The Adventures of an Eladrin Starflower
Chapter 1: The Binding
Thia Amasticia was born in a dark cave in the Feywild. The Feywild or the plane of the faerie is where the fey originated from. Thia lived in a village just outside of Sildëyuir, a citadel created by the ancient star elves. It was a place of potent magic indeed. Sildëyuir is covered with dells with silver-boled trees and streams. At the borders of the demiplane, the forest grows thicker and thicker, and any track one follows or makes simply bends back on itself. This place is always in perpetual twilight. The sky in the distance above the crowns of the trees is a soft pearl-gray, and it seems as if there is no east or west, for the same source-less illumination lights the horizon no matter in what direction one looks. Near the sky’s zenith, however, the skies are the purple velvet of true night and are filled with preternaturally brilliant stars. During the “night,” the sky darkens into pure blackness.
Since she could speak, Thia has always been different from other siblings. Her brother Viczion was the youngest, always had a warrior spirit. Thia's older sister Meriele was also an Eladrin race. As creatures of the Feywild, eladrin can be wildly unpredictable. They tend toward an alignment of chaotic neutral, mixing a love of freedom with benign self-interest. Each eladrin has four distinct personality states—one for each season—that they shift between when they experience powerful emotion. So Meriele shared her sister's burden of not being able to control her emotions.
Despite this shared burden, they couldn't be more different. Meriele entranced their parents with her constant whims. She learned how to play the fiddle at a young age and would delight them at mealtimes. She was a bundle of joy and Thia was a bundle of confusion. She lived in her sibling's shadows. She eventually stopped trying to get to know herself, because her parents and siblings did not care, so neither did she. She spent most of her free time aimlessly walking through the woods coming up with outrageous ways to kill herself, but never acting on it because she just didn’t feel like it.
On one of these walks she sat on a rock on the edge of her village once again contemplating her own death when she hears a loud crack. Seconds after the crack she feels a strong surge of energy in the air. She could smell it. It smelled like a burning metallic scent. Then she hears screams of fear. Thia began to make her way back towards her village and as she came closer, she saw a few huts burning. Little Fae children were crouched behind a hut that was not yet burned crying for their parents. As she moved past the crying fae, she was able to view the village square and that’s when she saw her.
There perched on the fountain was the most terrifying creature Thia had ever seen. Her face had a horrible scowl as she surveyed her surroundings. Her head had three horns, two on either side of her head and one in the middle, pulled back across her head like a helmet was a scaly ridged pattern following down her spine. Spanning 6 feet on her back were two burning wings of scorched and blackened feathers. She was wearing what looked like feminine armor that almost fully covered her hoofed legs. Later she would come to learn the devil's name, Zariel. As she made eye contact with the devil, she felt her father yank her arm into a corridor where her mother stood, arms crossed, and eyes filled with rage.
"Where have you been Thia!" her father demanded.
"We have been looking for you everywhere!" her mother screamed. For the first time Thia felt horrible for wanting to die because her parents seemed like they were scared to lose her. She thought that maybe they do love her. Maybe she wasn't an unwanted burden after all. She followed her parents through the corridor which led to a trap door. Her mother knocked twice, and she heard a lock click. The door popped open with a loud thunk and one of the town's clerics peeked his head out and stared at Thia.
"Are you sure about this? She is your child and we are not sure what will happen," the cleric asked.
Thia's mother said "Yes, it's about time she's done something useful for this family and this town." Confused Thia looked up at her mother and father with tears in her eyes but they wouldn't look at her in the eye. She realized her brother and sister were nowhere to be seen.
They led her down the trapdoor and into a room with stone walls with candlelight and no windows. The cleric instructed her to lay down on a metal table and used ropes to restrain her body. She started asking her parents what they were doing to her, but they continued to ignore her as the cleric made a circle around her with salt. She realized instantly they were prepping some sort of spell and by the way her parents were acting it was clearly not good.
Her body switched to fight or flight mode and she started struggling at the ropes. When she realized they were too tight she started screaming at the top of her lungs. The cleric put a piece of cloth in her mouth which muted her screams, so she began to quietly sob. She thought of all the times she could have easily killed herself and avoided all this trouble. It was clear her parents didn’t care about her and it looked like they might be killing her now or they could be condemning her to a fate worse than death.
The cleric was now muttering spells out of a book he was holding. She felt a painful ripping sensation deep inside of her which made her scream in agony. The cleric stopped suddenly.
"It's done, her soul is opened, we need to do this now and quickly," He said. Her parents grabbed her tied body and hoisted her back through the hallway, back up the steps and through the trapdoor while she thrashed and screamed. The cleric trailed quickly behind.
She could see they were headed towards the village square where Zariel was currently wreaking havoc on the fae people. Some of them she was grabbing them up, shoving her hand in their chests, then opening some sort of portal and tossing them inside. She screamed out of pain and fear as her parents carried her towards this terrifying devil. When they got close, the cleric raced ahead with his book open screaming chants at Zariel.
Zariel stopped what she was doing and roared in pain. Her body burst into flames and she became a huge cloud of darkness and embers. The cloud swirled in on itself repeatedly and quickly made its way towards Thia. Thia's mouth was forced wide open and the cloth which gagged her flew out of her mouth. Her eyes turned black but Thia could still see.
Her surroundings changed. The luscious green grass erupted into desolate rock and lakes of hellfire. All the villagers vanished into smoke and suddenly she became face to face with a loathsome figure of sin and decay. Two blood thirsty eyes stared at her with crushing hostility, and a deafening roar burst from its paltry mouth in furious defiance. Hair of fire adorned its round head, which itself was covered in glowing tattoos. A constant snorting escaped the creature's tilted nostrils set within a hanging nose. Its round head sat atop a hard, greasy body. Bizarre tools or weapons were dangling at its side. The creature moved towards Thia, its two legs steadily carry its demonic body with furious energy. A tentacle-like tail swept behind it, tendril -like veins protruded from it in several places. Two cramped wings started to extend themselves fully. Spiky bones, and incorporeal membranes stretch upward over the creature. The creature looked beyond Thia and rushes full speed straight her.
Instead of impact Thia felt something else altogether. She felt a burning pain searing through her abdomen. She felt her blood become acid boiling through her veins. She felt fear, grief, remorse, and sorrow all at once. She experienced this vision for three lifetimes. For the villagers and Thia's parents, the whole process took all of five minutes. They watched in awe as the fast swirling cloud of Zariel made its way inside poor Thia's open mouth. A horrible shriek of agony came out of her as the cloud filled her up. When all of it was inside her, Thia stopped screaming. Her eyes and mouth shut, and her body went limp.
One moment Thia was experiencing hellfire and torment for eternity and the next moment everything faded into blackness. When Thia awoke she felt strange. She saw her parents and they noticed she was awake, and they told her everything. While Thia was off brooding in the woods, a devil named Zariel came to the village to collect souls. The clerics of the village scrambled to figure out how to banish her in such a short amount of time. The only solution they could find was to bind Zariel's soul to the soul of a child. So, they gathered up all the parents and asked them to sacrifice a child for the good of the people. Thia's parents stepped up without hesitation offering up Thia as a sacrifice. While they were telling her this, Thia heard an icy whisper Thiaaaaaaa.
"What?" she said out loud.
"Thia please, we were just trying to do what was best for the village. Surely you can understand given the unique circumstance," said her mother.
"Didn't you hear someone whisper my name?" asked Thia.
"Oh, well the cleric did say you might experience certain um, side effects after the binding was completed," said her mother.
"Side effects? Like what?" asked Thia.
"Well, we noticed one of your eyes has changed color and so have your fairy wings. Such a shame, they were quite pretty. And well apparently now you're hearing voices," explained her mother. Thia stood up and looked in the full-length mirror in her bedroom. She saw that her mother was right. One of her eyes looked like fire. Her shiny purple and blue fairy wings were now ashen feathers with glowing embers.
"Alright, well you probably have some um, other side effects to figure out so I suppose we will leave you to it. And I'm sure you and Zariel will be getting acquainted as well," said her mother as she and her father got up and walked out of the room. Thia shut her door and sat back down on her bed. She felt a deep power buried deep within her begging her into it.
Thiaaaaaaa the icy voice whispered again.
"Okay, what do you want Zariel?" Thia bravely asked the voice.
You dare speak my name? asked Zariel.
"You literally just said my name twice and plus were stuck with each other, so we might as well get acquainted as my mother so nicely suggested. And you didn’t answer my bloody question! What do you want!?" shouted Thia.
Souls, I want souls Zariel whispered.
"Of course, you do. Well I'm a bit short on souls at the moment and seeing as you're stuck inside me, doesn’t look like you can do much about it," she retorted.
Au contraire stupid girl. You haven't even begun to experience the 'side effects'-as your useless parents put it- of our little binding ritual explained Zariel.
"What side effects?" asked Thia.
Although you have the primary control, I have ahold of your soul. Which means I can make you do whatever I want, including collecting souls for me daily said Zariel.
"You can't make me collect souls for you! I won't do it!" Thia exclaimed.
Oh, won't you? Do you remember the visions you experienced during the binding Thia? asked Zariel. Thia shuddered. She could never forget the vision she experienced for three lifetimes filled with pain and torment.
"How could I forget?" she asked.
Then know this Thia: I'm charging you with providing a soul to me daily. If you refuse, I will condemn you to that very place you visited, and you will burn there for all of eternity. You will suffer a fate worse than death, said Zariel.
"what?! So, you just expect me to bring you someone's soul at the end of each day? How do I even go about that? I don't want to do this for the rest of my life!" she cried.
Do not despair my child. It's very simple. All you must do is mark anyone-preferably a warrior- with my name using a knife and when they die, they will belong to me and your soul will be saved for the rest of the day explained Zariel.
"yea, that’s not reassuring at all. I don't want this, I just want to die! I should have killed myself this morning and saved me all this trouble including my soul apparently!" she cried.
This is your burden to bear now! And you may try to end your life as much as you want but before you do I will mark your soul and you will be condemned, said Zariel. Thia fell on her bed and started crying soft tears accepting her fate.
Look, I do not want to be binded to you anymore than you do but I have a quota to meet. You can help me or fight against me. I do not care. But there might be a solution that will help us both. You have been given the ability to bend the very ether to your will and I can teach you how to use it. You will travel, study, and figure out how to un-bind us and in return, you can keep my magic. Your soul will be saved, and so will your village. I will go elsewhere to collect souls and you will never see me again. Now this day has been tiresome and stressful for the both of us, today your soul is saved. You will begin the hunt tomorrow she said.
"Oh, how gracious of you," Thia said sarcastically. "What is your obsession with collecting souls anyway?" she asked.
It's not an obsession you stupid girl, It's my job! yelled Zariel.
"Y-Your job? Well why not just choose a different, easier job?" she asked.
Choose a different job?! Do you know how many centuries it took me to even get this job? I'm not some bottom feeder that tortures human souls okay, I'm the Archduchess of Avernus! Zariel yelled.
"Okay look, I know nothing about you and you know nothing about me, so why don't we take a breather and try and get to know each other I guess," Thia suggested.
Actually, I know everything about you. Thia Amastacia, the suicidal neglected middle child overshadowed by her older sister Meriel. Your parents never truly cared about you which is why they offered you up so easily as a sacrifice to contain me. Frankly, you did not deserve this fate. It should have been someone else. You deserve better Zariel stated.
"Is that compassion I detect? Aren't you a devil? I figured you guys were incapable of emotions besides anger and hatred," She said.
I was not always this way. Three millennias ago I was an Angel of Celestia tasked with tracking the progress of The Blood War Zariel explained.
"The Blood War?" Thia questioned.
An ancient conflict that rages between the fiends of the Lower Planes of Hell. I was constantly sent to monitor the war for a few centuries. Eventually instead of dreading my trips to Hell as any normal Angel would, I started to look forward to it. Before I couldn't stand them but after so many centuries spent there, Hell began to grow on me. I studied the war and began to become obsessed with the art of it. Although my position was low, I took it upon myself to come up with a battle plan that I thought was foolproof. I consulted my friend Lulu who was also an Angel of Celestia about my plan and she advised me to keep it to myself and let it go. Instead I took the plan to my superiors explaining we could use our Hosts of Celestia to strike and wipe out both sides of the war, therefore freeing the multiverse of the fiends. My superiors were not impressed and instructed me to continue to monitor the war.
I decided to act anyway and since they would not provide me with the resources I needed, I led a Host of Mortals into Avernus where the blunt of the war was happening. Obviously, I was defeated ruthlessly. All the mortal hosts I brought were slaughtered and killed. Their souls remained and were tortured for all of eternity. I was extremely beaten and wounded but because I am immortal, I cannot die. A few demons brought my broken body to Asmodeus, The Destroyer of Who He Was. He listened to my story and agreed that if I had been given the resources I asked for, I might have been successful. He admired my love of the art of war and he thought us Kindred spirits because he too, had betrayed his superior. He informed me that by now all of Celestia would know of my betrayal and failure so if I went back I would be fallen regardless. My only option would be to pledge my loyalty to Asmodeus. By doing so, He would promote me to a far better position than I ever had in Celestia. That is what I did
His followers nursed me back to health and as I grew stronger, I also became something different. When I was at full strength, Asmodeus came to me and stationed me as Archduchess of Avernus, the very place I attempted to destroy. He also named me His champion and right hand. Before I was fighting with the Angels, next I was protecting Avernus from them. Later came The Reckoning of Hell. I fought by Asmodeus's side and we prevailed. I was still His second in command, but He decided to promote The Dark Eight to take command of the Layer's armies. Among was my soon to be enemy, a fiend named Bel who was the Lord of the First. Bel and a few of his allies betrayed my trust by overthrowing me
I was imprisoned for centuries while Bel would siphon my lifeforce which reduced me to basically nothing. His followers would carve pieces of my flesh every day and feed them to Bel so he would grow even stronger she explained.
"Wait so what did Asmodeus have to say about all this? Weren't you guys supposed to be kindred spirits or something?" Thia asked.
That is a question I asked myself every day for three hundred and fifty years while I was imprisoned and tortured. I kept waiting for Him to come save me. I later found out Asmodeus struct a bargain with Bel. Initially when Asmodeus found out about Bel's betrayal, I was going to be released and Bel was going to receive punishment equivalent to what I was experiencing. However, Bel convinced Asmodeus that he was more competent to rule The Blood War in Avernus than I, which was the reason for overthrowing me. Asmodeus decreed Bel would take over my position and dedicate himself fully to The Blood War so he couldn't possibly have time for treachery
Some time later, Bel failed to repel a demonic invasion of Avernus. That is when Asmodeus finally came. He admitted his wrongdoings and offered me back my former position. I accepted under one condition, that Bel would work directly for and under me she said.
"Why on Earth would you want to work with that traitor again or even be near Asmodeus?" Thia asked.
Well number one its Hell darling and these are devils and demons were dealing with. Number two, have you heard the phrase 'keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer'? I needed Bel close to me in case he was plotting against me again. As for Asmodeus, He's been in existence since the literal dawn of time. He is much older than I am, therefore much wiser. I'm sure he had his reasons and for him my time being imprisoned lasted a blink of an eye for him. He admitting his mistake was the best he could give me, since he was a literal being of darkness and evil. We were also at war anything that could help our side was worth it. Long story short, after being reinstated during the 15th century, I allied myself with the Red Wizards of Thay. Bel opposed me once again and Avernus was turned into a wasteland. My army that once contained thousands, was destroyed. I needed a new army for Avernus and souls to help rebuild, so that is the reason I came. There! Now you know my story, so what do you make of it? Zariel questioned.
"Well I really don't know how I feel. I feel like we've both been somewhat betrayed by people close to us but in different ways. I think maybe I need to leave and get away from my parents and I guess I have no choice but to take your deal," she replied.
Before you leave this place, I am offering a suggestion. Betray your parents like they betrayed you. They bounded your soul to a demon they knew nothing about and almost killed you in the process. Mark them both tomorrow with my name and be spared for two days. Leave tomorrow, I will help you survive, just follow my instructions. Your parents deserve far more suffering than you for what they did today. For now, rest while you can Zariel suggested. Thia considered Zariel's proposition. Her parents had betrayed her so why not? Something inside her began to stir. She began to smile thinking about her parents suffering as she did but not just for three lifetimes, forever. She thought about this as she finally drifted off to sleep.
Wake up Thia, it's time whispered Zariel. Thia opened her eyes. It appeared to be very early in the morning.
Come now child, get dressed, we have much to do Thia did as she was told and put some clothes on.
Get a light bag and pack some essentials She grabbed the small bag her grandmother had knitted for her and stuffed a few clothes in. She slipped into the kitchen and packed some canned fruit and filled a small canteen with water.
Go to your parents' room now she quietly walked in and they were both still deeply sleeping.
There is a dagger in their drawer on your mother's side of the bed. Grab it .Thia crept to the other side of the bed and very slowly opened the drawer and saw the dagger her mother always kept. She grabbed it quickly and quietly shut the drawer. She stood over her parents watching them sleep. If I'm going to do this, how can I do this? If I start with one either way the other will wake up and pull me off, she thought.
Just allow me more control and I will do this for you. Eventually I will teach you, so you can do it yourself Zariel insisted. How will I know you won't give me back my control? Thia asked.
Well that's a risk you're going to have to take. There's nothing I can say to prove I will or won't. she replied. Thia took a deep breath and relaxed. She opened her mind fully to Zariel and allowed her to take over. Thia turned around and looked at a mirror. Her other eye that was once normal now matched her new eye and became fire. Her glowy, ashen feathers now burned very bright and flames flicked off the top. She tried to look at her hands, but she no longer had any control. Zariel turned back around to face Thia's parents and started muttering spells under her breath.
"They now cannot move or speak for an hr. I will give you back control. They must be betrayed truly by you, and you alone," said Zariel. Thia felt her gaining back control of her own body. She had the dagger ready in her hand as she moved towards her father. She grabbed his arm and his eyes flew open. Thia gasped and stepped back. Look him in the eye and tell him what you are doing. said Zariel.
"Hello father. Seems like me and the devil you forced inside of me are now allies. Unfortunately, I'm expected to deliver her souls each day to save my own and she suggested that you and mother should be the first two since you are the people who condemned me to this. This also spares me two days as well. Just so you know I am about to carve the devil's name into your arm. When you die, you will go to Hell for eternity. You will suffer there. Your skin will feel like its burning, but it will always stay intact. They will rip off pieces of your flesh, but your skin will grow back. You will exist in torment until the end of time itself. It will be horrible. I should know since I've been there while you were binding Zariel to my soul, I experienced the torture for what seemed like an eternity. Unlike me, you're suffering will not end," Thia told her father as she carved Zariel's name into his arm. She saw his eyes tear and wince in pain. She walked over to her mother her was now awake.
"Blink if you heard all of what I said to father," Thia commanded. She saw her mother blink. "Good, I hope you two make the most of your lives because when it ends you will both suffer. This will be the last time you see my face, I'll leave you both to the rest of your miserable existence," She said as she finished carving Zariel's name into her mother. Both of their eyes turned black, then fire, and went back to normal in fifteen seconds.
I made sure to give them a ten-minute experience in Hell, so they could see what they will be enduring. Said Zariel.
"Good, now what?" Thia asked Zariel.
Now we leave. Look in the drawer again there should be some gold in there. There is a false bottom. Grab it and let's go. She replied.
"How do you know this?" Thia asked bewildered.
I have access to all your memories, and I can go through them and sort out the important details. she explained. Thia went back to the drawer and lifted the false bottom and saw a purple, velvet pouch. She grabbed and shook the pouch gently and heard the familiar jingle of coins, then stuffed it in her bag. While walking towards the front door she stopped by the door to her sister Meriel's room and opened the door and shook her sister awake.
"W-what are you doing?" Meriel asked sleepily.
"Just wanted to let you know that I'm leaving so you can enjoy being mother and father's favorite child. You'll never see me again. I hope you have a great life," said Thia.
"But I don't want you to go Thia, you're my sister," said Meriel.
"What are you talking about? We were never close. When was the last time we had a full conversation? Any way I have a burden I must deal with because of your precious parents who I just betrayed so it's better I leave. I'm just saying goodbye Meriel," Thia said sadly. She turned around and walked out the front door and never looked back.