Aglarond...Adventures in the Unapproachable East
Source: 3.5E FRCS, p. 200
The Simbul, born Alassra Shentrantra Silverhand, and also known as the Witch-Queen of Aglarond, is one of the Seven Sisters, a Chosen of Mystra, and one of the most powerful spellcasters in Faerûn. Her character is that of a wild and powerful sorceress, highly unpredictable and prone to sudden outbursts of rage. She is queen of Aglarond, a nation in the east of Faerûn, but many of her subjects fear her as much as they respect her for her recklessness and apparent unstable nature. Her character is also noteworthy as the lover to the highly popular Sage of Shadowdale, Elminster.
The Simbul was protected by a personal guard called the Simbulmyn, commanded by High Captain Hovor Seawind in 1374 DR.
3 History 3.1 Perceived death
4 The Simbul and Thay
As of 1374 DR, the Simbul had four female human apprentices: Evenyl Nathtalond, a wizard and sorcerer; Phaeldara, also a wizard and sorcerer; The Masked One, a sorcerer and rogue; and Thorneira Thalance, a sorcerer and wizard.
It was rumoured that the Simbul had written a document that named her successor and that the document is in the hands of the Harpers, believed to be with either Elminster Aumar or Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun.
Being one of the Seven Sisters, the Simbul is the daughter of Dornal Silverhand and Elué. After the death of her mother, young Alassra was entrusted by Mystra, the Goddess of Magic, to the care of the witches of Rashemen. Mystra gave the witches spells that enabled them to rule Rashemen and repel invasions by Thay.
After the Simbul left the witches, she started wandering the planes. Little is known about her whereabouts during that period, which lasted for some 400 years. It is said that Mystra herself revealed to her the fact that she was one of the Chosen of Mystra, after one of her consorts (allegedly a wizard from another plane) perished.
Symbol of the Simbul
The Simbul ended up posing as the apprentice of Ilione, a lesser sorceress and ruler of Aglarond. She took the name “the Simbul” from a deity of the primitive human tribes that inhabited the Yuirwood before the elves there, and whose runes can still be found deep within the wood (the goddess known as the Simbul was absorbed as an aspect of Labelas Enoreth).
Ilione had designated the Simbul as her successor. The Simbul assumed the throne of Aglarond upon Ilione’s death. The wizard Elminster recognized the Simbul for whom she was more than a century ago. Elminster’s love helped reduce the frequency of her berserker rage fits, but she is still feared for the amount of damage she can inflict. It was the Simbul whom Mystra sent into Avernus, the first layer of Baator, to retrieve Elminster when he was banished there. King Azoun IV of Cormyr once called her “a good friend, but a deadly enemy”.
The Simbul was widely believed to have been consumed in the fire that destroyed the deity Velsharoon in 1425 DR, the Year of the Seven Sisters. In reality she survived
Following the collapse of the Weave, Alassra was driven mad. The only thing able to return her sanity was the consumption of the magic in enchanted items, which Elminster and Storm brought to her whenever they could. Aside from these brief respites from insanity, the Simbul would transform into some wild creature, usually a raptor of some sort, hunting wild game and eating it raw. She would return to only a few familiar spots – the ruins of Tethgard and a cave near Storm’s farm being two.
The latter was set up specifically for Alassra by Elminster and those Chosen of Mystra that survived the Spellplague and could still perform magic. They placed a number of wards at the front of the cave that would terrify would-be intruders, and at the back enchanted a set of manacles that would give the Simbul comfort while keeping her restrained near an ever-full pool of water. She could survive there indefinitely, feeding not on food but on the magic of the wards – slowly draining them – and the water from the pool.
In 1479 DR Elminster and Storm restored the Simbul’s sanity by feeding her a Blueflame item. After her mind was restored, she charged both Elmsinter and Manshoon to work to gather all the Blueflame items together, possibly to restore Mystra.
The Simbul and Thay well as signifying Alassra Silverhand’s connection to Aglarond through its deific origins, the word “Simbul” means “watchful warrior-wizard” in the ancient Aglarondan language, and Alassra lives up to that role. Her presence alone is a strong incentive for the Red Wizards of Thay not to attack Aglarond. When she commits herself to battle, the amount of damage she can cause is incredible. She sometimes makes her enemies an example, using far more magic than necessary to destroy them in a spectacular fashion. No Red Wizard in his right mind would face the Simbul, and even her own subjects in Aglarond sometimes fear and avoid her, thinking her mad.