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Baelnorn liches, sometimes simply called baelnorns, were elves who chose a path of Prime-bound duty beyond death. These undead defenders unswervingly protected their clan and its holdings for centuries. The majority of baelnorn were spellcasters, and they maintained their mental and magical abilities in this state, though exceptions occurred.[citation needed]

Description[]

Baelnorn, the willing undead elves, were the elf equivalent of liches, though they were hardly as disturbingly "wrong" as the corrupt undead and they did not project the fearsome aura of those wicked creatures. Sustained by magic and granted life of a sort beyond nature, baelnorn appeared largely as they did in life, though immediate yet subtle clues to a baelnorn's nature were their glowing white eyes and their shriveled skin[2] which turned slightly translucent over time. Some of the oldest baelnorn seemed to have little more than the hint of body, hair, and skin around their skeletons. Unlike liches, this was the extent of their degeneration, and they did not fall into loose piles of bones. Of course, elven unlife was similar to their lifespans, and as human liches lived for centuries, no witnesses had ever reported a millennia-old baelnorn.[citation needed]

Personality[]

A baelnorn could be of any non-evil nature, mainly lawful good, retaining whatever alignment it had in life.[citation needed] Compared to other types of liches, baelnorn were far less covetous and power-hungry.[4]

Combat[]

Unlike most other forms of undead creatures, the baelnorn retained all of the memories, personality, and abilities that it possessed in life, but it had a virtual eternity to hone its skills and inevitably became very powerful. Like other powerful forms of undead (such as a vampire or mummy), a baelnorn had unnatural powers owing to its state. For example, it could put mortals in a paralyzed state of hibernation with a touch, making them seem dead to others, and could, through their typically powerful magical spells, summon other lesser undead to protect itself.[citation needed] Unlike liches, baelnorn did not radiate an aura of horror that could send weak-willed would-be foes to flight, although they instead possessed the power to turn undead. The baelnorn was capable of sustaining tremendous physical damage and was immune to disease, poison, fatigue, and other effects that affected only the living.[2] However, despite all its undead "gifts", a baelnorn (like a lich) counted its vast and deep intellect, its supreme mastery of wizardry, and limitless time to scheme, research, and plan, as its greatest resources.[citation needed]

Society[]

The choice to embrace undeath was allowed and considered only on rare occasions when a clan or settlement had the need of lorekeepers or defenders beyond the norm. Even if an elf truly wanted to become a baelnorn for their clan's benefit, the Coronal, the High Mages, and the elders of the particular clan had to all be of one mind to allow this sacrifice to be made. To the surprise of some elves, these transformations occurred only a few times over five millennia at the will of the Seldarine.[citation needed]

Some chose to identify baelnorns by their motivations and occupations chosen in undeath:[citation needed]

  • "Watchnorns", lurking observers and lesser guardians of public places or family lands, especially Castle Cormanthor)
  • "Lorenorns", those choosing to act as tutors, librarians, or merely students of Art beyond their normal span of years; and
  • "Guardnorns" or "Wardnorns", powerful guardians of crypts and other secret places or as the sole protector of particularly powerful items.

In truth, the baelnorn were all capable of as much action and activity as a live elf, though their personal attitudes and motivations (and the social unease over the continued public presence of a baelnorn) limited them to particular activities. In her time as a baelnorn, the Srinshee had acted as Wardnorn of the Vault of Ages and as the Lorenorn for the armathors and Court Magi, a great amount of activity despite her relatively hidden existence.[citation needed]

While the demilich-type existed among liches, there was no equivalent type among baelnorn. However, some revolutionary changes are recorded in the history.[citation needed]

Creation[]

The method of becoming a baelnorn was a High Magic or divine ritual.[citation needed] Less fortunate baelnorns stored their souls in a magical receptacle called a phylactery, like liches.[citation needed] In some cases, baelnorns did not need to use phylacteries,[2] as their undeath was obtained by a particularly powerful ritual or gifted to them by the Seldarine, but alas the latter was uncommon.[4] Such baelnorn could use clones of themselves to avoid destruction.[2]

The Baelnorn's Phylactery[]

Some baelnorns' souls were mystically tied to their phylacteries, in which case destroying its body would not kill it. Rather, its soul would return to the phylactery, and its body would be recreated by the power keeping it immortal. Thus the only way to permanently destroy a baelnorn was to destroy the phylactery as well. Therefore, the baelnorn would generally be extremely protective of the priceless item. The phylactery, which could be of virtually any form (usually appearing as a valuable amulet or gemstone), would often be hidden in a secret place and protected by powerful spells, charms, monsters, and/or other servants. The phylactery itself was usually of a magical nature, meaning its destruction would generally be a little easier than attaining it.[citation needed]

Notable Baelnorn[]

Miroden Silverblade, baelnorn from Myth Drannor.

The Srinshee was no doubt the most famous baelnorn of all time. She was the Senior Cor'Seku'Taar, Wardnorn of the Vault of Ages and the Lorenorn for the armathors and Court Magi. She helped raise the mythal over Myth Drannor in 261 DR. At that time, she had revived herself as an elfmaid of 300 winters.[citation needed]

In −800 DR, Synnorha Durothil became a baelnorn in order to guard her ancestral library.[5]

The protector baelnorn Miroden Silverblade was once kidnapped by a cult.[6][7]

Torynnar Rhaevaern was a baelnorn archmage who became evil and showed hatred for humans.[8]

There was a baelnorn named Larrel at the Severed Hand.[9]

Sy'Tel'Quessir Baelnorn[]

Almost all of the green elf Audark clan were wiped out fighting Venominhandar in −249 DR. After Venom's mate was killed, 33 years later, the twelve remaining Audarks, in their grief, appealed to the high mages of Cormanthor to become baelnorns. There was a lively debate among them since no green elf had ever been made into a baelnorn before. Eventually, the mages acceded and transformed all twelve of them.[citation needed]

Their transformation was not typical, however. Their skin turned into petrified wood, their hair to moss and their eyes to amber. They lost all ability to speak but instead of gaining the arcane powers of a typical baelnorn, they instead became prodigious warriors. As the self-appointed guardians of the Vale of Lost Voices, these new creatures found that they could not leave the Vale's boundary but they could travel instantaneously within it and were telepathically aware of all visitors to their territory.[citation needed]

No green elves had ever become baelnorns since that time so it was unknown whether this was a unique occurrence or whether all green elves would undergo a similar transformation.[10]

History[]

Before the fall of Myth Drannor, baelnorns in that city served as councilors, guardians, and advisors for their families. While many of these stayed out of the public eye, others took active roles in training their families' young wizards or protecting travelers. After the city's fall, many remained in the ruins to watch over family vaults or powerful heirlooms.[2] Elminster once consulted with a number of these baelnorns beneath the ruins of Myth Drannor.[11]

Appendix[]

Gallery[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor
Novels
The SiegeThe Lost Library of CormanthyrPool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor
Video Games
Icewind DalePool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor

References[]

Connections[]

AlhoonArchlichBaelnorn lichBanelichDemilichDracolich
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