The game of Lolth

Lolth, Eilistraee, and the rest of the drow are not mine. This story contains spoilers for the first two books of the Lady Penitent Trilogy by Lisa Smedman.

Eilistraee, my dear darling girl, I see that you think that you have advanced. You have killed your brother and brought down Kiaransalee, and your dunce of a nephew is gone as well. Now all that is left aside from us is Ghaunadaur, and that living slime was never one of us, not really. He is no challenge like Vhaeraun or Kiaransalee, not even a worthy piece, like that dunce. Even my late Wendonai was more impressive than he is. So, let us put him aside for now, shall we?

So then, there are just us, you and me, light and evil, right? Silly daughter of mine, you have never stopped chasing after mirages, have you? You still want to bring back what is mine to your no-good father and his new Seldarine consort, and be accepted us one of them. Well, guess what, my dearest, dearest girl that will never happen! And do you know why? Because your father has never wanted that to happen, of course. When the fateful spell was cast, all elves that were not faithful to him and his were sent to me, and he has never forgotten that nor forgave me for it. He turned your brother and me into demons, and sent us howling into Abyss. That is right, into demons. Not demon lords. That I did by myself, with just some help along the way. Corellon may heroically bluster and pose as well as the next male, but when he wants to, when he really wants to, he can be as petty as the next male as well. You may think differently, but he will not accept you, not while you clearly bear my marks, and look almost like I did when I was your age.

Almost, because there's one – no, make that two things that you did not inherit from me, I believe – my intelligence and wisdom, though you think otherwise; you think that you are so smart and cunning, being able to play as an equal with me at the game, outplay Kiaransalee, and slay your brother almost simultaneously. As far as I believe, this merely means that you have learned to multitask – and it is about time, too, you are not the young godling you once were, you know? It is about time that you have joined the proud ranks of the middle management. Nevertheless, do not worry child, for your mamma's here to help…

You see, my dear, darling girl, all this time during my sojourn in the Abyss I have been thinking and I have been plotting. Your no-good father and his consort may feel self-content, realized, and oblivious to the details in the greater picture, but I am not. I know that nothing stays the same, not even the elven race, and that is where you come in. For you see child, though I am eternally beautiful, I age, I mature, and I realize that I am unable to go the whole way to challenge Corellon as I wanted to, for of the two of us, he is stronger than me, like most males are. (That is why drow females are stronger, to put the males in their place, to make sure that the drow society is perfect! You do not understand that yet, but you will, you will.) However, I am whole once again, and back at the pinnacle of my strength, this is still not enough. Thus, I have failed myself, and as a punishment for my failure, I am going to die. However, Eilistraee, my dear, darling girl, this is where you come in.

Eilistraee, I will be frank. You have disappointed me for a long time. Even your brother, in his wretched, masculine way, proved to be more of a realist than I have. He never believed your father's nonsense about peace and harmony, he strove to rule!.. Sadly, because he was a male, none of his attempts even came close to mattering. Even the late Kiaransalee, that late crazy hag, was a better deity of my drow than he was. Ah well, he is gone, and dead, and consumed by you. That is where your change has begun. For you see, Eilistraee, you have something that your brother or his son could never match – the right gender. And yet, you have spent all these decades and centuries wasting your time, playing toady to your father, while your brother – I observed – spent his intelligence - inherited from me, surprise, surprise – playing silly little games with his silly little followers, waving daggers in darkened places, seeking to hide from gaze, and thinking that they mattered. Males! Give them something remotely phallic-shaped, and they will be at it all the time! Corellon and his sword are like that, you will see… but I digress.

As I was saying, I knew that your brother had my brains, but you had my gender, and neither of you went anywhere from where you have initially landed. And since I am your mother, and mother always knows best, I decided to take matters into my hands, and now your brother – for all of his brains is gone, and dead, and consumed by you, and consumed by you, his intelligence has become yours, and you, my dear, darling daughter, have finally began to change! Do not deny it, the facts speak for themselves. You had your parish – all of it – wipe out the crazy old worshippers of the crazy old Kiaransalee and not even wince. You have learned discretion, Eilistraee, and it will serve you well. But what is more important, you have finally got away from the whole "goodness" hobby of yours, and have finally embraced the reality. You became neutral and now, you are just one-step away from become evil – and this is where I come in, for you see, my last and now-only child, there can be only one. Enter – our game. Throughout it, we have bonded, by destroying the competition – that is you destroyed them, and I helped you with that. (A true drow mother-daughter family bonding, don't you agree? When the drow are yours, make sure to teach them that, okay?) Now, there is just me, you, and brainless Ghaunadaur bubbling somewhere else, and it is time for the third and final round. Only the two of us, no distractions, nor cheating, nor anyone else. You and I in a fight to the death, and the winner takes it all. Impressed? You probably will be, once I explain.

You see, there are only two outcomes – I will win or lose, and when I lose, you will kill me, as you killed your brother, like Kiaransalee. You will kill me, and consume me, and you will become me, will all of my knowledge…plus several millennia younger, and that counts. A lot. And once you are I, you are Lolth, you are evil, and you will take your father and his precious Seldarine down in a shower of mud and bloody glory and will make me proud!

And what if I win and you lose? Then I will consume you, and gain all the divine energy you have accumulated, and grow stronger yet – strong enough to challenge your father directly and take him and his precious Seldarine down in a shower of mud and bloody glory and start a new age for the drow and other elves – my elves!.. For you see, my dear, darling daughter and heir, I am no longer Lolth the Spider Queen, I am Arauchnee the Weaver, and I have finally woven my net, and wove it good. Once you are I, you will learn that to.

Once you are I, my Eilistraee, my daughter, my flesh, my blood, you will be unstoppable, you will be a goddess, you will be…me. That is the greatest gift a mother can offer to her daughter, you know – a sacrifice of self, and do not argue. You would have done the same for me at one time, but I acted first, and I am wiser, and currently better than you are.

Therefore, dearest daughter let the third and final match begin! Now defeat and consume me and take that no-good Corellon down!

Eilistraee, my daughter and heir, let us – begin!