Tharíalean
The Emerald Pilferer

 

Tharíalean is a mature adult green dragon who has made her home in the region of the Nagawater, to the southwest of the Vilhon Reach. She is known as The Emerald Pilferer in part because the shade of her scales are the same as emeralds, and she often takes care to polish her scales to a high sheen before she sets off to ravage nearby humanoid communities. While she prefers to stay near the southern end of the Nagawater, she has raided as far north as Arabar and has often been seen exploring the waters of the western Vilhon Reach. She is known to have a somewhat friendly relationship with the Yuan-ti of Hlondath and it is rumored that she sometimes purchases humanoid slaves from those notorious slavers, but for what purpose no one can truly say, though the rumors about such purchases are always sinister in nature.

The Emerald Pilferer was born to a pair of relatively weak and very young green dragons named Chalemess and Gremaya sometime around the year 1054 DR, The Year of Tolling Terrors, on the western shores of The Goldenwater, at the southern end of The Giantís Belt mountains, near the kingdom of Durpar. Before Tharíalean had reached the age of 5 years old her parents were slain by The Harbingers of Light, an adventuring group composed solely of elves who made it their mission in life to rid the world of evil, especially dragons and other such affronts to nature. They found obvious signs of a hatchling dragon in the lair of Chalemess and Gremaya, but an extensive search of the surround area failed to turn up any living hatchling. Unable to spend too much time and concerned about protecting their treasure, The Harbingers returned to their home in the Forest of Amlan, secure in the knowledge that such a young hatchling couldnít survive long in the world. Dragons of that age are barely a match for orcs.

However, over the next couple of years there were reported sightings of a very small green dragon being spotted in the waters of The Goldenwater. Most of these sightings were simply glimpses of an emerald-green dragonling swimming along the surface of the water, but a few credible witnesses claimed to have seen a hatchling-sized green dragon sunbathing on small islets. Many local people of an adventuress nature went hunting after this tiny dragon, but no one was ever able to track down this infant. The Harbingers of Light, having heard of these sightings, sent several of their best scouts to the region but they failed to turn up any evidence.

For roughly the next fifteen years most sages believe they can trace the tracks of Tharíalean based on sightings of a very young and subsequently young dragon along the shores of The Great Sea, from the kingdom of Darpur to the east thru Dambrath and Rethild all the way to Halruaa to the west. The last sighting of this young dragon was in 1074 DR, The Year of the Tightening Fist, along the coast of the Mhair Jungle to the west of Halruaa. There all trails disappeared. Most experts gave this youthful dragon a slim chance of surviving the dangers of the dangerous jungles of this region. Some, though, pointed to her near impossible survival as an orphaned hatchling as a sign that it would take more than the Mhair Jungles to kill her. These few were proven correct many years later.

For the next 50 years there is no sign of Tharíalean. However, using more recent knowledge of this dragon sages have guessed that it was during this time period that she honed her thieving abilities, abilities of stealth that she had to develop in order to survive her early years. Over this time period there were numerous thefts from prominent merchants in the western regions of Halruaa, thefts that at the time seemed no more than the work of talented thieves. Soon, however, royal vaults were being robbed. Some unique items were traced to various small caches of buried treasure inside the Mhair Jungle, but only a handful were discovered. Soon, the missing wealth couldnít be traced by magical means. Eventually, though, the thefts simply stopped. The last theft, of the vaults of Lord Lissarin Merblick, was in the year 1123 DR. It wasnít until centuries later that the importance of these thefts became known.

In 1130 DR, The Year of the Howling Moon, the body of Malandros, an old blue dragon, washed up on the shores of The Border Kingdoms, on the southern shore of The Lake of Steam. Malandros was known to have lived on the Arnrock, a mist-shrouded island in the middle of the Lake. An expedition to the island turned up an empty cave system, but there were no signs of a battle. Later that year a young adult green dragon with emerald colored scales attacked and sank several merchant ships just outside of the harbor Saelmur on the northern shore of The Lake of Steam. The ships were sunk and then the dragon simply left the area. Several days later once a salvage operation was organized, it was discovered that one of the sunken vessels had been gutted while on the bottom and that most of its cargo had disappeared. When manifests were checked it was learned that this ship was carrying nothing but iron ore. However, a subsequent investigation revealed that the manifest was falsified. The ship was carrying gold ingots for the local government.

Over the next 70 years this style of attack became the calling card of Tharíalean, though her name wasnít known at the time. The attacks were never so frequent as to cripple the local trade routes, but there were frequent enough to make people worried. It didnít matter how well concealed the cargoes were, nor how secretive the information concerning what was being shipped, there was no guarantee that the shipment was safe. Eventually merchants stopped shipping such valuable cargoes over the water and opted for overland routes. This tactic, though, only worked for a short while. Soon this green dragon, whose name was finally discerned by a local wizard, was attacking overland caravans to steal extremely valuable treasures. No magic, though, could discern where all this treasure was being hidden away. Repeated expeditions to the Arnrock failed to turn up any evidence of a dragon living there. It was during this time period that she earned her nickname, The Emerald Pilferer. It is a name that she now wears with pride.

Sometime around 1205 a mated pair of black dragons took up residence on the Arnrock. They quickly went about proclaiming the local region as their domain and their first action was to find Tharíalean and her lair, kill her, and then take her treasure. The three dragons played a deadly game of hide and seek for the next couple of years, and while there were a couple of skirmishes, Tharíalean always made good her escape, usually by diving deep into The Lake of Steam, where the experience she gained in her early days of hiding in The Goldenwater served her well. The two black dragons, Direbane and Mildreth, though gaining obvious control of the area, were unable to catch Tharíalean and they never did discover her lair.

Eventually Tharíalean was driven to the narrow eastern end of The Lake of Steam, and it was there one month that Direbane and Mildreth set out to once and for all destroy this upstart green dragon. Locals still refer to this month-long period as the Month of Black Clouds. Even though the pair of blacks didnít attack any humanoids, they were constantly seen flying through the sky, often swooping down low to investigate something that caught their eye or to attack what looked like a green dragon hiding in a small copse of trees or in a narrow inlet. After this month of futile searching, during which time Tharíalean wasnít seen at all, Direbane and Mildreth assumed that they had finally driven her off and returned to their lair. Once there they discovered that there lair reeked of chlorine gas and all the most valuable items of their hoard had been pilfered. It is said that their roars of outrage were so loud that not only were they heard throughout the entire Lake of Steam region, but that the roars shook the earth itself and these tremors were felt in the cities closed to the Arnrock. Many sages and scholars say that Tharíalean is lucky that the two dragons were shortly thereafter killed by adventurers for a wronged dragon is a deadly enemy as it is. Having two wrathful dragons after you is usually a guaranteed death warrant.

Since then Tharíalean has made her home in the southern region of the Nagawater. Despite her relative youthfulness of 312 years, she seemingly acts more like a dragon far beyond her years, content to spend a lot of idle time relaxing and protecting her treasures and spending less time terrorizing the locals. Many a local person or city of wealth, though, has woken one day to find some of their wealth simply gone, with no signs of a thief at all. Some claim to have seen a very shapely and attractive woman dressed all in supple green leather in the vicinity, but no divination has ever been able to back this up. The locals claim that this is Tharíalean in human form. They claim that as a hatchling she was able to transform herself into human guise and that this was how she survived when she became an orphan. No expert, be it a wizard or a sage, has ever subscribed to this theory. They claim it is merely the talk of the uneducated masses.


Tharíaleans Lair

Only one of Tharíaleanís lairs has ever been discovered, and that was purely by accident. However, most draconic experts believe that most of her lairs are probably similar in nature. In 1222 DR, the Year of the Horn, a small band of aquatic elves were exploring the southern end of the Nagawater when they were set upon by a particularly large naga. The elves fought valiantly, but as more and more nagas joined the battle, the elves were soon overwhelmed, especially amongst the massive clouds of silt being stirred up, an environment that favored the nagas. Two elves, however, sought refuge in amongst some particularly tall sea grass that was located at the base of an underwater cliff. As they moved further back amongst the grass they suddenly found themselves within a cave. The nagas circled outside, seemingly confused by the sudden disappearance of their quarry. The elves quickly surmised that the entrance was hidden by an illusion, and a powerful one at that since the aquatic elves should have been able to detect the cave entrance by the local current.

Art by 
Clyde Caldwell Wary of who or what might be living in the cave, but unable to go out and face the nagas, the two elves explored the cave, moving deeper and deeper under the cliff. They encountered many species of poisonous and/or dangerous plant life, but they were able to avoid it with ease. Eventually, they cave rose upwards and the water receded, revealing a large cave seemingly carved out of a rock of unknown material. Around the edges of the cave were countless works of priceless art and numerous mirrors. Along the floor were countless trunks, chests, and sarcophagi, lids open, revealing uncountable wealth in the form of coins and jewelry. There was also a depression in the middle of the room which was filled with furs. The oddest thing of all, though, was an ornate, gilded canopy bed off to one side, along with an armoire. A closer examination of the walls revealed that the unknown substance appeared to be some sort of greenish lead-like material.

The two elves quickly surmised that they were in the lair of dragon. Unable to effectively carry anything, and worried about where the dragon might be at that moment, they returned back to the entrance of the cave. There, at the entrance, they noticed that the waters had once more calmed and the silt and settled to the bottom. A careful look revealed to the elves that there were nagas amongst the sea grass, waiting for the elves to return. Before they could figure out what to do, the silt started to swirl around violently. Before the silt clouded over everything, the elves saw a massive green reptilian shape shooting through the water, diving on the nagas. Knowing that this was their only chance the two elves made a break for it. They exited the cave and split up, each following the base of the cliff.

Only one elf returned. He knows not what befell his comrade, though he assumes that the nagas or the dragon had gotten him. The story of the newly discovered cave quickly spread far and wide, and soon a handful of highly experienced adventuring parties were heading for the southern end of the Nagawater. One expedition, led by the sea elf, returned to the sight of the underwater cliff, but the grass was gone and the cave had caved in. Magical examination revealed that the entire cave complex had collapsed. All the adventuring groups returned to their respective homes with nothing to show except for a few dead comrades and several score of dead nagas. Sages, though, are without a doubt that given the nature of the treasures this was the lair of Tharíalean. They also presume that the current lair of Tharíalean will be similar, protected by enlarged, possibly animated sea grass and concealed by powerful illusions. The cave will also be protected by some sort of chlorinated-lead shield that will protect it from magically scrying eyes. The Emerald Pilferer will also have out on display most of her prized treasures.


Tharíleansís Domain

The Emerald Pilferer makes her home somewhere in the southern half of the Nagawater. Tharíalean freely roams as far south and into the Ankhwood, as far east as the Golden Road, as far west as The Winterwood, and as far north as the Vilhon Reach. However, she doesnít actively defend her territory against intruding dragons, but most know that they stand little or no chance of finding her lair and that if they were to set up a lair within Tharíaleanís territory that they would be sorely pressed to keep their claws on their own treasure. So, they leave her alone.

Because of this unofficial guarantee to the rights of her domain, Tharíalean is free to prey upon humans and humanoids alike. But, she doesnít do so often. Instead, she prefers to select targets that are extremely valuable. Because of this most caravans and shipments within her territory are small and not of much value. Still, Tharíalean is a common sight in the skies above the territory that she calls home, and even though this sight invokes concern amongst those who see her, most people know that if they have little of value they have little to fear.

Those of wealth, though, greatly fear this dragon, not because she is deadly, but because she is a thief, and a very talented thief. While no one with any knowledge of dragons in general and Tharíalean in particular believes the rumors of her shape changing prowess they do know that treasures within the domain of The Emerald Pilferer are not secure. Some suspect that she hires talented thieves to steal for her, and others suspect that she uses magic to teleport treasures out of various peopleís vaults or safes. No one knows for sure. All they do know is to not keep too much treasure in one location when within a couple hundred miles of her.


The Deeds of Tharíalean

Given her youth and her desire for seclusion and secrecy, very few deeds of Tharíalean are known. A few, though, stand out. In 1227 the aged elf sculptor, Thuhallen Greenbough of Anhkwood, was commissioned to create a statue commemorating the 75th anniversary of King Harfess of Arrabar. The statue, of the armored king astride his most valued war steed was made from a single piece of very rare entroot marble. The statue was created solely from images of the king and his steed that had been sent to Thuhallen, and those few people who saw it said it was a work that would go down in history as one of the greatest works of art ever constructed by a mortal. It was wrapped in lead lined sheets, magically reduced to a fraction of its size, placed within a portable hole, which was secured in a lead box, and was to be teleported to the kingís castle. Unfortunately, the messenger never arrived. The messenger was carrying the box from the sculptorís studio to the mages home, about 30 yards away, when a massive cloud of chlorine came down out of the sky, choking the messenger, and all this despite scouts posted every 10 yards within 200 yards of Thuhallenís studio, and despite magic shielding the messenger and his cargo. While the cloud of gas choked all those in the vicinity, the messenger and his package simply disappeared. The messenger turned up about 2 weeks later in Hardcastle far to the east, with no memory of what had happened. The chlorine gas and the giant claw marks in some trees that where uprooted were enough proof for most to believe that this was the work of Tharíalean.

Another great theft occurred in 1300, in the dwarven mining city of Copperhold. Despite its misleading name, the city was actually one of the richest gold mines north of The Thornwood, but this was a secret that no one outside of Copperhold new about. The reason for this was that it was also one of the richest copper mines in the area, and while the gold stayed at home, the copper was exported. In this particular year, to celebrate the cityís 200th anniversary, the greatest dwarven blacksmiths created a giant, 20í tall golden statue of King Duncan Pickhands, the late founder of their city. On the day of celebration, when the ale was truly exceptional and when most dwarves were more than a little too happy, the faint odor of chlorine could be detected drifting down through the ventilation ducts. Before an alarm could be sounded, a green dragon suddenly appeared in the main hall, above the statue and throngs of dwarf, elf, and human dignitaries alike. Magical darkness engulfed the hall and as dwarven guards and warriors formed defensive positions, there was a great gust of wind and then magical silence. Minutes later dwarven priests and priestesses started countering the darkness with light spells and the silence was quickly dispelled. The statue, though, was gone. Left in its place was a small hole that was seemingly clawed out of the granite floor. The statue was never seen again.


Drexellianís Magic

Given her obvious size there is no way that Tharíalean could pull off some of her heists without the help of magic, but it isnít known what magic she uses. It is assumed that due to her youth she lacks the experience to cast any polymorph spells, so most experts assume that she uses magic items to help her in her heists. She does, however, possess a few spells that are known to a few non-dragons.


Silt Whirl

(Alteration/Evocation)
Level 3
Range: 100 yards
Components: V
Duration: 3 turns
Casting Time: 2
Area of Effect: 50 yard radius
Saving Throw: None

By use of this spell the dragon is able to violently churn the waters within the area of effect. While this spell can be cast up to a range of 100 yards, during the duration of the spell the caster can move the center of effect up to 50 yards per round if it is not centered on anyone, of if it is centered upon the caster it will move at the same rate as the movement rate of the dragon. It cannot be cast upon any other sentient being, though it can be cast upon non-sentient creatures such as fish. In this case there is no saving throw.

For the duration of the spell the surrounding waters are violently churned up. While this does not affect the movement of any man-sized or larger creature, the primary purpose of the spell is not to directly affect anyone. The spells main purpose is to churn up and silt and dirt in the area. This churned up cloud of silt reduces visibility to zero and makes any echolocation impossible. Small and tiny creatures are swept about at random, and creatures of medium sized can only move at one quarter their movement rate. Creatures that breathe underwater must save vs. poison. If they fail they must try to flee the area of effect because the silt interferes with breathing. Those that make there save are able to stay in the silt cloud, though they are still affected by the lack of visibility and the inability to use echolocation.


No Splash

(Alteration)
Level 2
Range: 0
Components: V
Duration: Instantaneous
Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: Caster
Saving Throw: None

This spell enables the caster to negate any splash or waves that may result from entering or leaving any body of water. If someone sees the caster enter or leave the water they can mark where this occurred, otherwise it is impossible to determine where the caster entered or left the water. A detect magic, if cast within one round of this event, will reveal a very faint magical aura on the location of the exit/entrance.


Tharíaleanís Fate

The Emerald Pilfer has a couple of major advantages on her side, and those are her youth, her obvious skill at what she does, and a supposed collection of powerful magical items. Despite all of this she shows an unusual amount of caution in her life. She knows that if she is too active she will create too many enemies. She uses this to temper her greed, and combined with the knowledge that she can have a potentially long life, she has an incredible amount of patience for a dragon. However, she has already created a small number of very powerful and very angry enemies. Some predict that she will meet an untimely demise. If she does, some also wonder whether or not any of her great treasures will be recovered or if they will remain forever hidden.

 

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