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  1. #1
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Default A Reluctant Soul

    Inspired by my guildmate Dyna's art, I decided it was time to start actually writing Nae's story. The other mentioned PCs are my varied alts (all who have their own backstories as well), but Nae is my favorite. So, enjoy the adventures of a reluctant soul. Or not. Your choice

    ***********************

    Naeryna was shaken from her meditations by the sounds of the next room over in the flophouse in Stormreach’s harbor. Her neighbor started every day with incessant praises to the Silver Flame. Nae started most days with cursing about the Flame since he had moved in. She walked over to the dresser in her room, and adjusted her short mess of white hair in the mirror before slipping into a cheap-looking gray robe. It was enchanted heavily by an old friend to protect against cutthroats and thieves.

    Not, Nae thought, that I have anything to steal.

    Rent for her room was due, and she shook her purse to the sound of a single coin bouncing against the leather. Cursing under her breath, she got her quarterstaff out from under the bed. Sorcerers draw their power from confidence, and she had none - she was lucky if she could summon a single spark, let alone the mighty bolts of lightning she commanded before the accident.

    The accident. Her eyes fell on a yellowed Stormreach Chronicle she kept on the dresser, the headline reading “Promising Group of Mercenaries Injured at Archaeological Dig - One Feared Dead.” The others told her it wasn’t her fault, that if she hadn’t acted they would all be dead, but she knew that wasn’t true.

    Or, said a small voice in her head, That it is true, but you still feel the guilt for one death.

    Magic or no, the guards were always willing to pay a few coppers for some kobold tails, and swinging a staff was usually enough to get rent for a week or so. She opened the door to the common hall at the same time as her neighbor. He was a pale elf; “a betrayer of our ways” is what Naeryna’s mother would call him, and all his kind. Nae was less harsh, but still looked down slightly on elves, and everyone else, who weren’t of the drow; even if her skin was a lighter gray than the near-black of some, she was no sun-lover. She smiled as she stroked the small stone scorpion in her pocket.

    “It is a great day the Flame has given us, friend!” declared her neighbor.

    “The day is just begun,” she sneered, “It is too early to speak of fortune.”

    Down the stairs she traipsed; even without the confidence needed for magic, Nae was aware of her striking features and elegance. The landlady was sweeping the entryway. Mrs. Copperhand was a kindly, older dwarf, and gave Nae a knowing grin when she saw her staff.

    “Don’t have rent again this week, drow?” she winked.

    Nae laughed and patted the old dwarf on the shoulder, “You’ll get your money, old woman.”

    “I already have it, as it so happens,” she grinned at Nae, “Someone came by saying they were an old friend of yours, paid you through the next six months. She’s waiting in the sitting room, as a matter of fact. Another drow, so you might not look at her like she smells of troglodyte.”

    Nae puzzled over this, as who would come to visit her, let alone pay her rent? She entered the sitting room to find the normal assortment of characters, and then a dark-skinned form in the corner, intently looking over some large book and scribbling on a pad of paper. She had a crossbow propped against her chair, while various tools, gadgets, and wands hung from her belt. Most striking, however, was the huge iron defender that laid at her feet like a druid’s wolf. It lifted its head and wagged its tail, such as it was, at Nae.

    “Amaluin!” Nae exclaimed. The other drow looked up and waved, blue hair falling into her eyes, and then returned to her studies. Nae walked over, took a seat, and looked over the papers and book covered in arcane sigils and complex formulas of various ingredients. Nae could make no sense of it, but was fascinated by the work of the artificers nonetheless. Once, Amaluin had wanted to study Nae’s magic, to see if there was a difference in substance between that of a sorcerer and a wizard. They had been set to start their work the day after a simple clearing of an undead-ridden excavation operated by House Kundarak; a simple task that became a tragedy.

    Nae opened her mouth to ask about the notes, when Amaluin’s head popped up, grinning mischievously, “I’m in an argument with old Lars Heyton - you remember him from Korthos? - concerning the efficiency of two separate formulations of the enchantments that make a wand of magic missile. He, of course, maintains that an older formula is the ideal, while I feel that a more recent method of attaching the spell to a stick is far better. I’d explain, but...”

    “I wouldn’t understand,” Nae laughed, “May I assume that your idea carries some instability and chance of explosion?”

    Amaluin cackled, “Nothing a dwarf wouldn’t consider acceptable risk on investment. I hope you don’t mind that I paid your rent. I know you’d been down on your luck for the past few years, and I happened into some coin. I asked around and found you, and thought I’d say thanks for saving my life from that beholder.”

    Nae darkened, “Didn’t help the cleric, did I?”

    Amaluin put a gloved hand on Nae’s arm, “You saved everyone else; Dia, Arabduis, Valissia, and me.” She grinned her troublesome grin again, “Besides, she wanted to go out in a blaze of sacrificial glory, so everyone got what they wanted.”


    The life of a servant of the Flame is one of sacrifice, said that small voice in Nae’s head. While comforted by that idea, Nae did wish the voice would shut up. It had started after the accident and chimed in several times per day with bothersome niceties and meaningless tripe of the type she heard the priests outside the Catacombs spread to the gathered masses. If only they knew of the troubles within those tombs, or the ruthlessness of the inquisitors of the Flame, in particular Gnomon. She hadn’t been alone in her objections to his desire to annihilate a group of followers of the Sovereign Host taking refuge in the sewers of House Phiarlan - what was Vulkoor, after all, but a misunderstood member of the Host? - but they had been put between a rock and a hard place. The rock was the cleric - her name forever more unmentioned - and her faith in the Flame, and the hard place was Valissia, and her faith in the purse.

    “You ever talk to the others now, Ama?” Naeryna asked. The artificer had ordered breakfast for two and was carefully separating all the foods on her plate, as was her habit. She nodded.

    “Regularly. Arabduis is what she always was, just stronger, with great bolts of ice, acid, and pure power. You’d be impressed, though she still won’t agree to me attaching any probes. Dianozia has achieved some kind of enlightened state. I tell you, my instruments say she’s not even a half-elf now, but some foreign being. However, she’s as crude as ever, especially for a monk.”

    “And Vali?” Valissia had been the mouth and brains of their group; a former “actress” for House Phiarlan, she’d turned her knowledge of espionage into profit when she assembled their little group.

    “You’ve probably seen her, and didn’t recognize her,” Amaluin shrugged, “The first time I saw her after she left, I certainly didn’t, until she started talking and hugged me. She went on one of her ‘holidays’ after the accident to Sykros’ resort. There was some disturbance there, and she helped the local druid restore the balance. Next thing anyone knew, she sold all her belongings and sat outside the Gatekeepers’ grove until they agreed to train her. Turned back up in Stormreach a few months ago as one of their agents - she’d shaved part of her head to deal with vanity. Has a wolf that follows her around. The first time she saw Arabduis - according to Ara, mind you - Ara showed her some of her mastery of water. Vali turned into a water elemental in response.”

    Naeryna sputtered, “Valissia? Ms. d’Phiarlan? Don’t-let-my-shoes-get-wet Vali? Is a druid?”

    Ama laughed, “And she’s not Valissia d’Phiarlan anymore. Gave up all her claims to being part of the house. She’s Valissia Treesnogger. Picked it up the day she was let into the grove - she was apparently snuggled up to a tree when one of the half-orcs went out to let her know the decision. Her wolf is named Legsnogger.”

    “Legsnogger?”

    “It’s appropriate, trust me. I’ve named my defender models the Cogsnoggers, as an in-joke.”

    They ate breakfast in silence. Nae was waiting for Amaluin to explain why she was here. Amaluin didn’t do anything without a reason, and saving her life might spur her to pay Nae’s rent, but not to stick around after that.

    “You ever do any exploring anymore, Nae?” Ama inquired.

    Nae shook her head, “Only killing kobolds for coin. I’ve lost my magic, Amaluin. I’m just a slightly braver-than-average citizen who knows how to swing a staff now.”

    Ama smiled, “You just need some encouragement is all. That’s what Cydonie told me.”

    Nae startled slightly, “You know Cydonie?” Cydonie was an Ambassador from Argonessen. She might look like an elf, but a blue dragon can choose any form she wishes. She’d assisted Nae in her training, despite drow not being part of the prophecy, because she’d been impressed with Nae as a sorcerer.

    “She’s organizing an investigation out in Gianthold. Every adventurer in Xendrik is out there, it seems. Anyway, me and the rest of the old crew are in an adventurers’ guild together now, and we asked one of the officers if we could extend you an invitation.” Ama handed a plain envelope across the table. “That has your pass to the airship the guild owns, if you take us up on the offer.”

    “Thanks, but no,” Nae sighed, “That’s all behind me now.”

    Ama laughed, “No, it’s not. In fact, if I had a copper for every time you’ve said that, I’d have retired to my studies.” She got up to leave. “I’m leaving the envelope right there, Nae, for when you change your mind.”

    Amaluin clicked for the Cogsnogger to follow as she hefted her crossbow over her shoulder, leaving Nae to her thoughts. It was true, Nae had to admit, that had she not blasted those columns, bringing the ceiling crashing down on the beholder, they would all be dead. And the cleric had told her to do it.

    Laying down one’s life for their friends is way of the Flame, said the annoying voice.

    “Quiet,” Nae caught herself saying aloud, drawing a few glances from other customers. Without rent to worry about, she could possibly save back some money and get ahead of the game, briefly. That took some weight off, as did knowing that none of her old companions held her responsible for the death of the cleric.

    She almost felt good enough to toss a magic missile, she realized suddenly.

    Kobold tails and coin would have to wait; it was time to go visit an old friend.
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  2. #2
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Nae left the tavern with her staff and headed out of the harbor to the market district. Cydonie and the rest of the Argonessen delegation tended to stay near the bank plaza. Her fascination and sympathy for the “lesser races” was a source of bemused wonder for the other Argonessen agents, as was her periodic assistance to young sorcerers.

    The plaza was a blur of activity, with varied wizards, warriors, and rangers speaking to Cydonie and then being transported magically to the ruins of Gianthold. Nae got in the line to speak with her. When Nae finally reached the front of the line, she was given a quick once over.

    “Not strong enough yet, next!” she dismissively commented, before glancing back. “Nae!”

    She signaled for another agent to take her place while she pulled Nae to the side. “It’s been a while. Have you kept up with your lessons?”

    Nae shook her head as Cydonie clucked disapprovingly. “Your race is already at a disadvantage; no Mark, and no place in the Prophecy. The last thing the drow need is a talented member wasting their skills.” She sighed, “I’m very busy, the last head of the delegation gave her life uncovering part of the prophecy that had remained a mystery, and it’s vital we get Gianthold under control, but I suppose I can take a moment to give you a refresher.”

    She laid a hand on Naeryna’s shoulder, then made a complex gesture with the other hand. There was a shimmer of arcane power, and they were in an open field with a large, scarred boulder in the middle. Nae had never learned to do that, though she was well on her way before the accident.

    “Since you’re out of practice, just start with a simple ‘magic missile’ spell, as I believe it’s called.” Cydonie stepped to the side. Nae concentrated her power, and threw her hand out.

    A bolt of pure light shot out and slammed into the boulder. Not a stream of missiles of arcane power.

    Nae stared. That had never happened before. Cydonie chuckled, “Found religion, have you?”

    “No more than usual,” Nae sputtered, “The usual affection for Vulkoor, but I find god-bothering distasteful.”

    Cydonie was silent for a long while. “Try another spell.”

    Nae tried a small bolt of lightning. The the boulder seemed to glow for a moment, but nothing happened.

    “Try that on me, there’s no chance you could hurt me with lightning, after all,” Cydonie commanded. Nae did, and Cydonie glowed momentarily.

    “Positive energy. Are you sure you haven’t found religion? Try another, on the boulder.”

    This continued for some time - beams of light, rains of fire, a circle of divine judgment. Each one came more easily, more quickly. Naeryna was amazed at the return of magic, but puzzled by the effect. However, the sheer joy of being able to cast again overwhelmed her. She stood silently, at last. The boulder was smoking lightly.

    Cydonie puzzled, “No clue what caused this?”

    “None,” Nae answered, “I admit, I like it, but I certainly - “

    Nae stopped. The small voice spoke in her head, The Flame chooses who it will.

    “Oh, bugbear balls!” Nae snarled, “No, I know what’s happened. Get me back to Stormreach, I need to go bother some god-botherers.”
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  3. #3
    Community Member DynaTheCat's Avatar
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    hur hur.... gj nae.

  4. #4
    Community Member SealedInSong's Avatar
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    Particularly to "bugbear balls"!
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  5. #5
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    There was a shimmer of energy. Nae waved to Cydonie as she took off across the Marketplace. People moved aside for the tall, angry drow headed towards the Catacombs held by the Silver Flame. Father Renau stood by the entrance as always. Nae generally liked him; he was a simple man with a simple faith. Were the Flame run by men like Renau, and not Dryden or Gnomon, it would be a far better institution in Nae’s view. Renau was often perturbed by the actions of his superiors, but unwilling to question them.

    Today, though, he was going to be asked some questions himself.

    “Naeryna! Blessings upon you!” he called to her.

    “Too many, it seems,” she snapped, “I seem to have been afflicted with the blessing of the Silver Flame.”

    She explained her situation to him, the sudden return of her magic in a different form, the small voice, the entire events of the morning. He listened with patient excitement.

    “Have you inquired of the Flame what it desires of you?” he asked earnestly, “You seem to be among those few favored souls to whom the Flame speaks directly.”

    “No, I have not, because it looks like I’m talking to myself, and they’ll room me up with Durk somewhere in the asylum near the bank,” Nae snarled, “Moreover I do not care what is desired of me enough to have a chat with myself. It’s not as if I can snap my fingers and an avatar of the Flame appears for me to chat with.”

    She snapped her fingers to make her point, and suddenly a swirl of soft light appeared over her shoulder. Renau bowed his head and recited a short prayer. Nae just glowered darkly at the glowing light.

    “Blessings upon thee, Naeryna,” tinkled the chime-like voice of the tiny archon, “I represent the Flame, how may I assist thee?”

    Nae glared at the archon for a long while before speaking, “One, speak informally; two, what is going on?”

    “For your selfless act in aiding a Cleric of the Flame, despite the pain and guilt it would cause you, the Flame has favored you, drow.”

    “I should have let us all die,” Nae muttered, then aloud, “Well, how do I fix this?”

    “Serving the Flame; assisting the weak against the strong, spreading the word of the Flame.”

    Nae hesitated; spreading the word of the Flame was out of the question, but - despite being mildly racist, ill-tempered, and distru****l - Naeryna enjoyed helping people, especially the downtrodden. As a drow, she identified with those who were mistreated by authority.

    The Silver Flame, however, was authority in its own way, and had a habit of mistreating people who did not agree.

    “Can I do the assisting the weak part, and not the word-spreading?” Nae inquired.

    “Oh, you can try!” jingled the archon. “But your deeds and actions will spread the Flame as you pass!”

    Nae was deeply bothered by this idea. Her mind filled with visions from her youth; her mother’s rage as a paladin of the Flame smashed the altar to Vulkoor she maintained as the tribal priestess, the sorrow of being driven from her home, leading to living in the slums of Stormreach, where they were more outsiders than ever before.

    Nae instinctively grasped at her belt, suddenly aware that she was not carrying a shortsword.

    “I have no desire to serve the Flame, nor spread it. I’ve seen enough of that.”

    The archon was silent for a long moment, “This is an unusual situation, drow. We are - the Flame is - aware of what occurred. Yet, you have been chosen. The Flame has its reasons.”

    “Care to explain them?” Nae growled.

    “The Flame keeps its own council, but when you have fulfilled your part in the Flame’s plan, your life will again be yours.”

    Nae was trying to think of a snappy comeback for that, when there was a scream from one of the nearby alleys. Nae whipped around towards the cry as a young halfling girl ran out, pursued by two rough-looking humans, wearing the trademark colors of the Sharn Syndicate.

    Nae raised her hand and shouted, “Sit!” Her voice thrummed with the power and authority of the Flame.

    The syndicate members fell to the ground. A member of the Stormreach guard rushed over and arrested them while another stopped the halfling and comforted her. Not surprisingly, a reporter for the Chronicle was nearby - it seemed they were always nearby - and rushed up to Naeryna.

    “What a save!” the sharply dressed halfling, “Roderick Roundtree, Stormreach Chronicle, miss. That’ll be a front-page story, for sure! ‘Daring Drow Saves Harried Halfling,’ I can see it now. Just need to get your name and a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

    Nae started to say something concerning halflings and their use as end-tables, ballista ammunition, and amusements by amorous giants, then stopped. She sighed, then took a deep breath.

    “I am Naeryna, former sorceress, by blood a Priestess of Vulkoor,” she looked at the archon with something approaching murderous rage, “Currently in reluctant service to the Silver Flame. Ask your questions quickly, halfling, I’ve had a long morning.”
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  6. #6
    Community Member Starp's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Very Well Done

    A very fun read so far, dlsidhe!

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Apologies for the delay in continuance - real life and work on another saga (set in an original world) has intervened. But Nae will pick up soon enough.
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  8. #8
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Nae headed back towards the harbor with a heavy purse; it seems the cutthroats she stopped had a high bounty on their head from the Coin Lords. The archon had agreed to leave her in peace once the terms had been agreed upon - Nae would serve the Flame so long as she didn’t have to like the Flame, and once the Flame’s plans for Nae were complete, she could return to her former life. Her head was aching slightly from the sudden influx of now instinctual information - how to properly wear armor, how to use a longbow, how to hold a shield. She’d stopped by the auctioneer and bought out the bids on a few useful items, among them a very nice shortsword. Her mother had always been very clear about what the proper weapons of a true Drow were, and Nae was determined to make a point to her flickering companion.

    The sun was setting when she got back to the flophouse, and she entered to a round of applause from the tavern area. Her landlady smiled approvingly, and returned to struggling to light her pipe. Nae knew that it would be a long battle, as tinder was this dwarf’s archenemy.

    “Evening chronicle is out, I presume?” She rolled her eyes, “I’d prefer not to make a big deal out of it.”

    She felt the flicker appear over her shoulder, and the chiming voice of the archon contributed, “To help the weak is the way of the Flame!”

    Nae’s head whipped around, “Oh, shut up. I thought we agreed you weren’t going to pop up unsummoned?”

    “Ah! But if you will not spread the word of the Flame, then it is my duty to do so,” patiently tinkled the archon.

    Nae growled softly, “Can’t you do anything I might find practically useful?”

    The archon floated off to the bar, and came back with a Dirty Kobold.

    “Yes.” Somehow, the bell-like voice managed to sound smug. The bar chuckled at the argument.

    Nae sipped her drink, and nodded to the archon, “That’ll do, glowbug. Anything else?”

    The archon shot out a tiny bolt of light, precisely lighting the landlady’s pipe, much to her surprise, “I can do bigger ones, too. Only to harm the forces of darkness, mind you.”

    Nae nodded, pleased that the archon wasn’t a total waste. She was looking forward to having a few hours rest tonight, hopefully undisturbed. Her landlady waddled over as only an old dwarf can, carrying the letter of passage from Amaluin.

    “You left this on the table this morning, drow. I’d have thrown it out like most of your mail, but I figured it might be important if it were hand delivered.” The old dwarf winked at her glowering tenant.

    “Thanks, old woman,” Nae sneered, returning the wink. She finished her drink and headed up the stairs to her room. If she was going to be rid of the Flame, the letter was useful. Adventure led to aiding the weak, and that seemed to - at least in the eyes of the archon of the Flame - to be the primary purpose of Nae’s mission. She pulled off her robe and sat down in bed. A few hours rest to make sense of this, and then to start her new life.

    Nae opened her eyes. She was up before her neighbor, which was good - she was hearing enough about the Flame without his contributions. Despite have divinely inspired knowledge, putting on the breastplate she’d purchased was still a chore, but once she had all the straps adjusted it was surprisingly comfortable. The shield, on the other hand, was troublesome. She could hear her mother’s voice, “Drow, child, do not use shields. Your wits and your blade, your speed and your spells - those are your shield. A shield is an advertisement of weakness.”

    “As soon as I find something better,” Nae grumbled to herself, “I’m getting rid of this thing.” Unfortunately, the shield was the only object for sale with suitable enchantments for her purposes.

    She headed towards the airship boarding tower for the harbor, letter in hand. The half-elf manning the entrance examined it closely before waving Nae through, giving her the information on the ship she should be boarding.

    The waiting room was a bustle of activity - adventurers, diplomats, and the more well-to-do of the common folk awaiting transport on the many airships that flew across Xendrik. Nae glanced around, and saw a regal human leaning aloof against the wall. The floor around her looked frosted, as did the wall where she leaned. Nae walked over and leaned against the wall next to her.

    “How’s the freezing things alive business, Arabduis?”

    The human gestured for her to be quiet. Nearby, a young drow monk was telling an intricate story to a group of gathered adventurers.

    “And then I was like kapow!, right in that kobold’s face. And he’s all like ‘Kobold’s should work together,’ and I’m thinkin’ yeah, you shoulda thought of that before I kicked your brother’s ass, too. Then I went and stomped some big ooze, and now I’m gonna sell the loot and head to Tangleroot, because hobgoblins are stupid and annoy me.” An older monk listening to the story started to give a disapproving look, but was cut off by the young drow, “Oh, I see that self-important sneer, Kalisus - remember who trained you in their last life, you bugbear-smelling jackanape. That would be me - Master D, crazy ninja lady. ”

    Nae leaned in to Arabduis and whispered, “When I left, Dianozia was a half-elf. What happened?”

    “She got tired of it, so she abandoned her body and came back as a drow. Some ascended monk trick. She’s stronger than she was.” Ara chuckled, “What’s with the armor, Nae?”

    The archon appeared, “Nae is a servant of the Silver Flame!”

    “Unwillingly,” Nae grumbled in response to Arabduis’ snickering, “Don’t mention it to Dia.”

    “Too late,” Dianozia sat down in front of Naeryna, “Believe it or not, I do read the papers. You saved a halfling? Please tell me you tossed it afterwards, otherwise I might lose all faith in you.”

    “A servant of the flame would never - “ began the archon, before Nae interrupted, “Too many witnesses.”

    “Good,” Dianozia nodded sagely, “Halflings are good for two things - footrests, and tossing. Unless you’re a lady giant, then I can think of at least two more, if ya know what I mean.” She accompanied her words with a rather explicit hand gesture.

    Arabduis rolled her eyes, “How did you ever end up as a monk?”

    “I excel at punching people in the face. Also, I have achieved enlightenment through outrageous obscenity at least twice that I can remember, Araby.”

    Nae just listened to their conversation as they continued to bicker over Dia’s behavior. Despite their differences, the sorcerer and monk were best friends. They continued the argument all the way onto the airship held by the guild Nae had been invited to join, when Dianozia was suddenly knocked over by a large wolf that proceeded to attempt, valiantly, to become affectionate with her shin until a cultured, musical voice shouted, “Legsnogger, heel!”

    A green-haired elf with a mohawk and tattoos on the sides of her head walked over and pulled the wolf back. “Sorry, Di. He just...loves your shins above all others. Hi Ara. Nae.” She did a doubletake. “Nae?”

    Nae was having trouble herself, seeing Valissia d’Phiarlan in a pair of muddy boots and armor made of leather and wood, a scimitar in her belt and a staff across her back. “Hi, Vali. I guess I should’ve known Amaluin was serious.”

    “Amaluin wouldn’t know humor unless it had a ten-page formula attached. Then she’d find a way to make it into an enchantment and sell it. So, what’s with the armor?”

    “I’ve been drafted into the service of the Silver Flame.”

    “You hate the Silver Flame.”

    “The irony isn’t lost on me.”

    “Still hate elves?”

    Nae considered it, “I don’t really hate elves, I just consider them to be cultural traitors to the glory of our heritage.”

    Valissia thought about it, then laughed, “I would’ve kicked you ten years ago, but I see your point now. Too much city has made us soft. Even if we aren’t drow, we need to return to being warriors and mages, not entertainers. Where are you headed?”

    Nae shrugged, “Where’s the adventure?”

    “Ironically, back in the harbor from what I hear.” Vali shrugged.

    “Not doing it,” Arabduis said immediately.

    “I’ve been asked to investigate by my superiors,” Vali sighed, “I don’t have an option. Remember Inquisitor Gnomon?”

    Nae growled, “Unfortunately, yes.”

    “He’s investigating some cult in the Harbor, which the Gatekeepers have connected to some...disturbances on the planes. I’m just looking for some help with it.”

    Nae thought - she’d rather snog a halfling than deal with Gnomon, but helping the Flame might end her servitude. She sighed, “Alright, I’m in.”

    Vali jumped for joy, “Hooray! I don’t have to put up with him alone.”
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  9. #9
    Community Member Lil_Mischif's Avatar
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    Unhappy It can't really end there

    Awww! And I was really getting into your story.

    Please can there be more? Please!

  10. #10
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil_Mischif View Post
    Awww! And I was really getting into your story.

    Please can there be more? Please!
    There is!

    But, I'm a librarian, so my last three months were filled with Summer Reading Program activities, and the last month was Post-SRP planning and paperwork.

    I'm working on the next chapter right now
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  11. #11
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    I just found your story. I liked the last chapter. I need to read it from the beginning.
    Zyinniah Hazelnut and Curissa Hazelnut on most servers.

  12. #12
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Brother Dectaran in the harbor was overjoyed to see the two adventurers approach, “Praise the Flame! I hope you both will be able to contain Gnomon’s...passionate techniques. He is a devoted servant of the Flame, but perhaps a bit overzealous in his pursuit of heresy.”

    Valissia began to speak, but Nae found herself speaking suddenly, “Gnomon no more serves the Flame than a hezrou. I swear to you, his true allegiance will be revealed.”

    The archon popped up, “O favored one of the Flame, far be it for me to question your judgment, but Gnomon is pretty definitely a servant of the Flame.”

    “Oh, shut up,” Nae rolled her eyes, “This has nothing to do with religion - I’m a drow, I can spot duplicity at a thousand yards.” She wasn't sure that's all it was, but it worked for now.

    Vali fit a collar on Legsnogger that seemed fashioned from a monk’s handwraps, “My partner here is a bit zealous herself, but we’ll get to the bottom of the situation, and assist Gnomon so much as is needed.”

    Nae was somewhat comforted to hear Vali sounding like the old, businesslike Valissia d’Phiarlan. Vali arranged a reward, and then stepped into the warehouse with Nae. As soon as they were through the door, though, Vali’s attitude shifted. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

    “There’s something evil here, Nae. The planes feel dangerously unbalanced.” She took a sickle from her belt and pricked her finger. Nae felt a surge of magic wash over Vali, and a wild look enter her eye. She cast a few spells to augment Legsnogger, as Nae figured out, with some help from the archon, how to ward them against death, evil, and some other general nastiness. Then, without warning, Valissia was replaced with a water elemental, with Valissia’s armor floating in it.

    “Let’s get this done,” bubbled Water-Vali.

    Gnomon waited impatiently near the entrance to the main area of the warehouse. He explained his mission - death to heretics, as usual - when something in Nae’s head started sounding an alarm. Not the Flame’s voice, but another that sounded rather like another drow, “Rakshasa, yes. He’s aligned with some truly treacherous characters. Fortunately, he doesn’t know the complexity of this situation, or the character of his associates. Play along with his game, daughter - he is the lesser of the evils at this time.”

    Nae shook her head, and followed Vali, Gnomon, and Gnomon’s novice into the warehouse. A few moments, and a lot of fire and light later, the entrance to the warehouse was “purged,” filled with the bodies of cultists.

    Gnomon kneeled near one of them, “Their souls have been cleansed, but there may be others. You go that way, and I will deal with the other side of the building.” He turned towards a door, “Novice, come; I have something special in mind for you.”

    Vali flowed up to Nae, “I don’t trust him, Nae.”

    “You shouldn’t, he’s a rakshasa,” Nae nodded, “However, we should still help him for now to learn his plans.”

    There are few sights in the world like a water elemental sputtering. Among them, however, is seeing an archon do a spit-take. To see both at the same time is quite impressive.

    “Gnomon is no rakshasa,” exclaimed the archon, “He may be a bit extreme, but he’s a loyal servant of the Flame!”

    “Are you absolutely sure, Nae?” Vali asked, “That’s a bit more serious of a charge than Gnomon being, well, a self-righteous sociopath.”

    Nae considered it, “I’ve got a strong feeling. But we’ll see. I definitely don’t think he’s on the up-and-up.”

    They proceeded through the warehouse, Nae purifying altars to the Lords of Dust as they found them. Suddenly, they came upon Gnomon’s novice, mortally wounded.

    “Gnomon,” he gasped, dying, “Ambushed...by…”

    “See?” tinkled the archon, “They were ambushed. Favored one, we must rescue Gnomon!”

    Vali ignored the archon, “Nae, if the cultists ambushed them, why kill the novice and kidnap Gnomon? The novice is - was - a Dryden. He’d be worth more as ransom.”

    Nae closed her eyes. Competing voices were in her head, and she needed to concentrate.

    “Gnomon...ambushed the novice,” she said, finally. She glanced at the archon, “Sorry, but that’s what happened.”

    The archon flickered for a moment, “So, Novice Dryden was clearly aligned with the cultists.”

    Vali snickered, “I’m sorry, glowball, but when my wolf is giving you a look like you’re dumber than a bag of rocks, you’ve done something impressive.” She looked at one of the stone walls, then patted it reassuringly. “Sorry, I’m sure you’re very intelligent.”

    They tore through the next room of cultists, before being confronted by their leader, a woman named Merideth, who was not quite as full of fortitude as she believed, as she fell swiftly to a necromantic incantation from Valissia. Through another sealed door, they found a transition from “abandoned warehouse” to “evil cultist temple” and a place to rest for a moment.

    “Hey, Snogger, want to run down to the next landing?” Vali asked her wolf. The wolf ran down the steps, triggering a series of blades coming out of the wall, which it deftly dodged. Vali laughed, “Thought so. I’ll go next.” And, with that, Vali became a wolf herself and dodged down the stairs.

    Nae stared at the trap, unsure. The archon chimed at her, “Have faith, Naeryna, and jump.”

    “I’m not suicidal,” she snapped at the archon, “Though, keep talking, and I’ll get there.”

    The drow voice in her head spoke, “Listen to the archon, daughter. There are yet plans to unfold.”

    Nae backed up, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath, “Sorry, glowball, but I don’t trust in the flame...here goes - Vulkoor protect me!”

    She took a running leap into the blades. Or should have, except ethereal wings sprang from her back, carrying her over the blades and depositing her safely on the ground next to a staring Vali-wolf.

    “Well,” Nae said, “That was unexpected. I’ll do that more often. Kinda fun.”

    She looked at the Vali-wolf, who barked, then ran through the rest of the blades down the stairs. Nae flew along behind, dodging the blades herself. When she landed, Vali was a water elemental again.

    “Looks like this door goes into the heart of the temple,” Vali said, “Ready?”

    Nae grinned, “I believe so. I may even yell ‘For the Flame,’ just to be obnoxious.”
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  13. #13
    Blogger and Hatchery Hero
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    omg i just found this today. WRITE MOAR! this is awesome!

    the official home of LOLWUT

    LONG LIVE R.O.G.U.E ! Pay2Win AND PROUD
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  14. #14
    Community Member Lil_Mischif's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Wonderful!

    Love the unexpected twists.
    Thank you. And thanks for replying to my (maybe a bit juvenile) request for more story.

  15. #15
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    Just an update - working on the next chapter, but more importantly I'm sketching out the next few chapters as well so there's more...stuff.

    Yeah, there's stuff.
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  16. #16
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    UPDATE

    I got promoted at work, so I have way more on my plate than I did - plus I have to work Nae's Character Evolution via TR in (which is plotted).

    However, work continues.
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  17. #17
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    And another update!

    I'm working on a novel, so this kind of went to the back burner (revisions of revisions of 200+ pages), but I do intend to either pick this back up or start a new story soon(ish).
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  18. #18
    The Hatchery
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    Default diversion

    It is brillinat so far. Please continue.

    I know you are working on a book but I find it helpfull to have a little private textwork as a diversion from my professional ones. Try it out for our sakes.
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  19. #19
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    So, here's the new story while I work on this one:

    https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthrea...he-Pirate-Drow
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

  20. #20
    Community Member dlsidhe's Avatar
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    The atmosphere on the other side of the door was dark and damp, with the clanking of heavy armor nearby.

    “Blackguards?” whispered Valissia.

    Nae shook her head, “No, but all my varied signals are mixed. There’s more than two people around the corner, but only two of them are alive...but they’re all alive. Or something.”

    “Undead,” twittered the archon, “But only kind of.”

    “That is totally unuseful, glowbug” Nae growled at the archon. She thought for a moment, “Do you have a name, so I can insult you personally?”

    “No,” chimed the archon happily, “I have no identity other than the Flame.”

    “Your name is now Glowbug, okay, and you need to stick to the blasting with less talking,” Nae hissed.

    “Pale Masters,” Valissia said, suddenly. Seeing Nae’s puzzled expression, “They’re a kind of wizard - necromancer - who can become undead without dying, and then return to full life. Kind of horrible. Apparently, that’s what Amaluin would have decided to do if she hadn’t become an artificer. I think that’s what’s around the corner.”

    “I can see Ama doing that, if the money was good,” Nae snickered, “But it does seem totally wrong.”

    “You know who got the most upset about it? Dia - she’s studied with some school of monks that hold the undead and demons and things in even lower esteem than the Gatekeepers.” Vali smiled, “You want to hear some creative profanity? Get Dia to go into a fit of righteous anger.”

    “I thought you wanted more blasting with less talking,” tinkled Glowbug.

    Nae stared at Glowbug as Vali choked back laughter, “This is how we prepare, Glowbug. We have a routine. We gossip or argue, then we kill a lot of things very, very fast.”

    Nae smiled, “Like this.” She stood up and flew around the corner, blasting bolts of light from her hand. Legsnogger followed her, bowling over an armored wizard - a pale master, as Valissia had said - before trying to eat his face. Vali tried a lightning bolt, but the other pale master ignored it. So she switched to fire, creating a wall of flame that consumed both the undead wizards and the living cultists.

    Standing over the bodies, Vali giggled, “The death knights here went up pretty easy.” She whistled as she opened the door. Nae was puzzled, though. Valissia had always had a distaste for bodies, and certainly never participated directly in killing. It was a distasteful necessity of their work. She’d changed more than profession since last they’d worked together.

    In the next room, they overheard an argument between a woman and Gnomon, confirming Gnomon’s involvement with the cultists. Glowbug gave a tiny sigh, “Oh, Gnomon, how you have betrayed the Flame. Too long fighting monsters, I suppose. Maybe you can yet be redeemed.”

    “Can’t redeem a rakshasa,” said Vali, “They’re just evil and nasty. Bad fashion, too.” She paused. “I wonder if all that fur burns.”

    “If he’s a rakshasa,” Nae commented, trying to get the next door open. By chance, she managed to pick the lock. “But right now, I sense more of those death knights down below. Ready to torch ‘em, Vali?”

    Valissia did an elaborate bow, “Of course. I like burning things.”
    Thelanis - Dragons of the Shire
    Naeryna (Sun Elf 24 FvS Evoker) // Dianocia (Drow 11 Buckler o' Swashes) // Valissia (Elf 22 Shiradi Druid)
    Nae haz a story. Go read it.

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