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Realms by Night - Part 8
The Thann Guardian

By Steven Schend

Typical Location: North Ward -- On the grounds of the Thann villa in Waterdeep or within arm’s length of the Jorudan Clasp

"I don’t see why anyone should find the Guard Ghost all that odd or out of place. Frankly, I’ve always found it as much a comfort as having the patronage of my uncle the Blackstaff. More so, in fact, as Uncle Khelben’s attentions span far wider than those of our loyal ghost. Still, I must confess some fears of its mysterious footprints in the snow when, as a child, I watched it invisibly sketch its tour within the villa walls."

--Lord Danilo Thann

In general, the ghost known as "the Thann Guardian" or the "Guard Ghost" has been seen very rarely, but his presence is ever felt. As with numerous other loyal ghosts in Sea and North Ward (and in other cities), strong, confident footsteps are heard along the battlements of the villa’s enclosing wall during the ghost’s shift from midnight until sunrise. The ghost’s circuit (followed by good listeners) takes it from the main gatehouse clockwise around the villa’s upper wall, then down through the courtyard to sketch a path that crosses the inside of the wall and around each building. The ghost seems to stop at the doors to each of the villa’s buildings, as well as pausing in front of the funerary statue of Taril Thann -- Lord Danilo believes he sketches a salute at each pause. In fact, Lord Danilo himself told us he watched during a winter storm in his youth as the ghost trod a path in the heavy snow.

When serious trouble arises, such as visitors entering the villa with hidden weapons or anyone approaching the gate or buildings with drawn steel, the ghost becomes very active. Things within the guards’ gatehouse fall off shelves to alert any sleeping or additional guards. Some human guards claim their shields have been hit by unseen fists to get their attention, while domestics within the main house claim that Lord Taril’s swords (crossed and mounted above the fireplace in Lord Rhammas’ study) rattle or ring, as if parrying other weapons, when someone with ill intent enters the Thann grounds.

Related Stories

The ghostly guard who now walks forevermore around the family grounds failed to protect Rhammas Thann’s great-uncle from an assassination attempt more than one hundred years ago. Though the family did not hold the warrior at fault for being away (celebrating his recent marriage), he himself felt guilty the remainder of his days, as he and Lord Taril had been close friends. He died in the Year of the Shrieker (1272 DR) when the Thann villa lay besieged by forces of the Lord-Magister Zoar. Though buried in a mass grave in Heroes’ Garden with many other loyalists who helped restore the rule of the lords by the next year, the spirit of the dignified Xandis Jorudan remained attached to the villa he sought to guard in life.

DM’s Notes

Unfortunately, few of the current Thann nobles take much note of their guardian ghost, and fewer still know his name -- if they acknowledge his presence at all. Of the current generation of Thanns, only Lord Danilo Thann and Count Zelphar Thann (now in Tethyr) know one of the secrets of the ghost -- the Jorudan Clasp. In due respect to the ghost’s wishes, Danilo leaves the item hidden within his former rooms at the villa so the ghost can maintain his vigil within the villa and the city, rather than travel with the clasp.

The Jorudan Clasp

Presented by the sorceress-widow of Lord Taril Thann to her most loyal attendant Xandis Jorudan, this clasp is of steel with inlaid silver and a solid silver pin. The badge is a simple device of a round metal shield, while the pin is a miniature silver sword that thrusts through the cloak behind it, the clasp face engraved with the Thann family seal. It was long hidden in a secret compartment within the bookshelves in Taril’s rooms (which had since become Danilo’s but now lie vacant oftimes).

Whether intentional or by accident, the spirit of Xandis Jorudan became tied to this clasp, and his ghost becomes manifest around it when worn. If the wearer of the clasp comes under attack (regardless of awareness or facing), the ghost’s form appears as a translucent misty figure around the wearer’s body. He uses a phantom shield or sword to intercept any one initial physical or spell attack, and then he remains partially visible, helping intercept other attacks until combat ends. At dusk or in shadows or darker environments, Xandis becomes more visible, the mist glowing an olive green and allowing others to see a tall, bearded man with a barrel chest, massive arms, and a somber, serious face. The ghost doesn’t hinder visibility for the clasp’s wearer. While he remains even partly visible, the wearer can communicate with Xandis.

In essence, the clasp’s powers work exactly as if the wearer has on both a major cloak of displacement (50% chance of missing with 1st attack) and a ring of protection +2 (+2 to AC at all times).

Caster Level: 6th
Prerequistites: Displacement, shield of faith, Craft Wondrous Item
Market Price: 58,000 gp
Weight: --

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