Lords of Waterdeep
The Lords of Waterdeep are the ruling council of Waterdeep, forming the basis of its secretive oligarchy government. Established by the Old Mage of Waterdeep, Ahghairon in 1032 DR as an alternative to the rule of warlords (who tend to default to imperialistic and militaristic definitions of prosperity), the rule of the Lords is not just council-based, but also mostly anonymous. The council is made up of a number of Lords, all but one of whom are Masked Lords, and represented by a single Open Lord.
The Open Lord
The Open Lord's role is simple: she is the public face of the Lords of Waterdeep. She is not their leader - hers is only voice among many - but it is the nature of the Open Lordship that she fulfills the function of being the publicly accountable and culpable person. In theory, her role is to be that person who can be held publicly accountable for the actions of the Lords, and whose existence prevents the rule of a wholly anonymous, faceless body of potential tyrants. The Open Lords holds a set of distinct legal powers granted her by her position.
- The First Ambassador of Waterdeep: The Open Lord acts as the foremost diplomat for the city of Waterdeep, allowing congress with other nations and city-states who would never be comfortable dealing with a collection of faceless figures in diplomacy. As such, the Palace in the Castle Ward - a beautiful, accessible edifice - is given over to her purposes, where Waterdeep Castle upon the slopes of Mount Waterdeep remains the domain of the Masked Lords. Though she has extensive and comfortable suites within the Castle, it can't truly be called her "home," housing as it does extensive suites for visiting dignitaries, offices of the city bureaucracy and the like.
- Commander of the Watch: The Open Lord also acts as the foremost authority for the city's Watch, although in practical terms, the actual running of the Watch is given over to the Captain of the Watch, who reports to the Open Lord directly.
- Warden of the Guard: The Open Lord also acts as the Warden of the Guard, the supreme commander of Waterdeep's military forces, although as with the Watch, there is a more direct general who answers to Piergeiron.
- Overmaster of the Guilds: The Open Lord also holds the power of authority over the guilds of Waterdeep, with the power to override guild law. In a political world where much is done with subtle manipulations, semantic and creative interpretations of law and the like, the Open Lord is empowered to cut right through and issue absolute decrees.
|Lady Laeral Silverhand-Arunsun|
Open Lord of Waterdeep
When Open Lord Dagult Neverember's perdify was revealed to all of Waterdeep, the Masked Lords acted quickly, asking Laeral – who was instrumental in revealing the treachery – to step into his place. Taking counsel from close friends, the woman who was once the beloved of the first Blackstaff, Khelben Arunsun, agreed to take up residence in Waterdeep once more and to help defend it as she'd done in bygone days. Now, however, she bears the title Open Lord. Though there were those in the city who were sure having such a powerful mage in a position of power meant it was only a matter of time before she began to apply her magic to challenges that came her way, she has revealed that her penchant for diplomacy is at least equal that of her mastery of the Art. A small majority like to smile when this topic comes up and remind others that she is the sister of Queen Alustriel of the Silver Marches, who managed to forge a kingdom out of the wildnesses of the North in her day. Laeral is reserved and tends to rely a great deal on capable and clever advisors, delegating both power and responsibility to a greater degree than any Open Lord before her.
Champion of the Open Lord
The nephew of the Open Lord by her sister Alustriel, Ghaelryss is the youngest of the so-called "Brothers Aerasume," a small band of half-elf brothers known for their fairness and height. Ghaelryss is also one of the Silver Knights of Silverymoon, although he has taken leave of that order to serve Lady Laeral as her champion and bodyguard.
The Masked Lords
At least a dozen in number, it is almost unheard of for more than seven of them to appear in a Lords' Court. The Masked Lords are not simply masked - their entire heads are hidden beneath the Lords' Helms, and their forms shrouded in the voluminous Lords' Vestments, deep purple sashed robes with heavy cloth gauntlets. It is known that the helms and robes are part of a potent illusion enchantment that hides the Lords from discovery: their voices are simultaneously projected loudly and given a somewhat-hollow baritone by the helms, and the robes practically shimmer with enchantments that serve to conceal any traits that might give away the identity of their wearer: build, movement patterns, sex and even height! Additionally, it is known that these helms (and possibly other regalia) not only protect the Lords' minds from being read or otherwise probed, but reveal to all the Lords in the vicinity any attempt to do so.
Though Laeral has a public appearance as being the leader among the Lords, she is in truth their voice. If anything, her word in the decisions of the Lords is given less credence than others, by the traditions of the Lords for one simple reason: as a public figure, she is a target of favor-currying, lobbying and other such attempts. The other Lords, in comparison, are anonymous and in a place to see and understand things that Laeral's privilege makes her blind to. Additionally, after Dagult Neverember's manipulation and subversion of the Masked Lords, they are reputedly hesitant to invest anything like too much trust in another Open Lord.
It is the Lords who make new laws, and change or abolish old ones. The Lords are also the heads of the Magistrates of Waterdeep, the body of black-robed legalists and judges who pass judgment on legal troubles. Magistrates are chosen from among the many clerks and other bureaucrats who help run the city, and are always chosen for their understanding of the law and demonstrated wisdom.
Known Masked Lords