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11 November 2006 @ 03:13 pm
17 Flamerule 1372 DR  
"Erinol!" I ran over to the middle-aged elven guard like he was an old friend. I saw Seledra's eyes widen a tad, but she recovered quickly. Good girl.

"Why, young miss Dhavra! It's quite early for you to be out; usually we only see you when it's darker out. Can you see all right?" Solicitousness itself.

"Oh, since Mistress Nalari made this veil for me, I get on quite well, thank you!" I peeked out at him, my eyes a startling green, thanks to some eyedrops an enterprising young wizard invented for me when I first got to the city. He still doesn't know I paid him with his own gold.

I beckoned to Seledra, who had been slowly making her way toward us. "Oh, Erinol, you must meet Seledra! She's the druid I told you about, who's been helping me. She's such a good friend! Seledra, this is Erinol, who was so kind to me when I first got here"

"Pleased to meet you, sir."

"The pleasure is mine, young lady. It does my heart good to see someone trying to right the wrongs done by those Underdark filth." He bowed. Bowed.

Erinol is just so damn earnest. He really makes me sick.

"It's nothing, really. It is, of course, my duty to try to restore balance to the world when it has been upset in such a manner." She smiled shyly. Seledra's better at this than I expected.

"How goes the search, then, young mistress?" Erinol asked.

"Well, we believe my father is definitely not in the city of Silverymoon. Seledra has found some elves outside of the High Forest who think they may be able to help me, and they'll let me stay with them."

Seledra added, "Since we have reason to believe the recent influx of drow in the city are sent by Dhavra's family, we've decided to leave tonight. I have a family function to attend in the High Forest, so I will escort her as far as possible."

"Your dedication is admirable. Dhavra tells me you're a druid of Mielikki? The Goddess will be proud, I think."

Seledra blushed. This sort of deceit isn't easy for her. I noticed more people moving about, and the merchants were starting to open their doors. It was time to move on.

"I would so love to talk more, Erinol, but we must prepare for the journey. I want to get out of the city before any of my mother's spies find out where I'm going. I also want to bid farewell to everyone here who has been so kind to me."

"Of course. Mielikki grant you good journey, ladies."

"Farewell!" we chorused, heading off toward our first shop.

****

Ah, Dhavra, I shall miss you. I need to think of a new disguise for those occasions when I need to do legitimate business. Not to mention find new merchants.

Dhavra Drii Upoth captured the imaginations and hearts of many of the elven residents of Old City when she arrived a mere two months ago. She wandered one morning into Four Corner Square, frightened, forlorn, and bedraggled, her clothes in tatters. When one of the guards, Erinol, approached to question this drow girl who suddenly appeared in their midsts, she broke down into tears. The chivalrous Erinol, too good to see even a drow woman crying, sat her down and brought her a warm drink to calm her. Finally, she was able to tell her tale of woe.

Her mother, a cleric of Llolth, had once captured a handsome, young, male moon elf and charmed him into staying with her as her lover. She tired of him after hardly even a year, and made him into a slave. Little did he know as the charm wore off that she was pregnant with their child. He escaped House Drii Upoth several years later, still ignorant that he was a father, and was never seen in the Underdark again.

Young Dhavra was raised to be cleric herself, and was never told who her father was. As a child, she was never quite comfortable with the Spider Goddess; her clerics and services made the girl nervous. But it was when her training began in earnest as she approached adulthood that she learned how truly evil Llolth was, and yearned to get away. It was through a servant's mistake that she learned her father was a moon elf from the surface. When she began to seriously rebel against the service of Llolth, she was beaten and confined to her room. Sometimes she was even denied food. Determined, Dhavra came up with a plan to escape.

Though she hated to do it, one night she attacked the guard who came for her empty plate after supper, who had left the door open behind him. Leaving with only the clothes on her back, and a small bag of gold stolen from her mother's chamber, she barely managed to survive the cruel tunnels of the Underdark, and made it to the surface only to be nearly blinded by the unaccustomed sunlight. She was run out of the first town she came to and learned to travel only at night and to avoid humans. She somehow found out how to get to the great city of Silverymoon, where surely there would be elves who might know of her father.

So here she was, but she was still treated badly everywhere she went, and she had to take a room in the roughest part of town to conserve her meager gold, and she was afraid of being seen by other drow, who she was sure had followed her. She needed to get some decent clothes, and maybe find employment somewhere, and please, was there anyone who could help her find her father and shield her from her evil drow kin? She started sobbing again.

My finest hour, I do think.

By the time she was done telling her story, half the denizens of Four Corner Square had gathered to listen, filled to the brim with righteous anger at this treatment of an elf and his poor, innocent daughter, part drow through no fault of her own, and obviously taking after her moon elf father; her early rejection of Llolth showed that, yes, and maybe her skin wasn't quite as dark as that of normal drow? Indeed, it looked a little lighter. And those eyes! Those green eyes could only be of the fair elves.

Mistress Nalari, one of the first to come listen, gave the girl a dress to wear, refusing to take any payment, lest the poor child run out of gold. She promised to fashion a veil for her, so she could see more easily during the day. Erinol himself gave her some extra gold to help with her living expenses, and promised to ask around to see if anyone would be willing to employ her. He even offered her a room in his home, which she refused on the grounds that she didn't want to repay his kindness by putting him in danger. (Rule #1: don't take too much.) A few people were suspicious, but after Dhavra had been seen a few times around Old City and nothing mysteriously disappeared, they relented at least enough to smile and nod when she came by, always at dusk, to make some small purchase or inquire after information someone had offered to look for. After only a few weeks, she had become quite the regular fixture, and her humble, cheerful manners had everyone fooled.

****

For our last stop of the day, in late afternoon, we went back to Mistress Nalari, whom we had visited early on to order some travel clothes. She had promised to have it ready in a few hours time, and bade us to return when we were done with the rest of our rounds.

"We're back Nalari! We just stopped for lunch, and I brought you something!" I opened up the bag I'd brought with me out of the inn and produced a small cake and a skin of wine. Nalari was a sucker for sweets, I'd learned.

"Oh, you shouldn't have! You need all of your gold for the journey!"

"It didn't cost very much, and I wanted to give you something to thank you for all of your kindness." Indeed, Nalari had a very motherly nature, and never let me leave Old City empty-handed. Besides, this was just the sort of thing the impulsive Dhavra would do.

"Thank you, sweetheart." Nalari took both my hands in hers and pressed them. "I've got your things right back here." As she went into to the back room, I wandered over to something I'd spotted that morning. A silk gown, blue and silver. It flowed like water, and it was beautiful. Even at our most cynical, we drow like pretty things.

"Mistress Nalari?" I affected my best wistful tone as Nalari came out with our bundle.

"Yes dear?"

"How much is this dress? I'd like to have something nice to wear when I . . . finally find . . . my father." I let my voice sound a little choked up.

Nalari didn't answer at first; when I turned to look, I saw a tear running down her face.

"Oh, sweet Dhavra, you should have something lovely to greet your father in. I'd like you to have the gown, I couldn't possible charge you; you've been through so much."

For the first time all day, Seledra nearly lost it.

"Oh, no, Mistress Nalari, we must pay for it! At least let me pay half; I, uh, have some gold for the journey, from the, uh, family who's taking Dhavra in. I'm sure they wouldn't mind."

"You're a dear girl, Seledra, but I couldn't possibly . . ."

"Please, I insist!"

"Ah, we have so much reason to be proud of our druids in Silverymoon! I'll tell you what; I have another gown that I was just about to display, in a lovely green that will set off your hair and eyes beautifully, and I think it will just fit. You girls take both dresses, and I'll only charge you for one. The rest is my gift."

It was time for one final act in this little drama.

"Oh, Mistress Nalari!" I flung myself into the older woman's arms, sobbing. "You've been so very good to me; I wish I didn't have to go!"

"There, there, child, it's for the best. You'll be much safer, and they'll take good care of you while you look for your father. I'm sure you'll find him."

"But what if . . . what if he hates me?" I sniffled.

Nalari took my face in her hands. "How could he? No one could possibly hate you, dear. If he does, you come right back here, and I'll take care of you like my own daughter." She was crying openly, now.

"I'll miss you so much, Nalari. How could I ever repay you?"

"Just be happy, dear." She hugged me again, dried her face, and finished packing the gowns. Seledra paid her as I stood to the side, sniffling to the last.

Nalari and I hugged one last time, and she stood in her doorway, waving, as we walked across the square. I sought out Erinol one last time and hugged him good-bye as well, still crying.

After we were out of sight, I fished out half the amount of gold we paid for the gowns and handed it to Seledra. "You did a great job today."

"That? Was amazing." She said.

"Yup."

"Tell me something," she went on, in her favorite stern tone. It wasn't hard to guess what was coming. "When we get back from the wedding, you're not going to 'work' over here and steal from these people who've treated you so well, are you?"

I sniffed. "It isn't my fault they're gullible. They get what's coming to them."

"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that. I don't know why I bother with you, sometimes."

I kept my face neutral and didn't look at her. No, Seledra, I probably will never work in Old City. I just can't tell you that.

But I will miss Dhavra. Though not for the reason I thought I would.
 
 
Current Location: Silverymoon
Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: a bard in the distance
 
 
 
Seledra Nailoseledra_nailo on November 20th, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
Ah, but what comes next?

(I'm dying of suspense!)
ralenthraralenthra on November 20th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
(Still working on it.)