Part II (I know, it makes no sense!)
Mivindep eased into his large throne carved of the soft and comfortable wood of a surface tree killed some time ago.
It was well cushioned and extravagant. Nothing so intimidating as a throne of blood and bone, but Mivindep liked it. It was rare; he doubted many others would have such a throne.
If it did not inspire fear so be it. He could inspire fear personally.
You have returned. His servant Gazna acknowledged, bowing low.
He nodded to the half-blood. Gazna was half human, half moon elf. A telepath, like Mivindep himself.
And yet nothing like Takira.
Gazna rose and mentally communicated several reports that Mivindep did not care about. The Derro had begun to question her in his absence and she'd been forced to break several of them mentally, ending their effectiveness as fighters.
Of course Mivindep could still eat them.
Did you accomplish your aims master? Gazna queried.
Mivindep considered answering. He did not owe Gazna an answer. Though he left her in command of his estate in his absence she was his servant not his second in command.
She had not asked what his aims were, did not ask him where he had gone, she knew it was not her place. She was intelligent. He would not leave her in charge of his estate otherwise.
She was the leader of his small force of Psionic beings, really only a handful strong.
Mivindep was a very unusual Mind Flayer. He not only sought out young Psions, he trained them, nurtured their talents and then used them for his own ends. He made them his servants in his lair deep within the Underdark. Gazna had not been the first, though she had been the most promising until Takira.
Takira, the birth of power, the greatest weapon Mivindep had ever handled.
He was also unusual because he did not enjoy or even tolerate the presence of other Illithids under normal circumstances. Making a deal with El Viddenvelp had been an exception of course.
Mivindep was an oddity to the Illithids in many ways.
He tapped his long fingers on the armrest of his throne. My trip was most productive. I have found your replacement. He informed her.
How wonderful, master. Gazna thought to him.
A partial lie. He allowed Gazna complete free will, all his servants were technically free, the only thing they could not do was leave his domain.
They could lie to him if they wished.
And he sensed that while Gazna was pleased he had found success, she was not pleased to be replaced.
But she would have plenty of time to learn to accept it; it would be years before Takira was ready for proper use.
You have found a more powerful Psion. Gazna congratulated him.
If Mivindep had had a proper mouth he would have smirked. It was exceptionally troublesome, Gazna. I would not have bothered if she were a mere Psion . . .
Some Years Later . . .
Tak stood in the courtyard of the G'kar complex intently watching Rilian as he was soundly defeated time and again by the weapons master, a lazy little drow with a halberd.
It amused her to no end to watch her "brother" fail. The real amusement did not come from seeing him hurt--though she would be lying if she said it was not just a little amusing--but from the fact that it occurred so rarely that it was a real treat.
Rilian was faster than anything Tak had ever seen. His hands all but disappeared when he fought, and though he had begun with two short swords to devastating effect Matron Talia had since commanded the use of a longsword instead. It was slowing Rilian down and today had been a day of amusing failures.
Her sadistic enjoyment of his pain and suffering aside she did like Rilian. He was different than the others.
His presence was far easier to tolerate than any other member of the family, in fact Tak would even go so far as to say she enjoyed spending time with Rilian. Perhaps it was because he was like her. Very reserved and secretive. Of anyone she'd met since coming to this new home, he was the only one she would even consider calling her Khal'abbil.
She smiled as he fell, the butt of the weapons master's halberd slamming into his stomach. Tak suppressed her laughter, for it looked as if that had hurt.
The defeats were coming further apart now, Rilian was learning. Tak meant to enjoy those that were left . . . perhaps he would break something.
Then she could hurt him while pretending to comfort him.
She was considering using her talent to aid her trusted friend, perhaps stun the weapons master when some thing else caught her attention.
From the corner of her eye she spotted a drow female. She did not know why, but it seemed significant.
The female was a commoner, one that the false princess had not seen before. That should not have been unusual, Tak was rarely allowed anywhere near the commoners. Perhaps Matron Talia feared her false daughter would eat their brains.
Takira had to admit that she had considered doing just that as a joke. It never came to fruition, her pallet was too fussy.
The drow commoner was neither old nor young, neither beautiful nor ugly by drow standards. Perhaps what captured Takira's attention was the female's eyes.
Those eyes were on her and not moving.
Tak bristled; she was uncomfortable under this creature's gaze.
Discomfort however became confusion when the female began to approach her. Confusion became concern when Takira realized she could not sense the being's surface thoughts. There was . . . some kind of barrier. She could not guess the commoner's intentions through usual means.
She tensed and tried to sense the female's motives through boring, regular means. Her face was blank and unreadable, or had Takira just gone too long without relying on more mundane skills?
The female bowed low next to her and began to busy herself picking mushrooms near the stone on which Tak had chosen to sit.
"Hello princess." She said in a silky soft voice. Takira's eyes narrowed. She wanted to ask the strange drow what she was doing but the stranger continued, "I recognize you. From before . . . I am pleased to see you survived princess."
"Excuse me?" Takira demanded.
"You are the daughter of one of the fallen Kenlyl princesses. Second or third, I cannot recall. It has been some years since the fall of that house." The female said, smiling kindly at Takira. "How you must hate the Baenre."
Takira bristled. "I do not know what you are talking about."
"Of course not princess." The female said. "I am pleased none the less to see that the goddess favors you."
"Oh yes," Takira hissed vehemently, "All hail Lolth!" She snapped, outraged at her inability to control this sudden surge of emotion.
Luckily females always shouted that sort of thing, no one noticed.
This creature, this being who knew her true identity . . . scared her.
What might it mean for her current life? For her plans for vengeance?
For she did plan to take revenge one day.
She was stunned when the female said, through a pleasant smile, "I do not speak of Lolth." The commoner gathered her mushrooms and began to walk away, Takira stopped her. "Can I help you princess?" She asked.
"What did you say?" Takira demanded.
The female smiled a triumphant smile, and Takira knew it was because she'd been caught.
She didn't care. "What did you say?" She demanded again, shaking the older female.
The female smiled benignly, "I said that the goddess' blessings are upon you. I can tell by looking at you. By looking into your eyes. How else could you have survived?"
Takira scoffed. "That is not all you said. You said you were not speaking of Lolth, who did you speak of?"
The commoner smiled, "Do you know how to keep secrets princess?"
"Exceptionally well." Takira nodded.
"So do I." The female smirked.
Takira felt her temper rising again, this was perhaps the most emotional she'd been since the fall.
But the female led her into a dark corner, safe from the view of most and the hearing of all and whispered softly, "The Dark Goddess is the one who spared you that night I think." The commoner told her, "Just as she spared me."
"Dark Goddess?" Takira scoffed. "Another deity. You speak sacrilege."
The female smirked again, "Yes. I do. And you will say nothing. Because you want to know more. You are enthralled, your mind demands knowledge of the Dark Goddess."
"I am hardly enthralled." Takira said honestly. "But you will tell me what I want to know, or I will tell the Matron to kill you for sacrilege." Takira took her turn to smirk, "In fact . . . I will not even need to supply a reason. All I have to do is ask for your death and it will happen."
The female smiled. "Of course princess. You are right to ask me, you deserve to be told. The goddess would aid you greatly; I sense that she favors you greatly."
"Yes. You have said that. Get to the point." Takira said coldly.
"Child . . . the Dark Goddess is friend to the avenger, advocate of those wronged or abused. She harbors our secrets, she gives us power."
"She sounds like Lolth." Takira scoffed, annoyed.
"She is nothing like Lolth!" The commoner hissed, and Takira smiled.
"But she is. All goddesses are alike. Weak. I am powerful, and I owe it to no Goddess. I owe my survival to no Goddess. Perhaps this Dark Goddess saved you, but not me. No one saved me." Takira folded her arms. "You can go now. I am through with you."
"Ah. But is the goddess through with you, princess? I think not." The commoner bowed low, "I can see it in your eyes, she favors you."
"Does she. Why do you think that?" Takira laughed.
"How many other drow have you met . . . with violet eyes, princess?" The commoner asked slyly.
"How many princesses have you met who grew bored with you and ordered your murder?" Takira sighed. Her way of saying "none so far" for obviously this commonder had not yet annoyed anyone as much as she was annoying Takira. Her continued survival suggested that.
"Purple is a color of the Goddess. Her symbol is surrounded by the color that stains your eyes."
"They are not stained." Takira said dangerously slowly.
She would never be called "unclean" by any variation again.
"Of course not princess," The commoner said, shifting uneasily, "but . . . recall the pain you felt the night Kenlyl was betrayed. Baenre wronged you princess, as the last surviving Kenlyl you should be Matron of your own clan, not the last in line for this household." The commoner said.
"I do not care for the title of Matron Mother." Takira said coldly. She frowned, "But . . . vengeance against the one who took my mother from me . . . that is something I would enjoy."
"That is something the goddess would enjoy as well. I told you, the Dark Goddess gives power to those who were wronged as we were, the Dark Goddess gives power to the avenger!"
"You offer to teach me. But allow me to teach you." Takira said softly. "You say I need your goddess's power. I tell you again that I am power. I will never trust in a god or goddess. I am devoted to the furthering of no power save my own. My eyes are my eyes; they were not stained by some Dark Goddess. I need not and want not the aid of your deity. On my own I will be the avenger of my mother, on my own I will destroy those who have wronged me, and alone will I keep my secrets."
"For now you have her favor whether you wish it or not. But the goddess could protect you, make you stronger!" The commoner insisted.
"Perhaps relying on faceless beings gives you strength. Perhaps believing that rewards await you when this life is over brings you comfort. I will not grudge you your belief . . . but if I ever see you again I will grudge you the ring you are wearing. The one that blocks your thoughts from me." Takira said, turning her back on the priestess. "I will not tell Lolth's children of you, or your Dark Goddess, and I need no ring to keep my mind safe. Go now, spread your foolish beliefs to beings that care."
"Do you think this was a chance meeting? We have been watching you princess, you cannot deny us!"
"I just did." Tak said simply, and proceeding to walk away.
It was a risky, even foolish move to turn one's back on even a possible enemy in Menzoberranzan.
But they had the advantage of being in the G'kar compound, and though no one could hear them several guards could see them. Takira herself was never out of the eyesight of at least one guard, though she hated it.
If this commoner struck at her she would die for it, perhaps even die before the blow could land, for Takira recognized at least one of her observers as a wizard.
She walked away, forcing a spring into her step. She came back to her rock, Rilian was leaning against it breathing heavily.
She noticed he seemed to have injured his right shoulder, so she promptly sat down next to him and leaned her head against that same shoulder, causing him to wince.
But she frowned, and pulled away. "I am sorry." She said. "I should not have done that. I knew it would cause you pain. I apologize."
Rilian shrugged, and then winced again, holding his shoulder. Tak just laughed and slapped him on the back. "The shrug was your own fault." She pointed out.
"And the slap was completely necessary?" Rilian laughed.
"I feel that it was. Yes." The young female nodded.
Perhaps she had little to gain from apologizing to Rilian for a minor act of cruelty that had in truth brought her a small measure of pleasure.
But she knew no one else ever apologized to the second boy of G'kar. He would appreciate her words for a long time to come.
She might not want a goddess.
But for the time being she would need allies. She would need friends.
Some Years Later . . .
Dinin fought, he strained his legs, mentally he begged them to stop following Vierna.
He did not know what she would do to him, but he could scarcely believe he was simply going along with it!
No, his body was. He was fighting desperately, and losing.
"Follow me dear brother." Vierna said in a singsong voice and not for the first time.
She led him on and he fought, how long had this lasted? It seemed like they had not traveled far and yet he felt as if he had fought her for years.
Vierna, the gentlest and most tolerable of his siblings . . . what would she do to him?
"You fear Drizzt." She stated rather than asked, and Dinin did not argue. "I shall help you dear brother, help you conquer your fear so that you may help me conquer Drizzt."
"Vierna-" he tried, meaning to reason with the insane creature that his sister had become.
"You and I are the last of the Do'Urdern, it was our duty to restore our household. Alas brother you seem fearful of the task. That cannot be. Your lack of faith in our goddess angers me, though I do not show it."
"Oh you are doing an excellent job of showing it!" Dinin snapped, "Release me, Vierna!"
"This will be painful." Vierna said calmly, "More so than normal I suspect . . . I want you to feel this, know what true pain is my brother. Pain is your ally for pain reminds you that there is life yet in you. When you face Drizzt, you may feel pain . . . but ever let it drive you to attack, not to flee."
"Strategic retreat is far more sound than constant attack!" Dinin protested, "Any master of the academy would know that, and you were once a mistress of Arach-Tinilith! Do not do this!"
He did not know what crazed Vierna planned to do . . . but if it was going to hurt he wanted no part of it.
Though he could speak he found the rest of his body restrained by some magic. Found himself kneeling some ten feet from Vierna. "I will fight Drizzt!" He offered desperately as Vierna knelt and began to pray to Lolth.
Yet she finished her prayer before standing and answering, "Yes my brother. You will. But you will not do so as Dinin Do'Urden. Dinin Do'Urden is a weak coward, and soon he will be no more."
Dinin felt rage fill him, "You cannot kill me, Vierna!" He roared, struggling against whatever held him, determined to break free, to slay Vierna. "I spared your life! I saved you!"
"Lolth saved me. And she guides me now. Praise to Lolth!" Vierna screamed at the top of her lungs.
"Damn Lolth!" Dinin shouted, and felt a sharp pain in his stomach. "Damn you Vierna!"
"Words brother. Ignorant words, you know not the gift that Lolth gives you. You will no longer be Dinin Do'Urden, weak and small. It is time to become my servant and my champion. Drizzt will be no match for you, oh failure to Lolth. Your sacrilege, your weakness has angered the Spider Queen but she permits me to change you, rather than kill you. You should be grateful my darling brother. Praise her with your final breath."
Dinin's eyes were wild with rage. Change him?
Change him into what?
"Damn you Vierna . . ." He whispered.
"I had wished for your continued service as Dinin Do'Urden, but Dinin the Drider shall serve equally well as my champion. Had you trusted in Lolth a heretic like Drizzt could never have hurt you. But you turned your back on your goddess, you doubted."
"Yes, we have established that. Get on with it!" Dinin scowled, feeling more pain rippling through him.
"It has already begun, Dinin. With your new strength you will help me kill Drizzt. When I offer his still beating heart to Lolth I will be the last true Do'Urden. I will restore our house to its former glory, no I will make it more glorious than ever. It will be more powerful than ever, Lolth has promised this to me."
"You are wrong Vierna." Dinin smirked through the pain. "You are so wrong. You will not be the last Do'Urden."
"Of course not my brother, for somewhere inside the husk of the monster you shall become you will always be Dinin Do'Urden. My beloved, if somewhat cowardly brother." Vierna said dismissively.
Dinin tried to laugh through the pain, tried not to give Vierna the satisfaction of knowing how badly this hurt. "Vierna you fool. If Drizzt does not kill you--" He threw his head back and suppressed a scream, but not for long.
As his legs split apart, becoming four, as still more legs erupted from his body, long spider like legs, Dinin Do'Urden screamed.
But in his mind he laughed.
Vierna you fool. He thought. Drizzt will kill you. And if he does not, then there is still one more Do'Urden to take vengeance upon you. I pray to whatever god may hear me that Drizzt strike you down. But if he cannot then my daughter will. For she will be the last Do'Urden, and you, who have taken both her parents from her, will always be her enemy Vierna. Perhaps death at Drizzt's hands will be preferable, he at least would show you compassion.
Through the pain Dinin heard an odd sound.
It was not Vierna's.
It was his own.
He was laughing not only in his mind, but out loud as well. He gave in to it, laughed harder, laughed at Vierna.
He laughed as his body came closer to finishing its transformation, as his mouth ceased to be his mouth, as his face ceased to be his face, as he ceased to be Dinin Do'Urden, but his eyes laughed still.
"May you suffer in the abyss, Vierna!" Were his last words with a drow mouth.
He closed his eyes, in his last moments of sanity-for he could not even guess how much of himself would remain once he became a drider-he said a prayer.
Not to Lolth, but to whatever god or goddess would listen.
He was beyond help now. But she was not.
Protect his daughter. Save Takira, help her to grow strong. Help her to escape Menzoberranzan and find strength somewhere else.
Perhaps not on the surface like that fool Drizzt, but somewhere where she could find true strength. The kind of strength that she would need to truly restore Do'Urden, to make it what it should be.
Guide her, I beg you, whoever will hear me. Dinin thought.
He was finished. He was slipping away, his body was no longer Dinin Do'Urden, it was Dinin the Drider.
He hoped to the gods that Drizzt killed him.
The End . . .
Final Note: This final chapter was meant mostly to illustrate the kind of young adult Takira becomes and to explain a bit on Mivindep since he is just such a favorite villain of mine. The final scene was one that was planned from the very start. It underwent some changes but the basic idea of it has remained unchanged. I have issues with it, it doesn't feel quite right and I might just change it a bit at some time in the future. But for now it is what it is.
Thanks for reading my first major Forgotten Realms work on this site. The helpful suggestions I received for this story helped make it better than I originally estimated it would be, and will help me greatly as I work with its sequels. Thanks to all my readers and reviewers, and to anyone who's been with me from the start.
What does Tak do when she cannot get revenge on Vierna? What becomes of Enialis? The sequel of this story, titled Chronciles: Otherworld, is up now. Hope you enjoy it!