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The Realm of Shavinar

The Realm of Shavinar

By Ed Greenwood.

The realm of Shavinar was founded in the Year of the Raised Banner (227 DR) by a local adventurer, Orluth Tshahvur (possibly-exaggerated bards’ ballads describe him as a “swift sword” who “won many blood victories” and was smart as well as deadly in battle), in an attempt to unite human steadings (ranches and farms) for common defense against marauding monsters, frequent troll raids, and outlaws cast out of more southerly Sword Coast cities.

Tshahvur built a crude keep near what is now Baldur’s Gate (and was then a nameless cluster of fisherfolk huts), lured a shipwright fleeing from Calishite persecution to settle, and established what was really a pirate port: he was ruthless with anyone who used violence against anyone else there, but otherwise “welcomed all and let anything pass.”

The place became known as Gaeth (the Thorass local word for “rivermouth” or “inlet”), the obvious derivation of the “gate” part of the name “Baldur’s Gate” today. Gaeth was home to perhaps 120 people (dwelling in fieldstone-and-thatch or wood-and-thatch huts, situated on three wandering dirt streets) when “Lord Tshahvur of Shavinar” died (in 242 DR), an iron-hard man worn out by almost countless hard riding and harder sword-swinging, as he fought trolls, trolls, and more trolls to keep Shavinar from being overrun.
Orluth’s son, the proud and pompous King Arlsar (chiefly remembered for his indefatigable wenching ways and his mirror-bright, gem-studded, ornate “show” suit of plate armour) inherited a kingdom that stretched from the sea-mouth of the northbank River Chionthar along the coast as far north as the Troll Hills, and “four days’ ride” east (probably 80 to 100 miles, as we moderns would reckon it). Arlsar abandoned most of his father’s hilltop forts (little more than ring-ditches around summits that sported barrow-like “weather shelter” chambers) as too expensive (along with the warriors who defended them; as they fell in fighting, they weren’t replaced), and during his short reign Shavinar shrunk - - under persistent troll and outlaw raids - - to less than forty miles across.

Arlsar was murdered by ambitious merchants (who’d begun to settle in Gaeth in some numbers, to carry on all manner of business too unsavoury or too highly taxed to be profitable “back home” in Calimshan and the Tashalar) in 256 DR, and the realm almost disintegrated in the struggle for power that followed.

A cabal of local families viciously poisoned and stabbed various outlander merchants to put forward one of Arlsar’s many sons to be king. The glib-tongued, handsome, promise-all Raulovan reigned for four months before one of the Calishite factions ended his pretty words forever - - but a wizard who’d settled on the coastal headlands had grown weary of all the strife, and started spellslaying claimants to the throne and the outlanders promoting them, clearing the way for Arlsar’s youngest son, sometimes called “Stonehead” for his terse manner and slow speech: Kondarar.

No one disputes that Kondarar was King in every sense of the manner: just, firm, and a tireless mountain of a man whose strength could overmatch most monsters in blade-to-blade battle, he almost single-handedly kept Shavinar in existence (just as his grandsire had done, by spending his days in the saddle, hewing trolls wherever he found them) from his ascension in late 256 DR to when it all ended in 277 DR, and Shavinar was swept away (Gaeth and all) by trolls and “monsters beyond numbering, all wandering in their own snarling bands.”

In short, Shavinar was typical of hundreds of short-lived realms in Faerûn, that have risen and fallen again down the years: they founder if the successors to those who establish them are not stronger - - or far luckier - - than their predecessors.

Page last updated 2005-08-06.