1350 DR The Year of the Morning Star
Eleasias 12 (Waning Crescent Moon)
Krath padded along silently throughout the halls of House Tebryr’Daersharra on his evening rounds flanked on either side by a male drow guard. The tawny furred wemic had dwelt within House Tebryr’Daersharra for several years since his liberation from the slave auction in Skullport. Krath and over a dozen other wemics from different tribes had been captured and dragged off to Skullport to be either sold at the slave markets or to fight in the arenas. Lady Kierda with the blessing of her twin sister Lady Jhaelrya and a small band of Eilistraeens on word of information and a map that had been procured made their way to Skullport beneath Waterdeep. There in Skullport the Eilistraeens found the adult and older wemics and the terrified younger wemics around the city and were told by Eilistraee to free them by any means available to them. Thus they did so without bloodshed and with much coin and on the way back to House Tebryr’Daersharra several voiced their wishes to return to the Surface Lands to see if they had families and tribes left. The others chose to remain with House Tebryr’Daersharra knowing there was nothing left of their tribes or families left to return to.
Krath and the drow guards continued on their rounds around House Tebryr’Daersharra. To the wemic things seemed well nothing out of place until something in the air reached Krath’s nostrils…blood. “Guards,” he commanded, “Follow me!” The wemics powerful legs carried him swiftly through the hallways following it to its source. He reached Lady Jhaelrya’s room with her husband Lord Tarrellan and called within, “My Lady! My Lord!” he waited for an answer and upon receiving none in response unsheathed his weapons as he entered with the drow guards in tow. Krath could smell the heavy scent of blood lingering in the air. The drow guards followed his lead and did likewise. The wemic began a search of the apartment his lord and lady shared. He could smell the blood and followed it using caution as he rounded the doorway to the bathing area.
“Lord Tarrellan!” Krath exclaimed seeing his lord’s partially clothed body lay on the floor in a large pool of his own blood. The wemic was quick to Tarrellan’s side but as he knelt and his paw accidently touched the blood he realized that he had found him too late. The blood had already begun to congeal and the top layer had a thin layer over it and in certain spots became tacky to the touch. Then the wemic motioned to the two drow guards with him.
“Raysil,” the wemic said a grim look on his face, “find Lady Jhaelrya and Lady Kierda and tell them to meet me here.” Krath stood up, “Tell no one else in House Tebryr’Daersharra what has befallen Lord Tarrellan. No one.”
“Yes, sir,” Raysil replied sheathing his sword took his leave and quickly set to his task.
“Inundar, guard, that door.” The wemic ordered. “Let no one pass unless it is Ladies Jhaelrya and Kierda.”
“Yes, sir,” Inundar replied and took his post at the door of the bathing area.
Krath began his investigation. Lord Tarrellan lay on his right side with what looked like two crossbow bolts that had been fired into his back. Both bolts were on opposite sides of the spine. The wemic realized Lord Tarrellan would not have been able to remove the bolts by himself which meant someone else had to remove them. Krath leaned down and carefully opened Lord Tarrellan’s mouth there was no telling odor to give him some indication of what might have killed him. The wemic knew that something foul must have been in those crossbow bolts to cause Lord Tarrellan’s death. He felt around the body rigor mortis had come set and passed. He also noted the presence of some of the Underdark beetles had converged upon Lord Tarrellan’s body. The wemic stood up sadly and realized Lord Tarrellan had died sometime within the last few hours.
Raysil returned with Lady Jhaelrya, Lady Kierda and Faediira in tow. Faediira’s gaze went from her father’s body that lay on the floor up to Krath. The half-drow’s eyes pierced him to his soul and he turned slowly away as Lady Jhaelrya came forward. Faediira started to follow her but Lady Kierda gently grabbed her niece and held her back until her sister was ready to call for her. Lady Jhaelrya numbly walks over to her husband’s body and crumbles to the floor over him and starts sobbing. Faediira suddenly wiggled free of her aunt’s grip and ran to her mother’s side.
“Father, are you alright?” The half-drow asked putting her hand on her father’s shoulder. “Mother, why is father not awake? Is it time for him to sleep?”
Lady Jhaelrya looked up at her daughter through teary eyes. “Oh, Faediira, my child,” she said softly and pulled her toward her into a hug, “I am afraid your father is with Eilistraee now. He is with her in her realm.”
Krath padded toward the door where Raysil had joined Inundar opposite his post. The wemic could not bear the young princess’s pain but knew now there was a killer running loose in House Tebryr’Daersharra his home. Krath came closer to the guards and noticed a different scent about Raysil just then it was a heavy perfume. Krath opened his mouth to comment on it and was interrupted when Thrazel the High Wizard suddenly burst into the room. Krath’s eyes narrowed menacingly and he growled outright.
The wemic came forward then a hand on one of his swords, “You are not needed here Thrazel, nor were you called for.” Krath said silently to him. “How is it then that you are here?” Then the wemic noticed the same heavy scented perfume about the High Wizard. Krath sniffs the air about the High Wizard, “Late night bathing for you Thrazel,” the wemic cajoled, “how odd for one who seeks to smell of sulfur and brimstone all the time.”
The High Wizard’s face remained impassive yet his eyes betrayed all that the wemic needed to know. Of all the creatures in House Tebryr’Daersharra the wemics especially Krath and S’gra did not fear the eccentric High Wizard. Krath turned his head over to Raysil and asked, “Did you help him wash his back Raysil or spray the perfume on him yourself?” The wemic moved closer to the guard and took a great sniff of the air, “Your guilt hangs about you as much as the perfume does.”
Krath pads over then to Kierda and asks her loud enough for Thrazel to hear him but quiet enough that Lady Jhaelrya could not hear him if Lady Jhaelrya will have Tarrellan raised from the dead or if House Tebryr’Daersharra should prepare for entombment. The drow priestess looked to Krath and honestly did not know what to say to him. Krath bowed and told Kierda that he would await her word. He stalks over by the door and stands guard.
The young guard he had sent to tell the twins stood next to him. The wemic had no doubt in his mind that young Raysil must have stood too close to Thrazel when he sprayed himself with the perfume. Krath suddenly glared at the young guard, “You disobeyed my orders and told Thrazel after I told you specifically to tell only the sisters.” The young guard realizing his mistake and knew he would pay for it later on out of the earshot of the others. Krath then glared over at Thrazel for several minutes leaving the drow quite shaken.
Lady Kierda slowly walked over to her twin sister and her niece and knelt down holding both of them. The Eilistraeen priestess whispers in her sister’s ear and Lady Jhaelrya nods sobbing in grief. Lady Kierda quickly looks up at Krath when she suddenly notices the terrified look on the High Wizard’s face. Kierda nods to Krath when S’gra steps into the room and sees the scene before her. The shamaness of the wemics bows her head and comes closer to the grieving family. Lady Jhaelrya looks up through her tears and asks S’gra to take Faediira back to her room. S’gra nods her head and helps the young half-drow up and onto her back. As S’gra leaves the room she too catches a whiff of the well washed High Wizard and eyes him warily. Then looks over at Krath who nods to her.
Lady Kierda stands up and helps her sister up from the floor. “Jhaelrya you have to get out of your robes, my sister.” She said softly.
Krath orders Inundar and Raysil to help him remove Lord Tarrellan’s body from the room. Lady Kierda goes to the corner of the room where Lord Tarrellan kept his armor and weapons and gives them to Raysil to carry. Krath nods his head to the sisters and with great reverence lifts and carries Tarrellan’s body to the preparation area. He tells the guards to walk ahead of him knowing Raysil would feel his eyes staring at the back of his head the whole time. They bring Tarrellan’s body for bathing. Lady Jhaelrya meets Krath who stands guard over Tarrellan’s body until she gets there.
Over the next twelve hours Lady Jhaelrya prepares her beloved’s body. She sings softly to him as she bathes away the blood on his body even through her tears. Lady Jhaelrya massages oils onto his skin lovingly and put his armor on him. When she finishes the preparations she calls for Krath and the guards to come and bring out Tarrellan’s body.
Lord Tarrellan’s body is laid upon the viewing altar and the family is called together. Messengers from House Tebryr’Daersharra are sent to inform the other Ladies of Houses Ithraquar, Kith’tari, Nevlyn’Nadra, Zezzandyr and family friends from each of those Houses gathered with Lady Jhaelrya and Faediira as well to say their farewells to Tarrellan. The House Tebryr’Daersharra High Priestesses begin their circle dance around the viewing altar. Lady Jhaelrya dances around with Lady Kierda and Faediira at first then the others join in. When the dance is done silver white flames burst up around the altar. The flames did not give off a burning heat, and after a few minutes died down, Tarrellan’s body was removed and moved into the crypt area beneath House Tebryr’Daersharra.
Eleasias 15 (New Moon)
Faediira wandered around the halls of House Tebryr’Daersharra with a purpose. The barefoot half-drow was sure to make her way swiftly and quietly avoiding the guards especially Krath, one of the wemic guards, which always seemed to be one step ahead of her when she slipped out of her room for an adventure or to set up practical jokes on her unsuspecting family members. Tonight however, she had something specific on her mind and was determined to make her destination before she was found missing from her room. She secretly cursed the wemics sense of smell, especially Krath. He could track her soaking wet all the way to her favorite meeting spot with Elisara, and the twins; Tiryku and Yuryka. Faediira came to the corner that would lead down the hall to her aunt’s room. The half-drow carefully peeked around the corner just in time to see a drow guard walk around the corner down the other end of the hall and out of sight. The half-drow knew she only had a short time before the guard or even Krath found her. She flew with the grace of a Glouras down the hall until she came to her aunt’s room. “Aunt Kierda,” the half-drow called urgently knocking on the door, “Are you in there?”
“Just a second Faediira,” her aunt replied, “I will be right with you.”
Faediira looked up and down the hallway. She was getting nervous and she knew she would not be able to ask her aunt later when everyone was about their own personal tasks. She knew it would not be long before Krath found her missing from her room. So she understood within herself that she had to be quick in her little mission. Faediira was getting anxious.
Suddenly her aunt opened the door.
“What are you doing out of bed, Faediira?” Kierda asked. “You should be asleep child. You need your rest young lady. And Krath will have a fit if he finds you missing.”
“I am sorry Aunt Kierda,” Faediira replied her head downcast her eyes looking at the floor, “but what I need to ask you could not wait.”
Kierda put her arm around Faediira and ushered the half-drow child into her room then shut the door behind them. She led her into her living room area a couple rooms away from the door and away from prying ears. Gossip tended to run rampant within House Tebryr’Daersharra’s walls despite Lady Jhaelrya and Lady Kierda’s best efforts to squash the ugliness of it. Lady Kierda directed her niece to a chair and bade her to sit down. She found it strange that the half-drow would not look up at her.
“Faediira, what is the matter?” Kierda asked her. “Are you well? Do you need healing?”
“Can you speak with the dead, Aunt Kierda?” The half-drow suddenly blurted out.
The priestess of Eilistraee’s eyes widened and was completely taken aback by her niece’s question. In all her life she had never been asked that question. She knelt down in front of Faediira and lifted the child’s face to look her directly in the eyes. The half-drow resisted and turned away from her aunt.
“Faediira,” Her aunt’s voice became stern, “Look at me!”
The half-drow slowly looked up at her aunt and met her eyes timidly. Now that she had asked her aunt she was fearful of the consequences it might have.
“Faediira, please, tell me why you would ask me such a thing,” Kierda politely demanded of her niece. “Is this something you wished to know? Or for someone else?”
“Me…” The half-drow said under her breath.
“Is there a reason you wanted to know, child?” Kierda continued questioning her.
“Yes.” Her niece replied.
“Please tell me what that is Faediira?” The priestess of Eilistraee asked her.
“I want to know who killed my father!” Faediira whispered harshly as her hands balled into fists.
Her niece was still hurting from her father’s murder. Lady Kierda wondered if the half-drow would ever be able to heal from such a traumatic event. The drow priestess moved closer to her niece and put her arms around her.
“You and I will discuss this with your mother,” Lady Kierda told the half-drow. Her tone was encouraging to Faediira’s young sensibilities. “Now go back to bed before Krath finds you missing and raises the alarm.”
“Alright Aunt Kierda,” Faediira said as she rose from the chair and followed her aunt to the door.
Lady Kierda opened the door and peered out into the hall looking up and down the hallway to make sure it was all clear. “I will see you later, Faediira. Get some rest.”
Faediira with her aunt by her side sat down together in the Lady Jhaelrya’s private audience chamber. It was a comfortable looking room with functional couches and high backed chairs and a sturdy round table in the center of the room.
“Faediira, I understand that you wished to speak with me,” Lady Jhaelrya said looking over at her daughter. “Is there something the matter?”
Faediira looked at her mother both of her hands flat on the table. “I want to know who murdered my father. I want to go to the Surface Lands so I can tell his parents what has befallen their son. They deserve to know mother.”
Lady Jhaelrya’s eyes widened but her face remained impassive. She knew this was going to happen sooner or later. She just was not expecting her daughter’s desire to learn about this knowledge would be so soon. Lady Jhaelrya placed a hand over her daughter’s, “You plan on going to the Lands of Light then, my daughter?” Lady Jhaelrya asked.
“Yes mother,” the half-drow said. ”They deserve to know what has happened.”
“Yes, yes, of course they do,” Lady Jhaelrya replied. “I take it you will be leaving us then when the time is right, my beautiful daughter.” Lady Jhaelrya lifted her hand caressing the left side of Faediira’s face.
“I will wait mother,” Faediira said, “I will wait as long as it takes to bring father’s murderer to justice.”
Suddenly Thrazel the High Wizard walked straight into Lady Jhaelrya’s living room which opened into her private audience chamber. Thrazel took a couple steps toward them and was quite surprised to find something cold and sharp at his throat. The High Wizard realized that it had to be Krath the wemic with an invisibility spell cast of him to safeguard the rooms without alerting anyone else, especially unwanted guests.
“Give me the excuse, Thrazel,” Krath snarled at him pushing forward with his swords, “You dare intrude on the Ladies private moment. You were not given permission to be here during their family meeting. Get out!”
Thrazel suddenly began to panic. He knew exactly how deadly accurate the wemic was with his swords. The drow was not sure what to do at this point or where to go. Krath would cut him down in a heartbeat if given the chance. Of all the wemics in House Tebryr’Daersharra he knew Krath and even the shamaness S’gra detested him the most. The only thing the conniving High Wizard could do was watch what unfolded next while Krath kept him at bay with his swords.
Lady Jhaelrya leaned forward and hugged her daughter. “Oh Faediira, I wish we did not have to resort to this, but maybe you are right. We should learn who betrayed Tarrellan’s trust and murdered him.”
Thrazel slowly realized what they planned to do. He was not sure if only one of the twin sisters was to be involved or both of them. He knew through speaking with other priestesses within House Tebryr’Daersharra that even divine spells had limitations. Thrazel backed up unwillingly as the invisible Krath continued to push forward, his blades against the High Wizard’s throat backing him up quickly and out of the room.
“This is not over wemic!” Thrazel promised in a hiss, spinning around so quickly that his robes gathered around in front of him as he was leaving the room causing him to trip himself up, no doubt to retreat to the spiraling stalagmite formation that Krath knew the High Wizard would retreat to, “The Spire” as most of House Tebryr’Daersharra called it. If Thrazel was in the Spire then he would not be seen for at least several days, especially after the horrible scare Krath had just given him and giving Lady Jhaelrya and Lady Kierda the time needed to perform the spell.
Lady Kierda as House Tebryr’Daersharra’s high priestess slowly made her way around the crypt lighting the incense in the silver braziers banishing and purifying the air of possible foul things within its walls. Her twin sister Lady Jhaelrya set about lighting the candles as Lady Kierda began chanting. Faediira crinkled her nose as the strong smell of the heady incense finally wafted over to her. The half-drow thought to bring her harp and in honor of her fallen father played his favorite music. Lady Jhaelrya and Lady Kierda decided that it was for the best that only Krath and S’gra be present during this time. Both of the trusted wemics knew that they would not be able to communicate with Tarrellan but that his spirit might take some comfort in knowing and seeing that they were there protecting his family.
Faediira reminded herself of the questions she was going to ask her father over and over again in her mind while she was playing her harp. She knew Lady Kierda needed time before the spell could take effect and was thankful she had prepared several rather lengthy pieces that her father had never tired of listening to when she played for him while he was alive. One question, though, bore to the forefront of her brain like a purple worm through the ground. Who had killed her father? She prayed that Eilistraee had granted her aunt a spell or two that would help her find out who that was so House Tebryr’Daersharra could enact justice. Faediira was still playing her harp when her aunt had finished the spell.
Lady Jhaelrya let out a sudden gasp as Tarrellan’s mouth slowly opened and swirling motes of magical light escaped from within as well as some other crawling critters that had taken up residence in his empty shell of a body. Tarrellan slowly opened his eyes and sat up, as he did so his chainmail armor protested slightly and even more so when he swung his feet around so that they dangled off of the stone slab. Tarrellan looked around the crypt with maggot infested blue eyes. The empty shell that was Tarrellan Krindarm possibly out of former human habit looked in the direction of Lady Jhaelrya first, then to Lady Kierda, Krath and S’gra, and finally his blue eyes, maggots crawling and squirming to the point where they were falling out hitting his lap and ending up on the floor, came to rest on his half-drow daughter who was still playing the harp her tear filled blue eyes transfixed on her father.
“Faediira, come quickly my love, ask your questions before the spell dissipates.” Lady Jhaelrya commanded and stepped off to the side to stand with her twin sister.
Faediira hurriedly set aside her harp and stood up coming to stand before her father. “I have questions for you father.” The half-drow told him.
The corpse of her father looked down at his daughter to regard her with eyes that could not even shed tears. She was also not sure how he was going to react to the questions she had for him.
“Was the person who killed you from House Tebryr’Daersharra, father?” She asked him.
“I do not know Faediira,” Tarrellan replied, “I never saw who it was.”
“Did you see anyone before you were killed?” The half-drow asked him.
“No.” Tarrellan replied again. “As far as I know I was alone.”
“Did anyone know you were going to be alone?”
“Only your mother. I was going to join her once I freshened up.” He replied.
"Do you believe that you may have had enemies in House Tebryr’Daersharra?"
“Everyone was always friendly with me.” He said looking around the room as if to find something.
Faediira saw the sudden look on Krath’s face as Tarrellan once more looked straight at him and S’gra and both nodded to him and came forward. The half-drow knew that the wemics felt weird around any type of magic that went against the natural order of things; such as being able to speak to the dead. Krath and S’gra put a hand each on Faediira’s shoulders to reassure Tarrellan that she was being protected. The wemics both understood that they could not communicate with him verbally or it would break the spell. Then Tarrellan looked over at his beautiful wife Lady Jhaelrya and watched as her tears fell one by one down her cheeks.
“Faediira, you can ask your father one more question before the spell will end.” Lady Kierda told her half-drow niece.
The look on the half-drow’s face was solemn as she understood what was about to happen. But there was one more question on her mind that had worried her for some time. “Father, are you at peace?”
“My precious, Twilight,” Tarrellan touched her cheek with his pale hand using his special nickname for her, “Eilistraee is truly as benevolent as they say. When we are all together again we shall dance and sing within the light of her love.”
Krath and S’gra caught Tarrellan’s falling body as the magic that animated it abruptly came to an end. They held him up just long enough to allow Faediira to scoot out from underneath it. They carefully laid his body back down on the stone slab. Lady Jhaelrya came forward and kissed him on the forehead as tears continued to stream down her face. Faediira looked quietly at her father’s body no closer to finding her father’s killer as tears of her own streamed down her face. But one thing gave all of them gathered some comfort that Tarrellan was indeed with Eilistraee and he was at peace.
“I am sorry mother,” Faediira said coming to stand closer to her mother, “I was certain father was going to be able to tell us who killed him.”
“You tried Faediira,” Lady Jhaelrya told her daughter and pulled her in close for a hug, “One day we will find out who killed Tarrellan.”
“I will never give up mother,” the half-drow vowed, “Eilistraee guide me in my quest to learn the truth about who killed my father!”