Mornskeep

Mornskeep


Heroic Tier: The Liberation of Mornskeep

Ostensibly, the Barony of Mornskeep in the Farsea Swamp was loyal to Cormyr, though no one had seen any sign of the Forest Country in nearly a hundred years. Sixteen years before, the black dragon Thaugol had come there. The old baron, Morn Dundragon IV, sallied forth to slay the beast, but was slain by it instead. Thaugol took the baron’s widow to conduct a heinous ritual that claimed her life, but created a humanoid, draconic creature that he called Torinn Dundragon, bestowing upon him the title of Baronet, and employing him as his emissary to the people of Mornskeep.

The baron left behind two orphans, twins named Huron IV and Fiona. Fiona studied magic under a local halfling wizard, while Huron studied the arts of war, preparing to one day challenge Thaugol and avenge his father. Meanwhile, the dragon demanded every girl on her sixteenth birthday delivered to him as a sacrifice — ensuring the village’s slow extinction. On Fiona’s sixteenth birthday, Torinn arrived to take her away, but Huron stood his ground, resolved to fight and if need be to die to defend her. This was precisely what Torinn was looking for. He had long been disgusted by Thaugol’s evil, and had secretly dedicated himself to Bahamut as a paladin, but he needed others to join him. He was waiting for someone willing to stand against Thaugol.

Their first battle against Thaugol did not go well. Knowing that he would retaliate against the village, they ran back to rally the people against the dragon. In a second, desperate fight they worked together and just barely managed to slay the beast. Huron IV took his father’s title as Baron of Mornskeep, but their victory only revealed Mornskeep’s deeper predicament.

Fiona’s mentor revealed himself as a Harper. When the Spellplague swept the land a hundred years ago, the batrachi imprisoned within the Supreme Throne attempted to rip the ruins of their ancient city in Toril away and use it to break their bonds. These were the very same ruins found in the Farsea Swamp, beneath Mornskeep. Working quickly to counteract their magic, the Harper wizard called upon a relic known as the Heart of the Earth to reinforce the land’s natural connection to Toril. In the century since, Harper wizards have maintained a magical tug-of-war with the batrachi, keeping the ancient ruins — and Mornskeep atop them — suspended between Toril and the Supreme Throne. The Tun River provided a way for people to get into Mornskeep from Faerûn, but there was no way back. Mornskeep was not just an isolated village in the Farsea Swamp, it was magically isolated, pulled from the surface of Toril itself.

The heroes of Mornskeep battled Huron Dundragon III, the baron’s ancestor and namesake, and now a vampire commanding an army of undead, to retrieve the Heart of the Earth. They also discovered a Netherese expedition that reacjed Mornskeep through the Shadowfell, and saw it as the perfect staging site for an invasion of Cormyr. In the batrachi ruins they discovered a trapped aboleth, a scout of the Abolethic Sovereignty that the batrachi had captured millennia ago. Desperate for the means to defeat the enemies surrounding him, Huron made a pact with the aboleth.

In time, Fiona devised a ritual that would amplify the power of the Heart of the Earth and return Mornskeep to Toril. The heroes of Mornskeep faced the Netherese and the agents of the batrachi to give Fiona time to finish the ritual. In the end she could only finish it by fusing her own soul with the spirit of the land itself. Mornskeep returned to Toril as an earthmote floating above the Farsea Swamp.

Paragon Tier: The Return of Mornskeep

Mornskeep’s return marked the beginning of the First Shadow War as Netheril launched its invasion. On Cormyr’s western border, they enlisted the aid of the Tunlanders. For centuries, anyone who started to gather power among the Tunlanders was seen as a threat to Cormyr. They would respond by crushing them, keeping the Tunlanders small and disorganized. When they turned to banditry instead, Cormyr retaliated against them for their lawlessness. This endless aggression made Netheril’s offer a very tempting one, and so Mornskeep found itself returned to Cormyr as a war began, with Netherese arcanists and a barbarian horde threatening the kingdom.

Perched atop its floating earthmote, Mornskeep became Cormyr’s headquarters on the western front. After the heroes of Mornskeep persuaded the Tunlanders to abandon their alliance with Netheril, the Shadovar sent their second floating enclave, Sakkors, to destroy them. In a pitched battle, the heroes of Mornskeep infiltrated the city, and their new wizard destroyed Sakkors’s mythallar, bringing the enclave crashing to the ground. That loss forced the Netherese to abandon their bid for conquest and sue for peace.

Mornskeep’s sojourn in the Astral Sea had other ramifications. In Toril, the Abolethic Sovereignty had hunted down the Keepers of the Cerulean Sign and eliminated them, wiping out the knowledge that could be used to stop them. In Mornskeep, though, one family — the Tallstags — had kept that knowledge alive, watching over the aboleth trapped in the batrachi ruins and carrying on the knowledge of the Cerulean Sign. Returned to Toril, Evendur Tallstag was perhaps the last Keeper. The Harpers had been largely destroyed by the Netherese in the wake of the Spellplague, but a new organization, called the Harpers of Everlund, had formed to oppose the Shadovar. Likewise, a new organization called the Harpers of Mornskeep formed around Evendur Tallstag, dedicated to carrying on the work of the Keepers of the Cerulean Sign and opposing the Abolethic Sovereignty and other aberrant creatures.

Just as the Netherese threat faded, though, another came into view. The Monolith appeared over Proskur and wiped the city from the face of Toril. The planet Allabar, the Opener of the Way, was in ascension, and the fate of Toril could not be changed. Since they could not stop what had begun, the heroes of Mornskeep set out instead to change the past and rewrite the fate that seemed assured for them.

They sought out the Ziggurat of Time, the ancient ruin that housed the Deluvian Hourglass. As the world ended, the Hourglass watched as Toril was destroyed.

Epic Tier: The Rebirth of Mornskeep

The Ziggurat of Time preserved the heroes of Mornskeep as Toril itself was torn apart. Adrift in the Astral Sea, they found a torrent of aboleths tearing apart the domains of the gods and unraveling creation itself. Fiona was freed from Mornskeep as it was obliterated, and took form as a human wizard once again, drawn by the souls of her twin brother and half-brother.

Among the Tears of Selûne, the heroes encountered the ancient red dragon Klauth, who had foreseen Toril’s destruction and escaped it, along with another relic: the skull of Alaundo the Sage. When they managed to bloody him, Klauth realized that the heroes could be entrusted with this mission, so he gave them the skull on condition that when they rewrite fate, they make him the instrument of the aboleths’ destruction.

The skull revealed that in order to change the past, they would need to remake the universe with themselves as its guiding intellects. Torinn would need to slay Bahamut and Tiamat to become the original, unified dragon god, Io. Huron would need to become the mad planet Allabar. Evendur Tallstag would need to recover the Silver Sword of Gith to become Gith herself in the reborn universe. The vampire Huron III would need to drink from the dead blood god Haemnathuun to take his place. Fiona needed to learn the Words of Creation.

As the heroes journeyed across the Astral Sea, they found even the domains of the gods under siege by the aboleths, and reality itself unraveling with time running out to complete their tasks, fill the hourglass, and begin creation anew. As the aboleths unraveled the last fraying bits of reality, the heroes gathered the last grains of sand they needed, sending them back to the beginning. Fiona whispered the Words of Creation into the void:

Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life.

The heroes of Mornskeep disappeared after the First Shadow War. Proskur was not destroyed by the Monolith, and Allabar has not risen. The heroes of Mornskeep became the very seed of the universe in order to rewrite fate, not to save the world, but merely to give the world a chance.

Mornskeep

Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons Jason