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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 1 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 0
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 3 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 3 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Viturhimin and Pana turned towards the direction of the voice, as Chawinda quickly leveled her bracers in the same direction. “Who’s there? Show yourself,” shouted the bodyguard. With her Darkvision, she could see that a doorway existed about eighty feet away.
A soft laugh echoed from the portal, as a figure stepped into the room, followed by a dozen armored warriors. They made little noise as they moved, their armor silenced using cloth wrappings. Silhouetted in the doorway as they entered, their outlines betrayed that they were Drow.
Welcome back, Avatar Viturhimin. Should you not be on your flying city?” The speaker stepped closer until Pana could see her. She was beautiful, with a complexion of onyx, her eyes garnet, her lips amethyst. Easily six foot, she was the tallest person in the room. Impossibly slender in her revealing dress of gold thread, she wore a necklace of g
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 1 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 0
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 2 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 49 part 2 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Pana and Chawinda stepped out of the coach’s doorway to a fantastic sight. An ornate entrance guarded by several Drow warriors and priestesses stood nearby, on a gigantic dome made of solid looking grey stone. A series of flying buttresses extended from the periphery of the great dome, but they went from ground level upwards to meet towers that were tilted towards the dome. The stone towers were carved like giant Drow warriors in armor holding their arms up as if supporting the buttresses. Above the entrance, there appeared to be a cluster of large bubble windows, two larger than the rest, emitting a dim red light. The effect of the whole was to look like a stylized Brobdingnagian spider.
All around the entrance were throngs of Drow from the various clans, all awaiting their turn to enter. The foggy overcast above was well lit in various rainbow hues, with red-orange predominating. This reflected enough ligh
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 49 part 3 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 0 5
Gemma by Yan 'Kern' Gagne :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 9 4
Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 1 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 1 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The sun had set in the west. The cumulus and stratus clouds at a lower altitude turned a deep grey, the ocean below now nearly black. The medium altitude altostratus were a deepening shade of mauve, while wispy cirrus above still shone silvery, increasingly turning ashen to the east.
Suddenly the top of a mass of clouds swirled and parted, as a dark metallic pole jutted up through the vortex, knifing its way through the night sky at tremendous speed. Following the mast, a large rectangular glassy enclosure came into view, a faint greenish light spilling out from the windows. Supporting the structure was a long black neck of stone, as the clouds continued to part way.
Vatishehir cleared the cloud layer, the magic paddle wheels having been stowed. The brick shaped remnants of the ship-city continued rising while picking up speed. Aboard, thousands of High Elves were busying themselves, preparing for combat. Only the
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 2 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 2 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Vatishehir had reached fifty thousand feet altitude and was cruising at just under the speed of sound. Mundhelm was able to reestablish contact with the capital, allowing a more complete exchange of information. The consul was finishing his report into the crystal set. “Therefore, considering that they departed with speed directly towards the east, I feared they were targeting the Ciulthann.
I see,” replied Slesk, the Grand Vizier (writer’s note: from chapter 38, q.v.). “Thank you for your timely notice, Serrasqer Bashal. We have Owl patrols out, I am told up to five hundred kilometers, and we have informed them to use their night vision and ears to detect any sign of the Quzayshehir. So far, we have not detected hide nor hair of them.
Intriguing, Saadrezam Bashal...have you heard from any other community? We have been monitoring th
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 3 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 3 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Vatishehir had indeed found the clear shaft of air above the city, and rammed the top of Quzayshehir. The bridge was instantly destroyed, the tower and all the tall buildings of the central district of the Skibbyen smashed nearly down to ground level. Inertia caused both vessels to lose altitude, drifting downwards towards the city below.
Mundhelm clapped his hand on his helmet bubble. “Skibsfoorer, lift away and bring the Skibbyen about! We must push the Quzayshehir over the sea before it crashes into Doushehir!
Serrasqer Bashal, we do not have the mass...
Do it, now!
Vatishehir slowly pulled away from the falling Quzayshehir, as sporadic magic spells rose up from the latter, ineffectively splashing against the former’s rocky lower hull. The brick-shaped vessel backed up, then descended to line up against the edge of the intact pie-shaped ship-ci
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 47 part 4 of 4
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 47 part 4 of 4 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The party, now comprised of Mundhelm, Slikkepind, Blaesende, Pana, Chawinda, Gemma, Haergrim, and a Band of the Pine fighter-mage, materialized in a rubble-strewn street near the central district of Quzayshehir. Sounds of fighting could be heard a block away, and the occasional flashes of spells lit up the night. There was a butcher shop, a shuttered wainwright, and several other businesses that looked like they had been abandoned for some time. There were no flowers adorning window ledges, and the one tree they could see was dead. A nasty looking centipede made a hissing sound as it disappeared into some rubble. It was too dark to see if any of the buildings had color to them.
Above them, the cylinder of clear sky yawned to the heavens, the clouds still swirling about the column. The full moon shone pallidly, but the six Lumina pools were no longer focusing the moonbeams, merely illuminating Doushehir below them.
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 1 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 46 part 1 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
Quzayshehir, Viturhimin’s flying ship-city, sped along at very high altitude to the southeast, crossing over Hannetzbirg. From the ground, it was barely visible, as the three-mile wide Skibbyen was magically enshrouded from normal sight. But travelling close to the the speed of sound, the sonic footprint was audible. Most who heard it didn’t realize what it was, some thinking it was going to rain. More noticeable was the vapor trail, caused by the friction between the mass of the Quzayshehir and the freezing cold air at that altitude. Even this was minimized by the Vindbrugers controlling the ship-city.
Aboard the Skibbyen, atop its tallest building, the consul stood in Flag Plot, watching over a glowing map of the countryside on a table. The map moved every so often, indicating the motion of the Quzayshehir. A black circle in the middle of the map represented the ship-city, with a red line extending f
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Literature
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 2 of 3
Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 46 part 2 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"
The party walked into the Serrasqer’s conference room. Only two large crystal balls remained on the table, the other two having fallen and been removed by servants. Amazingly, Yaegermaskine Two Seven Seven Kay, the Kolyarut Inevitable, still stood in the same place he was a day ago, apparently not having moved an inch.
“Seven! It’s good to see you’re okay!” shouted Pana as she walked through the double doors, waving at the machine-man. “You didn’t get hurt in the collision?”
“Hello Princess Pana von...Pana,” it said in its hollow-sounding voice. “The impact caused me to topple, but it will take more than two flying cities colliding to disable a Kolyarut.”
“Heh, can’t keep a good man down, eh?” laughed Chawinda, walking up to the tall golden statue-like being and patting him on a metallic arm.
The red skull-like head pivoted d
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Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 46 part 3 of 3 :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 1 0
Haergrim chibi by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 6 0 Chawinda by Yan 'Kern' Gagne (Drowtales) :iconbasileusioannis:BasileusIoannis 7 5

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Heartandbonebreaker gift 2 :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 9 8 Heartandbonebreaker gift 3 :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 21 6 Heartandbonebreaker gift 4 :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 33 17 Aliana x Meryon from a friend :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 26 4 Innocence by heartandbonebreaker :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 18 12 Adult Aliana by heartandbonebreaker :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 38 13 Meryon and Aliana (lineart) by Napsy :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 21 13 The Princess with her souls by Heartandbonebreaker :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 40 30 I drew you the Sun by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 10 13 Freddy by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 6 2 Hikaru by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 6 0 Manami by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 7 2 Aina by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 14 8 Sneak peak comic by Lolly-von-Tundemon :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 9 7 Lamia in my memory book (drawn by my sis) :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 12 7 Legbraced beauty (drawn by my sis) :iconaliana-chan:Aliana-chan 15 7

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by Yuuza

I'm fond of shades of grey, and agree that the preponderance of grey draws the viewer's eyes to the splashes of color in the girl's fac...


Oh my word, 'Bones' McCoy never looked so good! DeForest Kelley has a pretty unique look, his powerful eyebrows and that devilish twink...

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the two aspects I think that make this an outstanding picture are the color palette appearing to be all shades of green, and the dark f...

by Yowsie

very nice neon effects! :thumbsup:;) I love how the wolf's head kinda looms out of the night sky, with the glow emanating from his eyes and mouth...

Activity


03042017 - the watermelon is passed :faint: sweet Lolth's fuzzy butt, what started as one chapter months ago got bigger and bigger until I had two chapters' worth. I do sincerely hope you enjoy the encounter with the Drow. I strove to make my Drow unique, which ain't easy what with such prolific Drow subjects out there, like D&D Drow, the manifold books, and of course webcomics like Drowtales (which I highly recommend for its nearly 16-year-long production run and massively involved world, dynamic script, more characters than some small countries, and of course the awesome art). but BBRB is not a fanfic per se, so I had to roll my own. naturally, this is influenced by D&D insofar that it uses D&D races, rules, spell names, etc. with artistic license modifications to fit my story. due to the popularity of Drow, I seriously considered avoiding taking this trip into the vast underground realm. but it's like that departmental box of pizza that some kind soul paid for. diet, shmiet, it's FREE FOOOOOD! :chew: I hope you like it so far, and if you don't like Drow (what, really?), well, just pretend they're orcs. smexy orcs ;p

05042017 - alrighty. so Pana and Chawinda ended up getting sucked into Viturhimin's teleportation field, and they now find themselves where they didn't quite expect to be. some readers may wonder why Pana didn't say 'forget the guided tour, take us back yesterday!' it's actually a good thing they didn't, because by that time, Mundhelm and his party were no longer there, and the Quzayshehir is in no condition to re-board (it's busy falling for the ocean in pieces). in case you haven't figured it out yet, with the masks with round eyeholes and the black outfits, Viturhimin's Skibbyen is mostly crewed by Drow (the Vindbrugers aren't, but they're also in cahoots with Viturhimin). as Mundhelm explains, when he slammed the gateway to the Elemental Plane of Air shut, and the Vindbrugers still inside the mechanism didn't come out, it means they ended up on the other side. at least they won't suffocate (but food and water might prove problematic...poor Vindbrugers)

as I said earlier, there are so many Drow stories out there. so if you read them, and see familiar things, it is purely accidental, as I haven't read the Salvatore books. my knowledge of Drow come from D&D itself, Drowtales, Norse mythology and that Thor movie. I think anyone who's played the way-old module D3 The Vault of the Drow would be inspired by the fantastic cave-world of those Drow (albeit that was for 1st edition rules). I don't think those Drow used spiders as draft animals, but I could be wrong :shrug: Drowtales is surprisingly bereft of spiders, there is a small one which was a lap spider pet, and a slightly larger one that one Drowling wore like a backpack, but overall there are nearly zero spiders. those Drow also don't worship Lolth after all D&D references were retconned out. my Drow are more like the D&D version, but Lolth isn't a demon living on a plane of the Abyss. if anything, Lolth was a proto-elf who died and rose to godhead at the whim of the apparently one god (please don't draw parallels with real world religions, for God's sake :pray: )

another thing: why do my Drow royals have jumbo racks? :confused: Drow tend to be these wiry, lean things, so why the almost-comical hooterage? well, it is a matriarchal society, and I figure they closely associate their queens and the empress to motherhood. besides, they're a lot of fun (heh, eggplants...) ;) and fit in to the reproduction-obsessed Drow culture. for 46 chapters, we had only seen Chawinda and her near-twin Sialkot, and neither were buxom. they are built wiry and lean, which works for their rogue/assassin character classes. but by the time you're old enough to be a matriarch, I guess they get progressively bigger? I wouldn't ask a Drow about that, you might just get stabbed for your trouble...

speaking of stabbed, my belief is that Drow as a culture might lean evil, but not every Drow is that evil. you saw that in a compare and contrast in chapter 47 part 1 between Vijya Durandesh, who wanted to save the High Elf children, and her sister Radica, who thought children make a fine snack. some Drow did indeed go nuts due to the famine (as Radica might have), and welcomed eating intelligent meat. but others (like Vijya) find the practice abhorrent. it's like how some Drow like spiders, while the commoner Drow don't like them. just another aspect that makes it hard to stereotype them as a race

oh, and the last scene of chapter 49 part 3, heh. that little spider has a lot of personality for a minor role. maybe 'talking spider' will prove to be a major player, who knows. btw it's been years since I've read Charlotte's Web by E.B.White (nope, haven't seen the movie), the spider's dialogue is meant as a nod to that book. while not explicitly referenced, I also liked another old book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (the rats had an elevator...AN ELEVATOR...in their nest) :omg: 

will add more later. as always, thank you very much for reading my story! :worship:

John "Basileus Ioannis"

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Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 1 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"

Pana opened her eyes. She was lying on a stone floor, but not the same fitted stonework that she had been standing on. This floor appeared to be hewn out of solid rock. Where, am I? she wondered, as she realized she had blacked out when Viturhimin suddenly flashed with a bright light. And where is everybody else? She slowly lifted her head to look around. The Serrasqer, or the avatar as he called himself, was gone. The room was even darker than the hallway on the Quzayshehir. She swung her vision to her right. Chawinda lay there, face down, her arms outstretched as if she was about to shoot her bracer daggers. With some effort, the high priestess reached out with her armored hand, and shook her lover. “Hey, hey hun.”

The Drow’s head popped up, her garnet eyes wide. All of her muscles tensed up as she raised her arms to firing position. Seeing that her target was gone, she turned to face Pana. “Missy, what happened?”

“Looks like we might have teleported. I’m not sure if we’re on Quzayshehir anymore.”

Chawinda relaxed somewhat as she sat up. “Where’d he go? And anyone else make it?”

Pana pushed herself up to a seated position and replied, “I don’t know where Viturhimin went, and I don’t see anyone else.” She looked around, and noticed that where the wall met the floor, it was seamlessly curved. Likewise, the smooth wall met the slightly rough ceiling without a corner. The wall was about ten feet to her right. The rest of the room was shrouded in darkness. Judging by the way their voices echoed somewhat, the room must have been fairly large, but bereft of carpeting or furniture.

“Well, I suppose if he wanted to, he coulda killed us while we were out. What did he say just before that flash of light? Something about Lolth and the High Elf gods are one in the same?” Noticing where the high priestess was staring, the sneak also scanned the stonework, and she mumbled, “I’ve seen this architecture before. A long time ago.”

“Where?”

Chawinda sighed. “It’s Drow work.” She stood up, leaning against the wall with one hand. “If my senses haven’t failed me, I think we’re quite a distance underground. Mmm, I can feel the presence of Adamantine, there’s a smell to it, a taste. Might be a vein, might be something made with it.”

“Well let’s find out how to get back to the Skibbyen. Neither of us would be particularly welcome in a Drow holding, right?”

“Yeah. You, they might just enslave. They find out what clan I used to belong to, and, yeah.”

“What? They’d kill you? You’ve never told me much about your clan.”

“Not much more to tell. Civil wars were all too common, the empress thought our clan and our allies were becoming a threat, so we were made an example of. If it wasn’t for Sialkot...”

Pana remembered her tale. “You told me, how she disguised you as a commoner so you two could slip away from the Drow authorities. That must have been awful, losing your entire family, being exiled from the world you knew into a hostile surface world. So what was your clan called?”

Chawinda got a distant expression on her face, as she almost whispered, “House Pahnjahb.”

“Pahnjahb. But it’s been what, a hundred years or so since then? Surely things would have changed?”

“Oh, no way, missy. The Drow and the High Elves have been fighting off and on for more than eight thousand years, memory goes back a long way with us. So as far as we’re concerned, I’m just a trader from an Isht’vahlee subhouse, okay? They’re so prolific, and go all over the place, I don’t think even another Isht’vahlee would be able to know everyone in their clan.”

“Ishtavolley, gotcha. And me? I can pass as your slave?”

A deep voice echoed, startling both Pana and Chawinda. “Not without a slave collar, you will not.” They both whirled about, and finding the source of the voice, the Drow raised her bracers to attack. “You will not need weapons with me, young Drowling, I will not harm you.” Standing several feet away from the pair was Viturhimin, only his face and hands visible. He held up an open white palm, his eyes glowing like embers on his pallid features, but he did not come any closer.

“Serrasqer Viturhimin Bashal,” said the high priestess, her brows lowered in mistrust. “Why did you bring us here?”

“Admittedly, I did not design for you two to have been caught up in my departure. Now that you are here, perhaps it was for the better. Will you hear me out?”

The Drow did not lower her arms. “I’m all ears,” she said without a smile.

“Sir Viturhimin,” Pana said, looking sternly at the man. “Setting aside for the moment what you did to Vatishehir off the coast of Albi Aula, which could have doomed all aboard including yours truly, were it not for the quick thinking and foreseight of Sir Mundhelm and his crew...”

The pale elf interrupted, “I foresaw that Mundhelm would be able to forestall a total catastrophe. It was necessary for him to be delayed, unable to pursue us. But yes, let us discuss that later, in his presence.”

“You said some alarming things back on the Quzayshehir that run counter to common knowledge, that the Drow and High Elves were once one beings split by fell magic, and their gods are one in the same.”
“Yes. Regarding the Dokkalfar and the Lyosalfar, the Dark Elves and Light Elves, and their deities, I spoke truly. Their enmity was of Elf design, the pantheon a misconception of the truth.”

“You’ll forgive us if we don’t take the words of a mass murderer at face value,” growled Chawinda.

“Murderer?” said Viturhimin, raising an eyebrow as his eyes turned to the Drow. “In actions of war, we do not murder, we kill. You know that better than most, I presume. Are the Dokkalfar murderers for fighting back against the Lyosalfar who drove them underground?”

“Prevaricator,” hissed Chawinda, looking down her bracers with her narrowed eyes, baring her white teeth. “Quit using our races as an excuse for the crap you pulled.”

“Alright, you two. Let’s keep calm, our bickering isn’t going to solve anything.” Pana cast a ray of wisdom that a little over a month ago she might have had difficulty conjuring, while facing the escapees led by Rilthien and Sialkot. “I want to know the truth, Sir Viturhimin, to be able to make the right decisions.”

“And I wish to convince you of my veracity. Princess Pana, you should ask your deity for guidance.”

“My deity?”

“Yes, just bring forth your holy symbol, and commune with her. I shall wait.”

The high priestess stared at him, unable to read any emotion or ill will on his face, although she found his unnaturally incandescent eyes disturbing. She turned to Chawinda, who glanced back at her. “Alright,” the cleric finally said, drawing out her holy symbol by its thong.

“If he tries anything, I’m putting daggers in his glowing peepers,” said the Drow in reply, nodding.

As Viturhimin stood still expectantly, Pana got on her knees and went into her prayer trance. Her mind’s eye reached out, and she could see her hands, palms upraised in supplication. A scroll materialized, floating in her mind, as the familiar feminine holy voice said, “Believe.”

Pana opened her eyes. The spell was not in her memory as usual, but was cast upon her through her prayer. “Well, that’s new,” she mumbled, as she stood up and looked at the avatar. “I have been granted the power to Discern Lies. I am ready.”

Unphased, Viturhimin held out upturned palms, closed his eyes, and sighed.  “Place your hands upon mine, and I will impart knowledge unto you. You will know whether it be truth or fabrication.”

Chawinda twitched. “Hey, easy there, ‘avatar’.” But the man remained standing as still as a statue, waiting for the young lady to make the next move.

She hesitated, then said to her bodyguard, “It’s okay, hun, my deity told me to ‘believe’. I’ll be alright, I still have some of my buffs up from before.” The cleric slowly stepped forwards and placed her hands on top of his. But nothing untoward happened.

The Drow stepped aside a pace, maintaining her aim on the pale man’s face. I don’t trust him, but I trust you, missy. Be careful, she thought.

Pana also shut her eyes, and in her mind, a picture began to form like in her dream-like state she would enter during her prayer trances. Interesting. I can understand, that it’s a story about the formation of the humanoid races of the world. And somehow I know that it’s all true. Kinda reminds me of the shows on the crystal set in the stateroom on Vatishehir.


Near the outskirts of the destroyed city of Gyneyshehir, Band of the Pine fighter-mages were hiding amongst the trees and bushes, quietly observing. Even without vision aids, they could see the long columns of prisoners and wagons streaming out of the city gates. The lines coalesced to the north of the city, heading up the highway towards the capital. A couple miles up the road, the Drow had the slave columns turn off the path and head due west into a hilly plain. Nearby was what appeared to be a huge nostril, a cave entrance to the Drow realms.

The High Elf commandos used a portable crystal set to call in their observations, and waited. Within minutes, the cave entrance and nearly a half mile radius around it erupted in flames as strings of barrel-shaped fire bombs rained down from the night sky. High above, dozens of Rocs circled, ensuring the destruction of their target. The huge bonfire lit up the night sky, the clouds of smoke reflecting the orange firelight on the terrain around it. None could survive such a conflagration.

Yet, the long line of prisoners continued to head towards the flames unabated. The High Elf leader frowned. “They’re not even slowing down, something is not right.” She pulled out a spyglass to examine the row of oblivious captives. A closer look revealed that despite the sky being lit up by the flames, none of the slaves or their burdens cast a shadow on the ground. She muttered a curse, then said, “It’s a ruse, those are illusions.

The soldiers hastened back southwards to the other side of the ruined city, but too late. All they found were many, many footprints and wheel ruts in the dirt around the southern city gates that had been cleverly obscured using spell power. The Drow Fifth Army had broken camp and was gone. The commandos summoned the giant owls that loitered overhead. But even the birds’ keen eyes could not see any trace of the invaders or their captives. They had vanished right out from under their noses.


In Alfler’vashqenti, Grand Vizier Slesk was furious. “How? How could the best of the best allow an entire city’s worth of people and a Drow army to escape? And to be fooled by simple illusions?

They were crafty, Saadrezam Bashal,” said the image of the Band of the Pine commander in Slesk’s crystal set. “Their illusory columns stretched for at least ten kilometers, drawing us northwestwards, away from their true positions which were cloaked, both visually and audibly. This is no ordinary Dark Elf incursion, there is an intelligence at work beyond...

Enough,” bellowed the court official. “Find them. Fan out. I want those Nightskins and their captives found.” He waved his hand dismissively over the sphere, not waiting for a reply.

Gave you the slip, did they?” said a calm deep voice.

The grand vizier spun around to face the source of the words. “Veliaat Bashal. Yes, a minor setback, I assure you. They will not get away.

Rohrgrim smiled pleasantly, eyelids closed. “It would appear that they already have. The Band of the Pine are magnificent soldiers, able to defeat nearly any opponent on the field of battle. But they lack the millenia of experience in dealing with the Nightskins that the Constabulary have. Even before there was a High Porte army, the Constabulary’s predecessors maintained the peace.

Slesk’s eyes narrowed to slits in consternation. “You hold the, militia, in too high a regard, Veliaat Bashal. The times have changed, it is open warfare with the Nightskins. This was no simple raid, they have sacked Gyneyshehir. This is an army matter now.

On the contrary, I have received permission from the Ciulthann Ephendil to mobilize Constabulary Command, they are en route now. The Band of the Pine are to hand off the Gyneyshehir operation to them upon arrival.

Indeed? I work under the Ciulthann Ephendil, I have not been notified.

Rohrgrim waved an open hand towards the crystal set. “You are welcome to confirm with Eiliftgraen. I can only tell you, he was not pleased with your lack of success.” The royal heir nonchalantly dropped his arm and turned to leave.

The perceived insult was too much for Slesk to bear. Eyes ablaze with fury, his balled fists glowed with magic power as he spat out, “Rohrgrim.

The Veliaat stopped in his tracks. “Do not let emotion write promissory notes that your level of skill with the Art cannot honor.” As the grand vizier raised his arms to strike, the royal heir spun around, raising an opened hand. The glowing magic left Slesk’s hands and were sucked into Rohrgrim’s palm.

As if saved by the bell, a chime rang out from the crystal set. At first, neither elf moved, staring each other down. The tone came again, and the grand vizier whirled, swiping a hand over the sphere. “Yes?” he blurted, still upset.

A booming baritone voice nearly shook the walls and floor. “Slesk, I am departing for Doushehir. Rohrgrim and his Constabulary are to take over the Gyneyshehir situation. Recall the Band of the Pine, and defend the capital. That is all.” With that, the crystal set fell silent again.

The royal heir leaned in to the grand vizier’s face. “We have our orders. Listen, Slesk, I will overlook your indiscretion. With both the Ciulthann Ephendil and myself absent, Alfler’vashqenti will be vulnerable should the Nightskins have designs on the capital. Focus your energy on protecting the city. We are both counting on you. Do not let us down.” With that, Rohrgrim spun on his heels and left the room.

Slesk stood alone, breathing heavily, awash in mixed feelings. He knew that the Veliaat was right. But he could not reconcile the resentment he felt towards the royal heir, nor shake the suspicion that he went around his back to the Ciulthann. He sighed, letting the anger bleed away. “Alas, were I the heir.” He turned to his crystal ball to contact the commando leader with amended orders.
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 1 of 3
Pana and Chawinda awake to find themselves no longer in the corridor on the Quzayshehir. As the sneak tells her more about her childhood in the Drow underworld, they find that they are not alone. Meanwhile, Slesk's Band of the Pine find the Drow making off with the survivors of Gyneyshehir. Or do they? Slesk has a heart to heart with Haergrim's dad, Rohrgrim (yep, we finally get to meet him! :aww: )

mature filter for subjects that some readers may find ideologically sensitive (fantasy religious discussion)

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Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 2 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"

Confound it,” Mundhelm railed over the din of the Vindbruger plant, pounding a fist against the corridor wall. “Not only is he alive, he has now kidnapped two of our number. We will get them back. But we do not have the time now to even locate them, for every second we tarry, disaster looms ever closer.

Haergrim gritted his teeth, his hands splayed on the ground where Pana and Chawinda had stood. He knew that the Serrasqer was right, that time was running out. The ranger got up off the floor and turned to the young warpriest standing beside him. He said in her ear, “Do you have Dispel Magic memorized?”

Gemma’s brows were knitted, but she too realized that many lives were on the line. She nodded once in the affirmative, raising the holy symbol in her left hand. She turned to face the consul and the mage standing by the doorway. “I am ready,” she said, sniffling her nose as she stepped towards them.

The ranger stepped to the door and gripped its handle. Turning to the rest of the party, he shouted, “I will pull the door open. Spellcasters, stand by, and remember your sequence. Ready?

Mundhelm, Blaesende, Slikkepind, Fyrretrae the Band of the Pine mage, and Gemma all nodded, hands raised in front of them. Haergrim returned the nod in acknowledgement, then yanked on the handle. A rainbow of lights filled the corridor as spells were cast in rapid succession. As soon as the warpriest cast her spell, the glow faded, leaving only the dim purple lighting within the Vindbruger plant. The party readied their weapons and entered the deafening chamber.

A translucent elfin figure stood by the central column, studying a crystal set display. He looked up and appeared alarmed to see the party, unable to hear the spells going off due to the screaming wind. The noise was exacerbated by the fact that they were resisting the Vatishehir’s Vindbrugers, trying to keep the Quzayshehir centered over their target, the city below.

Since talking was out of the question, Mundhelm used hand gestures indicating to the Vindbruger to get down on the floor and surrender. Haergrim and Blaesende had their nocked arrows pointed at him, while Slikkepind and Gemma menaced him with their weapons. Fyrretrae stood behind Gemma, ready to cast a spell. The jig was up.

The chief engineer raised his open palms, yet not in surrender. A tremendous gust of wind blew the intruders against a bulkhead. Two arrows curved away in a crazy arc, striking the far corner of the room. The warpriest was knocked back into the mage, sending both sprawling against the wall. Only Slikkepind and Blaesende appeared unaffected by the sudden gale, as they both charged the ghostly elf. The Ghaele’s massive greatsword glowed as it ran the Vindbruger through, and the Bralani followed with his magic scimitar, decapitating him. As the enemy’s body fell, the Gust of Wind spell died with him.

Released from the torrent of air, Mundhelm ran up to the control column. He located several glowing buttons on a console, and mashed all of them with the heels of his closed hands. The pitch and volume of the screaming wind sound dropped, until the room fell into a welcome silence.

Haergrim was the first to speak. “The Vindbrugere?” he asked.

The consul said, “I shut down the portal to the Elemental Plane of Air. Since they have not come out of the column, they must have been drawn into the other plane. It could not be helped. Now, hurry, we must all get clear of the Skibbyen before it crashes into the sea.” As if to intensify the sense of urgency, Quzayshehir began to groan and shudder, listing gradually as its lift mechanism was disabled.

The party ran back out into the corridor and raced up the staircase two steps at a time. They prised open the secret door to the sewers, splashing into the shallow canal of foul-smelling water. They ran through the muck, reaching Haergrim’s glowing light sphere still under the Elfhole shaft which they had used to descend into the aqueduct. The ranger retrieved and cleaned off his Continual Light ball, then locking his fingers together, he formed a step to boost each party member up to reach the rungs overhead. Wiping his filth-covered hands on his buckskins, the ranger leapt up and scrambled up the rungs.

As Haergrim cleared the Elfhole, Mundhelm was concentrating on a Message spell to Fugle’rede. “Skibsfoorer, recall our forces. Enemy Vindbrugere are down. Are we going to clear Doushehir?

The captain’s reply came through. “Yes, Serrasqer Bashal, but just barely. The sink rate has increased now to two hundred and fifty meters per minute. Impact now in, six minutes.

That is not enough time. Tell ground commanders to teleport as many as they can back to the Vatishehir, or use Feather Fall if necessary. Contact Doushehir, see if they can help. Mundhelm out.” The consul turned to the party with knitted brows. “Six minutes to impact. We need more time, our troops will need to disengage.

I am ready to teleport us on your command, Serrasqer Bashal,” said Fyrretrae.

Get the rest of us out of here, I will remain with the ground troops,” replied Mundhelm.

Mundy, we can fly,” said Slikkepind, “we’re staying with you, we’ll get you out.

I have another task for you two. There will not be enough spellcasters with teleport capability for all the ground troops. I need you two to ferry as many as you can before impact. I intend for my boots to be the last aboard this Skibbyen. Now go.

Bro, come on. The hero sacrificing himself only works in movies,” said Blaesende.

Mundhelm got an exasperated expression on his face. “I am not sacrificing myself. Now how do you say it, ’Time is a-wasting’?” He made a shooing motion with his hands.

Okay, Mundy, we’ll be back for you,” said the Ghaele as she transformed into a floating sphere of pink light. The Bralani turned into a whirlwind, and the two Eladrin flew off towards the front lines.

Fyrretrae, see if you can locate some wounded, take them with you when you teleport Sheh’xahte’ Haergrim Ephendil and Princess Gemma to safety. May the gods be with you all.

The ranger gave a firm Elfin handshake to the consul. “Be well, Serrasqer Bashal.

Mundhelm gave a genuine smile. “Thank you, Sheh’xahte’ Ephendil, to you and your charge as well.” With that, the consul ran off towards his troops, still fighting Viturhimin’s minions nearby.

It didn’t take long for the remaining trio to find five wounded High Porte soldiers awaiting evacuation. In a flash, the party teleported away from the doomed Skibbyen.


Pana watched as the dream-like sequence played out in her mind. A shadowy figure, whom she understood to be a deity, had created three tribes of beings as it populated the new world. At first, they were all the same height, and relatively tall. But eventually one of the tribes became restless, for they wanted to live in the mountains, the hills, and the plains at the same time. They pleaded with the deity to allow them to live in all three places at once. Since it was physically impossible for any one being to do all three simultaneously, the deity came up with a solution. Each of the members of this tribe were split into three beings so that they could. But there was a side effect to what was otherwise a logical solution. Each of the three were now much shorter than they were as one (writer’s note: this might be where the modern concept of “conservation of mass” comes from). Thus evolved the major demihuman races, the proto-Dwarves in the mountains, the proto-Gnomes in the hills, and proto-Halflings in the grassy plains.

Chalking this up to experience, the deity refrained from splitting the other two tribes. One wanted to live wherever it went, to travel widely and see as much as they could. This somewhat scatter-brained tribe became the proto-Humans, free-ranging and living off the land, a jack of all trades but master of none. Wherever they traveled, they had to learn how to live from the others. This resulted in slower development of this tribe’s civilization compared to the more focused tribes, but they became prodigious learners with a worldly outlook, and would eventually catch up to the other tribes.

The remaining tribe wished to live in the vast forests. They discovered magic early on, using it to shape nature to their will without hurting it, making their homes out of large, still-living trees. This tribe became the proto-Elves, and they were so successful that they had time to develop the arts for their enjoyment and culture. Other tribes had to be happy with their environments, the proto-Elves made themselves happy by changing the environment to suit them.

But their contentment was not to remain, for the proto-Elves eventually began arguing amongst themselves. One faction, led by a wise priestess named Lolth, was gaining in popularity. Those opposed to Lolth’s teachings sought to stop her and the spread of her beliefs. As Lolth’s followers approached half the proto-Elven population in numbers, things were rapidly coming to a head.

A powerful wizard had uncovered the secret of how the deity split the beings. Misunderstanding the nature of this powerful magic, the mage sought to use it to segregate the Lolth followers from the rest of the proto-Elven population. This mortal playing god drew the attention of the deity, who cursed the procedure. Instead of only forcing the Lolth followers to be separated from the non-believers, it caused every elf to be split into two beings, one faithful to the priestess, one opposed. The resulting halves were now shorter than they used to be, and to make the point that they were like night and day, the Lolth followers’ skin turned midnight blue-black, their hair like the pale moonlight, while the non-believers’ skin became as light as day with contrasting hair.

If the deity intended this to remind each other that they are inseparable as day and night, the lesson was not learned, as an internecine conflict began almost immediately. The proto-Elves were now split into two hostile camps. The Lyosalfar, the Light Elves, hated their dusky mirror images more than ever, considered them an abomination, a corruption of Elfdom, and called them Nightskins. The Dokkalfar, the Dark Elves, became radicalized by the hostility the Light Elves held for them. They warred constantly, until fortunes turned against the Dark Elves when Lolth was slain, and they faced utter defeat.

This greatly distressed the deity, who loved all the tribes equally. Knowing that simply reverting the elves into one body would cause an identity crisis that would destroy the elves, the deity decided to take an unprecedented action, and inhabited the body of Lolth, turning her from a Dark Elf into a god. As an incarnation of the god, Lolth instructed the surviving Dark Elves to seek shelter underground to escape the Light Elves. But subterranean life proved very difficult, as there were hostile denizens living below. To make matters worse, finding areas with breathable air, potable water, and edible food was a constant challenge. Also, the presence of Adamantine, a slightly radioactive heavy metal, caused many to fall ill and die, or mutate over time.

Lolth tried her best to change the Dark Elves to adapt, eventually making them not only immune to the radiation, but thrive on it, giving them increased magical powers. Another mutation allowed them to see much farther in total darkness than the Light Elves, but this caused both the irises and the whites of their eyes to turn blood red, an insignificant cosmetic change. These transformations made them superior to their Dark Elf ancestors, and although many still called them as such, these enhanced followers of Lolth took up a new name from their dialect of Elvish, Drow.

The goddess knew that giant spiders, while a constant threat to the Dark Elves, would make excellent mounts, so made them her own to prevent them from preying upon her Drow. However, the narrow confines of the tunnels often made riding them impractical, thus she used her powers to fuse some of the best wounded warriors with the largest spiders, creating the Drow-spider hybrid, or Drider. Again, what should have been a practical solution ended up a failure, as the Drow never were as comfortable with spiders as she was. When the Driders had a penchant to go insane, they were shunned from Drow society and joined the manifold malevolent monsters found underground.

On the surface, the Light Elves swore to seal the Dark Elves in their tombs, and wherever the Drow showed themselves above ground, they hunted them down mercilessly. And yet, the underlying unrest that had spawned the Dark Elves remained, as the Light Elves worshipped a pantheon of gods. Slowly, those who wished to return to their proto-Elf ways and live deep within the forests split off, calling themselves Sylvan Elves, while the rest of the Light Elves dismissed them as Wood Elves. Another faction, followers of the god of water, had adapted themselves to live in the sea and became Aquatic Elves. Yet others preferred remote highlands to dwell, and as their skin and hair became pale, the Grey Elves were born. Another faction, who worshipped their ‘god of the sun’ and disliked the orthodoxy, decided to dwell south of the Barrier Wall in the wastelands beyond, where their complexions became bronzed, their hair taking on coppery hues, and they became Sun Elves. The remaining Light Elves became ethnocentric, considering themselves the maintainers of the race, and began calling themselves High Elves.

Pana opened her eyes. I understand now. One deity had created all the races, had created the world itself. The Elven gods, the Blackstonian gods, Gertze and Pfard and the Pentarchy, they were all one. Chawinda, Haergrim, Mundhelm, the Drow and the High Elves were indeed one, split by selfishness and a curse. She looked down at her hands as she picked them up from Viturhimin’s, and they were shaking. She slowly turned to her lover, who continued to aim her bracers at the avatar.

The bodyguard flicked her red eyes towards the cleric. “You alright, missy?”

“Yeah, hun, I’m fine.” Pana slowly walked towards Chawinda, and put her hands on her sable face. “You can put your arms down, he was telling the truth. I love you.”

“Da hells?” said the Drow incredulously, cocking one white eyebrow up. “I love you too, but are you sure you’re alright?”

“Never better,” said Pana, smiling. A tear ran down from one eye, left her chin and landed on her chest plate. “We have to stop this war between the races.”

“Sure, that sounds like a good idea,” said the sneak with a wry grin. “Did our ‘avatar’ give you delusions of grandeur or something? Shouldn’t we start small, like maybe getting da hells out of here first?”

“I have done no such thing, Drowling,” said Viturhimin. “It is a typical emotional reaction to having a great amount of truths revealed to them, truths that cannot be revealed by any but those who had been there.”

“Had been there?” said Pana, turning back to the avatar. “How old are you, Sir Viturhimin?”

“This body is no older than Mundhelm’s. But as you may have surmised, I was there. It is interesting that your first reaction after seeing the truth is to end this perennial war between the Dokkalfar and the Lyosalfar. We are of one heart in that matter.”

“I don’t think so, Sir Viturhimin. If so, then why did you kill so many people with your Skibbyen? Why are you helping the Drow defeat the High Elves?”

“I suspect you know why. Despite their prodigious reproduction, the Drow do not have the strength to match the surface dwellers. Without parity, the High Elves have nothing to gain from ending their hostilities with the Dark Elves. To effect a change in the status quo, the High Elves must be in a similar position the Drow are in, that is, facing extinction.”

“Extinction?” exclaimed both Pana and Chawinda. The bodyguard stammered, “What are you talking about? The Drow Empire is huge, with many clans of thousands.”

“After the Dark Elves adapted to their new environment and became Drow, the population eventually stabilized. But over half of those who had gone underground had perished. Once the underground cities were built, and food sources acquired, the population could grow again. Lolth encouraged this, and for that the surface dwellers mocked the Drow as immoral, and Lolth as a demon, encouraging evil behavior. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It took eight millenia, but the Drow had rebuilt their numbers to pre-exodus levels.

“That was until two events took place that changed their fortunes for the worse. The first occurred two centuries ago, when a famine wiped out much of subterranean food production, forcing the Drow to forage above ground, harried by the High Elves. This is when the despicable act of consuming the bodies of intelligent beings began. Crippled slaves were butchered, then even healthy ones. More slaves had to be acquired to replace those who were consumed. This proved barely sufficient to maintain the current population, growth was now out of the question. The Drow would not be able to match the High Elves in numbers, not without a renewed food supply.

“The second was less obvious at first. The empress, Mah’rany Dishani’matrika, was going insane. After seven hundred years of her iron-handed rule, where the population had reached its zenith, the food crisis took its toll on her. All the priestesses had prayed for food, but the underground supply never fully recovered from the famine. They found themselves using their spell power more and more just to create food to forestall the starvation that would come regardless. The male mages grew restless, blaming her lack of leadership to do the impossible. They colluded with several Houses to attempt to topple her. Several assassination attempts were only successful in making her more and more paranoid, and a century ago, she decided to make an example of one of the restive clans.”

“The Pahnjahb,” muttered Chawinda, looking distressed.

“Yes. Not only was the entire clan of four thousand souls put to the blade, they were consumed.”

“No. NO. The bitch, she had my clan EATEN?” The bodyguard shivered, her mouth hanging open. “I, I can’t believe that. That’s too terrible, even for Drow. Dammit, no.”

“Now you know the truth, Chawinda Pahnjahb. Even with such an act, it was but a momentary panacea, it could not forestall what was to come. Other races began to feel the impact of the empire’s predations, such as the Duergar and Svirfneblin. Open warfare broke out between the subterranean races in the wake of your departure from the Underworld. Things had to change, and soon, lest the race succumb to either war losses or starvation. I had to act quickly, if reconciliation was to be effected.”

Having recovered from the shock of the horrors that had been unfolded, Pana asked, “Sir Viturhimin, or should I address you as Avatar? The one god took your body over, like Lolth?”

“Not so. Lolth was elevated to godhead, becoming one with the deity. She is no longer a mortal. I am merely a vessel to interact with mortal beings. My powers as Avatar are not unlimited, or I would have resolved the situation already.”

Oh indeed?” said a voice that was husky yet feminine, with the distinctly scratchy sound of a Drow. She spoke with a powerful tone of one accustomed to command.
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 2 of 3
Mundhelm, Haergrim, Gemma and the others miss Pana and Chawinda, but have a job to do. Will they be able to get off the doomed Quzayshehir in time? Meanwhile, Viturhimin the avatar weaves the tale of the origin of the races, and how strife among the proto-elves over a high priestess' philosophy caused the Drow to be born, and the war between them and the High Elves began. We also find out what happened to Chawinda's clan after she left the underworld, just as an eavesdropper makes their presence known

mature filter for violence (one combat death, many more implied), harsh language, and ideologically sensitive (fantasy creationism)

back to chapter 48 part 1: basileusioannis.deviantart.com…
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Bad Blood Runs Black - chapter 48 part 3 of 3 by John "Basileus Ioannis"

Viturhimin and Pana turned towards the direction of the voice, as Chawinda quickly leveled her bracers in the same direction. “Who’s there? Show yourself,” shouted the bodyguard. With her Darkvision, she could see that a doorway existed about eighty feet away.

A soft laugh echoed from the portal, as a figure stepped into the room, followed by a dozen armored warriors. They made little noise as they moved, their armor silenced using cloth wrappings. Silhouetted in the doorway as they entered, their outlines betrayed that they were Drow.

Welcome back, Avatar Viturhimin. Should you not be on your flying city?” The speaker stepped closer until Pana could see her. She was beautiful, with a complexion of onyx, her eyes garnet, her lips amethyst. Easily six foot, she was the tallest person in the room. Impossibly slender in her revealing dress of gold thread, she wore a necklace of gaudily huge gemstones around her long neck. Atop her long white flowing mane of hair that nearly reached the floor was a tiara with more big, gleaming gems. She wore matching golden gauntlets on her otherwise bared arms, with another gem embedded on the back of each hand. Her eyes fell on Chawinda as she said, “I am Rahny Gaya’keshwaren, the queen of House Durandesh, and this is my clanhold. Who are you, and who is this Bander?” She waved her metalled hand at Pana, prompting the armored warriors to step forward and form a cordon between her and the strangers with their swords drawn.

The pale elf began, “Gaya’keshwaren, these are my guests, they are not enemies.

But the bodyguard interrupted him by suddenly dropping to her knees, finally lowering her arms and touching her open hands to the floor, bowing her head in a sign of respect. “Rahny Gaya’keshwaren,” exclaimed the sneak, facing the floor. “It has been too long since we had last met. I am Chawinda of House Pahnjahb.

“Pssst, I thought you said...” whispered Pana from one corner of her mouth, not taking her eyes off of the magnificent queen and her guards.

Gaya’keshwaren’s gaze returned to the prostrated sneak, her lips pursed. There was a pregnant pause, then the queen beamed, revealing her perfect white teeth. “Chawinda, of the Pahnjahb. Of course, you were but an adolescent, I remember you.” Her smile vanished as she continued, “So tragic, your clan...

Thank you, Your Majesty. Avatar Viturhimin just explained to me what happened.

The queen nodded, her eyes narrowed in sympathy. As she turned back to the cleric, her eyes widened again. In perfect Hannetzbirgisch, she said, “I heard you three speaking in Magariba’vahsy, the tongue of one of the western Bander tribes. Who are you?”

Pana ignored the queen’s referring to her people as ‘Bander’, or monkey. The human decided to impress the Drow sovereign by showing how civilized and cultivated ‘monkeys’ could be. She bowed her head and curtsied, as she replied, “Well met, Your Majesty. I am Pana von Jettingen, the Crown Princess of Hannetzbirg.”

The corners of Gaya’keshwaren’s lips curled upwards slightly. “Ah, and you are Chawinda’s mate?”

The human nearly fell over, her blue eyes bugged, as she exclaimed, “Oh wow, you heard too?” Even her bodyguard looked up, mouth agape, startled by the queen’s apparent omniscience.

The monarch’s laugh lilted throughout the room. “A lucky guess, my dear. But I can tell such things. Is that not so, Jayavanti?” she asked one of her guards, switching back to the Drow dialect. She waved one golden gauntlet downwards, and the armored warriors sheathed their swords. Turning back to Viturhimin, she said, “We were on our way to a clans gathering. Will not you and your ‘guests’ join us?

That might be educational, for our Magariba’vahsy Princess’ sake. However...

Oh yes, that.” She looked at the bodyguard, who was still on her hands and knees. “Rise, Chawinda.” The sneak stood up obediently. “I hereby adopt you as my daughter. Henceforth, among the people of the Underworld, you shall be known as, Rahjuk’mahry Punarvi Durandesh.

Punarvi. Reborn. I like it, Your Majesty, thank you,” said the sneak, bowing in gratitude. By making her a daughter of Durandesh, the queen had ensured that the last of the Pahnjahb would be safe from prosecution, as long as her original identity wasn’t discovered.

Gaya’keshwaren turned to the human cleric. “Now you. Ah, Pahna, was it? A Magariba’vahsy such as yourself, princess or not, would not be permitted within the imperial sanctum. So we will need to make some alterations.” The queen stepped forwards between her guards, and began casting a spell, her hands glowing as she waved them over the human.

“Ah, Your Majesty,” protested Pana, but the Drow continued heedlessly. The high priestess glowed all over, and her skin darkened precipitously until it was jet black. Her sable ears appeared to grow pointy and poked their way through her hair, which had faded in color to a stark white. Her golden armor remained its hue, but looked thinner and more form-fitting, and strange engravings appeared in intricate patterns on every piece. When the light subsided, she looked like a tall, powerfully-built Drow warrior.

“Mmm,” cooed Gaya’keshwaren, visibly pleased with her handiwork. “You make an impressively statuesque guard. I shall call you Vishakha, the unconquered. How is your skill with our tongue?”

Passable, Your Majesty,” Pana replied in the Drow dialect. “Chawinda, er, Punarvi, has taught me over the past three years.

Fine, Vishakha, then you shall act as Punarvi’s bodyguard. Stay by her side and you shant need many words.” The queen looked her ‘creation’ up and down, and asked, “You wear heavy armor and bear a great sword. Are you a warrior?

I am a warpriest, Majesty, a cleric.

Indeed? Our priestesses are rarely so kitted, as they tend to be nimble and dextrous. It would only get in the way, of their maneuvers as well as spellcasting.

Erm, yes, the Drow are more, agile, than humans on average. The heavy armor allows any cleric to fight without fear of their, ah, lack of grace,” said Pana, being as diplomatic as possible. Sheesh, barely knew her for five minutes, and she’s already baggin’ on me being clumsy?

The queen smiled sweetly, as if she could sense what the high priestess was thinking. “I am sure it is more a cultural difference, my dear. Very well, let us depart. Come.” She turned on her heels with relish, her dress and long mane of hair swishing gracefully. She extended one bent arm towards Viturhimin, who took it with his own. “Punarvi, Vishakha, stay close behind me.

Chawinda sidled up to Pana and whispered, “What a switch, eh? You, my bodyguard? That’s rich.” She snickered, and said in Drow, “‘Vishakha’, you’re looking good.

The disguised human blushed as she whispered back, “Do you like it, ‘Punarvi’? More than my normal looks?

The sneak made a raspberry. “I like you best the way you were, missy. But you gotta admit, in that armor, you make a scary Drow. Nobody’ll mess with ya, all you gotta do is glare at ‘em and growl.

Growl? Like this? Grrr. ” Pana bared her teeth in mock aggression. She had mixed feelings about being magically disguised without permission, by the queen or not.

Perfect,” replied Chawinda with a slightly nervous grin. She could sense that her lover wasn’t very enthused by the sudden change in her appearance. “Relax, it’s temporary.

As Pana looked at Gaya’keshwaren and Viturhimin walking in front of them, she couldn’t help but think about Haergrim, Gemma, and the others. I hope they got into the Vindbruger room and are getting off of Quzayshehir okay, and aren’t worrying too much about Chawinda and me. I wonder how far away we are now, and how soon we can get back to the Vatishehir.


Meanwhile, many miles away, Mundhelm’s High Elves were in crisis mode. Despite the efforts of the Vindbrugers on board the Vatishehir, Quzayshehir continued to dip towards the stern, the side furthest away from the other ship-city. This made the evacuation even more difficult, as the troops now had an uphill climb to get off of the sinking vessel.

The consul was frantically ordering his soldiers to break off contact and retreat, while simultaneously talking to the captain of his Skibbyen through his helmet. “Evacuate, evacuate now,” he yelled to his troops, then he touched his helmet bubble and continued without letup, “Fugle’rede, any word from Doushehir?

Serrasqer Bashal, they are on full alert, and are sending up anything that flies. They are also evacuating their citizens from the waterfront to higher ground.

How much time left?

There was a momentary pause. “Ah, two minutes, sir.

Right,” Mundhelm replied, then released his helmet. “Two minutes, and we are all dead Elves. Use smoke, disengage now.

Suddenly there was a crackling sound of stone grinding on stone. Quzayshehir broke free of Vatishehir, and began plummeting faster. The doomed ship-city slid down the rocky earthen side of the pushing vessel. Now it was impossible to walk off to safety.

As the ground shook beneath his feet, the consul shouted, “We are out of time. Get off this forsaken Skibbyen any way you can. Use Feather Fall or Fly spells, anything. Go.” In ones and twos, the soldiers began floating upwards from the fight, but far too many remained on the slanted battlefield.

Just when things looked bleak for the remaining High Elves, a gleaming white disc shaped object several hundred feet across flew overhead and stopped just above them. Holes opened up on its otherwise smooth bottom, and spellfire rained down on the enemy positions. After the volley, many lines were dropped from these openings to the friendly forces below.

Mundhelm recognized the platinum colored vessel above him. “The Ciulthann’s private Skibb, thank the gods. Hold fast upon those lines, everyone. We are leaving.” He grasped a nearby rope, and realized they were Climber vines, magically treated sentient plant fibers that can transport several hundred pounds up and down like a winch line. As a soldier trod upon the vine laying on the ground, it curled around their foot tightly. Then, when the tendril was grasped by a hand, the vine contracted upwards. These manifold vines quickly pulled the High Elves up into the flying disc, to safety.

The consul looked around to make sure that there were none left behind. Suddenly there was a flash of movement in the corner of his vision. He spun around just in time to deflect the onrushing enemy, who lashed at him with a short sword. The hostile was wearing black armor and clothing, and a black mask with round eyeholes covered their face. Mundhelm parried with his sword, slashed, and parried again. More black-clad enemy rushed towards the dangling vines. The consul kicked away his opponent, then looked up at the hovering vessel and waved them off. He would keep the enemy from getting to the Climber vines. As at least eight warriors closed upon him, he thought about Blaesende’s parting words.

--- to be continued ---
Bad Blood Runs Black chapter 48 part 3 of 3
Fortuitously, the eavesdropper turns out to be the one person who could help Chawinda and Pana fit in to the Drow realm. They decide to make a detour to see the Drow empress themselves. Meanwhile, things have gone from dangerous to critical aboard the falling Quzayshehir, as Mundhelm and the High Elves struggle to leave in the face of enemy opposition and things falling apart. Will they be able to get out in time?

back to chapter 48 part 2: basileusioannis.deviantart.com…
forward to chapter 49 part 1: basileusioannis.deviantart.com…
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03042017 - the watermelon is passed :faint: sweet Lolth's fuzzy butt, what started as one chapter months ago got bigger and bigger until I had two chapters' worth. I do sincerely hope you enjoy the encounter with the Drow. I strove to make my Drow unique, which ain't easy what with such prolific Drow subjects out there, like D&D Drow, the manifold books, and of course webcomics like Drowtales (which I highly recommend for its nearly 16-year-long production run and massively involved world, dynamic script, more characters than some small countries, and of course the awesome art). but BBRB is not a fanfic per se, so I had to roll my own. naturally, this is influenced by D&D insofar that it uses D&D races, rules, spell names, etc. with artistic license modifications to fit my story. due to the popularity of Drow, I seriously considered avoiding taking this trip into the vast underground realm. but it's like that departmental box of pizza that some kind soul paid for. diet, shmiet, it's FREE FOOOOOD! :chew: I hope you like it so far, and if you don't like Drow (what, really?), well, just pretend they're orcs. smexy orcs ;p

05042017 - alrighty. so Pana and Chawinda ended up getting sucked into Viturhimin's teleportation field, and they now find themselves where they didn't quite expect to be. some readers may wonder why Pana didn't say 'forget the guided tour, take us back yesterday!' it's actually a good thing they didn't, because by that time, Mundhelm and his party were no longer there, and the Quzayshehir is in no condition to re-board (it's busy falling for the ocean in pieces). in case you haven't figured it out yet, with the masks with round eyeholes and the black outfits, Viturhimin's Skibbyen is mostly crewed by Drow (the Vindbrugers aren't, but they're also in cahoots with Viturhimin). as Mundhelm explains, when he slammed the gateway to the Elemental Plane of Air shut, and the Vindbrugers still inside the mechanism didn't come out, it means they ended up on the other side. at least they won't suffocate (but food and water might prove problematic...poor Vindbrugers)

as I said earlier, there are so many Drow stories out there. so if you read them, and see familiar things, it is purely accidental, as I haven't read the Salvatore books. my knowledge of Drow come from D&D itself, Drowtales, Norse mythology and that Thor movie. I think anyone who's played the way-old module D3 The Vault of the Drow would be inspired by the fantastic cave-world of those Drow (albeit that was for 1st edition rules). I don't think those Drow used spiders as draft animals, but I could be wrong :shrug: Drowtales is surprisingly bereft of spiders, there is a small one which was a lap spider pet, and a slightly larger one that one Drowling wore like a backpack, but overall there are nearly zero spiders. those Drow also don't worship Lolth after all D&D references were retconned out. my Drow are more like the D&D version, but Lolth isn't a demon living on a plane of the Abyss. if anything, Lolth was a proto-elf who died and rose to godhead at the whim of the apparently one god (please don't draw parallels with real world religions, for God's sake :pray: )

another thing: why do my Drow royals have jumbo racks? :confused: Drow tend to be these wiry, lean things, so why the almost-comical hooterage? well, it is a matriarchal society, and I figure they closely associate their queens and the empress to motherhood. besides, they're a lot of fun (heh, eggplants...) ;) and fit in to the reproduction-obsessed Drow culture. for 46 chapters, we had only seen Chawinda and her near-twin Sialkot, and neither were buxom. they are built wiry and lean, which works for their rogue/assassin character classes. but by the time you're old enough to be a matriarch, I guess they get progressively bigger? I wouldn't ask a Drow about that, you might just get stabbed for your trouble...

speaking of stabbed, my belief is that Drow as a culture might lean evil, but not every Drow is that evil. you saw that in a compare and contrast in chapter 47 part 1 between Vijya Durandesh, who wanted to save the High Elf children, and her sister Radica, who thought children make a fine snack. some Drow did indeed go nuts due to the famine (as Radica might have), and welcomed eating intelligent meat. but others (like Vijya) find the practice abhorrent. it's like how some Drow like spiders, while the commoner Drow don't like them. just another aspect that makes it hard to stereotype them as a race

oh, and the last scene of chapter 49 part 3, heh. that little spider has a lot of personality for a minor role. maybe 'talking spider' will prove to be a major player, who knows. btw it's been years since I've read Charlotte's Web by E.B.White (nope, haven't seen the movie), the spider's dialogue is meant as a nod to that book. while not explicitly referenced, I also liked another old book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (the rats had an elevator...AN ELEVATOR...in their nest) :omg: 

will add more later. as always, thank you very much for reading my story! :worship:

John "Basileus Ioannis"

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:iconaliana-chan:
Aliana-chan Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017
*lurks on your profile o.o* Remember....*spooky voice*
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2017
Uwaaah, my profile is haunted! :omg: (sorry Aliana-chan! :pray: )
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:iconobelis:
Obelis Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Lately, I've been reading a lot of medieval fantasy novels - both in printed form and in dA - and noticed one tendency.

Every book happening in ancient times' universe includes at least one member of a royal family as important character.

But in stories about our times, presidents and politicians aren't often important characters. They're often even not mentioned.

So this made me think... could it be that we find stories about ancient times attractive mainly because we see them through the eyes of royalty? If there was a book about medieval times where no monarch was involved, maybe no one would want to read it? What do you think?
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2017
Ah, good points, and I agree. Action makes rattling good reading, and modern leaders tend to make decisions surrounded by staff and guards, and don't get to "lead from the front" as it were. Instead, the ones that make things happen (as opposed to ordering things to happen) tend to come from more humble backgrounds. Among officers in an army, a lieutenant leading a platoon could be in the thick of the fighting. A captain company commander might see the enemy he's fighting. By the time you get to the colonels on up, you really shouldn't be getting shot at if the lower echelons are doing their jobs (they might be observing from a vehicle like a helicopter, to be able to see what's happening, to make on-the-spot decisions). But when you consider the investment the country has made in such a high ranking officer, it's natural that they'd be averse to having them get hurt or killed

While the same may be true for much of history (especially where aged monarchs are involved), bluebloods had the freedom to take action where their serfs might not. Poorly equipped and trained, the underclass would literally be fodder to soften up an enemy, whereas the decisive cavalry charges were made by the well-to-do. Also, the sovereign of the land used to be expected to lead their army to battle, and nobody's gonna stop them from leading from the front (like say Alexander leading his Companion Cavalry). The Arthurian legends wouldn't be as fun if King Arthur never left Camelot, and in fact the drama of his fighting Mordred to the death was ingrained in period literature. Speaking of ol' Art, in the movie Excalibur, when the Knights of the Round Table first meet Launcelot, and each knight gets his butt whooped, only Arthur is left, and I think it was the wounded Sir Gawain that tells him "The King should not engage in single combat, I shall go again" but Arthur says no and goes out on the fateful duel (where he breaks Excalibur in the process of defeating Launcelot, who is impressed that he was bested and immediately agrees to become Arthur's champion)

Sure, there are stories of skilled underclass heroes like Ali Baba, but note that Sinbad was a rich guy and Odysseus was a king. It's harder for poor people to make good reading, because abject suffering tends to accompany their poverty. Heroic actions tend to be undertaken by those with the power and the means to make it good. In the old days, before the rise of the merchant class, that meant royalty. Nobles had the freedom to take decisive action, the poor folks tended to do what they were told (and often reluctantly). Which makes the better read? ;)
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anobouzu Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017
Thank you for the :+devwatch:! It looks like it'll be a huge undertaking but I'm always in the mood to read more stories, especially fantasy stories. I hope to read your story sometime soon! :wave: 
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017
Yay, :iconthxwatchplz: back! :w00t: Your pics are adorable :gallery: and I hope to read your manifold stories too! :library: :typerhappy:
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:iconnephle:
Nephle Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For the Llamas world dominaton! :evillaugh:

Thanks for the Llama! :wave:
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:iconbasileusioannis:
BasileusIoannis Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017
My pleasure, thanks for the llama exchange! :w00t: :iconllamaherdplz:
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:iconnephle:
Nephle Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For the fluffy Llamas! Chili Anime Emoji (Snuggy hug) [V2] 
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Tranquil-R Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the llama  
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