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Remind me to tell ye [sic] more on the heinous Wizard-Emperors Shoon the Fourth and his more-abhorrent three-times-greatgrandson Shoon the Seventh, for they were both evil incarnate.
  — Elminster Aumar in a letter to King Haedrak Rhindaun III of Tethyr[6]

Qysar Shoon VII was one of the most wicked rulers and one of the most powerful spellcasters to ever have lived in Faerûn. Thought to have died with the Shoon Imperium of Calimshan, in truth, Shoon VII had managed to preserve himself as a lich for a thousand years.[2]

DescriptionEdit

The man known as Shoon VII had taken many physical forms over his long life, beginning with that of his natural, Calishite male body.

In his demilich form, Shoon appeared as a mostly intact floating skull with gem teeth.[7]

In his most recent form, (the strange circumstances of which are explained below,) Shoon VII appeared as a short, young wood elven maiden with bobbed, curly silver hair. In this feminine form, he had hazel eyes, which darkened to mahogany when he became angry.[2]

PersonalityEdit

Shoon VII was an exceptionally cruel man, yet he had such great charisma that he could inspire deep loyalty from his underlings and the people of his realm. His speeches were said to have been "awe-inspiring".[1]

While a demilich, Shoon would not bother speaking with anyone who did not refer to him as "Emperor". He was cold-blooded and cynical and would only speak in a calm, deadpan tone, even if in the midst of combat.[7]

In his guise as an elven woman, Shoon had a dry sense of humor and a strange knack for knowledge of ancient history.[7]

AbilitiesEdit

Shoon VII was exceptionally talented at magical combat, and had a special talent for anticipating which spell his opponents would choose to cast.[1]

Shoon had made himself immune to poisons.[7]

In his lifetime, Shoon VII had developed several powerful spells, including soulfire, which converted the souls of living victims into spellfire, Kodos' eruptive strike, which launched molten rock into the air, and Shoon's villein volley, which converted up to 20 living persons into a powerful magic missile. More than 500 slaves and peasants lost their lives to his repeated use of this latter spell.[1]

In his demilich form, Shoon was able to drain the souls of victims. He could also steal spells from the minds of any who had touched the Tome of the Unicorn. He could either cast the stolen spells or use their raw power to heal himself. However, as a demilich, Shoon was incapable of memorizing or casting any of the spells he had known in life; he could only cast a stolen spell.[7]

In his new elven form, Shoon could still use all of his full magical powers; plus he gained the innate abilities of being in an elven body, such as superior night vision and hearing.[2]

PossessionsEdit

Shoon VII crafted a good number of magical items and artifacts with his evil magics, perhaps most notably the Tome of the Unicorn and the Staff of Shoon, the latter of which was carved from unicorn horns.[8] The Tome's last known location was in a safehold beneath the Imperial Mount in Shoonach. The Staff was in the treasure horde of a blue dragon.[7]

Shoon VII acquired the Codex Thealnakkar, a tome describing the creation of Calishite mosaics from a wizard of Memnon named Thealnak. Shoon used mosaics of teleportation to link some of his many safeholds.[9]

Shoon inherited the artifact known as Janyra's Tome from previous emperors of the Imperium, and he used it with one of Janyra's Rings to interrogate spies or to steal secrets from enemies.[10]

Shoon VII also possessed two of the Qysari Rings, Qysarus Secretus, which protected him from scrying, and Unicorn's Bane, which he used to hunt down and slay unicorns.[11]

In his latest female form, Shoon VII wore an amulet of proof against detection and location, an elven cloak and elven boots, and a ring of mind shielding. He wore this last magic item to ensure that his secret identity was not detected.[2]

HoldingsEdit

Shoon VII had magically protected lairs in every mountain range and forest in the Lands of Intrigue. One of his major safeholds was the one below the old Imperial Mount,[2][7] below the tomb city of Debukkher.[3] He also "laired" in the apprentice quarters of Zallanora within the Gheldieg estate in Eshpurta.[2][7]

RelationshipsEdit

Shoon VII was the son of the Caleph Arcane of Almraiven, Nadim el Jhotos, and Selara, the second daughter of Empress Shoon V. He was one of twelve children. He and eight of his siblings were exceptionally talented in the art of magic.[1]

Shoon had at least one daughter, Shaani.[1] He was the nephew of Shoon VI, whom he would murder.[1]

Shoon's archnemesis was the blue dragon Iryklathagra, and the two fought three epic battles over the period of Shoon VII's reign.[12]

HistoryEdit

Rise to PowerEdit

Kodos yn Nadim el Jhotos was born in the Year of Full Cribs, 290 DR. he was trained by the famous guild arcane of Almraiven, the oldest guild arcane in Calimshan. He was so skilled at spell battles that he had already slain at least twelve archmages before he even became emperor.[1]

In his nineteenth year, he and his father orchestrated the bloody assassination of Emperor Shoon VI by paying off the royal guard to slay hin with no fewer than 35 stab wounds. No sooner had they assassinated their master than Shoon VI's nephew Kodos "took revenge" for his uncle and killed them all. With Shoon VI dead, Kodos was the next male kin and took the throne of the Shoon Imperium, becoming Shoon VII in the Year of the Cascade, 309 DR.[1]

As emperor, Shoon VII made sure that he had full control of the subtlest details of his empire. He immediately demanded a vow of loyalty (enforced magically) from each of the calephs arcane. Some refused and were killed; others accepted and were rewarded with riches. The caleph arcane of Memnon was one who refused, as did the mages under him, so Shoon VII killed them all and proceeded to rule the guild arcane of Memnon himself.[1]

AtrocitiesEdit

When crime increased in his empire, Shoon VII's solution was to order that oil be poured into the sewers of each Shoon city and lit to drive out the thieves' guilds living in hiding there. Shoon did not care that these conflagrations resulted in the deaths of over three million people. Ankhapur, Calimport, Innarlith, Ithmong, and Memnon were nearly destroyed from these Great Fires[1] in 319 DR.[13] In Shoon's view, the end had justified the means, as organized crime was essentially eliminated. Instead, the emperor and his advisors took over control of "illegal" activities themselves.[1]

Shoon was responsible for the deaths of at least two dozen unicorns, which were sacrificed to create his most powerful magical artifacts. He even sanctioned hunts against them.[1] In 355 DR,[14] when the elves of the Snakewood tried to defend a small herd of seven[15] unicorns from being captured and slain, Shoon VII ordered his legions to eradicate the elves. So many elves were killed that the headwaters of River Rimril turned red from blood. Two-thirds of the elves from two tribes of the forest were captured. Half of these were enslaved; on the other half, Shoon VII performed horrifying magical experiments.[16]

…waste matter and flesh frail in its morality…
  — Shoon VII, describing the use of the horns of twelve unicorns to create the Staff of Shoon[14]

From the slaughtered elves and unicorns, Shoon VI was able to craft the magical artifact known as the Tome of the Unicorn.[15] Shoon complete his enchantments on the Tome in 355 DR by soaking the metal book plates in the blood of twelve unicorns.[7] Not wanting to waste the remains of the unicorns he had massacred, he used their horns to carve the Staff of Shoon.[14]

In 361 DR, Shoon VII discovered the hidden lair of Hazamir al Aktorral, a former regent of the Empire who had successfully become a lich. Shoon VII battled with Hazamir and turned him into a grisgol.[17]

In that same year,[note 2] Shoon VII made secret plans to expand his territory, using the ambitious prince Ashar Tornamn of Tethyr as a pawn. Wanting to impress his qysar, the young nazir built up an army and marched in a fifteen-month campaign, setting himself up as king of Valashar. Ultimately, in 376 DR, Crown Prince Azoun I of Cormyr squelched Ashar's dreams and marched an army through Valashar and all the way to Ithmong before returning to Cormyr to deal with orc hordes. Despite the loss of territory, Shoon VII believed that he had tricked Cormyr into a trap, hoping to strike at that country after having it weaken itself on its long march, and was disappointed that random chance had ruined his plans.[12]

Conflicts with IryklathagraEdit

Shoon vs Sharpfangs

A depiction of the Emperor Shoon VII in a mage battle against the blue dragon Iryklathagra.

Shoon VII's conflict with the blue dragon Iryklathagra started in 322 DR when she landed in the Qysar's Square and demanded to speak with the emperor. She wanted reparations for the "theft of her hoard" by Shoon's great-great-great-grandfather Shoon IV.[12][5] After several days of negotiations, Shoon VII paid her a small fraction of her claims, promising to arrange the rest of the payment at a later time. He said that he would personally deliver the hoard to her.[5] Instead, he attacked her,[5] and the two fought for the first time somewhere in the region of Valashar[5] in northeastern Tethyr.[12] Four entire villages were destroyed by their volley of magic, and Shoon VII emerged the victor, driving the dragon away after having stolen multiple magic items from her grasp.[12][5]

In 358 DR, Shoon VII fought with Iryklathagra a second time[12][5] in the plains of what would soon be Valashar.[16][5] Some believe that Shoon chose the spot to keep the battle away from Shoonach. The battle ended in a sort of stalemate, as Iryklathagra fled from the fight with Shoon's magic staff.[16][5] Even more Tethyrian lands were demolished, and dozens of peasants and soldiers were sacrificed to power Shoon's soulfire spell.[12][5]

Iryklathagra shall rue the day she challenged the almighty Shoon, for I shall personally dine upon her flesh and gnaw upon her bones.… I shall fashion her hide into a mantle befitting of the qysar. By all the gods, I swear to bring her only death, for no man or wyrm shall ever challenge the authority of the Shoon in this realm or the next!
  — excerpt from the Collected Ravings of Shoon VII, 469 DR[18]

In 366 DR, Shoon would have his final battle with "Sharpfangs".[12][1][5] This battle occurred in the skies above Shoonach, over the slaves' city adjacent to the city center. 75,000 persons were slaughtered as a result of the careless use of magic from both parties.[12][5] During the battle, Shoon's right leg was crippled, and his left arm was shattered and nearly bitten clear off.[1][5] Only his powerful contingency magics saved him. (From that day on, he forever walked with a limp.)[1] He had managed to shred Iryklathagra's wings, and his soldiers and wizards were then able to drive her off. Shoon shouted in victory even as his capital city smoldered.[12][5]

UndeathEdit

After his final fight with Iryklathagra, Shoon VII decided to set his plan into action to achieve lichdom. He placed his daughter Shaani on the throne as regent while he recovered from his injuries and avoided being assassinated by a few advisors or family members. He had his own tomb constructed in Debukkher in Shoonach, which had a secret passage to his hidden lair.[1]

Shoon used illusions to make it appear that his injuries would not heal.[1] Then, he successfully faked his own death—or rather his murder—in 367 DR. He tricked his greedy daughter Shaani into poisoning his soup and taking the throne for herself. She had no idea that he was immune to poisons.[7][1][5] He used magic to create a clone of his dead body, which was embalmed and entombed.[1]

Free from the responsibilities of ruling his empire directly, Shoon spent the next several years researching lichdom, while he continued to pull strings behind the scenes. He was successful in becoming a lich in 370 DR.[7]

During this time, Shoon carefully moved many of the magic items he had created during his life from the imperial treasuries and into hiding in his own lairs. Since his archnemesis Iryklathagra had stolen his most powerful staff, he kept his remaining artifact, the Tome of the Unicorn close by his side.[7]

Except for the elves, the rest of civilization was unaware that Shoon VII existed for the next seven centuries, and all that the elves knew was that he had hidden away somewhere within the ruins of Deep Shanatar, having reached those depths from tunnels in his dungeons below the Imperial Mount of Shoonach.[7]

Sometime during that 700 years, Shoon's skeletal form decayed until only a demilich remained. No one knows whether it was intentional or accidental, but Shoon's floating skull became entrapped in an extradimensional space within the last page of the Tome of the Unicorn, where Shoon remained until he was discovered another 300 years later by Shond Tharovin in the year 1357 DR.[7][19]

Shond successfully figured out how to summon Shoon VII. Rather than destroy Shond, he made a proposal. He requested that Shond bring him the souls of seven innocent victims for him to consume. If Shond did this, Shoon would tell him the location of a powerful artifact known as the Living Gem,[7] which Shoon had discovered at some point before the fall of the Imperium.[20]

Zallanora ArgentressesEdit

Shoon VII and Zalla

Shoon VII in demilich form and in the guise of the elven woman Zallanora.

In 1358 DR, a young wood elf maiden from Mosstone of only 105 years was traveling with some companions from Erlkazar to Silverymoon. Her name was Zallanora Argentresses. She had recently graduated from the Mystics' Academy and was planning to next attend the Lady's College.[2]

She never arrived. She and her friends were ambushed in the Cloud Peaks and kidnapped by the wicked and insane Calishite wizard Shond Tharovin. Shond had recently discovered and stolen the evil Tome of the Unicorn from where it had been hidden away in Ruathym and released the demilich—Shoon VII—who had been trapped inside. Shoon VII drank the souls of Zallanora's friends. When it was her turn to be consumed, at the moment, the Time of Troubles began, and magic chaos that occurred when the gods fell to the earth somehow caused Zallanora and Shoon VII to switch bodies. From that moment on, Zallonora found herself in the form of a skull trapped within the Tome of the Unicorn, and Shoon VII was once again free to reign unchecked in the world.[2][7][21]

Shoon and Shond worked together to hide the evidence of the ambush of Zallanora's caravan, making it look like it was destroyed by the magical chaos of the god's fall. Then, Shoon kept his promise and revealed the location of the Living Gem to Shond.[7]

It took Shoon twelve years to get used to controlling his new female body. After this time of waiting, he set to work returning to his evil plans. He began by joining the Cowled Wizards of Amn, becoming an apprentice to Lady Varytha Gheldieg. While in a woman's body, "she" used seduction to gain many male admirers and had several wizards who volunteered to mentor "her". On those few occasions where "Zallanora" accidentally revealed that "she" knew more about magic than a young apprentice should, Shoon methodically assassinated any observers and skillfully covered his tracks.[2]

Shoon VII was patient. He knew that he had many hundreds of years to make his plans in his new elven body, and those plans fully included returning to rule the lands and empire that were once his to control.[2][5]

Shoon VII was fully aware of the existence of the Twisted Rune. He had gained knowledge of their plans through Uruathis a lamia noble working for Kartak Spellseer deep under the ruins of Shoonach. His plans included offering the Twisted Rune to join him as his servants or be destroyed.[2]

By 1370 DR, Shoon had gained influence among the Cowled Wizards in Eshpurta, Esmeltaran, and Keczulla. He intended to use the riches of his "mentor", Lady Varytha, to fund a mercenary army and use the Cowled Wizards as magic support to restore the Shoon Empire.[2][5] He was still active and in Zallanora's body by the year 1374 DR,[3][5] and he was actively trying to figure out a way to destroy his greatest rivals, Iryklathagra and the liches of the Twisted Rune.[5]

Toward the dragon, he planned to send waves of dragonslayers against her until he could fully grasp her defenses and find a weakness in them. His method for this was to leave such things as maps and descriptions of her hoard in various dungeons and crypts in the south, so that unsuspecting adventurers would find them and greedily seek after her treasure.[5]

After the Rage of Dragons in 1373 DR, Shoon VII sent an agent disguised as a priest of Bhaelros to Calimport to speak with the Syl-Pasha Ralan el Pesarkhal, who attempted to convince the caleph to offer a bounty of the position of Syl-Vizar of Calimport to whoever could slay the dragon.[5]

AppendixEdit

TriviaEdit

Steven E. Schend, who created the character of Shoon VII, has suggested that Shoon VII would have traveled to Maztica to effortlessly conquer that continent. He further postulated that the return of Abeir to Toril (4th edition) would have resulted in him no longer existing on Toril.[22]

NotesEdit

  1. Dragons of Faerûn, p. 20, strangely gives his ethnicity as Tethyrian, yet this conflicts strongly with pages of lore on the history of the Shoon Imperium in earlier sourcebooks, so it is counted as an error here.
  2. The chronology around the founding of Valashar, Ashar's March, the war with Cormyr, the forging of Ilbratha, and associated events is rather confused, with various sources giving no less than three different dates, twenty to forty years apart. That is, Lands of Intrigue places these events over 321336 DR; Empires of the Shining Sea and Sea of Fallen Stars choose 361376 DR. The Grand History of the Realms uses a mixture of both dating schemes and also introduces 356 DR as another key date. These errors have been attributed by author Steven E. Schend as confusion between Cormyr Reckoning and Dale Reckoning in his works, and by George Krashos as a missed editorial deadline for the fix in the Grand History, and Brian R. James says the 356 date in Grand History is an unexplained error, all as discussed here. This article adopts the agreed 361–376 DR date, which is supported by all associated lore.

AppearancesEdit

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 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0786912377.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), pp. 8–9. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 121–122. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  6. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book One: Tethyr. (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Three: Erlkazar & Folk of Intrigue. (TSR, Inc), pp. 10–12. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  8. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  9. Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
  10. Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), pp. 91–92. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
  11. Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 12.8 12.9 Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0786912377.
  13. Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Steven E. Schend (October 1998). Calimport. (TSR, Inc), pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-7869-1238-3.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 17. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  17. Erik Mona ed. (February 2006). “Prison Mail”. Dungeon #131 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 12.
  18. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  19. Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-0786912377.
  20. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  21. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  22. Steven E. Schend (2012-04-17). What is Shoon VII up to?. Candlekeep Forum. Retrieved on 2016-07-23.

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