After the Dragon
The Kingdom of Cormyr Today
by Ed Greenwood
illustrated by Rob Minds - Dragon Annual #5
It would take three Annuals to examine the events recounted in the novel Death of the Dragon, and another to summarize the ranks, strength, and behind-the-scenes power struggles currently unfolding within the Purple Dragons of Cormyr, so here's an admittedly fragmentary overview of the situation at court in Cormyr right after the events of the novel.
The armies of Cormyr have been decimated, along with much of the fighting nobility. Orc and goblin bands hold Arabel and roam its vicinity, burning and blighting crops across the realm. Granaries in Suzail and the naval base in Marsember survived, so starvation doesn't quite threaten the realm. But shortages have already driven provender prices up sharply and made (in the words of Royal Sage Alaphondar) "a dent one can certainly notice in the royal treasury."
King Azoun IV and his heir, the Crown Princess Tanalasta, perished in the fighting, as did Gwennath, Lady-Lord High Marshal of Cormyr, and many others of note.
Tanalasta's infant son, Azoun V, is king, but the realm is ruled by the Steel Regent, Princess Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr. Much of the real power is held by the Dowager Dragon Queen, Azoun's widow, Filfaeril, and the Royal Magician Vangerdahast.
The Obarskyr rule in Cormyr remains secure largely because the War Wizards are alertly and vigilantly prepared to back it. A strong rebel faction of War Wizards or a Royal Magician opposed to the Crown would mean disaster for the Forest Kingdom. Even nobles who grumble at every royal edict and change of clothing acknowledge: "Well, at least we have Vangerdahast, gods strike him!"
The Royal Remains
In keeping with ancient Cormyrian tradition (actually at the command of Vangerdahast, who judged it good for Cormyr's morale), the spell-preserved remains of King Azoun and Crown Princess Tanalasta were paraded through Suzail. The tour took a wide circuit around the city that ended at the Palace.
War Wizard magic was ready to ward off anything hurled at the procession. Other spells levitated the open coffins so their weight could be easily borne by scarred veteran soldiers, the most beautiful ladies among the War Wizards, and the oldest, most loyal nobles who'd fought alongside the King. Vangerdahast also shamelessly used magic to make the corpses smile, testily calling it "the last thanks they can give their people" when Alusair objected.
The Steel Regent and the Dowager Queen walked at the head of the procession; Alusair insisted on wearing her armor, still bloodstained, dirt-caked, and sword-scarred from the battlefield, and bearing her drawn sword.
A visiting Sembian merchant, Harondro of Yhaunn, who watched the procession discreetly from an upper window along the Promenade, said it was hard to tell who wept harder: the citizens or the royal women. There were no drums or horns; save for the crying and the sounds of people's boots on the cobbles, it all happened in eerie silence.
Harondo also said that for the first time in his life, he was terrified of the commoners of Suzail; as the procession approached, without any coaching or command, they all knelt or saluted, according to their rank, and pressed forward to touch someone in the procession. They thereafter fell silent and followed the funeral train. By the time the funeral procession reached the Palace, it seemed that "almost the entire city" was walking behind old Bastable Galarth, oldest of the Purple Dragons to survive the Dragonfall Battle. He walked alone behind the coffins in his own battered armor, carrying the riven shield of his dead King in his gnarled hands.
When the royal remains vanished into the Palace, the citizens turned to talk, reminisce, and pray at impromptu altars set up by priests of every faith and stripe save the most evil. Thereafter, they roamed the city from tavern to tavern, raging in their grief and looking ready to tear apart any foe of Cormyr -- or anyone they saw as such -- with their bare hands.
Harondro saw a shipmaster from Westgate, who made the mistake of laughing at a jest, vanish under the furious fists and clawing hands of fat Cormyrian goodwives, who screamed the names of dead sons, husbands, and relatives as they struck. Above all rose constant keening of "For Azoun!" and "The Purple Dragon!"
Cloaked in protective magics, Azoun and Tanalasta were interred in the Royal Crypt, deep beneath the Palace of the Purple Dragon. His Majesty was laid to rest in his armor, clasping his sword on his breast and wearing the recently-fashioned Lion Crown, a rugged circlet made to be worn over his battle-helm.
The Crown Princess sleeps forever beside him in gray mage-robes, clasping the workbooks she kept as she learned magic. Both lie in separate closed coffins among magical defenses that Vangerdahast describes only as "offering more than one deadly surprise to anyone who ventures too near without knowing just how to do so." (Knowledge of the proper approach is said to be shared by the Royal Magician, Lady Laspeera of the War Wizards, Royal Sage Alapahondar, the Steel Regent, the Dowager Queen, and at least two others: one within the realm and one without.)
No memorial was raised at the site of either royal passing, for as Filfaeril said, "I do not want to look at where my Azoun died and see a stone."
Courtiers agree that the real reason no memorial stones were placed was to prevent them becoming rallying-places for foes of the Crown. However, in a rumor widely suspected to be true, the Royal Magician is said to have snarled, "Aye, let stones be raised and let them gather: I can blast them to ashes in groups and waste fewer spells on such scum, saving my power for rebuilding the realm."
After the tolling of bells marked the burial, trumpeters sounded fanfares in the dusk and the reign of Azoun V was proclaimed, with mention of the Regency and the blessings of the Dowager Queen. The infant king was not shown to the people until the Royal Anointing and promenade three days later, wherein the nobles of the realm swore fealty to the Regent and then paraded their war strength before the surviving royals and the citizenry of Suzail.
Azoun Rhigaerd Palaghard Duar Obarskyr, Dragon Prince of Cormyr, Right Royal Duke of Suzail, and King Ascendant of the Dragon Throne, Stagmaster of the Realm and Lord Admiral of the Western Fallen Star Waves, is a vocal, chubby-cheeked babe with dark hair; piercing, gold-flecked brown eyes; and an already strong-looking forehead, nose, and jaw. In the words of one of his wetnurses, Alatha of Brokenturrets, "Aye, he'll be charming the ladies at an even greener age than his sire."
Not counting the War Wizards spying from afar, and equipped with teleport rings that battle-mages can use to be at the royal side in a breath or two, Azoun V is at all times surrounded by three wetnurses and two physics. There are in fact three shifts of such persons -- all human females rumored to be War Wizards, Harpers, or both.
These Attendants of the Royal Person are always augmented by a Royal Guard (known as "the Brat's Bodyguard," in the barracks), of 4 War Wizards, 4 warriors, and 2 pages to run errands and deliver messages.
The boy King's father is said to be, in the words of the relevant royal proclamation: "Rowen Cormaeril, nobly born, a young man and true, who came to the gods-blessed union fully pardoned by the King-and who gave himself in the strife so that Cormyr could rise again."
Nothing more is said or confirmed about Rowen's fate or standing, and those who ask questions about such matters too loudly have received unwelcome visits from bands of War Wizards guarded by grim Purple Dragons who've warned citizens openly that they're just waiting for an excuse to sink their swords to the hilts in any traitor to the realm.
It's somehow become an open secret around the Dragon Court that the Royal Magician has taken blood and tissue samples of Azoun V, Alusair, and Filfaeril for use in cloning or other magics. He's said to have hidden sets of them in several places, none of which is the vault treasonously vandalized during "the Bleth Affair." Visitors are warned that this is considered a Crown secret. The penalty for speculating or discussing it -- if overheard by or reported to the authorities -- is imprisonment and unpleasant magical interrogation by War Wizards, followed by execution if treason of intent or action is discovered.
The Dragon Court
Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr rules in Suzail, though the Dragon Throne itself sits pointedly empty; she uses a lower chair but more often strides around the dais in front of the royal seat.
In the words of Vangerdahast: "Daughter must obey mother, but so long as that's done, Princess Alusair can be king in all but name until Azoun comes of age -- which he shall do upon the seventeenth anniversary of his birth. If he is deemed in any way unfit to rule, the regency will continue, this decision being made only after agreement by a majority public vote of six senior War Wizards (nobles who are heads of houses that can trace their ennobled lineage back more than seven hundred years), the Royal Sage, and any other surviving Obarksyrs."
The rules governing this Regency were crafted by Vangerdahast in light of the actions of Salember the Rebel, who refused to surrender the realm to the rightful Obarskyr, Rhigaerd, and in brief are described to the left.
In truth, much of the day-to-day governance of Cormyrian affairs is, as always, in Vangerdahast's hands. However, recent events have so shaken the usual order of things at the Dragon Court that the individual deeds and decisions of the three most powerful Cormyrians will most shape the realm in the years ahead.
The Royal Magician And Court Wizard Of Cormyr
Vangerdahast (male human, Wiz18, LN) (1224 DR- )
Vangerdahast can call on a vast array of magic items, including many battle-ready rings and wands, and he won't hesitate to do so.
Rightly called by many (though it's not wise to say so openly at Court) "the true ruler of Cormyr," this long-lived, stout, plain-spoken, and often testy mage tutored Azoun and his children, and he remains the Crown's most trusted advisor. He often wears a plain, heavy brown robe, bound about the waist with a tasseled rope of pale mauve. A gruff man who has little patience for courtly fripperies, he adheres firmly to court etiquette save in emergencies.
Vangerdahast is known to have trained briefly, and long ago, under the archmage Elminster, and, he now maintains a running, if friendly, feud with the Old Mage. The reasons for this, and other details of Vangey's life and magical training, are subjects the Royal Magician does not discuss. Nor should he ever be addressed as "Vangey" by persons desiring to comfortably abide in Cormyr thereafter.
When not at Filfaeril's side, Vangerdahast is often giving orders to the senior War Wizards. He's proud of the loyal brotherhood of mages he leads, considers them essential to the survival and good governance of Cormyr, and he is determined never to let them grow over-proud, corrupt, or treacherous toward the crown. Recent rumors of his own hunger to rule and possible treason are just that: rumors. The most probing gossips and enemies looking for scandals to trumpet have been unable to learn anything of possible consorts or a private life out-side of court, though court legend whispers of a hut in the forest from which Vangerdahast came, and to which, some day -- none too soon for the liking of many -- he'll return.
Vangerdahast is paunchy and jowly and has a close-trimmed beard and well-kept hair of white, formerly reddish-brown hue. His eyes are dark brown and kindle almost to red when he's enraged. Otherwise, his manner is kindly but stern, and during court ceremonies he can be solemn, dignified, and impressive.
The people of Cormyr respect him as a good and loyal man, though his wizardly powers awe them; outside Suzail, his entrance into an inn or shop typically causes a hush.
Since the death of his longtime friend Azoun IV, Vangerdahast has aged visibly. His hands often tremble now, he walks more slowly, and he's seen in public less often. Interestingly, no less a personage than Lord Giogi Wyvernspur recently witnessed Vangerdahast watching a lone, cowled figure -- a human woman, by her shape -- cast spells in the depths of the King's Forest before both of them disappeared "within a shimmering."
The Dowager Dragon Queen
Queen Filfaeril Selazair Obarskyr (female human, Ftr3, NG) (Nirtul 4, 1311 DR- )
The Dragon Queen is a brilliant, insightful woman (and master chess player) who holds clearer foresight of future events and intrigues yet hatching than anyone in the Forest Kingdom save Vangerdahast. Her fragile, delicate beauty conceals stubborn bravery and a mind that notices everything. She has little interest in warfare and in doings outside Cormyr, and spends most of her time sizing up folk who come to court, learning of their doings and moods so as to be of help to the regent in her judgements. She's never really overcome the death of her first child, Foril (a son born Mirtul 1, 1332, who died on Uktar 11,1334 at the hands of an assassin); those who wish to anger or wound her need only recall Foril to her.
Although Filfaeril's not physically strong, she's very quick and deft. Since Foril's death, she's taken private weapons-training with dagger, spear, and shortsword. Though she's rarely faced would-be assassins, she's surprised (and wounded) several unsuccessful kidnappers.
Since the deaths of Azoun and Tanalasta, the Queen has become colder and harder; it's clear she misses Azoun's embrace as well as his friendship. She's taken no lovers from among the many elder nobles who've discreetly offered her their embraces, though she's been much seen in the company of the Royal Sage of late, and gossips never tire of reminding Cormyrian society that the two of them went into hiding somewhere together during the Bleth Affair.
Filfaeril has ice-blue eyes, blonde hair, a slender figure, and alabaster-white skin; she retains a poise and dignity that makes up for the slow fade of her once-stunning beauty. She and Azoun were far more equal partners than most ruling couples of Faerûn, and her influence helped make the court a civilized, cultural place. (In earlier times, it was all too apt to be a succession of drunken revels and duels between feuding nobles.)
Outside the Palace, Filfaeril travels at all times with a loyal personal bodyguard of six tall, armed, and capable high knights (each a LG human male Ftr9/HighKnight5) who bear the titles of Knights Royal of Cormyr. These men (formerly the Kings' Blades, the personal guards of Azoun IV) are Jostlyn Huntsilver, Asbras Orthwood, Baeryn Dauntinghorn, Albryn Emmarask, Ondyn Thundersword, and Ilbreth Truesilver.
They wear small, everbright-treated silver pendants at their throats, each shaped like an upright, right-handed gauntlet, with the Purple Dragon inset in its open palm. These are passkeys only slightly lesser in rank than the fabled Purple Dragon rings. At all times, they permit passage into any part of any royal fortress, as well as access to any member of the royal family or any court or military official, up to and including Vangerdahast himself. Unlike the Purple Dragon rings, they don't compel enforced obedience from such officials, though such a person would be wise to treat the bearer of such a pendant as a superior officer.
Each Knight Royal has three full knights squired to him as understudies, and from the ranks of these "rising knights," impromptu bodyguards can quickly be assembled for all Obarskyrs and court officers desiring or needing protection at any time.
The Steel Regent
Princess Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr (female human, Ftr20, CG) (Eleint 9, 1335 DR- )
A rebellious tomboy in youth, the hot-tempered, impulsive youngest child of Azoun and Filfaeril rose to prominence in the realm (and won a place in the hearts of the common folk) for her valiant fighting against the Tuigan hordes. Her contrary nature when dealing with her father and resulting extended absences from the realm stem from the impatience she inherited from Azoun -- save that she got thrice what he ever had.
Accomplished in battle, strategy, hard living, and the mastery of horses, Alusair has spent most of her life fighting and riding the Stonelands with noble sons and heirs of the realm who admiringly dubbed her "the Steel Princess" for her battle-prowess and spirit. Though few nobles want to admit it, Alusair is now the best battlemaster (general) in the realm -- though better in raids and skirmishes than in matters of diplomacy and pomp.
As Alusair grew older, shattering a lot of her youthful ideals on the hard swordpoints of reality, she became much closer to her father. She still lacks patience for the endless revels, gossip, and meaningless Court ceremonies.
Alusair has ash-blonde hair but black eyebrows. Although she stands as tall as any knight in her mithril plate armor, she strikes the eye as slimmer and more agile than most warriors wearing the Purple Dragon. The armor, a gift of the dwarves, earned her the nickname "the Mithril Princess," a term largely ignored these days in the shadow of the more popular "Steel Princess" appellation.
Her eyes are oak-brown, and at their corners, her face is just beginning to acquire its first wrinkles. Alusair was reconciled with Azoun when they fought the Tuigan horde, and she subsequently rode on patrol with Purple Dragons stationed throughout Cormyr, trying to learn all she could of the kingdom so she could serve it ably as a battlemaster.
Now that her Regency has come, Alusair has discovered she hates Court life and diplomacy every bit as much as she feared she would. Her anger at her role makes her precise, clear, and cold in her diplomatic dealings, but the wise advice of Vangey and Filfaeril, coupled with her own battlefield experience, means that she misses few nuances and usually does the right thing.
Her primary aim now is to rebuild the morale and military strength of the realm by reclaiming all Cormyrian territory and getting folk back onto their land. She must do this without letting investors from Sembia and Westgate get too firm a hold in Cormyr, and she rebuffs all attempts to control and influence Cormyrian affairs.
So long as she can pour her rage out in occasional sword-bouts or private wrestling sessions with "the Blades" (the young nobles she's ridden to war with and trusts implicitly), Alusair will be a good and increasingly contented Regent. Helming a kingdom is a task she's good at, and the death of her father -- a fate he foresaw and embraced, as she sees it, because he would not flee his duty -- has given her determination not to ruin the realm for the next Azoun. She is also determined to avoid being goaded by clever-tongued envoys into doing things that aren't in Cormyr's best interests.
Loyal and True
Though it's blunt truth that the Obarskyr rule continues because the War Wizards alertly and vigilantly support it, the fact that the bulk of the populace is highly loyal, and there are specific people the Crown can call upon and trust is also crucial to the stability of the Dragon Throne. Some key friends of the Crown to watch (all of whom, by the way, know of one or more secret ways into the Palace and/or the Court) include:
Cat and Giogi Wyvernspur (human female, Ari6, CG; human male, Ari7, CG)
This noble couple prefers to avoid political prominence. They are unpopular in many circles because Azoun IV awarded them the Cormaeril lands, but they're useful in ferreting out conspiracies, shifting loyalties, and hidden schemes by means of Giogi's buffoonery at feasts and revels, and Cat's careful observations of the reactions to Giogi.
Glarasteer Rhauligan (human male, Ftr9, CG)
An irreverent and independent-minded Harper and sometime lover of Alusair, this traveling merchant often visits Sembian clients. He is trusted by the Steel Regent to truthfully and perceptively let her know who's doing what in Cormyr and Sembia, as well as changing moods and conditions in the Dragonreach in general. He's possessed of iron calm when necessary, with hair that's starting to gray and wrists as strong as steel. He usually faces danger with merriment. (See Cormyr: A Novel and "The Grinning Ghost of Taverton Hall" in Realms of Mystery.)
Emthrara Amberdown (human female, Ftr7/Rog6, CG)
A tavern dancer and courtesan of Suzail known intimately to many at Court, this spirited, quick-witted, and good-natured Harper agent often works with Rhauligan, has saved royal lives on diverse occasions, and is known for her skill with a thrown dagger.
Alaphondar Emmarask (human male, Ari9, NG)
Sage Most Learned of the Royal Court, Alaphondar is an expert on the history, genealogy, and laws of Cormyr, Sembia, and the Dragon Coast. He is a diplomatic, farsighted, self-effacing man who's become Filfaeril's lover and confidant (though it's dangerous to speak of such matters publicly).
Myrmeen Lhal (human female, Rgr13, CG)
Myrmeen is the righteous Lady of Arabel and a fearless battle-leader who's itching to reclaim that city. Gravely injured in the fighting, she's become a firm friend of Alusair, often serving as the Regent's sword in places Alusair can't spare the time to visit. (See page 28 of Cloak & Dagger.)
Laspeera Naerinth (human female, Wiz16, NG)
Laspeera was made Lady Eveningspire two summers ago by Azoun IV (who awarded her the Eveningspire estate from Crown lands near the eastern end of Hullack Forest). Second-in-command of the War Wizards and proprietress of the House of Grace school for young ladies in Suzail, Laspeera is a diplomatic, careful, beautiful woman of great wisdom and discretion, legendary for her patience, perceptiveness, and the iron will beneath her gentleness.
Privately, Laspeera welcomes the rule of women, but she sees her own task as "taming Alusair, with spells used like whips, if need be, to make her the leader Cormyr needs."
Lord Dauneth Marijir (human male, Ftr11, LG)
Thomdor's successor as Lord High Warden of the Eastern Marches, this honorable noble is known to have been the King's favorite intended husband for Tanalasta, though those close to the royal family say she liked but never loved him. The youngest son of the Marlur family, he participated in the Redlance Rising, later supported Salember financially, and then tried to evade tax payments to King Rhigaerd II. Dauneth was treated somewhat coldly when he presented himself at Court because of his lineage, but he acquitted himself with loyalty and discretion.
Though many envy his swift elevation, his courteous manners and discretion have impressed. As one of the wealthiest nobles at court, he can't be snubbed -- quite -- and with his loyalty, unfailing politeness, and swift grasp of situations, he's of ever-growing importance to the Crown.
Dauneth stands a very slim 6 feet tall but seems awkward -- all gawky, bony knees-and-elbows. He has level gray eyes and sandy brown hair. Accomplished with longsword and dagger, he's taken extensive weapons-training since being named Warden -- and he still likes to try wielding "trollswords" (huge 10-foot-long wavy-bladed swords) that he can barely lift.
The Fair Flower of Nobility
It would take a book thicker than the city walls of Suzail to detail the lineages, holdings, doings, and aims of the living Cormyrian nobles. As they tend to be wealthy, strong-willed, and self- indulgent, noble families of Cormyr embrace a very wide range of hobbies, vocations, political views, and opinions on just about everything. Barring a few specific grievances, it's almost impossible to truthfully say "The Orthwoods feel that ..." because Auldo Orthwood, Danither Orthwood, and their mother Malassra Orthwood probably bitterly disagree on all sorts of things, from the color of bathchamber hangings in Orthwood Hall to obedience towards the current Regent.
So here's a very brief summary of individual nobles the Crown is taking special notice of.
Arphoind Bleth (human male, Ftr9, LE)
The leader of the Bleths, Arphoind is known to be plotting against the Crown from Westgate. Grasping, scheming, and sneeringly sophisticated, he's also aging and growing indolent. Increasingly interested in Westgate, once he gets coin enough to compensate for the seized Bleth lands, Arphoind might completely lose interest in Cormyr.
Kargerth Cormaeril (human male, Rog7, N)
The head of the other recently exiled house, Kargerth is thought to be sponsoring a new rash of smuggling through Marsember. The Cormaerils might hold grudges, but they're too sensible and too deeply loyal to openly strike against the Crown. Their hand is more likely to be raised in an attempt to cause "accidents" to befall individual Obarskyrs until the Dragon Throne passes into new, possibly more friendly hands.
Tystarn Dauntinghorn (human male, Ftr3, CG)
Tystarn is a dashingly handsome young traveling-trader for Dauntinghorn interests whose jaunts have aroused War Wizard suspicions. (See page 57 of Cloak & Dagger.)
Ravos Calantar (human male, Ftr5, CN)
Ravos is a dedicated stag-hunter and chaser-of-brigands who is bored with life and looking to do great things. He's now consumed with hatred for the Obarskyrs due to their execution of his aunt, the matriarch of his house (during Death of the Dragon).
Storn Tathcrown (human male, Ftr7, NE)
The dark and brazenly handsome youngest son of a recently ennobled family, Storn hungers for money and power. He is known for his agility and cleverness and is said to possess an iron self-control.
He fought alongside the Obarskyrs in the defense of Arabel but made sure to avoid dying in the Dragonfall Battle by posing as an envoy between Giogi Wyvernspur on Jester's Green and the main army under the King.
Storn sees taking the throne as his best way to wealth, and the clearest path to achieve that is to marry Alusair and then dispose of the other Obarskyrs in an "accident." He's wary of the War Wizards' mind-scrying-with good reason, for they've already reported his treasonous thoughts to Laspeera and Vangerdahast. So far, he's done nothing, but arranging a trap for him is something on the War Wizards' "to do" list.
Cleaving To Senbia
Emlar Goldsword (human male, Ftr4/Rog4, CN)
Emlar is a greedy mercenary who hates and fears the Obarskyrs (he came within an inch of being executed in Death of the Dragon), and he would prefer a Cormyr ruled by a merchant council. He was judged a possible sponsor of rebels by the Crown but is both too cowardly and too wise to actively rebel.
Belmer Huntcrown (human male, Ftr3/Rog3, NE)
A toad-faced, fat middling son of a many-branched family, this quietly ambitious collector-of-wines is shoulder-deep in Sembian intrigues and quiet investment cabals. He specializes in forging business alliances between timid merchants who recoil from trading companies and costers, and using their pooled funds to speculate on goods shortages and buy properties.
Thus far Sembian city holdings (having by far the greatest value among available properties in the territory he's familiar with) have been Belmer's chief interest, but he's increasingly looking at Narsember and the coastal lands east of it, and thinking of how much coin could be made if he quietly founded his own port...
Talados Thundersword (human male, Ftr7, CN)
A brawling, hunt-loving young giant with a love of swordplay, plentiful wine, and even more plentiful women, Talados was gifted some Sembian investments by a dying uncle some years ago and has become very rich. He sees Suzail as ripe for buying, warehouse by shop by house, so that he can make his mark and earn respect back in Saerloon and Selgaunt. If the stiff-necked Obarskyrs would just allow themselves to be bought, they and their countryfolk could live in luxury in an ever-growing realm that would soon swallow the rest of the Dragon Coast.
Those nobles who care nothing for laws, allegiances, or appearances-save as such things affect their luxuries, profits, and lifestyles -- this group has many members, but its most energetic proponents include:
Fraeyer Illance (human male, Ftr6, NE)
Fraeyer is a tall, thin, darkly handsome and soft-spoken coldheart. He's one of the younger and better-traveled of this traditionally "difficult" family and is now the most energetic in promoting his family's interests, which follow the motto: "Freedom from all laws, and a spur to all profits, daggers for our foes, and a pox on all lawmakers and keepers."
Melot Silversword (human male, Ftr4, CN)
The suave, aging, still-handsome head of the Silverswords is a self-serving, greedy man who deeply enjoys the pleasures of life despite the costs to those around him who might suffer from his appetites.
Lahadinol Longbrooke (human male, Ftr8, LN)
Lahadinol is a bluff, burly, bearded man who cares only for appearances -- he should always look heroic, the Obarskyrs should keep the kingdom strong and prosperous so it can serve him best as a playground, and so on. A coward at heart, Longbrooke always seeks to do and say the right thing -- but when the goblin hordes come, he'll be one of the first to break and run, despite his splendid armor.
Dardreth Marilir (human male, Ftr6/Rog6, CE)
A cold and calculating older son of the Narlurs, Dardreth regards his brother Dauneth as a servile idiot. Dardreth seeks to win true (if secret) rule of Arabel and endless riches thereby - just as soon as the Obarskyrs go to the trouble of winning the city back for him. Dardreth cares not who sits on the Dragon Throne or talks first at councils, so long as he can get both hands on the royal treasury whenever he desires.
The great bulk of nobles, like the commoners beneath them, are what Alaphondar is wont to call the "loyal, muddling dunderheads." Of these, those showing some energy and ambition of late include:
Estelner Ebonhawk (human male, Ftr5, NG)
Estelner is the young, nervous Baron of newly-created Warmshores (the hilly coastal country west of Suzail where the western edge of Cormyr meets the Dragonmere). Warned often by royal agents to guard his crops well because the realm needs them (that need will make his fortune), Estelner is eager to show well in royal eyes and become someone important.
Forlgar Silverhorn (human male, Ftr6, LG)
Forlgar is the Earl of Starwater, a recently-founded territory consisting of the eastern bank of the Starwater across from Narsember. Forlgar is an old veteran Purple Dragon known for his girth, stubbornness, and slow wits. He was made an earl both as a reward and to catch smugglers who, during the fighting made unchecked use of his lands.
Lord Brestim Talcontin (human male, Ftr5, LG)
An aging "dapper dandy," Brestim returned rich from life in Amn to wrench his way through Suzail's "high society." There he's fast becoming known for amusingly thick-headed utterances and deeds-and a monocle that's constantly flying off.
The ambitious or recently fortunate, these are the ones to watch. They are tackling life with some energy and will inevitably make things happen as they spectacularly succeed or fail, notably:
Brester Orthwood (human male, Ftr3, NG)
The most restless and competent son of this recently-ennobled house, Brester is a man who gallops wildly into the thick of whatever is his latest enthusiasm. His fancies don't last long, but he managed to becoming enthused with fighting at just the right time for Cormyr and was noticed doing so; Crown agents are watching him to see if he'll make something of himself -- or fall under the influence of evil folk or foes of the Crown.
Darvaer Huntinghorn (human male, Ftr5, CG)
A master huntsman and sometime sponsor of adventuring bands to make forays into the Stonelands, this young noble is smart, self-effacing, courteous, and doing exactly what the Crown hopes all nobles will do. He's a bit too good to be true, and Crown agents are closely watching his forays against trolls, goblins, and orcs in the Stonelands -- in case he turns out to be secretly meeting with Zhentarim or worse.
Elvran Torchtower (human male, Ftr6, CG)
One of the few nobles of this youngest generation to seem eager and happy doing sword-service with the Purple Dragons, this tall, quiet, competent man is being watched to see if he'll make a good battle-officer. He's already a lionar, and he might yet become one of the youngest ever battle-masters of Cormyr.
Barandos Hawklin (human male, Ftr7, LN)
"The Hawk of Hawklin," remains as popular and prosperous as ever. This keen- witted, shrewd investor is as debonair with the ladies as ever, but he has held to his integrity through several covert War Wizard tests and earned much Crown respect thereby. Unshakably honest men are a rarity in any realm, and Barandos has the added talent of being a pleasant person, not the least sanctimonious or difficult. He's also one of the very few Cormyrians who places his coins where they'll do the most good for the realm first.
Barandos is no fool, however -- and when others do him dirty, he likes to hire adventurers to get even for him rather than doing such dirty work himself.
Korvarr Rallyhorn (human male, Ftr9, LG)
A valiant lionar of the Purple Dragons who resigned his rank due to the actions of his younger brother (as seen in Death of the Dragon), Korvarr marked himself for royal attention with his valor in aiding and defending Crown Princess Tanalasta. Shaken by what he saw of blood, death, and betrayal in the fighting, Korvarr has become the Crown's strongest ally among the nobles, quietly urging them to support this or that Crown suggestion or decree, pointing out both high and self-serving reasons to do so. War Wizards have suspiciously probed his thoughts on many occasions, looking for any sign of him building future treason but have found only guilt and a need to serve.
His rank was personally reinstated by Alusair (whom he's now hopelessly in love with), and Korvarr might well soon rise in royal service.
The Crown traditionally counts "the Crown families" of Crownsilver, Huntsilver, and Truesilver as loyal, though their actions during the Bleth Affair have made the Obarskyrs look hard at them. The Wyvernspurs and Rowanmantles have both traditionally and recently demonstrated personal loyalty to Azoun IV and are also deemed loyal.
There are nobles, however, whose loyalty was proven during Death of the Dragon. Many of them died demonstrating their loyalty; of those who did not, the most prominent are:
Hector Dauntinghorn (human male, Ftr11, LN)
The head of his house and veteran naval officer in the service of Cormyr, this greying patriarch was shocked by the revealed ruthlessness of Filfaeril and Tanalasta in the Council of Iron (see Death of the Dragon), as well as the battle-skills of Alusair and he was shocked into awe and almost worship of the Obarskyr women. This is the greatest realm in all Toril, and these are royals he's proud to serve. He'll give his life for them without hesitation.
Roland Emmarask (human male, Wiz6/Ftr6, LN)
Head of the Emmarask family, Roland is known to be a thoughtful student of Cormyrian history, especially of disputes among merchants and nobles. He always takes "the long view," trying to see what's best for the realm, and telling either his cousin Alaphondar (the Royal Sage) or the Dowager Queen his opinions and his learning. His candor is valued, his loyalty confirmed many times over, and his collection of maps unsurpassed-even in the Palace.
Idamoar Hardcastle (human male, Ftr12, LG)
Idamoar is the head of his house and a balding but still vigorous man. His sons Guldrin and Rathtar died bravely in the fighting. After returning to Suzail, with her own father and sister still unburied, Alusair personally took the news of his sons to Idamoar. The moment he saw her at his gates in her blood-drenched armor, tears streaming down her face, he knew why she'd come. Yet he felt so honored by the way she told him the fates of his sons, and the thanks she gave, that she somehow lit a lamp in the darkest day of his life. She's met with Idamoar several times since, taken him drinking with young nobles and made him laugh, and all but bullied him into fathering more children in his twilight years. He reckons he owes the Steel Regent his life back and will spend it for her if he must.
In the fledgling days of the Regency, Cormyr has rebuffed envoys from Sembia and Westgate with stiff requests to "allow us time to order the realm once more without your pressing requests to spend coins among us that come with strings firmly attached to them." Increased trade is welcomed, but an increased Sembian or Westhavian presence (warehouses, businesses, agents, and property purchases) is not. Alusair has signaled that this might change in the future, but such changes will be at her own pleasure -- which never flourishes under duress.
In contrast, merchants from the Dales have been openly welcomed and encouraged to settle, found new businesses or wayposts of their established concerns, and offers of Cormyrian armed escorts for caravans have been made.
At least one Zhent agent has demanded the same treatment and been coldly refused, but representatives from Hillsfar and Elversult have been politely encouraged into negotiations on the same topics -- dealings that despite attractive offers from Cormyr seem to have stalled in endless meetings.
When Sembia reacted angrily to being treated less favorably by Cormyr than these more distant places, the Steel Regent coolly requested the immediate payment of outstanding loans and debts in the matter of the road-works near Daerlun. She also demanded the salvage of the Sembian caravels Jhalavanther's Luck and Lady Rubytresses, which Cormyrian navy vessels towed to Marsember after they were abandoned in the Neck, sunk to the waterline and endangering other shipping.
Malanker Gadroun, Lord Factor of Westward (the western border of Sembia) has protested against these demands personally to the Steel Regent. She then promised to sheathe his own ceremonial sword up his backside if he ever spoke so haughtily to her or any other Cormyrian again.
When his report brought a stiff warning from Ordulin as to "how greatly unfortunate further 'regrettable incidents' would be to the financial future of Cormyr," the Steel Regent sent back this blunt message: "While Sembia concerns itself with coins, we of Cormyr worry about food, lives, and having our swords ready. With our larders bare, the orcs and goblins will look east to Sembia and see a land that hasn't yet enjoyed its share of 'regrettable incidents.' The Crown of Cormyr fondly hopes that the good merchants of Sembia, when next counting their coins, find some wisdom lying on the table -- and for once, pause long enough from their money-grubbing to pick it up."
Alusair is determined to retake Arabel before the next snows fly, and then scour both the King's Forest and the Hullack Forest of all orcs, goblins, brigands, and monsters. If holding Cormyr secure means building a line of fortresses along the edge of the Stonelands, that's what she'll do.
At the same time, although Cormyr officially welcomes neither the Harpers nor any other independent organizations, Alusair wants an unofficial agency of the Crown to spy on the doings of exiled Cormyrian nobles and other known foes of the realm in Sembia and Westgate. She wants the agency independent of the War Wizards, though, and doesn't quite know how to do that -- or if she can trust the agency to serve only her if she asks Glarasteer Rhauligan to establish it.
Alusair doesn't anticipate being left alone to pursue such ends, however; she expects Faerûn to soon hand her too many crises to handle. Zhent and Dragon Cult ambitions, Westhavian plots and schemes, and rebel doings in Narsember are some of her primary concerns, for example. Then there's the matter of royal pretenders...
It's common knowledge in Cormyr that Azoun, and many of his ancestors before him, have had a way with the ladies, and that bastard offspring of royal blood dwell in many a noble house (and commoner's hut) all across Cormyr.
Any or all of the sons among these might well challenge for the crown if the realm is weak or imperiled at some later time; speculators would do well to remember such names as Eliard Cormaeril, the brothers Dauntryn and Delce Dauntinghorn, Brace Skatterhawk, and Ondryn Thundersword -- among many, many others.
Should any such shadow-kin of the Obarskyrs move to take the throne, others of similar standing are sure to hotly contest their right to rule -- and Cormyr could well experience a bloody civil war. The stability and longevity of the Obarskyr rule have thus far made the strength and prosperity of their realm, and if that fails, Cormyr could rapidly become an array of tiny, warring "vestpocket" baronies like the Border Kingdoms on the Lake of Steam.
Azoun's philandering was so energetic that when he married Filfaeril on Eleint 2, 1329, he was compelled to officially renounce his favorite pastime. Though the proclamation was no more specific, it was openly identified by one indelicate noble as "wenching his way through the nobility of Cormyr." When Azoun came to the throne in 1336 DR, Vangerdahast ceremonially reaffirmed the King's commitment to be faithful to his Queen and the needs of the Throne.
Unfortunately for Cormyr, the dead King's many unofficial offspring have made no such commitment -- and it's likely, in the years to come, that one or more of them might see their rightful place as on the Dragon Throne and actually do something about it.
As the long-ago Cormyrian bard Londlas of Immersea sang: "No backwater realm of trees this be, Most favored Cormyr, dear I love thee, For as I sit under my favorite tree, Every peril of Faerûn comes to visit me."