Heroes of the Dark

Visions in the Dark
The Journals of Aun'rae Sel'rue

Would that I could put feelings to words. 

My heart knows what my mind has come to understand. I was never meant to birth a vessel for Lolth, but I was meant to be it… entirely. She meant that I give her my soul, mind and body, never to return from her occupation. The rage this fills me with overpowers a lifetime of training and brainwashing. 

This knowledge and the power that sits above my heart brings me the power to change, to choose. I have chosen. No more the mindless servant of a goddess that would use me and destroy me to take what I have. The Gods had other plans. 

My whip died with the last of my faith, and with it the barriers that prevented me from knowing her plans for me. I have blasphemed in her city, though somehow I get the feeling that she has little to say of it. My only options now are to leave and ascend, or stay and hide behind the love of the manys that I've fostered, and build a following in her own city. The one thing that gives me pause is Valan. We are twins, and family beyond that. I could leave and save them, or stay and risk them. Is my vanity, my anger or my sense of justice more important than the fate of my house and those that I care for? 

My only true option is to deal directly with Valan and plead to her desire for power. I am uniquely able to provide her with more power than Lolth would have ever shared, and she is my twin, why shouldn't we share in this together. If I can be the goddess of families and travel, why can she not be the one of trade and law? After all, those are what she knows best, they always were.

It is about time that our fates weren't controlled by a grasping liar that only wants for herself. She allows Banre to rape our families and condemn them to death with no fear of repercussion, and that is the first thing I plan to change. They will know fear of a god, and they will fear the justice that will be rained on them. 

None of this pays any homage to the fear that is building in my chest. They steer me, use me and risk my house, and what if it is for nothing? What if I am just another pawn in the gods war that wages around us? Does it matter anymore? Is there anything I can do to change it? Can I protect Drizzt, Dyan'ette, Zin'Teth, Elginn? I am housing a known traitor with intent to give him back a house, that I cannot yet provide him with… If he would even accept me in this. Apparently the implications of sleeping with a demi-god (if that is what I can call myself at this point) are worse than just bedding a drow matron.

If I'm being honest with myself, I can almost understand the concern. I wouldn't be surprised if most of my sources of comfort feel the same. I don't even know that I would blame them… the other option would be to give my power to someone else though, and try to make peace with my goddess, or find another that would accept me… and I cannot bring myself to bend knee to another. Not after all that has been done. 

I should prepare to leave, on the chance that I will not be allowed to remain, and perhaps say my goodbyes ahead of this… leaving others who would follow me the means to find me. Perhaps she was right, Illvarad may be the best place to start. It could be the beginning of a city on its own. 

I will know nothing until Valan and I speak. Until then I must hope for the best and plan for the worst.

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Don Juan Triumphant?
Return to Menzoberranzan

The party has returned to Menzoberranzan.

Survival is not its own reward, however, as the party is attacked almost immediately by abyssal spiders seeking the same weapons, and the whetstone that corrupts them to the drow goddess Lolth.

The party has weathered challenges to their faith and returned a known traitor under their protection.  Now they turn their sites toward House Baenre, as the Manys charged by Gromph begin to revolt, and the city enters a period of unrest that will be known as the Small Rebellion.

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Visitors to Hell

The dwarven mining party leads their unlikely drow allies to the lowest level of the Undercity mines.  There, they point out a single passageway they say leads to a dwarven burial ground, where they will not go.

However they believe the sword the drow seek will be found there, and since it is not a dwarven blade they have neither love nor intentions toward it.

Hours later, the party is standing before a magical entrance that whisks them away, not to a dwarven mount, but to an Underdark turned upside down that challenges their beliefs to the core.

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Undercity
Best Kept Secrets

The party arrives in Mirabar to find a dwarven contingent of soldiers led by a human woman in wait for them.  They sign a pact with the city to enter as prospective clients.

That's when one of the dwarves notices a curious hammer hanging from the side of the halfling mixed in with the drow and challenges her.  They learn she carries the personal emblem of Bruennor Battlehammer, which is enough for the dwarves, but not their human leader.

The dwarves promptly turn their back on the human and return to Mirabar, leaving her to nervously complete her business with the drow. Tensions fade as their entry to the city leads them to a series of stops and eventually the inn.

One of the dwaves challenges that if the halfling carries a musical instrument and Bruennor's hammer, she should be capable of telling its story.  She does.  For three days.  The majority of the city's two thousand dwarves turn out as their duties allow, granting the party a unique popularity with which they are genuinely unaccustomed.

It resolves with the arrival of a new human servitor representing the city, who agrees to grant the drow access to Undercity to continue their search for the next blade.

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Road to Mirabar, Part II

On the road to Mirabar the party is confronted by a curious lone traveler bearing a ring of teleportation, which he uses to warn the local army that a party of drow is approaching. 

The army arrives in Longsaddle to find the town undamaged and swearing their praises to these drow, who became their unwitting saviors routing another abyssal spider attack.

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The Road to Mirabar

As the party is separated, they are confronted by the forces loyal to their foes.

Juchin, Ravel, and Teth are seriously injured as giant wolf spiders and a powerful undead attack in force—but the party is successful driving them away.  The spiders curiously vanish when slain, leading one of the party to postulate they are extraplanar, and not spiders at all.

The undead is slain, but a powerful explosion rips through the party as his lifeforce dissipates with the destruction of his phylactery.

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Hilather's Folly
Undermountain

The party is driven west by the pull of the remaining baneblades.

As they continue they encounter the last vestiges of an ancient stronghold of a mad wizard, buried deep below the City of Waterdeep.  One of the blades may be located deep within its twisted passages, through one of many portals in the Undermountain that lead to another realm, and a shocking secret that may be more than the party can handle.

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Emanations

Phlan had its revival of the previous century under the watchful eye of Juchin and his band of extraplanar adventurers.  A tiefling, a kender, and a centaur from Krynn may not seem like able or fast companions, but they were effective in taking control of a series of checkpoints in the city while searching for the fabled Baneblades of Demron.

Actually managing to recover two of them, they had separated to cross the Realms and find the remaining blades.  One of them vanished.  One of them was entrapped in stone by curse magic by dwarves guarding the tomb where the blade was kept.  One of them was consumed by his quest for power, and ended up destroying his own city.  The last reached out to the only help she knew.

Dyanette Sel'rue received a plea for aid from the centaur Acacia, and convinced his sisters to render aid after telling them of the fabled blades.  That was when things took an unfortunate turn.  Aun'rae received a vision from Lolth, and the two sisters recovered a whet stone they believed could turn the blades from the elves and secure them for Her purposes.

All they had to do was recover the kender from her stone tomb, where she continued to retain the secrets and locations of the remaining three blades.

That was when Juchin arrived in the city, disguised as a pit fighter.  Killing the Sel'rue arena champion, he demanded a meeting to be named the Sel'rue champion.  That was when he revealed himself, and identified that he was the reason the city of Phlan had fallen.  He was also searching for the kender because she had stolen the baneblades.

Juchin became aware later… the whet stone was working.

The tangled web led the party to the Western Realms, where they recovered the next blade and the kender, through a series of traps and orcish bandits also trying to steal from the dwarven tomb.

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Machinations

Matron Sim'ryyvin spoke heresy while Lolth was watching.

It will be the last time she will ever speak.  Lolth appeared through an avatar and identified the book Ryyv was using as a heretical text written by a drunk woman and destroyed it before her eyes.

Killing her, she determined, would be too good for her.

Meanwhile, the forces of Sel'rue uncovered a plot from the Cult of Ghaunadar to re-enter the city, and used knowledge of the plot to implicate Sos'umptu and send her scurrying to Baenre for protection.  She now resides in their chapel, and Arach Tinilith has accepted a new whipmaster.

Sorcere has also moved forward through urging by Baenre to accept Elginn as an instructor for the mage academy, a position of great power, and Melee-Magthere accepted Valen'rae as an instructor, making use of her training in unarmed combat.

All was not success and glory, however, as House Vandree charged Sel'rue with heresy, having learned of their machinations in Ched Nasad, and attacked during a Peace of Lolth, setting the entire city against them.  Their destruction was inevitable, but not before the Vandree did a lot of damage, targeting the rothe and mushrooms with poison and curses, which continue to threaten the whole of the city.

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The Spark

Sel'rue confronts House Baenre with news of the attack of Kiaransalee and the penance fields, and is granted a meeting with House Symryvvin.  They speak openly about the creation of the Zin Carla at their mother's hands, her death, or their subsequent rise to power in their house.

Symryvvin agreed that this should be concealed when they revealed that Di'ann Sel'rue had been reincarnated as lizard folk.  Previous apocrypha suggested that priestesses could not be raised, because they ascended to the hand of Lolth.  That realization would weaken the power structure centered on the priesthood.


 

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