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Alaundo the Seer, also known as Alaundo the Wise,[4] was a sage and prophet based at Candlekeep on the Sword Coast in the late 2nd century DR.[1][2][3] He was the singular sage whose predictions actually came true through the ages.[1][2] He was considered the last and most renowned servant of Savras, the All Seeing, of his time, before that god's return.[6][7] After death, Alaundo existed as a Weaveghost.[5]

These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed words unwritten—and set them down ere they fade... Learn then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding.
— Alaundo of Candlekeep[8]

History[]

Alaundo arrived at Candlekeep in the Year of Clinging Death, 75 DR.[3][9][10] Where he'd come from, nobody knew; his peers presumed he'd been raised in one of the port cities of the Sword Coast, after various offhand remarks he'd made. Much else about him was a mystery. What was known was that he'd come to read the works of others, thanks to his great interest in books.[3] Although some sources stated that Candlekeep was originally the citadel of Alaundo,[1] and he was remembered as one of its founders,[11] he in fact had only a small and humble tower, about which much of Candlekeep grew. The precise location of this tower was lost over the centuries and in the many other towers built since.[12]

While there, Alaundo added significantly to the Roll of Years, the grand list of prophetic names of years past, present, and future first developed by the Lost Sage Augathra the Mad centuries earlier, and extended it many centuries into the future.[3][13][14][15][16][17] As such, he created how years were handled in the Calendar of Harptos.[18] Alaundo and Augathra both based their work on the predictions of past diviners,[19] including those of a seer from past ages whom they referenced as "the T Source",[20] and a centuries-long corpus of elven lore and prophecies, and expanded on them with their own predictions.[15] While a number of historians criticized Alaundo and Augathra alike as mere plagiarists who'd appropriated elven lore and claimed the credit, others would hail them as visionaries who tried to aid later generations with their forewarnings and encouragements.[15] A tradition at Candlekeep held that Alaundo had seen future events in his dreams, but needed multiple and repeated dreams to put them exactly in order. It was told by some that he'd been inspired by gods, or even that he was an avatar of a god himself.[3] In fact, he was but the final follower of the then imprisoned and fading god Savras the All Seeing, who showed him visions only of that which would come to pass.[6] As for Alaundo himself, he only ever knew it as "the Voice", an unidentified presence within him that inspired his prophecies.[21]

Yet among the earliest of Alaundo's prophecies known to be fulfilled was first foreseen by another and enabled by Alaundo himself. At the time, the monks of Candlekeep sought a means of protecting the library from fire, vermin, and deliberate destruction, but had not settled of any solution. Then Alaundo prophesied that a young man, the first of many, would give himself to the library and become a part of it forever, forming a guardian entity that would protected Candlekeep from darkness and evil. The probationer Bairn asked for an audience with Alaundo the Seer, who to his surprise quickly accepted. Bairn revealed he'd had a similar vision a tenday earlier, wherein a divine messenger told him such a guardian required the life of one who truly believed in what Candlekeep stood for, but Bairn had doubted worthiness and kept it to himself. After hours of discussion, Alaundo left Bairn alone in his private chambers. When he returned and resumed holding audiences, Bairn was gone and Alaundo only smiled and declined to answer what had become of him.[22]

Near the end of his life, Alaundo would prophesy even the date of his own death. Three days before the end, in the Year of Windsong, 76 DR, he was still hard at work writing them down. Ironically, adventurers in the far future would look back through time at him, while peering through a time portal in a mousehole in his tower.[23]

After Alaundo died, Candlekeep became a place for the preservation and study of his prophecies, and indeed of all knowledge.[1][2] Known collectively as the Prophecies of Alaundo, the monks would keep safe his prophecies among their vast collection of writings, and even chanting them ceaselessly night and day as they walked around the citadel under the direction of the Chanter and their three assistances, the Voice of the North, the Voice of the East, the Voice of the South, and sometimes the Voice of the West.[1][2][12][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] When the Keeper decreed a particular prophecy had been fulfilled, it was removed from the Endless Chant, so it grew steadily shorter,[1][2][12] though this could take some time to decide, for some prophecies were still chanted years after their mostly likely fulfillment. They ended their pronouncements with "So sayeth the wise Alaundo."[29] Occasionally, one of the Avowed of Candlekeep would abruptly stop and stare and utter a cryptic prophecy in an unfamiliar voice, believed by many of them to be "the spirit of Alaundo rising within". While they would exclaim "Alaundo Speaks!", such prophecies were never accepted in the Endless Chant.[12]

His skull became a priceless relic venerated by the faithful of Deneir, Oghma, and Savras and by the Avowed of Candlekeep. It was said that the bearer of the skull could speak directly with Alaundo using a speak with dead spell, no matter how many centuries has passed.[31] In fact, Alaundo existed as a Weaveghost tied to his skull, which he could speak through when he wished, though he'd lost his prophetic ability.[5]

However, Alaundo's skull was stolen shortly after his death and was lost. It was greatly sought after by the illithids of Oryndoll, who followed every clue to its supposed location. Around 1370 DR, there were rumors of it being up for sale in the market in Llorbauth, Erlkazar, after being retrieved from a fire drake lair in the Deepwing Mountains, caused an increase in illithid activity on the southern shores of the Deepwash.[31] As for the skull, by 1373 DR, it was apparently kept in a box somewhere, carefully watched over.[32] Alaundo's Weaveghost lingered on into the late 15th century DR.[5]

Personality[]

Alaundo the Seer in life, not as a ghost.

Alaundo was known to be quiet and erudite, and he was fascinated with books all his life.[3] In life and afterlife, Alaundo sought always to learn more about the world around him and the identity of the Voice within him, in hopes of regaining the prophetic powers that made him feel unique.[21]

Description[]

In life, Alaundo was a wizened elder with white beard and eyebrows.[33] After death, as a Weaveghost, he was but an unseen and unheard presence.[5]

Activities[]

As a Weaveghost, Alaundo more or less just flew around, quietly watching and listening and learning, and even when away from his skull, he could still watch and listen through it. He also could use a few spells and other magics like message, dancing lights, chill touch, and thunderwave.[5][34]

The Prophecies of Alaundo[]

Who can see who shall rise over all? Even the monks of far Candlekeep, who guard well the words of the prophet Alaundo who is never wrong, cannot know.
— Elminster, 1372 DR[25]

The majority of prophecies told of relatively minor events, but some warned of quite significant happenings.[2] Some specific prophecies of Alaundo were as follows:

  • "A golden unicorn shall travel unmolested through the length of Waterdeep."[2]
  • "…the Aumar line shall outlive the Stag Throne"; it was presumed at the time this meant the kingdom of Athalantar would fall with an Aumar on the throne,[35] but instead Elminster Aumar simply outlived it.[speculation]
  • In the Year of the Tressym, 1263 DR, tressym would become widespread, and so they did.[36]
  • According to the Candlekeep chanters, "The wyrm shall wander the earth and such a pestilence will follow in his wake, that all that know of his passing shall be struck down by the plague. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."[29] This likely referred to the Plague of Dragons that swept the Vilhon Reach, Chessenta, and Unther in the Year of the Wandering Wyrm, 1317 DR, and the disease-ridden dragon thought to carry it.[37]
  • According to the Candlekeep chanters, "When conflict sweeps across the Dales the great lizards of the north shall descend with fire and fury. So sayeth the great Alaundo."[29] In the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR, Lashan Aumersair of Scardale sought to conquer the Dalelands and Lyran the Pretender assaulted Shadowdale, before a Flight of Dragons ravaged the Dalelands, Cormyr, and the Moonsea.[38]
  • Following a "war among wizards", then "Spellfire will rise, and a sword of power, to cleave shadow and evil and master art."[39][40] Elminster and Lhaeo wondered if this pertained to Shandril Shessair's manifestation of spellfire in the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR, and her adventures and learning the art of magic,[39] while later rumors supposed this to be the Time of Troubles, likely falsely.[40]
  • "The One Who Is Hidden will in anger cast the gods down into the Realms. The gods will walk among men, amid chaos of Art and nature, and there will be strife in Faerun." He also made reference to a Godswar, and to heroes struggling to set things right.[4] According to the Candlekeep chanters, "When shadows descend upon the lands, our divine lords will walk alongside us as equals. So sayeth the great Alaundo."[29] This of course foretold the Time of Troubles of the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, which was presaged by the increasing unreliability of magic in 1357 DR.[41][42][43]
  • "White birds shall vanish from the North, and great evil shall die and be reborn." This was also believed to refer to the Time of Troubles.[2]
  • An appearance of "nine black doves". According to rumor in Wheloon, some sages speculated this was fulfilled in a sighting of dragons dancing in the air above the Thunder Peaks in 1358 DR.[40]
  • "In the Time of Troubles, all roads will end in Waterdeep." Indeed, the events of the Time of Troubles culminated here.[44]
  • According to the Candlekeep chanters, "In the Year of the Turrets, a great host will come from the east like a plague of locusts. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."[29] In that year, 1360 DR, the Tuigan Horde left the Hordelands and threatened Faerûn.[45]
  • Many of his prophecies revolved around the rise of the Bhaalspawn,[11] predicting the Children of Bhaal would bring a storm of death to Faerûn and even the return of the slain Lord of Murder himself.[46] According to the Candlekeep chanters, "The Lord of Murder shall perish, but in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny. Chaos will be sewn from their passage. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."[29]
  • "Seven scourges—five long gone, one of the day, and one soon to come—open the door no man can close. Out come the armies of the dead and the legions of the devil made by itself to sweep all Cormyr away in ruin, unless those long dead rise to stand against them."[47][48] In alternative phrasings, they would be "armies of the dead, and legions of devils" who would "sweep it away in ruin, unless those who should have been dead are there to stand against them."[49] To guard against this threat, the Lords Who Sleep were formed, with a band of warriors in temporal stasis to await the day when the kingdom had need of them.[47][49] This was supposed to be fulfilled with the creation and defeat of the seven ghazneths in the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR.[47][48]
  • The Stone That Speaks, containing the trapped spirit of an archmage of Netheril, would be found within the ruins of Tempus's Tears. Candlekeep had sponsored many expeditions to retrieve it, but it had yet to be retrieved by 1366 DR.[50]
  • A large-scale magical catastrophe would strike Anauroch in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, which was taken seriously enough by a Zhentarim agent to put together an urgent expedition to recover a treasure there that year.[51] Though not immediately catastrophic, Thultanthar, the City of Shade, returned there in the month of Hammer.[52]
  • In the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, there would occur, of course, lightning storms. Gamalon Idogyr considered this fulfilled when lightning bolts produced from Priamon Rakesk's pyramid in late Uktar engulfed the Sword Coast and much of Faerûn by the Feast of the Moon.[53]
  • Though more opaque and obscure than ever, some of his predictions seemed to suggest a "transcendence" of dragonkind, with a significant alteration of their position in Lareth's Grand Scheme of Justice. This was apparently unfulfilled as of 1357 DR.[54]
I have found that Alaundo's sayings make perfect sense after they have happened, for the most part, but they help precious little beforehand.
— Lhaeo to Elminster, 1357 DR[39]

Early compilations of Alaundo's prophecies and chapbooks interpreting them were marked with the runes of Omma and Authem, together representing prophecy, and these formed the basis of the symbol of Candlekeep itself.[55]

Candlekeep's primary copy of the Prophecies of Alaundo was annotated by First Reader Taltro in the 700s DR, who gathered useful lore on the predictions and how they'd been fulfilled, though Elminster thought much of it "errant nonsense". More useful to him was the Commentaries of Iyrauthar, which was the sole book to collect relevant records, rumors, legends, and testimonials on the prophecies.[56]

Other Works[]

Alaundo wrote on other matters too:

  • On dwarves: "A grudging, suspicious race."[57]
  • On gossip: "Rumor can be a wild thing."[58]
  • On civilization: "If proud civilization is a rampant, roaring dragon, laws and their keepers are its mighty skeleton."[59]

He estimated Toril was home to fourteen continents, not including Faerûn itself, but this was dependent on whether one included large islands and archipelagos. Nevertheless, Elminster said "That’s good enough for me."[60]

Associated with him was a magical item known as Alaundo's Loop, a golden crystal shaped like a twisted curl that was constantly turning in on itself and apparently concealed eternity itself.[61]

When Alaundo started speaking his prophecies, one of the novitiates invented a means of magically recording his voice in prismatic gemstones, known as the "echoes of Alaundo". Spoken in old Common, in much later centuries they required magic to comprehend and only Candlekeep's First Readers and Keepers of Tomes knew the secret of their function. In any case, they rarely bothered with them, since the prophecies were so prone to being misunderstood.[62]

Appendix[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
Referenced only
ShadowdaleTantrasWaterdeepAnauroch: The Empire of ShadeBaldur's Gate: Descent into AvernusCandlekeep Mysteries
Novels
Realms of the Arcane: "Epilogue"
Referenced only
SpellfireCrown of FireHand of FireCloak of ShadowsElminster: The Making of a MageElminster in Hell Baldur's GateBaldur's Gate II: Throne of BhaalCormyr: A NovelBeyond the High RoadDeath of the DragonCrown of FireBlackstaffSon of ThunderMidnight's Mask
Video Games
Referenced only
Baldur's GateBaldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Card Games
Magic: The Gathering (CLB)
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Turn Back the Endless Night

External Links[]

References[]

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