The Pale Drow (Isanien, pt. 6)

*A parchment is tucked in between the pages, the script written in a more formal High Drow, it flows with grace, menace and nobility.*

The Pale Drow
She arrived as a ghost in the night,
skin as pale as the moon.
She bore on her forehead
a blood red spider,
marked by Lolth,
stark red against ivory.

She spoke words of doom,
but none had ears to hear.
She was shunned and hated,
but also feared.
None dare lay a hand upon her,
but neither did they offer
food or shelter.
She was Pariah…
and in her wake catastrophe came.

The earth shook and caverns fell.
Dozens were trapped.
Pestilence followed.
Young and old alike grew sick and weak.

The earth shook and the floors split wide.
Terrors from deeper below poured forth.
Blood flowed and screams filled the dark.
In caverns across the realm
the living were crowded out by the dead and dying.

The Drow cried out,
“Lolth! Lolth! Why have you forsaken us?”
They made their sacrifices,
but there was no reply.
Save for their screams and cries
the caverns were otherwise silent.

And yet untouched,
The Pale Drow passed through.
She beckoned others to follow.
Some stood as she walked by,
and fewer still stepped forward.
The Pale Drow did not look back,
but set a steady pace.
Up and up. Always Up.
The path was treacherous
and of those that followed
many fell along the way…

*the passage ends, obviously incomplete*

Isanien, pt. 5

What a damnable fool I’ve been. She is no longer safe to travel with, if she ever truly was. There is no pretense of civility. Is it so beneath me to hold my tongue? There will be no peace between us, and another death will be a hindrance. I must seek out my sisters for guidance. The male is not lost as yet. While I doubt it would be accepted, offering her a ring at this time would be unwise…

We were separated from the others, the four of us. The stone walls were welcoming and familiar. The walking rags were not. The others felled them, my weapons mostly useless. At the end we found it… or him… that which made the staff… that which I once shared in my skull. I thought I could understand it. I thought I knew what it wanted. I thought I could use that, but it turned on us and we were forced to destroy it.

*the ink trails off and pools before the text begins again, written with a visibly shaken hand*

I have stared into the abyss again. This time with no anchor to the physical realm. I drifted for what seemed an eternity, but this time… this time I was not alone. Words cannot explain what I saw… what I felt… what I know of what was there.

Isanien, pt. 4

We found one of those cursed students again. Always meddling… always trickery. I believe he set the fire. Set it and left a ring to lure us in. We took the bait and followed. The mountains could have been the death of us. I’ve never seen so much ice and snow. And the wind… the wind can chill to the very marrow of our bones. If not for the cave, the sweet embrace of rock for shelter, we would have surely perished. I thank Lolth for her mercy. I know she shows little to the weak, no matter how faithful.

The cave also held our path to the far desert. I am sure it is not the same as the one that holds Dust. That was where we found him. Or he found us. He was waiting for us, with a ridiculous smile. He demanded our rings, but cowered in front of the dark one and the woman. He attacked, and sealed his fate. He fell quickly enough, but then she started acting strangely. She was afflicted. She cried in earnest to each of us in turn, pleading for the rings. She was weak. The dark one held her at bay, though it drained him. I struck her down with the hilt of my sword just as he collapsed in exhaustion.

That was when I felt its true power fill me. It brushed me aside, but did not obliterate me. I claimed the rings from the dark one and turned towards the male, my hand outstretched, my command clear. And still he hesitated. Hesitated. And I found I could simply take what I asked of him. Take what was mine. And I had it all.

And then my world was fire. My very soul threatened to unravel. I saw them all. The male… the dark one… the one that would still defy me. I saw this entire pitiful island for what it was… and then I saw nothing. I could not bear it, the nothing.

A sharp crack with the flat of her blade to my head sent me reeling. I nearly struck her down right there. She had the impudence to attack me! How many had I killed for a lesser offense? She thought me mad. That was when I felt the staff. The rings were gone and the staff was unfamiliar, yet I could sense its latent power as I held it in my hand. This is what the dark one had sought. But I think it is not enough.

The male holds it now. She has tried to command it from him, and yet he holds true. We wait here at the inn for the dark one to awaken, for the others to return. I have little interest in the staff itself, for it will only draw trouble to us, but after what we have gone through to acquire it… what I have gone through… I will not part with it for any small price. If it comes to it, blood will flow.

Isanien, pt. 3

The rings do exist, at least some of them. I’ve held one. Worn one. One that seemed to fit me. That was a part of me. It left an emptiness behind, as if I can still feel its ghost on my finger. The dark one took it back. It was not a time to argue. We will talk, he and I. Perhaps a bargain can be reached. All men want something. Mortals yearn more for what they do not possess than any other. I will learn what his price is.

The male was hesitant as we crossed to the other ship. I saw him look back when she spoke, but still he moved. He is careless in battle, distracted I think. It will take time to teach him, but he remains faithful for now. I thought to reward him when we returned, but I have so little at this time. The human offered us one of the rings. I will let the male keep it. He has earned that of me. Perhaps it will also be useful in discovering the others. I suspect the human saw through the pitiful lie that was offered. I think his ‘gift’ was a warning to tell us that he knew. We should remain on our guard.

It is past time that I found our settlement. Only there will I be able to grasp the scope of our task at hand. I admit, I yearn to see familiar faces again. If only for a little while. But for now, rest.

Isanien, pt. 2

These humans are not to be trusted. They come to us with promises of gold, send us on their errands, and refuse payments when we return. I should have killed the mage when I had the chance. It was a moment of weakness. I find I stay my hand far more frequently than I would prefer. It is this alien land. The night helps to make me feel more at home, but even under cover of clouds I cannot escape the feeling that the sky is out of my grasp. It is… uncomfortable. My Queen’s hand can reach far, but how far are the stars from the embrace of dirt and stone? I felt closer as we ventured into the cave. It was not the Underdark, but it held a familiarity. Dare I say I felt sentimental? I would laugh, but the others might think me mad. Then again, perhaps I am. The male showed his worth again, easily indentifying the ring. I am unsure why the humans would seek such a thing, it seemed trivial in and of itself. Perhaps it is a ruse. A diversion from a greater plan. We will seek their other ring, release it from the statue, but it will not be so easily discarded. Perhaps with its freedom it will be grateful? It might make a powerful ally, but then again, how powerful can it be to have been captured so. It is something I will need to think on.