Disclaimer: I do not own Forgotten Realms. The characters in this story however are my own creations, unless otherwise noted. These are fictional persons and any and all similarity to real life personalities living or dead, unless specifically noted otherwise by me, is coincidental and completely unintentional.
Note: This is the sequel to The Noble Mercenary, it takes place very shortly before Mithral Hall. If you enjoy the story remember to review.
In the darkest of darkness beneath the surface of Faerun, in the place known as the "Underdark" lies the city Menzoberranzan; Greatest city of the drow.
Far different from their surface dwelling cousins, drow elves are vicious and cruel. They are rightly feared as one of the greatest dangers within the under dark, the subterranean realm where dangers come in no short supply. Few who stumble upon a drow patrol survive to tell the tale.
Ambition is as normal to any drow as breathing is to any human, status is everything, murder and assassination are the key methods of raising one's rank. Those without ambition rarely survive, but those who meet their goal struggle to hold their prize, even as they begin to look for their next.
In Menzoberranzan noble houses compete against one another for rank, fortune, and status. When one house raids another no member of the defending family may be left alive. The attack must be carried out and completed in a single night. If even one of the defenders survives she has the right of accusation and the ruling council of the city will be obligated to rise up in force and destroy the attackers.
This is only a facade of justice however, for if the defenders are wiped out, the council simply ignores the event. No one would investigate the murder of an entire family, not even their closest allies.
Rather the attackers would be applauded silently for an attack well carried out and left to begin, or continue plotting, as all houses do, against their next target. This is the way of the drow nobility.
In the eyes of their dark deity, Lolth the Spider Queen, only the eight highest ranked houses have the right to be on the ruling council of Menzoberranzan, her greatest city. It is the ambition of every house to become one of these eight, to place their Matron Mother on the ruling council of Menzoberranzan, and it was with such ambition that house G'kar, the twenty first house waged its secret war on Sh'tok, the nineteenth.
The Sh'tok family had fallen from Lolth's favor. As such the capricious Spider Queen's blessings, and more importantly her protection had left them. Those houses still favored by the Lady of Chaos would fall upon Sh'tok until the house had been utterly destroyed. Their only hope was to regain the Spider Queen's favor before an attack could occur, and thus be spared a most painful end.
The G'kar forces knew the risks of the attack, once it was launched there was no turning back, failure meant death for the entire household for if even one princess of Sh'tok survived to learn the identity of her attackers the harsh laws of Menzoberranzan would be carried out. Victory could only be achieved by the complete destruction of the Sh'tok family.
Weapons Master K'ral thought that all seemed quiet in the Sh'tok compound . And there was no reason why the compound should not seem quiet. From the small and mysterious Donigarten lake that surrounded the isle of Rothe (which few drow had ever managed to survive the swim across) to the great time piece Narbondel, a towering pillar of stone that told of the passing of day or night with the help of the city's Archmage, it seemed every dark elf in Menzoberranzan had simply "gone to sleep", The Mantle, the area along the western wall of the cavern where the eldest and most prestigious houses stood, seemed devoid of all life . . . except for two hundred drow warriors, and their three hundred battle ready slaves.
A small force by comparison to Sh'tok, which boasted over a hundred more warriors, and twice the number of battle slaves. An army that was likely very ready to protect its home from the smaller invaders.
Their forces most certainly outnumbered patron Nagru G'kar's first wave, which consisted of one hundred foot soldiers and three times that number in fighting slaves. Orcs, goblins, bugbears, kobolds . . . all lesser races, and nothing more than fodder.
The foot soldiers would likely be wiped out without the support of the second wave, led by K'ral. Nothing would stand in the way of K'ral's one hundred mounted veterans, K'ral's riders would cut through the Sh'tok forces with all the ease of a dagger piercing a silk vest.
Nagru was the patron of house G'kar, Matron Talia's husband for appearance sake. It granted him the surname and the rights and privileges that few common males enjoyed. However in all other ways such a marriage was little more than formality. Nagru's position within the house was near the bottom rung, he was nothing more than a figurehead lending the matron his body according to her desire.
G'kars princesses, those Nagru had sired as well as those he had not, all stood above him, Borrakul, the house wizard held more influence with is mother than her husband. Even as weapon master, K'ral, who was not an immediate member of the G'kar family, had not even served them as long as Nagru had, was higher on the power ladder than the house patron.
If Nagru should fall, G'kar would suffer no great loss by K'ral's estimation. Furthermore K'ral would have no need to share the glory of this battle with Matron Talia's lowly husband, might even be selected as Talia's new patron, granting him the honors of nobility.
He saw the signal to attack, and held his riders back.
Just long enough, he decided, to eliminate a minor rival. Ambition after all, was as normal to a drow as breathing