Chronicles Of The Moonchild
Chapter 1 - by Dale W. Robbins (@laeaornya)
"Do you understand now why it is so important to find and... resolve the issues concerning this drow renegade, Sergeant?"
Sergeant Knox was the adventurers' liaison for the Neverwinter Guard and was thus one of the few men of his rank to have the direct ear of the city's Lord Protector, Dagult Neverember. He stood before the regal Waterdhavian noble within the Hall of Justice, stoic as always. It was not often that Neverember called upon Knox with such urgency, especially for something that could easily be resolved with one of Neverember's... other contacts. But Knox had faith that his Lord Protector had his reasons for this course of action.
Knox would dutifully serve Neverember, and thus Neverwinter, as he always did.
"I do, my Lord," Knox replied simply, showing no emotion.
Neverember settled back onto the throne upon which he sat, lacing his fingers in front of his chest. He sat upon a simple wooden throne, comparatively speaking. It was regal enough to pronounce his status within the city without being so extravagent as to be wasteful. This was important to Neverember. He had his detractors and the Nashers were certainly not the most powerful of them. Putting on airs of humility was important for his public image.
"See that it is done, then, my friend," Neverember said, smiling softly.
"At your leave, my Lord," Knox replied.
Knox nodded simply, turned, and strode out of the Hall of Justice. As he stepped down the wide steps onto the Hall of Justice's eastern courtyard, towards the canopy stall that could be technically referred to as his "office," a melodic female voice caught his attention.
"Got your tail reamed again, huh, fat man?"
Knox sighed and turned to the owner of the voice. Standing to one side, leaning her back against a nearby pillar, was a female drow warrior. Her bobbed white hair framed a rather attractive ebon-black face accented by brilliant violet eyes. Her chain-and-breastplate armor left little to the imagination... and the greatsword strapped to her back left little to the imagination of the consequences of anyone whose mind strayed too far in that direction.
"Selenae Darksword," Knox growled, shifting quickly to subdue the scowl that threatened to assault his face. "Actually, no, I did not. In fact, I have more work to assign... to an adventurer for whom I actually have respect."
"Ooooh! Burn!" Selenae laughed, kicking herself off of the pillar and striding seductively up to the large Neverwinter Guardsman. "That's why I like you, Knox. You give as good as you get."
"Having a thick skin is a necessary evil for my job," Knox agreed, shaking his head at Selenae's flirtatious antics. "But really, what I have now is a very delicate matter and requires an adventurer I can trust to handle it all seriousness and professionalism."
Selenae smile ruefully, looking down and shaking her head. "So, because I can't stop myself from hurling double entendres at your thick-bodied hotness, you think I'm not professional enough to handle the job?"
Knox took a deep breath. "That... is not the only reason. Selenae... As much as I've trusted past assignments to you and you have performed well beyond expectations... You are still an unknown quantity in many ways. And the possibility of conflict of interest is too great..."
Selenae considered Knox for a few moments. "The baddie's a drow, huh?"
Knox nodded, looking away, looking at anything except Selenae's piercing violet eyes... which seemed to be burning straight into his soul. "Her name is Kallista Shadowfist. An alleged priestess of Lolth. She's been recently reported as renewing efforts in Rothe Valley."
"So soon after I got done cleaning that place up," Selenae sighed. "Wait, did you just say Kallista Shadowfist?"
"I... did...," Knox replied carefully, considering Selenae with wary eyes.
"You've got your girl, Sergeant," Selenae growled, narrowing her eyes at the Neverwinter Guardsman. "With all of the seriousness and professionalism you need. Just point me in the right direction and yell 'Sic 'em, girl!' Shadowfist is as good as yours."
Knox rose a brow to that. "Personal vendetta?"
Selenae pressed her lips together as she considered Knox. "After a fashion..."
Knox shook his head. "I've been working this job long enough to know that I couldn't keep you from this now even if I told you no. I just want an objective person, a person not attached to this situation on a personal level, to go with you."
"Perfect!" Selenae smiled, flourishing her hands. "She doesn't even know anything about Shadowfist, so I'll just take..."
"Someone in addition to Laeaornya Soulprayer," Knox finished for the drow warrior.
"Dammit," Selenae growled under her breath.
"Don't get me wrong, Selenae," Knox continued. "I have all the respect in the world for your Sunite priestess companion. But you two are so tight that sometimes I wonder if you're really just two facets of the same person. Laea may not have a personal vendetta with Shadowfist like you do, but..."
"Yeah, I get what you mean," Selenae sighed.
"You're still at the Driftwood Tavern, right?" Knox asked, folding his arms.
"Yeah," Selenae replied, trying to look more appreciative than she actually felt.
"I'll send the other adventurer I'll hire for this mission your direction, hopefully by nightfall," Knox continued. "And don't worry. That person's job will be to make sure you don't make the mission too personal, not to stop you from doing your job."
Selenae nodded. "You're lucky I need the work, fat man. You realize this?"
"About as lucky as you are that I hold your skill in high enough esteem to let you take this mission," Knox smiled. "Now go and get some relaxation time in. With any luck, you'll be leaving in the morrow."
"Right," Selenae said, before turning to walk down the courtyard.
As Knox watched Selenae walk away, a soft smile crept across his face. "Gods speed to you, Selenae Darksword," he whispered to himself. "I know more about your vendetta than I've let on. May Torm's blessings go with you."
With that, Knox turned and proceeded on to his post.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Selenae strode into the Driftwood Tavern, one of the most well-known watering holes in the Protector's Enclave district of the City of Neverwinter. As the drow warrior entered the common room, her previously somber demeanor brightened considerably as her eyes met a sight.
A beautiful redheaded human in the soft pink regalia of a Sunite priestess rose from a chair at a nearby table and skipped over to Selenae. The Sunite threw her arms around Selenae and hugged her tightly.
"Well, hello to you too, gorgeous," Selenae laughed, patting the human's back. "PDA much."
"I'll give you PDA in about two moments," the human laughed, pulling back just enough to let her bright green eyes gaze into Selenae's violet eyes.
"Silly girl," Selenae laughed, placing a gentle finger on the human's lips. "Playtime later, I promise. Right now, I come bearing work news."
The human's eyes brightened even further. "Oh? That's great! What is it? Taking down an epic dragon? Slaying an infernal beholder? Taking the head of Valindra Shadowmantle herself?"
Selenae chuckled at that. "Nothing so glamorous, I'm afraid, love. Just cleaning up some more Lolth-tainted mess. But this time, the fat man wants to send a chaperone with us. Just in case."
The human's expression darkened considerably at that. "What?!? Because you're a drow? That racist piece of...."
"No, Laea, no," Selenae soothed, stroking the human's cheek. "It's nothing like that. I... I might have something of a personal grudge against our mark...."
Laeaornya Soulprayer's expression softened at that. "Are you going to be okay?"
Selenae sighed. "That'll depend on who our chaperone turns out to be."
Suddenly, the door to the inn flew open and a large, orc-blooded woman stormed into the room. She wore elaborate robes dyed in the colors of the Many-Arrows orc tribe. Several other adventurers in the room stood up, their hands on the hilts of their weapons. Selenae stepped back away from Laeaornya, causing the Sunite to blink in surprise. The orc-blooded woman scanned the room through angry eyes before finally speaking.
"I seek the one who calls herself Selenae Darksword," the orc-blooded woman growled loudly. "Where may I find her?"
"I would be Selenae Darksword," the drow warrior admitted, stepping forward. "What is your business with me, you ugly half-orc?"
The orc-blooded woman smiled wicked. "I'm ugly? Not half as ugly as you, you black-skinned freak of nature. You compensating for something with the size of that sword?"
"At least I'm proud of what I have, half-orc," Selenae replied, returning the wicked smile. "You've got to hide yours underneath layers of clothes and long hair. When was the last time you bathed, by the way. You smell like a rothe field at the height of Midsummer Festival."
"Well, you smell like a winery at the height of Midsummer Festival, elf-spawn," the orc-blooded woman laughed. "When was the last time you drank something that wasn't fermented?"
During the entire exchange, Laeaornya could only glance back and forth between Selenae and the orc-blooded woman. The other adventurers in the room had finally relaxed and sat back down, content in that the exchange was purely verbal... and good-natured.
"You've grown so much!" Selenae finally said, stepping back to admire the orc-blooded woman. "When did you stop being a starving waif in the middle of the Tower District? And how many men have you seduced with that body of yours now?"
The orc-blooded laughed merrily to that. "I stopped being a waif when you unloaded me onto that old wizard at the Moonstone Mask five winters ago. Something about having actual food to eat and all that. As far as seducing men... having you seen these fangs? I'm still a..."
"Um, Selenae?" Laeaornya suddenly piped in. "An old acquaintance?"
"Oh, yeah, I better make introductions before Laea gets jealous," Selenae jokingly whispered to the orc-blooded woman.
The orc-blooded woman could only try to suppress an amused look at that.
Selenae then turned to the Sunite. "Laea, love, let me introduce you to Helja Battleheart. I found her in the Tower District... under inconvenient circumstances... and she's like a daughter to me."
"By 'inconvenient circumstances,' she means that I was about to be dismembered by my orc-mommy for not being a big strong orc like the rest of the Many-Arrows tribe," Helja clarified.
"Helja is smart... maybe even smarter than me," Selenae added.
"Maybe?" Helja asked, raising a brow to the drow warrior.
"So I knew she needed the education that only a wizard could provide," Selenae continued, heedless of the interruption. "I knew this old crone of a halfling named Cassi something-or-another..."
"Cassi Goldweaver," Helja corrected.
"So I took Helja to her and petitioned for an apprenticeship," Selenae said.
"Which I won by virtue of the fact that Mistress Goldweaver couldn't find Selenae at the end of the night," Helja laughed.
"Anything to make your lot in life better, munchkin," Selenae grinned wickedly.
"I bet," Helja replied humorously.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Helja," Laeaornya smiled, extending a hand to the half-orc. "I'm Laeaornya Soulprayer, Selenae's partner on and off the field."
"So, you're Selly's latest conquest, huh?" Helja smiled, shaking the Sunite's hand.
"Helja!" Selenae gasped.
"Huh?" Laeaornya breathed, staring at the half-orc with wide eyes. She then turned to Selenae. "Selenae?"
"Uh...," Selenae muttered, shrinking away from the priestess.
"Oh, is this one a keeper?" Helja asked, suddenly aware of how the two women were reacting.
"Has been for the last three winters," Selenae hissed nervously through clenched teeth. "And I've been trying to clean up my act for as long."
"I apologize, then," Helja said, turning back to Laeaornya. "Back when I was still in Selly's care, she was quite the player. It actually makes me happy that she's finally found someone who can make her happy like you seem to be doing."
Laeaornya smiled sardonically at the half-orc. "Nice save. Selenae and I will probably be discussing that past in further detail later, but you're right. I do hope I make her as happy as she does me."
"Beyond a doubt," Selenae said firmly, the level of confidence in her voice quite apparent. "But, enough about me. How have you been doing, munchkin? What brings you to the Driftwood?"
"You do, actually," Helja laughed. "Some fool named Knox thought I'd be the perfect person to babysit you on your latest mission."
"And he doesn't know about...?"
"Nope," Helja replied. "I did react slightly when I heard your name, but I was able to blow it off as having heard of you by reputation. As far as he knows, we've never met until today."
Selenae smiled warmly. "You are so
"I love you too, drow-mommy," Helja said, rolling her eyes.
"And here you were in such a somber mood because you didn't know who we were going to be sent," Laeaornya chided Selenae.
"I know, I know," Selenae sighed, waving her hand as if to blow the issue off.
"Come, then," Laeaornya smiled, motioning to the two other women. "Let's all enjoy supper and a good night's sleep. If what Selenae tells me is true, we all have our work cut out for us in the morning."
"That's a great idea," Selenae agreed.
"I'm certainly not going to deny food," Helja laughed as she followed the two other women to the nearby table.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
A slender figure stepped outside the door of the Driftwood Tavern. She drew her dark gray cowl back to reveal a slender, pale blue face. Her beauty was marred by a scar that cut down her left eye, leaving the offending eye sightless. The moon elf's dark blue hair was done in dreadlocks tied neatly into a long tail behind head. Looking around, the moon elf sighed and stepped down off of the steps leading to the Tavern.
"Mistress Shadowfist will want to know of these developments," the moon elf muttered to herself before pulling the cowl back over her head and walking briskly down the street towards the nearest district gate.