Anybys Velifane

0

The next day, the siblings arrive at the Isle of Scribes after a two hours walk south. The area is swarming with Shi’quos guards, and Lilith checks the parchment. It is safely tucked away, next to the 500 platinum pieces she has the freedom to offer to Anybys Velifane. Matron Mother Thandysha still seemed troubled by the prophecy this morning.

Multiple wizard towers shimmer with a metal sheen. The tower of the archmage is not the highest among them, but it is the broadest – very elegant in obsidian stone and well over hundred feet tall. When they approach the entrance, the captain of the guard halts them. When asked for admittance, Rhuadin is detaining their access at first, but prodded by the cleric’s authoritarian air, he soon returns with the message

The Archmage will see you now. Leave your weapons with me, they’ll be safe.

A flamboyant drow leads them up a winding staircase towards the second floor. They are welcomed by a very handsome though haughty lady, dressed in a silk robe. She seems to be Thandysha’s age. Lilith introduces herself and explains the reason for their visit, after which she hands over the scroll. Archmage Velifane is intrigued and is about to enter her study, when she looks at Jharrath.

I could use an assistant.

Without hesitation, the Xaniqos wizard replies

My name is Jharrath and I’m an aspiring wizard with many potentials. I’m honored to be of service!

Together they disappear, while the others sit down for refreshments.

Anybys

art by Carrie Best @ DeviantArt

The archmage’s study is an alchemist dream. Jharrath looks around in wonder and awe, while Velifane carefully unfolds the scroll. She gently touches it and then examines her fingertip with special spectacles.

Hmm darklight ore, highly unusual these days, how remarkable. And dangerous!

The archmage again bows over the parchment and chants a deviation spell. On her instructions, Jharrath carries several items – including a mirror – to a big table. The parchment is carefully spread out in the middle. Anybys focuses and casts a spell, unknown to the Xaniqos drow. Jharrath suddenly hears a male voice

You seeketh, and it wants to be found
It lies in a tomb deep underground
Ignorant guards of legs eight
Shield the world from darker fate

though the mirror image stays blank. Frustrated she mumbles I think we need to alert the Council.

An hour has passed, when they reappear in the reception room. In a distracted voice, the archmage recites:

Six hundred years ago, a war raged between drow. The war was triggered by Dark Fate, a rod infused with the intense hatred of a drider. Dark Fate found its way into the hands of drow cleric Alantria. It fed her hatred for drow, which ultimately resulted in a huge war. Alantria was defeated, but all was razed to the ground. Her body and the weapon have never been found. The rod has turned into a sentient being, with a mind of its own. If it falls in the hands of the wrong people, it could mean our doom! The discovery of this scroll is quite important, a matter of great urgency. Tell your Matron Mother that I’ll gather the Council within a tenday!

Jharrath offers his help for future necessities, which archmage Velifane accepts.

For a man, you were actually quite useful.

Lost in thought, she dismisses the siblings and adds a few punctuation corrections to the scroll. Now it reads:

150207prophecyplus

In pursuit

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Alvra escorts his sisters to the Matron Mother. Two minotaur stand guard at the doors, but Lilith strides in. Lady Thandysha, gazing out over Erelhei-Cinlu, sneers,

Really. Does it take three of you to report to me?

Thandysha

Without as much as a glance, the fighter turns on his heels and heads towards his room. Lilith informs her mother about the events on the slave market.

I wonder how much House Vae is involved in this. And I don’t like that the shar’ans influence is growing. Blessed Seahaven is turning into a fortress. They might attack without fearing the consequences.

Phaedra offers that outsiders, originating from Looblishar, are parading without wearing the obligated green cloaks.

Their leader is a Whip, a kua toa priestess from Looblishar, I recognized her.

I want that Whip, and I want her tonight! And without House Vae knowing about it. They will have conducted their business rather quickly because of your actions tonight. Go and follow them. Find out what they are up to, I need more information. But do not jeopardize the House, make sure you are not seen.

When Lilith makes a smart-ass remark about the whip, the Matron Mother takes hold of her daughter. Her hand radiates power, making Lilith’s skin blister.

If you ask such a stupid question again, it will be your last!

Gritting her teeth, the cleric nods and heads towards the door.

On second thought, you just need to extract the information from the kua toan priestess, no need to bring her here. The risks are too high. Do what is necessary, but make sure you don’t damage our House, so be inconspicuous. Get the information and return.

The Matron Mother seems somewhat calmed, and two sisters pick up the others, telling them about the follow-up quest.

At the big gate, traffic seems slow. The guards – mainly clerics of House Tormtor – let them pass and the drow continue along the main path, westward towards Blessed Seahaven, cloaks and house insignia hidden. Phaedra scouts ahead, while the wizard makes sure they are not being followed. She catches up with a party, which consists of two slavers and their malnourished wares.

Has a group passed you this last hour? Phaedra asks.

Who wants to know?

My identity is my own, I am just asking you a question.

The scout’s temper rises at the males’ slow response. With help of one of Jharrath’s spells, Phaedra is able to talk to Lilith without being overheard, and with the cleric’s permission she uses more intimidation to get the answers she seeks.

I’m not alone! Answer my question, or…

With a meaningful glance, Phaedra loads her crossbow. The slavers growl:

We don’t mean you any harm, walk away while you still can.

She retorts: You don’t know who you’re dealing with.

The male drow point their crossbows at the scout, but their target suddenly vanishes, only to appear behind them with her weapon aimed at them.

You think a low-born drow could do this?

This time, her intimidation works.

What do you want from us?

I just want an answer. Has a Kua-Toa group passed this way?

Yes, about six.

That’s all I needed to know.

She puts her crossbow away and moves forward, leaving the slavers in a slight confusion.

The Calling

1

Welcome to this Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 adventure in the strange and fascinating world of the Drow Elves…

THE UNDERDARK

It all starts when four siblings of the house of Xaniqos receive an urgent message to return home immediately. They leave their various academies – scout Phaedra, wizard Jharrath, fighter Alvra and cleric Lilith – and hurry towards their new home in Erelhei-Cinlu.

Like all drow cities, Erelhei-Cinlu is situated underground and is built on an island. Only one bridge leads from the city into the Underdark. There is a wall all around it and in the west another bridge leads to the Noble Estates. This area is backed up by a huge cliff.

In the early morning the four are supposed to report to the Matron Mother in the hall near the altar of Lolth. Jharrath hurries down the stairs, a drow of average height with a smooth stoic face and straight shoulder long hair. Dressed in a gray robe with long sleeves, boots and some simple jewelry, he walks towards the central room. His eldest brother Alvra follows on his heels, a long and muscled lean drow, sturdy and – like his brother – stoic, even a bit surly, dressed in a chain shirt and a piwafwi. His eyes are bright red.

Downstairs the rest of the family is already gathered. A petite female with silver hair and amber eyes is among them: their sister Phaedra, third daughter of the House of Xaniqos. In her short dress, high boots and gloves she looks quite beautiful. She is wearing a spider on a choker around her neck. Next to her is their other sister and second daughter, Lilith. Slim yet wiry, with a pure black skin and lavender almond-shaped eyes, she is dressed in tight-fitting black long skirts with high splits and a leather bustier with red silk accents and a family brooch. She wears a leather band around her neck and and holds her long white hair back with hairpins, so it tumbles down her back in a nonchalant mass.

Their mother Thandysha is waiting impatiently, flanked by her eldest daughter Quarra, a very tall and heavily muscled imposing drow female. Very arrogant too. Next to her are Taldinyon – weapon master – and the house wizard K’yorl.

Above a basin of water, there is a beautiful statue of Spider Queen Lolth. When Lilith looks at it, she sees the image waver between the ageless beauty of Lolth and the horror of a drider. The cleric doesn’t have much time to wonder over this phenomenon, since the Matron Mother Thandysha speaks up.

House Xaniqos is moving up after the ‘acquisition’ of house Everhate with all remaining assets. I need every hand – even worthless ones like yours – to strengthen our new position as eighth House of Erelhei-Cinlu and take Xaniqos to a higher level.

We are lacking slaves and have problems at the rothé island. Furthermore we lost the Weapon Maker during the takeover. Go into the city and pick up the weapons we already paid for!

The two female and two male drow bow their heads and rush out the hall to do her bidding immediately. It is not healthy to make a Matron Mother wait.

Drow Cleric

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For the first time ever I’ll play an evil character in our next campaign! Normally I prefer playing a ranger, druid or (like I’m playing at the moment) a paladin – defending the weak, trying to do good, healing and loving nature.

But after this one, no more goodie good doing. Nope, I’ll be Lilith, a drow cleric in the Underdark. We already rolled the stats:

Charisma: 17
Strength: 15
Constitution: 15
Dexterity: 13
Wisdom: 16
Intelligence: 16

A drow gets +2 on intelligence, +2 charisma, +2 dexterity and -2 on constitution.

To give you an impression of an evil drow cleric,  meet Viconia DeVir. She’s a character in the role playing game Baldur’s Gate.