AUTHOR'S NOTES: This fic is based off information brought to light in Sacrifice of the Widow, but contains no spoilers for it per se.

I don't own the drow, of course. Neither do I "own" the books I've quoted and extrapolated from.

Further ramblings are at the bottom, where you can read them if you liked the fic - or, for that matter, if you hated it and wish to receive some insight into what spawned such a sick and twisted creation. Anyway…

WARNINGS: General disturbing activity and viewpoint. Non-graphic violence. Implied rape, torture and pedophilia - though not much more explicit than the book where said activities were brought up as part of that character's background.

"As I told you before, I was a priestess of Lolth when I was captured."
-Seyll Auzkovyn to Halisstra Melarn, War of the Spider Queen: Condemnation, by Richard Baker

Vhaeraun's followers had learned a bitter lesson. Females could not be trusted.
-Contemplations of Szorak Auzkovyn, Sacrifice of the Widow, by Lisa Smedman

Trusted Traitor

Szorak tries not to look down. He's fresh out of salve, he discovers, and he thinks maybe he should try to wipe off first, but he can't wait. He gets dressed over it all and goes to Seyll's rooms with blood etcetera sticking his shirt to his back, his pants to the insides of his thighs.

Seyll always keeps her jars of salve in the same cabinet and there are always many, many jars. She is away this time, but when she is there Seyll does not show the same interest as the others. Seyll is his sister, of course, but Szorak understands that does not always stop females. She is away and Szorak opens the lock with a long needle one of his visitors once forgot.

He starts slipping jars into his piwafwi. It was a gift from the eldest daughter, years ago, and it used to hang to his ankles. The future House patron should have attire befitting his status, she'd whispered as she fastened the clasp at his shoulder. He grew into it.

Seyll is promising, they whisper. They whisper that the Matron found her when she was a Braeryn guttersnipe, plucked her from the muck, gave her a polish.

(This is not entirely accurate. He's fairly sure they were from Eastmyr, and he thinks their mother sold boots until the Matron had her killed)

Szorak was not the price of her entrance into the House ranks. Szorak is a bonus for the Matron, her daughters, the other priestesses the Matron lifted from the muck. Szorak pays his own way.

Szorak knows, from experience, how many jars he can carry without rattling.

When Seyll sees him and his stagger is too obvious, often she lays him out on a table and casts healing spells. Those times he sneaks handfuls anyway, from the jar she keeps out. He hides the laden hand under his piwafwi and deposits it into one of the empty jars he hides in his room. He likes using the salve, likes being able to pretend that she doesn't have as much to do with it as she does.

Back in his room, Szorak starts drawing a bath. He opens a jar and starts slathering it, down where he still won't look. When he raises his hand to scoop more, the thin layer of salve coating his palm and fingers is stained pink.

Szorak wishes he could do his own healing.

They stop out of Menzoberranzan's patrol range, and Seyll mends her robes while Szorak prepares their camp. She says, "I don't remember our last name."

Szorak wasn't even word-weaned when they still used the last name of the Eastmyr shoemaker. He says, "It's not as though we need it."

"Yes, yes, of course you're right." She never would have said that in Menzoberranzan. She wears one of Szorak's shirts for the moment, and she's stuck her holy symbol - her true holy symbol - in one of his belts. She rethreads her needle. Then she says, "Was that really necessary?"

She means what he did to the eldest daughter, before they fled. "Yes."

Seyll's lips tighten. She jabs the needle. "Don't get any ideas."

He rubs his hand along where the eldest daughter clawed at his face. He can heal himself, now. "I'm doing fine with the ideas I've already got."

"I'll have to wear these a while yet," she says, giving the robes a shake. "For disguise."

"Yes, yes, of course."

He'd cut the eldest daughter's robes from her in strips while his spell held her still, slicing through the embroidered webs and bisecting the spiders. He'd used some of the strips to swathe her hands, her fingers to stop her clawing and casting. He'd whispered in her ear, your patron, at your service. What is your desire, Mistress?

It was not entirely as she had done to him - there could never be enough time to revisit all that she alone had done to him. But what he did do did something for a while.

When he finally cut her throat, he put his lips to hers and tasted her blood as she gurgled.

Seyll is one of the Masked Lord's now, and the Spider Queen's regalia is only her chosen mask. The Spider Queen's followers call her a traitor, or would if they knew. Szorak calls her his sister.

He says, "I would never do that to you."

Seyll's habit is to stash her holy symbol, bury it usually, and stay in range. If she needs a mask, she says, Vhaeraun will provide, and it's far easier to explain temporary lack of one to his followers than to explain the presence of one to spider-kissers. She does dig it up and wear it for the clan gatherings, where the leader of their band introduces her and introduces Szorak. In the absence of another name, they are Auzkovyns now.

In her mended priestess robes, Seyll browbeats a spider-kissing raiding party into an ambush. The ambush itself is Szorak's scheme. Later their leader grins, throws out an arm, describes them as promising.

Some of the others tend to mutter about females, priestesses especially.

(Even those ones. Masked Traitors they're called, and you can guess what they're about by the name. Don't like them. Don't trust them. Those pretended to serve one god already, what's to stop them pulling that trick twice-)

They usually shut up about that when Seyll nears, else hastily append qualifiers. Soon they learn to do the same for Szorak.

Seyll laughs more once they're in Cormanthor. Seyll leaps and spins and embraces Szorak, and he doesn't push her away.

When Szorak hears the first piece of news, the attack and the dragging-off to Elventree, he digs up Seyll's holy symbol and puts it on. He sits in a tree, wearing her mask, and he waits for her to come along and tell him take it off, haven't you got your own?

She doesn't, of course. He puts the mask in a safe place and dismembers the next human he comes across.

(He is not entirely certain the human was one of those from Elventree. Certainly not certain the human was one of the ones who took her. He doesn't care)

As he hacks at the left arm, he whispers below the human's screams. "My sister is worth ten thousand of you."

When Szorak hears the second piece of news he nearly dismembers the messenger as he did the human. Then he takes her mask and throws it in the fire. He waits for her to come running back, for her to yell put it out this instant. You didn't actually believe I'd do that!

She doesn't, of course.

Once a traitor, always a traitor.

Szorak can heal himself without her.


AUTHOR'S SELF-INDULGENT RAMBLINGS: After reading Condemnation, Seyll's surname was cause for speculation - a former priestess of Lolth, and she had the last name of a clan of Vhaeraun worshippers. Huh. Sacrifice of the Widow explained that somewhat - at least, it presented further information about her that made a crackpot theory I was batting around before it came out sound not quite as crackpot after all.

Then there was Szorak. Given everything else that was told us about him and Seyll, I couldn't help but wonder if his opinion as expressed in the Sacrifice of the Widow quote above was based on personal experience.

Also, last August I wrote "The Dark Maiden's Message," featuring a priest of Vhaeraun with several similar aspects of his background. In fact, I suspect I may have given said priest more attention than the supposed central character - that might be part of the reason I wrote Szorak now.

So… hope you found that a somewhat worthwhile use of your time. Feedback, of course, is greatly appreciated.