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Elminster Speaks - Part 33
By Ed GreenwoodA Farewell to Voonlar
Now the mage Perendra dwelt on the western edge of Voonlar, in what she was pleased to call her Stronghold, a fortified manor with extensive subterranean cellars and passages beneath that was surrounded by the forest. The invisible (of course) portal stands some way to its southwest, down a tiny footpath. The trail leads first to Perendra's root cellar, now sadly bereft of the tart apples I used to enjoy stealing and devouring (though the lass took the fun out of it by observing my habit and pointedly delivering baskets of the things to me each fall). Beyond that it comes up on her outhouse (disused for years, as she developed the same dislike all aging bones do for freezing one's backside in the dark of a winter night blizzard), and thence to her refuse oven (where bones were burned), and lastly her woodpile, with its clearing and chopping block. (Yes, the lady cut her own firewood. She was an honest mage -- and stay thy laughter, there are such things -- and not an idle noble.)
From this clearing, three paths wander off into the trees like reaching fingers. A little way down the centermost, out of sight of the clearing and just past a large, flat-topped boulder seemingly made by the gods for sitting on (or drying wet clothes in spring or fall when the leaves are scarce), there's a place where one passes between two old, rotting, and very large stumps.
This few feet of the path between the stumps is of course the unseen portal. Only if one utters the word "Felderenslor" (not likely to happen by accident, ye must admit) will its magic take thee -- in a single step -- to somewhere far indeed from Voonlar.
Where? Ah, that will have to wait until I next speak with ye, so it will. Suffice it to say that I've no idea why Perendra desired to swiftly reach this other place and return from it, and that if one says "Orntharm Felderenslor," the portal delivers a user instead to a small safehold: an extradimensional, dimly lit chamber walled, floored, and roofed in imprenetrable mists. It contains a cot, a wardrobe full of Perendra's clothing (including cloaks, boots, and some garments affording her disguises surprising for a woman -- or a mage of either gender, for that matter), and several healing potions. There were once some magic rings and wands therein, too, but they disappeared shortly after her death, suggesting that someone besides the lady and myself knew how to work the portal thus.
It also affords a user space enough to stride back and forth -- space which allows perhaps a dozen folk to stand crammed together or three or four room to sleep upon the floor. (The cot can of course be shared, and someone else who's thin and has a short nose could sleep beneath it if one has rather too many friends.) Fresh air is never a problem in this safehold. 'Tis possible to tarry there for days, studying or sleeping, but if any spell is worked therein, its caster is immediately and forcibly ejected from the safehold back to the rock.
Return to the rock can be accomplished more calmly by saying "Lathtroo." So far as I know, none of the portal-controlling words has any meaning -- or dignity, for that matter.
If one instead says "Alnegust," one arrives safely at the portal's second destination. (Direct travel from it to Perendra's path, or to the safehold, are by the same words that work from the Voonlar end.)
If one adds the word "Haloom" either before or after "Alnegust" or "Felderenslor," arrival at a portal terminus is achieved at the heart of an instantly appearing fog cloud, equal in all respects to the spell of the same name. If not dispersed by wind, it lasts for 30 minutes and is stationary.
If someone standing at one portal end utters the word for that same portal terminus, nothing happens, and if they say "Haloom," again, nothing occurs -- but if they say "Haloom" and the word for their own end of the portal, they won't be taken anywhere, but the fog cloud appears all around them.
As to why the portal was set up in this manner -- well, that's just one more little mystery. I love a mystery, don't you?
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