Disclaimer: The recognizable elements in this fan fiction belong to the legal entity Wizards of the Coast, who own relevant copyrights to Forgotten Realms material referred to herein. These elements are used without permission but no material profit of any kind is being made from the following work. WotC reserve rights to Forgotten Realms material, but all of the settings, character, and situations unique to this work of fan fiction are property of the writer.
A/N: Following are many scenes and their explanations. I forgot to mention that Jakadirek goes by Jaka and Jak, according to user preference, but mainly I started switching to Jaka because Jak sounds too much like Zak (as in Zaknafein). I also failed to mention that Jak suffers from a condition known as depersonalization disorder which makes him feel like he is retreating from reality. In extreme cases he begins to lose feeling in his extremities.
The following piece was written to flesh out what an Ilchathmyr patrol could be like while indulging my whim to write an action sequence. Ah, and it would help to know that what Kirsul decided to do to control Jaka was to pierce the boy's tongue… by way of his jaw. According to her whim, his tongue is basically nailed to the bottom of his mouth. The top of the pin is a spider made of black sapphire and sits on the top of his tongue. The bottom is her egg sac, which is located beneath his jaw. The thing has various enchantments on it; without the silencing charm he can speak, but you can imagine the lisp. Hence, Jaka ends up using handcode for several years.
It was getting harder to see what he was doing, so Jak stopped trying to follow the direct action with his eyes and simply began to feel it. He was keenly aware of the sensation the red ropes of his muscles sliding against one another as he darted full tilt down the bubbling formations of the magma façade. Once and again he used the butt of his death lance to pole vault from one ridge to the next, trading his foes as easily as a matron mother changed sides.
The lance had no more helped propel him through the air toward another wide perch, than he reversed its flow in midair, striking another assailant with a sweeping slash of the deadly blade. Knowing the immediate assailant was little risk, he conserved the lance's deathly enchantment, settling for the satisfying crunch of ribs.
One of the deep gnomes saw the blow distinctly change Jak's course and surged forward, far inside the lance's ten-foot reach. The wicked mace in its capable hands darted in at an angle to kneecap the agile drow. It was a move the dark elf had anticipated even before he began his leap. He was hardly off course, had counted on his contact with the previous victim to place him on his way.
His spiked boot kicked out at the last second, flying over the gnome's blade, taking the pitiful creature full in the face and bowling it over. He landed on the opposite foot, kicking backwards in the same motion to dislodge a multiplicity of spikes from the gnome's easily punctured skull. The whisper of broken edges of bone on metal was a feeling akin to a physical aftertaste.
Still, even if only for a second, Jakadirek became a delightful target to the deep gnome encampment the cartographical half of the patrol had been wiping out with remarkable glee, until the gnomes were reinforced. The seven drow were outnumbered six two one. A slew of missiles flew at him from all sides. For the lance wielder, it was only so much deadly play. The joy of movement, of losing himself to the murderous action, was his second love.
With little effort, he keyed his innate levitation, just enough to remove what small weight he possessed and allow his arms to propel his whole body up into the air, aided again by his potent lance. His assailants howled in anger as he was propelled out of the reach of their cunning missiles. As soon as they perceived the offensive to be failing, the gnome's shamans began to make their castings.
The death lance was his favored weapon but only of use in large areas that were not always so common in their magma cave habitat. In the sixth circuit's range near the volcano's older flows, he was afforded the greatest use of the weapon and the chance to use it on creatures in line with his skills.
Reaching the desired zenith of his levitation, Jak threw his body into a lethal spiral and dropped the spell that had helped elevate him. Lance held out at a diagonal, flush with his arm for the limitation of his reach, he was a spiral of swiftly descending death. (butt of lance is at shoulder level)
The rising volume of the gnome shamans was enough to alert him to the increasing likelihood of a completed casting. It was according to his desire and fittingly, he touched down in the middle of them, lance slicing and bludgeoning the diminutive creatures down and clearing a span of ten feet on either side of the skilled drow. Skilled and swift as he was, one of the shamans completed his spell. High above, the toothy cavern responded to the smaller creature's call.
Across the uneven floor of magma banks, the cartographers of the sixth ring patrol noted the precursor to a rock fall and leapt toward the outward sloping southwest wall they had skittered beneath only minutes prior. Knowing he would be unable to make the wall before the widow-makers began to spike down from the ceiling, Jak opted to trust in the gnomish shaman's knowledge and self-preservation. Leading with the cold burn of his lance, he threw himself straight at the shocked creature.
The collision turned the two figures into a tangle of limbs, each propelled with murderous intent. Thinking the drow would be hampered with the long lance he still clung to, the gnome grabbed Jak's fine boned face, thumbs working their way to his yellow eyes. With the gnome well inside his reach, it wasn't unthinkable that the dark elf would release his lance to grapple with the gnome. However, it wasn't Jak's intention at all. Instead, he pulled his lance against the gnome's shoulder blades, crushing the breath out of its lungs.
The shaman wasn't impressed with this tactic. Though it stole his breath, the move put him in line to consolidate his grip on the drow. Gnomish fingertips caught hold of the Mi'iduor head plate and used it as a base to press thumbs into Jak's eyes. The gnome's fingers had barely brushed Jak's fringe of eyelashes when the drow reacted. Shutting his eyes tight against the invasion, he snapped his forehead forward, driving the plate and the twin spikes forged into it, squarely into the gnome's face.
The first blow shocked the gnome and loosened his grip. The second blow was more calculated on Jak's part. He slammed his lance haft into the gnome's shoulders, lifting it toward his head again and snapped his head against the other's with all the savage force adrenaline could muster. The spikes, per their enchantment, pierced the gnome's skull with the same intensity his spiked boots had the previous gnome.
Jak clenched his eyes when he released his right hand from the death lance and flung the body from him. Twin spurts of hot blood and soft gore bathed his face as the gnome was dislodged from the spikes. If not for his closed eyes, he would have been blinded, as it was, the rapidly cooling life blood was dripping down from his head plate still threatened his vision.
He had no time to consider the possibility of blinded or blurring eyes, for the gnomes had used the shaman's spell to regroup. He was an open target once again, only this time not by his choosing. The sound of another gnomish voice rising to crescendo was the only warning he had. Even for a drow, Jak was at the top of his art when it came to nimble evasions, but he couldn't avoid all the magic missiles suddenly streaking at him from relatively point blank range.
Trying all the same, Jak flung himself to one side, scrabbling to get to his feet. Many of the missiles didn't make it through his innate defenses or his piwafwi, but half of them were not so deterred. A low growl wrestled up from his chest as the missiles slammed through his clothes and propelled him back into the stone floor. Gritting his teeth against the pain, Jak leapt up, using his lance for leverage. Rather than head straight back for the escape and reinforcements of the wall, he again swarmed up the hard magma and the cracks and crevices to be found among the façade's formations.
Another barrage from the ceiling nearly did him in, causing him to remember that the first thing to do would be to take out the magic users in the group. But he assumed the rest of his patrol would come back to do that. Unless they were on the other side, laughing at his predicament, which wasn't unlikely. He cast his mind to the surroundings, to sense if he had been completely abandoned and found only one familiar mind. Arsa'olakai was consumed with making it to the same lave façade Jak was sheltering in, but was still contending with the gnomes. They had him hemmed in and were splitting up to outflank the huge chunk of debris they'd freed from the ceiling. If the male didn't make a run for the façade, the gnomes would fill him full of crossbow quarrels.
It seemed the fight was taking too long and the other members of their small group weren't going to come for them. Rosali had thought the gnomes did not greatly out-number them and had ordered them in for a charge that they'd expected to be recreationally dangerous. But in his blood thirst, he'd overlooked the possibility that the gnomes had split up. When the other half arrived the tables were quickly turned on the drow.
When a cry came out from behind him, Jak gave ground thinking he would either be shot in the back with missile or magic or be joined in defense by the only other dark elf who hadn't been able to make it to the wall. When neither happened he grew flustered but continued to fall back. Assessing the sudden change in the situation was foremost in his instincts.
The answers came at once and barely a moment before his life was directly threatened again. The moment before death sang through the air Jak could clearly see Arsa'olakai was clawing at a stalactite struck through his left shoulder, where it had cleared his fine chain. There was a bloody point making a macabre tent of the male's back. Jakadirek gritted his teeth angrily. He didn't like the other male nor his mockingly suggestive behavior, but he also couldn't deny his interest in having the silencing pin in his mouth removed. Considering Arsa's association with the first house's firstboy, a male known for his penchant to collect unusual magic items, there was every chance the annoying male could help remove the silencing pin.
Even though he preferred to see Arsa die, Jak threw himself into action as the gnomes released a new wave of quarrels. The bolts whispered through the air, over a dozen deadly secrets meant for him and the sixth ring's most troublesome member. His body reacted on more intimate secret plans from his mind. He felt his muscles bunch and strain and suddenly release, he felt himself stretch out long and taut like the bolts yearning for his life. He felt the air as he went through it. His body began to curl as it neared Arsa and before he completed one revolution his arms were bristled like a hedgehog but with more deadly spikes.
He kept his momentum going and used the power that flexed his leg muscles like a spring from the force of his landing to go over Arsa's head now that the crossbow quarrels were no longer in danger of killing either of them. As he sprang he gripped the longhaired drow by his uniform and used his own weight as he curved over to propel the wounded man to the gap between the floor and wall.
This scene comes courtesy of a problem I realized would come with eating a diet largely comprised of fungus and drinking the mandatory fantasy beverage; wine. Quite a bit of fungi is toxic, but fine when eaten alone, but combined with alcohol, the result can be dangerous. Especially dangerous when around somebody who wants to take advantage of it and you.
A wicked smile twisted Arsa's features, as he continued to dig his fingers expertly into the younger drow's forearms. Jak hardly knew what to do. He could feel the sensation, really feel it with his own body. It made him feel weak. Despite himself, he leaned back against the warm wall.
"I owe you," Arsa soothed, seeing the moment of conflict, the weakness he was expert at exploiting. "You know the idea bothers me. I'm willing to pay the debt like this. I didn't ask you to do what you did, but if I don't pay in some way, perhaps there won't be a Jaka there next time."
The pale-eyed drow nodded listlessly, noticing now that he was beginning to feel a calm euphoria permeate his senses. It had little to do with the masseuse's ministrations, but it enhanced them all the more. The young drow's mouth began to feel remarkably dry, the pin in his mouth felt comfortably tight in his tongue. With each arm in Arsa's intensely strong grip, it was hard for Jak to signal his desire for water and having been silenced by Kirsul less than an hour before, he couldn't speak if he wanted to. His eyelids began to drift down his eyes.
Alarm rang in his mind as Arsa continued to murmur in his most gentle tones, turning the noble's body into so much pliant muscle. "Tell me, dear Jak, is the spider on your tongue enchanted? Does it bite your lovers' tongues?"
Weakly, Jak shook his head, but his answer was more a denial of the situation, which was no longer in his control. Arsa was amazed at the effectiveness of his ministrations in conjunction with the fungus he'd plied the younger drow with earlier that day. He watched in delight as Jak's eyes narrowed in helpless rage. Oh, this was better; his victim knew exactly what was going on.
Chuckling, he pulled the yellow-eyed male closer, releasing one arm to haul him in hand over hand. He wasn't sure which he liked better; Mi'iduor clothing or Mi'iduor skin. He'd felt enough of both in his time, but he felt that it was time to test the deciding factor.
Just a sequence written to satisfy myself concerning one of his house duties.
Hanging upside down from his lizard, a good distance away from his house's main stalactite outpost, Jakadirek watched large white spores float casually by on a warm updraft. It was always hot in Ilchathm and unbearably humid when the cavern system's intense radiation eventually perverted the climate controlling spells drow wizards were always casting. As heavy as the air was, the guard found the presence of the fluff intriguing. Noting the color and shape, he was satisfied it bore no resemblance to any of the airborne varieties that could cause a dark elf any harm.
The slow glide of the fluff through the air put him in a calmer frame of mind. He kept his stoic watch, yet with a wide focus he admired the fluid glide of more spores wafting occasionally through. Some were ushered violently along by many of the steam vents in the cavern floor, soon falling when filled with water particles.
Ilchathm was in a precarious position, but kept 'safe' by Lolth's blessing. When the Time of Troubles came, her protection was removed and nature took its course during rioting within the city. Jak escaped because he was using the rioting to slip away to get to Menzoberranzan's House Oblodra.
He was tired and too spent from battle and escape to concern himself with the detritus and pallili shattering and crunching under his boot spikes. Before him lay his last stop before further flight: Jaisou's outlying greenhouse. The black structure's obsidian panels reflected the angry red heat of the lava, in contrast with his memory of the inside, which was brightly lit and almost intolerably green in places.
There were no guards standing at the gates, though there was a corpse to indicate there had been at one point. He stepped over the unfortunate and pushed past a cracked black door. With the light the lava flows cast, his eyes were already prepared for the illumination within. Surprisingly, the illumination was not as he expected. A large section of the roof had been caved in by pyroclastic blocks: inside the green house, Jakadirek found flickering white light, mated and bleeding, with the dark amber from outside.
The radiant heat of the volcano had done its deadly work on the life within. Outside the obsidian walls, he had crunched through molten rock that had solidified in the air in lacy glass formations, inside, Jak walked through aisles of dry leaves and ash that came up to his ankles, despite the two inches the spikes on his boots gave him.
It felt as if he walked in slow motion. The heated air stirred the leaves around him and picked hisblack hair from his neck, tumbling it in undulating waves around his shoulders and head. The ash and dry leaves swirled in stagnant spirals and eddies across the floor, collected in shifting heaps in the corners, turned in slow circles by the heat-displaced air. It was like walking through a vast ashen funeral celebration.
Heated gusts moved with more animation in the enclosed area of the green house, ash and leaves hit him with more force, obscuring his vision more effectively with larger bits of organic debris. He had to clear his eyes more often inside and tap more often at the material veiling his nose and mouth. His eyes were watering again, attracting more ash to his face. If he hadn't felt so completely unreal, he would have noticed the burning pain his reddened eyes experienced.
The green house was more of a gray house now. But he walked on, thinking he might find something, rather than doing little more but stir the leaves and ash under his spikes. He ran his hands over tables and shelves, searching for anything of value, but especially for any sign of the precious plants that could produce the vibrant colors his family was famous for.
There was nothing. Nothing but the fragile skeletons the fires had left behind and the dried up husks the heat had no use for. For a few precious moments, the lone male looked around at the terrible beauty of the volcano's destruction, the delicate scene of the ruined green house. The air was thick and soupy with graceful debris, wraiths of ash and smoke that clung to his skin and clothing, leaving him more of a gray ghost than the black shadow he and his kind were known to be. A sigh swept ashy remains near his face into gray curls: it seemed there would be no color from the ashes. Nothing of use to be found despite the risks he'd taken. Nothing.
Vaguely disappointed, Jakadirek Mi'iduor turned and walked out of the latest of Ilchathm's many funeral halls. Again, he noted the difference in texture and sounds between crumbling leaves and crackling pallili.
I ended up playing Jak over at menzoberranzan dot net's role-playing forum with a great player running The Kiaransalyn, obviously a cleric of Kiaransalee. Kiaransalee doesn't accept male worshippers, so this albino drow did the unthinkable by making himself 'not male'… with a knife. The bizarrely unexpected bonus: Kia runs around with his mother's severed hand, just as Jak keeps his mum around his neck. Talk about a couple of twisted dark elves.
The cavern resounded with the rebounding echoes of a thousand thousand drops of condensation dispersing on the surface of the subterranean pool and surrounding surfaces. The warmth of the area combined with the hypnotic susurrus, lulled Jak into a sense of precarious security. He sensed no other minds nearby other than those he knew and the negligible sentience of the glowworms casting their cyan phosphorescence on the clear water.
Moments earlier he had packed his clothes with his riding lizard and ventured into the inviting pool. He was conscious of the mysterious cast to the water the blue light did not quite cover, had recognized the poisonous scent instantly. Few could survive the deceptive pool, but Jakadirek Mi'iduor was at home in most vapors that seeped up from the deep earth.
With a few kicks, the dark elf's lean form was plowing through the water and the concentric ripples the water drops cast all about in miraculous geometric patterns. He kept his head above the pool's surface for a few meters, taking in the satin sensation of water flowing over his ebony skin and the water's loose pull at his long hair.
The ceiling was low over the pool, but the depths were deep. The ethereal glow the worms cast, no matter how clear the water, could not penetrate the depths. His monochromatic form, however, was eerily visible in the water, even when he somersaulted beneath the surface. He knifed back toward the edge of the pool, a black silhouette rippling under the water's skin.
The Kiaransalyn watched the other drow's actions with some interest that found itself laced with a small amount of irritation. While the scent of the area did not offend sensibilities used to the smell of death and decay, it did cause him a noticeable shortness of breath, which had gotten worse since he'd dismounted from his lizard. The presence of many dead rats and other floor crawling animals only heightened his awareness of the dangers he sensed, but could not see.
His companion had told him the area was safe enough, but the Kiaransalyn proposed otherwise, especially when the other male had stowed his death lance and had begun to undress. Nevertheless, curiosity had compelled him to venture forth and the death he saw around the place in various states of decay had placated and worried him both. Still the pool and glowworms were a beautiful sight.
Light blue highlights gleamed over Jakadirek's water slick skin when he surfaced again. He'd been careful not to swim too low, for the water was denser the deeper it went and he didn't want to key his natural levitation abilities if he didn't need to. Long-fingered hands pulled his body up to the pool's shallow lip.
The Kiaransalyn noted that the other drow had failed to remove the flat, black leather rectangle that lay flat on his chest on an equally black cord. It had been shown to him much earlier in their voyage as a sample of fine work. It shone just as wetly as Jakadirek's skin and in the same texture and value of blackness, as if it was his own. He'd seen swaths of thick scarring across the other's back to support the notion that it had been removed from his body. And yet, he had clearly been told it was female skin: the way it was kept hidden supported that claim.
Subconsciously, the Kiaransalyn ran a silver-ringed hand over the preserved one within his robe. It was always wise to hide female drow goods in certain cities, though one day, all those cities would tremble before the might of his goddess' righteous rage. One day, there would be no reason to misdirect the eyes of the wretched followers of lesser deities!
Eyes alight with the fervent love of his goddess, he focused on Jakadirek again. If his allies couldn't accept the future, they would be cast down with their pathetic false idols. As he observed the other drow this time, inspiration came to him. A slow smile pulled his ivory lips. It was manifestly obvious. It made sense. How did he not realize before? The foreign male had not lied about the skin, though it was quite possible he'd lied about his rank. The skin could belong to none other than the male's mother.
The thoughts of the Kiaransalyn were unknown to the yellow-eyed drow. He would never presume to know what was going on in the other male's mind. Resting on his elbows, Jak signed to him, his initial movements causing water droplets to fly from his fingertips. I didn't see any other living creatures here nor do I think we'll find any of your brothers' kind. I can faintly sense a type of vapor that eats bone.
The Kiaransalyn smiled sardonically, and answered with a double-meaning Jak would not pick up on. If you're quite finished, I don't think there's anything more to be gained from this outing.
This place is safe, Jak signed, shrugging. The water is warm here, infused with minerals that are good for health. The only danger is the heavier water below, which is impossible to swim in.
The following are a couple throwaway scenes. Nothing more than thoughts or fleshing out of an impulse. The first is a detail about Jak's house insignia. The second came of Jak's curiosity of whether or not he could pickle kuo-toa flesh and cure the skin without losing its ability to change color.
Making another decision, Jak slipped his hand to his forehead and the trademark Mi'iduor plate. His was outfitted with two straight spikes, each as long as his smallest finger, located directly above his eyes. Beneath the plate was his house insignia, which held a number of enchantments, the least of which was typical to a noble house proud of its mercantile specialties. He triggered the spell and immediately felt a small whirlwind of force start at his feet and blow swiftly up over his body, leaving his clothes without stain or wrinkle and his skin without dust or blemish.
A minimal amount of blood and mucus was drying on Jak's cheek as he stood, tapping the flat of one of his skinning blades against the kuo-toa's flayed arm. He didn't like working with live animals, but in the interests of conservation, he had capitulated to pragmatism. It was much easier to skin an arm that was attached to a body rather than skinning a severed one. Additionally, it allowed the creature continued mobility while Jak learned how long a sheet of skin would emote while thinly attached to the body.
The kuo-toa had ceased protest after Jak had bludgeoned its mind enough. It hadn't even known what he was doing to it in the end. There was no screaming as there had been with his mother. No struggling. Its mind was a comfortable mass of ponderous movement.
And of course, when the poor boy finally arrives in Menzoberranzan, he finds Oblodra destroyed. House Agrach-Dyrr ends up adopting him due to his rare gift of psionics. He doesn't use them much in my writing because he has very little formal training until Agrach-Dyrr contracts Kimmuriel Oblodra of Bregan D'aerthe. And that leads into Jaka's involvement with Entreri and Jarlaxle in devil takes hindmost. Hope you enjoyed all that.