In the evening, just before the Matron Mother will leave for the Council of the Eight Ruling Houses, our four brave drow are summoned to their mother’s private quarters. Dressed in a robe of spider silk, Thandysha does not even bother to ask after Vorn’s fate. Since Taldinyon is also present, the youngsters presume she knows about Vorn’s defeat. Two impressive minotaur impassively guard the door. Security is very high in House Xaniqos tonight, and Mother Thandysha reminds her children of their house insignia’s.
The Matron Mother then accepts the letters of her children with their choice for a possible alliance with one of the Ruling Houses. After reading the notes, she tells them they have named two alternatives, which she will keep in mind when making her final decision. Thandysha thanks them for their opinion and sends Phaedra, Lilith and the brothers to their chambers to get some rest. They have to be ready to be called upon though.
Later that night, the Matron Mother, her favored Consort and most of the house guard leave for the First House, where the Council will be held. Quarra, the eldest sister, turns to her siblings:
Pay attention. We are undermanned, so I expect to see you in full armor as soon as possible. And bring your weapons with you. We need to stay at high alert!
Jharrath looks rather smug wearing his new dark snakeskin outfit.
The hours pass and the attentive drow enjoy a good evening meal, separate from the main guard. Rumors already buzz through the mansion when Quarra sends for them: Cleric Amalika has arrived with news from the Council. House Xaniqos has been accepted as Eighth House! Only for their ears though, she tells them that Mother Thandysha has talked to Matron Mother Sereska of the House of Vae, who is quite interested in a coalition but can not see the benefits… yet. The other option was House Godeep, and Matron Mother Siadef is ready to return Thandysha’s favor, though on one condition. House Xaniqos has to prove itself worthy by obtaining a special artifact: the Mask of the Matriarch. This mask used to belong to one of the lower old noble houses and has been lost from sight. The Mask of the Matriarch has the powerful ability to make others cower in fear.
Cleric Amalika asks the four Xaniqos siblings if they are up to the task of retrieving this mask in the Ghetto of the Dead (situated next to the Ghetto of Outcasts). As one they raise their chins and Lilith replies with a definite yes. When she asks for specifics, Amalika tells her the mask is made of obsidian and bears resemblance to the face of a female drow. The Mask of the Matriarch is thought to be buried underneath the House of Nuchar. Strange necromancy experiments have taken place in that house, which is now totally obliterated.
The Ghetto of the Dead, also called the Necropolis, is the home of necromancers, vampires, ghouls and undead. Long ago, the ghetto was a traditional place of the dead, known for its mausoleums, cemeteries and tombs. There are eight big obelisks at the Necropolis Square, one for each of the Ruling Houses. Most drow avoid the district, venturing into the ghetto only when they must dispose of mortal remains. Once the mourners depart, the hungry undead descend to feast upon the corpses.
With Alvra in the lead, they set out into the night…