Located along the southern edge of the Border Forest the elven encampment of Tachepp can be found. About 15 miles, north by northwest from Dagger Falls, Tachepp is the heart of elven resistance against the Shattered Stone Orcs and the Zhentarim of Snowmantle.
Tachepp (Village): Conventional; AL CN; 200 gp limit; Assets 8,460 gp; Population 743; Isolated (elves 98% [copper elves 54%, gold elves 23%, silver elves 22%, other elves 1%], fey 1%, others 1%).
Fires swiftly snaked their way through the southern Rystall Wood, fanned by the dark elf wizards who summoned flaming spiders to spread searing destruction upon their hated, light-loving kin. Some of the elves fortunate enough to escape the consuming inferno, fled north, deeper into the Rystall Wood. The fires raced after them, killing those who stumbled or collapsed from exhaustion. A little more than a hundred elves found themselves standing upon a large bald crag composed of solid granite. The fires slowly surrounded the rocky summit, smoke burned eyes and lungs. Slowing from out of the flames crawled swarms of arachnids, their tiny bodies ablaze with abyssal heat. Above the moaning and cries of fear, an elven wizard’s voice called out ancient words through the black haze and commanded the very stone to lift his elven brethren high away from the crawling flames. Clerics and druids called forth the aid of the Seldarine with what strength they had left. Through the night, summoned rain fell upon, magic ice blasted, and elven steel cut through the spider fires. As the morning sun began to rise out of the Moonsea and the last of the fires died away, a gentle breeze came, kicked up ashes and carried the smoke away. Tears fell from stinging eyes as the survivors found that more lives were lost than saved upon that hill. In a solemn ceremony later that morning, a cleric of Sehanine Moonbow set the bodies of the slain afire. It saddened many of the elves to mark their passing in such a manner after all they had done to save themselves from the flames. The cleric blessed the hill and named it Tachepp, after a newborn baby that had come so close to being spared. The elves gathered food and water and departed for lands father north away from the charred scar that now divided the Rystall Wood from the rest of Cormanthor. In the Ninth Rysar of Rystall Wood, Tachepp was developed as a military outpost, shortly after the Spiderfires (-2439 DR), to protect the southern border of the Rystall Wood from further depredations by the drow of the Twisted Tower and to keep military aid running to the elves remaining within the Forest of Starlights Reverie. Elves throughout the Rystall Wood came to Tachepp to train with some of the most respected elven warriors and wizards of the land. Rystallan forces were thinly stretched between the war in the lands surrounding the ruins of Uvaeren and the battles against the drow in the Forest of Starlights Reverie. The Rystallan army suffered terrible losses when defending the Temple City of Tallnost. Not only did the Rystallan forces loose nearly half of their warriors, but Coronal Te’lpellar’yll was killed in the Battle of the Fallen Stars in -2,200 DR. The Rystall Wood withdrew their forces from the Forest of Starlights Reverie which the drow took over and it became known as the Spiderhaunt Woods forever more. Over the next thousand years, the elves of Tachepp were at the forefront of hostilities against the drow who dwelt below the forest and in the lands surrounding the Twisted Tower. It wasn’t until the Eleventh Rysar of Rystall Wood (-1400 DR), when Coronal Faahresc began gathering support for escalations against the drow, that the forces of Rystall Wood and Cormanthyr organized their combined might against the drow. The dark elf forces under and around the Rystall Wood were routed and the elven warriors of Tachepp began planning to eradicate the drow who remained unbowed within the Twisted Tower. During the Twelfth Rysar, in the Year of Perdition’s Flame (-470 DR), the elves of Rystall Wood and Cormanthyr commenced the Shadow Wars. The Twisted Tower fell in the Year of Shadows Fleeting (-331 DR) and for a short time, the warriors of Tachepp knew peace. A short century after the dark elves were defeated, the elves of Tachepp had a new war to fight. An orc hoard, under the command of Gurvoth, descended from the White Peaks and filled the Rystall Wood with their stink in the Year of Good Hunting (-205 DR). When word reached Tachepp, the elven warriors set out to break the hoard. As they traveled north they encountered a band of orcs that had strayed too far from the rest of the hoard. The elves drove them into a rugged area of the forest where the orcs found a cave and fled deep beneath the earth. Before the elves could attack, the orcs collapsed the entrance behind them. With the orcs left to starve deep below the earth, the elves turned north again but the fey did all they could to slow their march through the snow buried forest. The warriors of Tachepp didn’t arrive until after the elves of Yrlaancel had broken the siege and were battling small remnant of Gurvoth’s hoard. The citizens of Yrlaancel accused Tachepp of inaction which cost the Rystall Woods many elven lives. The elves of Tachepp spent the next century and a half skirmishing against orcs, fairies, and other denizens of the Rystall Wood in what appeared to be a deteriorating nation. Finally in the Year of Gleaming Frost (-64 DR) giants and orcs, led by the Daemon Lord Belpharasst, swept down from the White Peaks and Desertsmouth Mountains. The Rystall Wood fell in its Twelfth Rysar, to what became known as the Branded Horde after the mysterious Branded King whom Belpharasst served. After the Shattered Stone Orcs destroyed Areal Gisir, Tachepp was the only remaining elven settlement in the southern part of the forest. Yrlaancel still stood in the north and Faeranholme remained hidden from those without green elven blood in their veins. But, the dangers of the forest and the distance between the elven settlements were too great for Tachepp to fall under the mandates of the Ruling Council of Yrlaancel following the death of Coronal Connak. It was at this time that the most influential elves of Tachepp created the Aer Ascaltia to guide Tachepp when leadership could not be counted on from Yrlaancel. Tachepp and Yrlaancel’s relationship further deteriorated in the Year of the Dancing Deer (351 DR) when Yrlaancel renamed itself Ondathel, Eldath's City of Peace, after an influx of refugees. House Hyshaanth had become very influential in Tachepp by this time and had much of the military leadership convinced that Ondathal was no longer fit to be their capital and that Tachepp’s leadership should formerly announce their independence from Ondathel and not waste elven blood on the lesser races that had come to reside in their former capital. The elves of Tachepp were only further convinced of the city’s lesser races’ control over the elven rulers when the city sacrificed powerful elven wizards to create a mythal over the city and allowed orc whelps to dwell within its walls. As the drow began escalated attacks against Tachepp early in the Year of Forestsfrost (479 DR), the Aer Ascaltia saw their opportunity to strike two enemies with one blow. The human realm of Teshar inhabited the valley between the Twisted Tower and the southern edge of the Border Forest (as the Rystall Wood had become known to the men of Teshar). The Aer Ascaltia sent soldiers into the valley to harass the drow and keep the skirmishes among the fields and homes of the humans. The men of Teshar were convinced that the drow sought to bring their realm to its knees, making slaves of their women and children, and greatly appreciated the aid from their elven allies. Through the summer, the drow pressed north towards their true objective, forcing the Teshar and Tachepp soldiers back to the Tesh River. For a tenday the humans and elves fought side by side along the southern bank of the Tesh River. Finally the dark elves, believing they had the advantage, threw their entire force against the exhausted and outnumbered alliance. The Tachepp forces retreated across the Tesh River and joined up with reinforcements, leaving the Teshar soldiers to be slaughtered. The Tachepp forces brought their true strength to bear and counterattacked. They marched south, attacking the fleeing drow forces all the way back to the Twisted Tower, caring little for what destruction they wrought upon the remains of the human realm of Teshar. While many elves saw the betrayal as an unfortunate event in a war to keep their homeland secure from a great evil, others saw their leaders take an irrevocable step toward darkness. Six elven houses forsook Tachepp that year. Two houses, Snowgold and Winterwood, settled north of the Spiderhaunt Woods where they sought to reconcile their race’s betrayal against the realm of Teshar and drive the drow from that forest. When the Ice Queen’s army fell upon Myth Ondath in the Year of Burning Skies (632 DR), once the realms greatest protectors, the forces of Tachepp did not answer the city’s call for aid. A number of houses sent their own members to the aid of Myth Ondath, but as a whole, they lacked the leadership to form an effective front against the ogres and orcs that made up the Ice Queen’s army. Centuries have passed since fall of Teshar and no man remembers the betrayal by the elves of Tachepp. A scholar would be hard pressed to find a written record of it outside of archives found within CaelathShevarash. The half-elven families of Anathar’s Dell certainly remember but speak not of it to help bury a piece of their race’s dark past.
Keep of SahandrianEdit
This imposing structure was the last of the three fortifications to be magically shaped from the stone of Tachepp. It was commissioned by the Aer Ascaltia in response to the attack on Myth Ondath by the Ice Queen’s army. Breaking tradition, the Keep of Sahandrian was dedicated to Corellon Larethian instead of Shevarash as CaelathShevarash and the Hall of Unceasing Vengeance had been. To further emphasize how much the elves of Tachepp had come to view the Border Forest as a hostile environment, the Keep of Sahandrian faces north into the depths of the wood and towards their former capital, Yrlaancel.
Silent Wind TowerEdit
This sky blue, eight story tower rises from the second highest point on the crag of Tachepp. Even this abode of wizards and bladesingers feels more like a fortress than a tower of arcane learning.
Enraged by the thousands of elves who were killed during the Spiderfires(-2439 DR) and seeing that the entire Rystall Wood was undefended from a southern attack, Dhaerowathil Raeruath Firthothallis led his small following to the court of Coronal Te’lpellar’yll to petition the elven lord for the funds to build a fortress in what was left of the southern forest. Among the citizens of Yrlaancel was found a passionate representation of elves that had fled before the fires, and these victims were used as an example of what could happen to the rest of the Rystall Wood if nothing was done. Raeruath won the support needed to begin construction and was appointed as the overseer of the project. Many of those able bodied who survived the Spiderfires, pledged their lives to Shevarash and joined Raeruath. These elves began to call themselves the CaelathShevarash and to this day the group serves as the main military force of Tachepp. Dhaerowathil Firthothallis chose Tachepp as the site of the new fortress to honor those who fell in the last battle of the Spiderfires and because the CaelathShevarash discovered an entrance to the Underdark within the hill. In true elven fashion, the fortress blends perfectly with the granite crag and is nearly invisible from the outside. But in a more dwarven fashion, each level extends deeper into the earth, closer and closer to their hated enemy. The fortress hides the barracks of the warriors, natural caverns and tunnels use for combat training, and many other facilities to fully support the soldiers. There is a temple of Shevarash within CaelathShevarash, but the clergy had officially moved to the Hall of Unceasing Vengeance. The Aer Ascaltia requires every elf of Tachepp to serve 35 years in the CaelathShevarash. This ensures that the military forces are well trained and allows for a sizable, seasoned reserve to be called up in a moment’s notice. The CaelathShevarash is commanded by Angallan Arnisspar. While he prefers to keep his warriors after the Shattered Stone Orcs, who he rightly believes are gaining in strength, the Aer Ascaltia has ordered that some of his forces shall be sent to the east to attack Zhentarim loggers near Snowmantle. The recent alliance with the fey of the Border Forest has made things much easier for Commander Arnisspar, but he is having a hard time believing that the Ten Tribes of Twilight of Gabranael’s Court are truly friends of the Rystallan elves after nearly 3,000 years of hostilities. Adventure Hook: Commander Arnisspar was looked over for the Bow Chair of the Aer Ascaltia in favor of the more politically connected Anam Hyshaanth. Arnisspar doesn’t hide his contempt for Lord Hyshaanth and would very much like to discredit him. He doesn’t understand how Anam was able to broker the talks that led to the alliance with Gabranael’s Court and would like to investigate the matter but doesn’t have an individual who could do it discreetly. Whoever looks into the matter will eventually find that it’s really an alliance between the Eldreth Veluuthra and the fey, and the CaelathShevarash is just being used as a pawn. But discovering to which ends they are being used for will be even more difficult for a spy to determine.
Atop the tallest stone column that was created during the battle against the Spiderfires, is a patch of soft curly grass that covers the 200 square feet of the summit. An elf can see for miles across the canopy of the Border Forest from the peak of this spire. It was from here that the cleric of Sehanine Moonbow blessed the crag and it has remained a holy sanctuary for her faithful since that day. The climb to the top of the column isn’t a difficult one, but Mystic Illonmarakash Ruanallalas demands that any who seek to meditate upon its summit much reach it without the aid of any equipment.
Hall of Unceasing VengeanceEdit
While CaelathShevarash was the first fortification constructed in Tachepp and contained the first temple to Shevarash, it is not the home to the clergy of Shevarash who keep the lust for war against the drow, orcs, and other invaders boiling. The Hall was construction was finished in -2125 DR to accommodate the additional work assigned to the clergy of Shevarash. Not only did they oversee the training of the military forces, but the Aer Ascaltia also tasked them with maintaining supplies and managing the infrastructure of Tachepp. From within the Hall, the Dhaerowathila, administered the programs that kept the elves fed, clothed, and protected. While the duties of the clergy that take place with the Hall are more domestic in nature, the appearance of the structure very much like a fortress as opposed to a temple. It still blends with the granite crag that it is built upon. The ground level consists of public areas which include the temple of Shevarash, the meeting hall of the Aer Ascaltia, and a public repository. The level above includes the living quarters and offices of the Dhaerowathila. The Hall of Unceasing Vengeance also houses the barracks for the watch as well as the cells where elven prisoners are kept. Non-elves find themselves in the dungeons of the CaelathShevarash, if they are lucky enough to be taken prisoner. The upper floor of the Hall of Unceasing Vengeance contains a library which holds many tactical writings on warfare (many are specific to tactics in the Underdark), histories of significant elven battles, and campaign journals (some penned by lieutenants who served beneath Shevarash when he hunted the drow in mortal form). This collection is second only to that found in the Vault of Unquenched Vengeance near the Elven Court of Cormanthor. A number of renowned elven commanders have spent years studying within this library. Adventure Hook: Dhaerowathil Gilyrik Afenihal is one of the few who has survived a foray into the Spiderhaunt Woods in search of a holy relic, Shevarash’s own Bow of the Black Archer. Even when the clergy was located within CaelathShevarash, the church has sponsored quests to regain the sacred weapon. The Bow of the Black Archer was lost when Salariel fell while battling drow that had attacked the Forest of Starlights Reverie. While the clergy of the Hall of Unceasing Vengeance don’t have any proof that the Bow is located under the boughs of the Spiderhaunt Woods, the Dhaerowathila who have returned from missions to that forest say they feel its presence. They say the weapon called to them, begged to bring death upon the drow once more. Gilyrik is gathering support and building a new team to penetrate the Spiderhaunt Wood in search for the Bow of the Black Archer soon.
Tachepp makes use of a 20-foot-deep moat around the crag to help slow attackers against CaelathShevarash. What is unique about the moat is that it is full of ochre jellies. The citizens of Tachepp find the creatures quite useful for taking care of meat scraps. CaelathShevarash soldiers often dispose of slain orcs and other enemies in the trench, rather than let their corpses rot in the forest, which the jellies make short work of. Four elves have the duty of keeping the jellies within the trench as the steep sides don’t slow the jellies movement.
- Anam Hyshaanth (CE male gold elf aristocrat 3/fighter 5/wizard 2), Bow Chair of the Aer Ascaltia, Lord of House Hyshaanth, Eldreth Veluuthra cell leader: The Lord of House Hyshaanth is exceptionally tall for an elf, easily towering over most elves of Tachepp. He is also very thin; almost frail in appearance which often leads many to underestimate is vigor. Golden brown hair, kept in a long braid with golden threads woven in, stretches an already taunt, puckered face. Anam was born in the Year of the Menial Phrases (638 DR), shortly after the destruction of Myth Ondath. His youth was spent much like that of any young elf of Tachepp, learning to use sword and bow and studying the basics of the Art. Unlike most of his peers, he grew up in a family that was just not xenophobic, but aided the Eldreth Veluuthra with whatever type of support they requested. As an eloquent speaker and cunning debater, Anam found that it was easy to mold his peers beliefs to match his own and soon he had many others who willingly supported the agenda of the Eldreth Veluuthra.
- Calyn Rumthas (CG female copper elf cleric of Corellon Larethian 4/wizard 3/mystic theurge 3), Faith Chair of the Aer Ascaltia, High Cleric of the Keep of Sahandrian: Never, since the Aer Ascaltia was established in the Year of Gleaming Frosts (-64 DR), has the Faith Chair been held by someone who represented a faith other than that of Shevarash. Calyn ascended to the position following the natural death of Simal Jaraias in the Year of the Sword (1365 DR). While Gilyrik Afenihal was expected to follow in his mentor’s footsteps, Illonmarakash Ruanallalas spoke out in favor for Calyn. Illonmarakash holds no special place when choosing who sits upon which chairs but this was the first time in Tachepp’s history that a Mystic had ever given their blessing for an individual. Calyn became a cleric of Corellon Larethian at a young age after her family was slain by fey and she was found by an elven patrol who put her in the custody of the Keep of Sahandrian. She has been a staunch opponent of reestablishing friendly relations with the Border Forest fey, which has put her at great odds with the two other chairs of the Aer Ascaltia. Calyn is a brilliant elven maid with an appearance that wins her many elven suitors.
Alolanhuor Haerneliyth (CN male gold elf wizard 8), Magic Chair of the Aer Ascaltia, Master of the Silent Wind Tower. Alolanhuor is a couple decades younger than Lord Anam Hyshaanth but has served in the capacity of Magic Chair for a century longer than Anam has served as Bow Chair. While Alolanhuor is more experienced than Anam, he often defers to his long time friend and ally. Alolanhuor is a rather portly elf, who has a deep receding hairline. He is often adorned in the sky blue robes of his office as Master of the Silent Wind Tower, with his magic longsword lashed to his hip. While Alolanhuor often denounces the agenda of the Eldreth Veluuthra, he often unwittingly supports the organization by siding with Anam when decisions are made by the Aer Ascaltia.
- Angallan Arnisspar (LN male gold elf fighter 9/rogue 2), Commander of the CaelathShevarash.
- Afaelaellian Thafelrelan (CN male moon elf fighter 5/wizard 1/bladesinger 3), Captain of the CaelathShevarash. Afaelaellian’s emerald green eyes blaze with a fury that cannot be sated. Few other elves in Rystallan history can claim that they have slain as many drow and orcs. Even Coronal Faahresc would have marveled at the skill with which Afaelaellian can wade into the enemy, leaving a path of carnage like the passing of Shevarash himself. As the years of gone by, Afaelaellian has acquired a much more liberal view as to who is an enemy of Tachepp and commands the warriors who are harassing the Zhentarim of Snowmantle.
Others of the CaelathShevarash: Bard 5, commoner 1 (57), fighter 1 (2), rogue 7, rogue 3 (2), rogue 1 (4), scout 1, swashbuckler 2, swashbuckler 1 (2), warrior 2, warrior 1 (2)
- Veranaaia Amaiatque (CN female copper elf wizard 7), First Apprentice of the Silent Wind Tower.
Others of the Silent Wind Tower: Archivist 1, adept 1, bard 2, spellthief 2, spellthief 1 (2), wizard 3, wizard 1 (2).
- Illonmarakash “Illony” Ruanallalas (CG female moon elf cleric of Sehanine Moonbow 5/diviner 3), Mystic of Tachepp’s Trancendence.
- Gilyrik Afenihal (CE male copper elf cleric of Shevarash 7/ranger of Shevarash 2), Dhaerowathil of the Hall of Unceasing Vengeance. The only time this rigid elf shows any warmth is when he is telling stories of drow blood spilt by his hand. He is a veteran of many missions deep into the Underdark below the Border Forest. His dedication to seeing the death of every last drow makes him seem fidgety, his fingers constantly tapping the pommel of his sword, when he in not in those lightless depths.
- Jamusther of Gabranael’s Court (NE male satyr bard 4), Ambassador from Gabranael’s Court.
- Hathar Galanodel (CG female wood elf sorcerer 9), descendant of the wan shade Anastrianna Galanodel.
Other Citizens: Adept 2, adept 1, bard 2, bard 1 (4), cleric 2, cleric 1 (2), commoner 5, commoner 2 (2), commoner 1 (635), dread necromancer 1, druid 1, expert 7, expert 3 (2), expert 1 (4), hexblade 1, incarnate 1, psion 1, totemist 1.