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Blackstaff is the title and name given to the master of the eponymous staff and Blackstaff Tower and the Archmage of Waterdeep. “Blackstaff” was originally a nickname given to Khelben Arunsun because of his powerful staff of the same name, but after his death it became the title used by his successors.

BlackstaffsEdit

Over time, rituals and traditions formed, and it became customary for the Blackstaff to choose an heir. The heir served as the apprentice and assistant to the Blackstaff.

The magical quasi-spirits of the former Blackstaffs reside within the tower and serve as advisors to the Blackstaff. They are not true spirits but are green-tinged facsimiles produced by the green kiira whose magic was bound to the tower.[1] The kiira n’vaelhar once held the spirits and combined knowledge of the first three Blackstaffs, Khelben Arusun, Tsarra Chaadren, and Kyriani Agrivar, but Krehlan Arunsun and the Grand Mages of Rhymanthiin dissipated the kiira in the Year of Staves Arcane (1415 DR) and bound its magic to Blackstaff Tower and its twin in Rhymanthiin, N’Vaerymanth. Now whenever someone becomes a Blackstaff or the heir, a template of their spirit, intellect, and knowledge becomes part of the Blackstaff and the tower (not the actual spirits). These spirits cannot leave the tower, but the Blackstaff can communicate with them or tap into their knowledge whenever he or she so wishes. Krehlan merged the gem with the tower so that it could be the Blackstaff’s advisor, rather than have all the combined consciousnesses of the previous Blackstaffs overwhelm the current Blackstaff.[2]

The Blackstaff can also manipulate the tower at will, opening any door with a thought, and can listen in on the conversations of anyone within the tower. He or she also knows the location and nature of every magical item within the tower and can see the tower’s twin, N’Vaerymanth, in his or her mind.[2] Maliantor further notes in her book My Eyes Open Always: Memories of the Blackstaff (1416 DR) that the Blackstaff knows the location, identity, general mood, and intent of anyone within the tower by his or her magical ties to the stones.[1]

The current Blackstaff is Vajra Safahr, the seventh Blackstaff. The following are the Blackstaffs in order from earliest to current:

Khelben Arunsun
A Chosen of Mystra and the original Blackstaff who created Blackstaff Tower, Khelben was over a thousand years old when he sacrificed his life to raise Rhymanthiin, the Hidden City of Hope, on the Feast of the Moon, 1374 DR.[3] He is considered the greatest of the Blackstaffs.
Tsarra Chaadren
Tsarra was a half-elf sorceress who became the Blackstaff after Khelben’s death. In public, she wore a magical illusion of Khelben so that others not close to the Blackstaff would believe Khelben was still alive. She could commune with Khelben’s spirit whenever she wished and had all the knowledge and memories of the previous Blackstaff. Tsarra was able to hold the Spellplague at bay the first time it struck Waterdeep, but the second time, when it surged from Undermountain, it shattered her illusion as Khelben and revealed her true self before a crowd of gathered nobles at the palace. This revelation led to the two years known as the Retributive Years when Khelben’s enemies descended upon the city, only to be defeated by Tsarra.[4] Tsarra, her heir, and most of the Moonstars died in battle against a coven of vampire-wizards in the Stump Bog in 1399 DR, the Year of Fallen Friends.[5],[6]
Kyriani Agrivar
Kyriani, the mischievous and playful mistress of Selûne’s Smile in Waterdeep and a member of the Moonstars, was the daughter of a human wizard and a drow. She had to reconcile and merge her warring natures of light and dark, and twice she had been split into separate bodies. Kyriani survived the battle against the vampires and, in honor of her friends, carried the Blackstaff back to Waterdeep, risking her sanity along the way due to the staff’s sheer power, and she became the third Blackstaff.[5] With Open Lord Caladorn at her side, Kyriani gave a proclamation, magically attuned so that everyone in the city could hear it, atop Blackstaff Tower, announcing her assumption of the Blackstaff and pledging herself to the city. This proclamation atop Blackstaff Tower became tradition with each succeeding Blackstaff performing slight variations of it.[7]
Krehlan Arunsun
Krehlan, silver-haired from birth,[8] was the son of Khelben Arunsun and Laeral Silverhand. Unlike his parents, Krehlan was not a Chosen of Mystra, though one must still be a highly skilled spellcaster to become a Blackstaff. Laeral noted that Krehlan had his father’s temper.[9] Krehlan became Blackstaff in 1400 DR, the Year of Lost Ships.[7] He was later killed by Chartham Dellenvol.[10]
Ashemmon
A sorcerer and long-time friend of Krehlan, the golden-haired half-elf Ashemmon of Rhymanthiin became Blackstaff in Ches of 1424 DR, the Year of the Dog-Eared Journal, after Krehlan’s death.[7] Ashemmon was adept in matters of statecraft.[11]
Samark Dhanzscul
The heir to Ashemmon, the wizard Samark became Blackstaff in 1464 DR, the Year of the Six-Armed Elf, after Ashemmon’s death.[12] Samark was murdered by the ambitious wizard Khondar “Ten-Rings” Naomal on 20 Marpenoth, 1479 DR.[13]
Vajra Safahr
Vajra, the current Blackstaff, is a young woman from Tethyr who became Samark’s lover and heir. She is the daughter of the paladin Tamik al Tamik el Safahr and Parama yr Manshaka. Though naturally a sorceress, she abandoned the art of sorcery at the age of fourteen and adopted wizardry when her sorcerer’s spells were not enough to save her father and aunt, Mynda Gyrfalcon-Thann, from assassins.[14] Vajra’s heir is the sorceress Laraelra Harsard.[15] Vajra is descended from Khelben through his great-grandson Count Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 235. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 252–254. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  3. Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 337–342. ISBN 978-0786940165.
  4. Maliantor of Waterdeep, My Eyes Open Always: Memories of the Blackstaff, Year of the Enchanted Puppet (1416 DR).” Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 226. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 247. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  6. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 303. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Paerl Nhesch, Architects Arcane: Waterdeep and the Sword Coast North, Year of the Dog-Eared Journal (1424 DR).” Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 258. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  8. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 234. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  9. Laeral Arunsun, Lifelong with Regrets, Year of the Wrathful Eye (1391 DR).” Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 232. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  10. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  11. Sarathus Hothemer, Blackstaves: Their History, Year of the Forged Sigil (1459 DR).” Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 238. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  12. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 243. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  13. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  14. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 247–251. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  15. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 260–263. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.
  16. Steven E. Schend (September 2008). Blackstaff Tower. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 253. ISBN 0-7869-4913-9.

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