unknown, but many sages believe Corellon Larethian himself chose the vale as a "last stand" stronghold for the elves during the Sundering of the Drow, if the unthinkable happened and Lloth somehow defeated the Seldarine. It certainly has served as an unassailable refuge for the elven people on numerous occasions, including the fall of the Netherese Empire and the Fall of Myth Drannor. With the elves of Faerun currently in decline, it serves as the strongest elven community on the mainland, and a permanent home for those unwilling or unable to make the journey to Evermeet.
Description and Borders
According to official stuff in print, Evereska is described as an incredibly high, isolated wooded vale and walled city. I have translated this into a mountain vale about 18 miles long by 4 miles wide. There are an incredibly diverse number of rare and unknown trees in Evereska vale, eaching staggering heights due to the elves' care. The mountains are virtually impassable, save for the narrow cleft to the west leading to the Halfway Inn and two footpaths (impossible to find save for elves, druids, and rangers)leading out to the northeast and southeast. The entire vale is warded against teleportation of all sorts, though many of the mages and clerics of proven loyalty possess the ward tokens to bypass them.
Numerous watchtowers and small citadels have been constructed in the mountains around the vale; these form the bases for the patrols of moon elves on giant eagles that guard the skies. These patrols are typically 5-8 elves of 3rd-5th level; usually fighters, mages, or fighter-mages. Each watchtower is staffed at all times with a guard lieutenant; this is usually a 8/8 level fighter-mage who commands potent magical items and an enchantment that allows instant communication with other captains or the Lord of Evereska (see below) at will as long as they remain within the vale. Citadels hold 2-3 lieutenants as well as a Feywarden (Sp priest of Corellon Larethian (lvl 6-10)). Full complement of a watchtower is 40 elven warriors and 20 eagles, a Citadel holds 100 elves and 60 eagles, as well as occasional visitors from Evereska proper, Sha-Quessir, and Harpers.
According to the Boxed Set, Erlan Duirsar (NG em F9/W11) is lord only of the Greycloak Hills; Elaine Cunningham's novels place him as lord of both Evereska and the Greycloaks and I have used him as such. He is aided in ruling by a council of elders, ten moon elves and two 1/2 elves of varying classes (most are mages and fighter-mages)as well as a representative of the Harpers (see below).
Evereska is divided into three tiers, much in the manner of the "Grey Elven" cities described in the Complete Book of Elves- the outer tier of artisians, craftsmen and traders and all other commoners, the middle tier of the well-to-do and some minor nobles, as well as the inns and taverns for adventuring elves and visitors to the city. This tier also holds most of the holy sites and temples to the Seldarine dieties, such as Solonor Thendora's Moondark Hill, Hanali Celanil's Garden, and the Moonspire, an incredibly beautiful spire of magically conjured marble to Sehahine Moonbow and Corellon Larethian. There are also shrines/groves to Lurue the Unicorn, Meilikki, and Silvanus. The innermost section holds the Evereska College of Magic and Arms, most of the noble estates, and the Lord's palace. While the innermost tier is the most opulent, all areas of the city are beautiful, clean, and serene, with sounds of music, singing, and woodland creatures filling the air without being obtrusive. Even within the city, the great number of large parks and the size and diversity of the plants and animals can make a visitor forget for a moment they walk within a walled city and not deep in the wilderness.
Throughout the wooded vale are small villages or isolated towers; the former are the home of a few scattered bands of Sylvan elves, the latter are mage towers. While both groups value their isolation, they are fiercely protective of the vale and loyal to Erlan Duirsar and will fight in the Vale's defense as need be.
One of the most interesting (and least talked about) features of the vale is the Tower of Dreams, an impossibly slender crystal spire, wreathed in mist and clouds, that rises in the mountains at the northernmost end of the vale. It overlooks the Shining Falls, a waterfall that plummets down a sheer cliff rising at least 1400 feet. The waters plunge into a large lake that narrows into the Singing Waters, the only river of any note in the vale (This river later flows through the city of Evereska itself, along the western wall between the common district and temple district). No entrance or windows are visible in the structure, though at night strange lights glow within, and occasional music of indescribable beauty often carry for miles through the mountains around it. Who or what built the tower is a matter of much speculation, but persistant rumors among the mages and high clerics of Evereska suggest that it is the abode of Corellon Larethian himself- built not long after the Sundering of the Drow from the Tel-Quessir- when Evereska was but a remote outpost. Certainly some force or power protects the vale when humanoid armies threaten (the "hurled bolts from the sky" are most definitely not mortal or even High Magic) but Larethian's clerics are remarkably quiet about the whole business. Those few elves who have journeyed to Arvandor on the outer plane of Arborea say it bears a more than passing resemblance to Corellon's abode there.
Whatever the case, all Evereskan elves consider the waterfall and the tower sacrosanct and never attempt to climb or enter it. The waters of the pool, however, are highly valued, as they can purge any elf or half-elf of all wounds, curses, diseases, madness, and such if he or she merely bathes in the water during a full moon. This ability even extends to regeneration of lost limbs and restoration of life energy (i.e. undead level-draining, fire and acid wounds, etc). Needless to say, the elves never speak of this to outsiders, as such a prize would be beyond price to the Zhentarim or Red Wizards if they were ever to learn how to harness its power.
The vale is also home to two formidable dragons: Horadyzan (a male great wyrm gold dragon) and Duldrantzarla (a female venerable silver dragon). Horadyzan lairs in the northern mountains, just east of the Shining Falls in a cunningly hidden cave deep in a cleft. Duldrantzarla lairs in an crumbling elven citadel above the pass to the Halfway Inn. Their relationship is cordial but distant; for the most part they stay out of each others' way. Horadyzan is a valuable ally and friend to Erlan Duirsar and the High Magi living in the vale, and they often seek his aid in diplomatic matters or magical research. Duldrantzarla seems content to remain aloof, and the elves are more than happy to leave this hidden, powerful guard sleeping above the only real entrance to the vale. Elven guardsmen and their mounts have stayed in the dragon's crumbling ruins during storms or during the extremely rare humanoid attacks without being challenged, but such elves always leave a small treasure somewhere in the ruins as tribute, usually without seeing the dragon at all.
The relatively large population of magic users in Evereska have led to some impressive forays into the nature of magic and it's place in the physical universe. In addition to making magical constructs and enchanted items of Evereskan make that much more potent, this research has led elven mages to an unsurpassed understanding of planar travel and the structure of the Multiverse. A number of permanent (and closely guarded) portals to the Ethereal and Astral planes have been constructed in the towers, temples, and estates of the elves to provide quick access to virtually any of the outer or inner planes. (The nature of the vale's wards prevent any extraplanar creatures from using these portals to enter Faerun, though they may enter Evereska through other means.) In addition, a gate to Arvandor almost certainly exists within or near the Tower of Dreams. Other gates link Evereska with Myth Drannor and Lake Sember in the Dalelands, Waterdeep, and Silverymoon, though the location of these gates is unknown to most. It has also been speculated that gates to now-fallen or crumbling elven cities must exist, as Evereska has been in existence concurrently with Illefarn and a number of other lost elven civilizations.
A Few NPC's
Even when compared to other elven settlements, Evereska is home to a large number of incredibly old and powerful elven elders (especially mages)- surpassed only by the island of Evermeet. Note that powerful allies of the elven people are often found in Evereska both openly and in disguise- this includes gold, silver, and steel dragons in elven form, Harpers of all races, any one of the Seven Sisters (most likely Laeral or Alustriel)and a handful of Tulani, Ghaele, and Firre Eladrin (see the Planescape Mostrous Compendium II) from the plane of Arborea.
Dyllant'ya Nightwing (CG ef(moon) M18)- a close friend of Erlan Duirsar, she is the highest ranking mage in the vale. She is known to possess a staff of the magi and a ring of shooting stars.
Cywen of Neverwinter (NG hm R8)- the only "official" Harper in Evereska, he serves on the council as the representative of N'tel'Quess (Not-People). Though he never speaks of it, he has been to Evermeet twice in his life- a rare and cherished gift from the elves.
Yeris Greenwing (LN em(moon) T14)- Erlan Duirsar's spy captain. There is little that goes on within the city he is not soon aware of. Though cold and emotionless, he is fiercely devoted to his lord.
Garion "Quickhands" (NG em(moon) F4)- the proprietor of the Unicorn and Crescent Inn, he is a charming and patient individual. He speaks virtually every civilized language on Faerun (including Auld Wyrmish and the exotic tongues of Kara-Tur) and has startled many a foreign guest with intricate knowledge of the customs, mannerisms, and dishes of their homeland. His skill is such that the Inn is the domicile of choice when such luminaries as Alustriel or Prince Laumruil Moonflower are in the city. There are persistent rumors that one of the small, cheerful elven ladies who serve as barmaids is not what she seems.
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