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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth

~ The golems speaks this time. How capital! ~

Respen is completely silent and makes no immediate response to her query. He contemplates two options in his mind, two derivations of the same plan: escape through the teleport circle or through the well opening. Two hours of daylight; this would go better if he had more time. They had not come back for him; for all he knew, they could be dead. Or engaged in battle. Or simply unable to return. He thinks a moment, given the silence in the cavern a chance to settle. He puts away the alchemy/oil bomb, undoing the package carefully. ~ No need for this. ~

If he can’t get past the golem, nothing else matters. If he does, it’s a matter of where. Back to Vega and the tower and try to find a way back to the group, or through the teleport circle back with the party, wherever they went, likely with the golem right behind him. He realizes that he needs time to sort this out. And he is supremely curious. He removes a scroll tube from his backpack and unfurls the parchment with the information he scribbled from Margull’s office regarding the Vampire volume. He recalls Sylvar’s tale about the drow mage and her assassin mate. Respen, opening the rope trick several inches, addresses the ‘voice-in-the-golem' inquisitively, as he might a Lord or Lady; politely with discretion, but nonetheless to the point.

“Your Grace, please pardon my impertinence, but you want me to come down from here? With all due respect, I’ll pass for the moment, but I’ll visit with you, if you’d like. I have no reason to be impolite. I’ve made a bit of a mess, and for that, I apologize for the offense.”
Respen smiles in spite of himself, uncharacteristically impish. “I’ve never spoken to someone through a golem before. It’s…uniquely unsettling, as I’m sure you can imagine. ”

“Might I inquire, at risk of offending you, your Grace, is your name ‘Clare’, and are you the exquisite work of art mentioned in the bard’s song? Serindak’s mate? ”

“The truth is that I came here under the pretense of seeking gold as bounty for the skulls or ears of undead simpletons. Macabre, isn’t it? I didn’t think of it; somebody else did. Your retainers have put away a few lustful and foolhardy adventurers who heeded the call. However, as it happens, my motivation is much more complex. Much more. I came here hoping to obtain information, not bounty. I have no deathwish; my interest is genuine.”

Respen pauses: “Your Grace, would you regale me about Symval? And Lynalla? And Jarren? And Ferrindar? And Xavier? Would you tell me what you know about the ‘True Vampires’, their whereabouts, and this tragic end to which most have come?”

Whatever she says about the true vampires or herself, or Serindak, if anything, he copies down on parchment.

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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Clare's Response

Respen said:
“I’ve never spoken to someone through a golem before. It’s…uniquely unsettling, as I’m sure you can imagine... Might I inquire, at risk of offending you, your Grace, is your name ‘Clare’, and are you the exquisite work of art mentioned in the bard’s song? Serindak’s mate? ”

For a refresher on Skorane and Clare, see these links:



The golem's blue eyes flicker momentarily, and you hear light laughter coming from the hollow, metallic construct: "Yes, I am Dame Clare, and Serindak is my childe, to be sure, but he has never been, and will never be, my mate. I have never known true love, because I have never met anyone I could completely trust. Every male I have ever trusted has betrayed me. But I thank them all for that, for they taught me that skill quite well, and since that time, I have mastered it even better than they. I do trust Serindak, because he is my childe, linked to me by the dark blood, his fate tied to mine, forever. But that's as far as my trust goes; for example, I'm quite certain that I can't trust you any further than I can throw you, my dear."

Respen said:
"...I have no death wish; my interest is genuine.”

The golem once again rings with hollow laughter. "I do not offer you death, my dear. I offer you LIFE. If you come with me now, I will breed you with my slave, Nelvranda; she's one of the comeliest examples of Drow kind that I have ever encountered. You would experience great pleasure with her, I'm certain of it. You might even fall in love with her, although I can tell you, THAT would be a mistake. She is a treacherous thing, unpredictable, I taught her too well in all things. But that's beside the point; I need your offspring, since I can no longer produce them. Offspring that I can nurture and train from infancy, to become my true family. You and Nelvranda will be mommy and daddy, and I'll be sweet Aunt Clare. And when they are of age, I will bestow upon all of you The Dark Gift, and we can explore eternity together, and take what we desire. Consider my offer carefully, I don't make such offers very often. But I know potential when I see it, and YOU are full of potential, my dear. I've got good instincts, and I always follow them. If you're smart, you will allow yourself to trust my instincts as well. What possible future could you have as an adventurer? Risking your life every day, and for what? A little gold, a little glory, and death at the hands of a Dragon? Or a Demon? Or a Lich in some dirty tomb? What kind of future is that?"

Respen said:
Respen pauses: “Your Grace, would you regale me about Symval? And Lynalla? And Jarren? And Ferrindar? And Xavier? Would you tell me what you know about the ‘True Vampires’, their whereabouts, and this tragic end to which most have come?”

The timbre of Clare's voice changes audibly, but again, laughter echoes from the hollow golem: "Bravo, sweet Respen, you've done your homework. You speak of The Old Ones, the ones of legend. But that's all they are, my dear, legends. I have never met an Old One, and believe me, I have tried; I have spent countless years scrying for them, sending minions out into your world to roam the dark corners, and the forgotten places. Among the Drow, there are legends of the Old Ones living somewhere within The Underdark, but I have scoured the darkness and found nothing. If the Old Ones do exist, their interests lie no longer within this world, for they have seemingly abandoned their connection to it. The term you use, 'True Vampire', shows that you already know much; in their arrogance, they gave themselves that name, for they believe themselves above the rest of us. To tell you the truth, I'd like to meet one of them, and put this moniker to the test. I'd like to see which of us is the 'True' Vampire. I wield a power beyond your reckoning, little mageling, and probably beyond their reckoning as well."

RESPEN: What do you do? What is your response (if any)?
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Aust Thale

Respen Entertains the Offer

~ Either she doesn't know, or she doesn't perceive me significant enough to answer the question. ~

"Your Grace, I must tell you, you are indeed an oak, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. And your offer is appreciated, if indeed your experience with deceit hasn't colored your perception of how I might perceive it as well. 'Appreciated'; I apologize for the cavalier use of the word. It is among the most life-changing offers I have ever received; forgive me if I am a little incredulous. You barely know me, even if you acquired my name and the fact that I am here. So if you are sincere, I'd continue my questions of you, and I will consider your offer carefully."

"Why did Lynalla kill her brethren? What might possess an immortal for that kind of treachery? I'm trying to understand it. How far, literally and figuratively, would she chase an immortal who survived? And where might that survivor chase her? And while on the subject, I am wondering why you aren't trying to find them? You have resources. You have reach. And you figured out who I was within minutes of my having arrived her. And you can't find these other immortals? Seems like an elf like me leaves small footprints. They make smaller?"

"I'll elaborate on why I ask. I want to know more about them. I ran across someone who appeared to be a window into these creatures. That person disappeared. All of a sudden, exploration as simply a utilitarian exercise gets a splash of cold water in the face. I have a riddle that requires solving. However, I am who I am. Exploring "the Dark Gift", as you refer to it, is indeed temping beyond measure. However, since truth is important to you, I know that I doubt you. I have no reasonable explanation why, except that I chafe at deception myself."

"I will think on your offer, your Grace, but I would prepare you. Although I like the night, I'm not inclined toward living my life underground, nor for that matter obeying orders without question. I would hope that you would release me to my own devices, chasing my shadow with the 'True Vampires'. And anything you wish to impart to assist me in that endeavor would certainly deserve an appropriate bargain."

"If you will not budge on your terms now, and I need to make my decision, then I will do so in the next several hours. I must ponder it for a little while. And yes, I will be contemplating a way out of this as well if I choose to decline it. Again, you value truth, correct?" "

Respen is sufficiently parts respect and caginess to give the drow-vampiress sufficient conversation. He considers her offer sincerely, as well as contemplates his options to get out of the predicament he is in.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
A Conversation With Dame Clare

Respen said:
"...You barely know me, even if you acquired my name and the fact that I am here."

Dame Clare laughs once more: "Hold that thought a moment... Number 7, please tell Kylaendra to come to the study, immediately. Now, where were we? Oh yes, I barely know you. In a way, you are correct, and yet, in another way of speaking, you are also so incredibly wrong. The Orb has told me your name, yes, and imparted, directly into my mind, your history, your importance, your possible destiny... The Orb sees more than just the surface. The only reason that you are not already dead is because The Orb knew who you were. Do you realize how seldom of an occurrence that is? All adventurers believe themselves as destined for greatness, but most of them meet their untimely demise at a young, tender age, or, they lose their stomach for it and retire to a life of mediocrity. Take Mallin Quickblade, for example; that's an impressive name for an adventurer, is it not? His father is a Knight Captain in Queen Mirian's army, did you know that? And his father trained him well; his boy Mallin is an excellent swordsman. But because of Mallin's arrogance, he is now my minion, bound to me by the dark blood, at my beck and call, a trained dog who attacks when I tell him to, and fetches things for me when I need them fetched. When I asked The Orb who Mallin was, do you know what it said? It said, 'no one of importance, my lady.' That's what The Orb does, my dear Respen. It tells me who I need to pay attention to. And right now, my attention is focused on you."

Respen said:
"...And you figured out who I was within minutes of my having arrived here. And you can't find these other immortals?

Dame Clare: "Listen to yourself, you arrogant little wretch. Here I am, being nice to you, telling you of my plans for your greatness, and you have the nerve to insult me? We really need to work on your courtly manners, my dear. If you had said such things to Serindak, he would have drained you into a lifeless husk and devoured your heart and brain. He has this thing about doing that, ever since he heard that The Old Ones did that to each other, to ensure that a given victim remained dead. Serindak has no sense of humor when it comes to manners, nor does he have the patience to think in terms of future consequences. I still have much to teach him. As to your question, the answer is simple, really. With age comes not only power, but wisdom. The Old Ones know how to hide their presence, both in the physical world, and in the Astral. They are able to hide themselves from items of detection, even ones as powerful as The Orb of Errinder. That doesn't mean that I won't find them, it simply means that I haven't found them YET."

Respen said:
"...I want to know more about them. I ran across someone who appeared to be a window into these creatures. That person disappeared. All of a sudden, exploration as simply a utilitarian exercise gets a splash of cold water in the face. I have a riddle that requires solving."

For the briefest of instants, Dame Clare's tone becomes serious, losing all hints of joviality: "You've met an Old One? Kylaendra, my pet. Say hello to Respen. Tell him how happy he's going to be, when he joins my cause. Respen, dear, please don't hurt little Kylaendra, she's no threat to you."

At this point, you hear Dame Clare casting a spell. I will make a Spellcraft check for you.

DC = 15 + Spell Level (9) = 24. Your check = 1d20+13 = 25 (Success)

Dame Clare has just cast Gate

Respen, to your amazement, a gateway of mystical energy, which is like a large window, suddenly appears inside the extra-dimensional space!

000 - Across Planes 001.jpg

On the other side of the window, you see a massive study, the room being about 75 x 75, or thereabouts; the room is dimly lit, with magical torches that burn green in color. The walls of the study are lined with bookshelves, and in the distance, at the other end of the room, you see a desk, which is piled high with books and writing implements. About 15 feet away, in the corner, there is a column-stand, which is about four and a half feet in height, atop which sits a black, glowing sphere about the size of a basketball.

Standing in the background, about 20 feet behind the gateway, you see a stunningly beautiful (CHA 25) female Drow, dressed in an elegant, regal-looking, yet revealing gown, her arms raised above her, as she concentrates on the spell. This can only be Dame Clare herself!


In the foreground, standing directly in front of the gateway, is another female Drow, who is quite beautiful in her own right (CHA 23) and wearing only minimal clothing, the types of under-garments that one would typically wear for sleeping. She wears a blank expression, her eyes glazed-over in the manner of someone who had indulged in too much Laudanum; it is obvious that she can see into your space, because her eyes meet yours, and she smiles becomingly, albeit a hollow, mirthless smile, the smile of someone who has been told to play nice.


Without further hesitation, Kylaendra steps through the gateway, into your space, saying, "Greetings, Respen. I am Kylaendra, and I'm going to be your hostess today." As she finishes saying this, two things happen: the gateway collapses, leaving her stranded here in the extra-dimensional space with you; then she begins to disrobe...

As this is happening, you hear a naughty chuckle from Clare, saying, "Remember, my dear, be nice to her."

000 - Rope Trick Map 001.jpg


W = Trans-dimensional window, through which you are talking to the Golem.
GC = Golem corpse. The reason it straddles two squares is because you have it positioned for quick ejection from this space.
R = Respen (Your square).
K = Kylaendra.

Squares are 5 feet, same as standard tactical grid. This is a 15 x 15 space.

RESPEN: What do you do? If you wish to prevent her from disrobing, or if you wish to interfere with her in any way, you'll need to roll initiative. Otherwise, you need to state your intentions.
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
A Walk on the Wild Side

The following took place over our lunch conversation today, where we went ahead and rolled out the next few scenes.
CONTENT WARNING: There's a gruesome scene near the end of this post. I did not enjoy writing it, but it had to be done, because it makes sense for Clare's alignment and worldview. Proceed at your own discretion.


Respen: 21

In a flash of inspiration, Respen realizes what must be going on. ~Her eyes are so glassy... This girl is being controlled somehow... She's been sent to perform a task... Her intentions CANNOT be amorous... Disrobing is a distraction, to shift my focus away from her true intent... but what? She is unarmed. What could she possibly.... SHE'S A BARD! SHE'S GOING TO FASCINATE ME!~

+500 XP to Respen for figuring that out! I didn't expect you to figure it out. Well done.

Respen quickly mutters the words to a Hypnotize spell, hoping to catch her before she can start singing.

Affecting roll: 6 HD = Success (Ky is 6 HD, therefore, she can be affected.)

Dispel Magic vs. Clare's Domination:
Clare's Caster Level = 12; DC = 11+12 = DC 23.
Respen's Caster Level Check = 1d20+8 = 12 (Fail.)

Kylaendra shrugs off Respen's attempt to Hypnotize her, and begins to sing a soft, lilting tune, which is soothing to the senses.

Perform Check = 1d20+15 = 22 (Which becomes the DC)
Respen's Will Save = 1d20+6 = 15 (+2 Elf Racial Bonus) = 17 (Fail.)
Respen is Fascinated.

As Kylaendra's song takes effect, Respen's countenance softens, and his body relaxes, and a soothing wave of calm washes over him.

Kylaendra says, "You should follow me now, back to my bed chamber, where we can be alone."

Will Save = 10 + Half of Bard's Level (3) + Cha Bonus (6) = DC 19.
Respen's Will Save = 1d20+6 = 15 (+2 Elf Racial Bonus) = 17 (Fail.)
Respen falls prey to Ky's Suggestion.
Duration = 1 hour per level (i.e., 6 hours) or until task is completed.

Respen smiles, saying, "Lead the way, my dear," as he gets up and begins to follow her.

Kylaendra climbs down the rope out of the extra-dimensional space, and the golem helps her to avoid stepping on the yellow pad. Respen follows suit, and the golem helps him as well.

Then Kylaendra turns to Respen and says, "Hold my hand." Respen takes her hand, and she says, "Shalistaurimon," before stepping onto the red pad, causing both her and Respen to teleport to Dame Clare's fortress.

Respen and Ky appear in Clare's laboratory, which is guarded currently by Number 7 and Number 11. Kylaendra leads Respen out of the lab, down a long corridor with many doors. The last door on the right-hand side is Ky's, and she opens it, allowing Respen to enter.

GM: Compelled task now complete.

Ky tells Respen to sit on the bed and wait for her, saying that she will return momentarily. Respen, who is no longer compelled, realizes that waiting might not be such a great idea. He intends to act.


Respen: 16

Not realizing that Respen intends to act, Ky opens the door.

GM: Movement Action.

Ky moves her normal movement rate down the hallway (30 ft.)

GM: Double move complete.

Respen steps out into the hallway, and casts Hypnotize once more.

Affecting roll: 4 HD = Fail (Ky is 6 HD, therefore, she cannot be affected.)

Kylaendra, not realizing what Respen has done, says to him, "I told you to wait!";

Respen ignores her however, and follows her down the hall. Ky leads Respen into Clare's study, where the Sorceress herself is waiting. Ky motions to Respen, saying simply, "Here he is."

Clare: "Have a seat, dear Respen."

Respen obeys, not having expected Clare to be so nearby.

Respen: "Look, I know how this works; I know that you are in control of Ky, and that you will soon control me as well, but why not do something novel, just for a change of pace? Why not talk to me first, and let me answer your questions of my own free will?"

Clare laughs mischievously, "Ok, let's try that. You said you'd met one of the Old Ones?"

Respen: "Yes, his name is Margull."

Clare: "The Lord Mayor of Dyvers? That makes sense. Yes, it makes perfect sense; most people think him to be a demon, or at least a Wizard; Indeed, I had thought him to be a Wizard at first, since I could not scry his location, or even sense his presence. But all of my spies told me that he looked so awkward and uncomfortable carrying that big staff of his around. And there was also the issue of his longevity. Now I know why. The staff is a disguise, a prop, designed to mislead the casual observer into thinking that his power comes from the Arcane. Being a Wizard is also convenient for explaining why he stays locked in his tower during the day. All of that studying and research to do, while the good light lasts."

Respen: "Margull comes out during the day. He does so quite often. He does not fear the sun like most of your kind."

Clare (Taken aback): "Oh, really? Then he truly is old. They say the Old Ones can walk in the sun, but I've never seen one of our kind who could actually pull it off."

Respen: "Perhaps he is not of your kind; remember, he considers himself a TRUE Vampire. Perhaps it is more than arrogance. Perhaps there are different SPECIES of Vampires, in the same way that there are many species of Elves. I don't know exactly WHAT Margull is, but I do know that he is powerful beyond reckoning. He has journals, notes, and other literature that I have seen snippets of. From what I can gather, he is not the only one of his kind, although their numbers are few."

Clare: "What literature? Where did you come by such things?"

Respen: "I've been in Margull's tower, inside his private abode. He has an entire library, and lab, just like you. He has a mirror and a globe as well, just as you do," he says, noting the presence of both things in Clare's study.

Will Save = 10 + Half the Vampire's HD (13) + Cha (7) = DC: 30.
Respen's Will Save = 1d20+8 = 22 (+2 Elf Racial Bonus) = 24 (Fail.)
Respen is Dominated.

Clare (Sensing that Respen's will has been crushed): "You belong to me, now."

Respen: "Yes, mistress."

Clare: "So, first things first, shall we? You owe me for the destruction of Number 14. Remove your shirt."

Respen removes his shirt, exposing his bare skin.

Clare picks up a cat-o-nine-tails from a nearby display stand; it is not the kind with metal spikes. Instead, it is the type made of rope, with large knots occurring at regular intervals. The hemp rope is a deep, crimson red, almost black, having soaked up untold amounts of blood over the long centuries of its use.

Clare: "This flail has been in my possession for over 300 years. I use it to bring order to chaos, discipline to the reckless. Stand still, and do not move until I am done."

Clare whips Respen savagely, beating him to within an inch of his life. She shows no emotion while doing so; it is plainly not done for pleasure. This is clearly a business transaction. A repair bill for damaged goods. Nothing more. Clare carries out the beating with cold, calculated efficiency.

New Saving Throw.
Respen's Will Save = 1d20+8 = 22 (+2 Elf Racial Bonus) = 24 (+2 For Infliction of Harm) = 26 (Fail.)
Respen remains Dominated, and endures the beating.

When she is finished, Clare summons Kylaendra, and commands her to heal Respen's wounds. Using her Bardic powers, it takes Ky 2 whole days to accomplish this.

GM: Even after being completely healed, you will always have deep scars on your back. Make a note of this on your character record.

After Respen is fully healed, Clare summons him to her. "You shall spend the next four days with Nelvranda. She is anxious to meet you. You will mate with her as often as she desires it, and when those four days have elapsed, I shall teleport you to Dyvers, where you will enter Margull's tower, take the books and notes you mentioned, and return them here, to me. Is that understood?"

Respen: "Yes, mistress."

Kylaendra leads Respen to another bed chamber; waiting for him is Nelvranda, a comely Drow female (CHA 21) clad much the way that Ky is, that is to say, scantily.


It does not take long for Respen to discover Clare's insidious methodology; Respen: You are Dominated, therefore, you do not hesitate to couple with her; during the four days you are with her, it becomes obvious to you that Nelvranda has not been Dominated; she has been conditioned.

As a Wizard, you understand the effects of Dominate Person; it forces obedience, but the victim remembers the force, retaining their sense of self and personality, and can harbor resentment and loathing toward the user. Nelvranda, however, is happy and content, and thinks the world of Clare. She goes on and on about how great Clare is, and about how much she admires her, and how she can't wait to bear children for Clare to raise and train. You cannot believe that someone who has been enslaved like this would ever be so compliant, until you come to a shocking realization:

Clare has been using Kylaendra's Bardic powers to condition Nelvranda, using Suggestion on her every day (for who knows how long?) to implant the idea of Clare's benevolence within her head, in order to make Nelvranda compliant, and even somewhat complacent. But to what end? You can't be sure.

HOWEVER, the thought occurs to you that Nelvranda might be a good source of information, since she does not feel ill-at-ease in this environment. After all, you have four days to complete your task, which requires a tremendous amount of intimacy. Therefore, talking and asking questions during these proceedings is a matter of course.

GM: You need to come up with a list of any questions you want to ask of her, and post them here.
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
GM: NOTE: You met Clare in her lair on Patchwall 16, CY 963. It took 2 days to heal after the scourging. You will stay with Nelvranda for 4 days. Thus, it will be Patchwall 22, CY 963 when you go back to Dyvers. That means, that once we get to that point, this thread will need to be paused until the party catches up to your time frame.

Aust Thale

Respen's Pain, Shame, and Resistance

At every opportunity, Respen will attempt to escape the domination. Based on rules, he should receive a new saving throw attempt after the four (4) days w/ Nelvranda. He really ought to be able to daily attempt to reject the domination given it is all without his consent, and the beating that he took, he is not disposed toward assisting Dame Clare with anything. Domination allows strong control; however, the apparent downside to that strong control is that instructions not only have to be 'reasonable", but uncomplicated as well. That's my appeal on behalf of the character to get a chance to free himself.

That said, during the 1st four (4) days, he will control his emotions and bide his time.

Respen is angry. At Dame Clare for whipping him. At himself for believing he could "luck" his way out of this. For misgauging his party's incursion into the cavern. For not going with his fellow adventurers. This exercise was folly, at least relative to the risk/reward. He feels the scars, made permanent by the evil inflicting them, despite the healing spells of the drow bard. But he keeps his wits about him.

He watches closely all that is around him, taking silent mental notes of the layout of Clare's laboratory, library, and the adjacent living quarters. As he spends his time with Randa and becomes aware of her reinforced magically-induced loyalty to Clare, he asks questions about Clare's relationship with her and Ky. He asks about Clare's comings and goings. He inquires as to where they are (an underground Drow city, or another location). He asks her about Serindak, and whether he is "local".

He also inquires about what she wants from motherhood. What kind of involvement does she believe Clare will provide with the child? He obviously asks about her family, her interests, and any travel she has done away from here. His questions are open-ended, allowing her to share what she will and perhaps catch her off-guard if she provides useful information. He ignores the domination, asking questions as well about other vampiric drow and if there are others who support Clare. Do the powers-that-be in drow society know who she is and what she is doing?

He takes spare time to clean and prepare his gear for the travel he will have to undergo. Perhaps he will be able to escape at some point. Short of domination, he will not accept another beating.

He also looks for literature that might be on bookshelves that might shed light on the drow, or Clare, or the innate drow magic that he read about as an apprentice. He searches for anything that will provide an advantage to him, short or long term.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Respen's Reconnaissance Part One

Respen, reflecting on his situation, seethes with resentment and bitterness at Clare's abuse of him; it occurs to Respen that perhaps Kylaendra shares his resentment of Clare, since she is obviously at Clare's beck and call, and often forced to seduce and control people on Clare's whim.
~Perhaps she could be a potential ally?~

Respen's resentment of Clare because of the beating WILL give him a bonus to future attempts to resist Domination.
Your bonus will be:
(Will Save +6) + (Elf Racial Bonus +2) + (Resentment / Bitterness Bonus +2) = Total Will Save 1d20+10; But your DC is still 30. So you're looking for a Natural 20 on the base die roll, which is hard to do.

Whoops, just realized I made a mistake. Nelvranda's CHA is not 20; it's 21. LOL.

Over the next four days, Nelvranda keeps Respen quite busy; she is so obsessed with the idea of bearing children for Clare, she has obviously developed an extreme degree of Nymphomania.

Her embraces are sensual, intoxicating, and often.

Day One: 1d6+1 = 3 Embraces
Day Two: 1d6+1 = 5 Embraces
Day Three: 1d6+1 = 2 Embraces
Day Four: 1d6+1 = 4 Embraces

Base chance of conception: 10%
Both of you are Elves: +10%
Prolonged "sessions" = +2% (Each time lasting over an hour!)
Multiple "sessions" = +2% per occurrence in a 24-hour period, cumulative.

Day One: Base 22 + ((2)+(2+2)+(2+2+2)) = 34% Chance
Day Two: Base 22 + ((2)+(2+2)+(2+2+2)+(2+2+2+2)+(2+2+2+2+2)) = 52% Chance
Day Three: Base 22 + ((2)+(2+2)) = 28% Chance
Day Four: Base 22 + ((2)+(2+2)+(2+2+2)+(2+2+2+2)) = 42% Chance

These rolls will be kept secret for now, but it looks as if there is a good chance of Respen impregnating Nelvranda.

What Respen discovers is shocking, and bittersweet; he cannot help but feel great empathy for Nelvranda, given what she tells him. "Clare is my oldest sister," she says at one point, "Out of her, Bethanael, and me, I am the youngest. Clare is 328 years old; Beth is 310 years old. I am only 176. Our mother, Matron Jasmina, is 450 years old this year! She is quite beautiful for one as old as she. But then again, we are all beautiful; House Delzeen has always been known for a lineage of stunningly beautiful females. The males in our line have been historically plain-looking, except for our father,
Jerido; he was quite handsome. Clare really loved him; I did, too. But Jasmina made him into a sacrifice, because she thought the kindness he showed to Clare and I was the cause of our weakness... You see, neither Clare nor I was ever cruel enough to suit Jasmina. That's why we weren't asked to join the sisterhood. Only Bethanael got inducted, and only because it was Bethanael's suggestion that Jasmina sacrifice our father. Beth was always so jealous with the amount of affection our father showed Clare and I.

Nelvranda (hereafter referred to as "Nel,") goes on to say that any male Drow that is found to be less than "perfectly cruel" is an abomination in the eyes of Lolth, and the Dark Codex of Lolth's Law commands that such weaklings be put to death. Nel also says that females found to be less than "perfectly cruel" are spared the fate of the males, simply by virtue of their gender. Lolth favors females. But imperfect females are not permitted to join the Dark Sisterhood. They are forced to pursue other passions, and are treated as second-class citizens, although some (like Clare) become powerful enough to regain the respect of society.

"I don't know how she does it," Nel says, "She's always been so kind to me. But the other Drow Matrons fear her. She has the ear of the Queen. If it were not for that, I think Jasmina would have assassinated her long ago. Jasmina is so jealous of Clare; she envies how well she's aged, and how powerful she's become. Clare is the best Golemsmith in Shalistaurimon. She made 4 special Golems out of MITHRIL for the Queen! It is said that over a thousand Dwarves lost their lives for each one. I don't know if I believe that, after all, she's one Wizard, and we're talking about 4,000 Dwarves! Ha ha ha."

Nel goes on to mention, among other things, that Clare is barren, and unable to have children. "Only females who are members of the Dark Sisterhood can inherit titles and houses. To be a Drow Matron, you have to be chosen by the old Matron to become her replacement. Clare and I weren't worthy, so it's Bethanael who will inherit Matronship of the House. But poor little Beth has never been able to have a female child; she's had 4 males, and three of them have died. Her fourth male child left Shalistaurimon to live on the surface world, much to Beth's eternal shame. When she found out, she executed 472 of her slaves in a fit of rage."

Nel continues, "But Clare and I have a plan; Beth is not aging well, and even when she inherits House Delzeen, she won't rule it for long. Clare won't act directly against Beth; her "imperfect cruelty" won't let her. As much as Clare loathes Beth, she won't harm her. But she DOES intend to wait her out. Clare says that the best hope for House Delzeen lies in its youth; I am far younger than either Clare or Beth. And even though I cannot inherit the House, if I can manage to conceive female heirs, and if those heirs are admitted into the sisterhood, THEY will be able to inherit. Clare says that my children will just be coming of age around the time that Beth should be on her death bed. Thus, the hope for House Delzeen lies with the issue of my womb. Clare says I have a great destiny, not to rule, but to be the mother of those that will. And as the Esteemed Mother of House Delzeen, my place in Drow society will be uncontested. Clare says that she can train my children to be ruthless, and I believe her. Clare's cruelty may not be perfect, but she can be downright diabolical when she puts her mind to it. I'm so lucky to be her sister; to Clare, if you're not family, you're the enemy. And her enemies have never fared well."

Things Respen has noticed:

1) Nel seems to be unaware of Clare's undead nature.

2) Nel does not seem cruel at all; she does seem self-centered, and she does talk condescendingly toward Respen, whom she refers to alternately as her "Man Elf," or her "Pillow Pet," and she asks Respen more than once how it feels to know that he'll never be a ruler, that he'll always be a lowly male, unworthy of honor. But there is also a sweetness to her that surfaces at times, and she talks a lot about what a wonderful husband Respen will make, and about how the two of them will make a wonderful couple. Her treatment of Respen reminds him of Vale's treatment of Gus.

3) Despite what has transpired, Dame Clare does indeed seem "less cruel" than anyone who would execute 472 slaves, or sacrifice their husband to their dark goddess.

4) Kylaendra is nowhere to be seen for the four day period; you suspect that she has been commanded to leave you and Nel alone together. But occasionally, you hear faint music coming from down the hall, and you realize that the voice that is making that music is most certainly Ky's.

5) Respen realizes something: If Clare can indeed train Nel's children to be ruthless enough to join the Dark Sisterhood, and if what she told you about giving all of you the Dark Gift is true, then there is one aspect here that Nel is unaware of; as the vampiric children of Clare, Nel's daughters will be Clare's to command, which will make Clare the "power behind the throne" of House Delzeen. "Dame" Clare would then be "Matron Clare," for all practical purposes. And a clan of several vampires in control of a Drow noble house is likely to reign without peer in Drow society. It's the ultimate power play. And Clare stands to not only become a Matron, but quite possibly, even QUEEN.


Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
A few other quick details that Respen discovers:

Clare's small, "Manor House + 3-Tower" fortress is adjacent to the manor house of House Delzeen, but it's in its own, walled-off courtyard. Nel's bed chambers are in the main house. Clare and Ky also live in the main house.

The first tower is where the "disposable" slaves (i.e., Clare's food) are kept.

The second tower is where Clare's lab is.

The third tower is Serindak's lair.

Serindak is not "local"; he's off on some sort of errand for Clare.

The way-station beneath Skorane was built by Clare, but it isn't hers. One of the other Drow houses (Nel didn't say which one) paid her to create the Teleportation Circles, so that they could more easily facilitate their dealings with Nosnra and the other Giant leaders, with whom they have struck up a partnership and alliance.

Clare is looking for something, but Nel doesn't know what. She suspects that it's an artifact. It's somewhere in The Underdark, near Shalistaurimon. It's a good guess that Serindak's errand is related to this ongoing search.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Spending Time With Nelvandra

Some other things Respen finds out through conversation:

Respen said:
He ignores the domination, asking questions as well about other vampiric drow and if there are others who support Clare.

Nel says, "Others? What do you mean? Are you implying that Clare is a Vampire? Don't be silly, my pet."

GM: Respen, roll a Sense Motive check.

Respen said:
Do the powers-that-be in drow society know who she is and what she is doing?

Nel replies, "As I said before, she has the Queen's ear. The two of them are close confidants."

Respen said:
...he asks questions about Clare's relationship with her and Ky.

Nel replies, "Aside from being my sister? And aside from taking me under her wing, after our mother forced us to move out of Delzeen Gardens? ...As for Ky, she's a slave that Clare acquired by conquest; a rival of hers from House Vankor tried to assassinate Clare about 15 years ago. It didn't go well; Clare claimed the Right of Vengeance, and the Queen allowed her to attack Vankor Place with her Golem army. The whole city watched from the street and from nearby rooftops, as Clare's Golems laid waste to the whole household. Clare killed Matron Vankor, and took her daughter, Kylaendra, as a slave. Ironically, Ky is another one of those "misfits" among us, whose heart is not completely black. Her mother had forced her to live as a servant, and badly mistreated her for not being able to join the Dark Sisterhood. Even as Clare's slave, her life here is much better than it was under her mother's roof. Clare is in love with her, so she lets her have special privileges. I think she has a lovely singing voice; Ky loves to sing, she does it constantly. Sometimes, she even practices out in the hallway. Clare makes her sing every Godsday, at dinner. Too bad you can't stay an extra day, you'd get to hear it. But I understand that Clare wants you to run an errand for her. I heard her say she was sending you back to the surface. Sounds like fun; I wish I could go with you."


A quick explanation of Days of the Week in the World of Greyhawk:

Greyhawk Day = Our Equivalent:

(Work) Starday = Monday
(Work) Sunday = Tuesday
(Work) Moonday = Wednesday
(Prayer) Godsday = Sunday
(Work) Waterday = Thursday
(Work) Earthday = Friday
(Rest) Freeday = Saturday

Thus, Ky sings at every "Sunday Dinner."

Respen said:
He also looks for literature that might be on bookshelves that might shed light on the Drow, or Clare, or the innate Drow magic that he read about as an apprentice.

Nel has many books on Drow history, that basically boil down to centuries of intrigue, inter-house feuds, political coops, and the like, along with detailed genealogical lineages of the various Drow houses. She also has books like: Gellion's History of the Dark Sisterhood, Green's Anatomy of Illithids, and even a book written by Clare herself, entitled, "Theories on Advanced Construction Methods of Clockwork Constructs, Otherwise Known as Golems."

But Nel doesn't leave you with much time to read them; even when she is not amorous, she loves to lie in bed and talk, or snuggle on the couch, and Respen quickly becomes aware of how desperately lonely she really is.

Aust Thale

Outwitting the Vampire (without dying...or getting whipped again)

~ An unsettling thought is settling in ~

Despite the nature of his relationship with Nel and the circumstances of their...involvement...he finds her legitimately desirable. He simultaneously desires her, pities her, and slightly fears her.
He knows from their point of view, he should feel honored. However, he highly doubts her attraction to him will remain sans this conditioning put upon her by Dame Clare's machinations. Thus he focuses solely on her needs in order to mute the sick feeling in his stomach at being little more than animal husbandry. Between it and the savage beating taken at the hands of Dame Clare, any indifference, curiosity, or "honest broker" tendencies he might have had coming into this have been wholly replaced by antipathy and a calculating cooperation based solely on self-preservation, and perhaps that of both Nel and Ky. He knows that Clare will use that softness against him should she wish. No moral hazard there. Perhaps he could learn a little from her; he'd have to get past her narcissistic obsession-compulsion with power. He knows intellectually that she is preferable to nearly any other drow; however, the scars on his back remind him that mental bargain is a little like choosing the way one wants to die, preferring cold to fire, or a mace versus the blade.

He knows that she will compel him to retrieve Margull's vampiric library. He also knows that he might well find himself in conflict with Vega at least, and perhaps Margull himself. It dawns on him (see Rolz rolls) that she doesn't have to utilize her vampire powers in this regard. In fact, those powers appear to be more effective the more simple the direction. They are not truly singleness of mind. His time meditating, sleeping, and studying he was able to do provided him with more than additional spells. He is convinced that she will magically compel him to accomplish her goal of getting those books. And that spell will be a) more complicated and b) provide much less room or opportunity to get away if he can.

He digs into the books in Nel's room, quietly digging into Clare's tome on constructs and the book on the sisterhood, all the while looking for advantage, not simply "book learning". He utilizes Nel's library to stack his magical knowledge. He wonders whether these books would return to their spots if he borrower them too long.

Respen has a 'Eureka!" moment. He memorizes Laramon's book return spell, and commits it to memory. Perhaps it will help him.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Additional Info Discovered by Respen

During the course of the 4 days, Respen does get a few chances to walk freely around Clare’s domicile; Iron Golems bar the entrance to four key points, otherwise, there are no guards to be seen anywhere.

Clare’s slaves, which consist mainly of Drow males, but which also include a few Humans, Dwarves, and Gnomes, have the run of the place, just as Respen does. Respen learns, through conversations with them, that they are Clare’s personal buffet; Clare feeds on them when she has need, but is careful not to drain them completely.

One Human slave, named Torrendel, tells Respen that just being touched by Clare makes him tired, but she always casts some sort of spell on him afterward that makes him feel better, even refreshed. He says that he was captured by the Drow as a teenager, during one of their nocturnal surface raids. He says that he was badly treated by his first mistress, but Clare purchased him 4 years ago, and that despite Clare’s feeding habits, overall, life in this household is much easier. His required tasks consist of menial chores, housecleaning, and cooking meals for the other slaves. Torrendel, it seems, is a chef, among other talents. He is also an artist, and has painted several murals for Clare, all of which followed the same theme: sunrises. Sunrises over the ocean, over the mountains, over lush, green hills, over waterfalls, etc.

Torrendel also says that Clare does sometimes kill slaves, but usually only for grievous offenses; escape attempts earn slaves a beating, nothing more. But he knows of at least one instance where a slave took advantage of his privileges, and did serious harm to another slave; the victim nearly died. Clare killed him for that transgression.

“She’s insidious in that regard,” Torrendel says. “She has that young girl come sing to them. The girl must be a bard. She sings, calming them down, like a lullaby. Then Clare takes them into another chamber, and the screaming begins.”

Torrendel relates that he has only seen this happen once, but other, older slaves have told him that she has done things like that many times. “Of course, from what I understand, they often deserved it. It happens a lot to her Drow slaves; they’re so despicable, they often end up commiting some heinous act that draws out her wrath. And the result is always the same: the slaves call it ‘Clare’s Lullaby.’ Those that hear it are never seen again.”
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Supplemental Info For The "Errand."

Quick Note:

Answering some questions you had, as per our conversation at lunch.

1. Yes, you will have a chance to speak with Dame Clare before she sends you on the "errand." Please post any questions or comments you have for her, and word them EXACTLY as you plan to speak them.
2. Yes, Nelvandra wants to go with you on this errand.
3. Yes, Clare says it's OK if Nel tags along.

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Questioning Dame Clare, Part Two

Posted on behalf of Respen, as per our email discussion.

~ I wonder if a vampire sleeps, and what she dreams. ~

Sometime during his confinement, as Nel sleeps, Respen picks up her books on constructs and the sisterhood and walks to Dame Clare’s lab. He cringes, still feeling the neuropathy of the savage torture she doled out.

~ Sometimes there is pain. ~ Something his friend Telvin had said back in the Enllaves. Respen decided to suspend his contempt for Dame Clare’s “punishment”. Suffering this bully would serve his purpose, and he would move on as he always had.

He walks to Dame Clare’s lab and speaks to the construct, “I would speak with your master.”

Upon entry, after the obligatory “why are you here” introductions, Respen begins his questions.

To Dame Clare: “I came looking for you for a reason. And my questions are still unanswered. To wit, I have more questions than when I began. I know that this is not an equal relationship. However, I think there is no harm in asking questions, if the answer ‘no’ is the worst response I can expect?
Respen grimaces, thinking of the scars on his back. He rubs the scar over his left shoulder. “Or are you as capricious as common lore suggests?” He says, implying that the question is rhetorical.

Without pausing, he continues, “No, I don’t think so. You are unusual in this regard, aren’t you? You clearly care about your family, though frankly I question your wisdom of putting Nel, your sister, with the likes of me. ” Respen tries his hardest to be humorous and self-deprecating. Humor suits him. The reminder of the beating does not.

“Dame Clare, if I may so bold, and I realize that I am way out of bounds here, but you can do anything that you want. Explore anything you want. Again, a bold presumption on my part, but why on earth with all this experience, skill, and yes, I suppose, power, you find yourself surrounded by two living creatures and the rest constructs? Your Grace, why on earth tie yourself to this…giant coffin underground? You are a vampire; you have no master. You have strikingly few limitations. Perhaps I am become too much the explorer, but we are elves. We live many lives anyway. Why do you still think in terms of the terrestrial? And that question illuminates the questions I wanted to ask you in the first place.”

He pauses for a moment,Who are these True Vampires and where are they? What are you relative to them? Why do you loathe each other? And I suppose this is an opinion question: why, with all of this time, are you all not explorers? It makes little sense to me. It’s what humans would call a waste of time. Perhaps it’s because they have so little of it. But I see their point. ”

As she undoubtedly will become frustrated with his approach, he then asks the punch line, “How did you get here? Do you not dream good dreams anymore?”
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Dame Clare Is Honest And Open With Respen...

Respen said:
"... However, I think there is no harm in asking questions, if the answer ‘no’ is the worst response I can expect? ... “Or are you as capricious as common lore suggests?”

Dame Clare: "I am not capricious; it's not in my nature. I am very careful. I plan every move. I consider every possibility. I weigh every option. I will not punish you for asking questions. Have I ever punished you without just cause? That golem that you and your friends destroyed cost me over 20,000 gold pieces to make. The scars you now carry will serve as a reminder, forevermore, that I am not someone that you want to cross. So you see, your beating wasn't a capricious act in the least; it was a measured response for a grievous offense. It served as both punishment and warning; a single effort, with two results. So you see, it was not only an effective response, but an efficient one as well."

Respen said:
"...though frankly I question your wisdom of putting Nel, your sister, with the likes of me. ”

Dame clare chuckles. "Why so? Simply based on your plain looks? If I wanted to find Nel a physically attractive husband, I could send her any one of my male, Drow slaves, all of whom are handsome in the extreme. But I wanted to find her a suitable mate, a mate with that unique spark, that something special, that special chemistry that would mix well with her creativity, eccentricity, and genius. I wanted to find someone who wouldn't bore her. That sort of person is rare, and quite difficult to find. So imagine my delight when you practically delivered yourself to me."

Respen said:
"Your Grace, why on earth tie yourself to this… giant coffin underground? ...Why do you still think in terms of the terrestrial?"

Dame Clare sighs. "My dear Respen, you are so simple, so straight-forward. I adore that about you. It is true, I have eternity to explore, without the fetters of a mortal body and limited lifespan. Even the lifespan of an Elf is nothing to me. But the surface world is dangerous, for one main reason: the sun. If I go there, I am confined to the night-time hours. That reason, in and of itself, would force me to cut my active time in half. I would be forced to find shelter during the day, and the presence of the sun's power, even if I am hidden from its direct rays, would make me lethargic and tired. I would be forced to sleep. Here, so deep underground, I am free to enjoy every minute of every hour of every day. Here, I do not sleep. So you see, here, I have twice as much opportunity to live, learn, and explore, as you would have it."

Dame Clare approaches you, moving into your personal space, bringing her eyes inches away from yours, and staring at you intently. "And let's not forget; I am a Drow, so the Elves would hate me, and hunt me. I am undead also, so every Priest of Pelor would be looking to cause my destruction. Lastly, because I refuse to follow your laws, and your ideologies, I am labeled as tainted, vile, and evil. In these ways, I am ill-suited to a life within the world from which you hail." She kisses you tenderly, yet briefly. Her touch is chillingly cold, and unnatural, but also pleasantly sensual. "There now, how was that? Did you find that vile? Disgusting? Do I repulse you? Or do I excite you? I suspect it is the latter; but your kind are quick to judge, quick to condemn. So you can keep your surface world, and I will remain here, free, within my giant coffin, as you call it."

Respen said:
"...Who are these True Vampires and where are they? What are you relative to them? Why do you loathe each other?"

Dame Clare smiles, and says, "I am not sure WHO they are, nor WHERE they might be found. The answers to those questions form the main body of my research. I am always trying to find sources of information about them. The fact that you have actually met one of them makes me very envious, perhaps even a little jealous. As for what I am, in relation to them, I would imagine that if you were to ask one of them, I am a disease, a blight, an abomination. They consider themselves apart, even superior. I bear them no ill will; but the last one of their kind I met tried to kill me on sight, unprovoked. I was forced to imprison him. That's another reason that I try now to avoid the surface world, when I can. They might be different, but they can sense my presence all the same. That's why the vast majority of my dealings with the surface are through my minions. Minions are replaceable; my soul and my lifeblood are not."

Respen said:
“How did you get here? Do you not dream good dreams anymore?”

Dame Clare looks thoughtful. "It's funny you should put it that way. I don't sleep, you see, so I haven't dreamt in a long time. But I have daydreams, musings, thoughts; and believe it or not, not all of them are about conquest and power. Happiness for me has long been elusive, the carrot dangled in front of the ass. But if Serindak is successful in his task, that might actually change. I want to be happy, and loved, Respen. I think deep down, everyone does. Even those whose hearts are black and burning with hatred yearn for love, and to be loved. But some of them lose hope, so they bury their feelings deep down, and keep them there, burying them under layer after layer of hate and despair. They forget how to be happy. I burn with the desire for blood, and I live in a world where my continued existence depends upon my ability to conquer and acquire. But I haven't forgotten what happiness is, nor what it feels like. And I still pursue it."

And with that, Clare pauses, watching you closely, waiting to see if you have further questions.
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Aust Thale

Respen Pushes His Luck

~ Perhaps I should get to the point ~

OOC: Respen initiates conversation, through which he asks questions. The conversation can flow less as a series of monologues and more evenly; however, here it will be monologue-ish.

Respen leans in uncomfortably close to Dame Clare during the conversation, attempting to match her confidence, challenging himself to look directly into her eyes (what do vampires smell like?) for any hint of…something other than shrewd and deadly calculation,my curiosity has always been both my delight and undoing. I know that I will fumble this, so I will simply be straightforward. Your Grace, what are you doing here? If you long for love and exploration, why all of this…?Respen pauses, motioning his arms wide to take in the room. Respen is legitimately confused, even vexed.Thank you for sharing your desires to me, but who or what damaged you? Who or what makes your blood boil so much that you, unshackled from terrestrial concerns, are still motivated to coerce your family to be protected while you prepare for war?" He leans in, genuinely interested in her responses and trying to not be swept up by his being this close to her.Might I ask, who were you, your Grace? Before all of this.

Continuing, Respen comments during the conversation. You don’t strike me as a mercenary; that appears too pedestrian, yet you clearly have concerns about currency. Only adventures, kingdoms, and wars require this much currency. Golems are indeed not cheap. Neither are teleporters. It seems rather odd that you would work for someone else, but who is paying for your war?

Respen caresses her cheek in spite of himself, a clumsy attempt at intimacy. He pulls away quickly from her space, realizing that she might not welcome the overture.Forgive me, your Grace.He walks over to her library shelves. He is not entirely sure of himself, and thus is winging it, contemplating his own internal mental monologue and forgetting to shut his mouth.Forgive my questions also; I am drinking from a waterfall at the moment. My head is fogged from Ky’s siren voice, and Nel’s perfect embraces, and you…quite frankly…nearly everything about you. Strange, I should loathe you for maiming me. Yet I do not. It would be nice to be clearheaded for a moment.Respen presses himself to lucidity, and thumbs along one of the bookshelves.Oh but to have a library such as this. How many years did this take to create?

Quickly changing the subject, slightly embarrasses by his behavior.By the way, how many golems do you have? I understand from lore that drow internal politics is, shall we say, animated? Are these your hobby, or do you plan a coup d’état?" (Respen laughs nervously, his remark meant to be both laced with humor and probing) "...Given you have written extensively on the subject, I’d say hobby, perhaps even a full-fledged professorial pursuit. However, given that other than Ky and Nel, the only people you interact with consistently are for sustenance. You keep company more with these golems. It seems that conversation with them appears one-sided." (more nervous humor). "Tough crowd. You should get out more." (he looks for even the faintest hint of a sense of humor.)

Respen walks over to her crystal ball.You have one of those nifty magic orbs. An alchemist’s telescope into the heavens…Respen laughs nervously.I’ll share a little of myself since I’m asking you so many questions. Long story short, I chose to leave a good life as a hunter a very long way from here. My late uncle Auror gave me an opportunity to explore arcane magic. When he passed Oerth, I left. A really long boat ride, and a really long walk later, I am here. My goal was to be mentored by Arcanus, a wizard that my uncle Auror held in high regard. Obviously, I got a little sidetracked. At the rate I am moving, my curiosity, it seems, might be only that which I shall be remembered.Respen is visibly uncomfortable being so forthcoming; he masks it by looking carefully at several shelves in her library for other books who titles or pages he might recognize.

Now, I hunt more broadly; wanderlust, curiosity, magic, immortality, purpose…” He looks wistful. “And as it now appears forced upon me, love and legacy.” He looks back at Dame Clare. “Right. Every bite at the apple? The sweet and the sour.

Respen walks back over toward the ball.Yes indeed. Nifty orb. Does it come in other colors?” Before she can answer, he moves on, “Don’t misunderstand me. Nel is beautiful. And interesting. And certainly above my station. So perhaps I should be grateful. But you forced it nonetheless. Why would you do that?” Again, before she answers, he continues, “you know, she’s as lonely as she is lovely. Ki’s lonely. Hell, you’re lonely."

His countenance changes as Respen focuses and contemplates that his main priority until now was getting out of harm’s way. Now, he realizes what his duty is, and he juxtaposes that with what he can control. It’s time to take a risk and speak truth to power. Respen continues, You don’t need, nor do you probably care about my judgment, so I will simply say it. I know you think you are protecting her, but if you continue on this track, you will lose your sister to loneliness and then despair. My presence won’t fix that; she’ll eventually hate me because she’ll realize it was forced. It won’t matter that it was you that did it, and it won’t matter that I didn’t fight you very much. Children won’t fix it either, despite maternal instincts. And you ought to know by now that Ky can’t fix that for you indefinitely, even with her abilities. You are obviously wise and intelligent enough to understand that. Whatever you are doing, if you doing it for her…for them…you might inquire as to whether they want it, and if they don’t, you should remove them from harm’s way. They aren’t safe. You don’t need additional evidence of that. Fact: I didn’t practically deliver myself to you; I did deliver myself to you. Let’s be clear. You are extremely powerful; I was warned not to trifle with you. However, Ky and Nel are not. And I came in the front door. Succubus? Dusted. Orcs? Green goo. Undead? Pile of charred bones. The clay golem of yours? Eighteen seconds. Your iron golems? Amazing construction. Truly. And one Rust spell or gauntlet from being reduced to a dwarven smith’s anvil. I’m absolutely the least of your worries, but you have me intimately close to the two people you value the most after less than a fortnight. Ironically, they are the purpose and the reason that I am here, alive, and in front of you, willingly and not. And I’m just an impetuous elf.

Respen’s expression deepens, Here is my point. If you have or acquire enemies in your endeavors, Ki, and especially Nel and perhaps a child, they are all at risk, no? Again, I came through the front door. What about the True Ones? You say that they kill regular vampires on sight; that makes conversation kind of tricky. Imagine what they might do to them.

Respen walks to Dame Clare, strokes away her hair, and cups her face in his hands, and then kneels on one knee, taking her hands in his, knowing full well that he may risk her wrath.I am going to take a risk, and I am hopeful that you receive it well. I do not think you are vile nor disgusting. I'd be fortunate to survive a night with you, however, if your sister is any indication." Respen tries to make an awkward joke. "Still, it would be an noteworthy experience."

"From speaking to Nel, I believe that you have it within you to be Eilistraee embodied. I see the look on your face; you have no idea who this is. It’s a legend told among my people that Corellon and Lolth (before she was Lolth) had a daughter, a young goddess who was melancholy and kind, and full of mercy and assistance for all Drow and hopeful for all Elvenkind. She was the mercy to the Mother’s vengeance, and true hope to the Mother’s contempt. You referred to yourself as Aunt Clare, jokingly perhaps. I choose to view this as providential. As long as I am able, I will protect Nel and the child, and I will protect Ky so that you may pursue your efforts among your people. If you do not coerce me. I will listen to your wishes, and I will offer counsel, and I will assist you where I am able. However, I will also speak truth to power. I believe you to be the hope of Eilistraee to your people. Anything is possible.

Respen rises, and he begins to take his leave.Your Grace, I told you that I would not lie to you; and you may count on that honesty, if for nothing else than sparing my life. If you compel or coerce me, I will attempt to escape at the earliest chance I have, and I will go back to my previous life without qualm, care, or mention. Understand that you indeed hold the power. You must choose, at least with me, whether you wish fidelity and trust, or control and manipulation. Hint, if you haven't figured it out, I do the former much better than the latter. I’ll leave you to your thoughts, now. I’m sure you have enough of me for a day.
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
More Answers From A Very Talkative Clare

Respen said:
"...Might I ask, who were you, your Grace? Before all of this?"

Dame Clare says, "You mean before I was given the so-called "Dark Gift"? I was a Sorceress, as I still am. But the Gift has given me a new perspective on things. It has sharpened the lens through which I view the world, and broadened the scope of my understanding, and for that, I suppose that I am grateful. But I learned too late that immortality is a greater burden than one would initially suppose. In a way, it grants me a new kind of freedom, but in other ways, it has deepened my sense of despair. It is this impetus that has spurred me into my current course of action. It seems that I must rise to the occasion, and meet the challenge head on, if I am to emerge victorious."

Respen said:
"...It seems rather odd that you would work for someone else, but who is paying for your war?"

Dame Clare says, "Money is a means to an end, to be sure. I have all of eternity to amass a vast fortune, which of course is your point, since none of it needs be spent on my physical needs. I do not eat, nor drink, nor sleep, unless I desire it. Time appears to be on my side, so why don't I just wait out my enemies? Isn't that what you're getting at? You're suggesting that I don't need money to do what I want to do, or to go where I want to go. But you're missing one key element: I don't want to spend all of eternity alone. Companionship, loyalty, love, and devotion, are the things that money cannot buy. It is upon these things that I am focused. I do require some money, in the overall scheme of things, but the money itself is a tertiary concern. If other people were not involved, I would indeed simply wait, and gather my wealth over time. But time is against me, because the people who are important to me need my protection, my oversight, my involvement, now, rather than later, in this moment. The process of my machinations must be sped along, and for that to happen, I need money, and I need it in a timely manner. Thus, I am forced to accept employments of convenience, assignments, and commissions, to pay the bills, as it were. No one is paying for my "war," because my war doesn't exist. Wars are long, bloody, and costly. I am not interested in waging war. I am interested in the forcible application of peace. And while peace is far less bloody, it comes with a hefty price tag; thus, I construct the occasional teleport circle, golem, or miscellaneous magic item for a well-paying customer or two."

Respen said:
"...Strange, I should loathe you for maiming me. Yet I do not."

Dame Clare says, "Of course you don't; you are wise, and you can see that my hand, though merciless in application, is equitable in judgment. You cannot loathe that which you respect... or should I say, that which you desire?" Clare flashes a wicked smile at Respen.

Respen said:
"...Oh but to have a library such as this. How many years did this take to create?"

Dame Clare says, "I acquired the majority of it as an inheritance, when my cousin's concubine, Eldimar, suffered an untimely death when he lost a battle with a Mind Flayer. His library was an excellent seed, which, through my care and attention over the last several hundred years, has grown into a much larger fruit, so to speak."

Respen said:
"...By the way, how many golems do you have?"

Dame Clare chuckles, "I have 49 golems of various types. More than enough to protect me from the animated, internal Drow politics, as you put it. Four of them are more powerful than anyone here has ever seen. Those are my Mithral babies."

Respen said:
"...You keep company more with these golems."

Dame Clare scoffs, and replies, "It is statements like that which show me how little you truly know. But that's good, because my enemies think along the same lines. Let's just say, they have no idea with whom I consort, nor what I am truly up to." Dame Clare cackles with glee, a youthful, giddy cackle, like a kid set loose in a candy store.

Respen said:
"...My goal was to be mentored by Arcanus, a wizard that my uncle Auror held in high regard. Obviously, I got a little sidetracked."

Dame Clare says, "Lord Delbin? I'm impressed. Your uncle must have had connections. I don't suppose you could arrange an introduction for Nel? I've taught her a few things, but I don't have the time to spend with her that she truly deserves. Being an apprentice to the great Demon Killer would temper her talent, like a piece of iron, thrown into the coals of a hot forge. If you don't mind my asking, why aren't you further along? How badly were you sidetracked? And by what, or by whom?"

Respen said:
"...But you forced it nonetheless. Why would you do that?"

Dame Clare says, "Do not judge me, my dear. You think me cruel, perhaps even psychotic, to manipulate and control my own flesh and blood in such a manner. But you only have half the facts. Time is of the essence, my dear. If there was another way, believe me, I would spare my sister this ordeal, this brainwashing. But it will all work itself out in the end, I assure you. Nel's will and sense of autonomy will be restored, and even I, the instigator of it all, will atone for my actions. But first things must come first. Before that can happen, I must be cruel, ruthless, calculating. Only then can I afford the luxury of compassion."

Respen said:
"...You know, [Nel]’s as lonely as she is lovely. Ky’s lonely. Hell, you’re lonely."

Dame Clare says, "Right you are; and I have already said as much. Which is one of the reasons that I'm so glad of your arrival. Your attentions to Nel can alleviate some of that. As for Ky and myself, our remediation will take a different form. Especially for me. You see, for Vampires, love is a completely different proposition; it is far less sensual, and far more emotional and sentimental. You might say that it's the one saving grace that comes from being transformed into such a monster. As a Vampire, I have learned to love on an emotional level, rather than on a physical one. Physical sensuality can still be accomplished in this fabulously beautiful form of mine, but it no longer satisfies my desires. For me, passion lies within; it lies within the mind, and within the soul. The flesh is weak, compared to the mind, and to the spirit; flesh is mortal, corruptible, transient, insignificant. True passion comes from the soul, and true sentiment and inspiration comes from the imagination. You can't kill an idea, nor can you kill the love or the passion that fuels it. Therein lies true immortality. Therefore, because I understand this, and because I understand that this way of thinking is not the norm, and that it takes a long time for most people to accept, I forced you upon Nel, because although neither of you can see it, you are both the best possible match for one another. Your physical forms and base, lustful desires have very little to do with it. As for the consequences of my actions, I am willing to face them, in due time."

Respen said:
"...she’ll eventually hate me because she’ll realize it was forced."

Dame Clare nods and says, "You're probably right, in a way; I know my sister, you see, better than anyone; it's possible that she'll hate me for what I did. But I'm willing to risk her ire, because if my plans succeed, this whole ordeal will serve the greater good. Ironic, isn't it? Here I am, the epitome of cruelty, the antithesis of life, harmony, and the natural order, and I'm talking about the greater good. Believe me, such things are not lost upon me. As for you, I think you'll be surprised. It's just a hunch, an instinct, but somehow, I have the feeling everything will work out between the two of you. But be careful, my dear; like I said before, she's ruthless, cunning, treacherous, and unpredictable. If she comes to think of you as hers, you'd best not ever do anything to challenge that notion."

Respen said:
"...Ky, and especially Nel, and perhaps a child, they are all at risk, no? What about the True Ones? You say that they kill regular vampires on sight; that makes conversation kind of tricky. Imagine what they might do to them."

Dame Clare replies, "You are correct, they will need protection. And I would not be so foolish as to rely upon a golem to ensure their safety. You seriously misjudge me; my golems are tools. I have ways to protect Ky, and Nel, and Nel's future children. And the plans for their safety has nothing to do with my golems. ALSO: don't make the mistake of believing that all of my creations are as easily dealt with as Number 14 was. He was never intended for combat. He was designed for hard labor, and for reconnaissance. But that's a story for another day. Getting back to the subject, Ky and Nel's protection has nothing to do with the golems, and everything to do with YOU, my dear."


Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Clare's Monstrous Embrace

Respen said:
Respen walks to Dame Clare, strokes away her hair, and cups her face in his hands...

Dame Clare rewards Respen with a long, sensual kiss. She bites him on the tongue, hard enough to draw blood, which she playfully consumes, all the while continuing to kiss him.

Respen said:
"...I do not think you are vile nor disgusting. I'd be fortunate to survive a night with you... it would be an noteworthy experience."

Dame Clare bites Respen on the neck, saying, "Be still, my sweet."

Respen obeys. In the space of only a few seconds, Clare drains a moderate portion of blood from her would-be suitor.

GM: Respen: the experience is euphoric. You can feel your life force slipping away under Clare's icy embrace, and yet, you are filled with an overwhelming desire to let her take even more. You are swooning in her embrace, in a wave of ecstasy, overcome with physical pleasure, and sensual desires.

Blood Drain: 1d4 CON per round.
Clare will spend 1 round (6 seconds) drinking.
Result: (1d4) = 1 point.
Temporary CON score: 17 (Down from 18)

Clare releases Respen, and smiles at him, his blood drooling from the corners of her mouth. "Arcanum Restoratu," she whispers.

Limited Wish (No xp cost to duplicate 4th level spell, Restoration.)

When a limited wish duplicates a spell that has an XP cost, you must pay that cost or 300 XP, whichever is more.
(Restoration does not have an xp cost.)

When a limited wish spell duplicates a spell with a material component that costs more than 1,000 gp, you must provide that component.
(Restoration requires only 100 gp. worth of diamond dust, therefore, no component need be provided.)

Respen's CON is restored to 18.

Dame Clare giggles mischievously, "Was that as good for you as it was for me?" She then gives Respen another long, bloody kiss.

Respen: As you feel your strength returning to you, you have the sudden, sobering realization that you are indeed playing with fire! But your prediction was true, nonetheless: it was indeed a noteworthy experience.

Respen said:
"...From speaking to Nel, I believe that you have it within you to be Eilistraee embodied. I see the look on your face; you have no idea who this is."

Dame Clare smiles, and retorts, "I beg to differ. Eilistraee is well-known to me; it would appear that some of your ancestors have crossed the veil, and visited other spheres. You are indeed a child of fate, descended from worthy ancestral origins, destined for greatness. I have chosen well. Knowledge of other spheres is not easy to come by. The Drow in that sphere are luckier than the ones who live here; Eilistraee is a beacon of hope for them, a ray of light in a sea of darkness, a chance at redemption for all Drow that heed her call; but here, in our sphere, where her presence is only hearsay and legend, darkness reigns supreme. I am flattered that you believe me to be the shining hope for my kind; I shall endeavor to prove worthy of your idealistic vision. I don't know if I can redeem my race, but I do intend leave my mark upon them. When I am done with the Drow, there will be a new structure to things. I intend to bring order to chaos."

Respen said:
"...As long as I am able, I will protect Nel and the child, and I will protect Ky so that you may pursue your efforts among your people."

Dame Clare says, "Look at you, so sweet and trusting, even after I have tasted your lifeblood. I will take you up on your offer to protect Nel and the child. But you can leave Ky to me. She plays an integral role in my immediate, future plans."

Respen said:
"...You must choose, at least with me, whether you wish fidelity and trust, or control and manipulation."

Dame Clare says, "Fidelity? Really? You'd swear loyalty to me? Let us test this premise."

Clare releases Respen from Mental Domination!

Clare walks over to The Orb of Errinder, and waves her hand over it, bringing it to life, as it begins to pulse with an eerie, red light.

Dame Clare says, "On your knees, then, and swear your oath. Know that your words shall be chronicled by The Orb, recorded in your own voice, for perpetuity. A portion of your soul shall enter The Orb as you swear your loyalty, and I will be able to cast spells upon you, using The Orb as a conduit. This is a supreme act of trust my dear, for if I were to intend ill toward you, I could use The Orb to strike you down without ever leaving my study. Show me this fidelity of yours, and claim your reward."

RESPEN: Clare is watching you intently. What do you do?

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