X'henvir - The City of Dreams

and Dread

We delved deeper into the forest, towards the elf village? or did they consider it a town? Regardless, we knew we had them on the run, surprise and ruthless ferocity was winning the night. This battle was much harder that anything we had faced previously, these were not militia we were fighting, but well trained combatants. One with a Halberd proved exceptionally difficult and required the aid of our guide for me to dispatch her. Somewhat troubling and perhaps embarrassing, it was almost as if Lolth was disinterested or preoccupied. My calls to her were answered, but not with the interest… more with lethargy and emotionless… Do not assume that I think myself grand enough for more profound illumination from her, but this was different. Perhaps that is why I fared below average?

The battle was eventually won, there was no doubt of that from our great house, the methods and decisiveness of the fact might be called into question, but none can deny that we won the night and would be returning with the spoils of war. It was, I suppose, slightly disappointing that I would not be returning with a living breathing elf to play with, but even though I was able to halt the escape of the last fleeing royal member with a spell, my anger was still spilling over and decapitation felt more rewarding at the time than dragging the elf through the tunnels back home… perhaps for the best, we would have to listen to the whining for weeks.

We encountered more Illithid on our way back home. At least this time it wasn’t the same druid-like Illithid as before. On the other hand, it was several Illithid at once. Of course, I immediately thought: Why can’t anything ever be easy? But it seems they were not interested in a battle but conversation… of course, conversation with an Illithid could very well be a battle for your mind. These creatures should be wipe from the face of creation, for the simple fact of ensuring the safety of our minds and our very selves.

The mind flayers were concerned about the druid-illithid, and they did not care to handle the matter themselves. Instead they wanted us to handle it for them, and would reward us for capturing the illithid and bringing it to them so that they could return him to the fold so to speak. There are so many things wrong with this that I cannot begin to describe, but since it is a long journey back home, I might as well go through them for the sake of something to do… perhaps someone will read this and understand the folly we took upon ourselves.

1) Capturing an Illithid… because we all come equipped with mind shielding? restraining a creature one thing, but how do you restrain a creatures mind? I suppose we could bash it into unconsciousness constantly… but that might annoy the non-crazy illithids… and who really wants to deal with annoyed Illithids?

2) Returning a crazy illithid to sane illithids… what would happen if the crazy spread? then we would not just have one super powerful illithid but several? tens? many? crazy illithids. Yes, nothing says safety of the drow civilization than crazy silvanus-worshipping drow-hating illithids. That was sarcasm by the way.

3) How do you even capture an illithid? Do we set a trap for it? And just who is going to volunteer to be the bait? A living breathing intelligent life-form would be needed… and since no one is going to want to volunteer to be illithid bait, it would have to be a bound and gagged living breathing intelligent life form. But how do you gag a mind? I mean wouldn’t the illithid just be able to read bait’s mind and discern the trap?

This whole thing is ridiculous. And to top it all off, I’m starting to dream some really strange dreams, nothing I can remember after waking, but there is a feeling of… something. It is as if our triumph is slowly being taken from us. I almost dread returning home now.

We’ve returned. Our victorious homecoming preceded us and there was a reception waiting. Why do I feel dread instead of happiness? Something is going to happen… something is happening… Why? Why?

I do not recall the reception much; Revelry. Food. Drink. I partook slightly in the latter two, but not the first. There was something about a prominent crafter of magic that wanted our presence. We kept the illithids to ourselves. The food tasted like dust, and the wine like vinegar. Maybe the ring of sustenance had some side effects.

There was more dreams, this time I remembered. This time I awoke with a start. This time… the dreams were frightening, discerning, compelling. I need to find out more, my sheltered life would not yield the answers I wanted… needed. I would have to start making enquiries… and maybe even some inquiries. Perhaps the real test of my education and upbringing is now.

Deianaera's Journal (3)
A Royal Visit?

We have finally reached the surface. The trepidation I felt intensified as we approached the hidden access point. What would I see? feel? they call it the open sky, but others have compared it to an endless abyss. I could already begin to notice the change in aromas, the surface world smelled much different than our own, much less fungi-smell and the guano smells were becoming a fading memory. When I first stepped out, a tinge of vertigo struck me as I gaped in awe of the sky. Someone had painted a canvas on a domed roof so high… the Celestials glimmered and winked at me. The numerous new smells threatened to overwhelm me, but I managed to keep my composure. I gripped the snake-headed whip and my rapier tighter, letting the anger seethe slowly into me; it would be only right for me to repay our dear cousins for their transgressions, especially the one denying us the surface world and its beauty. Oh yes, they would pay dearly.

Gyi’drak only let us gawk for so long, ushering us along to our planned attack zone. We would make them pay for this. Anyone who would say that revenge is a dish best served cold does not know the Drow well. It seems our stealth and surprise were not, someone-or something, perhaps our friendly Illithid? had warned the elves for we were greeted by a massive… plant? My horticultural and herbalism studies have never mentioned anything like a twenty foot wide carnivorous plant. Very well, just another obstacle in my path to revenge.

We managed to dispatch the hideous flora, albeit with someone deciding to examine the inside of the monstrous thing while it was still alive. I shall not name names, as I feel someone less couth will
indubitably do so for me. We proceeded and met elvish resistance finally. A motley lot of what appeared to be barely trained militia with a couple of mildly dangerous sergeants. The battle was barely worth mentioning… except the part where I cleaved one in twain. I never knew one could keep a look of incredulity for that long after being slain.

Gyi’drak had stopped fighting during the battle to communicate with someone or someones, after we had dispatched the last of the pathetic elvish resistance, we found out what he was discussing. Apparently one of the royal houses was paying this disgusting community a visit. And that they were still here.

I think I could use a royal pet. Mother would be well pleased that one of her children could bring back a royal plaything…

Thoughts and Formulations Part 3
Dying for my Siblings...Nearly

We travel for a few more days without any signs of the Mind flayer. I wish he would show his face again so I might ram my scimitar into his appendages and stuff them down his throat. He will die a torturous death if my sisters do not rob me of the joy of doing it myself.

Crayz has improved in his scouting abilities. He may prove to be somewhat useful afterall…Sephir on the other hand, as well as myself, do not appear to be of much aid in finding our way. Still, Gyi is patient until time became more pressing. He insisted on leading the rest of the way to the cursed surface.

On the way he tells us that the Mind Flayer has attacked the other Houses as well. Some have even had casualties. It means less competition in the end, yet I wish we had to compete with them all. The other matrons could say our success was due to the interference of this meddlesome illithid. Still, it is somewhat less disturbing to know we are not the only target. Gyi tells us that as far as he knows there has been no druid among the Copper elves we are to attack. Just because he has not heard of one does not mean it is the case.

After two long weeks, we emerged from the caverns into the moonlight. Our senses are somewhat overwhelmed with the new scents in the air. My senses are heightened as we make our way to the staging area. Something is amiss….I can feel it in my bones. Our hopes that the mind flayer was not in league with the surface elves is quickly squashed. And then it happens….

A giant tendril erupts from the ground with a massive maw just as cries from the other camps can be heard. It is an attack! The Mind Flayer! He must have warned the elves afterall! The foul creature dares touch my mind taunting us with lies….that we will all die. Not this day and most certainly not by some druidic concoction!

Gyi urges us to kill what Crayz tells us is a moonflower as the other camps are being attacked too. Without wasting time I call forth a scorching ray that tears into the flower and makes it scream in agony. Twice I cause it great damage while my siblings’ attempts fall short. The fools have mocked me for years….now they see my worth…or should!

Strike after strike, my fire burns through the cursed plant, enraging it until it no longer can ignore me. With a quick action, it wraps a tendril around me and swallows it whole. Stupid move on my part! Stunned and useless, I struggle just to survive. This was not how I expected my life to end. Yes, I want to die in battle, but not in the gullet of some monster.

Searing heat scorches the pod surrounding me. I can feel it but the cloak about me helps protect me from the flames. From where it came, I can only guess…Pal’entyr no doubt. Once more the flame burns at the pod and fresh air breaks through as I see Gyi’s face as his blades slice through the fleshy membrane. Acid splashes on me, burning my skin, but I am alive. One more scar to join the others, a price to pay for my failures. With one last grand summoning, fueling it with the rage burning inside, I send another scorching ray of fire to the creature, burning it to a crisp. The death howl is not nearly as satisfying as it should be. Still, my siblings are safe, especially the Oracle.

My eyes turn to Gyi and I thank him, as well as Pal’entyr…something I never should have done. His words and sneer spur my hatred for him even more. Were he not the Oracle’s twin, he would not have such a right to stare down his nose at me. I am more master of the arcane arts than he.

Even Phaere’s approving smile plunges the dagger deeper. I put my life on the line for them….for all of my siblings…. One day they will respect me….one day they will finally show me the honor I deserve. One day they will depend on me to save their life…then they will see.

Phaere does at least tend to my injuries as well as her own. While we still recover from the battle we heard the sound of battle horns in the distance. Rest would not come for us.

With my blood still pumping from one battle, we rushed in to meet our attackers. Gyi charges in and kills one elf immediately as Pal’entyr once more cast a web onto our attackers. Foolish brother! He cares only for his own skin….yet it is not he alone who makes it difficult for me and our other siblings to attack. Crayz too summons entangling roots to stop our attackers from advancing. Do they not realize we must work as one? It is for this reason our House has not risen further. It is for this reason we will be held back.

Though our enemy tries to take us down, they cannot stand against House Daervhaal. None are left alive.

While we survey the battlefield Gyi tells us that Lloth has smiled upon us. The children of the wood elf leader is visiting. We cannot let this opportunity escape us.


Where’s my hat?

I’ll kill them all. In time.

Where’s my hat?

I hear her.. them…

Illithids...what a bunch of assholes.

I’m not entirely sure what this Illithid “Druid’s” problem is exactly, but I’m going to enjoy every drop of blood I draw from his body. He doesn’t seem to want to fight us on his own though. Regardless of this Illithid, we have a purpose on the surface. One that I’m going to thoroughly enjoy. I wonder if this Illithid will follow us to the surface…if he does, it could pose a serious problem. The last thing we need is for a lot of unwanted attention and then for the maggots of the surface to muster forces against us.

The Surface awaits...

It feels like a century since we left X’henvir… this ridiculous quest has brought us nothing but trouble.

The druidic Mind-flayer, itself a contradiction of existance, has continued to pursue us for some unknown reason. Still our great house has continued to fend off its attempts. On a brighter note, some of our “travelling companions” lost their lives; less competition.

For now we continue our worthless trek to the surface, awaiting the next useless task with no other goals than to keep us busy and off-guard.

The winds must change soon…

Thoughts and Formulations Part 2
Revenge Tastes of Blood

Two days….two long days have passed since we left home and started the trek to this Hunt. Hunt…it seems it is not us that are the hunters but the prey instead. But I will get to that later.

Our guide, the one two of my sisters lust over, has informed us that all houses will be attacking the tree-bound village of these Copper fiends after we have set fire to the base of the trees. It is a good strategy, yet one that is also predictable. When asked why we were not included in the plannings, my question was brushed aside as if it were common knowledge. Apparently it is not our strategic knowledge but our prowess that is being tested. We shall see how it goes when the time comes. Never underestimate the enemy, no matter how primal they may seem. The will to survive is strong in every living creature.

We stop at some duergar ruins along the way to make our camp for the night. It is here that the strangeness surrounding the hunt intensified. A strange priest wearing an unfamiliar emblem appeared and surprised Gyi. There is much we do not know of our guide…why he knows of heretics for one. He informs Gyi that the Children of Lloth are back. Such information seems to intrigue my second sister while disturbing Gyi. No matter how unsettled he is by this appearance of the priest, he seems to believe him, as crazy as his warning seems. Without answering more of our questions, he urges us to rest up.

Crayz decides to take first watch and awakens us when he hears signs of an ambush. It’s duergar! Wiping the sleep from my eyes I rush to the side of Phaere and hurl a flaming sphere toward one of the dark dwarves. Our would be ambushers’ leader calls out to his men in some strange language as my other siblings take up their places, flanking all sides of the ruins to meet our attackers. A druid among them entangles us with foul, trapping some of my brethern. No matter how I try to free myself, I am unable to do so. Still, no one will harm the Oracle if I can stop it. Though my arms and legs are tangled, I have full control over my sphere of burning hell.

Working together, we manage to take out all of our attackers except for the druid. He shifts into a bird and flies away like the coward he was. As we pulled each other from the entangling roots a call comes to us from across the chasm. Gyi must have communicated with another house to come to our aid. Of course their response is far too late. And then it happened…again.

clenches fist Once again the lithid Mindflayer shows his face. Our would be rescuers attempt to shoot the Mindflayer down as he hovers above us but with no success. The very ground beneath our feet begins to shake, much like the tremors we have been experiencing back home. He’s trying to bring down the cavern upon us!!! Large rocks fall and the ground beneath the other house collapses, sending them all to their death. Gyi manages to erect a shield around us, keeping us safe as the lithid howls in anger. Our guide tries to take the Mindflayer out but is unable to do so before he once more melds into the stone again. He warns us that he will return. I welcome it. I will do everything in my power to bring this Mindflayer down and skin the flesh off him while he breathes his last for all he has put us through. He will wish for death before it is over.

Deianaera's Journal (1&2)

A journal… not something I would have seen as a gift from the matron. Perhaps she is trying to hint at something? Very well, I would hate to disappoint mother. To any Drow that finds this, may you enjoy its contents before Lolth consumes you in a fiery painful death, to anyone else… who am I kidding, as if anyone else would be able to decipher the encrypted script.

We were called to a nobles meeting, not something unusual, but something unusual for the timing. We were told that our house would be participating in a grand hunt with the other lower ranked houses. The Matron Mother gifted us with equipment suitable to our station and for the endeavor we were to face ahead. The opportunity to strike at the other houses would be available, assuming that we could arrange it to appear as accidents…

The day started off as one would expect, last minute preparations along with inane banter and appraisals of the group. We looked… adequate for the task. Assuming that our dear eldest sister did not suddenly receive some epiphany that causes us to jump into an abyssal chasm, we might just all survive this.

I am not sure which one of us is cursed, but we had the misfortune of meeting an Illithid today, a very strange one indeed. I have never heard of a mind flayer wearing a symbol belonging to a surface deity… let alone a benevolent surface deity. Regardless, his salutations were a posse of violent elves and half breed elves. There were ineffective to say the least. I do not know what I found more disturbing, the fact that the mind flayer sunk into the earth with an ominous “I’ll be back” as a farewell or the enthusiastic zeal our brothers found in looting the corpses.

Another day, another opportunity for whichever sibling is cursed to shine. The mind flayer found a posse of deep dwarves this time, and actually employed tactics: waiting to ambush us during a sleep cycle. This time they were more effective and I was less. It seems Lolth was not impressed with my abilities and wished me to fare on my own. I failed to make contact with my opponents and nearly lost my sword once… that which cannot be named whispered into my ear again, warning me of a pathetic failure that was to come. This let me survive the encounter…

After we defeated the mind flayer’s posse, another house made it’s appearance. Better late than never? the traitorous fools thought to let us die before trying to save us? If only they would come a bit closer so I could get my hands on them, but alas that was not to be the case as the mind flayer appeared at the apex of the cavern, hovering in mid-air, I could only assume that it was trying to impress us. It did. It caused an earthquake of some proportions, causing the collapses in the cavern. We were saved by our guide employing some device of high magic. I’m not sure what annoyed me more, the fact that we were rescued by our guide or the fact that the mind flayer caused the other house’s members to fall to their deaths into a chasm denying me my opportunity to flay them alive.

After everything had settled, we divvied the loot the brothers had obtained from the prolific and enthusiastic corpse looting. As one of the eldest, I of course got to select my choice, a quaint ring of elvish design that offered some magic protection.

Sephir's Private Journal #2

This Mind Flayer is becoming troublesome. His mind-controlled minions are diverse, clearly taken from whomever he can find and always a fellow druid, this one got away. I hope we can make the surface before he can gather his next group of ‘volunteers’.

While this has the feel of a ‘canned hunt’ I hope I can get a chance to recon the surface. I’ve been practicing and planning for this day for years. Attacking at night may well foul some of my preparations it won’t ruin them entirely. I can always hope.

The idea that the dead gods of Lloth might be returning is… interesting. Perhaps it will draw her attentions away from the city… Heh.

Ryl and Phaere took the brunt of the attacks this time, I do wish she wouldn’t run into battle that way, Perhaps she’ll get the idea now… Most likely not knowing her. Both she and Pal suffer from ivory tower syndrome… What works on paper never works the way you think it should in practice and both need more real world experience. I hope they don’t force me to tie them up and shove them into a sack to keep my promise to mother. Ah well I’ve not played my hand too much for either of them to realize my talents so all is well. Maybe we’ll see stars tomorrow.

To the Surface
The Matron mother told us tonight that, tomorrow, we leave for the surface on a “hunt”. Perhaps, I’m different from the rest of my people, I don’t know, but my desire for position…I fear, is next to non-existent. I just want to kill. To feel the life slip from a person’s body, as their blood flows over the hilt of my daggers and the warmth of it touches my skin. I crave that warmth, but I’m also disgusted by it. Disgusted by being touched by the blood of inferior races, but the pleasure of it…the shear pleasure of it! It invigorates me! Makes me feel alive…Tomorrow…death goes to the surface and they will know true fear and pain. My brothers and sisters maneuver for a higher position, and here I am, happy as an Illithid feeding on a wizard’s brains, just to have the opportunity to kill, openly.

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