Herald's Holdfast was a spellguarded library complex that belonged to the Heralds of Faerûn and was their primary repository of heraldic lore, history, genealogy, and artifacts from nearly all the humanoid races native to Faerûn. It was the greatest library in the North, surpassing even the Vault of the Sages in Silverymoon, and was also the residence of the High Herald Old Night.
Approximately 30 mi (48 km) west and slightly north of Silverymoon (about a full day's journey), the Holdfast was located in a forested dell in the southern tip of the Moonwood, just north of the River Rauvin on an unmarked path.
The outside facade of the Holdfast was so well-hidden by moss and vines of ivy that it blended into the cliff face behind it, and a seeker needed prior knowledge of where to look in order to locate it easily. Under the ivy was a deceptively ordinary squat stone tower, about 80 ft (24 m) in diameter and twice as tall as it was wide. The door was made of stone and covered with moss, but had no lock and swung inward with an easy touch.
The inside of the tower was one huge cylindrical room with a vaulted ceiling that was filled with flags and banners, escutcheons bearing coats-of-arms, weapons and armor, and fine tapestries woven with scenes of historic battles and events. Above rafters carved in bas-relief style with the likenesses of mankind's greatest heroes and heroines, a blue faerie fire glow illuminated the entire space. Samples from every age of human existence were found here—this was the Chamber of Man, or alternatively, the Chamber of Humanity.
Opposite the main entrance was a wooden door that opened on a long corridor that led straight back into the stone of the cliff. Along this corridor were various side passages, each leading to a chamber dedicated to one of the races of Faerûn. Although decorated in a fashion similar to the Chamber of Man, none were quite as big. The Chamber of the Dwarves had statues of Moradin, Dumathoin, and the other dwarven deities and heroes looking down from the rafters. Dwarven suits of armor and weapons, such as hammers and axes were displayed to demonstrate the glory of the dwarven race. Other races known to have a chamber in the Holdfast included elf, halfling, gnoll, gnome, giant-kin, centaur, korred, satyr, orc, goblin, and hobgoblin. All such chambers were filled with precious items of historical significance to the dedicated race, some of which were quite valuable due to being constructed from precious metals and gems.
At the end of the long corridor was a formal dining room with a large, circular table covered in runes. A kitchen, some guest rooms, and Old Night's apartment were connected on either side of this dining area. Across the room from the corridor entrance was another door that led into the library: a space even bigger than the Chamber of Man, with shelves of books, scrolls, stone tablets, and documents lining the high walls and many tables also stacked with books occupying the floorspace. At least one floating magical orb provided light to this room.[note 1]
Herald's Holdfast was primarily a library and therefore was continually receiving reports of important news—births and deaths, marriages and annulments, alliances and blood feuds, new and altered heraldic blazons, crimes against the Law of Arms, geographic map updates, demographic and population statistics, and so on—from the local Heralds and the Harpers. Occasionally new items would arrive to be added to the collection. All of this had to be organized and cataloged, with some of it perhaps copied for use at the Map House in Silverymoon, or sent out to keep the other Heralds abreast of current events and the wishes of the High Heralds, essentially making the edifice the hub of a vast information network. Well-behaved visitors were allowed to view any of the materials in the library, but not remove them. Copies could be made and taken out, as long as the originals stayed in the Holdfast.
Old Night was also responsible for training the Heralds Pursuivant and the most recent appointees to the offices of Green Shield, and Gauntlet. At the Holdfast, these apprentices learned the finer points of the Law of Arms, memorized genealogies, and became familiar with the myriad rules and traditions of courtly life across Faerûn in preparation for the possibility of becoming a High Herald one day.
Herald's Holdfast was said to be an impregnable fortress, protected by spell cancellation magic that negated most types of spells. The overgrown entrance could be completely hidden by a permanent, customized hallucinatory terrain spell. Even though it was respected by both good and evil races in the North, it also had an aura that prevented entry by orcs. The building and its contents were protected against the passage of time by strong preservative spells. Protection measures were known to include deadly molds, zones that were enchanted to inhibit open flames, and helmed horrors that attacked any intruders unless they spoke certain passwords. The wooden door to the subterranean part of the Holdfast was also protected and ensorcelled to warn the inhabitants when visitors or intruders entered the Chamber of Man. Even the furniture could be called into service: some pieces were dormant constructs that could be commanded by Old Night. Trapped books bearing symbols and glyphs of warding were strategically placed among the holdings to further protect rare works. Only the High Heralds knew of all the defenses of the Holdfast, but they were enough to survive attacks by hordes of orcs, wizards, beholders, and even the tarrasque.
The age, architect, and builders of the Holdfast were unknown, or known only to the High Heralds. The emblem of Herald's Holdfast (not the Herald organization) was a silver book laying open on a field of dark gray.
Rumors and LegendsEdit
There were some who claimed that a portal to Silverymoon was located very near the entrance to the Holdfast, known only to Old Night and his or her close associates. According to rumor, there were many other chambers in the Holdfast, all connected by secret doors.
- Old Night was the primary resident.
- Dargin Stoneweaver (circa 1368 DR)
- Llyllanndra Havenstar (circa 1368 DR)
- Naithee Uvarkk (circa 1368 DR)
- Hakan (circa 1368 DR)
- At any given time there may have been one or more Heralds Pursuivant assisting Old Night, receiving instruction, or working on assigned tasks.
- Harpers were welcome in the Holdfast.
- There may have been regular kitchen and cleaning staff.
- ↑ The Code of the Harpers does not specify what the light source was, but good candidates would be Nchaser's glowing orb or a driftglobe.
- The Companions of the Hall visited Herald's Holdfast and was given an important clue to the location of Mithril Hall in the novel Streams of Silver.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 42. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), p. 80. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 81. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dale Henson (as slade), Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend, Jennell Jaquays (as Paul Jaquays), Steve Perrin (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (The Wilderness). (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Richard Baker, Ed Bonny, Travis Stout (February 2005). Lost Empires of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 0-7869-3654-1.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 R.A. Salvatore (July 2005). Streams of Silver. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 213, 238. ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- ↑ Karen Wynn Fonstad (August 1990). The Forgotten Realms Atlas. (TSR, Inc), pp. 63, 65. ISBN 978-0880388573.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (July 2003). The Thousand Orcs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 978-0786929801.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (July 2005). Streams of Silver. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 230, 231. ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 Rand Sharpsword (2002-07-31). The Herald's Holdfast. Rand's Travelogue. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2014-12-09.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 R.A. Salvatore (July 2005). Streams of Silver. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 234. ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (July 2005). Streams of Silver. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0-7869-1606-0.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 75. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 107. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
- ↑ Dale Henson (as slade), Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend, Jennell Jaquays (as Paul Jaquays), Steve Perrin (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (The Wilderness). (TSR, Inc), p. 67. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- ↑ slade (April 1996). The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (Cities and Civilization). (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
- ↑ Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 124. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 48. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.