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Alusair Obarskyr

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Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr,[9] the Steel Regent, was the princess and regent of the kingdom of Cormyr, and the youngest child of King Azoun IV and Queen Filfaeril. Alusair led Cormyr as its regent for her infant nephew, Azoun V.[citation needed]

Some of the major concerns of her reign were rebuilding Cormyr and reclaiming the realm's status as the leading power in the region. As regent, she tried to keep Cormyr fully independent, by fighting attempts to influence her country's policy and economy made by agents of its neighbors, Sembia and Westgate. She was advised by Caladnei, apprentice to Vangerdahast, who advised Alusair's father.[10]

Names & TitlesEdit

Her full name was "Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr".[1][4] Her father Azoun nicknamed her "Allie".[2]

Ironlord Torg mac Cei of Earthfast called her the "Mithril Princess" after the mithril armor his dwarves crafted for her.[2] This title stuck with her for the next decade.[3] The young noble-born knights whom Alusair rode with eventually dubbed her the "Steel Princess", however, in admiration of her spirit and her skill in battle.[1]

When she became regent of Cormyr, she was named the "Steel Regent".[1]

DescriptionEdit

At about the age of 19, Alusair was short and slender, with dark eyes. The Neverwintan diplomat Aszundar Zel described her as "impish" and "winsomely beautiful" after a court visit in 1354 DR.[11]

Aged around 22, Alusair was of medium height at 5 feet 6 inches (1.67 meters), and she weighed 150 pounds (68 kilograms). She had blonde hair, but some reported her eyes as blue.[6]

By the age of 25, after four years of hard adventuring, Alusair had changed noticeably, acquiring an athletic build at the same height. Now she possessed a mature beauty with wrinkles at the corners of her eyes.[4][2] She had deep oak-brown eyes[3][4][2][12] and black eyebrows,[12] yet her hair was long and golden,[4][2] though this later turned ash-blonde.[3][12]

PersonalityEdit

Alusair was known to have heated political arguments with her father, which would end in broken plates and goblets.[13] She had no desire to be the queen of Cormyr.[3]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


HistoryEdit

The PrincessEdit

Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr was the daughter of King Azoun IV Obarskyr and Queen Filfaeril Selzair of the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr.[6][1][7][8][5] One night in Suzail, Azoun had met the famed bard and Chosen of Mystra Storm Silverhand and spent the evening with her lying on the rooftop at the back of the palace, talking and swapping a flask of good zzar. His courtiers discovered him and brought the pair back, as Filfaeril had grown alarmed at Azoun's disappearance. Fortunately, Storm calmed Filfaeril with her charm and even played her harp for husband and wife in the royal bedchambers, late in the night, setting a romantic mood that Filfaeril believed led to the conception of their daughter.[14] Alusair was born in the Year of the Snow Winds, 1335 DR. She was their youngest child, born a year after her sister Tanalasta, and three years after her brother Foril, who died as an infant.[6][1][7][8][5][note 1]

In her early years, she apparently led the life of a typical Obarskyr princess, receiving a formal education and undergoing training in courtly activities, including etiquette but also riding and martial skills.[4] She was tutored by the Royal Magician, Vangerdahast.[15] She learned some military strategy from her father[16] and spent much time with the castle falconers, learning about raptors like falcons, hawks, and owls. She even helped the hawkmaster to a train a young black hawk.[17]

Alusair grew to be a rebellious and impulsive tomboy, hot-tempered and headstrong.[1][4] As the younger daughter, she wasn't set to rule. Furthermore, she had no interest in being queen anyway, nor in politics. Azoun and Filfaeril were too distracted by the kingdom's affairs, and Tanalasta by fashion, and Alusair felt she didn't belong in the royal court.[2] She revolted against courtly etiquette and the expectations placed upon her.[18] Instead, inspired by her father's stories of adventuring with the King's Men under the name "Balin the Cavalier", she wanted to leave and see the world. But her father the king struggled to instill in her a sense of duty to the nation, wishing to curb her desire to wander in favor of a life at court. He pressed her to give up her plans, and the equally headstrong father and daughter clashed. Something had to give.[2][19]

Finally, at the age of 21, Alusair could not bear life in the royal court anymore and determined to make her own way.[4][8][2] Matters came to a head in the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR, when her parents arranged a marriage between her and a member of the Wyvernspur family of Immersea.[6] In early spring, she left a note for her family explaining her reasons, took some money, and fled the court and Suzail for a life of adventure.[4][8][2][20][21] By the summer, stories of the princess's disappearance had spread across Faerûn. Her reasons and destination were not made known to the public, but it was rumored she had run away.[20]

Alusair's flight left her parents deeply hurt, and Azoun rightfully blamed himself.[22] He offered an impressive reward for her safe return: 12,000 gold pieces and a knighthood—a princess's ransom.[20][11] However, he did not consider the danger this put her in, as bounty hunters began to stalk the runaway princess. Alusair naturally did not want to be captured and ransomed back, nor to be held captive to extort the royal family. At some point, she threw her signet ring into the sea, so no one could identify her as a princess of House Obarskyr.[4][2]

The RunawayEdit

Within the month, Alusair was sighted in Tilverton, an independent town on Cormyr's border being besieged by orcs and goblins. By Tarsakh of 1356 DR, a Cormyrean army was sent to occupy Tilver's Gap—their exact purpose was unclear, but later it was rumored their primary goal was actually to retrieve their renegade princess rather than relieve the town. By Kythorn, they had massacred the orcs and occupied the Gap, and Cormyr then annexed the town.[20][23][24] By the month of Eleasias, the middle of summer, word of Alusair's runaway and presence in Tilverton had spread far and wide. However, for all this, the army failed to find Alusair.[20]

In fact, she had an ally in the form of Gharri Wondermaker, a priest of Gond and the de facto ruler of Tilverton before the occupation. That occupation saw all of Gharri's powers and responsibilities taken away in all but name, leaving him with the meaningless title of Lord Regent. After a few months, Gharri chose to quietly leave Tilverton, and Alusair ran off with him, with the pair heading into the wild north country. The priest's magic kept them safe during this period of intense searching. Alusair travelled with Gharri for some months and they had a heated love affair. However, their passion cooled and ended in a fight that saw them separate.[24][6][2][20][25][note 2]

Supported by the Knights of Myth Drannor, Gharri relocated to Castle Krag, a ruined fortress in Shadowdale, and from there he managed the local clergy of Gond, as well as a network of spies.[25][6] Finally, in 1356 DR, Gharri travelled to Daggerdale to assist Lord Randall Morn, and was slain near Serpentsbridge in a massive magical battle with a dozen Zhentarim mages, but his death was not widely known.[25] Alusair later told Azoun that Gharri was killed while they tried to escape bounty hunters seeking the reward.[4][2][26] His death steeled Alusair's resolve to not return home. For years after, she blamed her father for Gharri's death, but ultimately decided he could not have expected how the bounty hunters would behave.[4][2][note 3]

The AdventuressEdit

Alusair, meanwhile, largely drifted.[6] She'd been living on the money she took when she fled the palace, but when this ran out,[2] she was forced to steal to survive. She quickly grew skilled at thievery, and even prospered. No longer a sheltered princess, she became a streetwise operator.[6][27] Alusair spent a season or two searching for the famed Ring of Winter, as many adventurers had done, both good and bad.[4][2][28] In fact, she may have fallen victim to the so-called Curse of the Ring, according to Hydel Pontifax: it was said that whoever sought for the Ring of Winter would suffer the death of a loved one. It was only a few days after Alusair decided to seek the Ring that Gharri was slain.[26] Alusair later took work as a caravan guard and mercenary adventurer, but always made certain she agreed with the goals of her employers, and that she fought for good causes. At one point, she helped a fishing village make a deal with a dragon turtle.[2][note 4][note 5]

At one point, she went to Ravens Bluff in the Vast, on the other side of the Dragon Reach.[4][2] There, she brought from a mage a ring of proof against detection and location, which shielded her against magical detection—especially from the Royal Magician of Cormyr, Vangerdahast, and her father's own wizards.[1][4]

Her travels also took her to Waterdeep on the Sword Coast,[4][2] and she was supposedly sighted there in early Mirtul of the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR. Stories told that she was living as an adventurer and was a companion of a powerful mage of the city, but didn't say which. It was reported that in a Waterdhavian tavern, one man boasted that he knew and moments later was discovered turned to stone, which then spontaneously shattered.[11] North of Waterdeep, Alusair said she was traveling alone when she was captured by a band of drow.[2] She also said she visited the Moonshae Isles and Damara.[4][2]

Meanwhile, the runaway princess continued to be hunted all over the Realms, and the reward remained on offer. By Eleint of 1357 DR, the royal court of Cormyr was receiving reports of sightings all over Faerûn, from all points of the compass. Some even placed her in lands only known only as legends in Cormyr, so many were treated as false.[7][20] Outrageous and colorful stories flourished about Alusair's whereabouts and deeds.[11] One story even held she'd been seen in Westgate, sailing with pirates from the Pirate Isles.[24]

Eventually, however, the thieves' guild of Mulmaster put a price on Alusair's head and for this reason alone she returned to Cormyr, intending to reunite with her family and return to the safety of the court.[6] She journeyed back to Tilverton; sightings reported to the crown put her in the area, before she disappeared again.[24] In fact, she was captured by the Fire Knives[6] and held in a cell in their hideout in Tilverton.[27] Azoun sent out envoys like Rastafan Dimetar with orders to hire adventurers to locate Alusair.[24] Azoun himself came to Tilverton, ostensibly for a defense treaty, but was rumored to be seeking Alusair.[29] In fact, the Fire Knives were using Alusair as bait, to first lure the king to Tilverton and then for a trap to assassinate him—a fact very clear to all involved.[30] Ultimately, in Marpenoth of 1357 DR,[31] Rastafan's hired adventurers raided the hideout; the proactive princess aided her own rescue and took up a weapon for the fight. Vengeful, she was intent on slaying Radatha, leader of the Fire Knives who'd imprisoned her.[27][note 6]

In the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, the Time of Troubles erupted onto the Realms. Many rumors circulated about Alusair's activities in this tumultuous time. In early Eleint, in Wheloon, it was being rumored that Alusair had been sighted a number of times in the Dalelands, riding swiftly with sword sheathed over her back. Or merchants said they'd seen her with a bloody sword and striding through Myth Drannor's ruins. Or folk claimed that on horseback she had chased a man down in the streets of Selgaunt, capital of Sembia.[32]

Living by the sword, she matured into a confident, strong-willed, and independent young woman, fierce in her beliefs about right and wrong and ready to defend them at the point of a blade. Alusair felt that rulers like her father were unable to care for ordinary people, that their laws took away freedoms. She believed that she could do more good for Cormyr and the Realms with a sword in her hand than she could stuck at court with nobles, a life she had little patience for anyway. She did not want to be responsible for the lives of other people, only her own. She was also reluctant to quit her adventuring, having seen Azoun's own regret at settling down.[4][2]

The Mithril PrincessEdit

Alusair, Azoun & Vangerdahast

Alusair, Azoun IV, and Vangerdahast consult prior to battle with the Tuigan Horde.

Finally, in mid-autumn of the Year of the Serpent, 1359 DR, Alusair came to the Earthfast Mountains in the Vast, seeking a lost artifact (though friends said she was "hiding out"[33]) but finding Earthfast, a beleaguered dwarven city under constant siege by orcs and goblins. Seeing a good cause to fight for, Alusair lent her aid to the defense. The fighting was constant and bloody, but Alusair proved her battle prowess.[4][2][16] After one battle with goblins, the dwarves honored Alusair by forging for her a suit of their precious and legendarily strong Earthfast plate armor, sized for a human and fashioned from the finest mithril steel. Ironlord Torg mac Cei dubbed her "the Mithril Princess".[1][4][2][34][35]

Here, too, Alusair was the subject of much rumor and speculation, though for once her name was not attached. Traders dealing with the dwarves told of a mysterious warrior fighting beside them, a human woman with a fiery temper and regal bearing. Some thought she was a renegade Witch of Rashemen; others that she was one of the Knights of the North, driven from the Citadel of the Raven by the Zhentarim. A few expected she was a minor ruler or courtesan from a southern land. Even the missing pirate queen Shandagara was proposed. The sage Elminster of Shadowdale hinted that the truth would soon be revealed.[35] However, Alusair did not reveal her true identity to the dwarves.[2]

Alusair grew to respect the dwarves of Earthfast and treated them as comrades in arms.[16] She befriended the dwarf bard Morgalla, who said Alusair could tell a good story.[33] She grew familiar with the ways of Earthfast dwarves, learned their military practices and tactics, and came to speak and understand Dwarvish perfectly. Equally, she became experienced in fighting orcs.[2] In return, she shared her own knowledge of military strategy[16] and introduced Torg to the use of polearms, particularly recommending a treatise written by her father, Azoun. Torg began training his soldiers in their use.[2][36] Torg described Alusair as a "brilliant human general".[36][37] Thus, after many battles and new strategies, together they routed the orcs and saved Earthfast.[16]

Alusair stayed with the Earthfast dwarves for some nine months.[37][16] In Tarsakh in the Year of the Turret, 1360 DR, Ironlord Torg was the first to respond via letter to King Azoun's call for a crusade against the advancing Tuigan Horde.[37][38] Alusair accompanied the dwarves (including Morgalla[33]) on the march to Thesk, intending to finally reunite with her father. She'd decided it was time to forget the past and hoped he would at last accept her for who she was rather than what he wanted her to be.[4][2] Alusair did not tell Torg she was Azoun's daughter until it was too late for him to contact her father about it.[2]

She was re-united with her father during that campaign and earned a lot of respect when she temporarily took over her father's army and later personally captured and broke Yamun Kahan's standard.[39]

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The Steel PrincessEdit

Following the battle, Alusair left again, intending to settle some debts and keep some promises. First, she had to return what she'd been lent by the centaurs of the Forest of Lethyr for the battle. However, she expected to return to Suzail in a few months, before winter at the end of 1360 DR. She and her father parted in peace and mutual respect, and she kept a royal signet ring with which she could be located.[4][40] After four years, Alusair had had many adventures, and returned to the Cormyrean court wiser in the ways of the world than many other adventurers, and certainly most princes or princesses.[8]

Now based at the royal court in Suzail, Alusair worked with Azoun and Vangerdahast on a number of royal affairs and conducting various missions for the crown, ranging from serving as a diplomatic envoy to activities more suited to her past as an adventurer.[4] Back at court, she aided her father when he went in disguise among the commoners to hear their views, by clearing his schedule and making cover stories.[15] However, she spent the majority of her time riding around Cormyr, its backlands, and the desolate Stonelands, battling outlaws and monsters. She was accompanied by a band of young male noble knights, nicknamed her "Blades"; some were heirs, some youngest sons. Notoriously, she often took them as lovers.[3][1][18][41] But in admiration of her spirit and skill in combat, they named her the Steel Princess.[1] Once in her adventures, she was surprised by bandits and fought them off, only half-dressed and splattered with blood; Vangerdahast inadvertently scried on her at this time.[42]

Having proved her valor and prowess in the war, Alusair won the love and respect of both the people and the Purple Dragons, Cormyr's elite military. In their eyes, she was second only to her father the king. Many came to see her as a future commander of the Purple Dragons and of the whole realm.[8][1] In time, she became a Purple Dragon knight herself.[1] She was a much-liked war-leader, but the elder nobles openly disapproved of her wildness,[18] fearing that, as a queen, she would be aggressive and hotheaded when facing threats—real and perceived—to the realm.[43] Others thought she used her role as a warrior to avoid taking the role of ruler.[44]

During this time, Alusair authored The Steel Princess's Field Guide.[45]

In the late 1360s DR, Princess Alusair joined her family in attending a celebration held by Lord Partic Thistle at his manor, Thistleflame, to celebrate King Azoun IV's birthday, along with numerous other dignitaries.[46]

During these days, Alusair suffered a number of would-be suitors. Before 1367 DR, the young and shifty noble Martin Illance attempted to romance Tanalasta, who rejected him, then he immediately switched his attentions to Alusair, who'd heard all about him and his lines from Tanalasta and hurled him through a window. Martin dislocated his shoulder against a table on the other side, and thereafter claimed he'd suffered it in a barroom brawl, which wasn't far from the truth.[13][47] In the late 1360s DR, Alusair turned down a proposal for marriage from the minor lord Hyraken of Hilp. For this, the murderous megalomaniac would seek her death and the throne for himself.[48]

In the Year of the Gauntlet, 1369 DR, Alusair was operating in the Stonelands again, commanding a troop of twenty-four young noble knights, including Ulnder Huntcrown, Dagh Illance, Threldryn Imbranneth, Kortyl Rowanmantle, Brace Skatterhawk, Harandil Thundersword, and Beldred Truesilver. They were pursuing a bold orc band that had raided a caravan east of Eveningstar; in six days of pursuit, they'd killed a hydra, a "fire lizard", and three chimeras. Meanwhile, the Abraxus Affair had erupted and Azoun lay dying in Suzail. Alusair and her knights were on a high meadow north of Startop Crag when she received a message plate delivered by Laspeera Inthré, informing her of the situation and warning her to stay in the Stonelands for the duration of the emergency. Setting aside her grief, Alusair returned to find Beldred and the knights had impetuously pursued the orcs into an ambush, and a few were killed. She rallied her forces to defeat the orcs, before deducing they served a dark naga and the Zhentarim, who had been charming and transporting monsters into the area. Alusair, Beldred, Brace, and Threldryn together slew the naga, with the princess blinding it and destroying the gate before it could disgorge another monster. Alusair resolved to seek out the other gates rather than return to Suzail.[3] Shielded against detection, even the War Wizards couldn't locate her,[42] and she was reported to have led her troop deeper into the Stonelands[49] in order to avoid a patrol from High Horn sent to contact her.[50] Rumors flourished in her absence; some even whispered Alusair and her Blades had stolen into the city to murder in their beds disloyal nobles who'd supported Vangerdahast becoming regent.[51]

After a long peace, however, the new decade saw calamity after calamity befall Cormyr. First, in the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, a blight struck the land and then the dragon Nalavarauthatoryl, an ancient foe of the Obarskyrs, sent the ghazneths and the Grodd goblins to assault the kingdom. In the Goblin War, King Azoun IV and Steel Princess Alusair fought to defend the realm, but Cormyr suffered many defeats. Worse, some nobles defied Crown Princess Tanalasta or committed treason, showing they'd had more loyalty to Azoun than the Crown. In the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, Nalavara herself entered the fray and Azoun died in battle slaying the Devil Dragon. Tanalasta defeated the ghazneths but soon after died in childbirth, but the child was saved—the new infant king of Cormyr, Azoun V. Through Alusair's and all their efforts, Cormyr was saved, but at a terrible cost.[1][52][53][41][54][55][56]

The Steel RegentEdit

With her father and older sister dead and her infant nephew too young to take the throne, only Alusair was left to rule Cormyr as regent until Azoun V was old enough to become king. Filfaeril, now Dowager Queen, named Alusair as regent, and the Steel Regency of Princess Alusair commenced in 1371 DR.[1][52][41][54][12] The Steel Regent inherited a kingdom in crisis: many of its soldiers, officials, War Wizards, and nobility, its greatest heroes, and two of the royal family had been slain, leaving only a newborn king[1] and a reluctant regent. Meanwhile, the realm had become much less politically stable, almost to the point of anarchy. Many Cormyreans, even many of the nobility and mercantile classes, doubted if Alusair was even fit to rule, and spoke openly. Her reputation as a wild and lusty warrior princess, which had once won her admiration, was now used against her. A fearful and uncertain populace waited to see what kind of ruler she would be: tyrannical, wanton, headstrong, or perhaps just and wise.[52][41]

Naturally, Alusair dealt with these concerns in her own way—by cutting right through. For example, on Flamerule 2, 1371 DR, Alusair rode though Hultail, with High Knight Glarasteer Rhauligan and a retinue of Purple Dragons and War Wizards, staying at the Sixcandles Inn. Arriving sans crown, jewels, and shining armor, clad in only worn leathers, the Regent both awed and disappointed the villagers. Alusair told the innkeeper, Rythra Matcham, of the death of her husband Rorth in the war and consoled her, telling of her own grief for her father. Alusair then generously treated villagers and travelers to meals and drinks at the Crown's expense, prompting a nightlong revel. Near night's end, Alusair danced with a stableboy, Darnen, trying to teach him courtly dancing and inspire him to come to Suzail and serve the realm. Yet the lad's father, the stablemaster Andur Imraith, an ex–Purple Dragon, accused her of being a "wanton slut" unfit to sit the Dragon Throne. Alusair didn't deny it, and explained herself openly, calling for Andur to serve the realm again. When he refused, she challenged him to dance or fight, and the regent handily trounced him in a barroom brawl. A subdued, defeated Andur elected to serve. Alusair danced with him, then teased taking him to bed.[12]

Nevertheless, the kingdom was creeping with conspiracies among its nobles and its foes, with ambitious lords, zealous patriots, regency loyalists, enemy powers, and remnants of Nalavara's forces all vying for power, and the War Wizards monitored all to guard against treason.[52][1] Among the upstarts were the so-called Freedom Warriors, a loose confederation of minor nobles and rich merchants who mistrusted the Steel Regent, fearing she would be a despot. Some felt they had the best interests of Cormyr at heart, but others worried that they would lose their wealth and positions. They were led by the villainous Lord Hyraken, who still held a grudge against the princess. The Freedom Warriors engaged in crime to discourage support of the regent.[52] Fortunately, Lady Kestrel Vaylan, who was opposed to the Freedom Warriors, sent adventurers to recover the Devil Dragon Nalavara's hoard and, in the race, Hyraken and the Freedom Warrior's villainous leadership were slain. Lady Vaylan gifted half the hoard to Regent Alusair, who used this windfall in the rebuilding effort.[52] Nevertheless, Alusair had to carefully manage the nobility in order to retain the king's power.[57] The realm remained rife with intrigue.[1]

However, by the middle of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, the Steel Regent had proved her talent for rule and her determination to preserve Cormyr.[1] Ruling from Suzail, Alusair made regular appearances with the young Azoun V, demonstrating she had no fears for herself, the boy king, or Cormyr, and to be accessible to the people. She also made the Purple Dragons and War Wizards an increasingly visible presence, both to give a sense of safety and to guard against trouble.[58] Working to rebuild national morale and military power, Alusair focused on reclaiming and resettling territory lost in the war, rebuilding farms, and replanting fields. She also staved off attempts by Sembian and Westgate investors to gain control over Cormyrean lands and to influence their affairs. Still short on wealth and resources, Alusair turned to adventurers, having been one herself, to help restore order, but the nobility saw this as a weakness. She upheld her father's offer of a barony to any could bring civilization to the Stonelands.[1]

However, the first crisis of Alusair's reign came that year. The Regent was entertaining Shadovar emissaries of the City of Shade, consider their proposal of alliance, when Galaeron Nihmedu arrived on Mirtul 21 bearing proof of Shadovar villainy. In order to make Anauroch fertile, they were melting the High Ice, and cared nothing for flooding and starvation that would ensure across the Heartlands. Alusair expelled the emissaries and instead organized an alliance with Evereska and others to assault Shade. The Royal Magician Caladnei, guided by Galaeron and Ruha, established a base camp in the canyons beneath the floating city. Meanwhile, the Shadovar launched a counter-attack on Cormyr. Cormyrean defenders clashed with the Shade forces at Tilverton on Mirtul 27. In the battle, Vangerdahast launched a powerful magical weapon against the Shades, but this backfired, interacting unexpectedly with their Shadow Weave magic, utterly annihilating Tilverton and leaving only a shadow-filled crater. In the coming months, Alusair's alliance struggled to make any headway against the Shadovar or the phaerimms besieging Evereska. They were hampered by a lack of knowledge of Shadow Weave magic, and the continued melting of the High Ice disrupted the weather, economies, and food supplies of Cormyr and her allies. Finally, on Flamerule 7, the phaerimms infiltrated Alusair's war council and demonstrated their power, but then surprisingly offered a truce: if Cormyr abandoned its ally Evereska, then join the Cormyreans against Shade. Alusair naturally refused, but the phaerimms helped nonetheless. Ultimately, the alliance triumphed over Shade and phaerimm forces, with Evereska freed, the melting of the High Ice halted, and peace returned. However, Cormyr, still reeling from the Goblin War, now suffered drought, economic crisis, and the devastating loss of Tilverton.[59][53][60][61][62]

In spring of the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, Regent Alusair agreed with the demands of nobles and ordered that the Crown instead pay for construction and maintenance of bridges and culverts in the realm. She also ordered that officers of the Court oversee these and other public works (such as ensuring proper signage), in order to limit the possibility of dishonest nobles passing off work on their estates as bridge and culvert work.[63]

By late 1374 DR, bar conspirators speaking in secret, complaints against the Steel Regent had gone quiet. The people did not doubt her now, and she was widely held to be as good a ruler as her father had been—better even, for she was more approachable, more loved, and more inspiring. The bard Elender Stormfall published a chapbook, The Dream of the Dragon, praising her at this time. [41]

…the honest have nothing to fear from this, and the sooner the dishonest depart our fair realm for elsewhere the better.
  — Regent Alusair after the Skalantur Scandal.[63]

In winter of the Year of the Cauldron, 1378 DR, the Skalantur Scandal broke, exposing corruption in the public works system Alusair had instituted in 1374 DR. Alusair reacted by increasing oversight (both overt and covert) of how tax money was spent. She also signed into law the existing practice of confiscating any properties acquired through misappropriated funds. Nobles and wealthy landowners alike were angered, but Alusair was resolute. This wiped out corruption, or at least shifted it to Sembian fronts.[63]

The Year of the Lost Keep, 1379 DR, saw a Netherese spy arrested in Suzail. Steel Regent Alusair hanged the spy in a public square, which triggered the Four Day War, a brief but heated conflict between Cormyr and the Shadovar.[64]

Finally, in the Year of the Three Streams Bloodied, 1384 DR, Azoun V was coronated aged only 13 years old,[54][64] after several nobles spurred him to insist that he take the crown. Six years later, during her mother's funeral, Alusair argued with her nephew and disappeared immediately afterward with no confirmed sightings made ever since.[citation needed]

LegacyEdit

After Alusair's death, she continued her existence as a ghost, haunting and patrolling the haunted wing of the Royal Palace for decades. She was very nearly destroyed by Manshoon in the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, while attempting to aid Elminster in defending the palace from would-be thieves.[65]

By 1479 DR, an ironclad warship in the Cormyrean navy was named the "Steel Princess" after Alusair. This was the only Cormyrean warship not named for a past monarch of the realm.[54]

AbilitiesEdit

The Steel Princess was renowned for her skill at arms, her prowess in battle, her mastery of horses, and her strategic accomplishments, especially in raids and skirmishes. Less a diplomat, Alusair was a fine leader and Cormyr's greatest battlemaster. Possessed of great endurance and an indomitable will, she was accustomed to hard living in the wilderness and on the trail.[1][4][52]

In combat, Alusair favored entering melee over the use of ranged weapons, and relied on her skill and armor to win through.[4] She specialized in the longsword and was an expert in its use.[1] She was also proficient in the bastard sword, dagger, footman's mace, and medium lance, and in the short bow and flight arrow for when she did fight at range.[4] In her early days as a thief, she was practiced in the short sword, short bow, dagger, knife, and broadsword.[6] Alusair could fight with two weapons at once, if need be, and was highly capable in mounted combat.[1] She was also well versed in fighting orcs and knew their tactics.[1][2]

As a Purple Dragon knight, Alusair learned to make a powerful rallying cry to have her troops charge and to make inspirational speeches to instill courage and raise morale. She also trained to defend her comrades around her.[1]

Alusair was an expert rider, and she knew well how to handle horses and raptors, such as falcons, hawks, and owls. She knew wilderness lore; she could track well and make a camp. She was also a trained sailor. Alusair was fit and athletic, being good at climbing and leaping, and had keen senses.[1][4]

On the other hand, Alusair disliked the art of diplomacy and courtly life, and dealing with affairs and intrigues there. Although she knew her etiquette and diplomacy, her anger at it made her clear, cold, and precise. She could be very intimidating.[1]

PossessionsEdit

Throughout her adventuring career, Alusair was typically armed with a longsword, daggers, and a footman's mace.[4] Around 1369 DR, Alusair used a sword in combat, and kept another smaller court sword in her saddle when riding.[3] In her left boot, Alusair kept a spellshield dagger with a large blue-green jewel in the pommel, which acted as a ward against magical attacks from her enemies.[3] By 1372 DR, as Regent, Alusair wielded a +3 vorpal longsword.[1]

In battle, she wore a full suit of plate mail armor, fashioned from the finest mithril steel and of the famously strong dwarven-made Earthfast plate. The dwarves of Earthfast made it for Alusair in thanks for her aid in their battles, and it was one of the very few suits of the precious Earthfast armor sized for a human.[1][4][2][34][35]

By 1372 DR, Alusair carried a +2 large metal shield that bore a purple dragon on a black field, the standard of the boy king Azoun V.[1]

As an adventurer, Alusair carried a standard set of adventuring equipment.[4]

Alusair possessed a Royal Cormyrean signet ring, which identified her as a princess of House Obarskyr. It also allowed the Royal Magician of Cormyr—first Vangerdahast, and then Caladnei—to know her location and communicate with her via telepathy.[1][4][2] However, after she ran away from the palace, she rid herself of the signet ring by dropping it into the sea to conceal her identity.[2] She received another when she returned to the court.[1]

She also owned a ring of proof against detection and location (functioning like the amulet of the same name), which prevented others from scrying on her or magically detecting her location. She wore this only when necessary (or when she wished to remain undetected) because it blocked the powers of the signet ring.[1][4][2] This she brought from a mage in Ravens Bluff while a runaway, expressly to prevent Vangerdahast and his wizards from finding her.[2]

By 1372 DR, she also had a ring of freedom of movement and a ring of protection +3.[1]

Thanks to her position in the Cormyrean royal family, Alusair could access a wide range of magical items, in particular her father's extensive collection of magical swords.[4]

By 1369 DR, Alusair had a hollow metal sphere that, upon spoken command, could transform into a key to unlock a secret vault in the depths of the royal palace. It was one of only five, the others possessed by the king, queen, Vangerdahast, and Princess Tanalasta.[66]

ActivitiesEdit

Though she still rankled at court life when she returned and spent as much time as she could riding away from Suzail, she did settle into a political role, though she usually preferred to focus on military matters.[citation needed]

As PrincessEdit

Through the 1360s DR, accepting her role as princess, Alusair worked closely with King Azoun and the Royal Magician Vangerdahast, and undertook various missions for the crown. These ranged from serving as a diplomatic envoy to outright adventuring. She might act alone or with fellow adventurers, under her own name and title or in disguise. This work could take her around Cormyr, neighboring lands, and anywhere in the Realms.[4]

Her primary role however was patrolling Cormyr, especially its backlands and the Stonelands, with a band of young noble knights and combatting various outlaws, orcs and goblinoids, and assorted monsters.[3][1][18][41]

One of Alusair's unofficial duties was to cover for the king when he made secret excursions outside the palace in disguise to hear the common folk's views. Working with Vangerdahast, Alusair cleared Azoun's schedule of court business in concert with natural lulls in work, and put out stories that he was ill, had family matters to handle, or was otherwise unavailable.[15]

As RegentEdit

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


EspionageEdit

As regent, Alusair had a nigh-constant stream of intrigues and covert affairs to deal with. Like all members of the royal family, Alusair maintained a small network of personal spies, agents, and informants for covert activities. In fact, Alusair had two such groups. One set were recruited from her Blades, the young knights she once rode with, chosen mostly to feel important and impress their families. These were an obvious and amateurish bunch, intended to serve as a distraction and cover for the activities of her professional spies. These latter were people she'd worked with for years, ranging from lovers loyal only to her to Highknights loyal to the realm, like Glarasteer Rhauligan. She also attempted to persuade some alarphons (an internal police force) of the War Wizards to report to her as well, as she feared rogue War Wizards allying with rebellious nobles.[18]

Following their deaths and retirements, Azoun's, Tanalasta's, and Vangerdahast's spies were all left without patrons but with many secrets. As regent, Alusair worked to identify these people, what they were now up to, and if they'd taken service with disloyal nobles or even with Caladnei. Alusair also understood that the Harpers had served as spies for courtiers and members of the Obarskyr family for their own reasons (albeit preferring to keep the realm stable and at peace, and with the existing balance of power).[18]

RecreationEdit

Alusair enjoyed sparring with her Blades, the young nobles she once rode with and trusted well. These took the form of brief and brutal bouts of sword-play, in which the Steel Regent spent her rage and frustration at matters of court.[1]

In the 1360s DR, Alusair had a few trysts with lovers at the Stag Steads royal hunting lodge in the King's Forest.[67]

RelationshipsEdit

Through the 1360s DR, Alusair was associated closely with a number of young male noble-born knights nicknamed her "Blades". These men had ridden with her on her missions around the realm and the Stonelands, and she trusted them.[1][18][41] Even as regent, the Blades remained as her sparring partners,[1] as lovers, and as one layer of her network of spies and agents.[18] These men dubbed her the Steel Princess in admiration,[1] but elder nobles openly disapproved of their intimacy and Alusair's wild ways.[18] It was widely rumored they were as much lovers of the lusty warrior princess as comrades-at-arms;[41] Gossips told that her monster-slaying missions were more likely weekend trysts at hidden royal hunting lodges, that she wished to try out all the noble bachelors before marriage,[43]Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb (July 1996). Cormyr: A Novel (Hardcover). (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 9, p. 123. ISBN 0-7869-0503-4.</ref> that she would even kiss her horse if it trotted up to her, and so on and so on.[68] While there was some truth to her relationships with the Blades, her reputation seems wildly exaggerated.[speculation] In 1369 DR, she was attracted to Brace Skatterhawk, one of her knights, until she learned he was most likely an illegitimate son of Azoun IV, and thus her own half-brother. Unable to have him as lover, husband, or brother, she accepted him as a close friend.[3]

As Regent, Alusair was advised and assisted by the Royal Magician Caladnei, who was also commander of the War Wizards of Cormyr.[1] The two both had strong opinions and high spirits, so they could talk directly and openly about the affairs of the realm. Although Caladnei was humble and preferred to operate in the background, Alusair nudged her increasingly to the fore while she took time away from court.[69] By 1374 DR, the two were described as best friends, and Caladnei did not try to control Alusair as Vangerdahast did Azoun.[41]

Alusair tried to become a closer friend to Laspeera Inthré, second-in-command of the War Wizards, in order to gain a better understanding of that organization and to more effectively manage the kingdom.[18]

Around 1360 DR, Alusair was not a member of the Harpers and had no affiliation with it, but was high-minded enough that she might fit well with the group. Vangerdahast wondered if she might one day be drawn to the group, of which he was a valued ally.[4] Artus Cimber, the one-time Harper agent, once met Alusair and wrote down her tales of her adventures before 1362 DR.[70]

This section is a stub. You can help us by expanding it.


WorksEdit

Alusair authored a number of books on military matters, such as The Steel Princess's Field Guide.[45]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. The original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set placed Alusair's birth in 1310 DR, with corresponding years for Tanalasta and Foril. Later sources revised the year to 1335 DR, suiting her appearances as a young woman.
  2. Although it is said Alusair traveled with Gharri in Curse of the Azure Bonds and Crusade, it is not clear at what time and in exactly which events in Gharri's life she was involved. Furthermore, the accounts are contradictory. Gharri's actions are thus included here for context.
  3. There appears to be a contradiction here in the two deaths of Gharri Wondermaker: the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set says he was killed by Zhentarim, while the later sources, Crusade, The Ring of Winter, and Heroes' Lorebook, all say he was killed by bounty hunters. Furthermore, Curse of the Azure Bonds says Alusair and Gharri separated after a fight (presumably an argument rather than a battle). The later sources may overwrite the earlier accounts. However, this problem is slightly ameliorated by unreliable narration: Gharri's departure and death to Zhentarim mages is presented as fact but little known, while his death to bounty hunters is the story given by Alusair for some unknown reason and she may be mistaken. A resurrection or a more complicated series of events in which both occurred may also be possible.
  4. There appears to be a discrepancy here, in that Curse of the Azure Bonds has a penniless Alusair become a thief (with the Thief class) while Crusade has Alusair become a caravan guard and mercenary when her money ran out (with Heroes Lorebook following suit and giving her the Fighter class). Assuming Curse of the Azure Bonds has not been retconned, it is possible she switched from stealing to fighting to make a living, and declined to admit her thievery to her father in Crusade.
  5. At this point, Alusair's adventures are difficult to date or place in chronological order, and are difficult to separate from rumors about her locations and activities. Dates and clarifications are provided where possible.
  6. As an adventure module, the events of Curse of the Azure Bonds are uncertain. It has Alusair and Azoun have a tearful reunion in the aftermath, but this does not seem to have occurred in later sources, and Alusair remains on the run for a few more years, indicating this reunion did not occur.

AppearancesEdit

Adventures
Novels

ReferencesEdit

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