|It started with a girl. But not just any girl.
This one had talons that would rip a man to shreds in seconds, and her scaly hide was harder than the strongest armour.
When the elves came, they named the place where she lived Eska en Carad'loki. Eska - home. Carad - red. And Loki - snake, or dragon.
Sensing their power, she retreated to her lair and did not try to interfere when they built a town on the outskirts of the Sylvan Forest, right next to where she dwelt.
What happened to her is not clear. Perhaps she left. Or perhaps, just maybe, she still sleeps somewhere beneath the forest floor, as she was only young.
The elven town prospered, as part of the great kingdom of Cormanthyr. For a time.
It was in 694 DR, the Year of the Ominous Oracle, that the terrors of the Weeping War were foretold. And once battle was joined, the settlement of Eska en Carad'loki found itself under attack.
The final battle is barely noted in the tomes of the scholars. For Eska en Carad'loki fell on the same night as Myth Drannor, in 714 DR, and its passing is barely worth a mention in comparison.
What is known is that new life soon blossomed in the town. Lord Graysword, a human, and his champion Masada Thiriun, defeated what evil remained and created a safe home for their followers.
Again, the town thrived, and soon became known as a small city. What little elven architecture had survived the battles of the past was soon replaced by human dwellings and Lord Graysword dubbed the city Brighthaven, a beacon to humankind.
The name was accurate - for Brighthaven escaped violence, plague and famine in the centuries to come.
The people prayed to their god, Waukeen, the Shining Lady, and remembered the bravery of their hero, Thiriun. And Lord Graysword's heirs ruled wisely and justly over them.
Until something happened. The catastrophe of 1372 shattered the faith of the people of Brighthaven. As the Zhentarim army occupied their land and murdered those who resisted, they asked - had Waukeen abandoned them?
The occupation lasted almost five years. In that time the Zhentarim plundered the Silver Forest of its secrets, studying and using elven artifacts of great power which had been hidden there.
Eventually, they were driven out and the Elven Academy of High Magic in the Silver Forest was destroyed. But everything has its price.
A wave of power burst out from the academy, tearing through the forests, uprooting trees, breaking rock, turning soil to dust. It expanded through southern Battledale - and stopped, rushing back to its source, in a great implosion.
The artifacts which appeared then in the Silver Forest where like nothing any had seen before. And a part of Cormanthor, the majestic forest which dominates the whole region, was shattered, twisted and changed forever.
It was the prospect of harnessing magical power for their own ends which brought the Zhentarim to the region. And though the Zhents have gone, others are now here, drawn with the same purpose in mind.
The people of Brighthaven begged the adventurers who had liberated their city to stay and protect them. Many seasons have passed since the event which changed the forest, but they are still trying to rebuild their shattered lives.