Chapter 4: The Dallthonax
Hoping you guys are enjoying Thia's story so far!
Thia stepped through the portal and gasped at her new surroundings. It looked like they were still in the Marching Mountains in a hidden valley. The Dallnothax had used trees and rope to build a dome around the entire valley blocking out most of the sun to the point where it was a light green hue. Beautiful intricate tree houses were built fifty feet high with multiple levels and a complex system of pulleys used to move necessities from place to place. In the center of it was a luxurious garden of grass surrounded by uniform flower bushes. Thia walked forward to see what the garden had to offer.
A pond was built in the back right of the garden, large and full of fish. The flower beds were pretty much overgrown, taken over by the other, bigger plants; butterflies swarmed them. Various stones hinted at paths around the garden, giving people an elegant way of exploring it and all it had to offer. The pond is for all intents and purposes the centerpiece of this garden, and the most appealing part. The flower beds do deserve some credit, and the flower bushes definitely try to claim their share of the glory, but nothing beats the majesty of the pond.
"Do you like my garden, love? Or is it too much?" A nice voice asked behind her. Thia turned around to see a female drow with golden, long layered hair pulled back to reveal a bony, cheerful face. She had lidded brown eyes, set low within their sockets. Freckles were spread graciously around her nose and cheekbones. Her luxurious blue dress flowed from top to bottom and had a keyhole neckline, which delicately revealed the modest dress worn below it. The delicate, loosely tied fabric of her dress covered her stomach where the continuous flow was broken up by a simple cloth band worn low around her waist.
"Oh hello! Yes, I love it!" Thia replied.
"My name is Idina Osrac. I am High Priestess of the Dallnothax, and you are?" She asked Thia.
"My name is Thia Amasticia," Thia answered.
"Hello High Preistess, my name is Hadmorlin, the girl is with me. I come from Eryndlyn and I am seeking refuge. I could not bear that community any longer. Thia has something additional to offer, Thia if you please," He said to the both.
"Er- yes, so I have a bit of a problem. My soul has been bound with the devil Zariel, courtesy of my parents, and I just need to find a way to separate us. I was wondering if you could help me," Thia said nervously.
"Your soul contains Zariel the Archduchess?" Idina asked incredulously.
"Yes, she attacked my village to collect souls, so my parents decided to bind her soul to mine to stop her, but now she is forcing me to bring her a soul everyday to save mine. I went ahead and marked my parents and Hadmorlin volunteered as well so it spared me three days since this event, but it's been a day, so I only have two left before I have to find someone else," Thia explained.
"Well I might be able to help you. Although we are a lot more progressive and lighthearted than the other drow settlements, we still enjoy our dark studies. We have a full library which contains books on demonology and the like. As for your soul problem, I'm sure a few people will allow you to mark them during your stay," She said.
"Also, apparently I have magic now, and I was wondering if someone could teach me how to wield it," Thia asked.
"Yes, tomorrow I will take you to Mocromi Crulnac. He will teach you how to wield your newfound abilities. For now, it's time you rest. Come now, I will show you to our guest quarters," She said as she turned around quickly. Thia shrugged at Hadmorlin and they both followed Idina. Idina led her past the garden to a beautiful two-story treehouse.
"Thia you will be on the second floor, Hadmorlin the first. I will come and get you in the morning Thia, I will leave you to rest," She said and turned around to leave.
"Well goodnight then," She said to Hadmorlin. She walked up the spiral staircase to the balcony and entered her new room. Inside was a luxurious king size bed with gold bedding that had intricate designs. There was a large cherry wood wardrobe where she put her bag in. She flopped down on the large bed which felt like she was on a cloud.
Well done Thia, Zariel said suddenly.
"Wow I almost forgot you were there. You've been quiet all day," Thia said.
Were you starting to miss me already Thia? Zariel asked sarcastically.
"Not particularly," Thia retorted.
Well then, you start training tomorrow. I expect you to put in your best effort. Not like the hunting trip you had this morning. It was embarrassing, said Zariel.
"I'd like to see you give it a go! Anyway, it was my first bloody time. Are you just here to critique me or what?" Thia asked.
I'm just saying if you had followed Hadmorlin’s instructions you would have hit it on the first try. Just don’t embarrass me. You're currently a representation of my essence so can you just try to succeed? She asked.
"Yea whatever you say," Thia murmured as she drifted off into a deep sleep.
Thia lay on a stone floor in a prison cell. Outside the cell doors she could hear screams of pain and agony. It started off as a dull pain within her chest, but it soon spread across her entire body. She felt weak, sweat covering every inch of skin and hands trembling out of control. An overwhelming feeling of dread took over and for a moment she thought the pain would only get worse and worse.
"Had enough yet Zariel?" an evil voice whispered.
"You will not break me Bel! One day I shall have my revenge upon you!" Thia screamed. Accept, it was not her voice leaving her lips. Thia looked up and saw where the evil voice was coming from. Two fuming eyes were staring at her with a burning rage, a blare exploded from its cramped mouth in an abysmal surprise. Four enormous horns adorn its burly head, which itself is covered in small gashes. Calm breathing escapes the creature's skewed nostrils set within a tiny nose. The creature moved closer to her, its four legs gracelessly carrying its wicked body with a serene energy. A whip-like tail crawls behind it, which itself almost seems like a separate, serpentine creature. Thia screamed and sat up in bed sweating and hyperventilating.
"What the hell was that?!" Thia demanded.
Sorry about that. It seems like you were experiencing my dream. Or my memory to be exact. I can imagine that must have been a sight for you, Zariel explained.
"A sight is one way to put it! Okay we can't have that happening all the time. I'm going to need you to think happier thoughts before I go to bed," Thia suggested.
I mean I'll try that, but I can't always control it, now can I? Zariel asked sarcastically.
"Hello Thia, are you awake?" Idina asked.
"Yes, I'll be right down! Alright you, enough chatter. I have to go not embarrass you remember," Thia said. She got up and went down the spiral staircase to meet Idina.
"Alright there Thia? I heard you talking to someone," She said.
"I'm fine. Zariel and I chat from time to time," Thia explained.
"Interesting," Idina said. They walked again past the magnificent garden and a row of buildings until they came to a small log cabin.
"This is where I leave you for today, love. Go on then, knock on the door. Listen for the lunch bell," She said as she headed off. Thia walked up to the door and knocked three times. She heard a grunting noise, and something fall over before the door opened suddenly. A Drow with silver, short hair tight in a ponytail reveals a craggy, charming face stood at the door. Shining gray eyes, set a-symmetrically stared quizzically at Thia. He wore an outfit like Hadmorlin's. It was all black leather that fitted his body and had various weapons stored in little sheaths.
"You’re the demon child my High Priestess has sent me to teach?" He asked.
"Er- my name is Thia and I'm not a demon child. I'm just a fae who has a devil bounded to her soul. Apparently, that makes me a Warlock so can you please just teach me how to use magic?" She asked.
"Come in then, demon child. You may call me Mocromi," He said as he smirked and went inside. Thia rolled her eyes and followed him inside. In the cabin there were a lot of books and very strange items all around the main room. Thia looked disgustingly at a jar of eyeballs and gasped when she saw one blink.
"So, you want to practice magic? The first thing you need to know is magic comes from the Ethereal Vortex. Magical energies pulse from it and spread into the world around it, but despite this, not all beings are equally capable of bending these energies to their will. Those with magical powers have often been at the forefront of change in the world, but often hand in hand with those who cannot wield the same kinds of powers. You specifically are a Warlock. So, you were not born with this power. You made a pact with this devil inside you and you draw power from it," Mocromi explained.
"Okay, I did not make a pact. My parents made a pact on my behalf. The only reason I want to learn this is I'm going to have to survive on my own from now on until I figure out how to separate this devil from me," Thia interjected.
"A pact has been made nonetheless. I will teach you how to harness the power, but you must learn the spells on your own like everyone else before you," he stated.
"First you need an arcane focus. Which is an object of your choice used to direct your spells. I recommend a wand. I have several on that desk you can choose from," he suggested. Thia walked over to the desk and looked at them individually. She paused at one made of a light brown wood with a darker wooden handle. It had Celtic symbols carved elegantly into it. She picked up the wand and examined it more closely. When she picked it up she felt a surge of energy rise from her and channel through her fingers into the wand. She gasped as red sparks shot out the end of it.
"Ah, this wand is made from Oak Wood, which tends to favor those interested in the darker arts. The handle is made from Acacia Wood, which in turn mostly prefers those who are heavily in tune with nature. However, the combination of this strand of Oak Wood and Acacia Wood means the wand will seek out somebody with an incredible destiny. Yes, a core of werewolf whisker which aids the learning process of magic spells. This will be perfect for your training," Mocromi explained.
He then led her outside behind his cabin which proved to be a nice field with targets placed 6 ft apart. “I will teach you one spell to get you started. The first spell you will learn is called firey strike. The spell allows you to strike your enemies down using the element of fire. You will say the incantation Ignia Animactum. Go ahead demon child, speak the words,” He commanded.
“Ignia Animactum,” Thia said unsure of herself. She looked at Mocromi annoyed and confused. “Well nothing happened,” she said.
“Okay you know the incantation. You must focus. Clear your head of everything but the task. Allow the magic to flow through you and out through the wand which you hold. You must draw the energy from deep within you. You should be able to feel it. It will vibrate through like electricity but will feel almost euphoric,” He explained.
She nodded her head to show she understood. She turned to face the target once again. This time she closed her eyes and breathed deeply like when she was using the bow and arrow. She reached down inside her soul to the untapped power she had constantly felt as soon as she awoke from being bound to Zariel. Her mind poked at the power until it released itself. She gasped as she felt the power flow through her. Macromi was right. The power felt amazing. It buzzed through her and filled her every vein. She opened her eyes and pointed her wand towards the target. “IGNIA ANIMACTUM!” she shouted. The power that had been charging inside her suddenly shot forward through her hand and out of the wands tip in the form of a line of flames. The flames scorched the target’s bullseye leaving behind a horribly large black circle of ash.
“Well it looks as though you can be taught after all demon child,” Macromi said as he smirked. Thia dropped her arm out of breath. The buzzing inside her subsided but not entirely. Thia felt on top of the world. She felt a sudden thirst to learn everything there was to learn about magic. She wanted to feel powerful. The slight buzzing inside her was very pleasing and Thia was grinning ear to ear.
“Does it always feel so-,” she started.
“Yes it does. The more you strengthen your powers the better it will feel. Be warned. Those of us who seek the greatest power often lose the ones they love and often themselves in the process,” Macromi explained.
“I’ve already lost everything I’ve known. I still have no idea who I am. The only thing I can say is for the first time in my life I’ve looked forward to the future. This,” she gestured at her wand. “Is all that I am now. This is everything I’ve wanted to be and more,” she said defiantly.
“Very well Thia. I shall teach you everything that I know. When there is nothing more I can teach you, you must seek knowledge elsewhere. I will point you the way,” he offered. Thia spent her days in absolute bliss. Which is something she’s never experienced before in her life. Hours were spent in Macromi’s cabin, reading book after book of spells and potions until Macromi himself would have to carry her to her bed as she would fall asleep reading after training with spells. When she wasn’t training, she spent her time hunting with Hadmorlin. She had become quite the archer during her time with him. He would tell her stories of treachery and wars. He spoke of creatures he killed in the Underdark. Sometimes he spoke of love. She noticed how his face would light up when talking about a past love and also how quickly it would turn to pain and sorrow. Thia wondered how many he had lost.
Other days she spent her time with the High Priestess Idina chatting in the garden. Idina also shared many tragic and exciting stories. Sometimes she would sing a beautiful melody and the water sprites would dance on the surface of the pond. They would laugh in delight as the sprites splashed them with water or tickled them with their tiny wings. Many of the Drow had been eager enough to be marked by Zariel. There was never a worry for Thia while she stayed in Dallthonax. Zariel mostly kept dormant most days besides the occasional smart comment or two. She was pleased in Thia’s quick progression in her studies of magic which represented the devil very well. Occasionally her newfound followers would ask Thia to allow them to speak to Zariel. To which she would comply with no issue being that they were responsible for her soul being saved yet another day. Years rolled into each other and Thia began to lose track of time as she grew accustomed to the luxury. However she would feel the restlessness of her now partner Zariel bubble inside her from time to time.