Berg'inyon could hardly believe his ears. With a heart sinking fast he looked pleadingly at Matron Triel in panic. Men were not tolerated in the halls of Lloths temple and Priestess Guenthal was well known for her ill treatment of males in her care - even one as talented as the Elderboy Berg'inyon.
The young priestess' chanting was growing louder and more fervent as the meeting was concluding. The focus of all of Berg'inyon's new troubles was rocking back and forth, and beginning to smell of sweat and effort. A small flash of dull color caught Berg'inyon's eye as he turned ever so slightly to look at the young female.
Even with out the clerical powers granted by Lloth, Berg'inyon could see the flickering aura around the moaning and twitching priestess. Something that never should happen was happening before his eyes! Gasping he dropped to one knee as his resolve weakened at the sight of a dull red wave of ghostly spiders crawling en masse all over the pain wracked body of the priestess Katira. A covering several spiders deep were fighting, scuttling and driving to get to the body of Katira to sink their fangs deep into her flesh. As the scene became more violent, Katira began to chant louder - yet held fast in her clerical trance.
"Triel!, screeched Guenthal as Berg'inyon sank to one knee. "The male shall not see the this filth answer Lloths wrath! Lloth will punish us all."
The room was bathed in lightless darkness. So very dark not even the eyes of the Elderboy could fathom. Triel and Guenthal had disappeared completely, but to Berg'inyon's dismay the spectral spiders were still visible. Scuttling around the now invisible body of Katira. As if in unison all the spider's quit their attack and whirled on their dagger like legs to face the other Drow in the room. Standing on back legs they stood in an aggressive stance and bared long dripping fangs.
A skull hammering thud to the back of his head ended the display for Berg'inyon as he sank into the true darkness of unconciousness.
Guenthal raised her snake headed whip high over her head, the nine snake heads coming to life with the power and magic of a thousand years of Drow sorcerery as she prepared to end the Elderboy's life by sinking the fangs of her whip deep into the unconscious flesh of worthless male. In the globe of darkness it was even quite possible that her deadly stroke might find the flesh of the filthy listless creature that Triel had once again cursed her with!
"Dispel l' oloth ussta Gatedenar!", chanted Triel under her breath.
A bright flash of light accompanied the pain of Guenthal's arm numbing with the shock of her killing stroke meeting the bloody and blackened shaft of a heavy warhammer - flashing with the bright light of magic. The mere glimpse of the hammer weakenen Guenthals resolve to take the lives of the two young Drow.
Before Guenthal stood the stinky bulk of a Duergar warrior. The dull look of calm in his face as if he had fought so many deadly battles in his long life that this one was just a step along a long road leading from the city of Gloomhaven. Whipcord muscles were tight holding the long death dealing hammer between the Elderboy and Guenthal. A rictous smile broke the face of the pale thin skinned dwarf. The Duergar radiated an aura of confidence and the stagnant smell of death.
Katira interrupted the dangerous moment with a rasping question, "My Ladies, although I do not know your faces or know your desires I urge you to let loose your animosity in the name of the Spider Queen."
The wrath of Lloth was disappearing around the novice with each passing heartbeat. Already it was too faint for the untrained eye to see.
Guenthal let her whip fall slack at her side, "Lloths daewle mrigg ussta unboin, Lloths ssinssrine ph' ussta ehmtu", she muttered in response.
"As is should be Guenthal. As it should be.", asserted Triel. "I have changed my mind High Priestess. I do not think that you will represent the interests that I have in mind for House Baenre and Katira." "You hand is too quick to punish, when too much is at stake!"
"Gatedenar will take the novice to Dobluth Kyor. Elderboy Berg'inyon will accompany them along the way."
"Katira you are duty bound to drain Berg'inyon of all the information you might need to be successful in the dirty town of traitors."
"Mercenary. I charge you with in the boundries of our bargain to transport the novice to Dobluth Kyor, secretly and in haste. Once their you term as guardian is ended."
"In three days time you leave for the traitors town."
In a swirl of crimson and purple silk Matron Triel turned and parted the curtains of the tiny room as she left.
Guenthal, scowled around the room before casting a quick spell and disappeared after uttering a single word.
The room fell silent.
Katira felt drained and weak from her prayers. As always when she started the lineage chant and ended in Lloths prayers she had lost track of time and the material world around her. The Spider Queen had taken her once again. Sweat and pain were the reward for the experience. Even the cool embrace of the silk hood was denied her as it was roughly pulled from her head.
"Git yerself on yer feet lady Drow." "I'm not one fer trustin your elder Priestesses and donna wan to stay where we be known ." "That Spider bitch has let her feelings be felt too often this day."
With that Katira was yanked to her feet by the rough and callous hand of the Duergar she had head called, "Gatedenar". He was shorter than Katira by a head or two - yet held the attention of any onlooker by the impressive gravity of his his muscular build. His face was a furrow of concentration and thought - filthy and unwashed the little Duergar gave off the aura of a deadly foe.
'Your touch in unwanted master Duergar.", hissed Katira. "I'm fully capable of standing on my own."
Turning to the male Katira raised her chin and narrowed her eyes in his direction, "You must be Berg'inyon. Stand and put your fears away." "The Matron Mother has put her trust in this warrior. He will protect and guide us as he was, I am sure, well paid for." "Arise and lets be on our way, its dangerous to stay here I am told."
Katira smiled a thin forced smile at the unclean Duergar, as her hate for races other than the Drow well up in her throat.
"Let us leave this place."
The pay Gatedenar had received was generous. Probably too generous he thought. Luckily he had planned for a escape from the city of Menzobarranzan. Not many of his people came here and survived. Deep in his own thoughts he now planned to use that same escape plan to get the skinny priestess of the city of the Drow and back to the relative safety of Gloomhaven.
"Lass yer now my sponsor and buyer. We will be going to the slave pens to sell the small Svirfneblin that I drug here from the caves near mighty Gloomhaven."
"Me thinks no one will question the travel of a Female and her male toy skittering through the city with a known seller of slaves." "So get yer pointy nose in the air and get to falooting around like the Queen of the Streets."
Gatedenar chuckled as the novice of Lloth wheeled quickly and aimed a stinging slap at his face. "Xsa dos ulu l' blyn uoi'notan, zhaun dosst k'lar", she whispered as he blocked the feeble strike.
Berg'inyon already hated the priestess. In the days following their escape and trip through the maze of city streets to the slave pens, the lowly priestess had lorded over the Elderboy of House Baenre like he was a young man in early training. Not the head Boy of an entire house. Even the mercenary Duergar was chafing at her attempts to control the tiny group.
It was time to teach the bitch a bit of etiquette. Something that he had learned much of and considered himself a expert.
Surely a opportunity would arise in the coming days.
After the filthy Duergar made his way out of the great Drow city and into environs that he knew better.
Katira could feel the little rebellion growing between the dimwitted males. Confident of her ability to put down any minor insurrection by the pair, she continued to help guide the fumbling Gatedenar to the Slave Pens in a more efficient and less visible manner.
She could in later days force the duo to do her bidding of course. But as the trio walked through the Great City Katira decided to take a lighter hand in the affairs of the chafing males.
"Easier to let them think themselves in control than to force the issue and be delayed by their petty squabbles and illusions of power.", Katira thought to herself.
Katira's reverie was broken by the sounds of a loud disturbance reverberating from the nearby Slave Pens. In a world where sound sometimes echoed for great distances resulting in a quick death - this kind of uproar was unusual.
Putting a long languid hand on Berg'inyon's shoulder, Katira stopped the Elderboy from running ahead to look. An action that would certainly give away his disguise as a inferior and low ranking male. A toy should be walking eyes cast down three full steps behind his mistress.
Gatedenar however had already torn the old and battered warhammer from its straps and was hefting it between his meaty hands with mayhem in mind.
"Master Duergar, go ahead and see what the uproar is at the pens." Pausing, Katira added, "My male and I will await your return here."
With a unhappy grunt the armored warrior stumped ahead on thick powerful legs and rounded the open archway of the slave pens.
In just a few seconds he returned the way he left. The huge bloody warhammer swinging lightly from one hand, "It seems there is a human female of some worth being sold. I was unaware of the sale when I left my wares three days ago."
Gatedenar smiled a knowing smile, "There are at least 50 slavers and buyers bidding on a human lass. She is a beautiful piece and is demanding everyones attention." "There are at least six differing races in the pens, travelers from all over the realms." "Carts, pack animals and guards are spread over the common area." "A perfect situation for us to gather our supplies and leave the city!"
Follow!, cackled Gatedenar as he turned and quickly walked towards the open archway of the Slave Pens.
Berg'inyon stifled a momentary gasp as the trio rounded the towering archway to the pens. Standing above a crowd of Drow and scattered Duergar and Illthids stood a raven haired woman in torn and scanty attire. Cold blue eyes looked over the crowd in defiance as she was pushed and prodded around the marble slave's stage. The exotic nature of the woman made Berg'inyon's blood stir. So very different in every aspect than the Drow women that controlled his life.
A rough and calloused hand grasped Berg'inyon by the neck and pulled him further into the crowd as the trio passed to the far side of the pens.
Gatedenar gave quick choppy orders to a Troll of immense height and wicked demeanor. Within a moments time the troll gracefully trotted off the side pens and was beating the life out of a group of small Svirfneblin slaves. But that as all Berg'inyon noticed as he turned his attention back to the woman on the auction block.
"The bid is 2000 platinum 20 gold by the Master of the Spire, Muxxissinix!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
And was answered by a collective gasp from the crowd.
Berg'inyon couldt take his eyes off the woman. She stood like a Queen among paupers as her life was being sold for either torturous pleasure or painful death.
Katira was learning quickly from this Elderboy from House Baenre. She silently laughed as he dropped his well maintained veneer of civility and education to lust after the stinking and foul human slave up for auction. It seems that firm breasts and a sleek curving ass could drain a male of all good sense!
One could almost read the thoughts of Berg'inyon as he became more and more enthralled with the auction.
"Mistress Katira, my associate tells me we have lost half of our slaves to the travel death and malnurishment." "Tis not enuff numbers to keep our illusion up as we travel through the Gates of the Great City into the Underdark. We need to buy a few slaves of good health as cover." "I recommend we purchase the two Duergar slaves in the far pens."
"The bid is 2010 platinum by the Clan Doomshackle of Gloomhaven !", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
"Buy them quickly don't let them get to the auction, overbid if you must. Get one extra just in case we loose a Svirfneblin" Replied Katira as she tossed a small but heavy bag to Gatedenar.
Turning she gave a sly and un-noticed smile to Berg'inyon.
If only he could somehow steal away the slave for his own, thought Berg'inyon.
"The bid is 2050 platinum 20 gold by the Master of the Spire, Muxxissinix!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
Breaking his revrie, Katira dangled and long fingered hand over his shoulder and jingled a large cloth bag. The familiar sound of platinum rang in the Elderboys ears.
Katira whispered in his ear, "Chase your dreams Elderboy, we need slaves as a cover to leave our home for another!" "Purchase a trinket to make your travels more enjoyable."
Four Svirfneblin slaves followed Gatedenar hefting and curtained Paliquin. On the Duergars orders the slaves dropped to one knee and let the Paliquin rest on the ground. "Mistress our time is very very short. The auction of the human will end quickly as the Illithid tires of games it does not understand." "Enter the Paliquin and we will be away."
Turning the mercenary put hand to mouth and called, "Kragt!" over the crowd.
"My associate is out of reach, I will return in a moment. The Svirfneblin will obey your commands."
"The bid is 2200 platinum by the Elderboy of House Baenre!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
A hush fell over the crowd like a intake of breath, before it erupted in shouts of wonder.
"The bid is 2500 platinum 20 gold by the Master of the Spire, Muxxissinix!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
Katira tapped the nearest Svirfneblin slave on the shoulder and whispered in its tiny ear in common while point at the purple clade Illithid Muxxissinix.
"The bid is 2600 platinum by the Elderboy of House Baenre", shouted the slave seller over the crowd, visibly happy at the turn of auction events.
The crowd fell silent awaiting a counter bid from the strange Illithid.
Muxxissinix felt the tiny mind of the creature before it was within 10 steps of his own. It was tired and scared and leaking thoughts like an old earthen dam leaking water. It had a quality that was more suited to filling Muxxissinix's need to feed than anything else. However the thoughts of the Elderboy that was bidding against him was to relevant to ignore.
Muxxissinix willed the domination of the dirty little slave. Without effort the dam broke in the creatures mind. A flood of emotions that meant nothing to Muxxissinix washed over it. Gleaning thoughts from the emotions was easy as any trained and traveled Illthid could grab the latest thoughts from a dominated mind. Only three mattered.
The Drow had more money than Muxxissinix.
The Drow would make an attempt at assassinating Muxxissinix .
The Drow was unprotected by any spells, barriers or hidden guardians.
Muxxissinix willed his common speaking elven slave to bid once again on the human.
"The bid is 2700 platinum 20 gold by the Master of the Spire, Muxxissinix!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
Berg'inyon turned for a moment and smiled as Katira entered a beautifully adorned Paliquin.
"Maybe I have thought wrongly of the Priestess", thought Berg'inyon.
The Elderboy turned to the auction block again and shouted his counter bid.
"The bid is 2800 platinum by the Elderboy of House Baenre", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
Confident of a win, Berg'inyon turned and motioned quickly to the Illithid a conciliatory Drow sign.
A felt his world go electric white in a explosion of pain and anguish. Followed by a moment of blackness and long eternal sleep.
Muxxissinix's cyan colored blood flooded its face below its translucent skin as it willed the Svirfneblin one step closer. Circling its cranium with the powerful tentacles of his kind Muxxissinix sent tendrils of powerful thought into the slave as its muscular tentacles buried deep in the dying slaves brain. With a welcome crunch the slaves brain fed the Master of the Spires growing power.
"The bid is 3000 platinum 20 gold by the Master of the Spire, Muxxissinix!", shouted the slave seller over the crowd.
Muxxissinix willed the synapses of the Elderboy to fire massively and all at once.
With what little satisfaction that one of his race could feel, Muxxissinix watched the Drow male fall to the ground dead.
No attempt could be made on a citizen of Ixarkon with out swift and final retribution.
Gatedenar nearly paniced when the crowd started to move quickly away from its own center. Paniced auction participants were running in all directions from a central commotion. Removing the ties to his hammer, he removed it from his shoulders and heft it twice in his hands. The weight comforting in his hands.
To his left the Palaquin was hoisted in the air by three Snvirneblin and was moving slowly through the crowd towards the Slave Pen gates.
The Priestess had made a wise decision and would hopefull move just outside the gates and wait for the rest of the party.
"Kragt! Bring the Brothers! We leave at once, follow the Drow woman.", shouted Gatedenar to the lanky troll.
With a quick turn on a worn out boot heal, Gatedenar whirled on the crowd and searched for the danger at its center. The crowd had moves several feet away from what could only be the body of the House Baenre Elderboy.
Kragt came loping into view dragging several Duergar in a chain line behind him.
Pointing to the gates, Gatedenar motioned for Kragt to leave immediately. Taking position at the end of the line Gatedenar poked the last slave in the back with the head of his hammer and said. "faster brother, a dead drow in this city wont keep anyones attention long."
Under the cover of chaos, Katira urged her bearers to slow and wait Gatedenars approach. A new lesson learned about the weakness of males swirling around in her head like a rewarding daydream.
As Gatedenar and the Troll approached they quickly barked out orders to all the slaves. Palaquin lurching forward Katira left Menzobarranzan and headed for the surface city of Vhaerun.
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