I don't own Forgotten Realms or the setting that this story takes place in. I did create the characters and the Drow City of Ra'Acne, but I can't make any money off of them. What a pity
This story takes place shortly before the the events of the War of The Spider Queen series. As I have not read the entire series or much of Forgotten Realms outside of the Legend of Drizzt, I create all new characters and settings for this with a few created by of the ones I know.
Deliyah In'anday, second daughter of House In'anday the fourth house of the drow city Ra'Achne, woke in a dark, cramped wagon, seated in a small bench to the side of the vehicle. To her left and right were two other drow women, and across from her on the other side were five more young drow elf maidens. Like her, they were all dressed in plain, coarse cloth and shackled by their wrists and ankles and had gags placed in their mouths.
Despite the dark Deliyah could make out the other's faces, the red eyes, the white hair, their pointed ears, for drow saw more by heat than light. All were her classmates from the Academy of the drow city of Ra'Acne; daughters of leading houses who were soon to be ordained as high priestesses of Lolth the Spider Queen. Leria T'enlla, her roommate and one of the few drow she actually considered a friend. The U'tran twins Yvettal and M'Terril. Kelena Cyle, who was big and strong; an Amazon compared to other drow. And across from them sat Phaeryl Doaxle, third daughter of House Doaxle the second house of Ra'Achne. Jetina M'zorran, second daughter of the fifth house; Tishak Zenrun first daughter of eighth house. Maya Vandar, second daughter of the sixth house, and Suetta Nellaved, fourth daughter of the third house.
And directly across from Deliyah was Malicia Banellst, eldest daughter of the first house. Malicia's mother had become Matron Mother of House Banellst when her elder sister, Malicia's aunt, died under mysterious circumstances. Since then, Malicia, who was already arrogant, acted like quite the princess, ordering her class mates around as if they were first year novices, blackmailing them into doing her chores and even into taking the blame for pranks she had pulled on the instructors.
No, Deliyah was not sorry for Malicia to be here in such distressing circumstances. She just wished she wasn't here with her.
The chains on their shackles were too short to reach their mouths but they could still talk in the silent hand language of the dark elves. What happened? Maya signed.
That food must have been drugged, Deliyah answered back.
It had been the night before they were to be ordained and granted the snake headed whips that marked the Spider Queen's high priestesses. As a way of celebrating their final night at the Academy, the ten girls were to accompany a group of drow fighters on a raid to the surface, to collect human slaves to sell in the bazaar. It was against Academy rules, and Deliyah had had her doubts. But when Leria talked of how their names would be remembered at the Academy for millinea to come, and of the profits they'd make from selling the humans in the city bazaar, Deliyah relented-apparently against her better judgment.
For when they and the other drow had come upon the village selected they found it deserted. They looked through, but they found not a single human nor anything worth carrying off as loot.
Angrily, the dark elves had set the houses on fire. And that was when swarms of arrows started coming down on them from out of nowhere, and exploded. The explosions were weak-barely anything to worry about even-except the released a powder into the air that Deliyah had recognized by the scent as the sleep poison drow used to tip their crossbow bolts...
She had awoken with the others, to find themselves chained to the wall of what was obviously a dungeon. They had been gagged then too, and unlike here in the wagon, the chains there were too short for them to sign to each other. There had been nothing for them to do but wait.
And wait they did, for what Deliyah thought were ten days-it was hard for her to keep track, when there was no clock and the lot of them frequently went in and out of sleep. Finally, on the tenth day, a group of richly dressed humans came in, and stripped every one of the drow females naked.
Deliyah had been outraged, both at what they were doing and at her own helplessness. She thought they were going to force themselves on her and the others as she had heard humans did-and as she had seen the males of her house and others do to surface elf and human females that had been brought down to Ra'Achne as slaves. But the humans surprisingly left them unmolested-although they had fondled the drows' breasts and caressed their feminine curves, as if they were inspecting a herd of rothe they were thinking of buying.
The men left, without bothering to dress the drow maidens. A couple of human women came in, with traycarts full of food, and left them in the middle of the dungeon room-then locked the door leading outside behind them. Then as if by magic, the shackles holding the drow in place fell off.
At first they had all been stunned. Then, suddenly realizing how hungry they all were, fell upon the food carts like ravenous beasts. They had lost all sense of decorum or manners, gnawing greedily at dried salted meat and hard baked bread that any cook who served it to them at their houses or the Academy would have been flogged-or more likely flayed alive.
That must have been it, Phaeryl replied. Now what will they do to us? Where are they taking us?
Deliyah had no idea. Before she could say so, Malicia signed How dare they do this to us! We are the daughters of the ruling houses of Ra'Achne, the future of our city. They should show us the proper respect!
I don't think they agree, Deliyah signed back sarcastically. These humans were their captors; they could do whatever they wanted with them. What did surprise Deliyah was that so far, the humans hadn't tortured them.
Malicia was about to add something, when the wagon came to a halt. The curtain in the back opened, and a heavily bearded human looked in, and said in the drow language, "All right, you drow bitches, we're letting you out to eat." All at once, the chains holding them to the wagon fell away-although those holding their wrists together, and their ankles, long enough for them to walk, remained. "Now get out, slowly, one at a time."
As much as it galled her, Deliyah knew she had no choice to obey. Evidently so did the others, even the proud Malicia. Slowly they stood up and made their way out of the wagon.
They appeared to be in the middle of a forest of what were called trees, Deliyah knew from her studies at the Academy. And it had to be night, the the big empty space above called the sky was dark, without the big, blinding orb of light known as the sun.
The human, who stood a head taller than even the big Kelena, and so stout he looked almost like an oversized dwarf, pointed to a small fire nearby, surrounded by ten chairs. The drow maidens went over to the chairs and sat down.
A small, weedy little human standing right next to the larger on waved his hand, and chains similar to the ones in the wagon attached themselves to the drows' shackles. Looking around, Deliyah saw the outlines of several men mounted on those things they used in place of riding-lizards-horses, they were called- with hoods pulled over their faces and holding loaded crossbows. Despite herself, Deliyah had to be impressed by the precautions these humans were taking. They may be non-drow, they may be big, dirty, and hairy-but they were not fools.
Another human placed a clay bowl and a spoon in the lap of each drow maiden, and then poured into each bowel a thick porridge. The small man-a mage, evidently-waved his hands again and the gags popped out of the drow maiden's mouths.
As soon as her mouth was free, the Banellst maiden threw her bowel at the beared man. "You expect us to eat this slop!" she shrieked. "This food's fit only for slaves!"
"Of course it is," the bearded man said. His command of the drow tongue was fluent with only a small hint of an accent, Deliyah idly wondered where he had learned it. "Thats just what you are-slaves. The overlord of that villiage you tried to raid sold the lot of you to me; now you're my property. I bought you; I own you-for now. And I feed you what ever I feel like feeding you."
"I am the eldest daughter of the First House of Ra'Achne!" Malicia roared. "I will not eat such filth!"
"Then you don't get any more tonight," the man replied. "Perhaps by morning, just before we set off, you'll find it more to your liking." Apparently he was amused by Malicia's outbursts.
"You wouldn't speak to me like that if I wasn't shackled so!"
"Oh really?" The man raised an eyebrow and winked at his mage. The little man waved his hands, and the shackles fell off of Malicia. A look of surprise and delight, came over her.
"You fool!" Malicia cried. Here hands waved in the air as she chanted an invocation of Lolth. She pointed at both the slave-trader and his mage.
And nothing happened.
Their captor yawned. "Why don't you try again. Perhaps your goddess is sleeping."
Again nothing happened. Even Deliyah was shocked; as much as she disliked the Banellst girl, Mailica had been one of the most adept students at the Academy and enjoyed the full faver of Lolth. Something was not right.
The man just walked over to Malicia, and belted her across the face, knocking her down. That had been as much of a shock as the failure of Malicia's magic. In Ra'Achne, in all of the Underdark, humans with a few exceptions were slaves; big and strong compared to drow yes, but also nearly blind and deaf and easy to keep in line with drow magic. For one to strike at a drow was unthinkable. But apparently different rules worked here.
All of the drow maidens just sat there, speechless for several minutes. Then Deliyah found the nerve to say, "May I speak, oh master?"
All at once she wished she hadn't put it in that sarcastic tone. But either he hadn't noticed-or more likely, had but didn't care-for he simply nodded his head. "Go ahead."
Sighing with relief, Deliyah went on, "When we came into that villiage, we found it deserted-then those exploding arrows came down on us and released what knocked us out. They had to be expecting us, and set a trap."
"That's exactly what they did. I wasn't there myself but my partner was." By 'partner,' Deliyah thought he meant his mage, but the slave trader looked off to the riders.
One of them got off his horse and walked toward them. As he got closer, Deliyah's jaw dropped. For not only was this one a drow, it was Batrag In'anday.
Her older brother.
"Hello sister." Bartrag was nearly six feet tall, and unusual for a male, the strongest of their siblings with a barrel chest and unusually broad shoulders; his sire had been a half-drow their mother had taken a fancy to. Had he been fully drow, he might even be the weapons master of their house; instead he was simply a captain of slave-raiders. " I really didn't expect you to be among the others-you rarely were the adventurous type."
"She's your sister?" Their captor said. "In that case-,"
"Never mind, Juba," Bartrag waved his hand. "I want you to profit from our arrangement; after all, you invested so much in it!" He looked at his sister. "In this one human city called Gondag, the priests there can make something they call smokepowder. They use it to fire iron balls out of metal tubes called cannons. Too heavy, slow, and cumbersome to be practical in the caverns of the Underdark. But tie a small bag of it mixed with a powdered form of drow poison to an arrow-hundred of such arrows-light them on fire and shoot-a great way to knock out opponents, isn't it? And it wasn't all that hard, to find the villiage, and make a deal with it's overlord through Juba. I've worked with him before; his retainers have aided my fighter on many slave raids." He let out a brief sigh. "It was amazing, how many fighters I could find willing to go along with the whole thing too."
"You!" Now Malicia had gotten to her feet. "You would betray us to these, these-humans? Why?" Drow frequently betrayed each other, even family, but always only to fellow drow, or to ithilids or duregar. Never to surface races, especially not to lowly men.
"Gladly." Now Bartrag turned his gaze to the Banellst girl. "I have endured beatings and humiliations at the hands of females I could easily break like a twig, was only grudgingly accepted into the Academy, and even though I was the best fighter of my class was placed in the bottom half." Angrily, he looked over at his sister. "And when Geross the old weapon master of our house died, I should have been the one to replace him. But, our dear Matron Mother gave that position to our cousin Fellroos, who couldn't fight his way out of a classroom full of first year novices at the Academy! All because my sire came from the womb of a human slut!"
Juba stared at Bartrag; he'd never imagined the dark-elf he'd made this bargain with could be so dramatic. He dicided to continue. "You're not a daughter of the first house of Ra-Akee, or whatever the name of your city is. You-all of you-" and he looked at the over drow, "are now mine. I deal in slaves, both for labor and for pleasure. You girls don't look like you'd be much as laberors, but with the right training and condition, you should make excellent whores."
"That's right," laughed Bartrag. "None of you will be serving as high preisteses for the spider hag, not now not ever. You'll be working to satisfy the lust of big sweaty hairy humans-and maybe even dwarves, or halflings-and that pathetic bitch Lolth won't be able to help you!"
Malicia spat into Bartrag's face, and swung at him-only to have her wrists caught in his strong hands. "How dare you blaspheme Lolth that way, you impudent male!"
"I am showing you-," And Bartrag looked again at the seated drow while still holding Malicia in his grip, "-all of you, spoiled, pampered, pretty little princesses, all the respect that you and the Spider Queen deserve. None!" Now he laughed again, his red eyes burning bright. "Lolth has no power anywhere, except in the Underdark! That's how Corellon and the other elf gods defeated her, and banished us drow into the caverns!"
Deliyah now felt her heart sink; wherever or not what her brother said about Lolth having no power on the surface was true the Spider Queen's favor was certainly gone from them. They had allowed themselves to be tricked by mere males, and now were in the power of lowly humans. Maybe she could kill herself the first chance she got.
No. Deliyah wanted to live. For now she would accept what happened, a look for a chance to escape. Given precautions this Juba had taken, that didn't seem likely to appear soon, but the drow were a patient race. And surely after she took her revnge on her brother and Juba, she would again find herself in Lolth's favor.
"Perhaps I'll break this one in myself," Bartrag snickered as he held Malicia by her wrists. "It'll be good instruction for her, and a good warning for the others."
"Listen, she's worth a lot to me-" Juba began.
"Relax Juba; you'll still make a profit from her. I won't do anything to detract from her worth in that regard."
Now he threw Malicia to the ground, and unbuckled his trousers. Deliyah knew what he was going to do next; she had watched him do that before to captive female humans and surface elves. But never had she seen him do it to a drow; in their female dominated society where most females were larger and stronger than the males, it was simply unthinkable. But now she and the others were seeing the unthinkable, as Bartag forced himself on the Banellst girl.
It was hard to say which was louder, her brother's laughs, or Malicia's screams.
All right, if you like this story, review it and tell me what you think. It's just an idea I had, and if I get enough reviews I'll add the next chapter where the Delyiah and a few others are sold to a fancy brothel in Waterdeep. And guess which of Elaine Cunningham's characters owns that brothel!