Tyranny of Dragons
Drow priestess of Lolth
A rising priestess of the Spider Queen, presently on the trail of Ushen Valenier. She has been ordained by her goddess to claim Ushen’s life and confer his soul unto the Demonweb Pits.
As accounted in Homework for Session 16, “An enemy your character has made.”
The two tried to gain a bearing on another having met at another standstill. The ghost hovered, its incorporeal form shimmering in the darkness of the cave. The dull light of its image offered a humble luster-a result of the ritual that brought the shade back from the Shadowfell. The other sat crosslegged, the hood of her robes raised, streams of white hair falling well past her shoulders from beneath it.
“The secrets of Tiamat are of little concern to me or my goddess,” the woman responded, hoping to coax the thus far uncooperative specter into providing some modicum of useful information regarding her target. “I didn’t call you back from your final destination for that.”
The wraith snorted, feint traces of lightning sparking from its nostrils. “Then we have a common enemy, it would seem. Or so you would have me believe.”
She smiled, glad to be making some progress now that the half-dragon spirit had calmed, if only for a time. “We do indeed, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“Ha!” came the unconvinced laugh. “We upon the surface are not blind to your ways beneath it, priestess. Tiamat may be a Goddess to employ deception, but yours is one who breathes the very essence of deceit. Or as you like to call it ‘intrigue.’ I’m not one to fall so easily into your webs, in your life or in the one beyond.”
“No games,” she answered. “No tricks. My Lady hasn’t the time for such. Not anymore.”
The two shared a moment of mutual appreciation after her statement. The ghost seemed to understand this woman’s perspective just a bit better then, knowing that her goddess had been shunned from her rightful place of power just as his had.
“And despite your claims, you come to me offering so little,” the shade continued.
“I have an offer in mind.”
That drew a curious glance from the spirit. “Do tell.”
The priestess knew she would have to choose her words carefully in that moment. She had piqued the half-dragon’s curiosity, but any claim or indication that he was merely a means to an end would be the end of her endeavor and yet another slammed door on her path to the man she sought. She would have to supplicate this follower of Tiamat, employ the methods her goddess had taught her. Her pride was of little concern now. Only the will of the Queen mattered. She would do what was necessary to achieve thus. Just as she had when first journeying to the surface at the behest of her family and their patron. From Luskan, her goddess had guided her to Greenest, Greenest to this cave where the commander of Tiamat’s cult lay slain in a pile of bones amidst those of his fellows. From here…
“I can free you from the Raven Queen’s influence,” she answered. “The cause of your goddess and my own are one in the same. Help guide me to this man, and I will aid your fellows in bringing forth the Goddess of Dragons.”
The ghost of Cyanwrath laughed again. “And how do you plan to do that?”
“Lolth isn’t interested in this world, commander,” the priestess replied. “Tiamat can have it uncontested. My goddess has her sight set on the realms beyond. Especially the realm and power taken from her by a pretender. The same pretender our foe worships.”
Both specter and priestess stayed silent then, waiting for the other to speak. Cyanwrath was intrigued by her offer, knowing that if Lolth reclaimed her portfolio and the power of the Raven Queen, she could indeed free him from his imprisonment outside the grace of his own goddess. That is, if this priestess kept her word.
“And why should I trust you?” the half-dragon posed.
The aspect of Lolth smiled. “Because you have no other choice.”
“Tiamat will be freed upon this plane soon enough!” the ghost bellowed. “And when she attains her full power, she will crush the Raven Queen and all those who stand beside her!”
“And you wish to be be her champion in that effort, do you not?” the priestess posed, stealing all of the commander’s bluster. “You are running out of time to achieve that, I’m afraid. To be rescued as opposed to lauded…What a shameful fate for such a mighty warrior.”
The half-dragon couldn’t deny her claim. The very fact that he’d been taken from his previous life before he could usher in Tiamat’s return weighed heavily upon him, the eternal knowledge that he’d failed his goddess a far worse punishment than even torment at the hands of the foul Goddess of Death.
“But more importantly,” the woman continued. “Let’s say I am only using you to achieve my ends. Is that so very different? I know you want to see the man’s demise as much as I or even my goddess does. He did strike the killing blow against you, did he not? Left the mark on you he promised, did he?”
Cyanwrath wasn’t sure to roar in defiance or growl in acknowledgment. He had indeed been beaten by the wretched adventurers he’d come to loathe with the entirety of his soul, particularly the man who had consumed his heart and conferred his spirit to the dreadful goddess of death herself. It was true, he would like nothing more than to see that man bound to the darkest of Lolth’s pits. Perhaps this woman could be of use to he and Tiamat after all.
“His death and damnation satisfy both our causes,” she added.
“And why do you seek him, priestess?” he asked in return. “This is no personal matter.”
“On the contrary,” she corrected. “Lolth’s will is always personal to me. Especially when it concerns the involvement of the Raven Queen. Her war against Corellon would have been easily won had that whore not interfered. But she is patient, as your goddess is. She will wait for the right time to strike, weakening the power of her foe little by little. One follower at a time.”
The cultist commander snorted again, thinking the vengeance of Lolth below his concern and irritated that he must even consider working with this pathetic drow. “Your goddess is petty indeed to concern herself with the interests of a goddess nearly forgotten.”
“Yet still powerful enough to hold sway over death itself,” the drow shot back. “Powerful enough that her follower had the might to slay you.”
The half dragon growled in warning, drawing a contented grin from the priestess.
“Wars are won and lost not always by armies, commander,” she elaborated. “But by the smallest things. A nail holds a horseshoe upon the stallion’s foot that the stallion may run and bear its rider and his message, that that message may reach the army’s general. And the general is then able to construct her winning strategy based off the message. It all started with the nail. Just a simple nail.”
“That’s what this man is to you then?” he asked. “A nail needing to be melted down?”
Priestess Saribel Hunette of house Hunette, long thought destroyed in Mezorberranzan during the Time of Troubles, pulled back her hood, her ruby eyes blazing with ominous conviction. “This man is the Raven Queen’s chosen. Lolth has claimed and condemned his soul for that. That is what he means to me. The favor of my goddess when I give her his heart on a plate.”
Cyanwrath smiled. “An image I much enjoy, priestess.”
“Good,” she purred in agreement. “Then tell me where he is.”
The half dragon could only shrug. “I know not where he has gone. He and his companions may be in pursuit of my fellows at any number of locations. Though, he has called upon my spirit for answers once before, somewhere in the wilds outside Greenest. He will call again, and when he does…” Cyanwrath licked his lips in anticipation of sealing Ushen Valenier’s fate.
“Do tell,” Saribel bade him, a wicked smile spreading across her own.
One of the sole survivors of House Hunette of Menzoberranzan, Saribel and the remnants of her family has survived in the Stenchstreets of the drow city for half a century, slowly rising in both influence and divine favor of Lolth. Originally destroyed by House Baenre, the present ruling house of the City of Spiders, the survivors have practiced their connection to Lolth in secret, waiting for the time to strike that would both enact their goddess’s will, and undermine the capability of House Baenre. As drow law dictates, any house attempting destruction of another must be absolutely thorough, for intrigue is the Spider Queen’s delight, but blatant destruction is to invite ruin.
Saribel was already a proficient and recognized priestess of Arach-Tinileth, the high temple of Lolth in Menzoberranzan. Shortly before her house was destroyed, she and her mother escaped to the Claw Rift, along with several others of their family. Safe from other drow but not from the denizens of the Underdark, she and her family honed a deadly craft of divinely inspired survival, learning to both heed Lolth’s call, but live off the land.
Upon rising to the Stenchstreets, she and the remaining members of her family were employed by Bregan D’aerthe, their survival skills and deception highly valued by the mercenary group. Since then, the remnants of House Hunette were granted access to the surface world, where they continue their service to the Spider Queen.
Saribel received her mission in a vision from the Goddess herself upon Lolth’s tentative alliance with Tiamat. Since then, she has pursued the Aspect of the Raven Queen, eager to deal whatever damage she may to the Goddess of Death in Lolth’s name.
Lolth still covets the properties of fate seized by the Raven Queen after the War of Winter, and it appears Saribel Hunette has been empowered to grant the desires of Lolth in both the mortal realm and the planes beyond.