Champions of Destia
Birth and Childhood
Born in the deep caverns and crevasses of the underdark, Nalfein was raised in the small underground outpost settlement of Szoberr. In the early years of his life, he was adopted into the worship of the spider queen and grew accustomed to the weight that came with such obedience; including the enslavement of surface dwellers. Nalfein was accustomed to dealing with slaves straight from birth, treating the unworthy and the heretical scum of those who dare to enter the darkness with distaste was common nature. Despite this, he still acknowledged them as beings, disloyal and disgusting beings, but living creatures with emotions nonetheless. This empathy would lead him to develop a broad knowledge of the world above, through hearing stories from captured human-folk or listening into interrogations.
Despite being discouraged a number of times, Nalfein remained interested in the world above, and developed a naïve but persistent curiosity for the surface-dwellers. Surely, he would think, that the ones who lived above have an equally rich and complex life similar to those who lived below. Nalfein never followed these thoughts, remaining loyal to both Lolth and his tribe, but they would always linger in the back of his mind.
Nalfein’s father, Zaknar, worked within the outpost as chief taskmaster and inquisitor, teaching his slaves of the greatness of Lolth through the fungus induced hallucinations common among Drow tribes. The horrific torture that the slaves went through was something that Zaknar would come to love, and would drill into his two children as something to enjoy as well. Nalfein’s older sister, Nyonet, refused the practises, claiming them to be futile. Nalfein however revelled in them, and from as early as ten would participate in the dark rituals in worship to Lolth. Nalfein, just like his father, developed an interest in the pleasures derived from pain. This sadistic side would bring him to gaining the favour of the Lolthian priesthood, as well as the slavers within the Drow community.
When he became of age, Nalfein worked as all Drow did, through the toil and hardships of others. This meant his indoctrination into slavery under the wing of his father. Nalfein underwent the initiation ceremonies, including partaking of the hallucinogenic fungus, and was eventually given the responsibility to command a herd of slaves. He was assigned a fairly simple group; a captured squad of seven dwarf soldiers, all of which were in their fifth year of work and were too weak to pose a threat. Nalfein didn’t find the responsibility too difficult, getting them to work was a simple case of beating the work rational into them. It was the rituals that Nalfein found hard; not because of pity, but because of jealousy. Nalfein, after his initial experience with the drug, had developed a taste for the mind-altering effects of the torturing fungi. He would steal supplies and join his assigned herd in partaking of the fungus, something which was frowned upon.
Reputation and Downfall
After three years of working as a taskmaster, Nalfein had developed a reputation. He was, without a doubt, the darkest and most sadistic Drow to be seen in Szoberr. The renown that he had constructed meant that no questions were asked when it came to the addiction Nalfein had developed, that was until his father died. After the death of Zaknar, caused by a collapsing tunnel, the newly instated chief taskmaster disliked the practises that Nalfein followed. At the age of 23, under the name of Lolth, Nalfein was removed as a taskmaster and was given one of the lowliest jobs within any Drow community; forager.
Nalfein had a troubled relationship with his sister from an early age; she had always been too cynical for his liking. Despite this, he had also always respected her intelligence; she saw the world as it was, in the most rational way possible. Nyonet worked as a forager and cave-hunter, not because of demotion, but because of choice. Nyonet preferred to be as far away from Szoberr as possible, a fact which Nalfein never understood the reasoning behind. He saw Szoberr as civilization and the rest as barren, darklands to be stalked only by cave beasts and heretics, something which he would have to deal with in the coming years after his demotion to that of a forager. Nalfein found it difficult to work as the slaves did, but luckily, his sister was there to teach him her ways.
Foraging was one of the only jobs to be done only by Drow, slaves were not to be trusted with collecting food, especially in a world where poisonous fungi could be confused as being safe. Nalfein did not flourish in the environment he had been thrust into, but he had always learned quickly, just like he had from his father. Under the guidance of his sister, Nalfein developed a knack for the underdark and quickly became proficient with the bow and dagger. Nalfein learned the way of the underdark through constant practise with his sister, this close bond helped to quell any arguments about Lolth they may have had in the past. Once his sister was comfortable in his presence, she spoke of her view on gods. Nalfein had always presumed Nyonet to be godless, but she spoke of a surface god, one of nature and wood forests; Melora. Eight years of working as a forager and cave-hunter had developed Nalfein into an accomplished ranger in the underdark, during which time he learned how to properly utilize weapons and armour, how to track beasts and how to produce alchemical salves and potions using plants and fluids found within the damp corners of the underdark.
Nalfein was becoming used to life as a cave-hunter, years of practise as well as guidance from his sister had developed him into a strong-willed hunter. During this time, Nalfein remained loyal to Lolth, praising her in the name of his kills, but his faith had been weakened slightly after his demotion and after spending time with his heretical sister. The comfort of his new profession would not last long however. Not long after Nalfein turned 32, Szoberr was attacked by a warband of tribal Kuo-Toas. The settlement, despite being prepared for an attack such as this, suffered greatly and was torn to pieces under the hands of the savage barbarians. Nalfein and Nyonet, along with many others from Szoberr and other nearby communities were captured as slaves. They were taken to one of the Kuo-Toa settlements known by the Drow as Kastaradha, in which they were imprisoned and tasked with building labours.
In the centre of Kastaradha is a light shaft stretching, what is believed to be, over four miles all the way to the surface. The Drow may be underdarkians, but many of them have experienced sunlight while exploring the upperdark, or at the very least been taught of sunlight’s existence. Kuo-Toas however, lack this education. At the base of the light shaft a pyramid was constructed, at the top of which sat a disc entirely made of gold which reflected the light all around the open cavern. The pyramid itself was being formed by the slaves who were captured in nearby civilizations, including that of Szoberr. Nalfein and Nyonet were both assigned to the construction of the pyramid and aided in hauling the large sections of stone which made up the pyramid’s dense structure.
Faith and Betrayal
Nalfein had been betrayed, he knew it from the moment the conch warhorns of the Kuo-Toas blew to warn of their arrival. Not by any mortal though, by Lolth. He knew her ways of betrayal and deception in the face of disloyalty, and he had been disloyal. Disloyal in fraternising with his godless sister, disloyal in his consumption of fungus meant for slave-beings, and disloyal in his acceptance of toil, in hindsight, Nalfein wondered why Lolth hadn’t taken action earlier. Ignoring the hundreds of others affected by this, Nalfein blindly chose to believe he was the sole purpose for the settlements destruction and following enslavement because of Lolth. He hated her for this, he expected it, but that did not lessen any blow dealt. The irony of the situation was befitting of someone as cruel as her.
As a slave, Nalfein struggled through hardship and toil for two years. Most slaves die before they enter their second year, especially under the rule of the savage Kuo-Toas, but Nalfein and his sister continued long after many of their kin had died. Nyonet despised staying in one place for too long and often made attempts to escape her captors, all of her attempts failed, and led to her punishment on many occasions. After the two years had passed, neither Nalfein nor Nyonet were the strong, capable hunters they once were. Eventually, her demise was met under the foot of an angry Kuo-Toa. Tired of her escape attempts the creature skewered her on its spear and displayed her body before her kin. This drove Nalfein mad, pushed beyond the edge by a mixture of grief and rage, he struck out against them. His punishment for this was to suffer under the whims of the hallucinogenic fungus he was once familiar with, something which he hoped never to return to.
The visions Nalfein was plunged into did not resemble reality at all. He realized shortly after taking them that the fungus was a much more potent mix he was once accustomed to. Nalfein saw horrors envelop before him, but ones that would call upon him a revelation. He saw the pyramid he worked tirelessly to build every day, which he had seen slowly rise from the mud, the beam of light blaring as bright as ever down upon it. From the source of the beam, a single line of silk fell slowly, a spider on the end of it. The Kuo-Toas charged towards the spider, flames spitting from their tongues. When the Kuo-Toas reached the crest, a bright explosion of blue light emanated from the core of the spider, obliterating the Kuo-Toas below. After the chaos subsided, Nalfein felt himself walking towards the arachnid. After a couple of short steps, he was at the feet of the creatures humongous legs. The beast leant down towards him and looked deep into the crevasses of his soul before plunging one of its mandibles into his heart. When it did so, the ceiling of the cavern opened up to reveal the sky and the sun above, with forests and oceans stretching outwards from the horizon to Nalfein’s feet.
Upon awakening in his cell, Nalfein found himself staring into the eight eyes of a spider, a niggling feeling of pain throughout his body. As the groggy aftermath of the drugs subsided Nalfein looked around and was hit by a sudden shock of horror. He was upside down, clinging to the ceiling above several dead Kuo-Toa, his spider companion watching him intensely. The wave of fear did not end there; his body had changed, warped completely to have eight legs layered in hair, a large abdomen on his back and eight eyes embedded into his head. He had become a spider. The spider in front of him appeared to be nothing he had seen before; spiders of the underdark are colourless and demonic, but this was vibrant and bright, it radiated a feeling of the surface. He followed the spider as it crawled away from him, immediately understanding how to control his new arachnid body. The creature led him to the shaft, dodging Kuo-Toa and Drow alike, and at its opening the spider stopped before turning and speaking in a way Nalfein could understand, “Climb”.