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8. Playtime

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#1 Weyoun

Posted 05 January 2003 - 07:10 PM

Writer's comment : Another little Vicky! And a very nice sister... I have decided that Dipree survived the assault on house DeVir and is now a priestess of Eilistraee in Skullport. Eventually, I'll have to get these two sisters together again in a big Vierna story, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.


"So, read this book," Master Xyroz, principal wizard of house DeVir, told Valas sternly as he put another book filled with Magic Rites in his hands. "And this one..." he said, putting another one on the stack. "Oh, and this one might be handy... Ah, and, of course, Gromph Baerne's Handbook of Enchantment..."

Valas grimaced as he struggled to keep the stack of books from crashing to the floor. "Yes... yes, master Xyroz," Valas grunted.

"And have that ready before tomorrow's lesson. There's the lad," Master Xyroz said and prodded him out of the door.

After Valas barely managed to keep from tipping over due to the weight of the books in his hands and steadied himself against the wall. Behind him, the door to master Xyroz' chambers slammed shut, and Valas could finally let out a sigh of frustration.

"Tomorrow?" Valas sighed as he regarded the books, and wondered how he would manage to drag these all the way to his tiny room on the other side of the DeVir compound.

"Valas?" he heard the pleasant voice of his four-year old sister Viconia sounding in front of him.

"Wha... Where?" Valas asked, tried to look over, under and past his books, but miserably failed.

"In front of the books," he heard his little sister giggle.

That was the moment Valas lost his grip on the books, resulting in several loud thuds resounding through the long, dark hallway.

"Err, you dropped your books," Viconia pointed out.

"I kinda noticed," Valas chuckled.

"So, now that your books are on the floor," Viconia asked with those hopeful looks she shot at her brother whenever she wanted something, "do you have time for a story?"

Valas sighed and glanced to his books, which he still needed to pick up, drag to his room and read before tomorrows lesson. "Sure," he replied with a smile.

"Why do they make you read so many stupid books anyway?" Viconia pouted. "You never have time to play with me anymore..."

Valas sighed. "I'm sorry, 'Coni," he replied. "But it's all part of becoming a wizard..."

"But why do you want to become a wizard?" Viconia pouted. "If you'd want to become something else, you might have more time to spend with me. We could go to the balcony and look at the city and make fun of the people walking by and tossing spit-balls off the railing..."

"You'll understand," Valas sighed, "when they make you want to become a priestess..."

"Nope, nope, nope," Viconia shoot her head with due vigor. "I don't wanna become a 'riestess..."

Valas smiled and shook his head, not wanting to crush whatever dream his little sister might have. "So, 'Coni," Valas asked with interest, "what do you want to become when you grow up then?"

"I wanna be a pirate!" Viconia said. "I wanna travel, and find treasure, and sack villages, and go everywhere, and wear an eyepatch and a parrot and say 'Arrr'! Just like in the story you told me yesterday!"

"'Coni," Valas grimaced, "that was a story about the surface, and we are not allowed to listen to stories from the surface... It would get us in a lot of trouble if anyone found out!"

"Oh," Viconia pouted. "Well, I guess I won't be telling anyone, then."

"Well, good, then," Valas smiled.

"Arrr..." Viconia giggled.

"So, why are you walking through the corridors?" Valas asked. "I thought you were on temple-cleaning duty?"

"Nah," Viconia replied. "There was some kinda hubbup and I was sent away..."

"I heard," Valas said. "One of our trade caravans was raided this morning."

"Really?" Viconia asked. "Were they pirates? You think it was pirates that did it, huh? Huh?"

"I doubt that," Valas said.

"Arrr," Viconia pouted.

"Well, I don't know anything, except that mother is quite upset about the whole thing," Valas said, daring to refer to his Matron as 'mother'.

"Upset as in sad?" Viconia asked.

"Upset... as in angry," Valas grimaced.

"Stay away then," Viconia said. "Time for a story..."

"Well, okay," Valas said, sat down on a bench put against the rocky walls of the corridor, where his sister soon joined him. "There once was a male named..."

"Nalfein!" Viconia finished.

"Nalfein..." Valas laughed. "One day, he..."

"What about Nalfein?" Viconia asked.

"Come again?" Valas asked.

"Was he secondboy? Elderboy? Nice? Mean? Ugly? Handsome? Drow? Surfacer? Surly? Happy? Well-dressed? Noble? Commo..."

"I don't know!" Valas exclaimed.

"How can you not know?" Viconia asked. "You're the one telling the story!"

"Yeah, well, but..." Valas sighed. "Look, he's just a male, okay?"


"Well, Nalfein was in service of a female called..."

"Liriel!" Viconia finished.

"... Liriel," Valas chuckled. "And she..."

"What was Liriel like?" Viconia asked.

"Look," Valas sighed, "we just went over this when I mentioned Nalfein!"

"Was Liriel Tall? Short? Funny? Mean? Ni..." Viconia started to say, but was a bit startled to hear the doors over the wizard Xyrox' chambers fly open. The skinny, yet menacing looking male stepped out of the chambers, and even though Viconia was more than a little intimidated, she knew she was a female and shot the wizard a look of defiance.

"That's cute," Xyrox half-chuckled when he noticed little Viconia, doing her best to look defiant and superior. Somehow, it didn't have the same effect seeing Viconia only reached to his knee and was dragging around a small toy stuffed rothe in her left hand.

"Valas," Xyrox started to say.

"Y-yes, sir?" Valas stammered in reply.

"I suggest you pick up your books and get to your studies. The Matron Mother will have BOTH our heads on a platter!" Xyrox bellowed. "Certainly when we're on the brink of war!"

"Sorry, 'Coni," Valas sighed. "I gotta go..."

Viconia pouted as she saw her brother steal her one last glance and smile before he took off through the corridors.


Viconia stalked through the corridors of House DeVir, having very little luck locating her house-spider Larriaz, who was always interested in playing with her and Valas. Sadly, she was not anywhere to be found at the moment, and the other spiders walking the corridors of House DeVir were definitely not interested in playing with a four-year old Drow girl.

Instead, Viconia had decided to ask her wean-mother Vierna to play with her. She remembered Vierna had been quite concerned when she woke up this morning, and she had apparently fixed Viconia a quick breakfast before leaving in a hurry. Returning to the small home in the DeVir courtyard which she and Vierna shared, she found that Vierna was not there, and that most of her healing-supplies were missing as well.

Asking the guards, she was directed to a small, empty storage-facility, which, the guard told her, had been converted to a sickbay.


"This will sting a little," Vierna told her patient, a young female commoner named Quile, while she rubbed a magical ointment on a very nasty burn across the young female's abdomen. After a moment of tensing up and hissing through her teeth, the young female visibly relaxed as her wounds receeded.

The aging Drow herbalist patted her on the forehead once, and then moved on the her next patient. 'So many wounded,' Vierna thought while she ran her hand through her yellow hair. The nobles that were part of the caravan were treated by clerics immediately when they were brought into the compound. The commoners were left to their own devices, however, and Vierna had to struggle to even get Ginafae's permission to set up a sickbay in the first place.

"Vierna," one of her assistants told the aged Drow, and pointed towards the door. Vierna almost gasped when she saw the four year-old Viconia standing in the doorway, staring into the room.

"Give me a moment," Vierna said. "Please see to Dinin over there..."


"Viconia," Vierna said as she took the girl by the hand and led her away from the sickbay, not wanting her to see the wounded, "what are you doing here? This is no place for you to be..."

"Something happened, so I don't have temple-duty today," Viconia replied, "but now I have free time, and there's no one to play with me... Would you?"

"I'm sorry, little one," Vierna smiled apologetically. "There are wounded who need me."

"Oh," Viconia pouted.

"Look, I'll make it up to later tonight. I'll fix you up a nice dinner of spiced rothe-chops, just the way you like them!" Vierna smiled.

"Thanks!" Viconia smiled and licked her lips a little.

"In the meantime," Vierna suggested, "why don't you go find Larriaz?"

"I can't find her!" Viconia pouted.

Not wanting to have Vierna wander the halls of house DeVir aimlessly and alone, she decided to send her to Dipree, Vierna's three-hundred year old sister. She would keep an eye on Viconia until Vierna would collect her for the evening meal. "Why don't you go see, Dipree?" Vierna asked. As far as priestess of Lolth go, Dipree wasn't the worst of them. Although she had her moments, Dipree had actually stopped by sickbay to offer some healing-spells to the more critical patients.


Taking Vierna's suggestion to heart, Viconia went in search of her older sister. Of all her sisters, she liked Dipree the most. She had never beaten her, yelled at her or whipped her, because she didn't even have a whip of fangs. Despite her age, Dipree had never chosen to become a high-priestess, but had instead dedicated herself to the study of both clerical and conventional magic, becoming one of the most powerful female wizards in the city.

Just as Viconia knocked on her door and entered Dipree's large quarters, decorated with artworks and lined with bookcases piling with magical tomes, she noticed that Dipree wasn't the only one in the room right now... Her eldest sister Devora, the cruelest of them all, was standing right on front of her, the heads of her Whip of Fangs snapping and hissing only inches from Viconia's face.

"Ah, child," Devora grinned evilly. "Just in time. I need someone to clean my quarters. And I would like you to move my life-sized statue of Menzoberra to the other side of the room... Now, get to it before I whip you!" she snarled.

"That will take her all day!" Dipree broke in. "Why don't you just ask an adult servant to move that statue? The work will be finished much sooner."

Devora directed an icy look at Dipree for ruining her fun. "The weak command the strong, Dipree," Devora snarled.

"There's no challenge in flaunting your strength to someone who can't fight back, Devora," Dipree said. "Is your resolve so weak, that you pick on children now?"

"Are you challenging me?" Devora snarled through clenched teeth.

"Care to see who is stronger?" Dipree chuckled. A powerful light emanated from her red eyes as powerful spells were cast in-mouth. Magic crackled through the entire room as Dipree prepared her assault. "You've already been defeated once today, let's make it a double shame..."

"Another time," Devora snarled, deciding a single defeat was enough this day, and stomped out of the room.

"What a... a..." Viconia said, looking for the right word.

"Bitch?" Dipree asked. "My words exactly..."

"You don't like Devora," Viconia said. "Why was she here?"

"Oh, Snake-head was here to convince me to support her if the Matron Mother decides to remove her from her current position. My guess is Cyrilla will have a lot more to say in the future..." Dipree chuckled. "But enough about politics. Have you come to see me?"

"Yeah, Vierna sent me," Viconia said. "She said you might have time to play with me..."

"Hey," Dipree said, "would you like to know more about what's going on? You might get to see Snake-head getting the whip..."

"Sure!" Viconia said, especially interested in that last bit.


"We have to be really, really quiet," Dipree whispered as they stood on one of the upper parapets looking diagonally into the dark throne-room below. There stood her mother, Ginafae DeVir looking very angry indeed.

"Is that our mother?" Viconia asked, seeing her birth-mother's face for the first time in her young life. "She's pretty. I never got to see more than her feet."

"Ssssssh," Dipree said, noticing some of her other sisters and some brothers were hidden on the other parapet, also watching the proceedings.

A few moment later, Viconia's eldest sisters Devora and Cyrilla stepped into the throne room to flank their matron. Tension sat in after several minutes of waiting. Then, two of the guards let in a group of three Drow. One was a young female, radiating power. The second female was enormous, and would even put Devora to shame with her sheer size. The third Drow was a muscular male wearing a perpetual smirk.

"Who are those?" Viconia whispered.

"The young matron in the middle is Malice Do'Urden. That hulking female is her daughter Briza, and that handsome male over there is her weaponmaster Zaknafein," Dipree whispered.

"Greetings, Malice," they heard Ginafae speak with forced courtousy. "Be welcome and safe in our house..."

"I accept your welcome, and your assurance of safety," Malice spoke as per the ritual. "Let me extend our sympathies for your recent setback and..."

"WE KNOW YOU RAIDED OUR CARAVAN, YOU LYING BI..." Devora shouted, but was silenced when seven snake-heads from Ginafae's whip of fangs bit into her skin.

Viconia almost whooped in joy as she saw Devora's face contort in agony, as Devora had so often done to her. Dipree managed to silence her just in time.

"My daughter doesn't have a flair for diplomacy," Ginafae said while Devora lay groaning on the floor. "But let us dispense with the games, shall we? We have witnesses among the nobles who knew the caravan was raided by Do'Urden soldiers..."

"Ah, now I see," Dipree told Viconia. "Malice got cocky and decided to see how far she could push us. And now that we respond with force, she's trying to salvage the situation... She's just too young and impetuous to be a matron..."

"The raid was unauthorized by me," Malice grimaced. "The culprit was my Elderboy. He shall be dealt with severely!"

"Shifting the blame will not save you this time," Ginafae chuckled. "The council of eight has already condemned the attack and offered their support." Malice's face glowed an angry, and nervous red at this moment. "But..." Ginafae continued. "That's what happens when you attack the house that controls over ninety-five percent of Trade in and out of Menzoberranzan."

"Trade?" Viconia asked. "What's so special about trade?"

"I'll show you later," Dipree said.

"The caravan contained a shipment of exotic foodstuffs for House Baenre," Ginafae chuckled. "I'll drop your name when Matron Baenre finds her plate empty tomorrow..." It seems Malice was getting very nervous now.

"Watch," Dipree said. "Matron Ginafae is about to employ her most powerful weapon. It's almost a death-sentence..."

"Therefore, I have decided to put an embargo on house Do'Urden. Never again shall house DeVir, or the DeVir affiliates and trade-relations do business with house Do'Urden!" Ginafae chuckled.

"YOU... You CAN'T DO THIS!" Malice wailed.

"I just did... Leave... And never darken these halls with your presence again!"


"Yep," Dipree said. "That's the last we'll be hearing of House Do'Urden..."


"So we have lots of stuff!" Viconia said as Dipree led the girl into a large magically refridgerated store-room filled with all types of wooden crates all labeled : 'Tradegoods'. "Why is that power?"

"Well," Dipree said as she checked the supply-roster, "It's stuff that nobody else but us can get and sell, for one."


"Viconia, you know how all those overzealous Lolth-worshippers keep saying how the surface is vile and evil?" Dipree asked, while walking towards one of the crates.


"Well, we at house DeVir know better," Dipree chuckled. "In fact, we Drow can't survive without the surface."

"NO!" Viconia was utterly amazed.

"Quite so. This city simply can't sustain itself. There's not much resources to be found in the Underdark," Dipree said.

"Sus-tayne?" Viconia asked.

"That means that there's too much Drow and too little food," Dipree said. "So, we must import food and resources from surface-settlements. Let's take the robe you're wearing..."

"It's made from spider-silk!" Viconia said.

"Nope," Dipree chuckled. "It's made from cloth imported from a human settlement called Cormyr."

"Nooooo," Viconia said, her mouth shaped like a wide 'o'.

"That's not all. It's the import of luxury items that gives us prestige," Dipree said and stopped near a large crate. Breaking the magical seal, she opened the crate and took out two pieces of vegetable. "Like these. Here, take a bit," Dipree said as she lovingly snacked on the vegetable. Viconia did the same, and was amazed by the wonderful taste. Soon enough, it was all eaten.

"This vegetable is called a 'turnip'. A very tasty delicacy," Dipree said. "We were very lucky to find a group of surface-gnomes who can deliver them at a steady rate. There are five houses vying for this shipment, so there'll probably be another auction soon..."

"Can I have another one?" Viconia asked.

"Sorry," Dipree smiled. "Between those two turnips we just ate, we just gobbled down about 2000 gold..."


"And that's not all. We import lizard-mounts from Rilauven, Mithril from the Derro-dwarves, luxury items from Skullport, and, thanks to House DeVir, all the houses of Menzoberranzan have Sword-Spiders as guards," Dipree chuckled.

"So we don't have to worry about war and all?" Viconia asked.

"Hah!" Dipree said. "We are too important to Menzoberranzan to be involved in a war. No less than fifteen houses will directly intervene if actions are taken against House DeVir. As long as we have the favor of Lolth, we're untouchable! Trust me, House Do'Urden will be dust in the breeze in a few years..."

"LARRIAZ!" Viconia suddenly shouted as her faithful pet spider lowered herself from the ceiling to the floor. Immediately, Viconia ran up to her to pet her over the head. "I've been looking all over for you!"

"She must have gotten locked in," Dipree mused.

"Come on!" Viconia said. "Let the three of us go play!"

Dipree smiled, shook her head and joined Viconia and Larriaz for a game of fetch in the courtyard, forgetting all about House Do'Urden.
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

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