You fully expected to meet dark elves here. After all, that is why you came. And perhaps
better than most you know their capacity for good. Still, seeing so many drow together is
slightly… unsettling. There are women and men both, and all but a few elves, humans
and others with black skin and white or silver hair. All of them are smiling at you, not
maliciously as the uneducated might expect, but kind and welcoming. They stand with
goblets or small trays of food, silently watching you enter.
The girl who let you in beckons you to follow, her thick, off-white dress curving around her form. Apparently she’s the talkative type as she speaks even before you’ve caught up with her. “This is a gathering of followers of Eilistraee,” she confides you, keeping her hands clenched behind her back. “A meeting spot of sorts. Everyone here worships the Dark Maiden.” She regards you with a serious look, as if to determine your reaction to this. Then she continues, “Most of us are drow, but as you can see we also count half-elves, elves, a few humans and others among our number.” Her hands sweep the hall, indicating the colorful group. They have returned to chatting amongst themselves, but still take time to share a warm nod with you as you look at them.
The drow girl spins around to face you, but still continues on, walking backwards.
“What are you good at?” Her question is accompanied by an inquisitive look in
her bright, red eyes. “Oh, it doesn’t matter.” She turns back again,
her white hair shortly flailing behind her and nearly hitting you. “We’ll
find a place for you.” After she says this she looks at you over her shoulder with
wide, almost proud eyes. “We’ve got all kinds here you know. Of course there
are the priestesses…” She gives a quick nod to a couple of dark elf women
dressed similar as she. “But we also have warriors and mages. Have you ever seen a
wizard at work? Oh, for all I know you are one.” Giving a short giggle she
continues. “And we have those quick with their hands and quicker with their feet.
Oh, let me get the door for you.” Having reached the end of the hall she opens a
great oaken door. The space behind it is slightly darker than the large room, but still
bright enough. Your guide stands besides the opening now. “After you.”
The hallway is darker than the large room you just left, but still bright enough to see. Here and there light filters in through small windows set high in the walls, near the far off ceiling. And where there are no such openings thick candles are set hidden in the wall to spread their faint glow. The contrast of pale yellow and natural white light looks strange on the dark stones, yet not as strange as the contrasts in the entry hall.
Before long the dark elf girl appears again to walk besides you. She points this way and that to guide you through the corridors, a left turn here, a right there. Along the way she also points out various doors, giving wide and detailed descriptions of the areas behind them. For indeed, having left the others behind has done nothing to temper her eagerness to talk.
“Behind that door lies one of the food stores. With winter coming it is starting to get quite full. But we only use it in emergencies, you know, when there are hungry folk need feeding.” The thought of helping the unfortunate seems to delight her. Then she suddenly remembers something. “Well, unless there is a feast. Have you ever been to a feast? What am I saying, of course you have. I just love to sing and dance and eat. With all the guests we have I think there might be another feast tonight.” This seems to excite her even more than feeding the hungry does. “You will come won’t you? Oh, turn right here.”
Following the direction of her arm you turn another corner. As you do so you pass a great door set with iron. “Behind that is the training room, where we learn the use of the sword. According to the Mistress sword fighting is like a dance, and I think she is right. But we learn dancing in another room, or outdoors. The Mistress says that I have talent with the blade, but I’m not very good yet. Sword Mistress seems a bit cranky, but is really nice once you get to know her. Lost her left hand in the Underdark you know. Here we are.”
You end up before a great, double door of the deepest black wood. The surface is carved to depict the lithe forms of elves dancing bare amongst trees and stars alike and under a full moon set high at the top. Two of the females each hold an iron ring on either side of the middle. The girl takes one of the rings and pushes, opening the door with not so much as a creak. She motions you towards the opening. “Go on in,” she beckons you, nearly whispering. “The Lady is already waiting for you.”