Chapter 9 - Second Chances

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Second Chances
Moonless Age chapter
Postcard Chapter 9 - Second Chances.png
Main characters
Related locations
Related factions

In the prisons of the Val'Sarghress fortress, Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen finds an unlikely ally in Syphile Val'Sarghress.


Summary

Zala'ess declares Shinae to be Chrys'tel's protector twin.[1]

Protector Twins

Several years prior to the current events, Chrys'tel stood before her mother, informed that a commoner girl would now serve as her twin sister. Though Chrys'tel had attempted to object, Zala'ess over-ruled her young daughter, stating that the clan could not truly depend on mercenaries or slaves, as they would not know true loyalty. By becoming her twin and sharing her life and privileges, the girl would watch over Chrys'tel, supporting her and making her stronger.

To help convince her trueborn daughter, Zala'ess shared a story of the first protector twin. In the story, a young girl of the clan was born sickly and frail, likely to die before becoming an adult. Searching for a solution, the girl's mother returned with a young girl identical to her daughter, though with a gentle and compassionate mind. Though worried she would be replaced, the true daughter's fears were unfounded and she formed a deep bond with the girl, and they became twins in the minds of all. With the support of her new sister, the girl grew strong and healthy in both body and mind.

However, as the years passed, the girl had become selfish and greedy, desiring all of the attention that she and her twin shared. One day, she left her twin to die. Soon after, the illness of her youth returned, stronger than ever. The girl's mother could only watch as her trueborn daughter withered and grew ever weaker. Soon after, the girl died, regretting the fateful decision to abandon her twin.

As Zala'ess finished the story, she reiterated that, while they were not twins by blood or aura, the young girl would be Chrys'tel's faithful sister, helping her grow into a strong woman. As the young girl introduced herself as Shinae of no clan, Zala'ess proclaimed that from that day forth, she would be Shinae Vel'Sharen, twin sister of Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen.

Kiel'ndia coldly rejects Shinae's assertions.[2]

Confronting Shinae

Back in the present time, Kiel'ndia angrily confronts Shinae over her betrayal of Kyo'nne, having pushed her into the arms of the pursuing Templars.[3] While Shinae is quick to insist that Kyo'nne was treacherous and trying to replace Chrys'tel with the Sarghress girl rather than halt the fight, both Naal'suul and Kiel'ndia are quick to point out her own hypocrisy. While Shinae attempts to retort with an assertion that Kiel'nida ought to have attempted to avenge Mir'kiin, Kiel'ndia coldly dismisses any sense of duty or concern for his fate, instead noting that Kyo'nne was part of "their" group.

As a frustrated and wary Shinae turns to leave, Kiel'ndia demands to know where she is going. As Shinae simply replies "home", Kiel'ndia's anger quickly gives way to shock, noting that as a failed protector twin, returning to the Sharen is tantamount to suicide. Angered, Shinae lashes out with a brief blast of sorcery, forcing Naal'suul to intervene. Breaking down, Shinae admits she knows how hopeless her situation is; unable to confront grown Kyorl'solenurn or Sarghress soldiers and unwilling to live as a commoner again, she has no option but to return to Zala'ess and hope she is merciful.

Angrily, Kiel'ndia washes her hands of the matter and a dejected Shinae turns to leave without another word. Kiel'ndia herself soon departs to return to own clan, apologizing for being unable to allow Naal'suul to accompany her. As the three girls part ways, Naal'suul approaches a defaced statue of The Sharess. Bitterly, she notes that the old ways of the world are crumbling and the drow are now destroying themselves.[4]

Chrys'tel's attempt to kill Sil'lice fails miserably.[5]

Chrys'tel's Imprisonment

Back within the dungeons of the Sarghress Fortress, Chrys'tel is forced to confront the implications of her capture at the hands of a Sarghress child. Shamed by her own weakness and seeing no way to escape her confinement, Chrys'tel considers allowing her own seed to claim her, so that the resulting demon might break out of the cell to wreak havoc and vengeance. Quickly discarding the notion as worse than even death through a slow starvation, she arrives to a similarly dim conclusion regarding the chances of her mother negotiating for her freedom.[6]

The next day, Chrys'tel is forcibly dragged from her cells by a woman in ornate blue armor. To Chrys'tel's shock, the woman reveals herself as none other than her aunt; Sil'lice, third daughter of Eimpress Diva'ratrika. As Chrys'tel exclaims her purported death, Sil'lice mockingly rejects the notion as mere wishful thinking on the part of her sisters. Her response to her niece's accusations of betrayal and kinslaying are similarly mocked, as she points out that Chrys'tel was not present for the events of the Nidraa'chal War, nor had she ever actually seen her grandmother. As Sil'lice mocks the young Sharen further, Chrys'tel makes desperate bid to kill her "treacherous" aunt with her blood-fueled high sorcery. More amused than concerned, Sil'lice counters the attack readily with her own sorcery, leaving the young girl severely frostbitten for her trouble.

Briefly dragging Chrys'tel to a nearby room filled with instruments of torture and the bodies of her victims, Sil'lice notes that those given to her care by Quain'tana are normally expected to be tortured to death. Returning the now-terrified girl to her cell, Sil'lice opts to leave her confined for a moon to see the error of her ways, warning against the desperate release of her seed. Terrified and without hope, Chrys'tel is left unable to do anything but wait.

An Unlikely Rescue

Some time after, Chrys'tel's solitude is interrupted by the arrival of a fellow tainted woman. Syphile asks the young girl if rescuing her would be enough to bargain for her inclusion in the Vel'Sharen clan, to which Chrys'tel inwardly notes that such an reward would never even be considered, let alone given. Outwardly, she promises to do whatever she can to allow her new ally to join her clan.[7]

Satisfied, Syphile exchanges introductions with the young Vel and hands her a slave's garment to disguise her appearance. Now disowned and banished by Quain'tana, Syphile counts on her expected departure from the clan to allow the pair to simply walk out of the fortress uncontested. As they depart, the this belief is proven well-founded; though Syphile is aggressively ridiculed, none of the disgraced former Val's allies make any attempt to delay or halt the pair. As they exit the fortress, Chrys'tel observes the loose organization and modest construction of her captors, bitterly noting that it reflects just as poorly on her own clan for being unable to defeat such a poor rival.[8]


Characters

Main Characters

Portrait Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Chrys'tel is a young Vel of Sharen who was kidnapped by Ariel Val'Sarghress.
Portrait Shinae Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Shinae is Chrys'tel's protector twin. Failing to prevent Chrys' capture, she now must return home alone.
Portrait Syphile Val'Sarghress.png
A shamed and exiled Val of Sarghress, Syphile helps Chrys in her escape from the Sarghress fortress.



Supporting Characters

Portrait Zala'ess Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Zala'ess is Chrys'tel's mother and the de facto political leader of the Vel'Sharen clan.
Portrait Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress.png
Kiel is a friend of Chrys'tel and Shinae's that was present when Chrys' was kidnapped.
Portrait Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen.png
Naal is a friend of Chrys'tel and Shinae's that was present when Chrys' was kidnapped.
Portrait Sil'lice Val'Sharen.png
Sil'lice is a Val'Sharen noble who was branded a traitor for her actions during the Nidraa'chal war. She has since been in hiding with the Val'Sarghress.
Portrait Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen arc1.png
One of Sarv'swati's younger daughters, Nihi'liir is the girl who mercilessly greets Chrys'tel when she returns home.



Background Characters

Portrait Ariel Val'Sarghress arc1.png
The Sarghress girl who captured Chrys'tel.
Portrait Sabrror Vel'Sharen.png
Sabrror is Zala'ess' mate. He appears at her side when she retrieves Chrys'tel from the Vel'Sharen prison.
Portrait Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen.png
One of the five daughters of Diva'ratrika.
Portrait Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen.png
One of the five daughters of Diva'ratrika.
Portrait Nishi'kanta Vel'Sharen.png
One of the five daughters of Diva'ratrika.
Portrait Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen.png
Diva'ratrika is the Val'Sharess of Chel'el'Sussoloth.



Unsorted WIP

Portrait Kau'shala Val'Sharen.png
Kau'shala was a son and adjutant of Sil'lice, slain during the Nidraa'chal war just before Sil'lice's battle with Kalki.
Portrait Mahalek.png
Mahalek was a Sharen war-dragon serving during the Nidraa'chal War, responsible for the death of Kau'shala after being possessed by demons.





This article reflects events up to chapter 9.

Sources:

  1. Chapter 9, page 3
  2. Chapter 9, page 5
  3. Chapter 9, page 4
  4. Chapter 9, page 9
  5. Chapter 9, page 15
  6. Chapter 9, page 11
  7. Chapter 9, page 19
  8. Chapter 9, page 22