Writer's comment : This story is kind of a sequel to one of my other stories, "brother and sister", but Viconia and Valas are a little older here, and this tale is a *lot* darker than the other one... There death and despair in this one, very uncharacteristic of my other writings. Still, I loved writing this story a lot...
Valas slowly made his way through the corridors of House DeVir, with a look of fierce determination on his face. He could not believe what he had just heard... And from Cyrilla, too! His sister had not even told him herself!
Just as Valas approached his sister's room, he noticed one of the many male soldiers of House DeVir slinking out the door. He knew him... His name was Xorzlin... A flamboyant boaster who, according to the weapons-master, wasn't half as good with his blade as he was with his words. Valas shook his head and entered the chambers. His sister's room was small, but richly adorned with velvet drapes and quite a few works of art. He noticed his sister lounging on her bed, dressed in a robe...
"Him?" Valas simply asked.
"Can't you knock, before you burst into my room?" Viconia smirked.
"Him?" Valas asked again, ignoring his sister's statement...
"A quick fancy," she replied while inspecting her nails.
"I'm sure, but... him?" He replied, this time seeming very exasperated...
"Do not worry. His performance was highly disappointing and Xorzlin shall never darken my bedchambers again." Viconia snarled.
Valas sighed. Ever since his little sister had been widening her social circle to include males, to put it delicately, she had been experimenting with the erotic arts perhaps a little too frequently for one of her age...
"No, Valas, do not be concerned," Viconia told her brother agian. "That annoying worm of a male shall not be the one I will pick for my husband after I have earned my adulthood." Viconia murmered absentmindedly.
"That is why I am here, my sister," Valas said calmly.
"Oh?" It seemed he had piqued her interest. "Will you pick my husband for me, then?" She smirked again.
"Do not go." He almost whispered the words.
"Come again?" Viconia asked and sat up.
"The Blooding..." Valas simply said. The Blooding was the ritual ascenscion to adulthood for young Drow. They were expected to hunt down and kill an intelligent surfacer. Though it was also possible to buy a slave and have the youth hunt him down through the corridors of the underdark, House DeVir had the resources and the prestige to be able to sent their young to the surface... Any over half the young who were sent to the surface, never returned...
"The Matron thinks I'm ready," Viconia smirked. "And so do I!"
"You are still too young! Wait another few decades and hone your skills... No one will think less of you!" Valas almost shouted.
"I will not show weakness in front of the Matron!" She retorted sharply, but then calmed down again. "Besides, it would grant me more respect and influence when I start my attendence of Arach-Tilith as an adult, next year..."
"If you still live, next year!" Valas spat, almost an accusation.
"Do you doubt my abilities, male!" Viconia shouted angrily.
"Franky." Valas began calmly. "I do..."
Viconia was taken aback when she heard this. "I... I have trained with the weaponmasters for decades, now! Those pathetic surfacers will not stand a chance!"
"Viconia," Valas said calmly, "fighting under controlled circumstances and fighting against someone who's trying to preserve their own life is quite a different thing..."
Beside his sister's obvious underestimation of the surfacer's abilities, there was something else...
"I remember when you came back from that sacrifice," Valas felt a pang of regret when he saw his sister stiffen a little. "You were so distraught after that..." Valas remembered finding his sister simply staring at the wall, close to tears but never shedding one.
"I was eight years old," Viconia laughed briefly. "A mere child."
"In many ways, you still are..." Valas whispered.
Viconia jumped of the bed, fury evident in her eyes. "There will be no more discussions! I will perform the Blooding, and I will gain the favor of Lolth! That will be the start on my path to power and influence..."
"Power? Influence?" Valas snarled. "When did you became such a... such a... female?!"
"I grew up, Valas..." Viconia simply stated, unbeit with an underlying sadness which was almost undetectable, "Something you should try, perhaps..."
"Oh, yes..." Valas spat. "Ninehundred years of back-stabbing... Ninehundred years of torture and pain... Ninehundred years of living in fear! Excuse me, if I might not want to grow up!"
"It is the Drow way!" Viconia snarled.
"Oh, really?" Valas taunted.
"Well, then... I am male, you are female! And I have angered you, so do what you must, according to the Drow way! Beat me! Torture me!" Valas saw the confusion in his sister's eyes. "Go right ahead! I'm standing right in front of you!"
And almost she did... She actually toyed with the idea of grabbing a bull-whip from her closet and beating her brother over the head with it... The thought sickened her beyond belief. Instead she simply adjusted her robe and moved to the door. "I'm still going..." She whispered and walked out of her room, leaving her brother to sit on her bed, while burying his hands in his hair.
With a certain amount of nervousness, Viconia entered the throne-room of house DeVir. Keeping her eyes downcast, she slowly and reverently stepped up to the dias which supported a richly adorned obsidian throne. Keeping with the traditions of House DeVir, she fell to one knee and held her hands forward, to show she was not holding any weapons...
"I give greetings to you, Matron Mother..." Viconia spoke reverently and with a hint of fear. Matron Ginafae DeVir had a reputation for being one of the most sadistic Matrons of Menzoberranzan and had sent many to be tortured or executed simply on a whim. Without glancing at the throne, she knew the matron was flanked by her most favored daughters... To the right, as always, stood Devora. She was actually Matron Ginafae's first-born and the age-difference between them was negligable. Devora was openly cruel, sadistic and, quite possibly insane... She revelled in torturing those below her stature and the many husbands she had picked, never seemed to survive beyond a week. Still, she was a high-priestess of Lolth and one of her most favored, seeing her Whip of Fangs sported six writhing snake-heads.
At the Matron's left, stood Cyrilla... She was also a high-priestess of Lolth, but, unlike Devora, she was a cold, calculating female, and certainly less cruel. She was cunning, yet quiet and reserved and, therefore, unpredictable and almost more dangerous than Devora. The whip on her belt sported only four heads, though...
"Well, it seems you have missed the fun, little sister!" Devora spoke up, but was fell silent as Matron Ginafae snarled at her. It seemed Devora had grown bolder or she would not have spoken out of turn.
As Viconia wondered what "fun" they might be talking about, she suddenly noticed the body of a male, lying in front of the throne, bleeding his life-blood out of many wounds. The red liquid was spreading over the floor, and in the darkness of the room and the blackness of the floor it almost seemed to glow. Viconia realized it was Yirfein, the patron of the house... She had barely known him, but she knew there was a good chance that the corpse lying on the floor was, in fact, her father.
"Child, you may rise..." The Matron spoke in her usual threatening low tone and lowered herself off the throne.
Viconia complied, but still kept her gaze to the floor.
"You will perform the Blooding soon, child," Matron Ginafae said. "Then you will find either the favor of Lolth or honorless death... But I must give you an additional task."
Matron Ginafae strolled away from Viconia and turned her back to her to stare out one of the windows.
"You cannot simply bring back the head of any surfacer. I must insist you bring me evidence of the death of one of the false surface-gods' holy warriors..." The Matron chuckled. "It would perhaps embarrass Matron Zzoralin if one of my daughters outperformed one of hers."
Viconia swallowed when she heard Devora crackle with mocking laughter. Obviously she did not expect her to return. But she would prove her wrong! She would gain the favor of the Spider Queen!
"Of course, you are not expected to perform your task unarmed," The Matron said and handed her an ornate holy mace. Viconia gasped as the felt the magic of the weapon in her hands. She had never held an enchanted weapon before and she ran her fingers over the engraved Spider-design on the head of the mace. "The weapon is yours to keep if you succeed."
"You may speak..." Matron Ginafae told Viconia sharply.
"It shall be as you say, Matron Mother," Viconia told her mistress, yet with a hint of nervousness. "Lolth be praised! All Victory is her doing!"
"That it is, child," Matron Ginafae chuckled. "So bring back the head your quarry and be rewarded... Or fail and your body will rot, either baking under the sun on the surface, or in our own dungeons."
Once again, Viconia shivered as she heard Devora's mocking laughter. After having been given the permission to depart, she quickly left the throneroom. Excited, she walked through the corridors back towards her room to gather some of her belongings...
Waiting for her in her room was Valas, wearing a sad smile as his sister entered.
"So," He said noticing the mace in her hands. "You are still going to the surface?"
"Yes." She simply replied.
"There are other ways of reaching adulthood..." Valas said, refering to the graduations of any of the city's academies. He himself was not allowed to go to the surface, because it was theorized that Drow magic could have unpredictable results on the surface-lands...
"I will go!" She shouted in her stubborness, galled at her brother's continued defiance.
Valas simply sighed and smiled sadly. It seemed he could not dissuade his sister from undertaking this perilous journey. "Just come back in one piece, then..." He told her as he left his sister's room.
"Valas?" He heard a sing-song voice behind him as he was about to enter his own quaters...
"Devora..." He greeted her with his eyes downcast, but he fell to the floor in pain as six snake-head ripped away in his flesh.
"I cannot afford to lose any favor of the Spider Queen, so soon before my ascension!" Devora snarled and whipped him again. "I will not allow you to stray the girl from the path of the Queen for even a inch!"
"Matron Devora DeVir." She whispered to herself, clearly enjoying how the words rolled off her tongue. "Of course, now that you know I will make my move soon, I cannot allow you to speak of it!" She chuckled again and continued her torture...
"A new batch of youngsters, Nalfein?" Grizjin asked him. Nalfein was the one of the masters master of Melee-Magthere, the fighter-academy. He had led many surface-raids and would now guide the group of youngsters to the surface.
"Yes... Yet another group of inexperienced children... Nobles mostly." Nalfein replied.
"Who's that female," Grizjin asked while he pointed her out in the chatty group of twenty youngsters. "She looks rather lovely, I think!" He told his master.
"She's Viconia DeVir... A noble. She does not even meet the age requirements, but apparently her bitchy Matron considered her worthy... That or she wanted her out of the way." Nalfein replied.
That said, he stepped up to the group and willed them to silence...
"Alright, listen up, leeches!" He shouted. "From now on, I will not care about any of your previous deeds, the names of your Houses, or even your gender! You will listen to me, and follow my orders, if you want to survive the horrors of the surface-lands! So, hear my words and learn..."
The trip through the long, winding tunnels of the Underdark was uneventful, and yet somehow, Viconia knew she was getting nearer and nearer to the surfacelands. This made her feel both anxious and afraid. She had heard the stories of the surface-elves... How they had betrayed the Drow and had driven them underground. How, they, and their surface allies... The humans, the dwarves, the halflings and many others, had slaughtered her ancestors' children in their cribs. What awaited her on the surface, besides the chance of swift death? She did not know...
Then came the moment when the group left the tunnels, and the young Drow found themselves standing on a mountain-side overlooking a large forest, and seeing a large city in the distance.
"Alright, kiddies!" Nalfein shouted. "You have two days to perform your task... If you are not back by then, you will be left behind to die here!"
The young Drow, all eager to win the favor of House and Queen, and not to mention to get vengeance for the 'betrayal' of their race, stormed off in different directions. Nalfein shook his head... These youngsters would not stand a chance...
Then he noticed a single female, the DeVir girl, still standing at the cave-mouth, looking upon the sky with a mixture of deep fear and curiosity.
"How far does it go?" The girl asked him, when she had obviously heard him approach.
"I don't know," Nalfein replied. "A spelljammer once told me it stretches on to infinity."
"Infinity..." The young girl stammered, almost in disbelief. "What are those twinkling lights?"
"They are called stars, I believe..."
"Stars..." The girl replied, utterly amazed...
"The surfacers call them trees." Nalfein answered gently, actually feeling sorry for the young girl. She, too, would not survive the perils of the surface-lands...
Viconia made her way through the forest with trepidation... From the tales of her brethren, she had thought the surface to be a desolate wasteland, filled with horrors and despair. She had not expected such beauty...
Beauty... Art... It was something she had appreciated ever since she was a little girl and her wean-mother had taken her to Narbondellyn, Menzoberranzan's bazar... She remembered staring in awe at Narbondel, Mezoberranzan's richly adorned time-keeper. It seemed larger than life and glowed in the darkness of the city. Ever since then, she often spend much of her free time simply staring at the majestic architecture of the city from her balcony... It her earned her the not-so-flattering nickname dreamer among the nobles of House DeVir.
And now, it was happening again... Looking at the sky, made her feel tiny and insignificant, ready to be swallowed up by its sheer size. Viconia gritted her teeth, pulled down her hood and avoided gazing upwards... Even though she was impressed with the beauty of the surface, she had a task to perform and could not affort any distraction. Because even more than to gaze at the beauty of the surface-lands, she wanted to return home...
"Ilmater's blessing upon you, my child." Khilgind told one of the beggers in the alley, after giving him a loaf of bread. Serving the crying god was a harsh, yet rewarding excistance. As he turned around the corner he saw another figure walking up to him. Although, the cloak hid the person's features, he could tell she was a woman, and judging from her slender frame, obviously one of the elven kin as well.
"Me... Help... Need..." The female spoke to him in broken common as she motioned him to follow him. Khilgind was intrigued by this female's odd behaviour, so he complied and followed her around the corner... As soon as he did however, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck and fell to his knees. Looking up he noticed what exacly had assaulted him...
A Drow! He had heard there were several sighting in the forests, but he never would expected to find one inside the city! He tried to stand up, but the throbbing pain in the back of his head prevented him from doing so.
"Lolth tlu Malla!" He heard her shout in her home-tongue. "Oloth plynn dos!"
The last thing he saw, was the spider-design on her mace, which would sent him to Ilmater.
Nalfein was surpised to see the young female again... And ever more surprised when he noticed the bloodied bag in her hands.
"Well, this is unexpected." Nalfein told her, but looked upon her with a new sense of respect.
"It was so easy..." She told him with a questioning tone, and he couldn't help but notice the blank look in her eyes.
"In any case, you're back in time and it looks as if you are the only one to make it back." Nalfein sighed. But the female did not respond...
"Well, let's go home, then... And welcome to adulthood, honored female"
Again the young female did not reply and stole one last look at the surface-lands before following Nalfein into the tunnels.
"You may look me in the eye now, child." Matron Ginafae ordered and Viconia slowly shifted her gaze upwards, still with a hint of fear. She remembered the whipping she had received when she was ten and tried to see the face of her mother. She wasn't able to stand for days...
"You have brought honor to yourself, your House and the Spider Queen. And you shall be rewarded," the Matron said. "You shall accompany Devora, to assist her in overseeing the trademission to Rilauven." The Matron chuckled when she noticed Devora's anger.
Viconia simply smiled. It would mean she would be allowed to travel over the Undersea of Laratrak! For years she had been staring from the shores, hoping to one day see more of this majestic body of water! Now it seemed she would get her wish...
But where was Valas? She found it odd, he had not come to greet her when she had returned...
"Well, I thought I might find you here, dreamer!" Devora mocked as she spoke to her little sister, who was on her balcony staring at the city again.
"Devora! Get out of..." But Viconia never had the opportunity to finish her demand. Devora, who was bigger and stronger than she was, had savagely grabbed her, shoved her into the wall and then pushed down the hilt of her Whip of Fangs against her throat.
"Listen to me, you little insect!" Devora whispered in her ear while Viconia was choking. "I will not allow a child like you to usurp my position!"
Viconia tried to make a grab for her mace, but Devora was one step ahead of her and kicked it out of her hands.
"Are you ready to die, little sister?" Devora mocked as Viconia felt she was beginning to lose consciousness... Then, suddenly, Devora let go of her and she dropped to her knees, gasping for air...
"I've disposed of sisters much more powerful, than you, dreamer... Remember that!" Devora threatened as she savagely kicked the downed Viconia in the stomach and left the room, leaving her sister to moan on the floor.
"Staring at the water, dreamer?" Devora mocked as she walked by her sister, who was leaning on the railing. They were at sea for almost a day now... It was late in the evening and the ship was currently manned by a skeleton-crew. Viconia had, indeed, been looking upon the sea for as long as the ship had been sailing.
"Yes," Viconia replied. "Soothing isn't it?"
"No," Devora snorted. "Sometimes, dreamer, you do beat all!"
As she turned away from her sister to return to her quarters, Devora suddenly felt a sharp pain racing through the back of her head. Devora staggered about and sank halfway over the railing, hovering on the brink unconsciousness. Through the haze in her eyes, she noticed Viconia standing over her, mace in hand, sporting a feral grin.
"Oh, no," She whispered in Devora's ear. "Don't you dare... Don't you dare lose consciousness... I want you to be awake for this... I want you to know, that even though you might be a lot more powerful and stronger than I am, you were still murdered by me... A girl, only a fraction of your own age, who has not even begun her clerical studies!"
Viconia put her mace away and grabbed her knife. Without hesitation, she drew it across Devora's back, leaving a long gash from which her sister's blood flowed freely. "If you were interested in anything else but killing and maiming, Devora, you would have known that the fish you are seeing in the water now are pymaro..." She mocked.
Upon hearing this, Devora desperately tried to break through the haze and to strangle her sister with her bare hands, but it seemed her body would simply not cooperate...
"This is for what you did to Valas... This is for all the pain and fear you have brought upon us as long as Valas and I have lived!" Viconia whispered in Devora's ear and pushed her over the railing. Devora landed in the cold water with a loud splash. As Devora's blood spread through the water, the feeding frenzy began... Hundreds of the tiny fish were upon her instantly...
Devora surfaced once more to let out a blood-curdling scream... Perhaps it was a scream of rage, knowing she would never attain her ultimate dream of becoming Matron, but more likely it was a scream of pain. Devora sank beneath the surface again and the water turned red with blood as the tiny fish stripped the flesh from her bones in a matter of seconds...
"What happened?!" A male asked, who had run to the railing after hearing the scream...
"A most unfortunate accident..." Viconia spoke softly. "My sister slipped and fell in the water. There was nothing that could be done."
The male shook her head as if lamenting her death, but in truth he was sure no one would consider Devora DeVir's death a great loss...
"I will go to my chambers now, male." Viconia commanded. "Do not disturb me, until we have reached our destination!"
'So easy' She thought to herself as she took one last look at the blood in the water.
"Here, my brother. Drink this " Viconia whipered gently as she put the waterflask to Valas' lips.
When she was not able to find her brother she went in search of him... But when she had seen Devora walking through the corridors with blood covering her arms and robe, she had sped to her sadistic sister's quarters and, to her horror, found Valas more dead than alive, next to Devora's recently used torture-instruments. With the help of a servant she had managed sneak him away from Devora's quarters and smuggled him aboard the ship, where she had begun the arduous task to nurse her brother back to health... It seemed Devora had thought she had tortured Valas to death and the servants had removed his body, since no questions were ever asked.
"Lay down," She told Valas as he stirred to sit up. She felt tears welling up as she gazed upon his broken body... Viconia could not help, but feel responsible for his suffering. She grabbed another one of Vierna's healing salves she had found in her wean-mother's old chambers... She remembered her beloved wean-mother sadly. Vierna had passed away in her sleep some five years ago... The only Drow she had know of to die of old age... A pang of regret followed, as she remembered Vierna with sadness. Sadly, no more children would be raised by her gentle hand. Vierna must be in a place after death where few Drow would go, perhaps.
"Devora will never bring harm to either of us again." Viconia spoke as she gently rubbed the salve over the nasty wounds on his chest...
"Why?" Valas managed to say... It was a multi-layered question. Why did you kill Devora? Why are you doing this for me? Why have you risked your own safety for me? Why are you going against the Drow way?
But Viconia's answer to all those questions was the same...
"Valas... You are my brother..."
Brother and sister shared a brief smile... It seemed that in the perils of their existance, they only had each other.
4. Siblings (angst)
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Posted 05 January 2003 - 07:06 PM
TnT Enhanced Edition: http://www.fanfictio...rds-and-Tempers
Sith Warrior - Master, I can sense your anger.
Darth Baras - A blind, comotose lobotomy-patient could sense my anger!
"The New Age? It's just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds" - James Randi
Sith Warrior - Master, I can sense your anger.
Darth Baras - A blind, comotose lobotomy-patient could sense my anger!
"The New Age? It's just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds" - James Randi
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