Slithiria had chosen Deathscale as her last name on the journey to Neriak. She had forsaken her old name, her old life. Slithiria Deathscale is the name which she submitted when gaining citizenship in Neriak. As far as she's concerned, that IS her name.
She had arrived in the City of Hate with scarcely more than the cloak on her back, her staff, and enough coin to give to the right people to gain citizenship. If one were to look at her now, they'd assume she entered Indigo Hollow and immediately began a meteoric rise in Teir'dal society. They would be wrong. It is in the streets of the New Foreign Quarter where her tale truly begins...
The shadowy figure got down on one knee as the patrol of Dread Guards trotted past. The Teir'dal sneered down at her as they past, as they sneered at all Haeth'un. They could tell what she was even despite her large black cloak. The tail did make it rather obvious.
They will not sneer for long, Slithiria thought. But still, she showed them respect. Anyone who does not wish a painful death does the same. The Dread Guard patrol the New Foreign Quarter frequently, to enforce loyalty to Neriak, and to make the social status of the residents as clear as possible.
The New Foreign Quarter is more or less a slum. A large cavern in which the undesirables of Neriak live in near inescapable poverty. Often the only way for a Haeth'un to have a better life is to be purchased as a slave by a wealthy house. Of course, some might sign on to the Nerian auxiliaries, to be used as fodder in hopes of surviving and gaining some very minor recognition. Some may try to improve their lot while remaining in the Foreign Quarter, perhaps by joining a gang or whoring themselves out. Slithiria planned to do none of these things.
Once the Dread Guard patrol passed, Slithiria stood and went back to what she had been doing: scavenging on the sides of the roads and in the alleys for discarded bodies or body parts. And there were plenty to be found, oh yes. In Neriak, only the strong survive. If you are weak, the city will chew you up and spit you out. She is as merciless as she is beautiful.
Slithiria reached down and picked up a severed hand. It was delicate, feminine, probably belonging to a Human or Half Elf at some point. It would be perfect. She hid the former bit of a person in her cloak and set off through a dark alleyway. Of course, the alleys of the Foreign Quarter are always dangerous, but many of the vagrants in this area had learned to avoid the cloaked Iksar. Many, but not all.
A Troll stepped out in front of her, wielding a crude club and grinning nastily. Based on the smell, there was another one that had just emerged behind her. Slithiria suppressed the urge to grin. A pair of Cazic-Thule's inferior children to sharpen her teeth on.
"Well well, what's this? A scaly, wandering around in the cold and dank?" He cackled. "I thought you delicate flowers couldn't handle a chill!"
Slithiria did not move or respond in any way.
"You Iksar are always lording over us! Claiming to be the favoured children of the Faceless!" Growled the Troll behind her. "Perhaps we should teach you real Fear!"
Fear... that word stirred something in Slithiria. As the Trolls advanced on her, time slowed. She had an idea. An absolutely lovely idea. But she'd have to bring these two morons back to her nest, alive. She looked up as the Trolls came at her, and her eyes flashed purple.
The yellow eyes of the Troll named Grimleck fluttered open. He groaned with pain as it felt like several white hot needles poked him all over. Many bones were broken, his saggy skin was torn in several places. He was bruised, with two black eyes and several missing teeth. He could tell from his position that he was still tied to a stake.
Grimleck looked around for any sign of his captor. She was nowhere to be seen. There weren't that many places to hide. It was a tiny spot, no more than ten feet by ten feet, at the end of a dead end alley, with a makeshift fence of scrap metal serving as the gate. The place was covered in bloodstains and bits of used up people. There were a few patchwork corpses standing around in there, as well as Grimleck's former compatriot standing guard at the entrance. Grimleck had called to him many times, but he never responded.
He didn't have to wait long before Slithiria arrived, the hood of her cloak drawn back, carrying a large box covered by a dirty scrap of cloth. She sat down on the scummy floor in front of Grimleck and smiled kindly. "Nice to see you're awake. How are you feeling, Grimleck?"
He said nothing, just stared at her with disgust and loathing.
Slithiria nodded as though he had given her a full and in-depth explanation of his many pains. "Glad to hear it. Now, I have been out searching for a solution to our little predicament. I don't suppose you've realized that it would be far better for your health if you gave in?"
"Thule take you." Grimleck responded through gritted teeth.
Slithiria sighed. "You're a resilient one. All it took to get your friend to sign was a little tooth-pulling. You've managed to withstand getting your teeth and nails pulled, severe beatings, and starvation. But I think I've found the solution to this issue right here." She patted the box, and it quivered just a bit. Grimleck eyed it warily.
Slithiria stood and whipped the cloth off with a dramatic flourish. Grimleck, horrified, tried to scramble away in fear. But alas, his bindings held. It wasn't a box at all, it was a cage. Full of rats.
Slithiria patted it fondly again. "These little fellas are just ravenous. And they're just dying to meet you. See here? This little hatch in the bottom will swing open when I stick it on your empty skull. Then the rats will have their way with you. It will be so fascinating to see of your eye sockets are large enough for them to burrow inside."
Grimleck found himself picturing that in his head as Slithiria lifted the crate and brought it up toward Grimleck's head. He screamed in terror. "NO! STOP! I'LL DO IT, I'LL SIGN, JUST GET THEM AWAY FROM ME, PLEASE!"
Slithiria giggled with delight and set the cage down next to Grimleck, who tried to put as much space between himself and it as possible (which wasn't much). Slithiria grabbed a bit of parchment, a quill, and a small wooden bowl. She set the parchment down in front of Grimleck on the floor, who had seen it before.
"With my blood I do swear my life to Slithiria Deathscale until the end, upon pain of torture and death."
Slithiria took a knife made of bone, cut the ropes binding one of Grimleck's arms, then cut a gash in his hand. Grimleck, who had become rather numb to such mundane pain lately, made no sound. Slithiria squeezed his hand, and blood dripped down into the little wooden bowl. She then forced the quill into his hand. "Sign your name."
Trembling, Grimleck wrote his name at the bottom of the page. The signature glowed red for a moment, and Slithiria grinned broadly. She held out a hand toward the rats, which shriveled up and died. She then turned that same hand on Grimleck, who felt his bones mend. She cut his other hand free and let him stand up.
"Welcome to the Bloodsworn. Your club is on the table. I want you to take your friend and head out. Bring someone else back here, I don't care who. My servants will accompany you, should you require aid." The three patchwork corpses lumbered up to Grimlech.
Still quivering, the Troll left to do Slithiria's bidding. She watched them leave with a very self satisfied expression. This would be but the first stepping stone on her road to greatness.
Ongoing roleplay and fiction.
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