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The Severed Hand, formerly Hand of the Seldarine, is an elven fortress, located in a canyon at the base of The Spine of the World across from the Fields of Slaughter, built in the early 900s as a place from which they could rule the surrounding lands. It was originally known as the Hand of the Seldarine by the elves but the locals always knew it as the Severed Hand due to the five towers arranged like a humanoid hand reaching towards the sky. It was due in large part to the elves presence there that the local orc population was restrained from successfully forming a horde and sweeping into the lands south of the mountain range. The elves' hippogriff riders plus excellent swordsmen, archers and mages slaughtered the orcs whenever they massed. They also forged a close alliance with the Dwarves of Dorn's Deep and together, crafted some of the greatest magical arms, armour and other items of that age. For centuries, elves lived in peace in the fortress.
After a while, it was discovered, to the astonishment of the elves, that several orc tribes were armed with those magical weapons forged by the elves and the dwarves. Larrel, the current archmage and ruler of the Hand immediately blamed the Dwarves for supplying the orcs and broke off all ties. Even while the hostilities between the erstwhile allies were escalating, an orc horde descended upon the Hand, all equipped with the alliances items. A battle took place first on the soon-to-be-named Fields of Slaughter (named after the battle), then, finally, in the halls of the fortress itself.
Larrel's daughter Evayne had fled the citadel to appeal to the dwarves after Larrel struck her in anger when she argued with his decision. She successfully lobbied the Dwarves to listen to an elven offer of peace but Dwarven scouts had already reported the horde had grown larger and was moving on Dorn's Deep. The Dwarves put up a valiant defence but Evayne and the dwarves were all killed.
In the final moments of the Hand, when the horde already had seized the first three floors of the fortress, the elven archmage Larrel, founder and also inhabitant of the Hand, and his associate wizards attempted desperately to cast a mythal to save the Hand from the invasion but it went awry and transformed every living creature in the building, orc and elf alike, into undead beings, frozen in the final moment of battle, causing all but Larrel to haunt the place as ghosts, unaware that any time had passed since the spell was cast. Those who had already died in the battle also began to rise as hideous undead. Larrel himself was turned into a Baelnorn and soon went mad with only repetitive ghosts for company.
The aforementioned adventurers aided Larrel, brought life back to parts of the citadel and freed the ghosts to the afterlife before moving on to complete their quest. They later discovered that the unscrupulous drow merchant Nym had stolen the alliance items from Dorn's Deep's treasury and sold them to the orcs and precipitated the fall of the elf & dwarf strongholds by himself.
The Hand is separated into four floors, and on the fourth floor, four towers and one "fake" tower that leads to nowhere, (like five fingers) branch out of it, each having four floors themselves. The four towers are the Wizard tower, the Cleric tower, the Officer tower, and the War tower. The first floor is the greeting hall, the second floor is the guild (where the library, workhouses, etc. are) floor, the third floor is the throne floor, and the fourth floor is where the lodging (barracks, slave quarters, etc.) floor, and the four towers branch out of this floor.
The Legion of the Chimera's OccupationEdit
Around 1306 DR, the cambions Isair and Madae brought their army to the abandoned fortress to make it the base for their Legion of the Chimera and a sect of Xvimlar clergy. After enslaving hundereds of men and women, a huge restoration project commenced. Isair and Madae sent emissaries to the Ten-Towns to create some kind of a peace treaty for trading. The mayor of Bryn Shander thought sending his emissary with pastries filled with holy water to the twins, which burned them because of their demonic nature, which ignited a war. Soon, a band of adventurers that had sailed from Luskan to aid Targos made their way to the fortress. They found a huge slave population, which they freed by slaying the glabrezu guard. They met a mage named Orrick the Grey, who informed them the whole fortress was collapsing into limbo because of the intense changes the twins had been setting on the fortress. When the adventurers went to battle Isair and Madae, the twins began to be sucked into limbo themselves. As the Hand shifted into limbo, most of the fortress was destroyed.