By Jeff Quick
The Elven Unification Portal
Once Jhaurmael's reputation as a portal builder was established among the amazingly rich of Faerûn, he was beset by offers to build more. Many of the wealthy, fashionable elite simply wanted to say that they had access to a portal made by the infamous Jhaurmael Riversedge. The sorcerer did not want his work to become playthings of the rich, however. He had bigger ambitions for his skills than creating portals to take silly dukes to their treasure rooms.
At heart, Jhaurmael sees himself as a connector, or someone who brings people and places closer together for the benefit of both sides. The aggressive seclusion of Evermeet has chafed him for most of his life. So without commission or permission, Jhaurmael began creating portals that alienated him from his own kind for many years to come. He wanted to create an open portal from mainland Faerûn to the island of Evermeet.
Now, the sun, moon, and wood elves have several portals connecting Cormanthor with their faraway island of Evermeet. However, all of these portals are hidden and under the strict control of the elven court. Having a portal that any elf -- or worse, any non-elf -- could wander through was unacceptable. Representatives of Queen Amlaruil attempted diplomacy and intimidation to dissuade this project. Jhaurmael would not listen to either one.
Finally, despite the legendary security precautions that keep Evermeet free of outside influence, one of Jhaurmael's portals was discovered in 1312 DR in the canopy of a tree in the Silver Hills. This unexpected incursion roughly coincided with the inroads made by drow portals, and many elves still believe the sorcerer is in league with the dark elves. Cooler heads don't believe that he would directly aid any drow. Jhaurmael is famously apolitical, but he hates drow as thoroughly as any surface elf. Still, the rumors persist.
After a great deal of discussion, the court decided the best way to keep Jhaurmael from recklessly breaching the safety and security of Evermeet was not to stop him, but distract him. A team of five elves known as "The Queen's Banks" was assigned to watch Jhaurmael and keep him busy. These wizards, rangers, and rogues watched (via scrying) and shadowed the sorcerer, making sure he worked on portals that had nothing to do with Evermeet. One high-level wizard member of the team had the sole assignment of scouting locations where portal construction would be difficult, and then convincing local rulers to hire Jhaurmael to build one there. This worked for a dozen years or so until the sorcerer caught on and slipped their surveillance for a while. The cat-and-mouse game continued for the next five years, until things changed drastically.
When King Zaor was murdered in 1329 DR, the Queen decided that containing Riversedge was a waste of six elves. She summoned him personally and proposed to hire him as a portal cracker for the island of Evermeet. This opportunity was far more intriguing than simply connecting the island with mainland Faerûn. Queen Amlaruil paid him to find new ways to open portals onto the island for the express purpose of shoring up their defense system. Instead of coin for payment, Riversedge convinced the Queen to allow increased traffic to and from the island. The increase is small and barely noticeable to outsiders. But it's a beginning. Ironically, Jhaurmael is unifying Evermeet with the rest of the world by building portals for the express purpose of destroying them.
Every few years since this agreement was reached, Jhaurmael has appeared on the island again, sometimes in embarrassingly private locations, demonstrating another flaw in the island's defenses. It is a source of both relief and dread to many elves of Evermeet that their security is consistently tested by an expert. He succeeds far more often than anyone likes, but each success eliminates another potential drow invasion.
How to Incorporate the Elven Unification Portal Into Your CampaignS
- The portals can get an adventuring group to Evermeet with no hassle. Now that Jhaurmael has the run of Evermeet, no one knows how many portals he might have onto the island from practically anywhere. Most are one way, and the keys could be anything. An adventuring group could literally wind up in Evermeet by accident.
- Jhaurmael might engineer it so that the PCs unwittingly further his agenda of opening up Evermeet. He knows where a drow portal will appear, and he arranges for the PCs to stumble through a portal at the same time as one or more drow assassins do. Theoretically, do-gooder adventurers who thwart a drow assassin would endear the isolated elves to more outside visitation.
- Certain members of the former Queen's Banks still distrust Jhaurmael and keep an eye on him. He's become almost impossible to scry upon, so they attempt to hire mercenaries (the PCs) to track him, telling them that they're monitoring a potential drow sympathizer who builds portals to Evermeet. The PCs eventually find Jhaurmael in a compromising situation -- just as he discovers a new flaw in Evermeet security.