Dawntree, Part Two

II: First Flowerings

By Ed Greenwood

Sages -- like the proverbial man in the tavern -- expect a new kingdom to be founded by a heroic war-leader, or perhaps a tyrannical mage or overpriest commanding armies of scuttling servile minions, but four green younglings with, as elves say: "Stars shining right through their eyes"?

In most intelligent races of Faerûn, the young are the talkers and the reckless who may do something swift and sudden when moved by strong emotion -- but not doggedly persistent, patient pursuers of schemes that will take years, if not decades or centuries, to see a breath of reality. As the dwarf Asmrar Deepaxe famously said: "Every so often there's a little one -- a mere beardling -- with a firebelly. They generally get themselves killed off quick and amount to naught. Yet succeed or fail -- they're the ones ye must watch out for."

So who are the four "Founders of Dawntree"? They can be named readily: Tasar Taurntyrith, usually acknowledged as the leader; Rauvelore Bhephel, who after Tasar has perhaps the most fierce resolve; Nremyn Sarsantyr, the most rebellious and reckless; and Oenel Mrhulaedir, who sees much, thinks much, and says little. The four are longtime friends.

Tasar Taurntyrith (CG male elf War1) was born in the Year of the Defiant Keep (1244 DR) to Phelorna and Teirist Taurntyrith, formerly of Ardeep, and latterly owners and proprietors of Taurntyrith Adornments on Copper Street, North Ward, in Waterdeep. This shop sells decorative wall and door panels of both painted and iridescent acid-treated copper and enamel, predominantly blue-green or blue-and-silver forest scenes of mysterious beauty, which sell well in crowded, often squalid Waterdeep. Sales have soared in the last six or seven years, since Phelorna hit on the idea of attaching shaped, tempered metal bells to the backs of the panels. When tapped gently with a fingernail, ring, or coin, Taurntyrith panels now ring with a faint "fey" chime daydreamers can use to transport their thoughts to (as Teirist puts it to customers) "faraway and mysterious solitudes."

Tasar grew up as a dreamy child, who was talented at painting panels from a very early age but far more interested in sneaking off to hear every bard and minstrel passing through Waterdeep. (He often clung to rafters to hear performances, never paying coin to attend, and was most interested in ballads and tales, rather than mere "fancy notes" music.) One ancient ballad he loved above all others: "The Horns of the Far Elf Realm." He often murmured it as he painted or while walking the streets of Waterdeep:

As I walked that grim battlefield forlorn
I heard a distant, haunting elven horn
Calling o'er high hills beyond the moon
Calling from a land I'll find soon
Braceldaur, where elves still stand proud
Blowing their horns, sounding them loud
Calling to thee, calling to me
Calling to all who burn to be free
Braceldaur, where the lost trails run
Lost in mists, in shadow, in sun
Land of beauty, land so green
Bright and far in dreams I've seen
Braceldaur, fore'er awaiting me
Reached by paths I cannot see
Soft blue mists, dark standing trees
Darker eyes watching through leaves
Find it I must
In it I trust
Braceldaur, my life I bind to thee.

Tasar befriended irascible old Thorauntur Szalmast, keeper of the Old Winding Road Maps and Charts shop on the High Road, North Ward, Waterdeep. For years he endured Szalmast's curses, blows, bursts of bad temper, and vituperation directed at "sneaking, thieving" elves, dwarves, gnomes, and halflings -- purely to see the glorious maps in the littered, dusty gloom of "Firejaw" Thorauntur's shop. Tasar was seeking Braceldaur, and -- in the face of Szalmast's scornful derision -- refused to believe it was a mere song-fancy.

When the old shopkeeper died and creditors looted his shop, one thing was brought to Tasar: a map to Braceldaur, labeled in Thorauntur's careful script: "This belongs to Tasar Taurntyrith, who has earned it a score of times over, and more besides." Tasar treasures that yellowing parchment -- though it shows Braceldaur lay in a valley long ago drowned by the Moonsea and is gone forever. A new Braceldaur could be created, even where it had once been if a helpful god or some titanic feat of magic moved or drained away the sea, but it would be just that: a new creation.

New creations are what Tasar lives to do. He can visualize his dream realm so vividly he can almost taste it and so see clearly what it must include -- and must not have.

Find out more about the would-be founders of Dawntree in the next installment.

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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