Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons
Hero of Neverwinter
In the Year of Wild Magic (340 NR, 1372 DR), the Wailing Death beset the city of Neverwinter. Ander Brightwood was a young half-elf who loved wine, women, and song, and thought that the glorious life of an adventurer would be a good way to gain all three, so he came to the academy that the city opened to find volunteers to help save it. His adventures made him the “Hero of Neverwinter,” and eventually took him to Port Llast with Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande and Lord Nasher Alagondar’s spymaster, Aarin Gend, to track down the cult responsible for Neverwinter’s woes. Far from the city and the many women he normally flirted with continuously, Ander found himself really listening to someone else for perhaps the first time in his life. Aribeth was deeply grieved by the loss of Fenthick. The tragedy shook her faith in the very concept of justice. The two became close, and Ander realized he had genuinely fallen in love with the paladin. She gave him a ring as a token of her affection.
Shortly thereafter, though, the Sarrukh queen Morag seduced Aribeth into her service, promising her vengeance against the bloodthirsty people of Neverwinter who had sentenced her fianceé Fenthick Moss to death by leading a Luskan army against them. Ander sought out the Words of Power to stop Morag in a desperate attempt to save his beloved. He eventually brought her out of the invading Luskan army, and agreed to face Morag in the Source Stone if Lord Nasher would pardon Aribeth in return. Nasher replied that as lord of the city he would not take orders from anyone, not even the Hero of Neverwinter, but that if he succeeded he would certainly take his word into account and see that justice was done. Trusting in Nasher’s devotion to Tyr and justice, Ander entered the Source Stone and defeated Morag, and even escaped back to Neverwinter. The Luskan invasion was defeated, and the city was saved.
Ander was shocked, though, when Nasher found Aribeth guilty of treason and had her executed before cheering crowds. Consumed with bitterness and rage, Ander tried to kill Nasher for his betrayal. The Neverwinter Nine stopped him. Nasher ordered Ander executed for his attempt at assassination, but the Neverwinter Nine saw a cycle that had already gone too far, and quietly let Ander out of the city, warning him to never return.
Ander made a small home for himself in the Crags, north of Neverwinter Wood, where he lived as a hermit. As Aribeth had when Fenthick was executed, Ander began to question the very concept of justice, but where Morag used that to direct Aribeth towards her own ends, Ander spent time alone in the mountains to ponder the question deeply. Ten years later, in the Year of the Black Blazon (350 NR, 1382 DR), a book appeared on the streets of Neverwinter and Waterdeep titled, The Cause of Liberty, by Ander Brightwood, advancing the notion that not only could people live without laws or rulers, but that the world would be a better, fairer place if they did. The book became popular in some circles, particularly among the Harpers, who were directly addressed in it.
Many thought that Ander might have perished in the Spellplague, until the Year of Thundering Hosts (391 NR, 1423 DR), when a second book by Ander Brightwood appeared, titled Lessons from the Anarchs of Shyr_, which detailed his journey to Akanûl and what he had learned from the genasi there and their tales of the Shyr">anarchs. He offered their examples as evidence that his earlier book had been correct.
Branwen Farlong read Lessons from the Anarchs of Shyr and was deeply influenced by it. She helped put some of its ideas into practice in Helm’s Hold and then remade the Nashers, the younger and more radical faction of the Sons of Alagondar, into the Brightwoods. Though she did not live to see it, her influence led to the formation of the Free State of Neverwinter, who honor her as the First Sovereign. Intrigued by the possibility that one of their founding luminaries may yet live, despite the long years even for a half-elf, Brightwood adventurers dared the Crags to see if they could find any sign of the old hermit. They did eventually find him, quite advanced in years but still alive, and persuaded him to return with them to the city. He lives in the River District now, an honored sovereign in the Free State. He confronted Lord Rodrik in Castle Never shortly after he arrived. Seipora Gend recorded the discussion and published it in a slender volume entitled The Dialogue of Rodrik and Ander, which has become a best-seller throughout the city. In the Free State, printers bundle it as a trilogy with The Cause of Liberty and Lessons from the Anarchs of Shyr.