A/N: This is my NaNoWriMo offering for 2006, ad it was finished on time, a feat that many of the people reading Prophecy will be amazed at, considering the amount of time it sometimes takes me to get a new chapter of just ten or twenty thousand words out. I have already started on new chapters of SOG and Prophecy, and I have this demonic little plot bunnie rampaging around in the back of my head, trying to escape. I think she will be out of my head by christmas, but not to y'all until next year.
Anyway, here is 50,000+ words of people I know well, unlike Harry and crew. Alexander has played D&D for thirty years, he taught me to play, and along the way, the world changed, becoming an AU, where we could keep the things we liked and drop the junk.
Welcome to Grame Manifesto.
Many of you will recognize some of the names used in this book. It is loosely based on Wizards of the Coast's Dungeon and Dragons RPG. My older brother Alexander and his twin sister have been playing the game since it started, and they taught me to play.
We have been playing ever since and in the decades we've been playing, we have created our own version of the game. It is called Grame Manifesto and it is a conglomeration of things from all of D&D's history.
Along the way, we created a few player races and the Kal'Droth are one of them. We have used them for years and this is their history, painstakingly created over years of play.
Legends of Grame Manifesto; Book One
The bard looked around the tavern, using a honed eye to estimate what the crowd wanted tonight. Too many men and not enough women for the love songs, and they didn't have the feel of a crowd wanting funny songs "Tonight," she said, falling back on an old trick, "I am at your disposal. What would you have me play?" She pulled her gittern out and strummed a few sombre notes. "Tales of heroes?"She flashed through a series of faster notes that stirred the blood. "Songs of adventurers, of derring-do?"
Before she could continue, one of the men asked, "What are ye, girl? Only the Drow have skin of midnight, and yet they do not have wings, as you do."
The woman sighed. She'd answered this question more times than she could remember, and yet, comparably few knew of her race, a fact they were trying to change and she launched into what would be an all night tale. "Since you ask, good sir, I shall tell you the story of deception, anger and a curse still in power today, though it was cast before Men learned to harness magic and came to Grame Manifesto." She began strumming the gittern and smiled at the thought of the first of her race she would tell this people about.
She took a second to collect her thoughts and started strumming a low background song, designed to accent her words. "Listen then to actions so old that none today can say what truly happened then." Without teasing any further, she plunged in the familiar tale.
In the Beginning
Long ago, before Men wandered the world or the Dwarves learned to make steel, the Elves had three races. Araushnee, consort of Corellon Larethian, led the Ssri-tel-quessir but became discontented and rose up in rebellion against her Lord, Corellon Larethian, leader of the Gods of the Elven kind.
She led many of her people and the lesser Gods and Goddesses of her people in the war, and for the first time, there was hatred between the various races of Elves. The rebellion failed and in his wrath, the God of the Elves decreed that all of those who followed the Lady would be exiled from the surface of the world, never again to walk under the sun. They became known as the Dhaeraow. Araushnee became known as Lloth.
One of the Goddesses of this people had not joined in the rebellion, nor allowed her followers to do so. Eilistraee came to Corellon Larethian and begged mercy for her people. The God relented, in that he allowed them to stay on the surface, but he banished them to a far away land. In their sorrow over what their race had done, they changed their name, to Kal'Ranious, or the People of Grieving.
Their new land was beautiful, rich in minerals and game, but bounded on every side by high cliffs. Travel anywhere outside of their land was impossible without wings and great daring, for swirling winds spun around their cliffs, making even flight nearly impossible. Magical travel to or from the valley was impossible, by Corellon Larethian's magic, unless you had his permission.
There, those few soon passed out of history, remembered only by a few Gods and very well learned sages.
So matters stood for more than twenty thousand years, as Dwarves and Men came to cover the world, and the Elves stayed the same. Elves you see, are immortal, unless slain or brought low by sickness, and while this allows them to study something for centuries, delving deep into mysteries, it also means that they tend to be highly resistant to change, until it is proven to be better than what is in place.
The Elves in the hidden valley changed, becoming different from their kin. Without access to the peoples that traditionally worked metal under the skin of the world, they learned to mine, and many of them spent their lives underground. Wood, or the lack of it, shaped the people, to the point that even today they are far more likely to have wooden furniture as a mark of high status. It meant that in the early years, they could only use a few trees, until they could grow tree farms to cultivate the wood they need.
Things like harps and lutes, and other items of luxury had to wait, and that included the easels and frames for painting. This left the dark skinned elves with a single mode of entertainment that didn't require wood or metal to use. As a result, the people have some of the finest voices of any race.
At some point, the valley was found by a group of Avariel, the winged elves of the world. They were fleeing a catastrophe they would not speak of, and after some initial problems, the two groups settled down in harmony.
About fifty years after the Avariel settled into the valley, Marrin Songbird, a bard from the people gave birth to the first cross-breed of the two people, with the black skin of her mother and the wings of her father. Named Wingsong, this child was soon joined by more of the Kal'Droth, as the cross-breeds were called.
As the years passed, more of the Kal'Droth were born, and in due time, it was found that the traits would breed true. Two thousand years later, there was only one group of elves in the valley, the Kal'Droth, or People of the Wing.
They changed the face of the valley, being less willing to work in metal, as few of the People of the Wing were willing to spend very long under the ground. They farmed less as well, and allowed most of the valley to become forest.
It was as the valley started to become too small to hold all the Kal'Droth that the legendary Moonshadow was born. From her birth it was evident that she was different. Faster, smarter and stronger than any other, she was restless in the valley, spending days exploring the outer limits of the valley and the surrounding areas, and few were surprised when she disappeared in her one hundred and fifth year.
She returned a decade later with news of the outside world. What she had to say was so shocking that a general meeting was called so that all could hear her words.
In the outside world, the black skinned elves had come to be called Drow, and their Goddess was now known as Lloth. They were considered to be inherently evil, with no redeeming qualities. They came to the surface of the world, raiding and carrying treasure and slaves back underground, delighting in cruel and pointless slaughter.
Moonshadow had been thought of as one of them, despite her wings and had nearly died many times as men, dwarves and even other elves attacked her on sight, because of her black skin. She had finally made a few friends, and discovered that Corellon Larethian still refused to relent from the curse he'd laid so many centuries ago.
The Kal'Droth had been considering expanding outside of the valley, but these reports gave them pause. There were not enough of the Kal'Droth to deal with hostility from any large group of people, nor did they have the skills of war, due to the centuries of isolation. They debated the words of Moonshadow and the needs of the community for nearly six months, and finally they made a decision.
They would choose some people to go out among the other races and live, trying to bring honour to the name of the Kal'Droth. These would be the very best of the young people, the restless ones that were looking beyond the borders anyway. They were sent out into the world to learn, and to show the world that the Kal'Droth are not like their Underdark cousins.
For five thousand years that is how matters have stood. The Kal'Droth that have come out into the outer world have done many things, making names for themselves. Of the more than seven hundred Kal'Droth that have walked the world, five have become household names.
Nightshade, possibly the greatest name ever, living proof that you can rob dragons for a living.
Shadowstalker, Rogue, Assassin, Cleric. The insane avenger, forged in blood and pain, sworn to fight evil in all its forms, wherever it raises its head, by any means it takes to destroy it.
Nightsong, Cleric of Good, sworn to serve and follow only the Gods that do good in the world.
Shadowwalker and Nightwalker, the Bardic twins, possibly the finest singers ever to come from the Kal'Droth, although few know it, since they are fond of looking on the other side of any hill they see.
This book of legends will tell many of the stories of the Kal'Droth and their friends.
The bard finished the first part of her tale and looked at the people in the tavern. They looked interested still, and she started the tale of the best known Kal'Droth ever, the one that made a career out of Dancing with the Lightning.