[[Disclaimer: I do not own anything that may be referenced to the Forgotten Realms campaign. Thanks to Penny4him for beta-reading the introduction!]]

Introduction

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He might have been rather young at the time, but he would never forget his early years of life in the caverns. What he couldn't remember was his family's faces, the place where he slept, and the name that went to their city. What he could remember were the early years of station's training.

There were three things, three terrible lessons, that he would come to know throughout his entire life; lessons that were begun the day he'd been born in that ever dark place. He was male. This alone ranked him low on the list of those important. He was not of noble birth. This further put him at the feet of his merciless leaders. And finally, he was a dark elf. For every other race of the middle earth, this alone meant many different things to each, none of them being positive.

If we were to begin at the beginning of beginnings, perhaps we might start with how his people had come to be where they were. But that is a story best left to the victors, whomever they might have been in so shady of a contest. And if we were to start with the horrors he'd suffered as a child, learning his place as both a commoner and a male at the hands of vile tempered priestesses, then we would be delving into any typical story of any subterranean born drow male as was ever told and will be told again. The first two decades of Zarthaen Ken'lyl's life were no different from that of any other drow learning his or her station.

However, the day he found himself stranded in a blinding world with no direction back to where he wanted to be, to where he knew he belonged...it was now that he pitied himself. What was worse, he'd gone from being the hunter to being the hunted. If it hadn't been for the Leading Lady of the town, Zarthaen would have likely become nothing but a head on a stick within that very day he'd awoken on the street to the greeting of a circle of sharp points. Unable to see, sick from the way the light made him feel, he barely offered a resistance. His disorientated self had been dragged to the stocks with very little questioning as to whether or not he was guilty for anything in the first place. He was a drow - what other answers did they need?

He was far too ill with some terrible sickness to be made aware of the proceedings that took place within those following days…weeks. He couldn't tell as time past by. But the conclusion came to an unexpectedly merciful ending. The leading lady of the town, being of Wood Elven heritage, gave sanctuary to Zarthaen. Whatever the reasons for the lady to do it, be it a statement against the larger High-Elven population, or simply out of curiosity, Zarthaen had little choice in the matter. In fact, he had little knowledge of it. Memories of that entire time were broken into half-conscious moments or dizziness and the effects of his illness. One day he'd awoken in a sunlit street to a sure death, the next he awoke in a soft bed, the room comfortably dark but the world full of sounds too foreign to him. Twittering and rustling and footsteps. The clamor of people at work, the sounds of squeaky children yelling and playing. It was an overload of the senses compared to the eerie silence of his home.

And upon his waking, this is where his story truly begins.