They said it was raining the day I was born, but no one knows for sure. To whom, or even where I was born is anyones guess. All that is known is that it was raining on the surface world the day I appeared at the temple. But even that much is debatable, for the temple is located underneath the city of Waterdeep, in the dark undercity of Skullport. An ally of the temple arrived from Waterdeep and found me, swaddled in the drappings of a newborn, tucked warmly in a tiny basket on the temple stairs. His cloak was soaked through as was his hair, and so it is assumed it was raining on the day of my birth.
As akward as it may seem to someone not entirely familiar with the church of Eilistraee, I fit in quite well. The church was composed nearly entirely, though not completely, by drow elves. These drow had come to the surface, and some were born into the church in more recent years, to escape the horrors of thier people. Thier goals in the long term were to reintegrate thier brethren into the surface world, ideally all such drow would change thier evil ways and embrace all that is good. It was an admirable, though somewhat lofty, goal. The drow werent alone in this however, a number of surface elves, and a suprising large one at that, belonged to the church and strove for the same ends. Though I am no drow, given my heritage, I am not so dissimilar to them, and perhaps that is why I found myself to fit so easily with them.
I have few physical traits to mark me as one decsended from some demon or devil, my eyes are colored like dark blood and I have yet to see thier match on any other person. However in temperment my heritage can be seen plainly. In young childhood and even to this day I was and am prone to violent outbursts. It was of great concern to the church these sudden and often violent turns I took, after which I had no recollection of events. I have been able to temper this to some degree but it is still of concern to me.
So I grew in the care of the church. I was treated well and as one of the drows own. I was taught to sing, to dance, to fight. My strength, it turned out was in my ability to talk to others, to makes friends easily, to know what others most wanted to hear, and to say it. It is somewhat disconcerting to realize, in looking back, how much pleasure I took in misleading others. Not suprisingly I also developed an ability to pass unnoticed whereever I wished and to enter any place I wanted. Though I learned to bypass most locks, and later traps, easily enough, it is curious to note that I never accually took anything that did not belong to me. Maybe the church had instilled some degree of morality in me, but nevertheless the single act of going where I should not was thrilling. But for all that my true passions lay in language and in music.
Though the church was in Skullport, underground, there was a portal to the surface. It came to a beautiful glade where the priestesses performed our holidays. I spend a good deal of time there, praying, singing, and dancing in that beautiful place. While the tenents of the church called for doing such things under the moon, I often did it anytime I was able, day or night, and though it is hard to say, more often than not I did it more for the love of doing so than for the sake of my god. Also, on occasion the surface elves of the church would take me up to the surface, to Waterdeep proper and sometimes beyond, for short times.
The first time I saw the sea was something I will never forget. We had left Waterdeep and travelled to the coast just south of the city. It was very small in my vision when we stopped. For what we had come out I dont remember, and to be honest I cant say for certain I ever knew or even cared. I went to the shoreline, the roar of the sea filling my ears, and for as far as I could see stretched the endless blue. It was almost a mirror for the bright blue sky, which was also a wonder to me for I didnt see it all that often, just slightly darker. I wandered down and waded into the water and sat, almost to my neck, in the water. I felt the shallow waves rush forward into me, and I swayed with the music of the sea. As I got older I would go to that spot more often, and eventually I was even allowed to go alone.
I must have been only twelve years or thereabouts when I found a man on the beach. It was cold out, the winter had been a hard one and was only partly past. I was wandering along the coast singing as was my custom when I saw off ahead of me the remains of a boat. It was a long craft and thin. I wasnt familiar with the style of craft, but of course my knowledge of such things was quite limited. As I approached I heard a muffled moan. I froze, for I didnt know what to do. In all honesty I was spooked and I thought I should run away. But I couldnt run, to help others when I could had been ingrained into me too well. I stood for sometime fending off my fear before I moved closer. I saw a man laying amidst the ruins of the vessel. He was obviously very hurt. As I approached him he looked up at me and I froze. When I saw the pleading and sadness in his eyes my fear dissolved and I dashed forward and began moving what pieces I could off of his body. His soft voice stopped me and he said he needed to tell his story before the end. I would hear nothing of him dieing, but he insisted so I stopped and listened.
His story was a strange one. He was decended of a people from the northern Moonshae Isles, tired of the constant struggle between thier people and the Ffolk of the southern portion of the Isles, his anscestors had set sail looking for a new land to make thier home. They had sailed for a long time and were resigned to a death at sea when they finally made landfall on a wonderful new land. They had made a new home for themselves in the form of a small settlement. There they prospered for several generations. But recently a string of droughtful summers and hard winters had devastated them and he, his family, and a small number of others had set sail for thier old homeland. The new world had finally defeated them. The passage had been too hard and only he remained.
His story complete, he fell into unconsciousness and I knew his end was close. I couldnt move some of the heavier pieces of debris, and even if I could have I couldnt carry him all the way to the temple, so I ran there. Bursting into the temple screaming out for help, I got some of the priestesses to go back with me. When we returned there was no breath left in the man. I had seen death and violence before, Skullport is rife with both, but always it was some stranger, some nameless person. Never had I seen death in a manner so real. The priestesses set about tending to the body and preparing for the death rites, but all I could do was stand and gaze at the remains of his craft. I glanced at a small round log that lay just out of the waters reach, and as I stared at it I felt something strange. I began to realized that the man didnt die here on this shore, he died in that boat, out at the sea I loved so much, when it took the people he loved from him. My face felt the cold of winter as tears rolled down my face and left quickly freezing wet streaks, as I thought of all the people in my life. What they meant to me, how I would hurt if they were taken from me. And I remembered all the good things also, all the smiles and laughs.
As the priestesses called me to leave I went forward and collected up the log. It was thicker than a stick, but rather thin for a log. It was a dark coloring. such a dark brown that in poorer lighting I may have mistook it for black. It had the smell of freshly cut wood, though it could not have been. From then on whenever I heard the song of the sea I would think of the log, and before long I had begun to carve it into a flute, as that was my favorite instrument. Once completed I found that the instrument would play only minor notes, but it made such hauntingly beautiful sounds that I was able to build a small reputation as a musician and I was often hired to play at the parties of Waterdeeps elite.
As I got older, because of my gift for speechcraft and because I could more easily go places drow were not welcome, I began to recieve requests, as it were, to perform duties for the church, usually in the form of meeting church friends. I was a face for the church on the surface. So it came to pass that I was called forward to join a quest. My church had been aligned with an organization called the Harpers for some time and now an event of some import had occured and the Harpers wanted aid from thier allies. It seems an atrifact of great power had long ago been broken into many parts which had then been entrusted to an equal number of people for safe keeping. Contact with some of the keepers had been lost and this was of great concern. The artifact had been created by the Ilythiiri, ancient ancestors of the drow, and thier demon allies, and so the Harpers believed information regarding it could be found at my temple. There was limited information regarding the artifact and the temple felt it necessary to send a representative with the Harper group to discover why communications with some keepers had been lost, recover the pieces if they had been lost, and if necessary ensure the safety of the remaining artifacts and thier keepers. The mission would require a good deal of surface travel and so a drow church member was out of the question. My interest in language and the resulting ability to speak numerous languages, coupled with my abilities in speechcraft and other skills made me an ideal candidate. It would be my first foray into the larger world and while I greated that with a great deal of enthusiasm it was daunting, and even frightening. My companions in the quest were a varied lot, and while I questioned thier competence initially I would grow to respect them a great deal and even come to regard them as close as family.
The first among them and seemingly the leader was a sun elf wizard called Tralin. I had some limited experience with sun elves in Waterdeep and my feelings for them were that they were a rude and arrogant lot. Tralin changed my opinion, he seemed strange for his kind. Unlike any other elf I had met he seemed to regret his parentage. While he knew and obviously admired his heritage he seemed much more interested in humans. Human culture is what he loved. It was humorous at times to see a sun elf laughing with humans, drinking with them, playing with thier children and singing thier songs with them in a drunken stupour. He carried a friendly and carefree air, which coupled easily with his elven beauty. He stood tall and his golden skin and hair gave him the look of a golden statue of some ancient proud hero, which all made him easy to follow.
Eshrin L'Vat was the last son of a merchant house based out of the Dalelands. His family had, in one horrible and sad night, been all but wiped out by the Zhents. Or so he said. He had been sent on one of the merchant ships to Sembia for some negotiation or another and so had survived the event. He had returned home to discover his dead relations, but could not find them all and so he believed perhaps a few lived yet. In any case he could not rebuild what had been destroyed, at least not there with the murderers on the look out for him. So he had wandered the Realms looking for any sign that any of his family lived, in particular his sister whom he was very close to. Eshrin was quite the fighter, utilizing the longblade and his natural agility. In appearance he hardly stood out from other humans. He had a sad demeanor, there was always a profound hurt in his eyes and when he turned his gaze to me I always felt as though I should be more grateful for what I had than I was. He was a kind man despite his hurt. We were his family, all of us, though he was closest to Tralin, and Ive yet to see a man fight more ferociously than Eshrin when any of us were in danger. He bled for us and we all knew he would die for us, his life for ours, and he would do it without a seconds thought.
At first I was nervous and even a bit frightened of Nolan Tor. Who wouldnt be scared of a cleric of the god of death? Nolan had reached his middle years and his soft brown hair had become peppered, more grey than brown now, but the brown made a valient show of itself anyway. He was a quiet man and he kept to himself. Its hard to say there is any kinder person in all of Faerun though. It was a very long time before I learned much about the man. He had watched his parents die, murdered by bandits on the road, when he was a small child. He said a man came to comfort him as he lay wounded on the road and the man told him of the necessity of death, but death in its proper time. He believed it was the god of death and he had commited himself to it. At times in the evenings, I often saw him sit and massage the leg that had been injured so many long years before and sometimes he cried. I wondered if he was truely massaging a hurt in his leg, or the one in his heart.
The young woman Maeve Brightspire was aptly named. As the only other woman of our group I got along with her best of all. She was a lively woman and always wore a smile on her beautiful face. She was a follower of Liira, the Joybringer, and she certainly brought joy to us all. Not a one of us could keep a frown when she wanted us to smile. She was a fair and pretty woman with beautiful brown hair that flowed like the waves on the sea. Her eyes laughed. There was nothing she loved more than to sing and dance and her music often inspiered us to great deeds in our travels. So it came as no suprise when we discovered her to be an aasimar, decended of celestrials.
It was both a sad and frightening day when I left. I woke early and set about preparing myself for my journey. I had little to take, the leathers I had had my weapons training in, my blades, I had both a longsword and a dagger. I had never been terribly good with the sword but I was quite proficient with a small blade like the dagger, of course my flute, and a few supplies. As I packed, Jesimae, my combat teacher, came to see me. She was quite a beautiful woman, with a slender but very pretty face, all framed by soft white hair. I blush a bit to admit that I had always found myself somewhat attracted to her, though I never told her, it seemed inappropriate, her being my teacher, and us both being women. She chuckled when she saw my sword and I flushed somewhat. She took up the sword and whirled it through some patterns and said, "Youve never been much of a swordswoman." I smiled and agreed. She put the blade down then glanced at the dagger in its sheath on my hip, "That one will keep you alive longer I think." I nodded. She stared at me a moment then took her own dagger and its sheath from her belt and passed it to me. "A trade, your sword for my dagger? I know the sword, you know the dagger." I accepted and placed the weapon on my belt opposite of my own dagger. Then she reached into a pouch on her belt and brought out a small ring. The thin band was silver and in it sat a dark blue gem, it was clear but of a terribly dark navy blue. "It will help you, when you must fight." I nodded and took it. She smiled, but it was a sad smile, and turned to leave. Tears in my eyes, I dashed to her and hugged her. I knew it may be the last I ever saw of these people, my family.
By midday I had said all my tearful goodbyes and met my travelling companions. We made our way up from Skullport into Waterdeep, took lunch at a tavern near the gate and left the city. It was the early spring and the winter snows were just beginning to melt. The roads were all slush and mud, but the air was crisp and, though a bit cool, pleasant. My sadness at leaving the temple began to fade as I basked in the cool air and I felt an excitement that grew with each step. I was going to see the world. Everything I had read in the temple library I would now get to see with my own eyes. I would here the languages spoken, I would see the places, and taste the foods. It would be amazing, how many got the chance to travel the world? Our first stop would be in Shadowdale where we would learn more about where we were going and who we would be going to see.
I had been taught to fight. Jesimae had spent long hours with me, but the reality of combat was more terrifying than I had imagined. Just over a day out of Waterdeep we were taken by bandits. We were travelling along the road, I was singing along with Maeve. I really only knew church songs but Maeve had taught me the words to a rather baudy song about a maiden and her rather questionable maidenhood. The men laughed as we sang and we were caught wholey unprepared. Our singing was interupted by a painful yelp from Eshrin who went hurling off of his horse. The rest of us pulled to a stop and saw Eshrin rolling in the mud with an arrow jutting from his right shoulder. Then a man stepped onto the road and demanded we give up our belongings. Tralin began to talk to the man while Nolan dismounted to tend to Eshrin. I was concerned for Eshrin and not paying much attention to the conversation, Maeve was and she yelled out to be careful as Tralin rolled off his horse. I quickly dismounted and just in time as a hail of arrows glided into our group. The aim was bad, or maybe it was just that we were all moving and dismounting, but not an arrow of the volley hit a mark. Nolan stood, drew a heavy mace that dangled at his belt and moved towards the man in the road, "Death will come in its time, but this is not it. Stand down or I will be forced to act to defend these lives." The man just laughed. I drew my daggers and looked around, there was at least 3 other men in the brush off to the side, they had bows. Eshrin was on his feet, sword in hand then. He saw the men in the brush too because he charged straight at them. He swung wildly and missed his mark but the three men scattered and dropped thier bows in favor of close combat weapons. I heard Tralin chanting and Maeve begin singing a song about the valor of heroes. Two of the three men were circling around Eshrin while one slunk towards Tralin and Maeve. The man in the road squared off with Nolan. I decided Tralin and Maeve could handle one man and Eshrin was in most need of help. So I manouvered around them to come up from behind. They swung at Eshrin, one going low and the other high. he gave ground weaving his sword in a defensive pattern. Coming up behind one I carefully aimed my attack and struck. I felt the blade slide into the mans body. It was a disconcerting feeling but a strangely appealing one. I was only vaguely aware of his scream, the sensation of his warm blood pouring over my hand had drawn me away from the world. The smell of it gave me shivers and all I could think of was the smell. My vision faded out.
I came to drenched in blood. All the attacking men were dead and my companions were all staring at me wide eyed. I didnt know why but looking down I saw what was left of the man I had stabbed, it was very little and a very large portion of it was on me. My companions had been told about my heritage, and my tendency for such outbursts by the temple, they come on in times of heightened emotion, but all the talk of it seemingly wasnt enough to prepare them.
The content of The Journals of Whren Kehrsyn is the property and copyright of WhrenKehrsyn and is not to be published or redistributed without permission.
Return to the 'Journals of Whren Kehrsyn' main page
Return to Campaign Logs