The mysterious agents of Nyrissa’s enemies from the First World chose a low, nameless mound in the foothills of the Branthlend Mountains as Briar’s hidden vault, hiding the sword in a subterranean pool under what would come to be known as Whiterose Hill and entrusting its protection to a fey spirit of water named Evindra. For unknown years she did just that, but eventually, civilization came to call in the form of a group of priests of Cayden Cailean. Taken by the beauty of the white roses that grew upon the hill, they chose the hill as the site to build a remote abbey and winery. Over the decades that followed, the need for companionship eventually drove Evindra to contact the priests, and they welcomed her presence, seeing her as a benevolent spirit once she began to teach them the secret of how to enhance the quality of their wine by using purer forms of water and more efficient methods of filtration.

It all came to an end when the church sent an awkward and embarrassing member to the abbey—a lecherous and somewhat deformed halfling sorcerer whose skill at gardening and cultivating vineyards only just kept him in the good graces of the church. They did not excommunicate him for his borderline acts of heresy, but rather entrusted him to the priests of Whiterose, hoping that the remote location would soften his eccentricities. Yet when the gardener first encountered Evindra, he became obsessed with her, and one night he stole her shawl and in so doing gained a considerable bargaining chip, for Evindra was a nereid, and her shawl contained a portion of her soul. The gardener forced Evindra into a watery form and imprisoned her in a beautiful water clock so he could keep her to himself.

In imprisoning Evindra, the gardener discovered the treasure she had been guarding—an exquisite bastard sword. And with Evindra imprisoned and no longer able to keep the sword’s emotions in check, the potent weapon began to stir. It began to drive the gardener even more insane with Aklo whispers from the First World, amplifying his jealousy and paranoia, driving him to believe that the other priests at the abbey coveted his bottled bride. Driven beyond reason, he used Briar to slay everyone else in the Abbey, then retreated into hiding in the subterranean pool below. The abbey’s remote location and the half-hearted investigation by the church (who ruled that the priests had been slain by brigands) ensured the gardener’s isolation for many years.

It wasn’t until relatively recently that Irovetti’s agents discovered Whiterose was the site of Briar’s hidden vault. They found the subterranean chamber and the mad gardener therein. A battle ensued, but they prevailed— after slaying the gardener, they returned to Pitax with Briar, leaving Evindra trapped in her water clock simply because they didn’t find where the gardener had stashed the elegant device away.

Yet the ill times at Whiterose did not end. The gardener’s spirit, now deprived of Briar and crazier than ever, rose as a ghost and now haunts the place, finally bringing a bit of truth to the old stories that the place is haunted.


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