Chapter 2: The Underdark
Much better format then chapter 1! I was still getting the hang of the website. Again all the lore is based off of Dungeons and Dragons 5e. I hope you enjoy, stay tuned for chapter 3!
Thia's village was located right in the middle of Sildëyuir. It was a very majestic and dense forest but Thia had wandered the woods so many times she knew how to manipulate it. She was enjoying her long walk to nowhere when she reached the edge of her village. Normally she walked in the forest during twilight, but the sky was still pitch black. She looked around in wonder at the large, silver trunked trees that now had phosphorescent fungus glowing up and down the trunks of them. A pack of silver deer ran across her path and glowing foot-long emerald and sapphire dragonflies buzzed around her. The grass lit up with every step she took. Everything seemed to be humming with magical energy.
"So where exactly do you have me going Zariel," asked Thia.
We are going to the Underdark. I'm sure you're familiar with that particular realm and The Drow, correct? she asked.
"I mean of course. Father used to tell scary stories to us about the Underdark and the Dark elves that lived there. Why would we go there?" asked Thia.
Well, eventually your time will run out and I will need a soul. A dark elf's soul would be a great addition to my army. Also, most dark elves well-versed in demonology so we might learn some information on how to separate us. They'd be more than willing to help given the fact that they most likely know my name and would love the chance to talk to me. They might even willingly allow you to mark them and join my army, she explained.
"Who would willingly do that? You said it yourself that my parents would be tormented for all of eternity," Thia replied.
Most people would assume that going to Hell is an automatic sentence to be tortured. When you marked your parents, their soul belongs to me and me only. What I choose to do with their souls is my decision alone. For you, I will sentence them to be tortured for all of time. However, some of the souls I receive, if they deem worthy, will join my ranks and be trained to fight alongside me. They can receive promotions if they go above and beyond my expectations. Do not get the wrong idea Thia. I need soldiers. Your parents were a special case and we need time for you to get the hang of it. I will not accept just anyone. Do not go around and mark just anyone who offends you. I know you enjoyed condemning your parents. It's another side effect of the binding. You are gaining some of my personality traits such as lack of empathy, pleasure in other's suffering, and probably love of fire but I suppose we will have to see about that one Zariel explained.
"Okay there's no reason to assume that I'm crazy enough to just mark anyone, I'm not that petty. It's really annoying that you ju-," Thia started.
Shhhhh Thia! Hide! I sense something evil lurking, she warned. Thia quickly ran off the path and hid behind a large boulder. She held her breath and waited for what was to come. She saw a dark, cloaked figure almost floating through the wood.
It’s a Drow Thia. You need to follow him, He's heading to a portal to the underdark, Zariel instructed. Thia waited until he passed and she quietly followed the Drow through the forest. The trees were losing their glow as the sun began to rise slowly. She followed the Drow until he stopped at a large cobblestone wall. What a random place for a wall in the middle of the forest, Thia thought.
It's not random Thia, it's obviously there for a reason which you will see if you pay attention, she said. Thia rolled her eyes and watched as the Drow lifted his hands and started muttering incantations under his breath. The wall started trembling and the Drow walked forward and disappeared into the cobblestone.
Now's your chance Thia! Go now! She commanded. Thia ran through and came face to face with the Drow himself.
Standing in a dark cave was a tall Drow looking at Thia with a menacing scowl. He had long, silver hair decorated with pins and webbing made of some sort of metal. His skin was a dark grey and his eyes were bright red. He was wearing an all black leather shirt and pants that had various weapons stashed in holsters. "Why are you following me girl?" asked the Drow.
Tell him you want to speak to his leader and that you have some information you're willing to trade for help and hospitality, instructed Zariel.
"Ummm I want to speak to your leader I guess. I have some information they might want, and I'd like to trade that for your help and possibly hospitality," she nervously said to the Drow.
"You look like you have barely any years on you little, well I'm not exactly sure what you are. You have some features of a fae but your wings are very unique. Your eyes as well. Tell me what you are, and I'll decide whether or not to kill you or help you," the Drow judgingly said.
How rude! Thia allow me to take over your body so I can speak with him, Zariel said. Thia opened her mind and allowed Zariel to take over her body once more. She heard the Drow gasp as her appearance changed.
"YOU INSOLENT LITTLE FOOL! I AM ZARIEL, ARCHDUCHESS OF AVERNUS! DO AS THE CHILD SAYS AND BRING ME TO WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OR I WILL SHOW YOU THINGS WORSE THAN DEATH," She screamed at the Drow. Thia's voice sounded very distorted and menacing. The Drow's mouth dropped open wide as he stared at Thia. Thia felt herself regain control of her body.
"Yea you should probably do what she said, she's pretty mad," Thia suggested.
"Right away," the Drow said as he turns quickly his cloak swished behind him. Small, loose stones littered across the floor causing Thia to stumble as she trailed behind him.
"My name is Thia. Obviously, you just met Zariel. Who are you and where are you taking me?" Thia asked.
"Hadmorlin is my name, and I am taking you to my city called Eryndlyn to speak with a high priestess as you requested. I would prefer silence for the rest of this walk if you don't mind," said Hadmorlin. She followed in silence as they went deeper into the Underdark. The temperature dropped as they continued forward. How am I able to see so well, there isn't lanterns or anything besides random glowy patches, but I can see perfectly? Thia thought to herself.
You have darkvision, courtesy of the binding. I should inform you technically a pact has been made so this makes you a Warlock. With that comes abilities you will come to understand, Zariel explained. The cave became narrower and twisted as they continued. They came to a stop and Hadmorlin turned to face Thia.
"This is the only way in or out of the city. Follow me, if you can," he said jokingly. He then went on a full-on sprint ahead. Thia walked forward and saw the walls stopped where Hadmorlin disappeared. The path became a very narrow bridge that stopped for about ten feet and started again, leading to another entrance where Hadmorlin leaned against the wall smirking slightly. Thia walked a little further and looked down. She saw several stalagmites fifty feet down on the cave floor waiting to impale her if she fell. She then looked up and gasped at the ceiling. The ceiling was covered in what looked like stars that moved around each other. After staring in awe for a moment she decided it was time to jump and she shouldn’t stall any longer. She broke into a sprint and leaped when she reached the edge. She spread her wings to glide her across the space to safety and she landed gracefully. Hadmorlin pursed his lips and turned around walking through the entrance as Thia.
"You should count yourself lucky child. No outsider has visited this city in centuries," He said.
"Well you should count yourself lucky that the devil inside me didn’t destroy you. I thought we were walking in silence," Thia retorted. Hadmorlin continued walking without another word. They walked into a very large dome shaped cavern measuring what looked like one hundred and fifty feet high. She saw several buildings and towers and a lake right in the center of it. Several Drow were gawking at her and Hadmorlin as they made their way to a very beautiful building. The building had large columns and had intricate Celtic symbols on the outside walls. They walked up the stairs that led to a grand door with a large spider emblem with red glowing eyes above the door handle. Hadmorlin muttered an incantation and the spider's eyes turned green. He then opened the door and allowed Thia to go first and shut the door behind him.
Inside the building Thia took in her surroundings. The walls were made of some sort black stone and had runic symbols on the walls that slightly glowed. The room had no windows but Thia could still see perfectly. In the center of the room was a large throne made from bones and skulls of a species Thia did not recognize. Sitting on the throne was a much larger more feminine Drow. Her hair was a shiny copper color down to her waist in braids and curls. She had a silver crown atop her head as she scowled at them below. "Hadmorlin! What is the meaning of this? Why do you bring this outsider?" She asked.
"I was going to kill it High Priestess, but I believe the child contains the devil Zariel the Archduchess of Avernus. How this came to be, I do not know. The devil spoke directly to me asking to speak to you offering a trade of information in exchange for help and hospitality for the child. I did not trust but this child looks like a fae child that has only had thirty years of life. A child could not have possibly known to follow me to the portal. Her appearance is unique as well. I think you should speak to it," Hadmorlin explained.
The High Priestess turned to Thia. "Well explain yourself child. Who are you and how did you become like this?" The High Priestess asked Thia.
"Um okay, well my name is Thia Amastacia. I lived in a small village in Sildëyuir. Apparently Zariel decided our village had some souls that would be worthy of her army in Hell," Thia started.
My mistake, Zariel said sarcastically.
"Okay can you please not talk while I'm trying to tell this lady what happened? It's extremely distracting," Thia said annoyed.
"Does the devil speak with you now?" asked the High priestess now interested.
"We talk yes. Anyway, so she comes in and starts destroying my whole village and my parents decide to sacrifice me and bind her soul to mine. Obviously, I did not look like this before. Long story short, Zariel and I became friends kind of and now I must bring her souls worthy of her army once a day. She led me here thinking you could help us become separated, and she also was wondering if anyone here would like to join her army when you eventually die. She mentioned if you perform well in the army, then you could receive some sort of promotion I think," Thia explained.
"Hadmorlin said he spoke directly to Zariel. Can you bring her forth now?" Asked the High Priestess.
"Well do you want to talk to her?" Thia asked Zariel.
I suppose, replied Zariel. Thia opened her mind to Zariel and Thia heard the familiar gasp as her appearance changed. "You wish to speak with me," she stated.
"How fascinating, her appearance has transformed. It's beautiful! The child mentioned you need souls for The Blood War correct? You realize I speak directly for Lolth the Queen of Spiders, The Dark Mother, The Lady of Chaos, that you force to remain in the Abyss. I know exactly who you are and what your position is so why would I want to assist you or betray my Goddess?" The High Priestess questioned.
Are you telling me that you brought us into enemy territory Zariel?! Are you insane? What are you playing at? Thia thought.
"Silence Thia! Yes, Priestess I know exactly who you are and who you follow as well. Either help us or allow us to leave. You know my power, I can lay waste to this city in a matter of seconds," She threatened.
"I will not betray my goddess, but I will let you leave this place for the good of my people. Hadmorlin! You insolent fool, you brought this in here then you will bring it out! You always continue to disappoint me. You risked my life and the lives of the city letting this thing in to our midst. When you come back you will receive public punishment again," The High Priestess said. Hadmorlin sighed and turned to open the door so Thia could leave. They headed back the way they came and when they reached the entrance Hadmorlin gently grabbed Thia's arm to stop her.
"I can help you both. I'm tired of this community. The men are treated like nothing while the women sit on their thrones ordering us around and shaming us publicly. I can take you to another community that will not turn you away and they treat everyone equal. In exchange I would like Zariel to take my soul when I die. I will swear my loyalty to her army in this life and the next. Surely, I am proving my worth by offering my assistance," Hadmorlin begged.
Accept his offer Thia. This is what I was waiting for. I could sense his disdain for his life in this community as soon as we walked into the portal, Zariel said.
"Okay she said she accepts your offer. Give me your arm so I can mark you with her name," Thia commanded. Hadmorlin eagerly thrusted his arm towards Thia. She lifted his sleeve and carved Zariel's name into his skin as he winced in pain.
Allow me to speak with him Thia, Zariel said. Thia once again allowed Zariel to take control.
"I am impressed Hadmorlin. I do not completely trust you because you showed me you have the capability to betray your own ruler. However, you will be given a high position in the war when you ascend to me, and if you prove yourself, I will promote you in time," Zariel said.
"I look forward to proving myself to you. Now, let's go quickly. The High Priestess is very powerful and will soon sense my change of allegiance," He warned as he took off to leap over to the other side of the bridge.