Date: 6/6-9/1479 DR
As the group was loading the Ragnarok to leave Silverymoon, Dredge dared to request that the group stop back by the Oursepaw Tribe in the High Forest.
“Why’d ye want ta head back to tha’ there place,” Cid asked casually with his thick accent.
“Before we gallivant off on some damn crusade to save the world there is someone I must see first.”
Cid just cocks an eyebrow at him. “So ye be thinkin’ tha’ one person is more important tha’ the fate of th’ world?”
“Perhaps. She may have information that we need. Now shall we depart or shall I start on foot?”
Cid looked to the rest of the SilverCloaks, but they were all taken aback by the Shaman’s unusual determination, and just shrugged in indifference.
“Aye, we’ll set a quick course for the she-elf, but don’ ye be thinkin’ I’ll be makin’ a habit o’ this!”
The Ragnarok took to the sky, headed southeast. As the great ship hovered over the forest, Cid could find no place to set the giant ship down, so Dredge was lowered (kicked) over the side of the ship. Once the forest obscures the ship from view Dredge reaches into the distant part of his drow nature and activates his ability to levitate and softly lands. Chuckling to himself that the fools aboard are none the wiser. Looking around he gains his bearings and heads toward the village. As he approaches, the guards recognize him and his Silver Cloak and let him pass without preamble. Dredge nods and continues on into the village heading straight to Nitara’s. At the door he softly knocks.
Inside the hut, he feels a breath of wind blowing out the cracks of the building, through the windows, and beneath the door. Internally, he hears the shushed voices of the spirits leaving at their mistresses behest. Once she is sure that she is as alone as she will get, Nitara calls out. “Please enter, fellow shaman. May peace be upon you.” As he enters, Dredge briefly sees her wipe at her eyes with the back of her hand. “You have returned quicker that I suspected, Da…, I mean, Dredge.”
“I would not have returned unless there was need….. I need you to tell me about ”/characters/daemelethvandree" class=“wiki-content-link”>Dae’meleth. I need to know as much as I can."
Nitara sighed heavily and seated herself comfortably, indicating that Dredge should do likewise. “Somehow when I saw my father’s spirit protecting you, my flowers still surrounding you, I knew that this day would come. I’ve been trying to steel myself for this, but it’s still so hard. And yet, this seems to be the second time that you’ve cheated death. The story that I tell comes from me as you told it to me. The ways of Drow are still confusing to me, but I hope that it will make sense to you. I have a hard time thinking of you and Dae’meleth as the same person, even though my heart knows it’s so…. As you will see, fate entwined our families more than we could have guessed.”
He was born Dae’meleth (Elven for “Shadow Love”) of House Vandree, the 17th house of Menzoberranzan at the time. He was the firstborn son of Fiirnel’ther, the daughter of Troken’ther, the matron mother of their house. Dae’meleth was raised by his older sister, Akneth, and trained with his younger sister, Myrymma, and their cousin Diavlin. As the oldest male in the family he trained at Melée-Magthere for the requisite 10 years and emerged at the head of his class, closely followed by his cousin. His sisters were trained as priestesses of Lolth at Arach-Tinilith.
His grandmother had grand designs to place her daughter in the seat of one of the 8 ruling Houses of Menzoberranzan, but they had a long way to go. Years before Dae’meleth was even conceived, Troken’ther began to hatch a plot that would bring down many of the Houses above her. She began sending her daughter to the surface to see if she could gather allies in their war against the upper houses. Secretly Fiirnel’ther gathered Intel on the surface Elves and discovered their hatred for their Drow cousins. For centuries Menzoberranzan had been sending their warriors to the surface to harry and kill the Light Elves and they were fed up. Armed with this knowledge, Fiirnel’ther was finally able to isolate and seduce one of the Captains named Gerben. Through him, the Drow was able to convince the surface Elves that she truly hated her kin and wished their aid in killing as many as they could. The Surface Elves mounted an army which Fiirnel’ther led into the bowels of the earth. Through means of magical communication, she and her mother planned and coordinated the attacks on the upper houses to coincide so that their fall would be blamed on the Light Elves. Their plan went off without a hitch and many Drow were killed in the raid. As Gerben and his compatriots returned to the surface, Fiirnel’ther made it appear as if she was “killed” while helping them escape. With a heavy heart, the remaining Elves returned to the surface feeling vindicated.
As a reward for her hard work in harming the surface elves and weakening the Greater Houses through a skillful coup, Fiirnel’ther was granted a union with Belgos of the 8th house in the hopes that such a union would elevate their own house. There was little love between Fiirnel’ther and Belgos, but there was enough that Dae’meleth and his sisters were conceived. Matron Traken’ther’s schemes soon grew more and more out of control until finally her sanity threatened their House’s progression. Fiirnel’ther killed her mother just before conceiving her first born son and she blessed the child to Lolth as she took the seat of Matron Mother of House Vandree.
Not long after Dae’meleth was born, Fiirnel’ther’s younger sister, Diviir, also fell pregnant and gave birth to Diavlin, thought to be the son of her coupling with a demon. The two cousins grew up together, often as rivals. Dae’meleth was seen as the Elder Boy of House Vandree, a position that Diavlin openly coveted, so this pushed both boys to continually strive to outdo one another, which actually made them stronger and pushed them harder to succeed. Together they left for Melée-Magthere to further their training. While they were away Fiirnel’ther secretly discovered that Belgos and Diviir had been having a love affair and that Diavlin was the byproduct. Fearing that this treachery would cause their house to lose face, she began secretly plotting a way for their house to raise its status and hopefully crush Belgos and his family in the process. If she could work it just right, then House Vandree would rise from the 17th House to the 8th, granting her a seat on the ruling council, and allowing her to take the revenge her heart craved. Soon the higher houses began to fall to her carefully plotted schemes as House Vandree began clawing its way to the top. This campaign defined the rest of the time the boys were training at Melée-Magthere. When their training was completed, the two boys joined Belgos in leading the Vandree House’s army and both excelled at spreading the bloodbath encouraged by their Matron. Subterfuge, murder, and plotting were a way of life that they both heartily accepted.
As Matron Fiirnel’ther was nearing her goal of overtaking the 8th house, she began to fear retaliation from the Surface Elves, who she had wronged early in her life, so she sent a small portion of their army to the surface to humble the elves and to keep them from attacking Menzoberranzan at this critical time. She put Dae’meleth in charge of this army with Diavlin as his second in command. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Belgos could see where Matron Fiirnel’ther’s path was taking them and he was balking at attacking his own family so Fiirnel’ther killed him and placed him in her sister’s room to let her know that she knew of their treachery. Diviir went mad, wildly attacking the Matron Mother, her sister, and was killed in the process. Up on the surface, Diavlin was tired of playing second fiddle to Dae’meleth, knowing that he has just a much right to lead their army since he secretly also knew that he was Belgos’ son. During the battle with the surface elves, he made sure that one of his blades found their way between Dae’meleth’s ribs while he was locked in combat with Captain Gerben (Dutch for “Bear Spirit”). Dae’meleth succeeded in killing the captain, but his multiple wounds almost killed him as well. Diavlin rolled him into a bush and left him to die a painful death as he led the successful army back to House Vandree. Upon his return, Diavlin found that Fiirnel’ther had finally conquered the 8th house and taken their place. He was shocked to hear that his parents had been killed during the battle, but he felt avenged when he told the Matron Mother that her eldest son had died at the hands of the Light Elves, twisting the story enough to make it sound like Dae’meleth had begun to doubt her edicts and tried to call off the attack, but Diavlin had seen it through, in spite of his cousin’s cowardice. Just as he’d planned, Diavlin was put in charge of their House’s armed forces and Dae’meleth’s name was considered a curse amongst the family, never to be voiced again on pain of death. Once Matron Fiirnel’ther finally had her place on the ruling council things settled down for the moment within House Vandree.
On the surface, Dae’meleth was saved by Captain Gerben’s daughter, me. Many among the elves felt that the Drow should be left to die, as did I, but the Spirits had other plans in store for him. As instructed, I slowly nursed Dae’meleth back to health and my caring ways intrigued him. He couldn’t fathom such a person after being raised among people like the Drow. She was as foreign to him as she was beautiful. The warrior felt conflicted as he found himself being attracted to her. So instead of facing his confusing emotions, he fled back to home as soon as he was healthy enough.
Dae’meleth fought his way back into the Underdark, through the many horrors between the surface and his home city, his wounds reopening as he fought for his life. Barely alive, he staggered into Menzoberranzan and up to the spiked gate of House Vandree. He was shocked when the gates wouldn’t open to his presence, so he called upon his innate abilities to float over the wall. As he did, he was even further enraged to find the House defenses attacking him. He was able to escape, though hurt within and without, he went into hiding behind some nearby stalagmites to recover his breath. As he waited, he saw one of the House goblin slaves returning from errands, and stopped the lowly creature with a sword held at its throat. Fearing for its life, the goblin explained that he was no longer its master, that his name was forbidden to be spoken and had been blotted out of the records. Confused and infuriated by this new circumstance, he took his rage out on the helpless slave and then hid its body. For the next few days he hid on the outskirts of town watching his family and plotting how to avenge himself. As Narbondel’s glow began to mark the darker hours of the night, when most of his people were asleep, he strapped on all of his weapons and made ready to attack. Just as he was leaving the side cave to make his way towards House Vandree, a strong hand grasped him by the shoulder. Dae’meleth spun around, sword already drawn, but his attack was parried by a flimsy looking dagger and a strange Drow in a floppy hat, wearing an ornate eye patch over his left eye. The Drow held us his free hand in a sign of peace and Dae’meleth ceased his attack, but remained on his guard.
“The path you’re on will only lead to suicide. I represent a group that could make use of your considerable skills instead of watching you throw them away.”
“Who are you,” the younger Drow questioned?
“My name is Jarlaxle and I lead a group of mercenaries for hire, not loyal to any House except the highest bidder, called Bregan D’aerthe. Everyone in your family already thinks that you’re dead, so you have nothing to lose. But if revenge means more to you than your life… don’t let me stop you.” With a flourish, the fop sheathed his dagger and disappeared into the shadows.
Dae’meleth knew that he needed time to think, so he went back into hiding and considered Jarlaxle’s proposition. Deep in his heart, he knew that he’d take the Merc up on his offer and maybe, somewhere down the road, he’d get a chance to undermine his family in the process. The next day he joined Bregan D’aerthe.
For the next few years he found a new family within the mercenary company. He found it exciting to be living on the edge but not bound to any Matron. As soon as he had earned his trust, Jarlaxle approached him again. “I’m considering spreading our operations to the surface world where they are just as much in need of our services. Since you’ve spent time up there and learned to put up with their sun, I’d like you to head that branch.” Dae’meleth was shocked to have been promoted so quickly, but he readily agreed and set up a safe house in the merchant city of Everlund. With so many people coming and going, he found that he could move around freely as long as he kept his dark features hidden. His money was good and that’s all the merchants cared about.
As he traveled back and forth through the High Forest he kept meeting up with Nitara and soon he found himself spending more time in the forest than in town. He had always known that she held his heart, but he just had to come to terms with it in his own time. She became an outcast for him, leaving her tribe, but the Shaman in her could never leave the forest that she’d loved for long. So the Drow mercenary found his time split between his work and his love and the years sped by enthralled by both.
Then came the fateful day when Jarlaxle asked Dae’meleth to meet with a new client named Jagannatha. The meeting was set in a dark room, even too dark for the Drow’s dark vision. All he could make out of his client was that the being had somehow wrapped itself in deep shadows, so secrecy was of the utmost importance to it. The creatures foreign and unplaceable accent gave away little of his identity as well. Jagannatha was paying Bregan D’aerthe very well to hunt down information on something called the Mother Node and the seals around it. He even warned the Drow that he would encounter interference from a group of protectors based in Silverymoon, chosen by Lord Methrammar himself, but regardless, Silverymoon would be the best place to start his research.
The whole meeting shook Dae’meleth to the core. Never before had the warrior known fear like this in the presence of such a powerful being. After reporting to Jarlaxle, he returned to the abode that he shared with his beloved and told her of the situation. That night, she communed with the spirits and the next morning she told him that she had a really bad feeling about this undertaking. Nonetheless, a job was a job, so he left her the next day to travel to Silverymoon to begin his research.
The information was buried deeply and protected by many of Methrammar’s guardians, but finally he discovered the hiding place of the only written clues to the locations of the seals. Jagannatha was ecstatic as he selected his most trusted Rakshasa general, Pheral’tibus, to accompany Dae’meleth on this quest. Nitara warned her love again not to do this job, but Dae’meleth felt honor bound. So he and Pheral’Tibus, accompanied by other Drow from Bregan D’aerthe, set out, fighting their way through the Silver Cloaks, who quickly rallied to try and stop them. They had the book in their hands, when the strongest members of the Silver Cloaks arrived, just in the nick of time, to undermine their plans. Dae’meleth was handed the book and vanished, while the Rakshasa defeated the last of the Silver Cloaks. Despite all of this, the gnomish woman had torn pages from the book before he’d gotten it, pages describing where the seals were hidden before she vanished forever from the eyes of Bregan D’aerthe. Jagannatha was furious over the partial failure. He killed many of his servants on the spot, wounded Pheral’tibus further, and was barely stopped from harming Dae’meleth by Jarlaxle’s cool and calculating intervention. Dae’meleth was ordered to find the gnomish rogue and to get back the lost pages. Wounded and with a heavy heart, he returned home to heal before he began tracking his prey.
As she always did, Nitara nursed her lover back to full health, frightened by the haunted look that she saw in the Drow’s eyes. From all of his research, Dae’meleth had learned much about the Mother Node and after Jagannatha’s angry explosion, he began to fear what power like that would do in the hands of one such as him. Would the world ever be the same? Nitara reminded him that it wasn’t too late to set things right. With a change of heart, he set out to hunt down the gnome, but not with the intent of getting back the pages, but with the intent of trying to make sure they were destroyed forever.
For the next few years he and Nitara searched high and low, following the elusive trail of the diminutive rogue. Together the Shaman and the Warrior pulled their talents and were close to finding her, when they realized that they were being trailed as well. Obviously, Jagannatha didn’t trust him and had ordered Pheral’tibus to follow and finish the job they’d begun. Dae’meleth’s treachery was also suspected, so the Rakshasa knew that he was to kill his former companion as well. With a prayer to whatever God or Nature Spirit would listen, they left the gnome to the fates, and the lovers set off to disappear from the world of Bregan D’aerthe and Jagannatha. For many months they led Pheral’tibus on a merry chase, but the experienced hunter never lost their trail for long. Dae’meleth knew that the only way to be free would be to kill Jagannatha’s lackey. Even with the combined skills of Nitara and those he had honed in the Underdark, he knew there was a very slim chance that both of them would make it out alive. That night, they made love for the last time, lingering in each other’s embrace before the light of dawn crept into the glade where they’d lain (in a forest West of the Thunder Peaks of Cormyr). The Drow, who had come so far from the loveless life he’d been born into, knew that he now lived to protect the one he loved. He could not see her harmed by this butcher, so he slipped strong herbs into her morning tea and left her in a deep sleep while he went to face Pheral’tibus alone. It was a battle of extreme skill and cunning, but in the end, the animal’s brutality surpassed even that of the drow; the Rakshasa ripped out Dae’meleth’s still beating heart and ate it.
When Nitara awoke it wasn’t hard to follow the path of destruction that lay in the wake of this epic battle. It almost killed the elf woman to find her love dead on the ground. For all of her primal knowledge, there was nothing that she could do to bring her love back from the dead. The spirts led the grief stricken Elf to the edge of the Tilverton Scar where an old mausoleum lay in ruins after the ravages of the Spellplague. The spirit of a great bear (her father) helped carry the body and there she laid her beloved to rest among the dead, honoring him only with a bouquet of black roses and ghost orchids, their favorite flowers (the dark rose representing the Drow, and the ghost orchids for the Light Elf). Then she returned to her people, unsure of whether they would ever accept her back or not. What broke her heart even further, was that her father’s spirit remained to watch over and protect the body instead of staying with his broken-hearted daughter….
“I felt betrayed by my husband, betrayed by my father’s spirit. Luckily, my people took me back in. They didn’t have the heart to further treat me as an outcast, they felt I’d done my penance for the choices I’d made. Since that time I’ve lived among my people, but never part of them. My own heart was ripped out when yours was that day and my body has been forever cold. Why? Why didn’t you take me with you? I would rather have died with you than live this cold life without you.” Suddenly, her composed veneer cracked, and tears held in for too many years come flooding out.
Dredge slowly and hesitantly approaches the sobbing she-elf. Something deep within him seems to stir… could it be the shadow of affection. He slowly puts first one arm and then another around the elf expecting to be pushed aside. If she does not reject the embrace he then comforts her the best he can even though he still feels nothing at this time.
When she calms down enough for him to speak he quietly says, “I am deeply sorry for all you have endured. I knew this would be difficult for you, that is why I stayed away as long as I did. I don’t have any answers to your questions because I have no memory of the events. Some of my memories have returned. Though they are few. When I awoke I had no memory at all but I kept the flowers because they seemed to have a special importance to me though I didnt know why. I do have one question. Twice you said that the spirits directed you to do specific things. Why did they want you to save me in the first place? What did they say that made you not let me die? And why did they want me buried where I was?”
As Dredge holds her, she melts into his embrace, almost as if it’s what she was used to.
Once the tears stop and she’s able to control herself again, she blows her nose on a handkerchief. The more he watches her, the more he realizes how intimately he knows her every gesture and nuance. She seems to be watching him just as closely.
She laughs at his questions. "You know how the spirits are, always mumbling and murmuring, but rarely explaining. My only guess is that Fate has things planned for you and your time wasn’t done. I can only assume that you were meant to live, to work for Bregan D’aerthe, to be hired by Jagannatha, to kill the Silver Cloaks, and then to die so that you could be reborn in a different guise to finish the work you started against Jagannatha. If you hadn’t followed those steps, maybe life wouldn’t be set up properly for you to defeat him. This is all supposition, of course. "
“Well…. then you should know that being buried in the scar left its mark.” Dredge takes a step back and activates the spellplague and purple fire bursts through his eye bandages and blue fire erupts from his feet. He then removes the blindfold and lets her see his eyes. “I’m not blind either, it helps hide what I am and it’s useful to be dismissed as a cripple. So…what do you think of the monster that I have become?”
Nitara just laughs. "Very impressive, " she mocks half-heartedly. “You tried something similar when I previously expressed my love for you. You tried to remind me of the Drow monster who killed my father, who only knew how to kill, not love. I proved you wrong then. It’s not your appearance that I see, but your heart. Anyone who can’t see that is truly blind!”
She stands and brushes dust off her skirt. “You may not remember our love from before, but know that you will always have an ally in me. Whatever you need, please ask.”
Having never had someone not be repulsed at his presence, let alone the Spellpague, Dredge let the spellfire burn out. He quietly retied his blindfold then gathered his things. Pausing for a minute he then turned and said quietly, “come with me…. I may never regain all my memory but come. If what you said about Jagganatha is true then my party is being tracked already even with an airship. Come, what do you say?”
The elf took in a a deep breath and held it as she slowly looked around her hut at the physical realm but also the spiritual realm. The spirits either seemed to be holding their breath as well, or they were ignoring the situation altogether. Nitara finally exhaled, “I suppose that you have come back into my life for some, as yet, unknown reason. Nonetheless, fate brought you back and I should find out why. Yes, I’ll come with you, if you have room in this airship. Let me just pack some of my belongings.” She turned, and grabbing a backpack, started filling it with clothes and some of her shamanic paraphernalia.
Dredge’s face cracked into the first genuine smile he thought he had ever made. “I would ask that, if it is not to much trouble, if you would not divulge, just yet, that I can see, or that I and Dae’meleth are the same person. They would not take this news to kindly. As it is, they tolerate me at best and many of them are relatives or orphans of SilverCloaks that …expired… to early due to Dae’meleth’s actions. I dont mind at all claiming you as my wife if you’ll allow it. (This was said with a little chuckle at the thought of the news reaching his companions.) Oh and as fate would have it one of them is the daughter of that gnome you were looking so hard for. As for the rest of them they are all still pretty green saplings.”
With that Dredge let her finish her preparations in peace. Once finished as he started out the door he paused and said. “Though I have no memory I can see why Dae’meleth enjoyed your company….. its nice… to have sunlight with you… at lest for a time.” And with that he stepped out.
As they were stepping out the door together, the import of things he’d said hit her. "Wait, you’re now traveling with the children of the Silver Cloaks that were killed, fighting against Jagannatha together? You ARE caught very deeply in the threads of fate! I will keep your secrets and maybe, in time, we can learn to love each other like we used to. " She also finds herself smiling in a way that she hadn’t in a long while. For the first time in a long while, she began to hope that she was doing something for a better future.
Nitara said her good-byes to the tribal elders, and when they returned to where Dredge had been deposited in the forest, a rope was hanging down between the trees to allow them up onto the airship.