Atticus had never been pushed so far physically, as much as he has been in Melee Magthere. In the morning the instructors pushed their bodies to their limits. They would do obstacles courses that made them dodge duck and weave to avoid getting hurt. Jumping and running to their target while keeping silent the whole time. Drows loved to be undetected by their foes and loved it even more when they could kill with nobody noticing them there. In the Afternoon they had classes on all the different types of weapons and fighting stances. The Instructors would also talk about previous weapon masters and students. A lot of the instructors talked about Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow whose fighting skills have never been matched. They were even taught the history of each weapon and the reason for them being made. During the evening they practiced with all these weapons. Not one weapon they talked about went unused.
Atticus's class was not that big at all. There was only fifteen of them, but that is not what made this group unique. Amongst all the drow males was one female named Sil'ilos Elemmire Fey-Branche from House Fey-Branche. It was really rare to see a drow female in Melee Magthere. She was a very pretty drow. She had long white hair down to her back and pretty purple eyes. She were black leather armor and a cape with a hood. Attached to her belt on each side was her Sai a most devastating weapon if used right. A drow female is rarely seen in Melee Magthere, unless they did something very wrong within their family. She was very good at fighting and all the males soon found out that she could handle her own.
After class Atticus made his way to the training ground to practice his stances with his own weapon, like many other drow did. He jabbed and slashed at invisible enemies acting out the moves he thought they would do. In the middle of his upward slash a voice came from behind him," Not bad for a male."
Atticus didn't even turn around, he didn't have to too recognize a female drows voice," I don't like being interrupted during my training. Hope its important."
He heard her chuckle," You always so uptight… is it Atticus?"
Atticus was taken by surprise as she came up on his back. He turned around to find him uncomfortably close to him. She watched him step back with a smile. Never have he had a female be so close to him. Most of the time they are yelling and screaming how pathetic he is," What is it you want Sil'ilos?"
Sil'ilos sai's appeared in her hands and she smirked," I just want to spar with a wizard… fighter whatever you are."
Atticus returned with a smirk," Fine, but don't think I will go easy because you are a female."
She laughed," Good because I wasn't going to go easy on you either."
Sil'ilos lunged at him sai's striking at him in which seemed to be from many directions. She was fast and almost hard for Atticus to keep up. He quickly realized he had to give himself some space so he could determine her movements. She focused on his outside defenses and moved to the inside. Atticus parried and blocked still learning her fighting style. The female Warrior made a stab down low, he blocked it and then stepped on her weapon forcing it down. He spun and made a kick at her. She jumped back leaving her sai on the ground. Atticus picked it up with his weapon and tossed it back to her. She caught it and got back in her stance.
"Not bad for a Mage."
His eyes narrowed at her," Not bad for a failed priestess."
Atticus must of hit a nerve because she came at him with ferocity. They fought hard, spinning, slicing and thrusting. Atticus would separate his weapons to change up his style of fighting, but they both could not get through each other's defense. Metal clanged so fast that it seemed like they were trying to play some fast paced music. Watching the two fight was a beautiful sight and soon they had a crowd gathering around them. Some of the students eyes lit up in excitement and some were scared because they knew they had no chance against these two in the grand melee event.
He finally saw it, she was getting tired. Atticus brought his attacks out and when the time was right he did a quick jab with the pommel of his sword. Her defense was too far and since she was tired she was not quick enough to block the attack. Sil'ilos took the hit and staggered backwards. She fell to one knee with a broken nose. She quickly moved her hands to her nose to try and stop the bleeding. The blood leaked through her fingers.
"Ok that is enough," said an instructor grabbing her up and making his way to the infirmary. Atticus had this strange since of guilt and followed them. An hour later she was walking out the infirmary all healed. She was surprised to see him waiting outside," Waiting for me?"
"I felt kind of guilty breaking your nose."
She gave a smile," Well you should."
"You was attack pretty hard Sil'ilous," he pointed out.
"Well you made a snide remark."
He laughed in agreement," Why choose me to fight and not one of those other fools."
"I have my reason," she said," Come walk with me."
As they started walking she began to explain," I want to meet you uncle Jarlaxle. I have heard a great deal about him and being able to go to the surface."
" He is not a drow to be trusted Sil'ilous and why would you want to go to the surface. It's so nasty up there."
"Is it or is that what we are made to think," she replied." I hear of drow going up there all the time and finding a good life. Like Drizzt."
"Drizzt was a traitor to his family and he ran off because he didn't want to face Loth's wrath," he said getting irritated.
The female drow looked at him concerned that he might turn her in," It starting to seem to me that you might be brain washed by this society too."
He stopped and looked at her angrily," Brain washed, no I do what I do because I don't really have a choice here. Think I like that fact that you…. I mean females control every aspect of my life. I think you should choose your words wisely or I might give you another broken nose."
"Calm it Atticus and just hear me out. Your uncle can get us out of this and take us to the surface. Think you could talk to him?"
Atticus never really thought about being able to leave Menzoberranzan behind. It had been his home for thirty five years. He did have to admit though the only good thing so far had been the academies. He hated his family very much and if he could get away from them why not take do it.
"Knowing Jarlaxle he will ask for a price and it might be to serve him for a few years. Think you can trade one slavery for another?"
"Anything to get away from here."
"I will think about this Sil'ilous. I don't know it I really want to be branded a traitor like Drizzt."
They didn't talk again all the way to the dorms," One more question Sil'ilous, why do you want to leave?"
"Drow society is so dark and pointless. We kill each other to be in a higher position then we were before. You know just as well as do that position means everything here. I want a life where I can choose my own destiny not them choose it for me. I am not a cleric because I decided that I would just fail out of it and see what happens. They were about to kill me, until Matron Mother decided to just make me a fighter. She did it to embarrass me not save me. So I want to go to the surface and make my own choices."
He looked at her and for the first time felt sad for her. Atticus never thought he could feel such an emotion because he thought he blocked it off a long time ago. He wanted to grab her and just hold her and tell Sil'ilous not to worry she will be ok. Atticus couldn't though, his experience with female and drows in general kept him from showing her that he cared," I will talk with Jarlaxle, but I am not promising anything and it will not be able to happen until we graduate."
"I understand," She replied.
He watched as she disappeared in her room and then Atticus did the same. The warrior sat in the middle of the room meditating. Images began to form and what he began to see scared him. It was him with Sil'ilous trapped in a dungeon of some sort. He took a look at Sil'ilous. She was all beat up and injured and for some reason he felt like he had been beaten too. Someone walked in, but he couldn't see who it, the individual seem to blur out. He heard them talk in what sounded like drow language," Filthy Traitors, thinking they could just run away."
Atticus felt himself get hit and then he jerked out of his meditation. He was sweating very hard and was scared of the vision he just had. What was that? Was it Loth sending him visions of what will happen if they try to escaped or maybe it was just some weird dream that meant nothing. Either way, it would be a good idea to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of trying to escaped Menzoberranzan.
Years passed and Atticus and Sil'ilous became really close. Every day they would spare with each other. Not taking it as hard as they did the first time. Atticus taught her some things that he had learned and she taught him things that she had learned. Together they worked and together they passed the challenges laid before them. Other drow saw this relationship as a weakness, but the two friends found it a advantage over the rest of the class. They started to become nervous as the grand melee event came nearer because they knew that they were going to have to fight each other. It was something that they did not really want to do.
"I will do it Sil'ilous," Atticus said one day while they was sitting behind the dorm.
She looked at him a little confused at first," What are…. Oh really are you sure Atticus?"
"I don't want to stay with my family any longer then you want to do with yours. So I say let's see what the surface has in store for us."
She squealed like a little girl and gave him a hug. He didn't really know how to react to her so he just set there. When she let go he looked at her sternly," I can go to my uncle Gromph and asked to see if he can get a hold of Jaralaxle. We going to have to be very careful with this and hope that nobody else finds out that we met with him."
She nodded and stood up, her back facing him," Do you think you can trust the Arch Mage."
I believe I can, he doesn't seem the type to betray me."
The next day they were told that they were going to go on a patrol in the Underdark. The Underdark was a dark and dangerous place full of monsters and other living things. Many patrol went out to make sure nothing was getting to close to threaten Menzoberranzan. Most of the time it was nothing serious, but this time that got word that some undead had wondered down from the High Wood Forest. They had heard of Neverwinter having increasing undead, but not in High Wood Forest. The drow just figured that they wondered from Neverwinter and somehow found their way into the Underdark.
Once the class was told that five of the best was going to be chosen among them to fight off the invaders, all they could talk about was killing some undead. The rest of the day before the patrol was all about training on their weapons. Atticus and Sil'ilous sparred all day and night ready to give their weapons the taste of undead flesh.
The day of the patrol they chose the five drow students. Atticus and Sil'ilous was a obvious choice. The other three was Aramas Armgo, Yan'nas Hunzrin, Jas'hiv Vandree. Once chosen they were taken to a room and the enchanments on their weapons was removed so they could do damage to the undead. The group found out that And'zrel would be leading the expedition. They met the weapon master outside the Academy and they headed outside the city walls and into the underdar toward the entrance to High Wood Forest.
The underdark was a dark and damp place. Staglimites hung above them dripping water and the terrian was rough and very rocky. Mushrooms and other weird plants dotted the walls. Neither of them looked very appetizing. Atticus could hear the scurying of animales and other beast as they passed by. Sil'ilous really hoped that would not run into a Illithid, mind control beast that love to in slave wondering people to do their bidding with no control over their own bodies or mind.
And'zrel rose his hand to stop the group and signalled for them to keep quiet. They could hear the dragging of feet, many feet. There was something else too, something a lot heavier then a normal skeleton or zombie. As they rouned a corner the heavy fall of the monster stopped as did the movement of the other monsters. The group came into view of at least a two dozen zombies surrounding a helpless drow female, who was cowering in the middle of them. The patrol drew their weapons and charged in to help the helpless drow.
And'zrel was the first in the mix loping off a skeletons head and slashing his way through a couple of zombies. The skeleton instantly fell, but the zombies took the blows like it was nothing. Sil'ilous came in sai at the ready. She ducked a lazy zombie punch and seeded one of her sai's in the back of its next. Undead went to crowd around her, but she was already gone engaging another target. Atticus was close behind her double-bladed sword cutting a path through the mindless undead. He infused his blade with magic fire and smiled as he watched the undead burn. The other three students join in with excitement engaging whatever undead was closest to them.
Atticus and Sil'ilous worked togther like they was one. The Warrior Mage's burning weapon sheared through zombies like wood. Sil'ilous Sai's cutting flesh like paper. They would change spots by spinning around each other blocking weak zombie jabs. She would duck and Atticus would come over her head taking the zombie's around her out, while she came around and up taking out a zombie on his back. It was a beautiful sight to see and the rest of the patrol couldn't help, but be distracted by the two fighters.
Soon all the zombies and skeletons were in pieces and all that was left was the drow female cowering agains the cavern wall. Instantly though something didn't feel right. Why would a female be doing all the way out here and why hadn't the undead already killed he could bring this up she stood up to regard all of them," Hehehe… thank…you for…saving me…"
"Everyone back up," yelled And'zrel something not right about her.
Suddenly her chest burst open and it looked like her inside's was coming out. A gnarly skeleton head with skin still attacked appeard followed by a little bit of spine and skin. The undead thing grew taller and thick ribs began to appear. The Arms were strong and hard looking and instead of forming hands it formed blades. Its legs formed out of the skin. They were thick and the skin in some spots over lapped. The feet looked like they were webbed with skin.
"I will devourer you all!" it yelled.
"Moved away from it, it's a devourer."
It was too late though because tenicals reached out and grabbed Yan'nas. He screamed for help, but was soon silenced when his skin was peeled away from his bones. The drows body was attached to devour uses him to get stronger. Once it was done assimilating him the undead monster moved toward Sil'ilous. It was amazingly fast and she barely dived out of the way as a bladed arm reached for her. Atticus seperated his blades and attacked its thick legs, but even the fiery blade barely had an effect. And'zrel followed suite stabbing at its back side of its legs and then quickly moved when it turned on him. Anamas went for an attack but had to dodge out of the way when he came near because of its flailing arms. Jas'hiv with his bow stood back filling its thick back with arrows with little to no effect.
Atticus knew that their regular weapons was of no use and instantly droped back. The rest of the group did the same confused on what to do. The Warrior Mage then suddenly blasted the devourer with a massive fireball. The undead staggered back its flesh smelling charred. He hit it again to stun it some more. He then infused one of his blades with chain lightning and hurled into the stunned devourer chest. A electric burst was sent through its body knocking the monster to all fours.
"Sil'ilous its spine, sever its spine."
Shenodded and rushed at the devourer. The warrior dodged its weak attempt to jab at her and jumped on its back. The electric current quickly caught her too, but she summoned what strength she had and jammed her sai through its spine. Its head fell losely to the ground and Sil'ilous fell off to the side badly hurt. It didn't matter to her though because they defeated the hideous creature. Atticus ran to her side concerned about her.
"Sil'ilous I am sorry I forgot that the electric current in its body would effect you too."
She went to chuckle, but stopped because of the pain,"Its ok I would do anything for you."
"Rest up we will get you back to the infimary soon," he said picking her up and holding her closely.
Nothing was said all the way back to the academy. Everyone was not to pleased about losing one of their own and the injuries Sil'ilous obtained. Once back at the infimary the cleric examined the female warriors wounds and explained to the rest of the patrol she would be back on her feet in no time. And'zrel then turned and regarded Atticus,"How did you know about an devourer Atticus."
"The beginning of Sorcere Academy teaches you about monsters and undead. What I don't understand is why is a Devour doing here since it can only be in this plane if summoned."
"What are you saying?"
"I am saying that you are hiding something uncle. You know more about this then you are saying."
"Back off Atticus," he said angrily. I would never put you into danger unless you threaten me that is."
"I don't trust you or the rest of my family and if I find out that you let those things lose down here I might just have to kill you."
And'zrel laughed," You wish. You got nothing on me."
"So how did he do And'zrel?" Gromph said looking up from his papers.
The weapon master glared at him," He did fine but he thinks I had something to do with those things being down here."
"Let him, he will never prove it."
And'zrel threw his hands down on Gromph's desk," I don't think you are really hearing me Gromph!"
"You might want to remove your hands from my desk, before you have more to worry about then your nephew."
And'zrel moved his hands back across his chest," Why does Quenthel want to test him so bad?"
"We have trained him to be a killer using both magic and sword. She says Loth has plans for that one," he replied calmly.
"I don't question the Spider Queen and you would do best not to either."
"Brother by the way there a female drow and it seems she might be distracting him from his training. I think maybe we should do something about her."
"In due time And'zrel. In due time," Gromp replied.
Sil'ilous made a full recovery and was soon back in the mix with the rest of her class. Every since the patrol she had been a little more timid in her fighting and she could tell Atticus could see it. The warrior explained to him that she was just still recovering, but she knew that excuse would not last too long at all. On top of everything she was starting to fall for her companion, but she could not at all tell if he felt the same way. There would be while in the infimary all she could think about was him and how she missed him so much. She had longed to be fighting with him again learning and mastering combat. Sil'ilous knew deep down that he would never admit he loved her because he didn't think love was a good thing in the dark city of Menzoberranzan.
A week before Grand Melee she decided that it would be a good time to start asking about escaping the city and making a life on the surface. They sparring on the training grounds when she stopped and looked at him," Atticus about going to the surface…are you really sure you want to go with me?"
He looked at her confused,"I told you already I wanted to whats the problem."
"I just feel that you will miss you life here in Menzoberranzan."
He laughed," We have trained for the last ten years together and you still think I like it in this place."
"You love the thrill of a fight Atticus, I see it in your eyes. What if there is not as much fighting up there as there is here."
He laughed again," I am pretty sure I can find me a fight up there and if I cant I will find this Drizzt I am told he loves to fight."
She laughed with him," He was the best in this academy and in Menzoberranzan. You got a long way to go to be like him.
Every House in Menzoberranzan came to see the grand melee event. It consisted of the students of the graduating class fighting each other. Who ever won would receive the title grand melee master and a special prize of their choice. They would let loose all the fighters in a big maze from different areas and when the fighters met that would fight. The weapons of the fighters was imbued with a spell that would not let any kind of fatel damage. First person to get stuck in anyway would lose and a fairier fire would appear on them telling the judges who was out.
Atticus was taken to a different part of the maze than Sil'ilous. He at first thought that she might need him, but then he waved that thought away knowing she was more than capable of taking care of herself. He by himself and was wondering if everyone else was by themselves too. Atticus then heard a muffled voice and he figured it was the announcer. There was a few cheers and suddenly the gate in front of him flew open. He rushed out into a long corridor that turned into different areas of the maze. Standing on the wall above him, was a random drow in a mask looking down at him. A judge he thought and started down the maze slowly alert for other fighters.
He took a few rights and left and finally came upon two fighters going at it. It didn't take one of the fighters to long to win the bout and when he did he turned his attention on Atticus. The warrior mage readied his weapon and deflect the drow first couple attacks. The drow was to focused on offense and it didn't take Atticus long to disarm his foe and win. An hour passed and Atticus had already dispatched two more students, but there was still no sign of Sil'ilous. He wondered if she lost already, until he finally heard a female voice not too far from him. Excited he rushed too her to find she had defeated her foe. When she saw him she smiled and came up to him," Having fun yet sexy."
"I am always having fun when I am fighting," he said smiling back.
They decided it was best to team up until the end. Together they easily dispatched of every fighter they came up against. The pair had only two fighters left and they both knew that at least one of them was Aramas Armgo. As they rounded a corner Sil'ilous was tackled from the side and a arrow came at Atticus. He barely dodged the surprise attack and turn to his enemy. It was Jas'hiv Vandree the drow that helped them on the patrol. He was smirking thinking he had Atticus where he wanted him. The drow archer went to string another arrow, but he was not fast enough. Atticus bared down on him like a wolf on its prey. A few attacks and a feint caught the drow off guard and Atticus go him with a side slice. A purple flame appeared on the archer face who looked very angry.
Sil'ilous was having a hard time with Aramas. He was very good and she had a hard time going on the offense with him. The drow wielded a Sword in one hand and a hand axe in the other. She caught his sword with her sai and locked it in so he couldn't pull away. Thinking she had him she did a quick jab, but he deflected it then kicked at locked weapons. She lost her grip and her sai fell from her hand. Atticus had just finished his fight and joined in just as she lost her weapon. Sil'ilous took the chance to reach her weapon, but a swipe from Aramas sword had her backing off.
Atticus came in with dual swords hoping to distract his foe. Aramas held him off with his axe while making sure the female warrior couldn't get to her weapon. Atticus then attacked with both weapons for a even better distraction. Aramas had no choice, but to lock weapons with the Warrior Mage. It was just enough time for his companion to get her weapon. He broke the lock and backed up.
"I didn't know you was this good Aramas, you deceived us."
"Stop talking and attack fool."
Atticus and Sil'ilous wasted no time at all. Atticus went for a high slash and she went for a quick lunge. Aramas reversed his grip on his sword to block Sil'Ious and ducked Atticus's strike. He then brought his sword arm up and caught Atticus in the gut. He stumbled back and a purple fire appeared in front of his face. Aramas brought his axe around making the female warrior jump back.
"Looks like your boyfriend is out," he said smirking." You sure you don't want to be my mate."
I wouldn't be with you even if you was the last drow in Menzoberranzan," she yelled rushing at him.
They went blow for blow for a good while. Sai's against axe and sword. They would lock weapons and then jump back and continued their fight. She stuck with the pommel and it got blocked, but quickly she switched her grip and came back with the blade. Aramas parried it too and struck out with is axe arm. She caught it with her sai and then went for a side kick to distract him. It worked, but he was no fool and was ready for the next attack. As he jumped back she came in with a lunge, he dodged it and came up with his cross-guard. He flipped the sword around and slammed the blade in the ground locking her hand in place. She was now not able to get up off her knees without feeling pain from the hand lock. Aramas smirked and put his axe up against her neck. A fairier fire appeared in front of her face.
"I believe I have won," the confident drow said with a smug grin.