Friday, 28 September 2012

The Drow of Xen'drik (part 1)

These posts are copies of the summary emails I write for our DnD group. The current mini-adventure is an Eberron tale, set in the jungles of Xen'drik, where the party are taking the roles of drow (and one dwarf). Whilst I take great effort to follow Eberron canon, there are undoubtedly bits where my story strays or contradicts stuff. I'm aware, this is my story, and we're not playing to create new canon, but to have fun. So, read on and enjoy!

Two Years Ago

A dream came to the minds of three prominent figures in three different tribes of the drow of Xen'drik: Xen'kar Gen'thac of the Sulatar drow; Ek'ann Torkak from the Umbragen; and, Curra Xar'cha who led the Vulkoori. Each dream showed a tower, through which a great threat to the drow would arrive. The three who shared the dream - known as "seekers" by the wise ones, priests, and other leaders of each tribe - quickly convinced their tribes to search out this threat, and deal with it before it became too great.

The City of Silver and Bone

It was believed that the dreams referenced Shae Tirias Tolai, an ancient and long-ruined fey-spyre lost deep within the jungles. The fey-spire had been the home of the drow's distant relatives, the eladrin. The spires would flutter between the feywild and the material planes, allowing the eladrin soldiers within to break forth and take what they needed, before vanishing for many years more. However, back in the Age of Giants, the spire had its last jaunt - besieged by the powerful forces of the giant nation at its peak, the spire fell, and all the eladrin were killed or taken captive. Since then, it has stood, empty and forgotten; a hollow shell, testimony to the power of the giants of old.
It was decided that the eladrin spire should be found once more. Now known as the "City of Silver and Bone", the mysterious location was sought after by many parties from each of the three main tribes, each wanting to win favour and renown for their families by making the discovery. But as often happens when folk wandered too long in the Xen'drik jungles, the parties slowly died off, or became too weak to continue alone. Some groups merged with other surviving hunters they came across, others vanished without a trace. Yet others dared return without success, and their humility will remain with their clans for generations to come.

The Hunting Parties

One of the Vulkoori parties was doubly blessed in their number - not only did they have one of the three seekers herself (Curra), but they also had a divine avatar of Vulkoor - the scorrow Ryltar. Membership into this party was sought after, but Curra and Ryltar had the last say, bringing in those they knew and had worked with before, such as the druid scout, D'Jhudi'it. After working together to scour the eastern coast of the continent, they picked up their strange dwarven companion, Kami (a long way removed from her home amongst the Lhazaar Principalities), on their way to the Marsh of Desolation. Their numbers were seven now, with the inclusion of the dwarf, almost half of what they had started with when they had set out from home three moons ago.

The Sulatar seeker, Xen'kar, did not join a search party, and instead ran the structured grid by grid search of the surrounding jungles from his library. He connected to each of his students elected to run the teams via camp fires. Through his powerful magic, he could reach out and give instructions to dozens of such teams throughout the jungle at once. The same ritual allowed him to hear reports and check on the progress of all those who would be his eyes and ears. And being hard-working, eager to please drow, they all wanted to fall into line. Because of this, when a campfire was missing, he knew something was wrong.

The night before the two parties met, Curra and her followers had seen great gouts of fire pouring into the night sky, threatening to take over the surrounding forests, and burn everything in their paths. Fearing another Argonnessen raiding party (it was the season for dragons to scour the forests), they watched and waited, everyone ready for attack or flight, depending on the outcome. But the forest didn't burn, and the silhouettes of dragons against the starry sky were not seen. What was seen were three drow bodies, their skin singed and cut, their clothing bloodied from battle. One did not live to see the rising sun, so great were her wounds, but the other two, who gave their names as Quayanorl and Bel'Tarayne, were able to tell of their deadly encounter.

The First Defeat

They were ten in number: four who were trying to win leadership; five who followed, well aware of their powers; and one who outclassed them all. Not enough to truly be feared, but just enough to be the clear leader...until he was taken down a peg. They had come across some ruins - giant in origin, as most ruins in Xen'drik were. Kas'asar declared that they should be searched, and led the exploration into their depths. She claimed to feel the power hidden within, power of the giants of old, power that would aid them on their mission, or at least give rise to their status in the tribe. What they found, however, was an enclave of giants. They, like all other giants throughout the land, lacked the power and magical abilities of their ancestors, but they had numbers on their side. Over two dozen of the creatures flooded out of the ruins, and half the drow were killed within minutes. The remainder fought back hard, but quickly realised that this was not a fight they could win - not this time, anyway. Thoughts turned to retreat, and another of their number, Brenna, held off three giants with her magical flames whilst allowing the few survivors to escape. Only three did, and now, they were only two.

That meeting was almost a week ago, and though Quayanorl and Bel'Tarayne had hoped to find remnants of their former group elsewhere in the forest, none of them had been seen since. The giants still moved around the ruins, making the search for survivors or captives most dangerous. There were mutterings within the group of the need to move on, and though 'Tarayne felt his heart twinge at the thought of leaving any trace of Brenna behind, he realised that by himself, he would not be able to avenge her, let alone have any hope of finding her again.

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