Dawngleam was situated on the shore of the Neck, the strait between Dragonmere and the Sea of Fallen Stars. Just to the northwest was the village of Wormtower, and to the east was the mouth of the Darkflow River, which marked the border of Cormyr and Sembia. Dawngleam lay on the Bluemist Trail, which ran along the coast from Marsember in the west.
In 389 DR, Valashar's Bane, the flagship of the Cormyrean Crown Prince Azoun I, went down during a storm in the Neck. No lives were lost, and the crew was able to reach land in smaller boats from the ship. Happy that all hands were safe, the prince declared that it was "the best gleaming dawn seen in Cormyr yet". When the village was founded on the site nearly a thousand years later, it was named Dawngleam in honor of Azoun.
Volo, the well-known traveler and guidebook author, claimed that inspiration for the name also came from a song by the Cormyrean minstrel Darbrukk Syndylver. The song, titled The Sun Comes Up Again, used "dawngleam" as a poetic term for the sunrise.
Before the expansion of Dawngleam's docks began in the 1360s DR, the village nearshore consisted of a group of tiny islands joined to the shore and each other by bridges. These islands were popular places for picnics, trysts, and clandestine meetings. They later became anchoring points for the new docks.
The islands were actually surviving fragments of an ancient citadel of mages founded by an elf mage. This group of elves, half-elves, and humans were known as the Soond, and their citadel was known as the Soond Sharr. The goal of the Soond was to discourage the presence of humans in what would become Cormyr, in order to preserve the pristine state of the forests and to maintain those forests as hunting grounds for the elves. That dream became a fiery nightmare when a dragon destroyed the castle and stole its wealth and magic.
Not all the magic was lost, however. Among the dormant enchantments was the ability to cause a ghostly bridge to appear on any of the islands when the words "mother bridge" were spoken on certain spots. The bridge led to the next island or to the shore, and once a particular bridge was brought into being, it could not be invoked again until after the next new moon. This power was used by pirates and smugglers to evade their enemies, and it was said to have inspired Alustriel Silverhand to create the Moonbridge of Silverymoon.
Dawngleam's significance as a port was minimal until the 1360s DR, when the Cormyrean navy established a base there to guard against pirates operating through the Neck. Among other defensive measures were the renovation of the docks and the construction of dockside ballista towers. This military presence meant that merchants felt secure enough to conduct honest business there, resulting in the rapid growth of the village. Around this time, Dawngleam repelled its first pirate raid. This, along with the expansion of the village, made the construction of defensive walls a probable development for the future.
The War Wizards took an active role in the defense of the growing community. In the late 1360s DR, they uncovered and killed an adventuring company hired by Westgate interests to poison the village wells and sabotage work being done on the docks.
By the 1360s DR, Dawngleam adopted a new fish-packing process developed in Chessenta. This involved preserving fresh fish in seasoned oils rather than salt, and storing them in clay shells that were guarded against breakage by wooden racks and crates. This prevented spoilage as the fish were shipped and sold throughout Faerûn.
Around the same time, Dawngleam launched a joint venture with merfolk to set up protected clam beds. The project involved a shallow cove which was caged to protect the clam beds against lizardfolk and predatory sea creatures.
Other projects included the construction of new shipbuilding facilities, while village land was being purchased by Cormyrean and Sembian investors.
- Argyr's Realmsry
- This warehouse-sized general supply shop was owned by Austas Argyr, who sold a wide variety of items including food and drink, clothing, furniture, tools, hardware, and adventuring gear. As a result of Dawngleam's rapid growth, Argyr feared potential competition from the businesswoman Aurora, whom he suspected of having spies in the village. Thus, he always went out of his way to be extremely helpful to his customers. This included placing special orders from Suzail and Marsember.
- The Maiden Danced at Dawn
- This tavern served food including sausages, hot bread, biscuits, and nut cakes, as well as a selection of beer and wine that varied in quality. They also served a dark red house brandy called Maiden's Kiss, which was popular among the locals.
- The Moondown Mooring
- By the late 1360s DR, this otherwise pleasant inn with good, hot food had prepared for Dawngleam's future prosperity by significantly raising its prices and building a new wing. Unfortunately, this new addition to the inn was located where the stables once were, as evidenced by the lingering smell.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 83. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Brian R. James (July 2008). “Backdrop: Cormyr” (PDF). In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #365 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45. Archived from the original on 2018-11-23. Retrieved on 2020-03-02.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 84–85. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 86. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.