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The Sea Ward stands proud on the high ground above Mount Waterdeep’s sunset shadow. The rich and the powerful (or those who wish you to think such of them, and can afford the rent) reside or run their businesses here. When the warlords and pirates of early Waters Deep gained enough gold, they built fortresses on what used to be fields of grass tousled by sea wind. You can still see the remains of some of those old castles incorporated into the palatial homes of the noble families that dwell in the Sea Ward. For the best all-around view of the glittering homes enshrouded by garden walls, go to where Diamond Street and Delzorin Street cross, nigh to Mystra’s House of Wonder, and simply spin in a circle. Blue and gold are the Sea Ward’s colors in competitions, and the ward’s mascot is the sea lion — a fanciful combination of fish and feline. There’s a persistent but patently false legend that the famous Lion Gate at the Field of Triumph is the gaping maw of a sea lion. The architectural designs for the gates show this to be false, however, and they can be viewed in the Map House — the guildhall of the Surveyors’, Map-, and Chart-makers’ Guild in the Castle Ward.

Must-see locations in the Sea Ward begin, of course, with the Field of Triumph, but just across the street is the no less remarkable House of Heroes — the largest temple in the city. Dedicated to Tempus, its many grand halls celebrate the city’s champions of both battle and sport. The winners of ward competitions are paraded here after their victories, often carried on shoulders or passed from hand to hand over the heads of a crowd. It is a sight you shouldn’t miss.

You should also visit the House of Wonder. This is surely the most splendid temple dedicated to the gods of magic — with Mystra foremost among them, of course — in all the world. Although your eye will be drawn to its ornate towers, brilliant mosaics, and magical displays, look also for the humble violets growing amid the ostentation. These delicate flowers were Ahghairon’s favorite, and they are planted about the temple in memory of him.

Two other temples in the ward are as impressive, but in different ways. The beauteous House of the Moon has the tallest tower of any temple in the city, rising some seventy-five feet above the street. At its top, priests of Selûne bask in the light of the moon in all seasons. The House of Inspired Hands, dedicated to Gond, presents an altogether less peaceful experience. Here, all the great innovative minds of the city invent and experiment, attempting to create everything from flying machines to stronger door hinges. But don’t expect a museum of marvels such as can be found in Baldur’s Gate. At this site, “worship is work,” as anyone at the temple is liable to tell you.

If you’re looking for some good fortune, you should surely visit the Tower of Luck, a temple complex dedicated to Tymora. The “tower” in question is actually a many-pillared atrium ingeniously roofed over with glass. Beneath the roof, a bronze sculpture of a diminutive Tymora, depicted as a laughing young girl, appears to be leaping from the very top of an astounding fountain. To pay your respects and make a wish, you come around to the fountain on a walkway and toss your coin to Tymora. Managing to land it in her outstretched hand is a sure sign of her favor.

If you need to refresh yourself during your travels, or perhaps to primp before an important meeting or a night out, visit Sune’s faithful at the Temple of Beauty. Its marbled public baths and mirrored salons are open from before dawn to after dusk. There’s no fee for these services, or for the advice and aid of the temple’s many pleasant attendants, but donations are encouraged.

Two parks in the Sea Ward might also be worth your time. The Shrines to Nature, just a block away from the Tower of Luck, are resplendent gardens dedicated to nature gods like Mielikki and Silvanus. The park is closed to all except residents of the Sea Ward. Yet from beyond the iron fence that surrounds it, you can catch glimpses of the superb shrines, statues, and fountains within. The Heroes’ Garden is the only green space in the city that is open to the public besides the City of the Dead, but it is tucked away so far to the north in the Sea Ward that it gets few visitors — which is a pity, since the fine statuary in this lush garden portrays many of the figures important to the city’s history.

I hesitate to mention a last location in the Sea Ward, and I will not reveal where to find it, for reasons that will soon become apparent. There is a house in the Sea Ward without windows or doors. You can’t see it from the street, and those who live near it will not speak of it to others. You’ll know you are near it when you see blue tiles on the streets and walls leading into an alley that passes under the surrounding buildings. At night, these tiles glimmer dimly with the blue light of foxfire. More than one route leads into the Blue Alley, as this place is known, but there are precious few ways out. Most who enter don’t come back. If you see blue tiles, turn around and walk away before it is too late.

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Page last modified on August 13, 2019, at 04:22 PM