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13 July 2008 @ 12:17 pm
29 Flamerule 1372  
It was an hour before midnight, and we were getting ready to go to sleep. Sun and Moon needed to set up early the next morning for the day's festivities, so Tordrin wanted to get a little extra sleep. We were in his room at the Dancing Goat, as usual.

I stood at the window, thinking. Over dinner, Tordrin had told me about the attack on his home, Evereska. The city was ravaged earlier this year by phaerimm from the Anauroch, and Tordrin didn't know if his parents or siblings were still alive, except his sister, who was outside Evereska at the time of the attack. Many of the people he cared about were gone. He couldn't return home--had no home to return to. Like me.

"Copper for your thoughts?" Tordrin came up next to me and gently kissed my temple.

"Tordrin?"

"Yes, Beautiful?"

"The cleric you escorted to Cormanthor--what was her name?" I had to know.

"Elvaeri Kil'ep," he replied sadly. "We were good friends. She's gone now, killed in a raid."

"I know." Tordrin looked at me sharply, and I hesitated. My heart was in my throat. "My father killed her."

I closed my eyes. I could remember that night so vividly. I stood among the lay worshippers. Elvaeri was still our high priestess, and she was singing the opening prayer of the ceremony when she stopped suddenly, an arrow protruding from her chest. I looked into the woods behind us, and saw my father, grinning, bow in hand. Barely visible amongst the trees behind him stood a mob of drow he'd brought with him. They mowed us down as they emerged from the wood. Most of us were unarmed, and we simply fell before them. I had my crossbow--paranoid even then--and I got off a few shots before my aunt found me and told me to run. Told me there were too many of them to defeat, and it was better to survive however I could. I did as she said, and slipped away from the slaughter, just as she was struck by an arrow and fell. I recognized the fletching as another of my father's arrows, and wondered if he'd seen me. But I didn't look back. I didn't actually go far, that night. I used everything I'd been taught about stealth, and hid until they stopped looking for survivors.

I clenched my hands tightly on the windowsill; Tordrin took them and kissed them. "I was right, you are the one. You made it." I looked at him, and though he still looked sad, he also looked strangely excited.

"I'm what? What one?"

"It was twelve years ago, now, the core Eilistraee group in Cormanthor was attacked. It was a large-scale raid and there was no warning; a few of the high-ranking priestesses in other regions had visions of the raid, but not until it was too late to send help. But one priestess had another vision. She saw a drow girl moving through the forest, away from the battle. In her vision, the girl entered a portal and vanished."

The portal, yes. To this day, I'm not sure how I found it. Three days after the raid on the ceremony, someone had found my trail, and I was trying to lose them. I was in an unfamiliar part of the forest; it was a ruin near House Jaelre's territory, and we had never lived there. I had been hiding up in a tree, listening for whoever was trailing me. When I heard them move away, I descended and moved deeper into the ruin. I could sense magic and went closer to investigate. As I came closer, I realized it was a portal. I'd seen a few with the group I'd traveled with in my training, but had never been allowed to get near one. I had no way of knowing where this one would take me, but it was better than staying in Cormanthor and being hunted.

Tordrin continued, "Word quickly spread among the Eilistraeens' allies to keep an eye out for this possible survivor and to help her if necessary, but the priestess didn't know where the portal was or where it led, and she had no more visions of the survivor. Most have forgotten about her by now, or assume she died somewhere after her escape, but when I met you, I thought you might be her."

"But how--?"

"Thralia was impressed with you when she met you in Everlund, and wanted to have someone keep an eye on you to see what else you could do. And make sure you weren't getting her friend in trouble. So we had Venye follow you all night. In the meantime, we sent someone to Moongleam Tower to check out your story, which is how we found out about your various aliases. I also found out that there was no record of your activities more than about ten years back."

My jaw dropped. "You people don't take any chances, do you?"

"We're Harpers," Tordrin said, smirking. "Anyway, because you're so young, I didn't really suspect anything more until the next day, when I met you myself at the Everlund gate. I thought I detected something unusual in your accent, so I decided to follow you myself at that point, so I could observe you. I put Venye on Seledra, to keep her safe in case your pursuers gained entry into the city. Now, I've been around a lot of drow, and I know how they react to full sunlight, even when they've lived on the surface for years. You didn't make any effort to stay in the shadows, except when you were trying to avoid being seen. You didn't even flinch. There's only one place where I've worked with drow and seen that sort of behavior."

"Cormanthor." Tordrin nodded.

"So, when you gave me your next alias, I checked that one out, too. Of course, for someone fluent in Undercommon, it isn’t too difficult to surmise that someone whose surname means ‘blood renegade’ is notable for turning away from clan and race." Tordrin grinned. "But I have ways of getting in touch with some of my old contacts very quickly. An old friend knew of you, but she didn't know much except that you claimed to be a commoner from Menzo, and that you'd contacted the local Eilistraeen clergy about eight years ago, and that you disappeared about three months ago."

Gods, he knew my whole story. Just knew it. Well, okay, he didn't know the details, but that was beside the point. That portal deep within Cormanthor led to Blingdenstone, the now-ruined svirfneblin city. When I arrived, it was still thriving. I stayed in the area for a few days, stealing food and hiding from the residents, until I overheard a group of traders from the surface mention Menzoberranzan. They were headed there next, so I followed them. Once in Menzo, I survived mostly by my wits for a couple of years, stealing gold to feed and house myself, whoring when I couldn't steal enough, and evading the driders that occasionally came through poor section of the city to carry off the homeless, until dear old Denin found and hired me into his band of mercenaries. And so I became Corael. A couple of years after I more or less fully integrated into Menzo's daily life, I felt the pull of the Dark Maiden once more, and sought out her followers. I could not risk reclaiming my own name--occasional raids from Menzo into Cormanthor meant word could get out--but neither could I risk my new identity. And so I became Mayurra. And so it went, until I had to flee once again.

I looked at Tordrin. "Well, now you know."

He smiled and stroked my cheek. "Now I know. But you said that your father killed Elvaeri. That means . . . that means your father is Vilryn Ilphukiir." He suddenly looked very grave.

"How--how do you know that?"

"From the reports that we received shortly after the raid, he boasted of personally killing the high priestess. He has become quite prominent among the Auskovyn after routing the Eilistraeens. I understand now why you so carefully guarded your identity; he's quite a dangerous man." He kissed me softly. "I'm so glad you finally confided in me, and I promise I will keep your secret, May."

"Ralenthra," I whispered.

"I'm sorry, what was that? I didn't hear you." Tordrin leaned closer to me.

"My name--it's Ralenthra Ilphukiir."

"Ralenthra." He said it slowly, like he was savoring it. "It's very pretty. I like it better than your other names."

I half-smiled. "Aren't you going to run out and ask one of your agents to check it out right away?."

"No, it can wait until tomorrow," Tordrin replied, chuckling. "Seledra already knows, doesn't she?" I nodded. "Thralia and I both could tell she knew more than she let on, but she resisted all our attempts to get information out of her. She's a good friend."

"Yes, she is," I said softly.

Tordrin wrapped his arms around me, and we stood there quietly for a few minutes before heading to bed.
 
 
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Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
 
 
 
The Heretic Heartdandycat on July 13th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
"I'm so glad you finally confided in me, and I promise I will keep your secret, May."

Oh, this is gonna hurt.

I put Venye on Seledra, to keep her safe in case your pursuers gained entry into the city.

Nice detail. I know that there was a minor reference to that in Seledra's convo with Thralia. Nice to see it referenced here.

C'est si bon!
vaudy: floggings-<lj user=" title="vaudy: floggings-" />vaudy on July 14th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Is it bad that I get so much pleasure--I might even call it glee--out of the pain I'm about to put this poor girl through? And that I keep trying to think of more ways I can twist the knife when it comes?
The Heretic Heartdandycat on July 14th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Of course not! O.o
waveform_delta: cancerwaveform_delta on July 26th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Nah. Pain is the essence of drama, or...something or other...um, never mind.
waveform_delta: moronwaveform_delta on July 26th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Something about the word 'svirfneblin' just makes me smile.

I like this. It's nice to see these two getting together. My only comment is that it gets a little wordy at times, but that doesn't really hurt--it fills in a lot of details.

I read it. Thumbs up.
ralenthraralenthra on July 26th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
Wordy? Me? That's crazytalk!

Seriously, though, if you can point out places where I could pare down and say the same thing a bit more concisely, please do.
vaudyvaudy on July 26th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
I did that thing again where I replied from email forgetting that I needed to log in and reply here. I should maybe just not get email notifications for my ralenthra account.