(Preface: This is a work I was suddenly inspired to write a few hours ago, it takes place in a "standalone" work in the Forgotten Realms setting. Don't think to hard on the lore, just enjoy the story. I have some work to do still related to grammar, and I'd love any feedback you could give.)
The followers of Lolth had thought themselves sure of victory in the coming battle, the Followers of the Silver Maiden where alone, cut off in their cavern home in the Leth'ah'nal Hills. The only true ally a Drow could have was other Drow, and they numbered a scant three dozen by measure of the scouts sent ahead, while they thronged in the hundreds. Victory was all but assured... or so they thought in their deep seeded arrogance.
Unlike them the Followers of Eilistraee had in the intervening months made every attempt no matter how far fetched or difficult, to make friends and allies among the other races of surrounding area, by show of good will and generosity they succeeded more then they could have ever hoped, a success that would pay due diligence this night, as the collection of Drow rangers, mages and warriors waited on the crest of a small hill, watching the thunderous approach of their shadowed kin, and the unspeaking allies they brought with them, Drider and abominations both.
The Lolth commander, a brash and arrogant male Drow Noble looked on from the opposing hill, a cocky smirk a league long run across his face, seeing the Drow waiting for their doom pleased him to no end, he chastised them further calling out to them as his blasted army assembled behind him;
"So you stand ready to meet your end and have your souls plucked and returned to Lolth kicking and screaming do you? Miserable little ingrates, this pain as been long forthcoming!" He boasted. Among the good Drow there was not but silence, before the band's leader, a female Drow cloaked in a white robe and carrying a staff stepped forward, her voice was wizened and mature, and made the brash Lolth noble sound like a impudent child when she rebuked his comment;
"Spoken like a true slave of Lolth's will, a soured cocktail of words spiked with arrogance and ignorance in equal measure. Go back to whence you came. You will taste no victory here." She spoke.
The Lolth commander's expression turned to disgusted anger where once had been a cock sure look of over blown ego, he barked in Drowish; " Ust llye fau'lad!" Which ordered his first line of warriors and skirmishers forward. "Venoch!" He yelled, his line charging forward, nearly a third of his forces now barreled towards the small hill intent to cut down the his bastard kin in warm blood, the archers behind readied a volley to proceed the slaughter but the brash noble stopped them, wanting them to die in melee, not at range.
As the Lolth attack thundered to within a stone's throw of Eilistraee's faithful did the err of the former become obvious; with a wave of her hand the cloak of obscurity was lifted and the large group of Orcs, Gnolls, High Elves and Dwarves in front of the good Drow was revealed. With a immense cry they surged forward meeting the advancing Lolth Drow, their sudden appearance catching them off guard and blunting their charge in a bloody counter attack.
In panic the formerly smug Lolth Commander ordered his second line to hastily reinforce the first, but by the times they readied to charge the first line had been routed, utterly crushed and cast aside as the combined forces of Eilistraee's faithful and their allies formed ranks and charged them back.
The Orcs and Gnolls spearheaded the attack, crashing into the second line as it barely readied for the attack. The Lolth were ruthless in close combat, but even they paled to the savage might of the burly Orcs and beastly Gnolls, who showed them first hand what a real savaging looked like.
The Dwarves, knowing full well they could not keep up with the front ranks instead fell back to the second row, forming a shield wall on either side of the spearhead, heavy tower shields and stout frames behind planted firmly to foil any attempts to flank their allies, the Lolth commander in his panicked ignorance soon obliged them sending his first and only reserve unit to flank on either side in a pincer attack.
He expected the short warriors to buckle with ease, but he knew nothing of the resolve and steadfast fighting of the Dwarves, who despite a few losses held unflinching, inflicting grievous losses on the flanking forces, sending them spiraling into a hasty retreat.
For their own part the High Elves of Linen'tyr Forest had stayed within the center of formation, Mages and bowman alike raining down focused fire on both the Lolth lines as they charged, and their own bastard archers that fumbled to failed to make any meaningful difference.
The Eilistraee faithful joined their highborne kin in the center, their own mages raised magical barriers that turned any Lolth fired arrow to dust when it passed through, their own archers focused on directly aiding the front and side lines with their short bows, taking any shot they could to ease the burden on Dwarves, Orcs and Gnolls. The few melee oriented among them joined the spearhead attack, if not for the massive distinction in how they dressed and thought they may have been mistaken for the Lolth skirmishers in the heat of battle, aid their brutish allies in dispatching one Lolth zealot after the other.
Arrogance long replaced with disbelief the Lolth commander could only watch in shock as his army was shredded, even the powerful Drider and monstrous aberrations they brought with them did little but slow down the meat grinder that was the combined forces arrayed against them.
Nearly two thirds of his forces has been wiped out, and the allies of Eilistraee rallied for the final push to wipe them out. A seething rage built up within in his blackened heart, unleashed in a might cry as he gathered all he had left for one final push. He found himself met in single combat by the very Priestess of Eilistraee who has chastised him earlier. Sword met staff in a again and again, before the commander reeled back with his free and hand fired a massive stream of shadowflame at the Priestess who had deftly countered all his enraged attacks.
She replied in kind, issuing forth a stream of blinding white Starfire that met his black flame in a magical meeting of the soul, each pushing against the other trying to overcome the other's power. But in short order he could his flame being pushed back inch by inch until with one powerful thrust of his hand her flame overcame his own, dispelling his magic and scorching his hand, making him fall to the ground defeated.
As he looked up the Priestess raised her staff to the clear night's sky above, and looking up to the meet the tip of her staff he realized in his final moments that the choice to fight the Eilistraee Drow thinking them alone and weak was his first mistake, but to challenge the power of her devoted priesthood on the night of the fullmoon when they and Eilistraee's power was at it's zenith would be the final one.
"I'm sorry for this, may the Dark Lady have mercy on your soul, child." Before he could react the Priestess channeled the power of the moonlight into her own self by way of her staff, her eyes shown glowing white as she issued forth a massive blast of holy white flame, the immolated the Lolth Drow form completely he screamed as he was overcome, turned to nothing in an instant and his soul flung far away, likely to either Lolth or Eilistraee's domain, the later the one the Priestess hoped for, that be may find peace in the next life.
The wave of power came to an end, and with it the last of the resolve of the Lolth troops that remained, seeing their leading obliterated utterly by the blessed power of Eilistraee no less broke them utterly and those that could scattered and ran, the combined allies of the Eilistraee Drow pursing them only a scant few yards, being asked ahead of time to reframed from running down those that ran, to which they all, even Orcs and Gnolls obliged.
When all was said and done all the remained of once mighty Spider Hag army was a small group that found themselves surrounded on all sides. A single Drider and four Drow stood there, all that they had thought and known shattered in a few terrifying minute of battle, with no chance to escape they dropped their weapons and fell to their knees.
The chieftain Galrak walked up the group, a look of sudden disgust came across his face, and he raised one of his scimitar to strike one of defeated Lolth Drow down but found his arm suddenly caught by a telekinetic force, stopping him before he swung. The Priestess, hand held aloft in his direction looked him the eyes, not uttering a single word she simply shook her head side to side. Remembering his agreement not to kill routed enemies Galrak took a few deep breaths to regain his composure, the Priestess releasing his hand to which he replied to by sheathing his sword and nodding to her, stepping back to allow her to hold sway on the defeated one's fate.
The male Drow nearly struck down, looked up to the Priestess as she approached, the Dwarven Thane Thorin spoke up; "They are nary yer kin. It is for yeh to pass judgment upon 'em." The defeated Drow spoke up in reply, addressing the Priestess; "We... We submit... t-to... Eilistraee's will." The Priest replied abruptly; "You will submit to no one." Shocked by her reply he looked up wide eyed to her, before she knelt down with a smile and placed a hand on either side of his battered and bruised face. " Eilistraee doesn't want you to submit to anyone child, she only wishes you to be free. If you are willing, we can show you the path." She spoke.
He looked backed to the other four who nodded to him, to which he then spoke for them all, saying; "Then we will... walk... that path." The priestess nodded to him, motioning for several of her attendants to come over, the throngs of allies parting like waves to let them through. Two bore bandages, they without word or complaint disrobed all five penitent, seeing to their wounds before the third handed each a simple white robe with which to dress themselves. Even the Drider was healed and give a robe, for even as abominable as she was, still deserved to walk the path of freedom with her Drow kin.
The three then beckoned the five to follow them into the hillside home of the Eilistraee Drow, so that they may begin their journey towards redemption in earnest. All the while the priests and shamans of the other races where tending to the injured and dead alike, true to allies all worked together to see to the most injured first, regardless of their race, and gave proper rite to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of hearth and home of friend.
"The battle is over. The war is long in the distance. But now, the healing can being." Loth'mar spoke up, standing abreast with the Priestess and the other leaders. "Yes, I believe so." She replied to him.
For what had they done to earn such friends you ask?
The Dwarves of Karen'don to the east where the first among them, if not the most hesitant to ally with the good aligned Drow. Their knowledge of poisons, and their cures had been instrumental in curing a outbreak of strange poisonous gas that had flooded their mines, succeeding in not only finding the source and cleansing the air but also curing the many deathly sick Dwarves who had been exposed. This had earned the High Thane's undying respect, and he signed a pact of mutual assistance on that very day.
So it was that day when word arrived of an impending attack did the High Thane instruct his eldest son and Thane, Thorin Stoutheart to take a detachment of Stalwards to march to the Leth'ah'nal at once to defend their ally's home.
Eilistraee's children found quick friends among the Orcish tribe lead by the Chieftain Galrak Bonebreaker, who themselves had broken off from the brutal ways of their kin. They feigned the norms in battle or with visiting "dignitaries" from other tribes, but in truth no longer beat abd belittled the young, woman or the elderly. It was the eldest of the tribe, a gnarled old Shaman whom had heard whispers of the Drow's silver goddess from the spirits for many years before the day they met in earnest. Even Galrak bowed to the old one's wisdom, and allied with the Drow, saying they need only call if ever there was need, the emissary of Eilistraee agreed and in kind noted should anything be needed by the tribe they would assistance as they could.
That time of need came soon enough, and it took only a single word for Galrak to rally his kin to banner of the Eilistraee's Choosen. He personally lead them to stand with the Drow, ready to honor Orcish and Drow ancestors both in the din of battle.
The Gnolls where simply mercenaries, come to pay a debt owed to one particular Drow among Eilistraee's devote, who that was or what the favor was they where repaying they would not say, only that their savage warriors would fight and die to repay that debt.
The Elves where the hardest to convince of all their allies. T'was not surpassing when one stopped to consider it. Drow and Elves had a enmity as old as time itself, since when the two had been one race in ages long past. They would not allow any Drow to approach without stern warning to turn back under pain of death from nocked arrows and drawn bows, to which to their surprise the Drow complied each time, until one faithful day when a single white cloaked Drow approached them by herself.
When asked her name and what she was doing she merely replied; "I am the Lady in White. I bare nothing but myself, and my wish to speak of peace." The elves did not trust her anymore then those who had came before, arms outstretched and empty as her's where they demanded she prove she was unarmed. The Drow without a word undid the sash of her simple robe and let it fall aside, without so much as a hint of pride she stood nude before them, unashamed and unafraid.
The Elves shocked by the display agreed to allow her through, beckoning her to re-cloth herself and follow them, but she did not the former, following them naked all the way to their village hidden deep in the forest to seek audience with the clan's leader, a powerful elven seer by the name of Loth'mer Rali'mor.
She stood in front of him, arms parted in gesture of good tidings, eyes wide and lips smiling as she spoke to him. "I bring only tidings of peace from the children of Eilistraee. Peer into my mind noble seer. See for your own self that I have nothing to hide." Surprised by her offer he none the less obliged her, using his powers he probed the deepest depth of her mind and souls, though no matter how deep he delved how hard he scryed he could find nothing obscured to him her mind was laid as bare to him as her body was to all around then, nor could he either sense the tiniest hint of malcontent in her thoughts.
Satisfied he ended his probing, and addressed her proper, saying there could be peace between their people, but the old wounds would make a lasting friendship a long road to travel. The Lady in White bowed her head replying that it was as much as could has asked for, thanking him she departed, and despite being offered her robe back by an eleven warrior who had picked it up for her she urged they keep it, as a token of friendship. So did the Drow leave them, walking all the way home to Leth'ah'nal wearing nothing but her own skin.
And despite that long road they had yet to travel as allies when a messenger arrived to the elves of need of warriors to defend the Drow's home Loth'mer obliged, personally leading a band of their finest ranger and mages to fight alongside them in their hour of need.
T'was on that night in the halls of the Drow home that a celebration was held, Orc, Dwarf, Elf and even Gnoll, drank, and sung and made merry together, entertained by the unclothed but not uncouth dancing of the grateful priesthood of Eilistraee.
The lesson on this day was two fold, that he who made only slaves and foes from those he met, would one day stand alone and fall with no one at their side, and that when one stands with ally and friend not even the fiercest storm could rout the resolve of kinship and friend.
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
It's a colloquial way of marking something when (like now, again, for me), you don't have time to fully look at or comment on it, but you wish to do so later.
Ahhhh... I see. Maybe it's a bit to long to be a considered a short story then? lol
I wish there was more short fiction on here.
Me too, it's a shame. I fear lore and just good story telling in general is at risk of being lost sometimes, mostly when people get to bogged down in rules and systems.