The Elven Kingdom of Lurkmoor

The high elves in the kingdom of Lurkmoor are very different from their wood elven cousins in Murthrid. The very act of choosing to live in a feudal state, rather than the decentralised anarchy practiced by the wood elves, paints a stark contrast. It is this accusation that is often levelled at them by the elves of Murthrid; that they are emulating humans, playing at kings and queens. The attitude of the wood elves to the high elves is often similar to the attitude of older elves to younger ones: they are still young, enamored with mortals and mortal foibles. They will learn. And indeed, it is the case that many elves, as they grow older, make the journey to Murthrid - making Lurkmoor a kingdom of the young.

This division did not always exist, however. In the so-called Fourth Generation of elves (approximately 4,000 BE), there was only one unified people of wood elves dwelling in the "Great Forest of Leng". It was ultimately humans that fractured them, both physically and politically. The elves of old could not agree on how to react to the encroachment of humans - should they be appeased and befriended, or driven out? Far more were in the latter camp than the former, and by the Fifth Generation there was a "shallow forest" surrounded by human lands and a "deep forest" where mortals knew it was unwise to tread. Over time, the axes of men and the ravages of the Reign of Monsters would sunder the two forests once and for all - leading to the present state of affairs.

The Forest

Although Lurkmoor is part of the same ancient forest as Murthrid, it is far less dangerous. This is not to say there are no risks: there are old parts of the forest, particularly in the south, filled with fey beings and dangers that do not take kindly to intruders. The elves know and respect the natural forces that inhabit these areas, and are wise enough to avoid entering them without great need. Even so, there are elven druids and rangers that feel most comfortable in the deepest, wildest parts of that great forest.

In the northerly parts of the forest that make up Lurkmoor proper, visitors describe a feeling of deep peace and serenity. Towering ancient trees rise above, but frequent trails criss-cross the undergrowth - growing fainter the further away you travel from elven settlements. You will find no orcs there, nor ghouls or ogres. Only natural creatures inhabit the woods, for all others are rejected by rangers, druids and their allies. Caution must still be exercised in the wilderness, of course - a hungry gryphon or a furious bear is more than a match for the unwary - but in general, Lurkmoor is an exceedingly safe place as long as one keeps their wits about them.

It is quite possible to wander for great stretches of time in Lurkmoor without ever seeing an elf, especially in the deeper parts of the woods. The rangers are vigilant, however, and orders of druids are well-connected with a steady stream of intelligence from their animal friends. Despite the wilderness, travellers are often surprised to find that the elves are warned of their presence long before they actually meet face-to-face. It is not uncommon for travellers of unknown provenance to be met in the forest near an elven settlement by a ranger, who will offer them friendly advice and directions - or, if they are of suspicious bearing, politely demand to know their intentions.

The Greenway

The Greenway is the only true road in Lurkmoor, a broad woodland path that runs from southeastern Lorknir into the Borderlands. On the way, it passes through or near 6 of the elven towns of Lurkmoor, as well as through the capitol city of Menhedrul. The elves are well aware that this is the only viable route for a human army to take into Lurkmoor, and it is guarded by various means both military and magical. Those who are not meant to tread the Greenway find themselves beguiled and confused - until they discover that they are marching out of the forest by the same road they entered! While this enchantment is not infallible, it is enough to discourage large armies from marching on the elves. It is difficult, after all to protect large numbers of people from the effects of a mind-altering illusion.

The elves do offer passage along the Greenway to individuals, small groups and trade caravans. Any group guided by an elf may travel freely along the Greenway without fear of the confounding enchantments laid upon it, though if deprived of their guide before the journey's end they will find themselves plunged into trackless forest. Guides can be found in small elven villages at either end of the Greenway - for a price of 20 gold pieces, one can travel by the safest route into the Borderlands. Those taking the lucrative but dangerous trade routes that lead to Kharolis or the Plains of Dust often take the elves up on this offer.

The Clearwater River

Beginning in the high mountains of Sacatmorul, the Clearwater river passes straight through the forest of Lurkmoor on its way to the massive lake known as the Sea of Vintas, in Vingaard. In addition to Menhedrul itself, 3 of the elven towns of Lurkmoor are situated along the river. The elves make extensive use of it - for travel, patrols, and fishing - and generally have a love of the great, wide flow of the Clearwater. Old marble bridges of grey elven construct are situated along the river's course, and there are many elven villages that overlook it.

Elven Society

Although the elves of Lurkmoor are far less independently-minded than those Murthrid, they are still a people who value freedom and beauty above all else. Though they are loyal to the Living Throne, the Elfqueen is far from the mind of most elves: they would prefer to live as they wish, instead of as they are told. As such, many high elves dwell in small, close-knit communities - or even alone! These elven "villages" are often hidden either by magical means or simply by their obscurity. Although there is value in having a permanent home, it is not uncommon to find these villages nearly vacant because their inhabitants are wandering the wilderness.

Whether alone or in a village, high elves live in a constant relationship with nature, never taking more than they need and giving back ever more. They replenish the forests and the plains constantly, ensuring that there will always be nature within their world. When encountering others in their lands they tend to be friendly, open and generous - though their mood quickly sours when confronted with those who are less accomodating of nature and goodwill than they are. They are usually quite happy to give directions, offer a bed or even go out of their way to help wayward travellers.

The majority of the elves of Lurkmoor - two-thirds of the population - live in secluded villages or as nomadic wanderers. Although popular depictions of Lurkmoor focus on the picturesque elven towns or the shimmering spires of the city of Menhedrul, few realise just how few elves actually dwell in these concentrated population centers. Even Menhedrul, the great city in which Queen Alaunda Sindarion rules from the Living Throne, only has a population of 2,000 souls. All told, about 5,000 of the 15,000 elves of Lurkmoor dwell in built-up settlements.

Whereas most of the elven population is very widely spread over the forest, the towns of Lurkmoor are concentrated along two major arteries: the Clearwater River and the Greenway. At the point where this great waterway and this ancient safe road cross, the great city of Menhedrul sits with its gleaming towers and magnificent walls.

Elven Towns

There are 9 elven towns within Lurkmoor; 6 of these are scattered along the Greenway, while the remaining 3 occupy the Clearwater River. The average population of an elven town is 200 to 500 - in human terms, a large village at best. What they lack in populace, however, they make up for in splendor; none could look at an elven town, having seen their villages, and fail to see the difference. Elven architecture is built to last, and masons spend every available moment of free time to improve and embellish on their works - a strange mixture of permanence and constant renewal.

As a result, the overall impression of an elven town is an almost wasteful one: 500 souls living in a magnificent vista of broad streets and beautiful houses. There are no homeless; no one begs in the streets, and everyone is provided for. Even the most meagre house is attractive and desirable by human standards, and all seem to thrive in abundance and plenty. Although the houses may not have maidservants and butlers, nor richly-appointed gold adornments, they are elegant and beautiful, carved from wood or hewn from stone with a sincerity and simplicity that is breathtaking in its own way.

As they are so small (usually around 100 households), almost everyone in an elven town knows each other. Visitors are immediately remarked upon and will be viewed with interest and likely approached by the curious. Taverns are common, but inns are very rare - it is generally accepted that a wandering elf can rely upon the hospitality of friends, strangers, or - at the very least - priests. Every town has at least one temple to elven gods, as towns are one of the few places where priests can train and coordinate effectively.

Would-be attackers are often surprised by how quickly an idyllic, peaceful town can turn into a formidable force. The wilds surrounding the town will be inhabited by hunters and gatherers, who are equipped with weapons and armaments as a standard elf (see the MM entry). It is likely that one or more higher-level rangers or druids will also be patrolling in the vicinity to ensure the safety and security of their kin. Towns are usually not protected by a standing military or even a permanent guard force; however, every elf is trained for combat (again, see the MM entry for elves). This being the case, the potential militia of a town is equivalent to about half its population, supported by rangers, druids, priests and a handful of higher-level adventurer types (local wizards, noblemen, wandering fighters and so on).

Each of the nine towns of Lurkmoor is nominally under the guardianship of a Lord or Lady of the elves. In practice, however, this is far less a relationship of feudal authority than one of benevolent patronage. Maintaining a large estate within the town, the Lord is responsible for greeting visitors, resolving disputes, making important decisions about the welfare of the town, and conferring with local community leaders such as priests or druids. If a non-elven visitor comes to a town, it is likely that they will be staying under the roof of the local Lord or Lady; likewise, in the event that an elf is rendered homeless by misfortune, they will be invited to stay as long-term guests until some arrangement can be made for them.

Commerce within elven towns is very different from what humans usually expect. For one thing, elven craftsmen differ from dwarves in that they have absolutely no interest in mass-producing anything. They rarely make goods for the purpose of export and profit, because their towns are self-sufficient units supported by the forest around them. An elven ropemaker will likely (amongst a handful of other vocations) produce a few coils of rope over the years, in case they are needed. If some need arises, they will sell or give them away, and then make another when they get around to it. They will not have warehouses filled with rope.

As hinted above, elves within a town rarely go to the effort of selling their goods to each other; this seems to be a strange overcomplication of things. Towns are small, close-knit communities. If you need some rope, Elas the ropemaker can give you some. Next week you may send him a choice cut of your most recent kill, or you may repay his kindness with a favor of your own. This is not to say that elves do not enjoy luxuries or that they eschew money entirely; elves who are not on good terms with each other are far less generous. Likewise, visitors from outside will likely be charged for goods. And of course, things which are desired but not needed are likely to fetch a high price, especially considering how slow and infrequent elven craftsmanship is. If you covet the wondrous bow that Alhana has made so that you can hunt down a legendary beast, you will need to part with something equally dear - although again, this is more likely to be a trade than a purchase.

When it comes to trading with outsiders, there are a few considerations to bear in mind. One is that of responsibility: while the elves create many wondrous things, they also take sheer pleasure in the act of creation. They are loathe to see their works mistreated or misused, and will be careful about giving away items to those who are not known and trusted. There is also the matter of supply: as noted above, elves produce only what they need. If they do have a surplus, however, they will gladly trade it away. Human visitors to an elven town will usually find that food and drink is cheap or free (often provided by their hosts) - and even if they wish to purchase rations for the road, they will not be charged much. Likewise, things which can be easily found, like healing herbs and medicines, are freely available. Other equipment, though always of the highest possible quality, will be either limited, expensive, or both. Human travellers may find that even things which are taken for granted, like a horse or a rope, may be hard to purchase in great quantity - although it will likely be quite possible to have needful goods made to order, if you're willing to contend with the unhurried pace of elven craftsmanship.

The City of Menhedrul

Menhedrul is the only city in Lurkmoor: a creation of the grey elves who have long since departed Morus, it is a wondrous marvel that has withstood the test of time. As noted above, the city has a population of 2,000 elves - although it could easily accomodate twice that number. Built upon the intersection of the Clearwater River and the Greenway, the towering white walls of the city, which shine in the moonlight like mithril, are visible for miles around. They are patrolled at all times by the Wardens of Rillifane, a cadre of 200 elven archers tasked with the city's protection - one of Lurkmoor's few standing forces. They are led by Lady Almarian Estana, (daughter of Lady Alhana Estana, renowned personal advisor to the queen) a fighter/mage/thief of 6th level. With shining golden helms and hauberks of gleaming silvery mail, this force is renowned even amongst elves for their skill and dignity.

Within the city, the presence of the Clearwater River is everywhere in the form of a series of canals that run between the city's streets, arched by smooth bridges of white stone. They terminate in a series of small harbour and piers, the greatest of which is the Seldarine Crescent - a great semicircular pier of black stone, adorned by white statues of the elven gods, which is at the foot of the great Palace of Moon-and-Stars. These waterways are protected by the Adamant Fleet, consisting of 10 seldani longships crewed by 20 lightly-armored archers apiece.

The final protection of Menhedrul is in the skies - the numerous tall towers which ascend gracefully above the city. Once the homes of grey elven sorcerers, they now serve an entirely different purpose: as roosts. There are a number of gryphons who dwell there, though less than one might expect - they prefer secluded mountains. More common are giant eagles - about 24 of them throughout the city - who have dwelt in and protected Menhedrul since the first Elfking swore a binding pact with them.

The Royal Court

First and foremost, of course, the city's principal purpose is as the capitol of Lurkmoor. It is the seat of power of Queen Alaunda Sindarion; though she is more than 3,000 years old, she has ruled over Lurkmoor for a scant four centuries. From within the Palace of Moon-and-Stars and by the authority of the Living Throne, the Elfqueen adminsters the loose power structure of Lurkmoor.

She is attended at all times by the larethas, or "wise council". This is a group of nine advisors personally selected by the Elfqueen herself; by longstanding tradition, this council has always included a high-ranking Druid and priest of Corellon Larethian. At present, the larethas consists of:

Beneath the Queen and her advisors are the elvish nobility. The Queen's immediate family are Princes and Princesses; every other elven noble is a Lord or Lady. These are the descendants of the original elven tribes which united under the first Elfking to form the kingdom of Lurkmoor. Each of the towns of Lurkmoor is ruled by a Lord or Lady, and there are a handful of others; the lovers or wives of nobles do not become noble themselves, but the title is usually passed onto their children upon coming of age.

When considering elvish nobility it is worth considering that they are a relatively new institution. Nobility amongst elves, though hereditary, is far more a measure of merit than of birth - consider, for example, that the first Elfking of Lurkmoor is Queen Alaunda's grandfather. The child of an Elflord, if not judged to follow the proper conduct, may or may not be considered a Lord by their peers. Likewise, an elf who forges a new town from the wilderness may well be granted the title of Lord apropos of nothing. Even the Crown Prince, if not worthy, could be replaced by popular support. In effect, this makes Lurkmoor a strange system which, while firmly a monarchy in name, is effectively democratic in nature.

Districts of the City

Menhedrul is a large and storied city with many districts and areas of interest. Unlike the towns of Lurkmoor, money is much more commonly used within the city - a result of the large number of elves dwelling here without close bonds of friendship and family to tie them together. As such, though the usual considerations about elves and their wares apply here, it is much easier to simply go into a shop and buy some supplies.

Plaza of the Wheel: (selim qirin)

The Plaza of the Wheel is a great circular area in the heart of Menhedrul, which takes its name from the 6 streets which radiate out from it like the spokes of a wheel. One of these streets, the widest, goes directly to the Palace of Moon-and-Stars. Another opens directly onto the Seldarine Crescent, a black semicircular pier adorned with statues of the gods; the headquarters of the Adamant Fleet. The other streets take one to other parts of the city, causing the Plaza to serve as something of a hub.

As the streets of the city naturally funnel wanderers here, and it is where new arrivals disembark by water, the Plaza is one of the busiest parts of the city in the day. It is most populated by non-citizens, and is lined with taverns and even a few inns where one can rent a room if they have no patron to offer them a bed. For those who wish to spend their coin, the products of hunters, gatherers, alchemists and herbalists are on display and available to buy. There are also a number of "plaza merchants", who have a variety of backgrounds - some are rangers or adventurers selling the spoils of battle, while others are represenatives of elven families selling off a surplus.

Either way, a variety of equipment and foreign imports can be purchased here - oil for lamps, low-grade weaponry, elven rope or other supplies, and so on. As the equipment is often surplus, usually foreign, and of comparatively little value, the usual elven qualms about selling their works is not present amongst the "plaza merchants". It is one of the few places where well-known "elvish goods", such as hithlain, honey leather and feywine, can be easily purchased. Also of use are the "scouts" of the Plaza - elven children or youths who are willing to scour the city in search of the item you seek in exchange for a small fee. They are usually found in the taverns or loitering in the Plaza, and mark themselves out by a feather in the cap.

Palace of Moon-and-Stars: (malkor elessil)

The most imposing building in the city by far, the Palace of Moon-and-Stars is an improbable structure that looms over the inner walls that encircle it. Seeming to be made of spun glass, shining silver towers and white stone walls, it shines like mithril in the moonlight just as Menhedrul's outer walls do. It is the refuge and fortress of the city in case of a devastating siege, but this fact is not apparent to those who visit. Within its walls, the Palace is a magnificent structure surrounded by verdant gardens and greenhouses filled with all manner of exotic plants.

The Palace itself services many functions besides being a house for the Living Throne, many of them shrouded in secrecy. Even the grounds are put to good use, however. A number of richly appointed manses are arrayed around the front of the Palace; here, some of the larethas dwell, in addition to any of the Elfqueen's royal guests. The many gardens, too, are not purely decorative. The Garden of Adamant contains an enchanted scrying pool activated by royal blood, while the Garden of Mithril is the home of Elmun the Sighted - the ancient rooted treant who forms part of the Elfqueen's inner council.

The Palace of Moon-and-Stars is guarded at all times by the Order of Moonshadow (eldar elemor), a group of 20 fighter/priests of Sehanine who are charged with both protecting the Elfqueen and safeguarding the many ancient secrets sequestered within the chambers of the Palace. Garbed in the Cloak and Boots of Elvenkind and clad in mithril chain, they carry magical blades created especially for them by master elven enchanters and smiths.

The District of Rock and Water: (selim ondolinde)

One of the six roads that leads outwards from the Plaza of the Wheel opens out into this part of the city, which is where the a great many of Menhedrul's permanent residents dwell. The District of Rock and Water is aptly named - it is a mazework of bridges, streets and canals that intertwine with each other in an intricate tangle. Trees line the broad avenues, and the streets frequently broaden into miniature gardens resplendent with flowers. It is a peaceful and joyful place, where one can easily lose track of the days simply exploring the architecture of an ancient city and wandering amongst the parks and gardens.

It is here that, if you are unable to find what you seek in the Plaza of the Wheel, you might come to find someone who can help. For far from being a solely residential area, the District of Rock and Water is also home to a great many craftsmen of various kinds. It is common practice in Menhedrul for a master craftsman who wishes to pass on his art to take up residence in a workshop. There, they will take on multiple apprentices over the years until they feel an appropriate successor has developed. These "dynastic" workshops can become very elaborate over the decades, outfitted with every modification and improvement imaginable by generations of innovative masters and apprentices.

For outsiders, purchasing goods here in the District of Rock and Water bears similar considerations to making purchases in any elven town. The only difference is in availability: you may have your pick of ten different swordsmiths to approach with a proposition, rather than just the one. Mass production is still not a practice in which an elven craftsman has any interest in; although city-dwelling elves, with their love of luxury and elegance, are more likely to be motivated by wealth than those in the elven towns. Even so, elven craftsmen in the city are just as protective of their work as those elsewhere: unless very corrupt, they will not allow it to pass from their hands for any price unless they are confident it will be used for good works.

The Moonlight Avenue: (imrad elegwain)

Although the worship of the Seldarine - besides Corellon Larethian - is usually an informal affair amongst elves, the Moonlight Avenue is the exception. One of the 6 roads that leads away from the Plaza of the Wheel, the Moonlight Avenue takes its name from the mithril-infused stone that paves it - causing it to shine in the moonlight like the royal palace and the city walls. The Moonlight Avenue is a long road that winds sinuously around the District of Rock and Water, with many open spaces. In places, the shining stones of the Avenue cut across roads from that part of the city, making it hard to tell where the Moonlight Avenue ends and the District of Rock and Water begins.

The streets themselves are decorated with many plazas or pavilions. Filled with blooming flowers that are tended by the priests and priestesses of Hanali Celanil, these are the principal site of celebrations and festivities amongst the people of Menhedrul. Elves observe a great many celebrations both secular - at birth, marriage and the passage adulthood - and religious - such as the various observances held at seasonal equinoxes. When no celebration is underway, these pavilions are filled with benches and tables, and are home to families enjoying each others company or priests debating on the mysteries of the multiverse.

The most magnificent temple is, of course, the House of the Preserver - Corellon Larethian's edifice. A large, open complex that is very close to the Plaza of the Wheel, it has a number of purposes. As Corellon Larethian is the protector of the elves and the god of combat and honor, much of the temple serves as a school. A large, open-air space, it is here that elven youths receive their training in the ways of the longsword and longbow. The interior of the temple itself is more like a museum than anything else - dedicated to preserving elven relics from times gone by as well as examples of wondrous art donated to the temple by worshipers. It also serves as a place of contemplation and worship, of course, and is the home of the Fellowship of the Forgotten Flower - an order dedicated to retrieving elven relics from other lands.

Other temples, like the Luminous Coil of Sehanine Moonshadow, are smaller and more functional. A tall tower-like structure that is mostly occupied by a single room, the Luminous Coil is topped by a great crystal that channels and focuses moonlight into its interior. In this tower, the focusing power of the great crystal makes divination magic and natural prophetic tendencies much more pronounced; some of the greatest prophecies of the last age were pronounced in the Luminous Coil. Also of note is the Garden of Oak - where the priests of Rillifane and members of the Druidic Order confer and make weighty decisions; and the Temple of Roses, which is jointly dedicated to Erevan, Solonor and Hanali Celanil.

Notably missing are temples of Shevarash and Labelas Enoreth. The former is not a god invoked lightly by elves, and his Feywardens have little business inside a safe stronghold of the elves. Their temples are built on frontiers wherever elven enemies may be found. The latter has a temple within the city, but it is found within Old Menhedrul.

The Winding Ways: (imrad leweg)

As noted previously, Menhedrul could comfortably hold twice the number of elves that dwell there. As such, there are no homeless in Menhedrul - with plenty of housing to go around, no one is forced to live in a slum or rowhouse by necessity. The District of Rock and Water has many empty houses, and those wishing to become citizens need go through only a few formalities to rightfully dwell in them. One may wonder, then, why there is a community of elves a good 20 minute walk from the center of the city - in the area at the edge of "inhabited" Menhedrul known as the Winding Ways (although imrad leweg in elvish is closer to "Serpent Road").

Those who make their homes in the Winding Ways do so by choice. Some live there because they do not like the bustle of the city - elves who have business in the city but prefer the quiet of the forests, for example. Many of the wanderers and youths that delight in exploring the abandoned areas of Old Menhedrul also choose to either live in the Winding Ways or spend much of their time in the taverns there. Druids have also moved into the area and torn down some of the buildings, growing a miniature forest in the area - they believe that the vastness of the city is a sign of grey elven hubris.

However, sadly, there is a darker element to the Winding Ways. As idyllic as it may seem, elven society is not without its outcasts - those who tend towards greyer morality, or find the sanctimonious tendencies of their brethren cloying. There are many small shrines and temples to Erevan Ilesere, the god of tricksters, in the Winding Ways. His priests preach that it was Erevan who taught elves to stalk in the forests, to weave cloaks that beguile and turn away the eye of those who would do them harm. To be an elf is to be free, they contend, and to attempt to constrain elvish nature in the tight and lawful confines of city life is akin to sacrilege.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Winding Ways are home to only known thieves' guild of elvish origin: the Indelinta, which translates to "swift wills" or "swift minds". Though less mean-spirited than thieves' guilds in other nations, the Indelinta have a taste for luxury and specialise in providing intelligence to clients and facilitating the black market (especially forms of magic that elves usually frown on). Although their love of wealth is considerable, it is trumped by their love of prestige and infamy, and their desire to prove their skill. As such, this is usually the prime motivator in their heists - how much money there is to be made is a secondary concern.

Old Menhedrul:

Beyond the District of Rock and Water and the outlying streets of the Winding Ways, the grand old city of Menhedrul lies sleeping. The ancient spires and buildings were built to stand the test of time, and they have done so: doorframes and window-shutters may have crumbled away and been replaced by crawling vines, but the proud old buildings are intact. As the elven population of Menhedrul is half of what would be needed to fill the city, vast parts are vacant - "Old Menhedrul", home of the departed grey elves.

Old Menhedrul is not a single contiguous area. The District of Rock and Water is an irregular warren that spreads throughout the city, and the Winding Ways are aptly named for the way they spread through side streets and alleys. As such, it's not the case that Old Menhedrul is a monolithic ghost town of empty windows and barren streets tucked away in some corner of the city - rather, it's a series of vacant areas throughout Menhedrul.

Although mostly desolate, Old Menhedrul is not without inhabitants. The fey of the surrounding forest have always been on good terms with the elves; though they are not typically comfortable in cities, the beautiful ruins of the old city is pleasing to many of them. Likewise, many of the ancient towers that rise above the city now serve as roosts for gryphons and giant eagles. Although the Warden of Rillifane do their best to keep them out, there are also various other creatures that tend to dwell in disused and abandoned places. The old city also has a reputation for being a good place to keep things hidden, and is used extensively by the Indelinta.

There are a few established structures within Old Menhedrul - usually those that benefit from their desolate surroundings. Most notable is the Temple of the Continuum, the stronghold of the priesthood of Labelas Enoreth. It is dedicated to storing dangerous lore and magical items - most famously, the two surviving Dragon Orbs: the Flawed Orb and the Orb of Lurkmoor.

Another common inhabitant of Old Menhedrul is the wizard. There are so many abandoned towers throughout the city that gryphons and eagles cannot claim them all. When a prominent mage desires to occupy one for the purpose of expanding his studies, permission is usually granted as long as the request comes from a mage of good standing. Most of these towers are in Old Menhedrul, where research can be conducted in peace and secrecy.