The Harp of Healing was the name given to a mysterious musical instrument that first appeared in Cormyr in the Year of the Dracorage, 1018 DR. Although it apparently healed several people, it also had mind-altering side-effects and an intelligent entity with an unknown agenda bound to it.
Apart from a soft, magical glow and hovering off the ground at a height of about 5 feet (1.5 meters), it appeared to be a normal, unadorned harp. When it played music, the strings vibrated like they were being plucked by invisible hands. No one in Suzail who heard the Harp recognized any tune it played. Witnesses who saw the entity bound to the harp reported that she was an ordinary-looking human woman that appeared aware and intelligent, with intense, glowing eyes.
The Harp of Healing was apparently able to heal or cure those that touched it. The four men who discovered the Harp witnessed common folk hobbling up to it on crutches, reaching out to touch it, and then joyously discard their walking aids and run, laughing with happiness, into the forest. At first, this seemed benign and beneficial, but after the men took possession of the instrument, the people drawn to it turned away without a word of protest and presumably returned to their homes. This unusual behavior indicated that the Harp had mind-altering powers that were not fully understood.
On a night shortly after the defeat of the black dragon Thauglorimorgorus, four companions, Gardrath Roaringhorn, Aiken Wyvernspur, Aubleth Crownsilver, and Lareth Huntsilver, were walking home from an inn on a road north of Suzail after an evening of revelry. Not far outside the city walls, they came upon a clearing filled with music, a glow dimmer than a hearth fire, and people walking, limping, or crawling out of the surrounding forest toward the mysterious Harp. After touching it, the enraptured folk stood up straight, threw away their crutches and sickness shawls, and ran back into the forest, apparently overjoyed to be cured of what ailed them.
The four men had admittedly been drinking, but all were in possession of their senses and they were either knights or courtiers from prominent families with reputations of being able to handle their liquor and not prone to spinning wild yarns. The companions decided that the obviously magical instrument could be of benefit to the Crown and should be taken to Suzail for study. When they took the floating harp, it immediately fell silent and dark. The folk still in the glade turned without a word and went back into the forest, leaving the four alone with their prize.
They proceeded to take the Harp to Suzail and presented it to the War Wizard on duty at the Royal Court. For many days, the unusual instrument was studied and many spells were cast on it and the four men. It continued to hover, glowing softly and playing unknown tunes except whenever any of the four were in close proximity. If one of them got within about six strides, it stopped playing, sank to the floor, and lost its glow. It resumed its ethereal concert only when they moved farther away. People who touched the Harp after its capture were temporarily relieved of any pain they were suffering, which gave them a warm, friendly feeling, but no actual healing was observed and their aches came back in short order.
Cleansing spells, such as dispel magic, were cast on those that had touched the Harp and often this resulted in a brief moment of anger at or violence toward those around them as the spell was being cast, but the fit of frenzy quickly passed once the spell took effect.
Months after the Harp of Healing was taken for study, it was being housed in the Royal Court under guard by a soldier and a War Wizard when Aubleth Crownsilver, one of the four discoverers, got out of bed in the middle of the night and apparently sleepwalked to the room where it was contained. He surprised the guards, knocked them unconscious, and then proceeded to tear the Harp apart barehanded. Incredibly loud harp music echoed through the castle and roused many nobles and guards who came running. When the warriors and War Wizards barreled into the room, they saw Aubleth writhing on the floor in pain as a spectral female entity floated above him and the instrument, lightning sparking from one hand toward Aubleth and from the other hand toward the harp, repairing it. The War Wizards attacked the robed woman with quickly cast spells, but she just glared at them and then vanished, taking the Harp with her.
For the rest of that night, the Harp popped in and out at various locations around Cormyr, played a loud tune, and then teleported to a new location. Whenever someone who had previously touched the harp heard the music, they rose from their beds and moved with some unknown purpose. Some went to the stable and saddled their horse, some walked quickly to particular locations, some attacked those around them without warning, but all soon woke up with no memory of what they had done or how they got there. Aubleth Crownsilver eventually recovered from his ordeal with no sign of lingering effects.
Rumors & LegendsEdit
The story of the Harp of Healing became an oft-told tale in homes and taverns, and it was reported that the musical mystery reappeared occasionally at different locations in Cormyr. Most common folk thought the Harp was a gift from the gods to show Cormyr their favor at a time when the country was recovering from a dragon attack and other challenges. They also thought that the government should not have tried to keep it and control it, and were glad it escaped. Thamaeler Mornalar, a War Wizard involved in the investigation, had strong suspicions that the instrument was used as a method to mind-control a large number of Cormyrean people for an unknown purpose, but likely a future uprising against the ruling Obarskyr family. He and his brethren speculated about various groups being behind the mysterious device, such as the Red Wizards of Thay, the Cult of the Dragon, the Zhentarim, and even a Sembian cabal. He made sure his views were recorded in both the court records and the annals of the Brotherhood of Wizards of War.
Hundreds of years later, in the 1370s DR, the famous explorer Volothamp Geddarm wrote that pranksters and thieves still went into the woods and played a harp at night, attempting to lure folks into some sort of mischief. The War Wizards and the Purple Dragons did not take these antics lightly and typically responded quickly on high alert. Those they caught impersonating the Harp of Healing were likely dealt with harshly.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ed Greenwood (February 2001). “The New Adventures of Volo: Lost Treasures of Cormyr, Part 3”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #280 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Ed Greenwood (February 2001). “The New Adventures of Volo: Lost Treasures of Cormyr, Part 3”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #280 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 86.