|Shadowdancer: Ascent from Darkness
Author: Zaraezyne PM
Set in Lith MyAthar, many years before the war, this is a story of a girl's climb from the web and claws of the Spider Queen.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 31 - Words: 107,432 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 12-11-12 - Published: 12-17-11 - id: 7645802
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
First attempting at getting back into to this. Not sure how much I like it. May redo it after some consideration, but wanted to post it to motivate myself and one tends to find things or better ideas after having posted it.
The twins were not awoken and left to rest in peace. The lizard was back in its stall, the boat back as it was and everything appearing normal. When Zarae moved, now nearly lunch time, pain rushed through her sore body. The wounds still fresh and throbbing. She contemplated staying there all day on her stomach curled up with Shade, but after a few minutes realized how bored she'd be. Moving at an agonizing pace, she headed to her washroom, a stop by the mirror to see just how bad the puncture holes were. The potion had did quite a bit of healing, leaving only minor wounds. The scratch on her neck looked worse than it was, still caked with dried blood. Filling the tub she eased into the cold water to scrub herself clean.
Nilrae likewise wanted to stay in bed, but Vyk'zlade was hungry. He too slowly climbed out of bed to begin his day. When he made it to the dining hall, nearly all the family was down there. Zarae looked as hazard as he was and was sitting quietly not looking around. Head lowered he made his way to the empty table, both Rhylaun and Neeryrd gone, and sat furthest away from the female's table. The matron eyed him, amusement seamed to be what was conveyed more than anything. And all he could think was being caught and punished. Yet he made it through the entire meal with no word.
Neither twin received punishment, nor reprimands, just glances while conversation occurred among the matron and her older daughters. Zebeycyrl and Myrurra would lock fierce glances then one or the other would glare at Zarae for a second. Matron Shyntyl held only smirks as she spoke mostly with Alylin and Xullafay . Twords dessert, Zarae had grown more uneasy, yet was unable to hide the rage in her eyes. Her fingers flexed several times around the knife on the table, but wisely did nothing.
After another brutal year of training and riding, the twins were beyond exhaustion at the end of each day; so much so, their mischief had lessened considerably. Neither had energy to engage in the usual pranks or havoc on their older siblings. Rhylaun had stepped up the lessons more vigorously each passing week, as requested by the matron mother. And their specialized training were no less intensified. In less than 2 years Matron Shyntyl's youngest two would head to the Academy. Nilrae was becoming a competent fighter and spellcaster and would be sent to both the warrior and wizard school. Zarae, on the otherhand, while competent in some things continued to hide the truth that she was not becoming the priestess nor noble daughter she was expected to be. It wasn't long before she turned to Nilrae to teach her some basic magic to cover the truth from her sisters and mother. The drowling even convinced herself that such deception was one of the ways of Lloth. Zarae learned just enough to pass off as a novice priestess if no further scrutiny was applied. She could only hope that her mother was pleased enough to require no further testing.
Myrurra halted any more attacks; instead she let the girl think she gave up to build some complacency instead. The adopted daughter decided she would plan something big and elaborate for the little brat.
The pudgy drowess finished the last bits, or rather the slave finished the last bits of adjustment. Now Myrurra had to decide how she wanted to go about torturing the drowling, how long and mostly how to enjoy the girl's suffering. Her breathing increased as her excitement grew just thinking of all the things she wanted to do. The priestess released a slow breath to calm herself down, then made a lousy kick at the slave who was working too slow for her. To ease her building frustration she walked back over to the desk and flipped over the parchment. A few more scribbles and notes were added after scratching through older useless information. Calculating the best day to accomplish this was the last thing on the list. Timing was everything. The matron would not care of the results, unless the adopted daughter let the girl escape to live again; this was her last chance she knew. Myrurra knew that being adopted meant she was at a slight disadvantage over the matron's biological children in terms of favor unless she could prove herself worth more.
A clank of a tool hitting the stone floor took the priestess from her thoughts; she turned to throw the first object nearby at the pathetic human now cowering. She missed but didn't care, too much on her mind at the moment. The Ilyhiiri Zhennu Xonathull or Drow Grand Battle was coming up. An event that occurred every 8 years. Something the drowling was to looking forward to participating in this year. To crush that dream and kill the girl would be sweet to the priestess. And their was the High Holy Day. As Myrurra thought about it, she decided that would actually be the best. Warring clans and houses or in this case warring siblings, usually triple efforts this day, offering up the most chaos and personal gain over all others to cull Lloth's favor. after much mental debate, Myrurra leaned back in her cushioned chair allowing the evil grin to grow on her face, her mind made up.
Zarae paced the room, her nervous energy needing an outlet; she had already lost track of time since being released from her studies. Her brother was the lucky one today. And only these days did she partially envy Nilrae being male. The drowling knew her required attendance to the holy day activities. Her age and nearing her departure for the Academy meant participating with blood. She would have to pass some test by a sacrifice of something dear to her. Zarae hadn't forgotten the last such sacrifice, slaying of a friend. What might be required of her this time? She was 89 percent sure it wouldn't be her twin brother. As far as she knew, he was in high favor with their mother. The girl paused, hoping it would be Myrurra or better- Zeb. Though such an option would not be given to the youngest daughter, much less a drowling. Turning to face Shade, she was about to speak when the door opened. Ladayiir entered holding a few large vials and a small box. The half drow did not have to say anything, both knew. Zarae rolled her eyes, plopping down onto the bed and exaggerated a pout with crossed arms and shaking her head. Then the girl grudgingly got off her bad, not without letting Ladayiir know her irritation, and hopped into her tub to scrub squeaky clean.
Zarae took her times washing, despite Ladayiir's rushing the drowling. A new ceremonial dress was laid out on the bed. Rich red fabric tingled with magical energy. Zarae stared at it a moment before it was tossed at her head.
"It works better on," the handmaid called pulling out some of the 'tools' from the small box and setting them on the dresser.
Ladayiir pulled the strings tight in the bodice while her foot was on Zarae's back trying to keep the girl from moving in the process.
"This would go quicker if you would just stand still when I pull!"
"I don't see why I must even dress up, it is only going to get messy…and bloody."
"We have been thru this a million times. Because the ilharess says so!"
"Yet I am always the one getting tortured."
"If you'd just suck it up and take it…"
The last of the lace went in and a final tug nearly pulling Zarae back onto the slave. Ladayiir sighed again in frustration and she adjusted the next piece.
"We …have a problem," Zarae replied, her hand on the clothing pushing the extremely loose fabric over her chest in. unlike the rest of the daughters of Shyntyl, Zarae was not 'built'. The nearly 18 yr drowling still had the shapes of a 10 year old girl, tall lean and rectangular like a board. It was not noticeable in her usual loose baggy shirts that swallowed her.
"I thought noble women were voluptuous," Ladayiir replied walking in front of Zarae to see the problem, "why must you be a toothpick?" Ladayiir tapped her cheek thinking how to fix the problem. She turned to look for something.
"Oh because that is totally my problem? Guess those genes missed me" she smarted off, then in a whisper, "and instead I got stuck with this ugly mop," her hand pulling strands of the tangled wet red streaks.
"If you hate it so much, dye it."
"Yeah and admit I am a freak."
"The ilharess always dyes her hair, with strange colors," Ladayiir called back, anything to get the girl to cooperate.
"Mother is also very beautiful."
Seeing what the slave was up to, Zarae crossed her arms and shook her head with an emphatic no.
"Well I am out of options and we are short on time. I still haven't gotten to your mess of hair."
Walking down the hall, ceremonial garb and decked out more than usual, Zarae kept pausing trying to 'fix' her robes, only to be urged to move along quicker.
After the fifth nudge, the girl stopped in place, spun on her heels and bore reddish eyes into the half drow, "I am this close to strangling you with the lacing," hands used for emphasis also. Then the girl spun again and turned to head to the stairs.
She was early, unusal for her. The 8 braziers of the chapel were a soft glow of orange light. No one else was inside the large chamber. Zarae turned to ask Ladayiir, the slave already gone. An unease began to well up in the drowling; something was seriously off. She thought back over the day and hours when realization hit her. But it was too late. Blackness took over as hot seering pain exploded in the back of her head. She crumpled and hit the floor, a hazy glance of a dark figure over her before unconsciousness took her.
A stench wafted past her nose, yet it was only blackness she saw when she came to. The crackle of a low fire, distant sounds of soft padded feet, and heavy breathing filled her ears. Cold iron shackles pinned her arms behind her as Zarae realized her now bare form was laying on a cold slab of metal. Heat, sweat, blood, and whatever else alerted her to the room she was in. Unmistakable steps neared, yet the person remained silent. Zarae tried to make her mind focus on a plan, but her head reeled with pain and dizziness, none of her limbs willing to obey.
"you have no idea how long I've waited," came from behind the bound drowling, the voice more husky and deeper than usual, "how patient I have been for this day," the cloth sack removed from over Zarae's head.
The rope connected to the shackles yanked the girl's arms upward behind her, more pain lancing through her as muscles and joined were moved beyond their normal range. Zarae was unable to hold in a cry of pain of the unnatural placing of her limbs. To keep her arms from snapping, she forced herself to hold her weight and enact her natural levitation. A chore becoming harder to concentrate on as the pain raced up and down her arms like lava.
Myrurra tied off the rope and stepped close, "how strong is your willpower? How long can you hold on?" she mocked with the utmost contempt.
The priestess then spoke a few magical words and the newly adjusted chair was beneath the drowling. The metal spikes had been shaven down enough that it wouldn't pierce the skin immediately, but slowly bore in as the occupier sat their chained down. Myrurra then worked the rope roughly to drop Zarae into the chair, the girl's already throbbing head smacking into metal and digging shallow bloody grooves. A ceremonial dagger was selected and placed onto her belt; it's ragged curving edge was coated with mingled blood of numerous victims. Up its center was a small hollow tube that led to a tiny chamber inside the hilt. There often it contained potent poisons. Myrurra began chanting another incantation, the magic washing over the girl. Zarae was on the edge of consciousness, barely able to comprehend what was happening. Next thing she knew was hundreds of tiny metal rounded spikes prickling into her bare skin. Each arm was chained down the chair's arms, as well as her feet strapped to the legs. The adopted daughter circled the chair, ranting on her hatred for the youngest daughter of the matron.
Zarae lifted up her heavy head to look Myrurra in the eyes, "do you intend to torture me with your yapping," adding faked pain expressions, "Stop I beg you. Kill me now. I cant take this," she mocked with sarcasm.
Myrurra did not find it so humorous, becoming more enraged. A few stinging slaps across the face, then grabbing a handful of blood caked hair, Myrurra yanked the drowling's head back to see the furnace, pointing out an object being heated up.
"I doubt you will find the Iron Spider so humorous," then releasing her head to flop back to her chest, "when I flay you alive, I doubt you will find it funny. You will scream and beg for mercy. Lloth will not hear your cries."
Myrurra's rant continued as she took out the torture instrument; her back to the shackled drowling kept her from seeing the girl working a foot out of the strap.
Magic protected the priestess from the white hot metal that she held in her hands, the Iron Spider bright in the drow's darkvision.
A sneer was slapped across her face as she drew closer to her revenge, "Lloth please accept this sacrifice that we might be considered worthy…" she began to chant.
About to attach the metal to the correct body part, Zarae blurted out, "Lloth favors she who make her own way," a foot connecting directly with the metal in Myrurra's hand, skin sizzling, both Zarae's and Myruura's as the priestess was unprepared for the move, the torture device making contact with face and chest. Myrurra stumbled backwards, her protective spells keeping most of the damage to a minimum. It was the surprise that gave the drowling an advantage. Zarae cried out in pain, but the move allowed her other foot to also come loose and make for the rounded blade on Myrurra's belt. The metal cut into her toes, but the girl managed to grasp it and flip it to her hand in a quick movement. The adopted daughter recovered quickly, wounds already healing as she canted the healing spell and was preparing another spell. Zarae worked the dagger as fast as she could in cutting through the thick leather, nicking her own skin in the rush. The left hand came loose to release the blade just as the magical bolt struck the girl in the chest knocking the wind from her by sheer force. At the same time the 4 inch blade struck fast into Myrurra's shoulder with enough force to cause the drowess to trip over the dropped white hot metal. It gave Zarae the few precious seconds to release her other arm and head. Every movement sent her vision into a blur of light and dark, stumbling forward from the chair and falling to her knees onto the floor. She knew she had only seconds to get up, as Myrurra was already standing. The priestess, stood standing over the crawling girl, and with no reaction or even a grimice of pain, pulled the round blade from her shoulder; blood poured from the wound, yet Myrurra seamed not to notice her pink hued robes becoming saturated with the staining liquid. Chanting again, the spell went into effect; it was as if a thousand needles began attacking the defenseless girl now writhing on the floor. The spell ended leaving Zarae barely hanging onto life.
"Did you think you could really beat me?" Myrurra's cold voice echoing in as Zarae curled up into a ball. Myrurra knelt down to and in a harsh whisper "House Vendee may no longer stand, but I am stronger."
In that same instant Zarae's hand found a stray hairpin Myrurra missed, its end sharp and just what she needed, she hoped. Silently speaking the words her other hand secretly moving in a precise manner, the hair piece grew hot as the spell took effect. Reacting on pure instinct, Zarae struck, the burning metal sticking into an unprotected eye. Myrurra screeched and clawed at her face. New energy from an unknown source overtook the drowling and she found her legs underneath her and rose quickly on her feet.
Myrurra was the slower one this time. The toothpick of a girl springing on her like a displacer beast on its 5th espresso, shoving the hairpin deeper into the priestess socket. Zarae didn't stop there. Something more primal overcame her. Bloody hands found the ceremonial knife, its razor sharp edge meeting Myrurra's face repeatedly. The priestess larger and stronger managed to toss the lightweight off her, the nimble girl landing gracefully. In a blur, she moved, faster than Myrurra and out of range of a clumsy strike going for a vital. Spinning and ducking under, Zarae got behind and drove the magically crafted blade between shoulder blades and into the spine. The poison had no effect itself, but the precise angle of the blade stopped the priestess from returning any effective strikes. Yanking the blade free, Zarae jumped out of range and flipped over to the front of the priestess and ended the battle with a clean blow. Myrurra stumbled back, gurgling cries to the Spider Queen as her blood filled her throat and spilled down over her front. Life drained from horrified her eyes then was snuffed out. The girl did not even realized she had worked so much; all that was heard was the soft crackle of fire and heavy breath. Attempting to wipe away the liquid in her eyes smudged it more as she realized how covered she was- her own and Myrurra's. Her breath grew shakier as whatever power or energy she had began to wear off. Limbs grew heavier while pain and dizziness threatened to overpower her. Zarae managed to limp to the cabinet to get ahold of one of the potions and chug the blue liquid. The healing did its work, enough to keep her rightside up and conscious. She did a quick search of Myurra's body, taking from her finger a thin greenish metallic ring, her house insignia, couple of gaudy pieces of jewelry, and a few hidden blades. Zarae rolled the larger drowess over recovering the hairpin and the ceremonial blade, wiping both on the deep pink colored fabric Noticing her head still throbbing and fighting to overwhelm her again, she called in a few slaves to clean up the body after striping it of any left belongings.
Still covered in gore, the drowling dragged herself up to her room, leaving behind red stains and droplets. Any passing slave or house soldier simply moved out of her way or avoided the girl; this type of thing not too unusual. Once in her room she tossed all objects to the floor to join the rest of the mess and made way to her washroom.
Cleaned, and healed thanks to the last couple of potions she confiscated, the girl had redressed and ready for the actual ceremony she thought she had been prepared for. This time with less than the best. Myrurra had either destroyed the other set or hid them well. Something Zarae would find out after the day's events. As much as she hated to admit it, Myrurra had out-smarted her, but not without help. Her now dead adopted sister had clearly used the handmaid. And that was only possible by one of Zarae's other sisters or mother. Either way now, if it had been a test, the girl had passed and defeated her foe, proven stronger and thus gained favor and position within the family ranks. Next that was left was to deal with the handmaid. And the girl knew exactly how she would. Speaking with just the right people ensured it would go accordingly. The matron rather proud at her youngest daughter that moment upon discover of the events.
Zarae entered the chapel for the second time, this time it had the participants gathered, the braziers brightly aglow, the family females, minus 1 gathered around the altar. The rest of the house females were seated; Ladayiir for the first time was included among the gathered; only she was bound and gaged with the other 4 soon to be sacrifices. The youngest daughter was motioned forward to quickly join before she earned her mother ire.
When all that was left to slay was Ladayiir, the dagger was given to Zarae. The girl pulled from her pocket some of the gems for part of her sacrifice this day and laid them in the main brazier. The slave meanwhile was quickly tied down on the altar by two house priestesses. Fear filled the half drow even though she knew exactly why this was happening. and knew her death was upon her.
"despite our problems, I kinda like you… sometimes," Zarae whispered into her ear, "you chose poorly and thus your consequences," no emotion, and no hesitation this time.
Then she completed it with a simple strike between the ribs into the slave's heart. After the rest of the holy day activities, the girl was released and able to return to her 'sanctuary'. Zarae laid on her bed for bit now examining each item she pilfered from her sister; the ring held her attention the most as she studied it. She would have Nilrae or one of the house wizards examine it, but she was rather sure it was what kept the poison from effecting Myrurra. And if it was, then this ring had great value and had been a great gain. Exhaustion was fighting to take over and soon winning, putting the girl into a hard sleep.
ilharess- matron mother
Iron Spider is a medieval torture device. I'll let yall look it up.