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    Places of Interest on Oerth, Part One
    Posted on Tue, May 07, 2002 by Dogadmin
    tamerlain writes "This is a sampling of some of the Mysterious places of Old Ferrond that were scheduled to appear in the never published Greyhawk Hardback that was intermittantly worked on by members of Team Greyhawk in 1998-2000. All of the following were composed by Steve Wilson and may not be reprinted without his permission, and arguably that of WotC as well. The following (a first installment) includes places of interest in Old Ferrond. Finnobhar Aodhin is a character of mine, further, albeit old, information about him can be found in WotC's "The Adventure Begins" by Roger E. Moore on page 90 as the owner of the Star of Celene Inn.

    Author: tamerlain

    Places of Interest on Oerth

    by tamerlain. Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    My dear Taara,

    Since purchasing the Star of Celene, I've finally had the time I've wanted to sit down and do a compilation of some of the more interesting places about which I've heard in my travels. Some of them I have seen first hand, others, I fully intend to visit at a future date. Some of these places, you may already know from the lei's and ballads, others only from whispers. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you'll recognize the names of two or three of them from some of my compositions, "The Ballad of Ranlyn and the Faerie Raid," and, of course, "Tha' 'tis no Tree, 'tis a Twisted Suel!" I'm still not sure why that last one wasn't well accepted in Keoland.

    Ahh! I almost forgot. I've included in this compilation some of the sites in the Flanaess known commonly as "Fading Lands." These are scattered about in a random fashion, but keep in mind that for all practical purposes these are almost demi-planes. Keep in mind that the entrance to these places is always very difficult. It might take the finding of a portal or other magical entry, or the appearance of the place might be keyed to a time or specific event. It also might be something as seemingly normal as a path into a grove, but the path keeps moving about. Also, most of these lands are old, and whether because their magical forces are fading, or because some forces desire it so, entry into a Fading Land is difficult, and seems to grow more so with passing time. Also, keep in mind that what occurs on the inside of a Fading Land is not necessarily what happens outside. They seem to have their own set of rules. Be especially careful when treading in these areas.

    In any event, please pass this material on to other minstrels and bards you happen upon, and tell them to use it in good health. I've sent this with Andry Dughill, a fine young halfling, as halflings go, but a bit easily distracted. I hope this material finds you before year's end.

    May your strings stay dry and your voice clear!

    Finnobhar Aodhin
    Master Bard
    Greyhawk City
    5053 OC/Tinklingice/12

    Old Ferrond

    Faerie Court of Rings (Fading Land)---Although Faerie Rings are generally associated with small circles of mushrooms and toadstools, there is one reportedly existing in the Welkwood that is a bit grander. Here, there exists a Faerie Court of Rings where there are small mushroom shaped pillars. Four of these pillars are set in accordance with the major cycles of Celene. Each of these pillars is 3 feet tall, and set so that when standing in the center of the ring, a viewer of not more than 2 feet in height would see Celene rise over the peak of the pillar, on the apponted Festival nights. The first pillar, for Needfest, is made of Holly, the second, for Growfest is carved of Ash, the third for Richfest, is of oak, and the fourth for Brewfest, is of Rowan. The remaining 12 pillars, one for each month of the year are set to complete the circle patter, each in it?s proper relationship to the year. These remaining pillars are carved of Hazel and are 2 feet tall. All of the pillars are either well tended, or made to be resistant to weather and decay.

    Outside of this ring is a larger ring of crystal ball-sized Moonstones, anchored to the ground in such a way as to be unmovable. This ring has 21 stones, one each representing: Titania, Oberon, Caoimhin, Damh, Eachthighern, Emmantiensien, Fionghuala, Nathair Sgiathach, Skerrit, Squelaiche, Verenesta, Corellon Larethian, Sehanine, Aerdrie Faenya, Erevan Ilesere, Fenmarel Mestarine, Hanali Celanil, Labelas Enoreth, Solonir Thelandira and Rillifane Rallathil. Each of these stones is inlaid with a silver representation of the Holy Symbol of one of these gods. The 21st stone is cracked and blackened, its symbol is distorted and non-readable.

    This particular circle is also one of the few that is evidently directly linked by gates to the Seelie Court, and to Arvandor, and even to the bowers of the Cat Lord, the aerie of the Hawk Lord, and the den of the Wolf Lord. However, travelers may only be access gates on the proper date, at the right conjunction of Celene with Luna.

    The area surrounding the Court is pristine, ancient forest. It is full of the fey folk: sprites, brownies, killmoulis, pixies and others. Many treants, dryads, and even, supposedly, unicorns also dwell in this vicinity. Animals living near the rings tend to be somewhat larger and more intelligent than is normal for their kind. Seasons in the area of the stone are more focussed. Spring is more lavish, flowers more colorful, birdsong clearer. Summer's days are sweeter and more languid. Fall is more brisk, leaves crisper, and smells sharper. In winter's rare snows, flakes are brighter. Despite this beauty, it is perilous for an adventurer, even elvenfolk, to enter the area unbidden. The fey folk take great pains to keep the site hidden, and go to extremes to keep anyone finding the area. Those that do often wish they had not. Many are the stories of people forced to dance the night away in at a Faerie gathering, leaving the ring to find that decades or centuries have past. Some have been swindled into contests of song, others have been stolen away or charmed into the circle, never to be seen again. Handsome folk, and musicians and singers are especially at risk.

    A certain bard of Hardby, one Halasi of the Lute, claimed she was a woman of such talent, that she could charm the faeries out of their own ring. She set out to prove this on Midsummer's Night, last year and has yet to return. Halasi is a distant relative of the Gynarch, who has posted a modest reward for information of Halasi's whereabouts, and a somewhat larger reward for her safe return. (Source: From the Ashes: Atlas of the Flanaess)

    Lost Suss Forest City of the Suel---According to the Tome of Aldoth, one of the earliest texts written in Keoland, this ancient city was the pride of the Suel in the Flanaess after the Rain of Colorless Fire.

    According to the text, a Sueloise minor noble family, the Suss, who did not have good relations with the founders of Keoland moved west to what is now the Wild Coast. Members of this family, among the first Suel in the area, found an ancient and partially ruined city in a light forest. The surrounding Flan and Elven tribes shunned these ruins, but the Suel wizards recognized the power inherent in the city?s ancient structures and in its location on a ley line. Each wizard secretly wished he were a "Mage of Power," one who could control the forces hidden in this ancient city.

    After much labor, and use of magics, the Suel rebuilt the city, and named it Sussuriel. The city quickly developed strong trade links with Keoland despite early disputes with that land. The city prospered, and, within a remarkably short time, the Princes of Suss managed to recall some of the glory of the Suloise Empire before its destruction. Although there were no Mages of Power among the Suss, many were accomplished illusionists.. These Wizard-Princes (as they styled themselves) wove splendorous illusions that constantly altered the appearance of the city, thus earning it the name, the City of Veils. It was said that the city never appeared to be the same twice to a visitor. However, the ancient magics inherent in the city often twisted the illusions. They shifted and changed in pattern, sometimes pleasing to the eye, sometimes tremendously hideous. Nevertheless, however the city appeared, it was always fantastic. Towers fluxed from domes to spires, walls transformed from sheer surfaces with no break, to fancifully crenellated structures. One structure, however, never changed. On a hill, in the heart of the city, there stood a many-pillared, silver-hued hall that shone with the light of a moon, and for which the city was called Sussuriel the Silver. This building was ancient among ancient, and required no repairs from the Suel. The Princes of the city claimed the hall for themselves, and ruled from it, for a time.

    Despite its grandeur, Sussuriel's glory was short lived. The power of the community proved as illusory as its fantastic structures. The Tome of Aldoth recounts that within 50 years of reconstruction, one of the great Wizard-Princes, twisted by the eldritch power of the Silver Hall, began to delve deeply into the lore of Shadow Magic.

    He eventually searched out the arcane forces required to make himself a shade. His cousins became aware of his designs too late, and the once-man, recorded only as the "Shadow Prince" bent the city to his will. As his hatred for the sunlit world grew. His subjects either died under his growing tyranny, or fled in terror. The Shadow Prince began to desire to hide his city from the eyes of potential enemies, and to keep his people from fleeing. He first closed the city gates, forbidding any entrance or exit. Still, some managed to escape.

    The wizard-shade then managed to seal his city from the outside. To do this, some mages conjecture that he borrowed from the pattern of the existing light forest in the area, and created a greater wood, woven of shadow and mists.

    He also lured many evil creatures into the area. The area became a place of darkness and terror, and, although outsiders forgot the city, the wood still bore the name of the family who settled the area, the Suss. As years passed, the forest became less shadow stuff and more real. Seeming almost to develop a will of its own, the woodlands swallowed both the city and its dark lord. It continued to grow in size, swallowing the land for miles around. Eventually it stretched to join with the larger forests to the north.

    It has been centuries since any have known the location of the city. Not even the few fragments found in the Tome of Aldoth help in discerning the city?s location. It is rumored there are many treasure still in this stretch of forest, if one were willing to take the risk he might find great riches. However any visitor to the area will recognize the danger inherit in the area, even without the help of old tomes.

    Crook of Rao in Mitrik--- Paeans of song ring from this singularly beautiful shrine to Rao in Mitrik. Built of polished white stone, the shrine houses one of the most revered and holy objects in all the Flanaess, the Crook of Rao. Hazon asked for permission to construct the shrine in shortly after he used the Crook to drive forth many of the demonkind summoned by Iuz to Oerth.

    Some have said that when Hazon placed the Crook on its altar, a bright halo of golden light surrounded the entire building. Since that day, it is said that those who attend the shrine in faith are blessed (as per Bless spell [1st Priest]) for one day. Rao bestows this blessing may only once per year upon the same recipient, although it operates for the priests, paladins and men at arms attached to the shrine for as long as they serve there. The shrine has become a notable pilgrimage site for many in the central and western Flanaess.

    This shrine tended by one of the most respected High Priest of Rao, and six lesser priests, each of whom are served by ten acolytes or laymen. Seven noble paladins each of whom have six men at arms also guard the shrine. One of the paladins and his six men-at-arms are always on guard in the fane of the shrine, and one priest and his attendants are always giving services or supplications before the Alter of the Crook.

    The Crook itself levitates about 3 inches above the altar and continually sheds a golden light. It pulses more brightly when supplicants enter the shrine, but flashes a bright white when those inimical to the peace of Rao enter. The vigilant paladins have thwarted three attempts to steal the Crook, each by unknown forces. Many fear that these three attempts have merely been to test the defenses of those guarding the Crook.

    The history of the Crook is a matter of some conjecture among the scholars of the Flanaess. The Crook's first mention occurs shortly after the Oerdian migration into the Flanaess. Berdis, Scribe of Mitrik, writes of the Crook in his compilation "The Revered Items of Antiquity" where he attributes to the Crook with having saved Alysha the Strong from certain disaster in her struggle with a Rreznalith, a fell Balor from the Hells. The history of the Crook is unsure from that point. Tales in Furyondy and Veluna occasionally mention the Crook in conjunction with several minor miraculous events in these nations. The Crook does not pass into sure history again until, Tenser the Archmage uses the item to help thwart Iggwilv's plans to invade Oerth [see "The Isle of the Ape" for details].

    Later, Canon Hazon and a party of intrepid explorers then used the Crook in what may be the most spectacular use of the item in its history to banish a host of fiends from the Flanaess. Some hold that this extreme use of the item overextended even its magical powers, and that the Bless attribute that it exhibits is all that remains of the energies of this artifact. No one, except Hazon and, of course, Rao, know for sure. But in any case, the shrine still holds a special place in the hearts of many in the region.

    See also part two of this series.

    Note: Fading Lands, demiplane"
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