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High Haspur was a village in the Vast, lying high in the western Earthfast Mountains, where Helve's Trail from Maerstar met the High Trail between Sarbreenar and Procampur.[1][3][2]

Government[]

High Haspur was ruled for a number of generations by the Morninglight family, a gnome clan who also ran The Elf in Armor inn there. Talented negotiators, the Morninglights mediated between the local humans and dwarves to maintain peace. Nevertheless, some elderly dwarves nursed grudges against them. Circa 1367 DR, the family patriarch was Fankolin Morninglight.[1][2]

Description[]

The village was situated in the alpine heights of the Earthfast Mountains.[1][2] Much of it sat upon a series of low bluffs looking over the High Trail. This commanding view gave the villagers a good opportunity to defend against the regular orc and goblinoid raids.[1]

The Elf in Armor was a high-quality inn run by the Morninglight family. It was named for the elven hero Beluar, who died in Elvenblood Pass and was buried in Sarbreenar, up the High Trail north of High Haspur. The Elf in Armor was considered by travelers to be among the finest inns in the Vast, even in all Faerûn, rivaled by The Worried Wyvern in Sevenecho and second only to The Wizard's Hand in Maskyr's Eye.[1][2]

There were shrines to a number of deities in High Haspur. These were dedicated to Tymora, Tyr, and several gnomish, dwarven, and elven deities.[1] The shrine to Tymora was administered by a temple of Tymora in Mulmaster.[2]

Activities[]

High Haspur was reportedly a wealthy place, as the Morninglights worked at mining and smelting gold. From their cellars and storage caverns, they tunneled into the mountains to mine for gold.[2][note 1]

They also created numerous mechanical inventions, designed to defend a cave or tunnel against a greater number of humans or orcs. These were constructed and tested in their caverns, and included crossbows that fired multiple bolts, mobile armored shields that could be moved to block tunnels, and a range of vicious traps.[2]

History[]

The famed violinist and bard Nikolai Tallow hailed from High Haspur, being the son of a local chandler. Though Nikolai traveled the Vast, southern Moonsea, and Sembia practicing his music, he often returned to his isolated home high in the mountains. Then, one day while dining with his father at The Elf in Armor, Nikolai was harassed by the bandit Tremble Ghon. When Nikolai boasted his music was good enough to raise the dead, Ghon decided to put this to the test and murdered the fiddler's father in cold blood, and massacred the villagers who attempted to intervene. In response, the musician pulled out his violin and played a song never heard before nor after. Witnesses said he played like a madman, consumed with passions and moving almost unnaturally. The song climaxed with Nikolai's father and all the dead villagers rising as shadows that horribly slew every one of the bandits. But the mad song never ended—Nikolai Tallow kept playing and dancing through the streets and pastures of his home until every creature to have ever died there joined him in the dark revelry. It was said that Nikolai disappeared into a mysterious wall of mist that disappeared after he entered it. The story was a legend by 1281 DR, but remembered in Nikolai's surviving Viol of the Hollow Men.[4]

Rumors & Legends[]

Local tales claimed that a shaft in the fireplace of The Elf in Armor was the main passage leading down into the Morninglights' caves and tunnels. Some old dwarves who disliked the Morninglights would speak of the entrances to, layout of, and traps in the subterranean ways, if plied with enough drink and coin.[2]

According to a local dwarven legend, there was a natural cavern, somewhere northwest of High Haspur in the Earthfast Mountains, that was completely encrusted with magically glowing beljurils. There were estimated to be several thousand of these hugely valuable gems. The legend said little about how to find this fabulous cavern, much less what guarded it, but told that all who sought the cavern either disappeared or turned up dead, with a single beljuril stuffed in their mouth.[2]

Local legends claimed that on nights when mists enveloped the land, Nikolai Tallow's ghost played his phantom violin with the shadows of the dead dancing to the melody in the light of the moon.[4]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. The City of Ravens Bluff states that the Morninglights are "the only miners and gold-smelters currently operating in the Vast", but this is apparently contradicted by King's Reach in the same book, where the same industries occur, and other locations in the Vast. Thus this remark about the Morninglights is considered to be in error.

References[]

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