Conversations With Olisara Lightsong
by Delwyn Ilar (aka Greg Marks)
“Conversations With” is a column written by Delwyn Ilar of the Podal Prophet broadsheet, bringing you Out-Of-Character knowledge of important NPCs in the Moonsea region so that you might better portray them and their organizations in your games.
I began my efforts to bring enlightenment to you, dear reader, by delving into the seedy underworld of the factions that seek to manipulate the citizens of Phlan. And who better to investigate than the original meddlers themselves, the Harpers. Through contacts developed during my misspent youth, I was able to get word to “Those Who Harp” that I was hoping to have a conversation. As luck would have it, I received a message to meet at the Laughing Goblin Inn. Upon arriving at this frequent stop of sailors and ne’er-do-wells, I was directed to a shadowy back room by an annoyingly talkative and grossly rotund waiter with a stained apron. As I passed through the rough looking crowd, hand on my purse, I couldn’t have expected an atmosphere any less disreputable from this secretive group of spies and busybodies.
In the back room, I met my contact–and she couldn’t have been further than what I expected. Olisara Lightsong is a pale-skinned moon elven woman with white hair and piercing, blue eyes. Clad in afetching dress in the Cormyrian style, she invited me to sit at an ample feast that including the Goblin’s famous cabbage soup among other delicacies. I was instantly at ease.
Delwyn Ilar: I want to thank you for agreeing to speak with me Lady Lightsong. I imagine it can’t be easy for a spymaster such as yourself to speak freely with the press.
Olisara Lightsong: I take offense to the title spymaster; I simply collect interesting stories. Please, call me Olisara. I can call you Delwyn, can I not? Delwyn Ilar of the Podal Prophet who lives in the red two story on Lilly Way, a scant two blocks from Scholar’s Square. I’m sure you only seek to archive this meeting for the preservation of knowledge and wouldn’t risk anyone’s identity for fame or fortune.
DL: Umm… quite. Yes. *cough*
OL: Do please ask your questions Delwyn. The soup is getting cold.
DL: Would you like to start by introducing yourself to my readers and giving us a little about your background?
OL: Well, as you already know, my name is Olisara Lightsong, and I represent the Harpers’s interests in the northern Moonsea. I was born in Waymoot in Cormyr where my parents owned a bakery for a time that supplied bread to The Moon and Stars. I supposed it was at that inn that where I developed a love of listening to stories. Travelers from distant lands were always stopping by to and telling tales of their travels. I could sit for hours, listening to their exciting stories and marveling at their strange appearances.
DL: So it was at The Moon and Stars that you decided to become a member of the Harpers? Can you tell my readers a little bit about that and what the Harpers stand for?
OL: Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of The Moon and Stars. Ever since it appeared in a Volo’s Guide, it has only become busier. It’s always been a center for clandestine meetings and for all manner of strange folk to rest and mingle. In the end, though, it always seemed like good things were being done, and done by those having exciting adventures. Without going into details, I wanted to be a part of that. As for whom the Harpers are and what we are about… I suppose you would say that we simply wish to gather and preserve knowledge in all its forms, and free people from tyrants in-so-doing.
DL: The Harpers have been accused of being meddlers. What do you say to that?
OL: We believe strongly in gathering information, preserving knowledge, and protecting art. For those that love a good story–myself included–it’s perfect. But to answer your question, yes; we watch those with power and should they succumb to corruption, act. We prefer to do so subtly, however. I wouldn’t say we are meddlers so much as we try to watch out for those who are unable to watch out for themselves. It is a great wrong to wield too much power, just as it is a great wrong to force others to wield too little.
DL: As the representative of your faction in Phlan and the northern Moonsea, what do you hope to do in the region?
OL: That’s a big question and it’s not something I’m certain it would be safe for you to know.
DL: If not the whole story, how about a nugget of your plans then?
OL: The Moonsea region provides two particular opportunities for the Harpers, both due in part to the region’s wild and dangerous past. There are ruins, lost items of power and historical significance, and some unusual sources of magical power. As the faction contact in this region it is my hope that my agents explore, catalogue and gather as many of these secrets as is possible. We need to rediscover and understand these many mysteries so that we can decide how to best use them to aid the people; not to be used against them. Second, the area is rife with unstable governments and oppression. The common folk need heroes, and my agents are just that. We stand up for those that need us, and stand against those that would force their will upon others. Unlike some of the other factions, we are less likely to use direct force, and more likely to listen and watch so that we might apply just the right amount pressure to direct events.
DL: You mention the other factions. Why have the Harpers agreed to ally with the other factions, in particular, the Zhentarim who have traditionally been seen as your enemies in the past?
OL: We have natural connections to many of the other factions. For example, though their methods may differ from our own, the Order of the Gauntlet is concerned about protecting the weak and the Emerald Enclave seeks balance in the world. We have many connections with the Lords’ Alliance in the North and have worked together in the past. However, you can imagine how difficult it is for me, coming from Cormyr, to work with the Zhentarim. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we are allies, but the current threats in this region have forced us together. It’s an uneasy truce but one that benefits us both, so far. We are learning a great deal about our friends that may have cost us many lives in the past. Rest assured that if they attempt to regain their former domination of the region, that relationship will end.
DL: Well, thank you again for agreeing to speak with me.
OL: My pleasure. Oh, and please do take some of this trout for your cat–the white one that frequently sits on the reading chair in your bedroom–there’s simply too much for me to finish.
DL: Umm… quite. Yes.