If there was one benefit to being accidentally reincarnated into a character she had made for the campaign, it was that she had plenty of time to work on her magic without the headaches of a dark lord or Dumbledore's meddling. That being said, she still wished she was back in her old world.

Sure, she was reborn in a body that was a lot stronger magically than her old one (she kept her old magic, thankfully), and it was a lot more durable than her old human body.

However...the drawbacks of being a drow elf sucked so bad she was doing everything in her power to fake her death and get the hell out of the depressing caverns she called home.

She honestly couldn't stand Lolth's idea of servitude, she despised the sheer level of backstabbing that went on as second nature among the drow, and she missed the sky above.

Add in the fact she was almost the lowest rung of power among her siblings (barely rating above her two brothers, and that only because of her gender) and she was utterly miserable.

There was only one ray of light in her existence...the fact that her 'sisters' didn't really know her plans to leave the Underdark and NOT come back unless she had to.

At least she had plenty of time to work on side projects and given funding...so long is could prove useful to her new "mother", who she refuses to deign as such. She gave lip service, enough to placate Matron Malice, but she did not care for any of them. Her only thought was escaping to the surface world permanently.

Right now she was carefully weaving something out of spider silk. It was an experiment that her 'sisters' had reluctantly approved of, though there was no immediate use for it in their eyes.

It was oddly soothing, even if she was exhausted at the end of each day. Considering it was a delicate project, she was left more or less alone while she weaved.

Slowly, slowly it took form. Each thread was imbued with special magics, and when it was completed she would pour every bit of her power into it for extra strength.

Seeing the completed piece gave her a strange sense of accomplishment.

It was a special veil, one that would cover the face of the one wearing it completely. But that wasn't the purpose of the veil. No, this fabric was enchanted to act as extreme sunglasses for drow.

While she could enchant some glasses to do just that, the main reason she went with a veil was to better hide the face from casual view while giving the one wearing it some protection from sunlight. She knew that drow were sensitive to light, since they were born, raised and often died in caves where natural light was extremely rare. Most drow didn't even bother with lamps or torches, instead relying on their natural ability to see the infrared spectrum.

Sunlight was downright painful for drow, and most of the ones who did bother to go to the surface preferred night raids.

Her sisters found her project 'acceptable' for the family, but were openly dismissive of the veil since it would only be useful outside the city.

Still, she kept the project with her so that when the time came, she could leave and not get blinded immediately.

She kept her silence whenever she had to participate in the rituals to Lolth, keeping her head down, practicing her magic and learning how to defend herself with the swords the teacher gave her.

She knew her teacher hated Lolth and took great delight in killing the priestesses. She also knew he hated killing children more than anything.

Out of all the drow, he was one of the rare she tolerated being around, and as a consequence found excuses to spend time around him as much as possible to perfect her technique.

Her sisters seemed to find her 'fascination' with the male amusing, though their suspicions that she wanted to sleep with him were dead wrong. She let them entertain the notion, since it gave them a false belief they could control her that way.

She was around fifty when she convinced the Matron to allow her to make an excursion to retrieve herbs from the surface, and her 'mother' was 'kind' enough' to allow her to take Zaknafein as her escort.

The moment they were on the surface, she let out a sigh of relief. Zaknafein silently accepted the glasses she had been making that had the same enchantments as her veil.

"We need to hurry. Daylight will arrive in hours," he said.

She rolled her eyes.

"The glasses will keep the worst of it from bothering us, and the less time I spend in that dreary cave system, the happier I'll be," she said flatly. "Besides, that old hag will be just as happy if we bring back plenty of herbs even if it takes a bit longer."

Zaknafein stared at her for several seconds.

"Malice won't stop at lashing if she heard you call her that," he said idly.

This was the perfect time to make her gamble, as she knew he held no love for the spider goddess.

"Fuck Lolth, that ugly, spiteful old bitch of a goddess," she said flatly and with as much vehemence as she could muster. "And to the nine hells with Matron Malice."

She found his gaping hilarious and enjoyable. Anyone who would so blatantly say such things about the spider goddess that the drow worshiped would be killed on the spot and their family put in deep shit with the goddess herself.

Enough that she would be lucky to escape being brought back for the purpose of being tortured by her own family.

And that was before Lolth got her hands on her soul.

It took several minutes for him to respond to that.

"You hate Lolth?" he said slowly. Mostly to assure himself that he hadn't voiced that particular opinion himself.

"Can't stand the bitch," she confirmed. "And the less said about how much I hate drow society and their backstabbing bullshit, the better. Why did you think I kept coming to you for extra lessons?"

His expression said quite a bit, and he likely also assumed she favored him.

She snorted.

"I'm not an idiot. If I want to escape to the surface then I'll need a lot of combat training and a decent amount of resources for when I leave. There's no way in hell I'd survive in the Underdark... the drow's reach is considerable and someone would inevitably turn me in for favors. And I'm not foolish enough to assume that things will automatically be better on the surface...drow are hated for damn good reason, especially by elves," she informed him. "That's why I went to you... you're my best chance to become decent enough with a sword long enough to get my bearings up here."

He looked at her seriously, and sensed something different in this girl-child. Unlike her 'elder sisters', she did not hold the same inherit darkness in her. There was a strange sense of 'light' that he had never seen before in a drow before.

(He would recognize that same light the day he met his son and began his training.)


Zaknafein gave her a slight nod, as today would be the day. She had carefully hidden her full potential from her 'family'. If she had proved useful, then they would have watched her carefully.

As it was she had managed to successfully trick her elder sisters into believing she was good for little else other than potion ingredients, without making it look like she was too useless to keep alive long term.

She gave the barest of nods, and began the long trip to the surface...alone. She had enough skill to do that much at least and it would be child's play to set up a fake death.

Feeling the sun on her skin was wonderful, even if she had to wear her special glasses to avoid the pain. It was going to take a while to acclimate to the sunlight, but it would be well worth it. Just seeing that blue sky made the pain bearable.

As awkward as it was hunting, every mile she put between her and the Underdark made her happy. She had no qualms stealing a cloak more than long enough to obscure her features, though replacing her daily wear was going to be a pain. The outfits that the drow favored would stand out entirely too much, and most of the magical protections would fail after a fortnight on the surface.

Still...anything was better than the oppressive nature of the Underdark, and the spiteful eyes of the drow.

Two months later...

"Is that her?"

"Black veil, dark cloak, silver hair...yeah, that's her," confirmed his companion.

"Excuse me miss... are you Cerridwen the Dark Mage?" asked an archer.

"I am she," she said flatly.

"We need the help of a high ranking mage. There's a forest dungeon that we are attempting to conquer and we want someone competent."

"How are you planning to split the loot?" she asked promptly.

She knew the deal...if the thought she was soft-hearted, especially once her race was known, they wouldn't hesitate to screw her over. So she hid behind the facade of a money-grubbing bitch who was attempting to undo the damage done by dragonfire.

All of which was a lie, but it suited her needs and meant people minded their own damn business. She knew that while the surface dwellers weren't as conniving as the drow, her race was rare enough that she was considerably valuable as a potential slave. Especially since she was an untouched female drow of considerable power.

Her best protection was her race's reputation, even if she hated every minute of it.

The dungeon was fairly low-level... a decent challenge for mid-ranked adventurers, but not enough that it would really be more of a cash grab to anyone competent.

As per the agreement, Cerridwen split the loot with everyone though she did make certain concessions to the others regarding the gold.

She wasn't as interested in coin...it was a pain to carry and it made you a more tempting target to thieves in her opinion. Items though...that was another story.

Seeing the two matching swords in the pile, she grabbed them before the warrior had a chance to. Then again, he had already acquired a great sword that had better stats so he couldn't really complain much.

"Since when do mages use swords? I thought you cast with staffs," said the archer snidely.

"Staffs are too bulky and unwieldy...and stabbing someone in the back is far more satisfying than bludgeoning them. Besides, they're easier to clean the blood off of," said Cerridwen.

Considering they had caught a glimpse of ebony skin and the pointed ears that were the trademark of an elf, it didn't take a genius for even these idiots to realize she was a drow.

She had been planning to leave that city anyway, so it made no matter to her if they figured that much out. Thanks to her spellwork, they would be unable to speak of it to anyone who didn't already know what she was.

Seeing the looks they gave her, she gave a terrifying smirk back. Living in the Underdark was good for one thing...it ingrained a natural ability to scare the shit out of spineless cowards like these adventurers.

Oh the fun she'd have with that bastard Draco if she ever saw his spineless, whiny ass again. Payback was going to be a bitch.

As she wandered to the next town, she heard sounds of battle. Rather than get involved, she stayed back. She had no idea of what the situation was or who the parties involved were.

That all stopped when she saw a woman killed in cold blood by thieves, while she was protecting a child.

That was enough to get her to act. A few spells, and the thieves were all dead. She looted their bodies without a second thought, before turning to the crying child. It was barely older than a few years, and still quite young. There was no way it would survive on it's own.

"Please...save...the young...master..." gasped one of the guards. He was barely alive, but he understood that the mysterious mage had killed the obvious threat.

She carefully picked up the toddler...closer inspection revealed it was an elf-child, and judging from the scene around her, an important one.

Bah, not her business. She could care less about what the elves got up to, and the second they realized what she was they wouldn't trust her anyway.

As depressing as it was, she was very pragmatic about any interaction with her 'cousins', though she knew damn well they'd deny any such relationship.

The infant cried a bit more, but eventually quieted down.

Once she looted the carriage of anything useful, she discreetly buried the bodies using earth magic. It was about the only consideration she'd give the dead, since she had spent too much time there already.

At least the kid looked old enough that he could eat mashed up foods, rather than needing a mother's milk.