Moon Doors of Silverymoon
III: Openings into Mystery
By Ed Greenwood
Aumartha Stanmyr says she ordered her moon door built on a whim. If she has since hit on a practical use for it, she's not sharing this with the wider world. The other two "most striking" moon doors in Silverymoon have some known uses -- and misuses.
The moon door at the Hunters' Hearth is an oval gilded brass boss, cast into a bold relief likeness of a snarling, full-maned lion's head directly face-on. It opens right to left on metal hinges, wide enough to leave the oval opening in the leaf-green main door entirely unencumbered. The opening begins a handwidth above the bottom of the main door, is a foot-and-a-half broad at its widest point, and rises 2 feet in height. The moon door boss is the lowest of three identical snarling-lion bosses ranged down the door. The lion's teeth form a door-handle for users outside, and a placard wedged deep within them reads: "Swing Me Open" to alert new users to the presence of the moon door. The moon door can be bolted shut from inside.
This lion door opens onto a 1-foot-deep, round-edged metal tray affixed to the inside of the main door, and it is used daily for the delivery of messages, advertising handbills, and delivery orders (of cloaks and boots of specified sizes to city addresses).
Its original use is a mystery (the door was salvaged from a now-demolished, much older city mansion), and it has seen some puzzling uses since: several instances of runes or symbols of unknown origin and meanings appearing spontaneously on the tray, written in fresh beast-blood. The door is cloaked in many overlapping magical effects; it's not known if the symbols are people pulling pranks, messages or warnings sent magically, or the fading or expiration of magic the symbols represent. The shop proprietors don't want to know, but they admit their stance may change if these strange appearances escalate.
The moon door at Trunstral's Resthouse takes the form of a life-sized guardian warrior in full plate armor of grand and forbidding appearance, visor down and gauntleted hands gripping the quillons of a drawn, point-grounded greatsword. A large, vertical brass doorhandle by this sentinel's elbow (shaped like a cylindrical rolled scroll clutched at top and bottom by two human right hands) opens the large, heavy door the guardian warrior is affixed to, and the warrior looks outwards across the broad top step of the Resthouse entry. The armor is real (but welded together into a single mass), and the figure touches the door only along its back, standing forth in a very realistic manner. Only by pushing the left-most (farthest away from the scroll doorhandle) finger of the guardian's gauntlets is the moon door revealed: The finger is a spring-catch that, when released, causes the greaves of the warrior to both swing open toward the outsides of the legs, revealing an opening about 1 foot wide and 2 feet high through the center of the door.
Simple catch-levers attached to the back of each greave can open them from within or pull them shut. The two levers hook over a door-bar to keep the moon door securely closed -- and they can be locked to the bar if desired, to prevent persons outside from opening the moon door.
In times past, when the Resthouse was a private home, its moon door was used by servants to receive and return a pet dog from the reclusive lord of the mansion for its daily walks. (The lord was an alchemist retired from Waterdeep because of bad business dealings, who had no desire to face angry creditors from the City of Splendors trying to recover funds.)
The door gained brief notoriety when an adventuring band rented a room to use for interrogating a captured thief about the whereabouts of goods he'd stolen from them. Their captive perished during the interrogation. When other members of the same thieving band arrived demanding his return, the adventurers opened the moon door from within -- and rolled his severed head out to bounce down the Resthouse steps to the feet of the thieves.
More recently, enterprising Silvaeren merchants have made commercial agreements with Haeluth Trunstral, allowing them to leave handbills, free samples, and other advertisements for goods and wares to entice room renters. Some of these handbills contain fragmentary city maps (often just the route from the Resthouse to a particular shop, club, or event venue), and they prove useful to new arrivals in Silverymoon.
Read more about existing moon door makers in Silverymoon and discover some rumors about them!
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, sf, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .
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