The Adventures of Volo
Lost Treasures Of Cormyr, Part 2
By Ed Greenwood, Dragon #279
Volothamp Geddarm at your service, gentles, setting truths of the Realms before you like coins rolling along a tabletop, drawing every eye. I write here of more lost treasures of Cormyr, tales that began as scenes - the memories of the dead - that so enthralled me in that grotto. Please be aware that some dates and lore herein might be mistaken or false, though I've done my best1 to set things in their proper place.
The Rallyhorn Riches
In the days when Cormyr was young, the seeds were planted for what would later become a great vanishing of wealth. This affair involved the minor noble family Rallyhorn - and descendants of the first (and the greatest) High Mage of Cormyr.
Lord High Mage of Cormyr2
(-166 DR - 429 DR)
This slim, quiet man came from the fall of Tarkhaldale to Lythtlorn (the elven woods between the Lake of Dragons and the Starwater) to put the intrigues and ambitions of men behind him. He befriended the elves, but they made him (against his will) an advisor to the fledgling realm of Cormyr. Though very bitter at what he considered their betrayal (returning him to the in-the-heart-of-intrigues life he'd renounced) Baerauble served Cormyr for centuries; years given him, some say, by elf-supplied potions of longevity. This time allowed him to grow in the Art and led to his appointment as Lord High Mage.
His children included a son, Baergast, whose son Aulard wed Emrylara, the daughter of Lord Theldrin Rallyhorn.
Baerauble was a gentle and humble man, polite of speech and never arrogant (though he spoke more sharply to Obarskyrs than to others).
His grandson Aulard (about whom very little is known) is said to have imitated Baerauble's dress and manner, and to have been born with almost identical looks. He seemed, as one observer put it, "an echo of his grandsire."
Lord Theidrin Rallyhorn
Steward of the Court
(92 DR - 147 DR)
The distinguished, polite, and moustachioed "right hand of the throne" (as Baerauble once called him) assisted the kings Daravvan, Dorglor, Embrold, and Irbruin in the everyday business of running the realm.
Theldrin came to King Daravvan's notice as a quick and diplomatic letter-writer. He rose rapidly in royal service from King's Messenger through Seneschal of the Stables, Seneschal of the Gate, and Master of the Halls to become Steward of the Court - the official who oversees the staffing, provisioning, and defense of royal fortresses (which, in Theldrin's days, was just the Royal Keep in Castle Obarskyr); organizes court functions; and sees to the housing and needs of guests of the crown to this day.
Deeply involved in running Cormyr, Theldrin was ultimately trusted to make almost all royal decisions by every monarch he served. Irbruin is said to have been "lost on the throne, and floundering" (as one noble wrote privately) after Theldrin's death, until he had the wits to appoint Baerauble his daily advisor.
Lord Theldrin was an urbane, able courtier with an eye for details. He saw to it that warmed towels, large and soft houserobes, flasks of fine sherry, and fresh flowers were placed in guests chambers, for example.
Over the years, Theldrin's raven-black hair turned gray, then shot through with white, and finally snow-white and very thin, but its page-boy cut (and his carefully-trimmed moustache) never changed. Nor did the depth of the green of his eyes. He was thin, of average height, and always immaculately and elegantly dressed in the richest of conservative fashions.
Emrylara Etharr (nee Rallyhorn)
(131 DR - 162 DR)
The tall, grave, quiet, and beautiful daughter of Lord Theldrin Rallyhorn, Emrylara was a beauty much pursued by young male nobles. She was repelled by their boisterous courtings, however, admiring instead the kindly, wise, and quiet Lord High Mage Baerauble.
She married Baerauble's grandson Aulard, and bore two children. The second, daughter Narnytha, died young, and Aulard ultimately outlived both Emrylara and their son Obrynn, but died knowing he still had seven healthy children (by later wives).
Emrylara inherited her father's green eyes and raven-black hair. Her bone-white skin almost glowed in dim light. She favored dark, full gowns, and she seemed to drift as she walked, moving smoothly and silently in soft shoes.
The Lost Rallyhorn Riches
Lord Theldrin Rallyhorn, the inheritor of fabulous fortunes amassed by two uncles, put his wealth into land purchases, sponsoring farmers and loggers in a kindly manner and always selling holdings for several times what he'd paid for them. He didn't stint on himself or his family, but once busy at court, lacked the time and need to spend all that was his.
Desiring to provide for the future needs of his descendants and the realm, Theldrin had a huge adamantine coffin made in secret for himself, as well as a far smaller, simpler one of brass used at his funeral. The large coffin was laid ready in a vault deep beneath the Royal Palace - a chamber sealed from tunnelings and forcible entry by magics laid down by his friend Baerauble. Throughout Theldrin's life, these spells were renewed and augmented by the mage whenever Theldrin and Baerauble entered the vault to add to the Rallyhorn riches in the coffin. Before Theldrin died, they'd secretly filled the coffin to half its depth with handlength, inch-thick bars of gold - "Some hundreds of them," Baerauble noted in a letter left to rulers after his death.
The smaller coffin, containing Theldrin's remains (including a black metal rod of office capped with fist-sized balls of gold and inset with many rubies and emeralds), was laid atop the bars, and the larger coffin closed around it. It was then sealed with Baerauble's spells, which caused the huge adamantine casket to levitate into the vault. The Lord Mage installed a dozen guardian horrors in the chamber and then sealed it, never to return.
When Aulard's wife perished, Baerauble laid her to rest in a side-vault amid objects of much beauty but not staggering value. The same was done for Aulard's son Obrynn, though not for his later children. These side-vaults opened off the passage to Theldrin's tomb, but at some distance from it; Emrylara's ghost still drifts up to Theldrin's door, vainly trying to enter.
A later monarch (carefully unidentified in court records) had need of the wealth and unsealed Theldrin's vault. The horrors were found still active, and the great coffin yet floated in midair, apparently undisturbed. Several careful days were spent penetrating Baerauble's spells - but when the coffin was finally opened, it was empty: Theldrin in his brass coffin and the many gold bars it had rested upon had vanished.
Many and mighty magics were cast in an exhaustive search for any trace of where the Rallyhorn riches might have gone, or who'd taken them - but these spells uncovered nothing. (The needy ruler had to settle for the adamantine coffin.)
The fate of Theldrin's fortune remains a mystery to this day. Mages usually suggest that the missing material must have been translocated 3 out, or a dimensional portal established within the larger coffin, affording entry to individuals who physically carried away Theidrin and his gold.
Against this must be laid the evidence that Baerauble's spells would have prevented such magics from tracelessly succeeding.
This leaves the remote likelihood that someone undid all of Baerauble's spells (reportedly overlaid so as to create a web of alarms and traps), plundered the vault, and then recast them all. If Baerauble himself, who was the only being known to be capable of such a venture, did so - why? He had no need of wealth, and no known tendency toward greed; if he thought the gold should be moved elsewhere, again, why? And where did the riches go? Cormyr still lacks answers to this day.
The Lagarr Legacy
One of the most troubled Obarskyr reigns was that of King Duar, a warrior hero who held the realm together through years when its survival was balanced on the sharp edge of his blade. In these perilous times befell a matter of missing wealth little talked of at the time, but much puzzled over since.
King Duar "Longyears" Obarskyr
(?DR - 480 DR)4
A gruff, short-bearded, giant of a man possessed of mighty strength and hardiness, Duar was a great war-leader, sorely needed by a realm beset throughout his reign by many foes.
Duar left the realm larger and much stronger than when he came to the throne, with a loyal standing army of some size - and good training and equipment - for the first time in Cormyr's infancy. He did this through diplomacy and by the sword, adding the lands of Irongates Gard, Jarthroon (both now-vanished holds), and Wheloon to the kingdom.
Duar stood almost 7 feet tall, had brown hair (shot through with gray for half his life), and fierce blue-black eyes.
He swung a two-handed sword almost as tall as himself in one hand and a fearsome mace in the other. In battle-legend he stands second only to Dhalmass as a warrior-king of Cormyr.
(454 DR - 510 DR)
The sharp-tongued, spirited wife of Kuthor Lagarr, Lady Lagarr stood beside the knights of Irongates and fought the warriors of Cormyr after her husband fell. She agreed to surrender without destroying an inherited enchanted item (what exactly it was I do not know) on the condition that the lives of the surviving men who'd stood defending her to the death be spared.
She found the King of Cormyr to be a gentle and understanding man off the battlefield . . . a pleasant change from her cruel first husband (who spent his days drinking and his nights beating her). She grew to love Duar, married him after the death of his second queen, Threena Cormaeril, and was devastated when he died years later.
Jhanthyl had shoulder-length brown hair, a lush figure, and a saucy, striking face - several courtiers wrote of her sardonically arched eyebrows and quick wit.
(430 DR - 475 DR)
The cruel Lord of Irongates Gard, Kuthor was a southern warlord who'd come to new lands to carve out his own hold. His rule was ruthless and efficient, and he brought many loyal warriors and servants with him. His farms prospered and grew wealthy, and he was soon able to import stone-masons from the Vilhon to raise a castle, Irongates Gard, northeast of Wheloon. Unfortunately, he'd built on land claimed by Cormyr, and his castle - seen by King Duar as a lasting threat to his rule if allowed to stand unchallenged - was finished barely in time to house his people as the knights of Cormyr swept down on the hold.
Kuthor died in his saddle fighting them, the blades of four knights meeting in his body. He is said to have gasped out, "Jhanthyl - forgive me!" before he collapsed and fell.
Kuthor had pale yellow eyes and curly red hair worn long but tied back like a woman's. He customarily wore a headband and bracers, was always seen in breeches and boots rather than hose, and sported an untidy beard and moustache. His voice was a rough roar, his temper quick and cold, and his ways were cruel; he enjoyed beating anyone close to him.
(427 DR - 475 DR)
An urbane, perceptive veteran courtier at the time of his disappearance, Elvrin's youth was spent at court thanks to the troubles of the realm. Cormyr had then fallen on hard times, with the King's actual rule extending only as far as he rode from Helmstar Castle,5 and his nobles doing much as they pleased. The wily King Duar tried to win future loyalty (and head off thoughts of rebellion by having hostages ready to hand) by requiring the heir and one other son (if such a one existed) of each noble house to come to court and be raised and trained there. Elvrin was one such; he genuinely respected the gruff King Duar, but he also saw how the kingdom worked with cynical clarity and wasn't afraid to speak of it openly.
Nevertheless, Elvrin won Duar's trust and was appointed a royal envoy and advisor. His elegant garb never varied: He always wore a tabard, silk shirt, breeches, and flaring boots, with a half-cloak displaying his family arms (three tumbling silver crowns strung along an upright, point-down, naked silver sword, on a field of dusty blue).
A Legacy Lost
In the aftermath of Duar's conquest of Irongates Gard, Elvrin was placed in charge of a guard of some thirty warriors loyal to the crown (some of them bitter rivals of each other, no doubt chosen by the wily Duar to prevent any conspiracies involving the entire force) who were assembled over a wagon-train to transport seized Lagarr riches to Helmstar Castle.
There were some twenty-odd wagons in all, and they made the journey without pause, changing horses thrice at stables along the way - but only the foremost fourteen wagons reached Helmstar. The others "vanished in the night" along with their guards and the horses that pulled them. The disappearance was unnoticed by the surviving wagoneers.
The losses included much silver dining-ware, chests of gold coins, and a shield-sized coffer that held a vast array of gems (jewelry inherited by Kuthor Lagarr or seized during his career).
No trace of the vanished wagons was ever found; elves or brigands with magical aid (what but magic could make the wagons themselves so completely and swiftly disappear?) were suspected.
Treachery by Elvrin Crownsilver seems unlikely; the lone remnant of the lost wagons was Elvrin's severed right hand, found lying in the road in a pool of dried blood, still clutching his sword. No other trace of Elvrin or the lost wagons and their treasure was ever found, and spells cast on the hand and sword failed to trace him or yield any information as to his fate.
3. Though it wounds me to be reduced to the office of lecturer on the most basic concepts of magic, know ye that translocational spells are those that involve movement of beings or items from one spot to another without a visible passage between the two places. The teleport spell is perhaps the best-known translocational magic.
4. We've here spared thee from Volo's long lament as to the unwillingness of several clerks of royal records to let him peruse writings about Duar's reign, the reason for the lack of a birthdate - 385 DR, know ye - here. Suffice it to say that scribes who refrain from tearing pages out of historic diaries are more welcome thereafter than those who can't resist such vandalism. Jarthroon, by the way, stood west of Suzail on the northern shore of the Lake of Dragons, on what is now a rock-strewn but otherwise bare ridge.