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Esvele Greycastle was a Chondathan human cleric of Shar and a shadow adept from Chondath in the mid–14th century DR. Sold by her parents and raised in the church, she initially worked intrigues in Sembia.[1] Of greater note, however, were her grand schemes to create dead-magic zones in the Vast Swamp of Cormyr.[4] and Shadowdale.[5]

DescriptionEdit

Esvele was of slim build and average height for her kind. Being of native Chondathan ancestry, she had curly dark brown hair, tawny-hued skin, and amber eyes, and was attractice. She kept her hair unbound and grew it long, down to her waist.[1]

PersonalityEdit

A true and zealous believer in the Lady of Loss and the teachings of her church, she was determined to fulfill her role as an exemplary worshiper of Shar. She kept her emotions well-guarded and only showed on her face the feelings that she wished to be known. This was in keeping with Chondathan mannerisms and customary serenity. Although she left the land at a young age, she'd spent long enough there to acquire its customs.[1]

HistoryEdit

Early YearsEdit

Esvele was the middle daughter of a prosperous merchant family from Chondath. When Esvele was aged around thirteen years old, her parents slumped suddenly into poverty after some poor trading decisions. Almost on the street, they were approached unexpectedly by the clergy of the church of Shar, who offered them a substantial sum in gold for the purchase of Esvele. Her parents quickly accepted this offer and handed over their daughter.[1]

Thereafter, young Esvele was raised to adulthood in the church, rising swiftly as a prodigy of the faith.[1]

By 1372 DR, she was assigned to a secret temple in Urmlaspyr. There, she attempted to recruit new members to the church from the rich but jaded merchants of Sembia, using her looks and knack for intrigue.[1]

Tearing the WeaveEdit

It wasn't long, however, before Esvele was ranked as a high priestess. At some point, at Esvele's direction, a crystal orb plucked out of the statue of Shar in the Temple of Old Night in Calimport was imbued by the goddess Shar herself with divine power, turning it into a powerful tool of mental domination known as the Starry Gnosis.[6]

Shortly after, Esvele initiated a far-reaching plan to tear a hole in the Weave of magic and so create a dead-magic zone over the Vast Swamp between Sembia and Cormyr. She visited the mutant black dragon Despayr in his new lair in the swamp, and though he tried to kill her, she easily repulsed him. Rather than slay the defeated dragon, she revealed that his visions came from the goddess Shar and instructed him on his role in Shar's plans so that he could fulfill them. She pulled from his hoard a shadow shard and explained how he could use it to transform his lizardfolk minions into shadowslain, and furthermore use it at the center of a ritual to tear open the Weave. With this knowledge, Despayr created the Shadowscale tribe and began a campaign of conquest over the Vast Swamp.[4]

At some point, Esvele came into contact with a shadar-kai sorcerer named Thieraven, who sought aid in breaking his people's shadow curse. She wrote him back a letter, claiming that the goddess Shar could not break the bargain that led to the curse. However, she promised that if he and his shadar-kai aided in her scheme, then they would have a secret realm in the Vast Swamp where they would be immune to the curse, with other sites planned in the future. She urged him to recruit other shadar-kai to the effort. She also trained him in the use of the Shadow Weave in the hopes that he would teach it to more of his kind. Esvele sent Thieraven and his shadar-kai to the Lost Refuge in the Vast Swamp to help Despayr. Thieraven reopened the Dusk Lord's Passage, a portal to the Shadow Swamp in the Plane of Shadow, where the rite was enacted. There, Esvele met with Despayr at the Monastery of the Ebon Dome to commence the great work.[7]

There, Esvele provided material support to the plan, such as installing a zombie dragon turtle as a guardian in the Shadow Swamp, along with a dragonbone lyre and the tune to pacify it,[8] and five flameskulls and bookshelves and tables of fire protection for the cult's library in the Black Rift, where the rite was enacted.[9]

Esvele also oversaw fellow priestess Naedaenya Arthas in her running of the false Temple of Mystra in Wheloon, Cormyr, which began construction in around Ches of the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR. She encouraged Arthas to lure more petitioners,[10] for kidnap and sacrifice in Despayr's rite to tear the Weave.[4]

Ultimately, however, adventurers in service to the goddess Mystra exposed the false temple in Wheloon in early Eleint of 1374 DR, and furthermore uncovered and thwarted Despayr's plot to tear the Weave.[11][12] In the aftermath of the climactic battle, Esvele herself might possibly have appeared to retrieve the shadow shard, using a word of recall to escape back to the House of Night temple in Shadowdale.[13]

Scouring of ShadowdaleEdit

Undeterred, Esvele began work on another, grander attempt. On Uktar 3, she met with Fzoul Chembryl, high priest of Bane at Zhentil Keep and established an alliance. On the Feast of the Moon at the end of the month, she mediated an alliance between the Zhentarim and House Dhuurniv, a drow house of Lolth worshipers.[11]

Esvele had previously introduced Alokkair the wizard-king to an emissary of Telamont Tanthul, named Nayiiara Darhoun. The lich had allowed Esvele to create a the House of Night beneath his lair in Shadowdale[14] in exchange for the Netherese knowledge Nayiiara bestowed him. It was in this lair that Esvele completed the Rite of Unwinding, which created an expanding area that suppressed the Weave over the entire dale. However, her then Zhentarim allies, who had conquered the dale, had mixed feelings about her ritual. The Rite of Unwinding prevented the Chosen of Mystra from interfering with their occupation of Shadowdale but it also impaired their own spellcasting unless they converted their magic to the Shadow Weave. Regardless, in 1375, adventurers, who would later go on to help free Shadowdale from the occupying Zhent army, slew Esvele and then reversed the ritual, making magic function normally in the dale once more, thus cutting short the career of a promising young priestess.[5]

AbilitiesEdit

Esvele was a capable cleric of Shar, commanding the Evil and Knowledge domains of divine spells. She also was an adept practitioner of Shadow Weave magic, of an especially insidious, pernicious, and tenacious form. She could also cast spells both silently and without making a move.[1]

Her upbringing taught her to be a survivor, and she had a talent for intrigue. She proficient in the chakram.[1]

PossessionsEdit

Esvele wore magical +2 studded leather shadow armor and fought with a +1 returning chakram and a +1 sickle. She wore a ring of mind shielding and also possessed a staff of charming, as well as scrolls of circle of death and globe of invulnerability.[1]

AppendixEdit

BackgroundEdit

Esvele Greycastle began simply as an example priestess of Shar in Lords of Darkness; indeed, "Esvele" and "Greycastle" are taken from the list of example names for Chondathans in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition, page 12. She was reused as a behind-the-scenes villain for the Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave adventure and then as an open villain in Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land.

NotesEdit

  1. Esvele's name is spelled "Greycastle" with an 'e' in Lords of Darkness (2001). However, it is spelled "Graycastle" with an 'a' in Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave (March 2007) and Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land (July 2007). The Grand History of the Realms (September 2007) reverts the spelling to "Greycastle", and this most recent version is adopted for this article.)
  2. In Lords of Darkness (3rd edition, 2001), page 124, Esvele is written as having eight levels of cleric of Shar and five levels of shadow adept. However, in Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land (3.5 edition, 2007), page 76, she is written as having thirteen levels of cleric of Shar alone.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Sean K. Reynolds, Jason Carl (November 2001). Lords of Darkness. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 124–125. ISBN 0-7869-1989-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.
  3. Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–113. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.
  6. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 156. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  7. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50,56,57,157,158. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  8. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 78,96. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  9. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 117–118. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  10. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 11,158. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 156,157. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  12. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 21,119. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  13. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 147. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
  14. Richard Baker, Eric L. Boyd, Thomas M. Reid (July 2007). Shadowdale: The Scouring of the Land. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 07-8694-039-5.

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