tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Drow's Dilemma Ep. 73: Rebirth

A Drow's Dilemma Ep. 73: Rebirth

byDrowsDilemma©

Author's Note:

A Drow's Dilemma began as a one-on-one roleplaying project and has been converted into a chapter-by-chapter format for weekly posting with the permission and assistance from my partner. It will contain a considerable amount of sexual themes such as femdom, lesbian, straight, 'reverse' rape, BDSM, group sex, romance, and other themes. The main goal of the story, however, is to tell an epic tale of adventures, gods and goddesses, fae, and nymphomaniacs. This episode and every episode to come will be available for free on Literotica for the foreseeable future. All characters that engage in sexual or suggestive situations are mentally and sexually mature: the human equivalent of 18 for their race.

*****

Episode 73: Rebirth

"She was very moving," Selene agreed with Goelon after he made his remark on Althaia's post-execution speech.

The arcanist also looked discomforted by how much the speech had moved her, but not so much guilty. Her discomfort got worse; The crowd's noise was becoming obnoxious and showed no signs of stopping. The damn fools were going to scream themselves hoarse. Secretly, Selene didn't blame them. But it didn't change the fact that it hurt her sensitive ears. The mage turned to Goelon and got on her toes to say something in his ear. "I'm going back to our quarters to wait for... this to be over. Care to join me?"

The Ghost King was more than happy to follow Selene into the castle. "I cannot go too far though," he said grouchily. "I need Althaia to restore me into Caleldir. She damaged us rather badly when she turned him into me, and that makes this form unstable. I am liable to either die for real or start dusting people pretty soon." So, he stepped just inside, away from the furor.

"Fine, as long as I get get away from the infernal cheering," Selene responded. The mage did not go all the way up to their rooms as she said she would. Instead, she stayed with Goelon and quietly waited in the relative relief from the noise for Althaia to come help Goelon. It probably wasn't the safest place to be when he thought he might have to start 'dusting people' soon, but she was confident that he wouldn't hurt her.

Tsabdrin and Ashyr, on the other hand, stayed for Althaia despite this discomfort they experienced. They, too, had been moved by the last part of her speech despite their natural drow cynicism. But they, unlike the crowd, got to enjoy her presence afterward. They were also quite a bit more attached to Althaia than Selene and (presumably) Goelon were.

Althaia did not expect quite the uproar that her speech had caused, and wondered briefly about the flower petals. That was a good touch, though, whoever had caused it. She was too tired to really try to calm them, and instead just gave them a smile and made her way to Tsabdrin and Ashyr. "Help me inside as subtly as you can," she croaked. "I am about to collapse. And I need to revive Caleldir before I do."

Tsabdrin and Ashyr quickly came to Althaia's aid. Subtlety was a little difficult with them being slightly shorter than she was, but they jointly managed it without the crowd noticing. It helped that the view to the front door was blocked by the platform.

The three of them made it inside, Althaia put a glowing hand on Goelon, and fell unconscious. Caleldir caught her. The drow rangers expected their paladin to pass out when she healed Goelon into Caleldir, so they assisted in making sure that she didn't fall.

For her part, Selene quickly assessed the situation before her own hand glowed, and she buffed Caleldir with Bull's Strength. "Lets walk and talk; we need to get her out of the servant's sight," Selene told them.

Caleldir thanked Selene and the others for their assistance with the unconscious paladin. Althaia was a tall woman, and could be quite heavy. Caleldir was not an invalid, nor was he weak by civilian standards, but by the reckoning of most adventurers he was quite frail. But not anymore. Now he was as strong as a bull, which made carrying Althaia quite a bit easier. It was no longer necessary for him to hand her off to one of the others. "You are right, let us walk. It is better that people not see her like this."

"Anyway, I seemed to have missed Althaia's speech. It must have been quite an event if it resulted in her half-dying. How was it?" Caleldir asked.

"It was amazing," Tsabdrin told Caleldir with an excited grin. "You can still hear them cheering, can't you? They'd follow her into the abyss if she asked it of them." Heat rose to his dark face when he realized that he sounded a bit too excited about the whole situation. It had been mere days, but he was growing strangely fond of the Paladin.

"I wouldn't be surprised if one of her gods was channeling through her," Selene said, ignoring her brother. "It would explain her exhaustion. Tsabdrin, make sure food and water is brought to our room." She ordered casually. The mage didn't even look to make sure that Tsabdrin was taking care of it. She didn't have to, of course. He immediately jogged away to find the kitchens. His sister probably wanted it for herself, but he was doing it for Althaia.

"It would seem that you are correct. Aelsuna was channeling a good deal of the divine through her. I think that she was temporarily a Holy creature. Still, divine assistance or not, she seems to have done her job. At very least we will not have to worry about people rebelling against her." Given the obvious enthusiasm outside, Caleldir's remark was a droll understatement.

Caleldir glanced over at Faust, invisible to everyone but him. "Hey, Faust. How is death treating you? In my experience, dying is not very fun. I am used to it now, though. It is more difficult the first time."

"Dying... didn't feel like much. Your other was merciful. Unsettling, but merciful. And it is unwise to speak to me in public." Beyond showing brief concern about Althaia, the ghost's gaze was mostly turned inward. Clearly, he wasn't quite done brooding. He was dead, after all. What else could he do?

Caleldir merely shrugged. "You are currently bound to my soul," he noted. "I can speak to you mentally, and you would hear it as words." He stopped talking. [Like this.] He continued. [But no one was around then, and this sort of mental link is disconcerting, so I like to avoid it.] He sighed. "It is interesting that Goelon bound you in this way. Actually, I could force you to manifest, and then order you to attack as either a poltergeist or a spectral warrior. I will not, though. But if assassins attack me, I may manifest you and ask that you deal with them. You are a better fencer than I."

Faust's only response was a noncommittal grunt. He didn't look happy about it, but then again he was unhappy at the world at that moment, so his expression likely didn't indicate much.

All in all, they managed to get Althaia back to their quarters without much trouble, and without being seen. Leaving her sleeping, Caleldir turned back into himself and went to find Artur, Dria, and the rest. He was sure that they had some thoughts on events. Ashyr and Selene elected to follow Caleldir to go find the leaders. The last the party saw them, they were outside. Artur had taken the stage again and was directing people to return to their homes, to use the night as a time of mourning and contemplation. Tomorrow, they would celebrate their new and glorious leader. So it was that when Caleldir and the female drow exited the building, the crowd was dispersing and Artur, Zarag, his siblings, Dria, and several of the other druids were watching them leave with satisfaction.

Meanwhile, Tsabdrin had successfully ordered food, but found their rooms empty aside from the sleeping Althaia. He didn't mind so much; they were probably with the leaders. Some of which were awkward to be around ever since he'd killed their sister. She got better, but it was the principle of the thing. So he pulled out his book, pulled up a chair next the the bed, and read while he waited for something interesting to happen.

"Your friend really is wonderful!" Artur told Caleldir when the old troop leader spotted him. "That speech was even better than the one she gave the other day. With a little help in the beginning, everything should go better for her than it would any of us." The rest with him nodded in agreement and relief. "Where is she, anyway? Hadia -- who was reportedly Faust's assistant -- is back, and she was looking for her. I think she wants her job back. Or something, I don't know. I couldn't get her to talk slow enough."

"Althaia is pretty gifted." Caleldir admitted. "At the moment, though, she is resting. That speech took a lot out of her. As you can probably imagine. I am sure she will be more than willing to give Hadia her job back once she is active again." He smiled. "Hyperactivity is a trait of halflings, I gather. But yeah, if Hadia was talking to you about Althaia, I would imagine that she would want her old position back. Which would be very helpful to Althaia, since she knows nothing of how to run a city, for all her speech-giving genius."

He glanced around at the dispersing ground. "Given the reactions here, I am really sad that I ended up missing it all. Seems like quite an event. Although... people seem rather mournful and contemplative. Was that the intended reaction?"

"He gave a eulogy for Faust after he was executed," Artur explained. "It was absolutely beautiful, truth be told. None of us know how much of a philanthropist Faust was before his mind was taken. It made everyone here a bit sad, I think, to see how he had fallen. Possession and insanity are terrible, horrifying things."

"I confess to not really being aware of what Faust was like before I came to Port Afron," Caleldir admitted. "Gurzan had told me that he was known as being honorable and upright, but not much more than that." He sighed. "Well, it is good at least that Faust's memory will not be completely black. It would not do for people to be maligning him all the time. Certain people might find it unpleasant." [Eh, Faust?] Caleldir had difficulty viewing ghosts as being really dead. Well, he knew that they were by definition, but emotionally it did not affect him.

"Moving on from the speech, any news on the rest of our forces?" Caleldir asked. "The city seems pretty well pacified, but are there any outstanding problems?"

"There seem to be no problems to solve today," Zarag reported. "Our peoples begin to go home. Others will find homes here. Althaia calmed their anger for the city." Dria nodded in agreement; the same was happening with the druids. "If there are other problems, we have not heard them. They will be for Althaia to solve later, and we will help her if she wants it."

"I am glad to hear that nothing has come up. For a teenager, Althaia is remarkably mature sometimes." Caleldir smiled awkwardly. "Apparently, she is eighteen years old, but has been an adult for ten years. Nymphs mature pretty fast, I gather." He glanced over at Zarag. "Not that you would find that odd, actually," he admitted. Orcs were known to have similarly brief childhoods.

--

Around that time, the bright-haired halfling showed up at Faust's rooms. Tsabdrin wasn't sure how long Althaia needed to sleep, so he turned her away with instructions to come to find Althaia tomorrow. Shortly after that, the food came.

Just a little while after, Althaia shifted in her sleep, then sat up with a yawn. She smiled when she saw Tsabdrin. "Good afternoon, dear." She said sweetly. "I see that you ordered food. I hope that you asked for a lot, because I am starving!"

Tsabdrin let out a short laugh. Remembering how hoarse she had been after her speech, he immediately handed her the glass of water. "I've seen you eat. I ordered a lot. We may need more for when my sister comes back. Want to eat in bed, or at the table?"

Althaia giggled a little, batting her eyes at Tsabdrin flirtatiously. "Now, I would pretend to be an invalid and trick you into feeding me, except you already know Paladins cannot get sick, so it would be a rather obvious farce. More importantly though, I am hungry enough where someone else feeding me would just make me impatient. Did you know that partly channelling an aspect of a goddess is famishing work? Well, it is."

She moved over to the table. "I will feel better once I have eaten and slept for a night." She yawned. "Tomorrow we make preparations for reincarnating Faust. I still think that we should name him after an Archangel once revived. Phanuel is nice and strong, but Raphael the healer is pretty good too. Or perhaps Jegudiel, patron of leadership and hard work..." She shrugged, then said the blessing over the food before starting to dig in.

--

The night passed, and the morning dawned. Although R.I.S.A. was not ready for the ritual yet, still recovering her power from the divine spell she had used, she would be ready on the morrow, so Althaia directed the others to prepare for the ritual. She was busy all that day, meeting with Hadia and promptly-reenlisting the Halfling's help.

Hadia, it turned out, managed to direct all her hyperactivity towards being incredibly efficient with scheduling all the little things that a leader of a city should do. She kept detailed notes of what needed to happen, and was much easier to understand on paper. Often she would simply flash Althaia her notes instead of trying to explain them, a habit she formed after too many instances of people not understanding her. The halfing made it so that Althaia would have plenty of free time to pursue things that she was interested in. Faust used to spend extra time to meet with the people, and suggested that Althaia do the same.

Althaia let slip to the halfling that they were working on reviving Faust in another form to give the old Lord a second chance at life, on the condition of absolute secrecy. Given that the Halfling had been quite loyal to the tiefling, Althaia gambled that the knowledge of what they were doing would galvanize her into being even more helpful.

Hadia was quite pleased to be let in on the big secret -- as long as they promised to revived the old Faust, and not the more recent one who "forgot how to respect us little people."

Althaia was quite sure to let Hadia know that yes, they were indeed reviving the old personality of Faust, for what that was worth. "He will be an Aasimar, a part celestial, rather than a part-fiend tiefling, so he should be immune to that sort of insanity and possession." She stated.

"I am working on making him flat out immune to any mental status effects." Caleldir chimed in. "I think that I have devised a way for him to have Mind Blank as a permanent trait. Truesight too. Between the two of them, any effect that can be described as either Enchantment or Illusion will be useless against him. Flat out immunity to two entire schools of magic. Also, it is redundant, but Protection From Evil-"

"You have done admirable work, Caleldir," Althaia said sweetly. "But Hadia is no specialist. Trouble her not with the specifics. Suffice it to say that new and improved Faust will be invulnerable to what did him in the last time."

"I see that you have taken to copying my distinctive speech patterns now," Caleldir noted.

The nymph just smiled. "I look up to you, you know."

Caleldir did not know, and did not take the statement nearly as seriously as Althaia meant it.

Selene, of course, heartily disapproved of telling the talkative halfling the secret. But the secret wasn't circulating yet. Althaia assured Selene that Hadia would not tell anyone, firstly because if she told before the revival, they would stop (well, delay it and change plans) and Hadia would not jeopardize that, and later because Faust himself would keep her quiet. Or whatever name Faust later choose to go by. Althaia was still insisting on Phanuel, and Faust had not protested, so the name had stuck.

The drow mage relented after that. At least Hadia was very useful in acquiring a lot of the items they needed for the ritual. She personally saw to getting a vial of the Aasimar, Gailwen's blood. The merchant paladin would have personally come, but the settlements surrounding Port Afron needed her to help with the monumental work that needed to be done.

Caleldir spent a good deal of time pestering Faust, mostly because, with the ghost bound to him, there was nowhere to go but that Faust had to be there as well. Caleldir did speak on a lot of largely irrelevant things, or pass messages from Faust to other people (Hadia, for instance), but a lot of his queries were on the topic of reviving him. Caleldir could not actually contribute much to the ritual, but he had worked on the Geneforge and had recently brought back the schematics on how to approximate its effects without direct access to it, and so was the one in charge of designing Faust's new form. Because Caleldir had a sort of mad artist thing going when he started on things like this, his tendencies were to try to design with as many awesome abilities as possible, but there was a limit on practicality. Still, Faust did have a front seat to his new character sheet being rolled up, so to speak, level adjustment be damned. Because whatever those old RPG rulebooks said, real life did not have levels, nor racial level adjustments. Just tendencies by some races to rely on natural rather than learned abilities.

People at the castle also had to worry about the holiday. The halfling set up a more stately party at the castle with the rich and important people of the city who would feel slighted if they didn't at least share one or two polite words with their new leader. Hadia made it as painless as possible, and kept the interactions to short greetings, followed by a word or two about the weather or some other such harmless subject. Nothing really interesting happened, which was exactly how things were supposed to go. It only took an hour of Althaia's time, and it satisfied the people who attended. Thus, the second night passed.

Ashyr didn't spend those two nights with the party. She was practically useless in this reincarnation stuff anyway. The party wasn't informed of where she went, but there were rumors of a drow with a wolf and one of the lead half-orcs wreaking a bit of havoc at the city-wide celebration. There may or may not have been a short, crazy-haired human there. A pair of people called the Verdoon Brothers were also somehow involved, but no one quite knew how or why. There was also a tiefling who wasn't Faust (obviously, since he was dead, may his soul rest in peace). No two people told the same story when the sun rose to blight their hungover minds the next morning.

Selene stayed with Caleldir or in the library the entire time. Tsabdrin, too, stayed at the castle when he wasn't making sure his companions were fed and exercised. He couldn't be of much help, but he happily played errand boy for the people who were doing all the work. He was especially attentive of Althaia, but mostly was just ordered around by his sister.

Faust had to make a great deal of effort to overcome the blackness that had settled over his spiritual mind to pay attention to the information and opinions that Caleldir needed from him. He insisted that his new self be as much like his old self in skill and ability. As for appearance... well, he didn't seem to give a damn; they could do whatever, as long as they didn't make him look completely ridiculous. He failed to define what ridiculous meant to him, though.

It seemed that only Althaia and Caleldir had strong opinions on the final result. Selene and Ungrai both seemed to be in this largely for the magical parts, whether it was simply the joy of research, as Althaia figured Selene was, or gobbling up a lot of long forgotten secrets that Caleldir, being the Ghost Librarian he was, tended to casually dispense at a near-constant rate while on a project like this. Althaia figured that the latter category was likely Ungrai's motivation

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