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T O P I C    R E V I E W
The Sage Posted - 14 Jul 2010 : 01:53:58
Well met

This being another collective scroll of any questions the Scribes and visitors of Candlekeep wish to put to a renowned author of the Realms, namely - Elaine Cunningham, whos works include: Elfshadow, Elfsong, Daughter of the Drow, Tangled Webs, Windwalker and of course Evermeet: Island of Elves, to name but a few.

Present your questions herein and check back to see what news may also come forth from the quill of this author.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
sleyvas Posted - 08 Nov 2019 : 14:16:16
Elaine,

Just out of curiosity, if you had to pick a favorite character from your realms novels that you wrote about, which one gave you personally the most fun? I know it can be a lot of difference for a reader versus the writer.
Aureus Posted - 06 Nov 2019 : 21:03:01
I have very recently read Elfshadow, Elfsong and Silver Shadows. I really really liked them and I could talk in depth what I liked about what and so on.

Simply know this, even almost 20 years after publishing, there is still a new reader that thinks what you wrote was cool. <3


And for the funzies, after the (main)events of Silver Shadows, when Arylin walked in to meet a certain very important relative of hers, I actually had trouble mentally vocalizing the words written. In my mind Arylin limped in using her drawn Moonblade as crutch (not because the blade that supports her lack lack of personal strength, but because it is like an extension of her true self, like a healthy, functional and reliable third leg or arm,; also drawn because then the blade is as naked and raw as Arylin is in her emotions; it is all symbolic^^), emotionally roiling while naming her price for the job completed (a particular strip of land) and followed by punching said important relative straight in the face only to just after that embrace said relative and tearfully ask said ancestor why on the gods' good Abeir-Toril she (and people of similar parentage) were not allowed to come to a certain place.

Edit: I know Arylin didn't do this, but I couldn't help replace replace what had happened on emotional level with what made sense to me with my emotional fabric of the time that I post this.

Edit2: It just made more sense to me that way^^ No harm, no foul and I am currently reading Thornhold :)

Edit3: Never cease writing^^
AJA Posted - 03 Nov 2019 : 13:42:35
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham
Unfortunately, I no longer have this material. It lived on a computer that crashed something like 15 years ago.

Well, fiddlesticks. The Eater of Computers (more dead drives for the dead drive throne!) once again proving itself a true nemesis of all things Realmslore, second only to the all-encompassing horror of The Dread NDA.

And thank you for the reply!

ElaineCunningham Posted - 03 Nov 2019 : 13:07:40
quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

Hey Elaine. How've you been? I was wondering if there was an elven name for the flower that Foxfire is named for? Also, do you have an image of his rune? I hope all is well. I hope you are still active here. Your voice is needed in the Realms.



Sorry, I do not have an image for this rune, or an elven name for the flower.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 03 Nov 2019 : 13:06:55
quote:
Originally posted by AJA



....Nonetheless, would you be able to share anything further on these (or point me in the right direction if you were indeed able to make your laraken material available)?





Unfortunately, I no longer have this material. It lived on a computer that crashed something like 15 years ago.
AJA Posted - 03 Nov 2019 : 04:13:32

Hello Elaine,

I've recently come across a couple of old snippets of interest involving your work that I'd like to inquire about.

First, looking back through some old REALMS-L posts, I found this response from Eric way back in October of 2003:
quote:
Originally posted by Eric L. Boyd
As for Elaine's most-excellent "Counselors & Kings" series, there is in deed just one laraken in that book. I know that Elaine has done a write-up of "Aklauer's laraken" (again unofficially), but it hasn't been posted anywhere and it's not mine to post. Maybe someday she'll have a place to publish it.


Second, back in Ed's 2007 Thread The Hooded One wrote the following in the course of some The City of Splendors: A Waterdeep Novel chat:
quote:
Originally posted by The Hooded One
To answer your "what got cut" question: an entire Gemcloak and his subplot, throughout, a folk tale of Elaine's that Ed termed "short but very pretty,"

(y'know, looking back on it I said "old snippets," but perhaps "hoary" would have been a better descriptor )

....Nonetheless, would you be able to share anything further on these (or point me in the right direction if you were indeed able to make your laraken material available)?

Fellfire Posted - 07 Oct 2019 : 06:51:06
Hey Elaine. How've you been? I was wondering if there was an elven name for the flower that Foxfire is named for? Also, do you have an image of his rune? I hope all is well. I hope you are still active here. Your voice is needed in the Realms.
Sunderstone Posted - 20 Aug 2019 : 02:51:07
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

Hi Elaine. I've loved all your books and how much you brought Waterdeep to life any many of them. I have a question about Piergeiron between Thornhold and Waterdeep City of Splendors. In Thornhold, he seemed more political and there was obviously tension between he and Khelban. In City of Splendors, he seemed much more open and Kingly, a kind of King Arthur figure. And there didn't seem to be any implied tension between he and Khelban and Mirt was obviously very protective when he was attacked. Was this more of a story point or a difference in Ed's interpretation of Piergeiron?
Thanks!



Hi, Sunderstone.

The differences can be attributed to two things: theme and narrative point of view.

Thornhold was all about politics, the Harper organization in particular. It was originally intended to be a "pivot novel" that would open a story line about a Harper schism. The editorial direction shifted, so not all of those themes played out, but the political issues remained central to the story. A central question in City of Splendors was "What is a hero?" Piergeiron is both a politician and a heroic warrior, but those roles can look quite different.

Point of view can also make a huge difference. In Thornhold, we see Piergeiron mostly through Khelben's eyes, in the context of two government officials working through some difficult issues. In City of Splendors, Piergieron is seem through the eyes of a young admirer who does indeed see him as a bright and shining paladin/king.

I'm sure we'd get yet another perspective of Piergeiron in a novel about his early life and training, or a novel told from the viewpoint of his future wife during their courtship, or a story told from the POV of his teenaged daughters. All of these portrayals would be different, all of them might be accurate, and none of them would tell the whole story of the man and his life.




Thanks! Here is hoping you get to take us back to Waterdeep with old friends like Danilo and Arilyn one more time!
CorellonsDevout Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 19:34:47
Possible (elves do measure age differently), but they are also attuned to nature and the seasons, so "every spring" could mean exactly that. I think it would have been mentioned if it had meant something different, so that we (as readers) would understand the time frame. I will not speak for Elaine though ^^ that is just my interpretation.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 19:18:06
I vaguely remember the phrase being "a child born each spring", which implies of course that one was born every year. However, humans measure the passing of years, elves being of longer life may measure time in a different manner and spring may refer not to an ever changing annual season, but a macro period of growth spanning a decade or more where the land or the kingdom or even the family of Amlaruil prospered or shook off a wintry/desolate period.

CorellonsDevout Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 19:04:05
Iirc from Evermeet (it's been several years since I read it) both sets of twins seemed close together, so a few years a part, rather than decades. Amlaruil seemed pretty fertile for an elf lol. Don't quote me on the time length though.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 18:41:26
I'm fine with doing the leg work, it's a shame your notes were lost though.

Just to check, but did you envisage the children being born close together (i.e. every year as the evermeet novel implies), or decades and perhaps a century or more between the youngest and oldest children
ElaineCunningham Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 18:25:40
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Hi Elaine,

I'm working on the Moonshae Isles for a moment and was hoping to secret place one of the children of Zaor and Amlaruil there (unfortunately I will probably have her killed during the events of Darkwalker). I cant remember their names right now but it was one of the twin girls drowned on route to elsewhere that I intended to use (figuring the either the story was a ruse to keep them secret and safe or that the ship did sink but at least one survived and was reported dead to again keep her safe)

Now i had a look into the children and couldn't find very much detail beyond a very broad period of time in which they were born (the start of Amlaruils reign and the present day) and in what order.

Would you be able to provide a narrower timeline in years (or even decades) when certain children were born (particularly the boy and girl twins, i know that twin boys were also in synnoria and was trying to figure out why they would all be in one place but not necessarily know one another - I guess it depends at what age they were sent away and when they were born).

Anyway, I hope some of my rambling request made sense.

Kind Regards

Gary




Hi, Gary.

Unfortunately, my notes for Evermeet were lost 20 years ago, during a move from Maryland to Rhode Island. I don't have this information readily available and would have to recreate a timeline, which would require more research than I'm able to do at present. The best solution would be to assign whatever dates work best for your campaign.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 18:22:50
Hi Elaine,

I'm working on the Moonshae Isles for a moment and was hoping to secret place one of the children of Zaor and Amlaruil there (unfortunately I will probably have her killed during the events of Darkwalker). I cant remember their names right now but it was one of the twin girls drowned on route to elsewhere that I intended to use (figuring the either the story was a ruse to keep them secret and safe or that the ship did sink but at least one survived and was reported dead to again keep her safe)

Now i had a look into the children and couldn't find very much detail beyond a very broad period of time in which they were born (the start of Amlaruils reign and the present day) and in what order.

Would you be able to provide a narrower timeline in years (or even decades) when certain children were born (particularly the boy and girl twins, i know that twin boys were also in synnoria and was trying to figure out why they would all be in one place but not necessarily know one another - I guess it depends at what age they were sent away and when they were born).

Anyway, I hope some of my rambling request made sense.

Kind Regards

Gary
ElaineCunningham Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 16:40:50
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone

Hi Elaine. I've loved all your books and how much you brought Waterdeep to life any many of them. I have a question about Piergeiron between Thornhold and Waterdeep City of Splendors. In Thornhold, he seemed more political and there was obviously tension between he and Khelban. In City of Splendors, he seemed much more open and Kingly, a kind of King Arthur figure. And there didn't seem to be any implied tension between he and Khelban and Mirt was obviously very protective when he was attacked. Was this more of a story point or a difference in Ed's interpretation of Piergeiron?
Thanks!



Hi, Sunderstone.

The differences can be attributed to two things: theme and narrative point of view.

Thornhold was all about politics, the Harper organization in particular. It was originally intended to be a "pivot novel" that would open a story line about a Harper schism. The editorial direction shifted, so not all of those themes played out, but the political issues remained central to the story. A central question in City of Splendors was "What is a hero?" Piergeiron is both a politician and a heroic warrior, but those roles can look quite different.

Point of view can also make a huge difference. In Thornhold, we see Piergeiron mostly through Khelben's eyes, in the context of two government officials working through some difficult issues. In City of Splendors, Piergieron is seem through the eyes of a young admirer who does indeed see him as a bright and shining paladin/king.

I'm sure we'd get yet another perspective of Piergeiron in a novel about his early life and training, or a novel told from the viewpoint of his future wife during their courtship, or a story told from the POV of his teenaged daughters. All of these portrayals would be different, all of them might be accurate, and none of them would tell the whole story of the man and his life.
Sunderstone Posted - 13 Aug 2019 : 14:36:16
Hi Elaine. I've loved all your books and how much you brought Waterdeep to life any many of them. I have a question about Piergeiron between Thornhold and Waterdeep City of Splendors. In Thornhold, he seemed more political and there was obviously tension between he and Khelban. In City of Splendors, he seemed much more open and Kingly, a kind of King Arthur figure. And there didn't seem to be any implied tension between he and Khelban and Mirt was obviously very protective when he was attacked. Was this more of a story point or a difference in Ed's interpretation of Piergeiron?
Thanks!
Seravin Posted - 14 Feb 2019 : 10:43:10
Elaine - over the years I have appreciated Elfsong more and more as my favorite Realms book from you. One thing I haven't really understood with it though is the rules/logic about the song that Garnet cast - it seems to be very random who had their memory of the old ballads songs twisted/removed and who didn't. Is there in fact a logic behind it that you can share with us? Were high level bards/people not impacted ("made their saving throw") or was it specific people targeted? Was there a range to the spell? Any races more susceptible than others?

I really, really like this book and re-read it regularly. Just a very fun romp, I only wish it had more Arilyn and Danilo together in it.
Barastir Posted - 14 Feb 2019 : 10:35:25
Another piece of art, this one with Elaith doing his blade dance (in Elfsong, IIRC).
Have you guys seen it? I see Mrs. Cunningham herself posted a comment there:

https://www.deviantart.com/righon/art/Snake-dancing-with-blades-416956302
Barastir Posted - 11 Feb 2019 : 13:25:21
Hi, Mrs. Cunningham.

I've posted this morning this message at Ed's thread here at the keep:

I just read the fantastic tips on roleplaying Elminster in the twitter-related thread, and since I don't have an active twitter account, I thought of asking here: could you please give similar advice on roleplaying Khelben around 1368/69 DR? Thank you in advance!

However, it occurred to me that I like very much your depiction of the Blackstaff, and that maybe you could give me some advice on his behavior/manners...

EDIT: As for the time set, it would be just around the time of "Dream Spheres"...
sleyvas Posted - 05 Feb 2019 : 20:04:00
quote:
Originally posted by ElaineCunningham

I've never really thought about the issue of an elven soul reincarnated as a person of another race, and I'm going to assume that the elves have not, either.

The swords are elven, and the powers of non-royal swords remain for the benefit of the elven people. There's a built-in power max on the swords, in that after several generations, they become difficult, if not impossible, to claim. There are several family swords that have been unclaimed for generations, and the tradition that developed over the centuries is that such swords be left available for a time of great need and a hero who can meet it. Think Excaliber.

The Moonflower family was identified as the royral family. The elves, IMO, are not inclined to choose another.




In THAT case... JUST to be weird, I'm picturing an elf warrior who gets reincarnated as some kind of animal humanoid or tauric creature (centaur, wemic, Tabaxi, Quaggoth, Gnoll, etc...) as a part of some actual dungeon trap. They try to return home to Evermeet in hopes of finding someone who can return them to their true form, and they are rebuffed (a misunderstanding combined possibly with automated defenses putting them "in a bad light"). Perhaps they are the last of their line and they return to mainland Faerun to try and enter another elven colony in hopes they can aid him/her to return home. I'm really leaning cat folk for some reason and picturing this elf down in the Shaar and getting involved with the wild elves and maybe the wemics there. Maybe the reborn elf falls in love with a wemic, and children are produced (some wemics, some Tabaxi???). When the reborn elf passes on, the ability they give is the ability for say wemics and Tabaxi of their bloodline to be able to try and wield the moonblade. Many may have failed, and the blade sat there for dozens of generations. Not sure where to take it from there, but the imagery was in my head.
ElaineCunningham Posted - 05 Feb 2019 : 12:41:11
I've never really thought about the issue of an elven soul reincarnated as a person of another race, and I'm going to assume that the elves have not, either.

The swords are elven, and the powers of non-royal swords remain for the benefit of the elven people. There's a built-in power max on the swords, in that after several generations, they become difficult, if not impossible, to claim. There are several family swords that have been unclaimed for generations, and the tradition that developed over the centuries is that such swords be left available for a time of great need and a hero who can meet it. Think Excaliber.

The Moonflower family was identified as the royral family. The elves, IMO, are not inclined to choose another.
Barastir Posted - 05 Feb 2019 : 11:08:32
The goal of the blades was one and only: to find a worthy ruler for Evermeet. It is not clear why the rest of them didn't lose its powers - and release the souls of its ancient bearers - after the king was chosen, but Mrs. Cunningham wrote somewhere that they kept on just in the case of a disaster which could eliminate the Moonflowers (then the blades would choose a new clan to rule). Besides, she also said there was another - yet unrevealed - reason for them to be still active.

As for Arilyn's blade accepting a half-elf, Mrs. Cunningham stated many times through the years that this specific blade was behaving strangely since the moonstone and the sword were separated in "Elfshadow", and that it was taking some time to "recover". If you follow the novels, you see that Arilyn started being rejected by the sword in the last books. The end of this story would be revealed in "Reclamation", but unfortunate events, along with changes in elven canon, delayed the release of this novel, which would be the conclusion of the "Song & Swords" saga.
sleyvas Posted - 04 Feb 2019 : 19:48:42
quote:
Originally posted by Barastir

I'm not Elaine, but there are some things you can consider I can help with, if you don't mind.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
(...)
I know the souls of the fallen moonblade wielders enter the blade. Does this prevent spells such as resurrection / raise dead, etc...? If this is still possible, what about reincarnation?



Well, IIRC in 2e elves' souls were different than a human's, and in fact the only way of bringing an elf back was through reincarnation. I don't know if it changed, though.

Anyway, if the elf has postponed his or her passage to Arvandor (according to Silver Shadows, IIRC), I think it makes sense that none of these spells would work (maybe the elf serving the blade would refuse to answer the spell's call).

Or maybe they could, but then there would be another problem, if the moonblade of the elf who passed away had already been claimed by a descendant.

Edit: Besides, the soul in fact empowers the magic of the blade. Maybe at least one rune would be lost, with the absence of the soul which gifts it to the sword.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
(...)
do you think it an appropriate power for said "reborn elf" to pass into the blade that his children (which might not be elven anymore) might be able to prove worthy to wield the blade.
(...)



Since the first goal of the blade is to find an elf worthy of ruling Evermeet, if the person is not an elf anymore, how likely would it be that the elves would follow that person? I think even if the reincarnated elf is still worthy and is not fried by the blade, he or she would try to revert this situation somehow.

On the other hand, the owner of the sword could simply keep the blade to be handed to another - elven - member of the clan, not necessarily a direct descendant.

Of course, these are only some considerations, and Mrs. Cunningham is more suited to answer to these questions.



Is that the purpose of the moonblades exactly (I'm literally drawing a blank on memory for the reason of their creation). I can see the King's Blade being for finding a ruler, but the others were for "protecting elvenkind" I thought. So, the reason I'm asking would be could there be a sect of say "some non elf" that wants to work and protect elves? I admit its a very weird concept, and I'd bet more than anything the magic in the blade would just kill the person as now unworthy. But it did accept Arilyn, a half-elf, so maybe they can "adapt". For instance, if Danilo and Arilyn had a child (because according to the rules, a child of a half-elf and a human becomes human), actually could said child use the blade? I'm pretty sure this has probably been answered in the past, but its just popping up in my head, so I figured I'd ask.
Barastir Posted - 04 Feb 2019 : 12:31:57
I'm not Elaine, but there are some things you can consider I can help with, if you don't mind.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
(...)
I know the souls of the fallen moonblade wielders enter the blade. Does this prevent spells such as resurrection / raise dead, etc...? If this is still possible, what about reincarnation?



Well, IIRC in 2e elves' souls were different than a human's, and in fact the only way of bringing an elf back was through reincarnation. I don't know if it changed, though.

Anyway, if the elf has postponed his or her passage to Arvandor (according to Silver Shadows, IIRC), I think it makes sense that none of these spells would work (maybe the elf serving the blade would refuse to answer the spell's call).

Or maybe they could, but then there would be another problem, if the moonblade of the elf who passed away had already been claimed by a descendant.

Edit: Besides, the soul in fact empowers the magic of the blade. Maybe at least one rune would be lost, with the absence of the soul which gifts it to the sword.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
(...)
do you think it an appropriate power for said "reborn elf" to pass into the blade that his children (which might not be elven anymore) might be able to prove worthy to wield the blade.
(...)



Since the first goal of the blade is to find an elf worthy of ruling Evermeet, if the person is not an elf anymore, how likely would it be that the elves would follow that person? I think even if the reincarnated elf is still worthy and is not fried by the blade, he or she would try to revert this situation somehow.

On the other hand, the owner of the sword could simply keep the blade to be handed to another - elven - member of the clan, not necessarily a direct descendant.

Of course, these are only some considerations, and Mrs. Cunningham is more suited to answer to these questions.
sleyvas Posted - 01 Feb 2019 : 16:55:47
Elaine,

Regarding moonblades, a VERY strange thought just entered my head, and I figured I would throw it past you. I know the souls of the fallen moonblade wielders enter the blade. Does this prevent spells such as resurrection / raise dead, etc...? If this is still possible, what about reincarnation? What do you think of the idea of an elven moonblade wielder who is reincarnated into the form of quaggoth or tabaxi, etc...? I'm suspecting that the blade would kill them if they attempt to wield it, even if they are still the same person at heart.... but if that weren't the case, do you think it an appropriate power for said "reborn elf" to pass into the blade that his children (which might not be elven anymore) might be able to prove worthy to wield the blade. I'm sure someone has brought this concept up to you over the years, as I can't be the first.

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