Elminster Aumar Character in D&D Forgotten Realms | World Anvil

Elminster Aumar

Elminster Aumar, most often referred to as the "Sage of Shadowdale" or the "Old Mage", was one of the most famous and powerful wizards in all of Faerûn. He was also considered the Realms' most preeminent sages—whose name was known from The Sword Coast Coast, to the far-off jungles of Chult and the eastern Realm of Thay― as well as the favored Chosen of Mystra, Goddess of Magic. Over the course of his centuries-long life Elminster had saved people of Faerûn from destruction or subjugation on numerous occasions, and earned himself legendary reputation among its people.
Life has no meaning but what we give it. I wish a few more of ye would give it a little.
- Elminster of Shadowdale

Elminster's most notable feature was his hawk-like nose, that distinguished him from his youth, throughout the years he spent as a woman, and well into manhood. He had a shock of stark black hair in his youth, and maintained a beard through most of his years that eventually went gray in his old age. El had vibrant blue eyes set under big bushy eyebrows that turned blue-gray later in life.

In his later years, the elderly Elminster began to show his age, with his gruff voice and weathered features, but remained alert. He preferred to wear plain clothes, like simple black or gray robes.

While Elminster was capable of taking on almost any appearance imaginable, even that of a certain beholder he once slew, he often preferred to travel in a less conspicuous manner, often utilizing invisibility and shapechange spells.

Rumors and Legends
According to the Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue, Elminster owed his longevity in part to a hidden cache of elven bread imported from Evermeet. Others ascribed his many years to "more mundane" means, like drinking from potions of longevity, vitality, or the elixir of life.

Some believed Elminster had a hand in the founding of Waterdeep, City of Splendors, or just with setting up its system of lords.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

An Outlaw and Thief
Elminster was born in the Year of the Awakening Magic, 212 DR, to Amrythale Goldsheaf and Elthryn Aumar, lord of the village of Heldon and prince of Athalantar. When he was just a boy, El's parents were slain and his village was decimated by Undarl, one of Athalantar's malevolent magelords. Left as the only survivor of the slaughter, the young Elminster took his father's broken blade, the Lion Sword that served symbol of the great king of the Stag Throne, and found a new life foraging for himself.

Prince Elminster is a warrior. He kills a man to warm up, helps cut up his horse and eat it, and then goes out into a battle and slaughters eight more. As if that's not enough, he's now about to sweep down alone on a score or more ready-armed armsmen. What else could he be but a warrior?
- Elminster

El was rescued by Helm Stoneblade and taken to live with the outcast Knights of Athalantar, who had executed their own form of justice as brigands out of their hideout in the Horn Hills. He remained with the outcast knights for a few years, until the killing he was forced to enact in defense of his home took its toll. At sixteen years old, Elminster had already grown weary of death and knew he needed to find a new livelihood.

Leaving the life of banditry behind, El set himself up as a burglar in Hastarl, capital of Athalantar. He operated under the alias of "Eladar the Dark", and befriended a young thief named Farl. They committed many terrific and exhilarating heists together and lived their lives to the fullest. They later formed a gang called the Velvet Hands in opposition to the rival Moonclaws, who were servants of Athalantar's magelords. During one burglary, Elminster met the Magister of Mystra, Dorgon "Stonecloak" Heamilolothtar. Dorgon asked El if he desired to learn magic, but Elminster refused as he hated all mages because of the magelords.

Magical Studies & Return Home
While Elminster enjoyed his time spent as a thief in Hastarl, he rededicated his efforts to seeking revenge upon the magelords for the death of his family. When he ran afoul of the magelords' temple in the city, El was over overcome by hostile guardsmen and saved by Mystra herself. The Lady of Magic transformed him into a woman named Elmara, to strengthen his bond with magic and to expand his understanding of the world. For a few years, "Elmara" served a priestess of Mystra in Athalantar and beyond. After some time, Mystra appeared to El once again as Myrjala Talithyn and trained her in the ways of spellcasting. The two became dear friends, and fell in love with one another. Over time however, Elmara felt compelled to "reveal" to Myrjala his true identity as Elminster, and shared his quest to take back Athalantar from the malevolent magelords. As an avatar of Mystra, Myrjala was of course was fully aware of El's shared identities.

Elminster and Myrjala set out together, rallying allies from among the elves of the High Forest, the exiled Knights of Athalantar, and the Velvet Hands of Hastarl. In the Year of the Chosen, 240 DR, Elminster and his friends stormed Athalantar's capital city, defeated Undarl Dragonrider, the Mage Royal that slew El's family, and reclaimed the Stag Throne from his uncle Belaur.

But Elminster had no desire for kingship, and quickly abdicated in favor of his friend, Helm Stoneblade, honored knight of Athalantar. After a night of revelry and celebration, Elminster and Myrjala departed the kingdom. On their way out however, Undarl revealed himself as one of the malaugrym from a different plane of existence and attacked them on the road out of the city. Myrjala's magic was ineffective against the otherworldly creature and she appeared to die from its spells. To prevent Elminster from foreswearing the use of magic, Mystra revealed herself to Elminster and proposed that he become one of her Chosen. Elminster readily agreed.

Time in Myth Drannor
Nothing is recorded of the journey of Elminster from his native Athalantar across half a world of wild forests to the fabled elven realm of Cormanthor, and it can only be assumed to have been uneventful.
- Excerpt from The High History of Faerûnian Archmages Mighty, 1366 DR

The following year, Elminster traveled to the city of Cormanthor to continue his magical studies with the elves under Mystra's direction. He walked east from Athalantar, across the Heartlands and through eastern border of Cormyr before arriving at the Forest of Cormanthor.[189] While in the forest, he unsuccessfully tried to defend a dying elf from hobgoblins. With his dying breath, the elf bestowed upon El the kiira of House Alastrarra, along with the mission to return it to his family in Cormanthor.

When he arrived in Cormanthor, Elminster was astonished by the city of elves. He did however keep his promise and returned the kiira to its rightful owners. While many elves treated him with animosity and outright hatred, Elminster was brought before Coronal Eltargrim Irithyl and Mystra blessed their meeting with her presence. Elminster was taken to the Vault of Ages to face a trial with the being known as the Srinshee. The two connected immediately, becoming fast friends and bonding over their shared outlook and appreciation for magic. With the Srinshee's blessing, Elminster was openly welcomed as the first human granted permission to dwell in Cormanthor, named Sha'Quessir (or elf-friend), and granted the title of Armathor of the Coronal Guard by Coronal Eltargrim.

Those that opposed opening Cormanthor to non-elves tried to use Elminster as proof that humans and other undesirables were detrimental to elven kind, and framed him for murder. Despite the allegations, El garnered some respect among the forward-thinking elves of the city, recognition that was bolstered in part to Coronal Eltargrim and the blessing of Mystra. Eventually Elminster was apprenticed to the cruel and powerful wizard from House Starym known only as "The Masked", and compelled to toil away for 20 years under oppressive conditions.

Despite the poor working conditions, Elminster's made significant contributions to the formation of Cormanthor's first mythal, which protect the city from outsiders. While some sought to subvert Elminster's involvement in the High Magic ritual, and twist it to their own political aims, the raising of the mythal was a momentous occasion. The mythal was completed in the Year of Soaring Stars, 261 DR, and the newly-renamed city of Myth Drannor was opened to non-elves for the first time in history.

Unfortunately El could not find true peace in Myth Drannor and attempts on his life continued. On Tarsakh 4 of that year, Lady Laurlaethee Shaurlanglar attempted to slay the Old Mage, first by lacing his moonwine with srindym poison, and when that failed, attempting to kill him with spells. She was ultimately unsuccessful and subdued by greater mage.

Elminster remained in Myth Drannor for nearly a century, and was present in the Year of Freedom's Friends, 324 DR, when Lady Dathlue Mistwinter founded an order of idealistic council of elves, humans, and half-elves known as the Harpers at Twilight, that would aid the city's defense. The group's harp symbol of which was chosen by Elminster―ironic, given his poor ability with the instrument.

Elminster finally left Myth Drannor at the behest of Mystra in the Year of the Cold Clashes, 331 DR. He had spent about 90 of his 120-odd years living amongst the elves of Cormanthyr.

Adventuring Years
On Midsummer evening in the Year of Stern Judgment, 666 DR, the Srinshee visited Elminster one last time after claiming the Rulers' Blade. She briefly interrupted his studies to bid him farewell before she departed for Arvandor.

Elminster returned to Myth Drannor and fought for the city's defense during the Weeping War. El joined the conflict about four months after the Army of Darkness first laid siege to Cormanthor in Nightal of the Year of Despairing Elves, 711 DR. He fought alongside the Nameless One and contributed to the elves' victory in the conflict known as Dawn at Erolith's Knoll. Months later, he fought again in the legendary battle at Silversgate, that saw the Army of Darkness driven from the city. Elminster himself destroyed the gate that linked Myth Drannor to Silverymoon Pass, but was inadvertently sucked into other planes of existence and lost to his allies for some time.

After the tragic loss of the city, Elminster joined those in attendance of the Gathering of the Gods at the Dancing Place in the Year of the Dawn Rose, 720 DR. This momentous occasion saw the clergies of many human deities of nature, along with those of the Seldarine, assemble together in unity against the agents of who they referred to as the 'Cruel Gods'. It marked the re-founding of the Harpers organization. These adventurers would act in defense of the good people of the Realms, while holding no allegiance to one single deity.

Trials & Temptations
And in the days when Mystra revealed herself not, and magic was left to grow as this mage or that saw best or could accomplish, the Chosen called Elminster was left alone in the world―that the world might teach him humility, and more things besides.
- The High History of Faerûnian Archmages Mighty, 1366 DR

Some thirty years later, in the Year of the Missing Blade, 759 DR, Elminster awoke within a dusty tomb when a band of adventurers found their way within. He was under the impression he had been trapped there in stasis for roughly a century. How he came to believe as such was unknown, given recent events in the prior decades, though it was believe by some that his memory had been altered.

It was around this time that Mystra decided to take a more personal hand in the creation of her Chosen. She chose Dornal Silverhand―the mortal man she deemed most worthy―and his paramour Elué Shundar as the vessels to birth seven daughters over the following years.

Shortly thereafter, the god Azuth soon came to Elminster telling him that he mustn't rely on Mystra for aid like any other Chosen must with magic. Elminster was presented with another test from Mystra: he would have to learn to survive without divine aid while using magic as little as possible. He was directed to serve under the tutelage of a wicked sorceress named Dasumia, who served the god Bane, and sought to tempt El away from Mystra's path. El apprenticed himself to Dasumia, and was eventually named Court Mage of Galadorna under his new malevolent Master. As Dasumia tortured innocents and prepared a ritual for her dark god, El was compelled to take action. He refused to strike down her victims as directed and attacked Dasumia with what the minimal magic he could cast. In the end, Dasumia revealed herself to be the goddess Mystra herself, once again testing El and his faith.

Around that time, magic had become unreliable and unexpected effects appeared whenever spells were cast. Some began to panic and speculated about whether or Mystra still yet lived. Elminster was drawn to an ancient repository of magic created by the Netherese arcanist Karsus, where he freed the long-imprisoned Spellcaster Saeraede Lyonora. Saeraede enticed El with with powerful magic that had been forbidden by Mystra, and attacked him, before being slain herself by an embittered foe from El's past.

After all he had gone through, Elminster felt dejected and lost. He reiterated his faith to Mystra and prayed to the goddess in earnest. El was given visions of all he could have had in life had he not devoted his life to his worship, saw everyone he had lost over the past 500 some odd years, and even witnessed the arcane power he could have, had he chosen to take it for himself. In one of El's darkest moments, Mystra appeared before him and stated his most important task was just ahead: the rearing of her daughters.

Seven Sisters & the Harpers
By the Year of the Awakening Wyrm, 767 DR, Dornal and Elué had seven daughters, but tragically Elué's mortal body could not handle Mystra's divine possession. When Dornal learned that Elué was in-effect possessed by a supernatural entity, he tried to murder her and then abandoned his daughters. Mystra entrusted the care of Ethena Astorma, Ambara Dove and Anamanué Laeral to her most trusted Elminster for a time. After two of the girls found their own paths in life, Elminster dedicated himself to raising only Laeral.

Decades later in the Year of the Jasmal Blade, 851 DR,Elminster first met with Sammaster, a fellow Chosen of Mystra. El took on the young mage as an apprentice for a time, instructing him on how to wield his newfound powers, including the highly-covered silver fire. But over time Sammaster developed an unhealthy obsession with Endué Alustriel, Mystra's second eldest daughter, and lost command over his silver fire. In the Year of the Stricken Star, 875 DR, Sammaster and his apprentice Algashon Nathaire abducted Alustriel and prepared a horrific ritual that would steal her access to the fire and restore his own. Elminster and Alustirel's sister Laeral rescued their fellow Chosen and were forced to slay Sammaster, leaving his remains to Mystra's consort Azuth.

On Hammer 14 in the Year of Waiting, 907 DR, Elminster confronted Halueve Starym for attempting to control devils. During the ensuing battle, the Srinshee advised Elminster through his silver fire on how to defeat the elven mage.

In the early 11th century DR, Elminster and Khelben Arunsun spent much of their time searching for suitable adventurers to take up the mantle of the Harpers of some centuries past. They found who the right champions they sought Year of the Wandering Wyvern, 1022 DR, in the newly-chartered company known as the Knights of Myth Drannor. After the group firmly rooted themself as a force of goodness in the North, Elminster ceased his meddling with the group, at least for a time.

War Against the Malaugrym
By the 12th century, Elminster had became well-versed in traveling the various planes of existence. While visiting the plane of shadow, El inadvertently attracted the attention of a malaugrym―the same type of aberration that posed as the Mage Royal of Athalantar―and slayed the being. When others of its kind descended upon Toril, Elminster drew them into a battle at Blackstaff Tower in the Year of the Stalking Satyr, 1179 DR, and rallied his Harper allies to turn them away from the Realms.

Despite warning them never to return, this conflict gave way to the Harpstar Wars, which began in earnest in the Year of the Tomb, 1182 DR. During the conflict, El crafted the eponymous Harp of Stars a magical device that helped his allies learn more about the aberrant monstrosities from the shadow plane. The Harpers fought the malaugrym across numerous extra-planar locals, and both sides of the conflict suffered tremendous losses. It was only when El's comrade Khelben Arunsun took over the consciousness of the malaugrym Shadowmaster,[91] in the Year of the Horn, 1222 DR, that the war came to an end.[230] After some 40 years of fighting, only a handful of malaugrym remained in their own demiplane, along with a score of Harpers that returned to Toril to help protect the Realms.

While Elminster and his allies were away from Faerûn, a mediocre bard named Rundorl Moonsklan had taken control of the group and named himself the 'Harper King'. After drawing the Harpers into a drawn-out and pointless conflict with the Red Wizards of Thay, he began to lose control of the situation and was forced to ally himself with the lich Thavverdasz, an ally of the emergent Cult of The Dragon, which itself was founded by El's former pupil Sammaster. As the Red Wizards of Thay, The Harpers, and Dragon cultists entered into a terrible battle at the Vast Swamp, Thavverdasz battled the Red Wizard Szass Tam and appeared to claim victory as master of the undead. Elminster appeared out of the skull of a slain Harper and destroyed the lich and saved the remaining Harpers, just having returned to Toril with his comrades.

Despite their "victories", The Harpers as an organization was left nearly in ruin. Elminster transported his injured friend Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun and the other survivors to Elventree to recover, and set out to rebuild all that had been lost in the previous decades.

Adventures as the Old Mage
Some twenty years later, on Eleint 21 in the Year of Burning Steel, 1246 DR, Elminster sought council with the wise warrior Thauntar and his dear friend the Srinshee about a spellcaster known as the Simbul that was killing many mages in the eastern realm of Aglarond. Elminster traveled to Aglarond and challenged the Simbul to a spell-duel. The titanic battle that eventually erupted between the two caused much damage to the Witch-Queen's palace before they both agreed to move the battle to Crommor's Fang. Their battle continued at the new locale until Elminster realized the Simbul was also one of Mystra's Chosen.

In the years that followed, Elminster forged a bond of friendship and comradery with the Simbul, who was in fact Alassra Shentrantra, the sixth daughter of Dornal Silverhand and Mystra. He called upon both Alassra, and the Wychlaran of Rashemen to help defend the recovering Harpers from their Red Wizard enemies in Thay. Fortunately for El and The Harpers, the Simbul hated the Red Wizards and would gladly keep them and their armies on the defensive.

As the dark mage Manshoon and his cabal of wizards known as The Zhentarim emerged as a threat to the Heartlands, Elminster personally took it upon himself to keep them at bay. He worked with Astorma—then known as Storm Silverhand—to recruit adventurers throughout the Dalelands and Eastern Heartlands to once again grow the Harpers' ranks. Eventually Elminster made his home in an old tower in Shadowdale Town, near Anastra's old cottage and Storm's farm.

No trespassing! Violators should notify next of kin. Have a pleasant day.
- The sign outside of Elminster's tower.

Elminster did take some time for himself during these years. He managed to make a visit to the Moonshae Isles in the Year of the Highmantle, 1336 DR, and took extensive notes about all he encountered.

Elminster unofficially 'retired' to Shadowdale about 15 years later, in the Year of the Morningstar, 1350 DR, serving as the de facto leader of Shadowdale, alongside Lord Mourngrym Amcathra. His retirement however was something of a ruse to provoke certain enemies.

Despite his efforts to remain hidden, Elminster continued to help new adventuring groups and aid his friends and allies. He played a key part in establishing the Rangers Three. On Ches 16 in the Year of the Worm, 1356 DR, Elminster agreed to pay off Sir Sabrast Windriver's tax-debts, despite the displeasure it brought to Vangerdahast the Royal Magician of Cormyr who had been hunting Sabarast. The following year, Elminster helped the young Shandril Shessair understand her newly-found powers over spellfire, and worked to keep her safe from her enemies in The Zhentarim and the Cult of The Dragon.

The Time of Troubles
Those who fight must know that the enemy can be conquered, that even the gods may die. Ye see there are forces greater than man or god, just as there worlds within and worlds without...
- Elminster, 1358 DR

In the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, just before the Time of Troubles, Mystra gained, by some means, foreknowledge about the upcoming calamity (Elminster later theorized this knowledge was offered to her by the overdeity Ao). She invested a great deal of her power into the lesser deity Azuth and all of her Chosen, with Elminster himself receiving the greatest amount. Mystra crafted a magical pendant and bestowed it upon the adventurer Midnight, and compelled her with a geas to seek out her avatar after the gods had been cast down to the Realms.[246] At the moment Mystra ceased to be the Goddess of Magic, magic did not function as normal, and Elminster lost access to the Weave. He felt weak and a lost, a shadow of the man he was just a day earlier.

After suffering such a great loss, Elminster's friends and fellow chosen were greatly worried about him. The adventurer Sharantyr and two Harpers Belkram and Itharr, known together as the Rangers Three, watched after El, and together they overthrew a Zhentilar controlled outpost in High Dale. During the conflict, the archlich Saharel sacrificed herself to slay the mortal Manshoon and save Elminster's life.

Despite their small victory, two great threats to the Heartlands emerged: the extra-planar malaugrym that saw this crisis as opportunity exact revenge by slaying Elminster, and the god Bane, who had taken mortal form in Zhentil Keep, and sought to take for himself the Tablets of Fate. In the middle of Kythorn, El and his fellow chosen devised a plan to protect the Old Mage and keep the Realms safe. The ghost of Syluné would use Elminster's pipe to act as a decoy Elminster, attracting the attention of the malaugrym while the Rangers Three assisted the real Elminster in preserving Mystra and repairing what remained of the fractured Weave.

On the same day the avatar of Mystra was destroyed by the avatar of Bane, Elminster reunited with Syluné and the Rangers Three in Daggerdale, warning them of the growing conflict between the Dales and The Zhentarim of the north. Over the following tendays, El and Mystra's other Chosen, along with the Rangers Three and the Knights of Myth Drannor held off the malaugrym invasion of the Realms for a time. They ventured into the plane of shadow, killed many of the malevolent shapeshifters in their Castle of Shadows, and destroyed the Malaugrym spell loop, albeit at great cost.

Having returned to the Prime Material plane, Elminster finally met with the adventurer Midnight on Flamerule 8, along with her companions Adon, Cyric, and Kelemvor, at his tower in Shadowdale. He offered them aid in their fight against Bane's forces.

All the while, Elminster worked old necromancy spells to restore the bodies of the allies that accompanied him to the Castle of Shadows to their natural state. Within a tenday, El was reunited with them in Faerûn on the 15th of the following month.

Elminster accompanied Midnight and her companions to Morningdawn Hall, just as the Zhentilar army marched upon Shadowdale Town, and helped Midnight perform a ritual that would located the Tablets before Bane and The Zhentarim. As the two performed the ritual, Bane's avatar forced his away into the temple. As the Celestial Staircase opened up above, Elminster created a rift that conjured Mystra's pure essence in the form of a magic elemental. The entity imbued Bane's avatar with all of its power, all but destroying his mortal form. Elminster acted quickly to seal the rift, but was taken within and transported to some other plane. Midnight and her companions believed the Old Mage to be dead.

While Midnight and her friend Adon were tried for Elminster's "murder", they were sprung from imprisonment by their companion Cyric. Elminster's scribe Lhaeo allowed them to seek passage to the city of Tantras, where Elminster believed they could find the Tablet of Fate. By the time Midnight arrived in the city, El had returned to them Realms, using the alias of Minstrel. He told Midnight she could find the tablet within the local temple of Torm, but guided her to another tower so that she could ring the Bell of Aylen Attricus. As the colossal avatars of Bane and Torm battled outside, and meteors rained down on Tantras from the skies, Elminster helped Midnight ring the bell just in time to shield the city from a catastrophic explosion.

Elminster remained in touch with Midnight, Adon, and Kelemvor as they traveled west towards Waterdeep, City of Splendors in search of the second Tablet of Fate,[268] and reunited with them at Blackstaff Tower upon their arrival. Elminster and Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun offered them some insight to the adventurers about how best to proceed at acquiring the tablet from the realm of Hades, beneath Dragonspear Castle.

Once Midnight and the others succeeded in their mission, Waterdeep, City of Splendors was overrun with Myrkul's legion of undead minions led by the night riders. Elminster helped defend the City of Splendors, and helped heroes hide away the tablet within an extra-dimensional space in Blackstaff Tower, until they could fight off and destroy the avatar of Myrkul himself. Elminster rained down meteors upon the rest of the dead god's horde, so that Midnight, Kelemvor, and Adon could take the tablets to Mount Waterdeep. While the allies' former companion Cyric managed to steal both tablets and present them to Ao at the mountain himself, Midnight was recognized as the hero that wrested them from the avatars of the gods and given the opportunity to ascend as the new Mystra, Goddess of Magic.

Court of Cormyr
In the month of Mirtul in the Year of the Turret, 1360 DR, Tarth Hornwood appeared before Elminster's tower seeking to be trained by the sage of Shadowdale in exchange for the Lost Ring of Murbrand. Elminster refused the offer but instead asked that Tarth destroy the staff of his former master, Nerndel of Amphail. Tarth attempted to trick the Old Mage with a fake staff built by Sarlin the Serpent, but was unsuccessful. After performing the ritual to destroy the staff, the item transform into Nimra Ninehands who had been trapped in the staff for over 700 years. Elminster explains that Nimra would help train Tarth as she was still bound to Nerndal's service - and now his.

In Alturiak of theYear of the Sword, 1365 DR, Elminster assisted Royal Magician Vangerdahast in searching for the missing war wizard Bolifar Geldert. Together they uncovered a plot by Baerune Cordallar, Kaulgetharr Drell, and others to wed Alusair Obarskyr and kill Tanalasta Obarskyr.

In late Eleint of the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR, the new incarnation of Mystra stripped away many of Elminster's memories of her former incarnation's secrets.

Return of the Archwizards
Later in the year, on Nightal 25, Elminster was called to Blackstaff Tower to discuss the phaerimm attack on Evereska with Laeral Silverhand, Khelben Arunsun, High Elder Gervas Imesfor, and High Priestess Angharad Odaeyns.

On Nightal 28, Elminster met with the Lady-of-the-Wood Morgwais in time for the arrival of Galaeron Nihmedu, Melegaunt Tanthul, Vala Thorsdotter, and the stone giant Aris. Elminster confronted Melegaunt on his motives but didn't press the issue too far in the presence of Morgwais. Later that night during a feast, Elminster followed the group as they tried to leave with the help of Malik el Sami. Melegaunt used his shadow magic and the arrival of a phaerimm with its beholder thralls to drive off Elminster long enough to escape into the Dire Wood.

Elminster fought a running battle against phaerimm, beholders and even the lich Wulgreth through the wild magic area of the dire wood. Despite this, on Nightal 30 he eventually stumbled across the Princes of Shade and overheard them planning an attack on Shadowdale while he was trapped in the form of a tree. Exhausted from his long battles and depleted of many spells, Elminster returned to Shadowdale via the Anauroch desert and arrived to find the dale's inhabitants and Storm Silverhand embattled already by phaerimm rather than the expected shadovar. When Elminster approached his tower, Rivalen Tanthul and five other Princes of Shade ambushed Elminster. In the confrontation, spells were thrown, and Storm Silverhand blasted one of the shadow princes with a ball of silver fire. Since Shadovar were living shadow magic and silver fire was pure Weave energy, the collision between the two tore at the fabric of reality and created a rift to the Nine Hells. Elminster realized that the only way to close the portal before legions of devils spilled forth into Toril was to enter within and close it from the other side.

In the Nine Hells
In the early hours of Hammer 1, in the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, Elminster entered the portal and narrowly managed to close it, but at the expense of much of his magical strength. Once in Hell, he was abducted and enslaved by an outcast archdevil known as Nergal, who wished to discover the secret of Mystra's silver fire. Elminster was subject to brutal tortures, surviving only because of his exceptional endurance and ability to heal himself with silver fire.

While the arch-fiend plundered Elminster's thoughts and memories, Mystra became aware of her favorite servant's plight and entered Hell herself to find him. Realizing that her presence in Hell was overly conspicuous, Mystra retreated and dispatched more subtle agents to find him, first Halaster's Hold the Mad Mage of Undermountain (who was defeated), and then the Simbul. After much searching, the Simbul found him, and together they defeated Nergal and returned home.

Continued Adventures
In the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, three years after the Manshoon Wars began, Elminster later secretly helped a small group of adventurers near Westgate at the village of Reddansyr. Investigating the fate of a clone of Manshoon, they unmasked the clone as the real leader of Night Masks of Westgate, the Night King known as "The Faceless".

On the Feast of the Moon in the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, El, Khelben, and Laeral worked powerful high magic to cleanse the stretch of the High Moor around Highstar Lake, and return to glory the lost city of Faer'tel'miir. It was then renamed Rhymanthiin, the Lost City of Hope. The fantastic feat came at a great loss however, as Khelben Arunsun sacrificed his life to ensure its completion.

Just over a tenday later, on Nightal 15, Sharran agents attempted to steal the Ebon Diadem from Elminster's tower. Due to the essence of the artifact and the sheer power of Elminster's wards, on whose power the artifact fed, the Sharrans defeated Elminster (though not without losing most of their number) and a contingency spell whisked Elminster away, while his tower itself was blasted into ruin and transported to another, unknown plane of existence.

Death of Mystra
Learn ye well the lesson of the pebble that begets a landslide. Likewise a single betrayal unleashed the Spellplague, whose consequences yet dance and stagger across Toril, and beyond.
- Elminster, 1479 DR.

A decade later, in the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR, Mystra was slain in Dweomerheart by the god Cyric working alongside the goddess Shar. The magical Weave that permeated Realmspace collapsed, and the Spellplague wracked all of Toril. Elminster and the rest of Mystra's chosen were stripped of their powers. While El himself could still cast arcane magic, every use of his magic drove him to—and sometimes over—the brink of insanity. When this happened, only his longtime traveling companion Storm was able to bring his mind back, giving of her own essence to soothe Elminster's mind.

Elminster's great love and fellow Chosen, Alassra Silverhand, was left in a much worse state following the Spellplague. She absorbed the magical energies released during the cataclysmic event and was afflicted with never-ending madness. On one occasion she unwittingly attacked Elminster at Silverhand farm, and he was forced to defend himself in a devastating spell battle. The powers she held within were released and absorbed by El, and he became a threat to all the Dales. He absorbed the power from the surrounding landscape, creating pockets of plaguelands and conjuring earthmotes. The Old Mage was eventually subdued by a band of adventurers, and left to languish at the old farm.

Despite that ordeal, Elminster made it his calling to amass magical or otherwise enchanted items from wherever they were found, and channel their dweomers to Alassra to alleviate her worst symptoms and grant her brief moments of lucidity. She would remain well for a time, before she flew off to some far away realm, only to return to one of her favored locales. El dedicated his life then on to caring for her, while rumors spread that the reverse was true.

15th Century
Despite these setbacks, Elminster and Storm continued with their campaign to save Faerûn, battling evil where they could. While most people believed they were dead, they pair watched over Shadowdale, and even guided aspiring adventurers, like Kahara Sulwood when drow from House Jaelre overrun the dale. On one occasion, El heard the voice of Mystra direct him travel to Zhentil Keep, and destroy the Darkways that Manshoon had corrupted, leading to the death of many noted mages.

Eventually El and Storm took the aliases of "Elgorn" and "Stornara Rhauligan", two servants working for the Cormyrean royal family, and relocated to Suzail.

After living in such a weakened state for nearly a century, Elminster finally admitted in the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, that he and Storm needed help saving the Realms. Having run out of easy-to-steal magic items to feed to Alassra, Elminster sought to gain access to artifacts known to contain the spirits of the Nine—objects powerful enough to pierce the wards surrounding the royal palace or, Elminster believed, to permanently restore the Simbul's sanity. In order to achieve these ends, El specifically sought to recruit the efforts of his descendent, Amarune Whitewave.

Decline & Death
During one of his excursions into the Royal Palace that same year, Elminster's was slain by Manshoon, who had secretly been peeling away the Old Mage's contingency spells over several years. However, Manshoon departed before he realized that Elminster had survived his body's destruction in a near-undead state.

With Amarune's consent and the aid of Storm, Elminster's essence was placed in the body of his great-grandaughter by means spell the ex-Chosen had discovered in a cache once belonging to Azuth. He then sought to train his great-granddaughter while attempting to defend the Forest Kingdom from Manshoon and traitorous nobles alike. He shared Rune's body with her for a time, but soon discovered how to also cohabit the body of her paramore, Lord Arclath Delcastle, along with his consciousness.

As Elminster learned to navigate his new bodiless existence, Storm discovered a means of permanently curing Alassra of her madness: by helping her consume one of the powerful blueflame items seemingly created during the Spellplague. Meanwhile, the Manshoon of Westgate was enacting a convoluted scheme to manipulate the nobility of Cormyr and install himself as Emperor of Cormyr.

The situation came to a head as Elminster, Storm and the others struggled to offer the blueflame item to Alassra within a secluded cave, and Manshoon appeared before them all. Alassra returned to her full self, restored Elminster's physical form, and presented everyone with a missive from her long-dead mother: Elminster and Manshoon would have to work together against the machinations of the Imprisoner, and close the many inter-planar rifts that had been opened by warlocks and others during the last hundred years. If they failed, the primordials would take over Toril, and the world of elves, men, and dwarves would be no more. Elminster and Manshoon both agreed to work alongside the other...for a time.

Manshoon's loyalty to the others lasted all but a few minutes. Just after Alassra left to begin their work, Manshoon used his magic to once again cast Elminster from his body and plunge his essence into the Underdark. El's ephemeral form lingered in the Underdark for a time, witnessing a wider scope of the effects of the Spellplague, before encountering the consciousness of Symrustar Auglamyr, an elf that lived in Cormanthor when El first stepped into the city. They traveled together as El came to inhabit the body of a drow woman, and eventually made his way back up to the surface world.

His Greatest Loss
Elminster had managed to make his way back to Cormyr, reunited with Amarune, and heralded Mystra's return to the Realms. He entered into the mind of an honest and stalwart member of the War Wizards and informed them their aid would be needed during the conflict ahead.

Meanwhile, Alassra worked tirelessly to close rifts that had been opened across the Realms. She eventually made her way to an isolate keep shrouded in blue flame and overrun with tanar'ri. She wielded her silver fire to slay many demons, but was nearly overrun and called out to Elminster and Mystra for help. While Alassra emerged victorious, Elminster heard her pleas but could not be heard in response. As she continued with her quest, consuming blue flame items became increasingly taxing on her body.

When Elminster witnessed so much needless death and destruction caused by Manshoon's schemes that he went into a murderous rage and unleashed all the remaining magic he had upon his old foe. It was not enough however, and Elminster's newest body was blasted apart by the city's War Wizards. Alassra arrived moments later and sacrificed herself to restore Elminster's rightful body and make himself whole again. Absolutely distraught with the loss of his lifelong love, Elminster went on to systematically slay everyone responsible for the events leading up to that point. He saved Manshoon for last, melting his body with silver fire, despite knowing the centuries-old despot could not be truly destroyed save for by divine intervention.

Elminster resisted the urge to allow his rage to overtake him. He returned to the cave where Alassra was cured, carrying with him the power of the blue flame items she had amassed. El returned the arcane power to Mystra, allowing her to fully return as the Goddess of Magic once again.

Return to the Sword Coast
After suffering such tremendous loss, Elminster went to Neverwinter for its Protector's Jubilee to see the city's renewal for himself. A guest of honor at the Protector's Enclave, Elminster bade adventurers who sought him out to escort merchants through the hostile territory of Blacklake District, Ebon Downs, and Whispering Caverns; had meet with and bring a coded message left by an undercover spy with the Blacklake gangs; had them capture a coded message from the Dead Rats for the Harpers to decrypt; and directed them to covertly transcribe certain notes from Principles of Thaumaturgic Transmogrification at Bradda's Sage Shop, among others.

When the restored Cult of The Dragon emerged as a threat to The Sword Coast in the 1480s DR, Elminster joined the armies of the Five Factions at the Well of Dragons, and helped prevent Severin Silrajin form summoning Tiamat to the Realms.

Second Sundering
Over the next few years, Elminster and Storm Silverhand, along with Amarune and Arclath, traveled across the Realms working to strengthen the Weave at locales where some magical wards managed to survive the Spellplague. After venturing in a dungeon near Elturel in the Western Heartlands during the Year of the Rune Lords Triumphant, 1487 DR, they learned that the Shadovar of Thultanthar began investigating similar points of interest across Faerûn. To stop Shar's agents from carrying out their goddess' plot to takeover the Weave as part of the Shadow Weave, Elminster ventured to Candlekeep to learn more about the situation. Storm, Amarune, and Arclath meanwhile traveled to the reborn city of Myth Drannor.

While in Candlekeep, Elminster discovered that both Shadovar agents and two of his fellow Chosen—Alustriel and Laeral Silverhand—had spent years, decades even, within the library-fortress, preparing for events that were about to unfold. El's old friend Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun had previously gleaned insight into the series of world-changing events known as the Second Sundering and had developed a contingency plan. Khelben's followers, The Moonstars, along with Alustriel and Laeral Silverhand, intended to destroy the wards of Candlekeep in order to prevent Shar and the Shadovar from utilizing them. While Elminster remained aghast with the idea, the lich Larloch appeared before the trio and offered an alternative idea. Unlike Mystra's living Chosen, Larloch had expertly retained his power following the Spellplague, and was in fact responsible for the unfortunate events surrounding the blueflame items some years prior. Larloch taught Elminster how to use his power as a weave anchor to channel the power of Candlekeep's wards and preserve them, while simultaneously turning away the Shadovar. As Elminster saw Shar as a greater threat than the lich to the Realms, he accepted the Shadow Lord's offer, and began carrying out their plan.

As agents of The Moonstars broke into Candlekeep to excise the Shadovar within, Elminster linked minds with the leaders of the Avowed to gain access to the library's wards. Unfortunately, Larloch betrayed Elminster and the others and used the mind-link to slay many of Candlekeep's monks. the Shadow King was them able to strip away Candlekeep's powerful wards for his own use. Elminster learned his lesson. He and his fellow chosen quickly made their way to Myth Drannor, to ensure the Larloch could not also steal the power from the city's restored mythal.

They arrived too late however, as Larloch invaded the minds of Thultanthar's citizens and began the ritual to consume the mythal. Elminster meanwhile used the technique Larloch taught him―bolstered by the support of Laeral Silverhand and Alustriel―and gained control of the flying city itself. Given extra power by the Srinshee―who sacrificed what remained of her unlife―Elminster brought Thultanthar crashing down atop Myth Drannor in a cataclysmic blast that destroyed both cities. Fortunately, most residents of Myth Drannor had been evacuated before. The goddess Shar declined to further escalate her plot and admitted failure to her rival Mystra.

Helping Old Friends
The following year, El hosted an event at Oldspires in Cormyr, home of the noble-born merchant Sardasper Halaunt. Several powerful archmages were summoned to the old manor, which was then caught in the middle of a powerful spellstorm, on the promise they could possibly attain powerful magic: the Lost Spell. Mystra wished that the mages would come together in the spirit comradery to help guide the Realms following the dual tragedies of the Spellplague and Second Sundering.

Unfortunately the gathering led to a series of grisly murders, as several of the mages slew each other in order to take the Lost Spell for themselves. In the end, Elminster destroyed the scroll of the Lost Spell and eradicated the spellstorm surrounding the manor. At Mystra's request, he finally enacted justice on Manshoon for his atrocities. El removed the spindle of Mystryl's divine essence from within the clone of the ancient wizard, but left him alive to languish without his power.

Later on in the Year of the Scarlet Witch, 1491 DR, Elminster and former Lord of Waterdeep Mirt The Moneylender―who had been restored to life after his consciousness remained within a blueflame weapon for over a century―returned to Waterdeep, City of Splendors. Together they aided the city's recently-appointed Open Lord Laeral Silverhand identify the culprits responsible for murdering numerous Masked Lords.


Contacts & Relations

Friends & Allies
Hurling down mountains? Shattering fortresses? Easy enough. Caring diligently for all the folk who come to you, day after moon after year, and keeping at it ― that's hard. Try it some time.
- Elminster, date unknown.

Elminster counted upon many friends and allies throughout his life, from his fellow thief Farl; to long-time ally and friend, fellow archmage, and often ideological rival, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun. He was colleagues with many prominent sages, scholars, and spellcasters, including Gorion of Candlekeep, Rhauntides of Highmoon, Maris Khorma Terrabin of Cormyr, and Yandrin Thorl of Archendale, among many others. Elminster was also considered a friend by nobles and royalty from all across Toril and the planes beyond, including Princess Alusair Obarskyr of Cormyr (even after her death), Count Gamalon Idogyr of Spellshire, Prince Andru of The Rock of Bral and the Dragon Lord Mei Lung of the Kara-Turan pantheon known as the Celestial Empire.

The Old Mage held friendships and acquaintanceships with his contemporaries from other worlds, most notably Ed of the Greenwood on Earth, to whom Elminster told much about Faerûn while enjoying refreshments (the Sage of Shadowdale was particularly fond of piña coladas). Elminster was also an aquaintance of Mordenkainen and Rautheene of Oerth and Dalamar of Krynn; the three frequently met at Greenwood's home on Earth to exchange spells and news of each other's worlds, though Elminster would never have dared admitted as such to other Torillians.

He was connected in purpose and creation with all of Mystra's other Chosen, and maintained communication with them by means of a telepathic link. He held a particularly strong bond with Mystra's own daughters, known throughout the Realms as the Seven Sisters. He helped raise three of them from childhood―Ambara, Anamanué, and Astorma, ―the latter of whom took the name 'Storm Silverhand'. Over time Storm became El's favored traveling companion, and the pair nurtured their bond as kindred spirits for centuries.

Elminster maintained strong bonds of friendship with other good-aligned and scholarly-minded individuals. Elminster was dutifully served by Lhaeo, his personal scribe and Royal Consort to Queen Zaranda Star of Tethyr; he regularly edited works written by Volothamp Geddarm, author of the widely-popular but seldom fact-checked "Volo's Guide to..." series of travelogues; and maintained a amiable yet friendly rivalry of sorts with Vangerdahast Aeiulvana, the Mage Royal of Cormyr.

He was an ally of numerous adventuring companies, including the Knights of Myth Drannor, and the Rangers Three, and even considered a 'bloodbrother' to no less than five clans of dwarves.

Elminster continued to take on apprentices on occasion. Notable among these were: Lycon "Wolf-beard", the mage and merchant, Symgharyl Maruel, Ghleanna Stormlake, who accompanied Elminster to Phlan when the city's pool of radiance became resurgent, Taranel, a longtime scholar of the Draconomicon, Raerlin, who attempted to steal from the Old Mage but was subsequently killed at a magefair, and Nouméa Fairbright, who witnessed Elminster defend himself against two Red Wizards of Thay.

While Elminster did not originally take on a young Vangerdahast as an apprentice, the Old Mage did share with him some arcane secrets, that remained secret between the two friends.

Not all of Elminster's apprenticeships ended well. By Mystra's request El began tutoring Sammaster, one of the goddess' other Chosen who went on to found the Cult of The Dragon. The relationship between the two mages quickly became contentious. Sammaster left Elminster's tutelage after his obsession with Mystra and jealously of her lovers overwhelmed the young mage.

Elminster eventually stopped taking on new students for a time. His decision stemmed from the fact so many young mages were corrupted by the even-present drive to attain more powerful magic and using that magic to wage war.

Elminster enjoyed many romances during his long and storied life, but his first and arguably most impassioned lover was the goddess Mystra herself. The two spent much time together when El was a young man (as well as when she was a woman), during the time Mystra walked the Realms as Myrjala Talithyn. He was flirtatious and amorous with numerous members of the Fair Folk and their kin, including Morgwais, the Lady of High Forest; Nacacia, a half-elf from Cormanthor; and the Srinshee, a unique lich-like being that watched over Myth Drannor. El and the Srinshee enjoyed a centuries-long friendship, founded on mutual admiration and shared respect for the nature of magic. Their friendship endured the years despite the Srinshee's one unsuccessful attempt to steal away from Elminster some of his silver fire.

The second great love of Elminster's life was Alassra Silverhand, the Witch-Queen of Aglarond and the second-youngest of the Seven Sisters. Their passionate romance formed during the early 14th century, after they met and famously battled one another in a spell-duel some decades prior. The love they shared continued on for well over a hundred years, enduring the death of Alassra's reincarnated mother, and the calamitous series of events that followed. Elminster remained dedicated to Alassra during her darkest years, and did everything in his power for decades to keep her well when she was afflicted with supernatural madness.

Ye have enemies? Good, good – that means ye've stood up for something, sometime in thy life...
- Elminster, speaking to a young member of the Harpers.

Among Elminster's greatest foes were Othortyn and the malaugrym, terrible shapeshifting beings native to the plane of shadow. Elminster had slain one of their kind as a youth, and earning the distinction of being their "Great Foe" after helping thwart an invasion of Toril. Elminster later assailed the malaugrym at their Shadowhome and exterminated nearly all of their kind.

Perhaps Elminster's most distinguished and menacing foe native to the Realms was the archmage Manshoon, founder of the nefarious The Zhentarim. Their various encounters ranged from farcical, when Elminster' embarrassed Manshoon in front of the lords of Zhentil Keep; to deadly, when Manshoon killed Elminster at his weakest point; to tragic, when Elminster finally took from Manshoon what he cherished most.

He was one of several prominent spellcasters targeted by the murderous members of House Karanok of Chessenta, who had placed a 10,000 gp bounty on his head. Elmionster had even earned the enmity of at least one demigod, Velsharoon the Lich-Lord of necromancers.

Family Ties

While El's parentage and family were known to few,[49] he was in fact born to Elthryn Aumar son of Uthgrael, one of the seven Princes of Athalantar, and Amrythale Goldsheaf, daughter of a woodsman. El was believed to have many lovers over the course of his life, and sired at least one child, Narnra Shalace, the 'Silken Shadow' of Marsember.
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Quotes & Catchphrases
Archlich, I mock everyone. Myself, most of all. It's how I guard my heart against the flailing lashings of life.
- Elminster to Larloch, 1487 DR

Depending on the circumstances, Elminster could be as equally serious, fearsome, or arrogant, while just as often demonstrating exceptional charm, cleverness and good-natured humor. At all times he was said to be wholly fearless and entirely forthright with others. El was a natural raconteur and actor, and could take on the role of father figure, a wily trickster, an immoral rake, or any other clichéd role that served his needs at the time―or on a whim to elicit a reaction from others. Most often Elminster chose to only reveal the full range of his character to his close friends and companions.

Elminster extolled the virtue of tolerance, peace, and freedom from oppression. He truly cherished the wonder and beauty of the natural world. While El grew up hating magic, especially those that wielded it for their own selfish ends, he garnered a profound appreciation for the Power and the Art during his studies. According to El, mages should further their studies to best understand how to avoid using the arcane power they had their disposal.

One of El's personality quirks was that he snored loudly while sleeping. He was considerate enough to magically mute himself during sleep if it would disturb his friends. As one of Mystra's Chosen however, Elminster did not actually need to sleep.
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