Surfacing Ch. 02byEtaski©
Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Etaski 2013
This chapter is written to be a "companion chapter" to the first. These "Underdark" chapters will appear as needed, though the greater number of chapters planned are set on the Surface. Nonetheless, they will share the same name. ;) Chapter 3 will return to Sirana.
Warning: As my Drow are still as evil as they can be entertaining, please note that this chapter describes more gender-based violence than is typical.
Chapter 2: Underneath
A green-eyed Drow sat on a saddled lizard just outside of the ward boundary surrounding the Wizard's Tower. Her normal Priestess garb, headdress, and jewelry were all missing as she borrowed more nondescript forms of dress. While her face was placid, the subtle set to her shoulders revealed an unusual tension for what was thus far a long-time and rewarding game.
"It's clear," she said so lowly that even a whisper would have carried farther and seemed more harsh amid the barren stone. "I can't be gone long, Varessa. I am beneath several daggers right now, you know this."
The Elder Red Sister nodded, sitting on her own lizard and passing her a small, leather pouch. The Priestess accepted and tucked it efficiently away. All their actions were probably—hopefully, tauntingly—visible to Phaelous from the Tower. As always they chose not to sign their communication even as they were within sight. It was part of the game, always at a different view from inside the Tower.
D'Shea murmured now almost without moving her lips. "I need his name, Tarra."
Lelinahdara sighed. "Easier said than done. No Priestess knew all the names of the Consorts. Only Juliran and Wilsira knew that one's name, and Wilsira didn't have the chance to pass it on before you killed her, otherwise Auranka would have extracted it. The queen didn't notice, though, he's supposed to be dead with all her others."
The Elder stared at her. "Not while he's still of use to us."
The Priestess nodded slowly. "Then I will research it as I can. If I discover something, I will tell you."
"Will you be looking in the Abyss?" D'Shea asked.
Lelinahdara shook her head slightly. "It's difficult to explain, Varessa, and you know I would not spill all our secrets like that. I will tell you that they had been fully Drow up until when the taint from Kerse's sire entered the ritual. I assure you that the Consort now residing in your dungeon is not demonic, even having a name of power."
D'Shea nodded acceptance, burying that particular concern for now. "He is not likely persuaded to tell me?"
"He can't," the Priestess said flatly. "He is not able. Not without a ritual that we would have a very difficult time performing with none the wiser right now and so many watching."
D'Shea grunted softly. "What kind of ritual?"
"It is like what Wilsira was trying with that young Noble's unborn at Itlaun. Perhaps later we can try, if it is the only way. I wish to know his true name as well... We should be wary of a Consort who survives his Priestesses, Varessa. He is linked to no one now. That has never happened to my knowledge. It will not help his stability; they are not used to being truly alone."
"It has never happened," the Red Sister repeated. "Do you have any idea what to expect?"
The Priestess turned her head slightly away from the Tower. "No. He may wither away, or he may grow volatile...or perhaps something else. He was one of the stronger Consorts I noticed, the reason for which I think is obvious."
D'Shea nodded. "The same reason he still breathes."
"You'll no doubt discover just how strong or weak is that connection with your son. They have not been in the same room for well over a century."
"You forget House Itlaun," D'Shea commented. "There's been recent contact well before Kerse abducted Sirana. Shyntre was the one to push the idea of taking her to the Consort for healing."
"If there was contact, then Sirana didn't report fully to you," the other observed. "Or she didn't know of the contact at all."
The Elder's face hardened. "If she did not know of any connection at all, then she would not be watching for it. But truly, do you think the Consort would have stayed away, with Shyntre and Sirana both in the same place?"
"If he knew what was good for him, he would," Lelinahdara smiled. "But they often don't when they become distracted. You know males."
The Elder slowly let out a breath. "So obvious in hindsight, Tarra. I can only blame my tight focus on Wilsira."
The Priestess nodded in understanding. "You were as close as you'd ever been to being free. Those two boys haven't so much as acknowledged the other's existence in decades. It does not surprise me that we missed that."
The inclusion as a pair softened the Elder's face. "Perhaps Sirana could have reached his name now."
Her long-time ally tilted her head. "That psychic bruise left by the dwarf, you mean? Which we failed to extricate. Has she gained more control since raping the unwitting tutor, the female Duergar?"
D'Shea nodded. "It would seem. Sirana has also had direct contact with an Illithid since then. She used that sapphire a second time to give Jaunda a suggestion that would wear off some time after the second audience with the queen." Her copper eyes locked intently with the Priestess's green ones. "It worked, Tarra."
White brows rose up very high. "What had Jaunda forgotten, but now remembers?"
D'Shea shook her head. "Not now, Tarra. Know only that it worked. It actually worked...I thought perhaps it had been as much my power as hers when I found a way to break my silence through her. It was so much like the rituals you and I had been performing to purge the imprint from her. But...what she did to Jaunda, she did on her own."
Lelinahdara released a slow breath with a shake of her head. "And we lost her, thanks to the queen. That must be eating away your guts, Varessa."
D'Shea grunted. "Better that than to have the queen know. You can well imagine the ways She may respond to such...potential."
Lelinahdara's green eyes glinted with excitement at the statement before she blinked and looked at the ground. "A pity. Perhaps it is best to forget about her? She won't survive her task."
Even muttering, the Elder's tone had conviction. "The Valsharess thinks she will return."
The other blinked in surprise. "Oh?"
"She set a compulsion on her," D'Shea elaborated with a touch of bitterness. "Sirana tried to tell me something about her dreams but could not. Why do that to her unless it may come into play? Unless the queen had a vision about it?"
Tarra rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Hm. Or She simply didn't want the young one babbling to you prior to leaving."
D'Shea shook her head slightly. "That, certainly, but...no, my instinct tells me it was something else."
"I'll defer to your instinct, then. It certainly has its track record. If you can provide a strong link to Sirana, I may be able to divine something of use to you. Something more specific than indirect hints on the queen's motives."
D'Shea held her thoughts for another moment before nodding. "Let me consider. For now, I wish to learn that Consort's name."
"As do I," the Priestess repeated with a smirk. "Given time, after I deal with a few rivals—" Sharp, green eyes locked onto her associate's expression as it changed in a very familiar manner. "Varessa? What has happened?"
"I must return to the cloister," Elder D'Shea said. "Someone has entered solitary confinement."
His heart had begun thumping loudly in his ears, seemingly out of a void, and he trembled uncontrollably for a few moments. The Drow managed to grip the edges of his desk and shove his chair backwards to get his feet, using the ornate, polished furniture for support as he breathed heavily and blinked until he could again see the candlelit chamber the queen had assigned to him and the book in front of him.
"What was that...?" Shyntre whispered to himself, lifting his hands to make sure there was no blood, no raked skin beneath his fingernails. They were clean as any queen would expect.
During just those few heartbeats, just those few breaths, he'd felt like he was being attacked. He had had dreams before, memories of the Red Sisters and Wilsira and her demonic son revisited on him, and he knew how to handle them while trying to rest. Never before had it happened while he'd simply been sitting, reading, completely awake...to experience a complete blackout where all he knew was the overwhelming surge of fear yet was unable to see the threat.
Now he looked around, and everything was as it had been at the beginning of the eve, the same even as when he'd first awoke that cycle. He's been in this bedchamber without leaving for several cycles now, regular meals brought to him by silent servants, and by all appearances the Valsharess was not in any hurry to interview Her new resident, to tell him what his purpose was. If he hadn't had his books transferred with the rest of his Tower belongings, he'd be going mad with boredom.
He couldn't be so weak as to be having waking flashbacks of something he'd not only accepted but learned to turn around and wield himself, could he?
"Can't accept that," he murmured, moving slowly to sit on the ridiculously soft bed not too far from the desk, leaving his book open where it was.
The queen and the Priestesses, the Red Sisters...even those backstabbing gossips at the Tower would only use fits like this to dig farther into him, and he wouldn't let them in. He only wished pain and failure for all of them, in all they ever tried to do. The City could collapse and dissolve into Chaos, he didn't care.
He only wished for a way to escape.
He wished he could have gone with Rausery and Sirana...he need not even come back down here. Ever. He had seen such teasing glimpses of the Surface before...he could find a place to live there, he knew it.
Shyntre swallowed as this led his thoughts directly to the Consort, the one Drow that remained the single reason, the chain and the weight, of why he hadn't made the attempt to exile himself.
The wizard resented the ritual magic that bound them, yet he had no one to blame for it but himself. He blamed others for every part of his existence, except for that one. He could probably think of a reason to hold to, to explain it away or place the pretty breeder in the wrong... yet he didn't.
The Consort hadn't done anything wrong, hadn't planned it...Shynre had done it, without fully understanding what he'd been doing. He'd told Sirana that he had "tricked" the Consort into telling his true name. That was more or less the truth...but it was worthwhile to note that the Consort's name had never passed his own lips. Yet Shyntre had heard it somewhere so deep it would never go away while he lived.
If there was one possible, tiny quality that set him apart from those females he hated, it was that he could still recognize and leave true innocence unsullied.
It was rare enough in their City.
If Shyntre thought that the Consort...if he thought that "Auslan" could survive outside the City, he might try to steal him away. The females who kept him didn't deserve him.
His best chance of that, however, may have just left... never to return from the mission the Valsharess had given her. The pellets he'd made and hoped Rausery had passed to Sirana seemed so paltry compared to the aid he really wanted to provide.
He'd given her all he knew in their studies, as relatively little as it was compared to Rausery's experience. Even with Jael and Gaelan being such horrid distractions in that small room in the cloister, he had tried to impress on her all the wonder of the above and he thought that she had the curiosity to grow to appreciate it once she got up there.
She was pregnant, too. By Lolth's cold, left tit, how had that happened? He had thought...he had believed that he had broken the link with the Abyss. It had taken almost all he had at the time to do it, with added help. Yet a normal healing potion wouldn't work, and Auslan had needed to choose something else. He had needed to cleanse her.
Shyntre hadn't intended to put that decision in his hands. He only knew that in sending her broken body to Auslan, he could trust the purity of the potion and the competency of the healer. It had been necessary; Sirana had been so far gone and he trusted no one else.
He'd missed something, though, and in forcing the healer to take desperate measures, Shyntre had put the Consort right where he was now: surrounded by Red Sisters whose tastes he knew only too well, and directly in the hands of his ruthless, powerful mother.
The wizard weaved slightly, glad he was sitting on the bed as his head became light again and he rubbed his temple. He blinked and was amazed at how much time had passed, how far down the candle had burned.
It finally surfaced in his thoughts that how he was feeling now might be related to the very subject of his thoughts.
The last few eves that Shyntre had willingly stayed in solitary confinement with Auslan, before relocating to the Palace, he'd been able to communicate some, though his own tension at being spied upon had prevented as much true sharing as he'd wanted. He simply could not believe there was anywhere in the cloister that was blind and deaf to the doings of any prisoner. Or any male.
Qivni had laughed at the notion of putting them directly across from each other, but Sirana had helped at least to make sure his cell had an angled to view Auslan, barely, if they both pressed to the bars. They could hear each other with no trouble, but neither of them was much for projecting his voice openly, and it was more efficient to sign than to whisper.
*My second Priestess is dead,* Auslan had chosen to say first, the motions minimized as much as they could be inside the drab, grey cloak he'd been given to cover and warm himself.
Shyntre had nodded his head but refrained from commenting since it would only be vitriol. Wilsirathon had been nearly as bad as his own mother.
Seeing that the wizard wasn't following his train of thought, the Consort had added, *Only you remember now.*
The wizard had caught up quickly, then, blinking and feeling something cold, tight, and not at all pleasant clutch at his chest. The Consort meant that he was the only one alive who knew his divine name. Shyntre forced himself to sign slowly despite his fear.
*What does that mean?*
Auslan had looked around as if trying to see or sense if anyone was watching, listening, before he answered. *Your magic may grow stronger, or it may shift its nature. Or both. Be aware. Be careful.*
Be careful, indeed. So many ways to draw unwanted attention in the Palace...
*What of your magic?* he asked the Consort.
*It is stronger. I can already feel it when I sleep. It comes from you.*
*What if...one of us dies?* Shyntre signed next.
Auslan had shrugged slightly. *More change.*
He hadn't liked the sound of that, recalling the Priestess's withered face and body in that tiny audience room, such a short time after Kerse's death. *Loss of power, like Wilsira?*
*Possible. May gain instead.*
Shyntre had hardly had time to reflect on that—whether becoming more powerful with the Consort's death would in any way make up for it—when he noticed a strong somatic response in his childhood companion. The Consort's throat had flashed as he swallowed, seeming to recall something, and he looked down even as he signed close to his chest.
*Also, you must know, it is important...Sirana may remember.*
Shyntre had been slouching in his pondering but jerked his back straight now. His hands did the equivalent of shouting. *You told her your name?!*
Auslan was immediately defensive. *I cannot, you know that! And you told her of my visions, Shyntre, you have no ground to stand! We can only hope she is sent away from here before she tells D'Shea!*
The wizard stilled his hands and scowled; they had been silent for a long while as they both stewed.
*Two questions,* he had finally signed.
After a moment, Auslan signed that he'd hear and answer them.
*How is it Sirana might 'remember' at all?*
*During the healing,* the Consort signed almost curtly. *Somehow we bonded, like you and I did. But she does not remember.*
Shyntre pursed his lips. *Can you feel the bond now?*
Auslan shook his head. *No. I feel only you. I am not certain it held, but it was there briefly. She drew me out, I knew her, but then she vanished.*
If the scholar wasn't already used to some of the abstract ways the Consort chose to describe things he saw or felt, he'd be asking what in the Abyss that was supposed to mean?
*And if she remembers your name?*
Auslan shrugged again, this time belying high tension. *The balance will change again. We will feel it.*
*She is not a mage or Priestess.*
*That is not a requirement. She is Drow; she has enough inherent magic.*
Letting out a breath, Shyntre preluded his second question. *I assume Sirana told you what I said to her?*
*Yes. You wanted her help to protect me.*
Shyntre did not remember any other time in his life being so shocked, so powerless, and so afraid for anyone besides himself as when Auslan was being dragged to a prison cell within the cloister at his own mother's order. In hindsight it hadn't been the best move to tell Sirana about the visions, but at least he had known she owed the Consort a debt of gratitude that she was likely to acknowledge.
Of course, if he'd known Auslan had gotten her pregnant at the same time, he would have thought twice about divulging that information. He had been amazed how well she'd hidden all of it...or maybe he'd just been blind at the time.
*How did that subject arise? Please, tell me. She must have asked you about the visions themselves. What did you say?*
Haltingly, both Drow more careful with their hands, Auslan had described to him Sirana's visit, relayed her own questions...and that she had had the same two dreams as Auslan. Shyntre had latched on to it, thinking finally, finally this was the vision that would be clear in its reasons, the answer to that first, brief warning about a sacrifice and a door to the Abyss being opened now or a thousand years from now under the Sun...
However the Consort had suppressed that optimism quickly with experience, and almost as if he'd known it would shock the wizard down to his core.
Auslan had told him: *Those were two of several variations, Shyntre, and they could be wrong. Events are still changing even if we may be moving toward the Sun somehow. The telling of this for me is that while I knew she would become pregnant, I thought you would be the sire, not me.*
Shyntre had not liked one bit how tightly those words, and that mental image, had seized his mind sitting in that cell. He had so enjoyed the last several times when Sirana and he had coupled, in his Tower room as they'd struggled and shared secrets before the second trial, again in the study room in front of the other two Sisters, knowing for a fact that, of all possible Drow, his brother in all but blood had already seeded her womb. He had no worries for filling her twat with his cream the way he'd always wanted.
At her trials, he'd been restricted to her mouth and netherhole—which had its reward at the time but, truthfully, playing that pregnancy game with Sirana against Wilsira and Kerse had only caused more fantasies to float through his mind. He entertained himself with thoughts of just who might eventually breed the lusty, careless, and very young Red Sister.