The dark elven city of Umru Zashrah was always a hive of activity. This occasion though saw the drow that lived here even more energized than usual. News had arrived from a number of the more prominent members of the upper class that the town of Dhesabro some two days travel time away in the underdark was reporting the arrival of strangers from the surface world. At first the reports were sporadic and not filled with much detail. Soon enough the information was becoming more and more elaborate. One of the strangers was one of the adventurers that had brought the drow the famous Aelerfyne Tapestry that now allows the dark elves to find their way to Havre d’Anges in the surface world. From there they are able to do as all elves do when their time among mortals draws to an end, board a mystical ship and sail away to the great unknowns far beyond this plane of existence.
While this would normally be a cause for celebration among the drow, and evidence suggested that the provincial folk of Dhesabro were prepared to welcome the strangers with open arms accordingly, those among the elite of the governing class in Umru Zashrah quickly realized that it was also a fortuitous coincidence. Dark elves were greatly motivated by revenge to accomplish the many deeds they are credited with. And in this case revenge had seemed far out of their reach. Lerumna the priestess knew how much High Priestess Chironsa of Umru Zashrah had longed to get her claws on the meddling surface dwellers that had helped send her sister Charon to a surface world prison. Lerumna had herself been in close magical communication with the priestesses in Dhesabro and had gleaned much about the large group of strangers that had shown up so unexpectedly in this corner of the underdark.
Lerumna made haste to give her mistress High Priestess Chironsa the details she had gathered. When she arrived at the personal altar where Chironsa spent much of her day in prayer, Lerumna found the High Priestess kneeling before the stone altar that bore the carving of their most esteemed deity. This representation was a more artistic rendering. It looked like a featureless goat’s head except that the eyes were perfectly spherical brown stones with sparkling red flakes that gleamed in the low light of the chamber. Outsiders always expected to see that the primary object of worship was Lolth, the spider-like demigoddess held in reverence by all dark elves. Lolth was still an important part of life in Umru Zashrah, make no mistake about that. But the primary force to be reckoned with was a more cunning and potentially dangerous god who was known by many names by the people of the underdark.
Chironsa held her position of supplication before the altar, but said without turning her head, “What is it, Lerumna?”
“The surface people are in Dhesabro, your holiness. One of them aided in the capture of your sister, Charon. Shall we make our move now?” Lerumna was trembling with the anticipation of drawing blood against these strange folk.
Chironsa shook her head slowly. “He who brings the darkness has already revealed this to me. But he has shined more light on the mysteries confronting us. One of the strangers is the creature sought by Drar’goroth and that fiendish Durzomon. The latter nightmare is on its way here now to take possession of this stranger. While my revenge against the surface dwellers that took my sister is foremost in my heart, we must not let anything befall the project so dear to the mind flayers. We are on the brink of a great breakthrough for our people if we can help the detestable illithid regain their property.”
The High Priestess didn’t move or speak for several moments while Lerumna stood by giving thought to what she was just told. Finally, Chironsa spoke again and said, “Tell those buffoons in Dhesabro to carry on as they will, and to send the strangers on to Umru Zashrah in such time as none among the strangers suspects a trap. I will go to the leaders of the great houses personally and relay the details as the keeper of secrets has dictated. Make haste, Lermuna. Do not fail your goddess and your god in this matter.”
Lerumna exited the chamber quickly and fairly ran to her own quarters to tell the priesthood in Dhesabro what to do. Chironsa waited until she was well along the hallway and the door had closed behind her before she spoke softly to the altar.
“Oh Betapsi, master of the shadows and bringer of sorrow, tell your humble slave what I must do next to appease your wrath and sate your appetite for blood!”
The eyes on the spartanly carved goat’s head began to glow with a golden red color. The magically created light that normally lit the room began to dim, and a coldness descended upon the chamber causing Chironsa to shiver reflexively. The dark elven High Priestess licked her lips in wicked glee as she anticipated the words soon to be hissed by her god.