Alathene Moonstar was the proprietress of the Blushing Mermaid inn, tavern, and festhall in Waterdeep circa the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR. She was also an archlich, the leader of the Maids of the Midnight Moon, and a former matriarch of House Moonstar.
Description[edit | edit source]
Lady Alathene was very old but maintained her stunning good looks by magical means. She always dressed in the formal style with long, elaborately decorated gowns, corsets that accentuated her bust, and veils on her head. She had an aristocratic bearing and manner of speaking that gave the impression of royalty. When interacting with her staff or clients of the Blushing Mermaid, she usually donned the same black metal mask and face veil as her employees wore.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Lady Alathene was always a devout worshiper of Selûne and a staunch supporter of her church. When her twin brother Vanrak turned to Shar, it began a family conflict that lasted for centuries. Alathene became obsessed with bringing her wayward brother to justice, even to the point of embracing undeath to carry on the quest for as long as it took. She was a wizard of great accomplishment and did not hesitate to use her powers when defending her home and her staff at the Blushing Mermaid. She found joy and amusement watching young people enjoy the festivities in her establishment and monitored it closely for any signs of trouble. She had few close friends and was always on the lookout for people she could trust with important tasks.
Abilities[edit | edit source]
She was a master of wizardry, able to cast spells from any school of magic. She was an arcane devotee of Selûne and created arcane versions of many of the divine spells granted only to favored priests of the Moonmaiden, such as moon blade, wall of moonlight, moon path, and moonweb.
Activities[edit | edit source]
As of 1372 DR, Lady Alathene was the proprietress of the Blushing Mermaid and on a personal quest to rid the world of her evil brother Vanrak or at least bring him to face justice for his many crimes. When she was not at the festhall, she could usually be found in the Vault of Stars, an underground chamber that was all that remained of the High House of Stars after it was destroyed by forces loyal to Vanrak. She used it as her personal laboratory for spell research and to continue the search for her brother.
The spells and enchantments that made her an archlich were flawed in some way and she was forced to maintain her unlife by absorbing the life force of two or three individuals per year. She usually picked evil patrons of her festhall or people she strongly disliked, and applied energy drain spells until they were dead.
Lady Alathene took it upon herself to train any young Moonstars that exhibited a talent for the Art. She also protected certain family treasures and things that the family preferred not to become public.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
Alathene Moonstar was the fully human granddaughter of the half-elf Lunaven Moonstar, an accomplished wizard as well as a cleric of Selûne. She had a twin brother, Vanrak, whom she considered an enemy after he renounced Selûne for Shar. She had many descendants that followed in her footsteps, becoming accomplished priests, wizards, and rangers. Her first grandson, Hormuk Moonstar, became the patriarch of the family after she stepped down.
After her death was announced (and she secretly became an archlich), only her family, the Lords of Waterdeep, and a few close associates were aware of her transformation. The ruling Lords tolerated her existence on balance as a force for good, and she occasionally informed Lord Piergeiron of criminal plots and deal details she overheard at the Blushing Mermaid.
Lady Alathene was a trusted advisor to Naneatha Suaril, the Priestess of High Moonlight at the House of the Moon. After the Time of Troubles, the heroic Kyriani Agrivar secretly became one of Alathene's pupils and, being a quick study, gained a much greater grasp of her power as a mage.
She was also a strong supporter of the Tel'Teukiira, the group formed by Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun after a falling-out with the Harpers. She gave them permission to call themselves "the Moonstars" in common parlance.
History[edit | edit source]
Alathene and Vanrak Moonstar were born to Lord Andvarran Moonstar and his consort in the Year of the Sighted Hind, 1083 DR.[note 1] Her first act after reaching adulthood was to form an organization of female spellcasters called the Maids of the Midnight Moon, dedicated to the service of Selûne, in the Year of the Restless, 1099 DR. Five years later, in the Year of the Dark Dawn, 1104 DR, her twin brother Vanrak returned from exploring the Black Jungles on the Chultan Peninsula and was visibly shaken by his experiences there. A few tendays after he arrived in Waterdeep, their father died of a mysterious magic-resistant disease that caused him to waste away despite the best efforts of all the healers that attempted to cure him. Vanrak became the family patriarch and immediately denounced the priests of the High House of Stars for failing to save their father. In his grief, he turned to the Lady of Loss and broke with the church of Selûne. Those that followed him remained in the family villa on Net Street while those that remained faithful to Selûne soon took refuge with Lady Alathene in the High House of Stars.
By the Year of the Howling Moon, 1130 DR, the Moonstar clan was openly feuding as Lord Vanrak and his Sharran mercenaries built a shady empire that infiltrated much of the city's harbor business. On the 1st of Summertide of that year,[note 2] Lady Alathene appeared before the Lords of Waterdeep and presented evidence of her brother's criminal behavior—including slave trafficking, arson, theft, and murder—and pleaded with them to banish her brother and revoke his noble title. The Lords sent the City Watch to arrest Vanrak, but when they broke into the villa, he and his followers had already fled into Undermountain. Lady Alathene became the officially recognized matriarch of the Moonstar clan, and during the next fifty-two years she turned the family businesses around, greatly improved House Moonstar's reputation, and increased their fortune.
She and her Maids of the Midnight Moon searched and scryed unsuccessfully for decades, trying to locate where Vanrak and his followers had gone. In the Year of the Tomb, 1182 DR, the High House of Stars was attacked from below, allegedly by followers of Bane. Many Selûnites were slaughtered and the template was gutted by magic-resistant fire. Lady Alathene stepped down as matriarch of the family and let her grandson Hormuk take over so she could focus on rebuilding the razed temple at a new location. She never stopped searching for her brother but she discovered that he was behind the pogrom, not Banites as people were meant to believe. Six years later, in the Year of the Soft Fogs, 1188 DR, the House of the Moon was completed, and Lady Alathene, being over one hundred years old, withdrew from all her public duties, activities, and family functions and ensconced herself in the Vault of Stars—a subterranean chamber that survived the destruction of the High House of Stars. There, she began her transformation into an archlich in order to continue the campaign against Vanrak, who had used the treasure plundered from the High House of Stars to finance his transformation into a death knight.
Lord Hormuk announced Lady Alathene's death in the Year of the Midday Mists, 1195 DR, but the family and the Lords of Waterdeep knew that she continued to exist and tirelessly pursued her quest. With her new powers and strength, she searched the depths of Undermountain for signs of her brother for decades. During this period, she met some drow followers of Eilistraee led by Qilué Veladorn. As a former head of a major noble house and a high-ranking member of the House of the Moon, Lady Alathene was uniquely positioned to forge a secret alliance between the church of Selûne and the church of Eilistraee that withstood the test of time.
In the Year of the Dusty Throne, 1256 DR, the Moonstar family built a new villa over the ruins of the High House of Stars (directly above the Vault of Stars) with the permission from the high priestess of the House of the Moon. The old villa on Net Street was kept under family control (through a series of proxies), and given to Lady Alathene to manage. She soon turned it into the Blushing Mermaid inn, tavern, and festhall.
Rumors & Legends[edit | edit source]
After the destruction of the High House of Stars, the church of Selûne declared the site to be desecrated ground and announced that no followers of Our Lady of Silver should enter the area. This was a pretense intended to keep people away from the Vault of Stars where Lady Alathene eventually took up residence. She also spread rumors of ghosts to help ensure her privacy. She used the city sewers to travel the short distance between the Vault of Stars and the House of the Moon and was rarely observed rising or descending through the access shaft located in the alley known as Sharra's Flight where it intersected with the Street of Whispers. The other end of this short, wide alley connected with Moonstar Alley which (after it was built in 1256 DR) surrounded the Moonstar Villa on three sides. This gave a certain authenticity to the legend that the alley was haunted by a ghost.
People told stories of individuals disappearing from the Blushing Mermaid festhall from time to time. The macabre bone-covered staircase in the main dining hall usually figured prominently in these tales. Some of these stories were based in fact, as Lady Alathene had to consume the life force of two or three beings a year in order to maintain her unlife. Many of the bones on the staircase did indeed belong to her victims.
Appendix[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- This assumes she reached adulthood in 1099 DR at the age of 16 as stated in Powers & Pantheons on page 156.
- It took place on the "seventh full moon of the year" which was 1 Flamerule if one counts the moon on 30 Nightal 1129 to still be full on 1 Hammer 1130. If not, then the seventh full moon falls on Midsummer, which is a major holiday and not a likely date for court to be in session.
References[edit | edit source]
- Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 194. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
- Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 157. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
- Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 62. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 156. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
- Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 214. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
- Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 195. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
- Ed Greenwood (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 196. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
- Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), pp. 137–138. ISBN 978-0786903849.
- Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 154. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
- (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 31. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
- (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 87. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- Eric L. Boyd (2005-07-12). Vanrakdoom (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
- (November 2018). Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Edited by . (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 978-0-7869-6626-4.
- (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), p. 76. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.
- (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 122. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- (January 1993). Volo's Guide to Waterdeep. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 69–70. ISBN 1-56076-335-3.