[OOC: this initial paragraph doesn't make sense due to misunderstanding]Being addressed to as "lady", Phaere instinctively rolled her eyes
"We're friends, Sevren, just call me Phaere. Or should I start to call you "Lord Sevren"?
The young drow remarked with a soft, teasing chuckle.When she heard, or felt, the pain inflicted on Cassia, Phaere's eyes flared rage. The girl harbored a visceral hatred of tyranny and cruelty.
Her voice was filled with kindness, but it also resonated with near-contagious audacity.
Neither the one you wrongly call master, nor the stinkin' spider bitch will find you here; Eilistraee's magic will make sure of that. Also, as I said, even if whatever fiendish crap they have up their sleeve managed to find you, they'll need to get past me, and Sevren, and all the others. We're free here, and you are too.
She then gave the drow warrior a disarming smile
Now that ugly things are out of the way... all your questions will receive answers, but it is foolish to have important talks with an empty stomach. I'll be happy to cook the best pancakes you had in a long time, then we can talk all you want.
Cassia was shown the way within the glade-temple, on a path through the many trees that surrounded it. On ground level was a placid lake, its surface littered with blue, white and pink lotus flowers. A small island was in the middle, covered in grass and particular flowers that glowed with a blue-white light in the night--mostly used for the dances in honor to Eilistraee. There stood a finely sculpted statue of a beautiful drow maiden with ankle-length hair dancing skyclad. The isle was connected to the forest through a curved lumber bridge, covered in moss, vines, and inflorescences. On one side of the lake, there was a rock-strewn slope, upon which a stream of water gently flowed.
"Forgive me for sidestepping the other sisters, Sevren. I'm just a habitual traveler here, but I'm positive that none of us would deny food and shelter to a hungry person. Let them enjoy their rest until dawn"
The houses of the drow were built on the branches of a ring-shaped canopy of trees around the lake. Spiraling, wooden staircases surrounded the trunks, leading to the dwellings. The latter were built of wood too, and designed with an eye for beauty and elegance: open-plan, with vaulted ceilings, and ample use of thin, graceful columns decorated with floral and leafy motifs, and acute arches. A visible opening in the slope led to caves within, probably hosting a forge, a storage, and the likes, magically kept dry. Small, apparently living globes of dancing light illuminated the forest with silver and a variety of shades of blue, lilac, and green.
Higher on the hill-like formation, the water stream branched out following an artificial bed of rocks, to flow inside the natural slope. A thin fog of steam emanating from that entrance marked the rocks as hot, and to those competent in magic it would be clear that they were magically heated, likely to provide warm water.
[OOC: There isn't any strict canon for the architecture used by followers of Eilistraee. I mean, they generally use natural caves, and proper temples are almost non-existent. However, in line with the freedom of expression that is valued by the moondancers, elven-like architecture is possible , and there are canon examples for it. In this case, I pictured the temple with Lothlorien in mind: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Z8fMw ... sp=sharing]
Phaere said with a romantic look in her eyes.
Beautiful, isn't it? The lotus flowers need quite a lot of tending to grow in this climate, but I find them to be a perfect symbol for Eilistraee. Majestic plants that bloom from mud, just like she makes beauty flourish in everything, especially in the broken.
She invited the other two to a small structure immersed in the canopy. The room that she was given for her stay was spartan if elegant, but she still managed to make it look chaotic. A portable, cross-strung harp and some books lied on her bed: mostly notes about music, recipes, and a sketchbook. Balled up sheets of paper inked with what seemed to be music writing were spread everywhere on the floor and on a desk. A leaf-bladed, silvered, and exquisitely forged (but otherwise mundane) sword leaned against a wooden closet.
She made room on the bed, and nodded towards it.
She was as sweet as ever, and quickly disappeared off to cook the food.
You can lay here for now, if you wish. In the meantime, I'll go prepare your breakfast, and a room and a warm bath will be readied for you.
Not long after, Phaere returned with a plate filled with a very hearty portion of golden, fluffy pancakes covered with honey, and an assortment of fresh berries, all of which she put on the desk--after dismissing the various papers on it with a simple cantrip. She looked extremely satisfied with her work, perhaps just a bit too much. [OOC: She could be like Bard(1)--for her arts--Cleric(9), or a full-blown Bard refluffed as Sword Dancer, with the Performer and Acrobat feats]
She left the drow ample time to sate their hunger, then she spoke.
"They are yummy, have at it!"
Her expression became all dreamy when she started speaking of the Dark Maiden, as that of a girl at her first crush
So, you want to know about Eilistraee
Her words were rather theatrical, as expected by a musician and performer, but every single one was filled with pure and vibrant love, rooted deep in her soul.
Yes, as you suggested before, Eilistraee is our leader, in a sense, but she is so much more than just that. She is our goddess, and mother, and light, and hope. You know, when you are falling deep down into an abyss, when the weight of the world seems to be all on you, and the darkness and the cold drag you deeper and deeper. Yet you see a light reaching for you even down there, a warmth that surrounds you, embraces you like a mother when you're at your lowest, and brings you up and up until you breathe again, and the abyss turns into the most beautiful starry sky that you've ever seen. That's Eilistraee.
Or when you are so crushed, that you have given up on your dreams and on all, but in that moment you find something like a beautiful flower, or a sweet song, or kind strangers. You feel a loving presence setting the spark within you alight, rebelling to resignation, reminding you of what you wanted to be, of what you're worth. That's also Eilistraee. In short, she's the beauty that gives life purpose even when all seems lost. Oh, and the voice that led you here? I'm pretty sure that it was Eilistraee, and she probably also protected you from potential threats on your way.
The girl took her black violin to play a few dramatic notes as she spoke.
There are so many songs that I could sing about our sweet Maiden. Like her long, long history as the daughter of the spider bitch and the ever-uncaring elven dandy, who sacrificed comfort, luxury and power to be one of us, share our battle and hopes in the darkest times...
She took the time to consider Cassia's other concerns and to provide answers that could make some sense to her, then began to explain, ticking off motivations on her delicate and nimble fingers.
... but what I told you is the core of what she is to the drow.
As for why I want to help you, well, there are quite a few reasons.
Phaere suddenly became tense for worriment, as she remembered that she was addressing a drow of unknown faith, possibly a Lolthite, and to the kind of religious intolerance she might have been used to. Her words came out hastily, as if to placate any potential concern.
There's strength in compassion, in saving a life, because untold beauty can stem from an awakened soul, and beauty is the most powerful weapon against fear and resignation. The world is just better for that, and we all live in it.
We Moondancers are also quite lonely up here on the surface, you know. I want every one of us to find out what they've been missing on in life, and to embrace it. I want the drow to feel the wind, the smell of the forest, the freedom of dancing under the moon and to celebrate all that together. I want a happy existence for them, in part so that I can share in it. It's selfish altruism if you will.
And finally, I love Eilistraee. She weeps for all of us that suffer, and I want her to smile instead.
The girl softened again as she spoke of her goddess.
Don't misunderstand us! Eilistraee doesn't require you to convert to her faith—not that she would mind, naturally, and it's lots of fun... anyway, she wants you to take back your happiness, to find your own path and flourish again. That's what makes her smile inside, it's just her nature.
Phaere's nonchalant expression and her impish wink clearly marked the last statement as an invitation.
For example, if there's anything we can do to help you with your magic--and situation in general--I know that there will be some of us up to the task—and maybe piss the spider bitch off and teach this so called "master" an unforgettable lesson in the process. I sure am...