The Beginning of the End
Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun
Lord Mage of Waterdeep
A Chosen of Mystra and a grim, inflexible proponent of law and order, Khelben Arunsun (called “the Blackstaff” for his magic staff and several spells that create stafflike effects) is the Lord Mage of Waterdeep and the husband of Laeral Silverhand of the Seven Sisters. Few know of Khelben’s youth in lost Myth Drannor, or are aware of his true age—but many have learned to fear him.
Khelben dresses in nondescript black robes and never appears in public without his black staff. He has a dignified, imposing manner. He prefers to intimidate or frighten people rather than revealing his dry sense of humor or his keen, playful intelligence and quick wits. More than one shrewd observer of humankind say they see an old, underlying guilt in the Blackstaff, one that eats away at him—but no one knows (or will say) what this may be.
In Khelben’s pursuit of law and order, he has founded or supported organizations (such as the Lords’ Alliance) and then abandoned them (the Harpers) when they no longer suited his purposes. He recently resigned from the Lords of Waterdeep and later broke with the Harpers over a disagreement about his methods. He formed his own group of likeminded ex-Harpers, known as the Moonstars.
Khelben acts as the gravely wise, stern tutor who manipulates agents and adventurers he meets by reluctantly dispensing information on a firm “only what you need to know” basis, never volunteering even paltry tidbits. In his words, “A secret isn’t a secret if you tell anyone.”
His beloved Laeral is probably the only person who is privy to Khelben’s plans. She is a match for him in both intellect and personal power, and their deep bond of true love has created one of the most formidable magical alliances in contemporary Faerûn.