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The empire of Netheril had acquired a set of the Nether Scrolls, explaining their rapid rise and their mastery of magic. The elves arranged for the scrolls theft from the Netherese, and secreted them away in Windsong Tower, in the city of Myth Drannor.
The elves learned that the scrolls had to be read in order, and also that every race that read them learned different information. For example, one of the main thieves of the scrolls was Rilmohx Sha'Quessir, a gnome elf-friend who learned a vast knowledge of illusion magic by glancing only briefly through the scrolls. The elves also learned that altering the scroll's form into something different allowed for hidden meanings to be revealed.
A High Mage named Tyvollus Aluviirsan therefore transformed the metal scrolls into a thin golden beech tree, with golden metal leaves, and with its trunk in the face of a treant. In the tree's foliage are a small silver bird and a snake with golden, silver, and electrum scales. The bird and snake are said to represent Corellon and Mystra, both deities of magic.
The Nether Scrolls, in this form, allows for six different ways of learning its secrets:
- By analyzing the shape and structure of the roots, which spells out words in the ancient elven language, one learns of the basics of magical knowledge. This is the first set, the Arcaenus Fundare.
- By reading the patterns and shapes of the leaves which form letters and words, one learns how to create magical items of all types. This is the second set, the Magicus Creare.
- By listening to the animals in the tree, one learns of living self-sustaining magical fields, as well as of wild magic and dead magic. This is the third set, the Major Creare.
- By listening to the rustling of the leaves, one learns of the multitude of planes, their interactions with each other, and how magic functions on each plane. This is the fourth set, the Planus Mechanicus.
- The fifth set, the Ars Factum, was revealed only when the entire grove contorted its bark and branches into symbols along with the melodies of the leaves and animals singing in concert. This explained the creation and understanding of artifacts and the creation of new magical life-forms.
- Finally, a sixth source of magical knowledge can be gleamed only once you consider all 50 scrolls as a whole. It taught the elves the upper levels of Weave spellcasting (10th and 11th level spells) as well as Elven High Magic rituals. This can only be learned by the snake and bird merging together into the form of a small golden dragon.
Tyvollus Aluviirsan remained with the Quess'Ar'Teranthvar, needing to use all of his concentration to force the tree to retain its shape (if he were separated from it the tree would have collapsed into molten metal. After 20 years or less, the metal would have once again reformed itself into the metal scrolls that the Netherese were familiar with).
In 1375 DR, agents of Hadrhune ripped the Quess'Ar'Teranthvar out of Windsong Tower, unbeknownst to the warriors of the Cormanthor War, and spirited it away to the Anauroch desert. Darcassan the Farseer managed to get word of the theft to the Liberators of Shadowdale but couldn't help them find its location other than to suggest that they seach for the Crypt of Augathra the Mad. They found it and the Lost Sage, who granted them a vision of a way to destroy the tree before the Shadovar could use it for their own ends. The adventurers managed to succeed in their task, dissolving the Quess'Ar'Teranthvar and scattering the component Nether Scrolls to the winds.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 158. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.
- ↑ Greg A. Vaughan, Skip Williams, Thomas M. Reid (November 2007). Anauroch: The Empire of Shade. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 115. ISBN 0-7869-4362-9.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 159. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.