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Journey to the Old World
Occurs during chapters 12 13 14 15 20 21 22 23
In the year 1098, Ariel Val'Sarghress initiated a journey to the Old World to find her closest friend, Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune. She was joined by Vaelia, Rikshakar, Liriel, Melodia, Chirinide Val'Kyorl'solenurn, Shan'naal Kyorl'solenurn, and Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro in her quest.
Earlier that year, Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune had an empathetic overload that caused her to accidentally injure Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen and destroy the mind of one of her teachers, Sate'ja Vel'Sharen. With nowhere else to go, Tralyn the Clanless suggested Faen run away to the surface to start a new life. She did, leaving Ariel Val'Sarghress devastated at the loss of her best friend. With some encouraging words from Vaelia and a little help from Mel'arnach, Ariel began preparations to leave for the Overworld.
According to Val'Kyorl'solenurn prophecy, Ariel Val'Sarghress is to be an ally of the goddess in Chel'el'Sussoloth. Because of this, Chirinide Val'Kyorl'solenurn was given the holy duty of protecting her, the "Daughter of the Holy Eye." When Ariel was planning her trip to the surface, Chirinide was in a state of doubt about her mixed parentage and about the impurities her doctrine dictated she cleanse from the population. Shimi'lande encouraged Chirinide to follow Ariel up to the surface to answer her questions.
After departing from Machike'shikumo, Ariel had two goals: to find Faen and to complete a Val'Sarghress rite of passage. She had brought a map and tracker to follow her friend's aura, and had an idea of where to go from Tralyn's directions. Vaelia, Rikshakar, Liriel and Melodia were accompanying her as protectors and companions. Chirinide and Shan'naal were tagging along both to fulfill Chirinide's holy duty and to make a sacred pilgrimage to a Val'Kyorl'solenurn outpost on the surface. Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro followed the pack because of her desire to spend more time with Shan.
In the first day, the group made it to Dokkalfar Pass, and Ariel immediately sensed Faen's aura coming from Nagyescsed in the east rather than from the west as Tralyn had suggested Faen go. The group decided to sleep on it and set up camp for the night. Before retiring, Chirinide mediated on what she might discover. She called Ariel over and quickly realized that in the bright moonlight the drowolath girl looked like a dark elf, while she and both Shan looked very similar to light elves. Her realization of their respective races probably ancestry was hard for her to swallow, and she insisted that they make a detour to the Val'Kyorl'solenurn temple so that she could complete her pilgrimage.
They decided to put off these decisions until the morning. During the course of the night, Chirinide awoke from terrible visions about Rikshakar. Deciding that Ariel's safety was more important than anything else, she attempted to kill Rik while he slept. He caught her and woke the rest of the camp, prompting Ariel to demand that Chiri and Sham leave to complete their pilgrimage on their own time. Kyo'nne followed them, and the remainder of the party went back to sleep.
Rik'shakar instead stayed awake under pretense of keeping watch. While the others slept, he kidnapped Ariel and carried her out into the wastelands. He flew her up to a high cavern where he tried to rape her. Ariel struggled to fight back, and Rik'shakar insisted that she change her form into an adult so they could be married together in the wastes. Ariel reached out to her biogolem, which had just barely managed to follow her. She absorbed it and used it to take the form a strong half-dragon to overpower Rik. She mauled him and left him to bleed out in the cavern alone. She met up with Vaelia, Liriel and Melodia, and the group continued on their search for Faen.
Meanwhile, a group of Highland Raiders sent but Quill'yate to protect Ariel from afar began to aggressively track Ariel, assuming the chaos they found left behind at the campsite to be indicative of danger to the young Val'Sarghress heir.
Ariel's small group passed through a forest of dead trees, where Liriel began to act strange - providing stories of the old world that she shouldn't have been able to know and throwing up randomly. Liriel couldn't explain herself, and instead hoped that soon they would reach a town where she could have a beer to numb the sickness.
They continued through a small village where Ariel experienced rain for the first time. Vaelia recognized the signs of a plague outbreak, and she rushed the group away from the contaminated bodies. They made camp for the night in the hills outside the village. As they left this camp, they soon found themselves fighting a small group of armed halmes. Ariel fought them off using her mana arts but quickly tired from exhaustion. Liriel revealed that she could somehow understand their language. They had said that their king was providing tax exemption for any man who brought living elves or drow to the castle.
Order of Serenity
Meanwhile, Chirinide, Shan and Kyo'nne made their way to the temple of the Order of Serenity. Chiri and Shan held audience with Judiciator Lioshi, who they were shocked to find was a light elf. After meeting with him, they pair learned that the entire drowussu race had descended from the light elves, and that Chirinide was no more impure than any other ssu. They also came to find that the duties written by the goddess were not primarily concerned with purging evil, but with protecting the drow races so that they could one day return to the surface in peace. Astonished by what she came to find, but now at peace with her duties, Chirinide thanked the Judiciator for his time and spent the night within their temple.
She had a vivid vision that night of bloodshed and had a feeling she needed to rush back to Ariel's side. The group quickly made progress along the main road to Nagyescsed, passing through a trading outpost owned by the Val'Nal'sarkoth and Val'Illhar'dro clans. Kyo'nne spoke eagerly with the Illhar'dro managers to learn of the companies success in trading with the halmes native to the area and of the dangers posed by the Hermione to halme and drow alike. Kyo'nne graciously thanked the traders for the update before they continued on their journey.
Back on the road to Nagyescsed, it wasn't long before Chiri's group was attacked by mounted and armed halme soldiers as well. They were saved in time with help from Ariel and company, who had been travelling the same road. They reunited on good terms and finished the path to Nagyescsed together.
At Nagyescsed they found a halme castle that Faen's aura was clearly emanating from. Their first attempt at breaching the castle's walls came from Kyo'nne, who taught Vaelia and Ariel a few halme words she knew. Ariel shifted to look like a human child, and the two attempted to talk their way past the guards. The guards offered to let them pass in exchange for sexual favors, a request Vaelia angrily declined.
They barely had time to regroup and make a new plan before the Highland Raiders following Ariel began to attack the castle. Though the group had no idea what was happening, they made good use of the distraction to lower the gate and search the castle for Faen. Ariel found her friend within a dungeon along with several other drow and light elves. She freed them all and met with the Raiders that had caused the attack.
Meanwhile, Chirinide tracked the source of her visions. They lead her to an ornate room where the halme king was found bathing in the blood of the fae he had his men hunting, a ritual he presumed would grant him long life. She slew the king, and with the help of Shan'naal killed all of the nobles and guards presiding over the king's bath. Though Ariel was not present for this, the Highland Raiders of the group agreed that the king's defeat would qualify for Ariel's completion of the Val'Sarghress blood rite. She dipped her hair in his blood to prove herself a worthy warrior.
Liriel had began to wander off by herself and was also plagued by strange visions. By the time Ariel managed to find her, she was possessed by detailed memories of the Old World that she knew were not her own. The sight of the surface from the castle's balcony triggered a collapse of her mind, and the seed of Val'Shareess Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen that she had been unknowingly carrying within her took over her body completely. He hair turned deep purple and her skin changed to a dark elf's tone. When she saw Ariel, she immediately broke down crying as she became "Diva," a reincarnation of the Val'Sharess herself.
The Highland Raiders promised to escort Ariel and any of her companions and freed drow slaves back to the Underworld. Chirinide did not want to see the light elves become slaves in Chel, and instead promised to escort them to a light elf settlement one of the young girls, Freyja, promised to show her.
Ariel, Vaelia, Melodia, Kyo'nne and Liriel, who now requested to be called Diva, left with the Raiders to return to Chel'el'Sussoloth. Chirinide, Shan'naal, and Myou, a drowussu who was translating for the light elves, continued on to the light elf city, Vanaheimr.
Chiri and Shan protected the elves from slavers, hostile halmes, and the dangerous environment offered by the cold mountains. Weary from their voyage, they eventually made it to the outskirts of Vanaheimr. While camping in the surrounding forest, they were suddenly attacked by the trees themselves. Frey'ja was grabbed by a quick figure while Chiri was distracted with the animated branches, but Shan was able to stop the girl's captor. It turned out to be Frey'ja's brother, Freyr, who hoped to save her from the drow he assumed to be detaining her. However, Freyr was able to understand the language of the drow and learned of the good deeds they had performed to return his sister to safety. He lead them to the light elf city in exchange for this service.
Upon arrival, the light elves rescued from the castle were separated from Chiri, Shan, and Myou for cleaning. One of the rescued elves told Chirinide that the process reminded him of when new slaves are processed and became nervous. The drow retired for the night but were abruptly woken by assassins breaking down the door. Wearing only the thin nightclothes provided by their vanir hosts, they fled out onto the window ledge that lined the edge of the building. Through the next window, they could see the elves they brought from Nagyescsed slaughtered by more assassins. Burdened by their helplessness and sudden vision of their death, Chirinide almost passed out. She warned her companions of the waiting assassins, but the trees of the forest soon reached out to pull her from the ledge. Entangled in their grasp with nothing to protect herself with, she made a final desperate effort to pull a flame from the cinders of a nearby torch. She lit the forest ablaze, burning the trees and herself badly.
She was found injured in the woods by Freyr. He proved to be an ally and took her to Shan'naal and Myou. He also called an order to stop the assassins from pursuing the drow, but explained plainly that the elves Chirinide hoped to rescue were the dregs of the light elf society. Their arrival was akin to bringing lowlife commoners to the doors of an enemy clan in hopes that they would feed them. The group left quietly, and Freyr expressed hope that the nobles of his people would one day see reason and make peace with the drow.
After an arduous journey back, the three Val'Kyorl'solenrurn made it back to the Order of Serenity, where they found refuge to recuperate before returning the Chel'el'Sussoloth.
Ariel and Faen
Faen's return to the underworld and the experience of the voyage to the world above increased Ariel's confidence in her role as heir to the clan. Faen was ultimately allowed to stay at Ariel's side in the Val'Sarghress clan at the suggestion of Salan'dara Val'Sullisin'rune. Both girls grew together, and Faen managed to make an impressive recovery from the trauma she experienced in the Nagyescsed dungeons.
Ariel's blood rite was accepted, and she further cemented her worth as heir to the clan. Her relationship with Quain'tana grew stronger after she relayed her experiences to her.
Liriel told Ariel everything and confessed to being the reincarnation of Val'Sharess Diva'ratrika Val'Sharen. Ariel couldn't believe this sudden change, but agreed to start calling her Diva. The two became closer with Diva's newfound maturity and wisdom, and Diva went on to tutor Ariel, Faen, and Sil'lice's children Kau and Shala as Ariel's servant in the Val'Sarghress fortress.
What Kyo'nne saw on the surface had a serious impact on her worldview. She realized that the strife happening in Chel was only delaying all efforts to move back to their old home on the surface, and that the lack of drow responsibility up on the surface may eventually lead to it being made inhabitable for good. She became a successful singer and used her fame to promote peace, stability, and an effort to protect the colonies of the Overworld to prevent hostile forces from destroying them.
Chirinide and Shan'naal
The Kyorls returned with the sacred knowledge of their species' origins and more knowledge of the vanir culture than many of their elders would ever see. They came back with a renewed sense of faith and purpose, and vowed to protect and guide Ariel until she could fulfill her prophetic role.
This article reflects events up to Chapter 39.