Arunae has the stark white hair and red eyes common to most drow. She stands 5 feet tall and weights 95 pounds. Along with her normal adventuring gear she always wears a black wool cloak with a hood that she pulls up to cover her head any time she is outside during the daytime or when she is attempting to disguise her drow heritage. Like most drow she favors black, purple, dark blues, reds and greens for her clothing. She cares nothing for jewelry or other ornamentation and it's a good bet that if she is wearing any it is either magical or serves some practical purpose.
Despite serving a deity whose domain is Life, Arunae is quiet and dour, at times even angry. Because of her past she has a burning animosity for clerics and followers of evil deities and pursues hindering evil faiths and destroying their clergy at any chance possible. She rarely speaks when she deems it unnecessary. She is quick to anger and slow to forgive, but this anger usually takes the form of a quiet malevolence burning just beneath the surface. Despite all the hardship she has experienced and witnessed Arunae has the capacity to display sometimes overwhelming amounts of compassion and empathy, especially with children. She is a fierce defender of the young (especially the defenseless or homeless) and of homes and is willing to fearlessly put herself in harms way in defense of innocents. She has a strong inclination towards charity for those who need it, but only if they are willing to help themselves. She has no compassion for those on hard times or in bad situations as a result of their own bad decisions (unless innocent children are also effected) and does not suffer fools or foolishness in any way. Her primary (and possibly only) motivation in life is the destruction of evil in any form it takes, especially if that evil threatens innocents. She adventures not for wealth, glory, or status, but because it gives her the opportunity to fight and destroy evil and maintain a nomadic lifestyle.
Due to her past she has no sense of home and desires not to stay in one place too long. In fact, after more than a few weeks in one hamlet, town, or city she becomes very uncomfortable and feels a gnawing desire to move on that grows greater as time passes.
Since she has no home and cares nothing for wealth her only reasons for acquiring money are to improve the weapons, armor, and gear that she uses to fight evil, and to occasionally give charitably to those who are truly in need. She carries all of her possessions with her at all times and is loathe to be apart from her gear for any length of time. Like all drow she has an affinity for magic items and desires to possess as many useful trinkets, scrolls, weapons, and potions as she can reasonably carry on her person. She has possessed a number of minor magical items in her life, but due to circumstances she either sold them or they were stolen.
In Combat Edit
Due to both her drow heritage and her training, Arunae prefers light swords, specifically short swords or rapiers, for melee. Her fighting style is that of a duelist. She fights with a flourish that is both beautiful and deadly, combining graceful sword strokes and feints with quick, precision strikes to vital organs or weak points in armor. Her size and fighting style make her prefer to fight enemies one-on-one rather than taking on several at a time. Although skilled with both hand and light crossbows, as well as throwing daggers, Arunae prefers to attack enemies at range with her spells, especially Sacred Flame. Thus, she may not even possess a ranged weapon at any particular time. She prefers to engage and take down enemies quickly in melee to draw combat to a conclusion as soon as possible, but can swiftly change roles, dropping back to heal her allies or cast support spells if a battle starts to drag out.
Blood of the Abyss Edit
Arunae's mother, Zin'Triel, was a priestess of Lolth and member of the Auvrymtor (which means "Blood of the Abyss" in Elvish) noble house in the Underdark city of Eryndlyn. Her house had fought a cold war with another Lolthite house, the Baen'Tiels, for nearly two centuries, with each house quietly assassinating members of the other house, hindering trade in any way they could get away with, and quietly discrediting each other. House Auvrymtor had very few priestesses (Zin'Triel was one of only three living), but had produced an unusually large number of warlocks. This caused other houses to see them as having lost the favor of Lolth since true priestesses of Lolth were few and the magical might of house Auvrymtor came from the house warlocks making pacts with demons of the Lower Planes rather than from Lolth herself. Dissent against house Auvrymtor grew amongst the other noble houses until this dissent culminated in an overt assault on the Auvrymtor house by their rival, house Baen'Tiel (with the blessing and support of most of the other Lolthite noble houses) which destroyed the compound and killed the entire noble family except for Zin'Triel. Zin'Triel escaped death due to the machinations of house Baen'Tiel. Leading up to the assault, house Baen'Tiel used a spy within house Auvrymtor to plant the information that one of Baen'Tiels high priestesses would be on a hunt in the wilds of the underdark with very little security surrounding her. In truth, this was a ploy to pull some members of Auvrymtor's family and guard away from the compound to reduce the compound's strength for the impending assault. The ploy worked. Auvrymtor's matron mother, Kaelress, ordered Zin'Triel, who was a few months pregnant, to lead an assassination party into the underdark where they learned the Baen'Tiel priestess would be hunting. Zin'Triel assembled a party consisting of herself, her magically-compelled dwarven slave and servant, Bors (who was an adventuring rogue prior to being captured by drow during an adventure and sold into slavery), a house scout and ranger, Delfin, two house warlocks and a number of house foot soldiers. They made their way into the wilds outside of Eryndlyn and set up a trap in a location where they expected the Baen'Tiel priestess to stumble upon them in her hunt. Unexpectedly they were surprised and set upon by a large contingent of hired mercenaries who set about slaughtering the Auvrymtor party. Though Zin'Triel and the others fought valiantly it became clear that they could not win, and Zin'Triel ordered the remaining members of her party to cover her retreat. Knowing she could not find her way back to the city alone she ordered Delfin to accompany her in her retreat while the last of their party was slaughtered. Zin'Triel, Bors, and Delfin managed to evade their pursuers in the underdark for several days before finally making their way back to Eryndlyn via a small tunnel that emerged overlooking much of the city. From here Zin'Triel could see that her house was in ruins. Knowing she would be killed on sight if she were spotted in the city Zin'Triel ordered Delfin to take her someplace safe. When he refused and tried to leave she cast Hold Person on him. While he was helpless she cast a Geas, forcing him to take her "somewhere she could start a new life". Knowing nothing of the wider underdark she was unaware that there were places where the clergy of Lolth did not hold sway. Pouncing on this opportunity, and since the Geas did not specify where Delfin must take her specifically, he led her and Bors through the wilds for several months before finally arriving at the underdark city of Skullport. The Geas completed, Delfin abandoned Zin'Triel at the first opportunity. Zin'Triel was out of her element in Skullport. The clergy of Lolth did not even have a church in the city, races mixed freely as relative equals rather than in a slave/master relationship, and males had as much power and freedom as females. In fact, priestesses of Lolth were looked down upon in the city and were often denied services. When Zin'Triel realized she could never maintain the life she was accustomed to she began searching for a new place where she could again wield the power to which she was entitled. A drow mercenary in a tavern (who was secretly a follower of Vhaeraun, one of Lolth's fiercest rivals) directed the priestess to someplace called "The Promenade", located just outside Skullport, where, he claimed, homeless drow priestesses were welcomed. In truth, The Promenade was home to the local clergy of Eilistraee. The mercenary had hoped Zin'Triel would find the Promenade and be killed by the Eilistraee worshipers. Zin'Triel, having no other options and only days away from giving birth, followed the directions given by the Vhaeraunite and set out for The Promenade.
The Promenade Edit
Zin'Triel and Bors arrived at The Promenade without incident, but Zin'Triel was horrified and furious to learn that the temple was not dedicated to Lolth as she believed. She flew into a rage when she learned the truth and attacked the clerics of Eilistraee, who had brought her in hoping to give her a chance to convert to the worship of their goddess. The priestesses of Eilistraee fought back, incapacitating Bors and pressing Zin'Triel to a wall of the temple, attacking from all sides. Just as they were about to break through her defenses and strike her down Qilue Vendalorn arrived on the scene of the disturbance and ordered the combatants to cease hostilities. The priestesses of Eilistraee backed off and Zin'Triel buckled over, falling to the ground. She was in labor. The priestess of Eilistraee disarmed her and took her to a secure facility where, with the assistance of Qilue herself, they delivered the baby girl, who Zin'Triel named Arunae. She nursed the baby in captivity for several weeks, plotting an escape, but never having the opportunity. Eventually she was brought before Qilue and a gathering of senior Eilistraee priestesses to determine her fate. There she was reunited with Bors, who had been healed by the priestesses and released of his magical bondage to Zin'Triel. The pair were given the option of serve Eilistraee or face the judgement of the assembled council. Bors immediately agreed to serve at the temple in repayment for his freedom. Zin'Triel grudgingly agreed, as well, believing she would be executed if she did not. She would later learn that the council had planned to send her back to Skullport and offer to raise Arunae if she disagreed, but believing that she would be murdered, as was normal for most prisoners in drow society, she decided to pretend to serve willingly, while plotting a way to overthrow the Promenade and kill the priestesses there.
For years Zin'Triel performed menial tasks for the Eilistraeeans. Though she was still a priestess of Lolth, the residents of The Promenade, both drow and non-drow, treated her with respect. Though they kept a close eye on her, they did not closely guard her, and she had a measure of peace, even freedom, that she had never experienced before. She was not prevented from leaving The Promenade, but having no money, gear, or contacts outside the temple she had no motivation to leave. For the first few years she plotted and schemed to kill Qilue and overthrow the temple, but the opportunity never presented itself. Eventually, the place became her home and the influence of Lolth over her began to wane. She stopped being able to receive spells from Lolth and her thoughts started to turn towards Eilistraee and a different life.
Meanwhile, Arunae was growing up in the Promenade, knowing no other life. While her mother worked around the temple during the day the Eilistraeeans raised her and taught her the ways of the Dark Lady. For her own safety she was kept mostly separate from Zin'Triel, which was fine with the Lolthite, who saw her daughter as a liability in her plotting. Arunae, however, enjoyed her life at the Promenade. She learned fencing and swordplay from the priestesses and was truly talented. They taught her about Eilistraee and the Faerunian pantheon, medicine and healing, how to read and write in Common and Elvish, and began preparing her to eventually become a priestess herself. During this time, over a period of several years, Zin'Triel slowly began to turn away from Lolth and towards Eilistraee. The priestesses noticed the genuine change in her and began to bring her into the fold. Also during this time, Bors, who had served at the temple for years, grew somewhat close to Arunae. Their kinship may have been a result of both a shared history in Zin'triel and the fact that the Promenade housed very few dwarves or children. As a result, Bors became something of a mentor to her, teaching her things the priestesses did not, like sleight-of-hand, picking locks, and what life on the surface world was like. Eventually, though, he longed for something more and left the Promenade to return to the surface. Arunae travelled with him and several residents of the promenade to nearby Skullport and saw him off. This was Arunae's first visit to Skullport, and it would be instrumental in her future survival...
Death of The Promenade Edit
A few months after the trip to Skullport several monumental events occurred in a short period of time. First, Eilistraee slew her brother, Vhaeraun, and took over his portfolio. This led to an influx of male priests, formerly of Vhaeraun, into The Promenade to worship and serve their new deity. Also during this time period Zin'Triel was ordained as a formal priestess of Eilistraee, completely renouncing Lolth. She started to reestablish a relationship with her daughter. This would last only a short time, however, as shortly thereafter a magical portal to The Promenade was discovered by worshipers of Ghaunadaur, who infiltrated and assaulted the temple with overwhelming numbers, slaughtering the residents indiscriminately. Arunae tried to escape the slaughter by hiding in a tiny crevice in a natural cave wall of the temple, but she was spotted trying to hide, and two Ghaunadaur priests cornered her in the crevice with the intent of killing her. Before they could carry out their murder Zin'Triel appeared on scene, having seen her daughter fleeing the carnage from a distance, and attacked the two priests. She succeeded in killing them with weapons and magic, but was gravely wounded in the battle, and with no magic left with which to heal herself she would not live long. As Arunae started to leave the crevice to assist her mother the sound of combat drew closer. Zin'Triel pushed her daughter back into the crevice and gave her one final look, a mournful look that both apologized for what had been and what was about to come. At that moment several Ghaunadaur worshippers appeared on scene chasing a fleeing lay servant of the temple, catching and murdering her. Zin'Triel turned to face the invaders and paused momentarily before charging them. It was a matter of moments before the attackers had her surrounded and were pressing from all sides. For the second time Zin'Triel fought a hopeless battle against overwhelming odds in the temple. This time, though, she was not fighting for herself. She was fighting for her home, her daughter and her redemption. She managed to strike down one of the attackers, but as she did the dagger of one of the invaders slashed the back of her thigh, sending her to the floor. The invaders pounced, stabbing and hacking at her prone form, needlessly, endlessly butchering her defenseless body. As she died, staring into the crevice where her daughter silently watched her murder, she made her first and final plea to Eilistraee. She yelled out Eilistraee's name. That single word was a plea to destroy her attackers, that they may not find her daughter and that she might strike a single blow in her lifetime against evil in the name of good. At that moment a wayward spell, released from nearby in another battle impacted the cave ceiling above Zin'triel, bringing down tons of rubble on her and her murderers. Before the cave-in engulfed her mother Arunae caught one final glimpse of her face. Upon it was the first smile that Arunae had ever seen from her mother. She was at peace. Redeemed. And then she was gone.
After the din of battle subsided Arunae remained in hiding. She watched a few invaders approach the area that contained the crevice where she hid, but the rubble from the cave-in made passage through the area difficult, so none drew near to her niche. After some time she saw no other living creatures and heard no more sounds of fighting or looting. She waited several more hours before exhaustion took her. She awoke a full day later, exhausted, her stomach grumbling and a wicked thirst gnawing at her. She slowly crawled from her hiding spot, covered in cave-in dust with nothing but the clothes she had been wearing at the time of the invasion. She snuck through the ruined Promenade using the skills Bors had taught her, avoiding the mangled and butchered bodies of the temple's former residents, and made her way to a community kitchen where she ate and drank, gathered some more food and water, and made her way back to the common house where she had a home with several of the priestesses. There she stayed and hid for several more days, only sneaking out to get more food from the kitchen. After a few days the food began to spoil and run out. Arunae had no other choice. She had the leave the only home she had ever known for the only other place she had ever been. She looted a pack, some food and water, as much money as she could find and some basic equipment from the ruined temple, and set out through the underdark towards Skullport via the route she and the others had used to travel with Bors on the day of his departure. Though the path took her through the wilds of the underdark, prior to the invasion it had been well patrolled by the priestesses and she encountered no trouble on her journey. She arrived safely in Skullport, the place that would be her home for the next several years.
From her first trip to Skullport and her conversations with Bors and the priestesses, Arunae knew this place was dangerous, so she kept to the shadows when possible and skulked through the streets until she found an inn. She entered, paid the innkeeper a few coins, and bedded down for the night. For the next few days she remained at the inn, listening to the patrons from the hallways and corners, learning everything she could about the underground town. Eventually she worked up the courage to journey out into the city during the day to learn about the environ and its locations. Her money was running out. She knew she couldn't stay long at the inn. Eventually, with only a few coppers left, Arunae was forced to leave the inn and take up life in the streets of Skullport. At night she would sleep on rooftops, and during the day she would beg for coins from travellers, traders or adventurers. Arunae eventually took up petty pickpocketing, choosing soft targets, never Skullport natives, for a few coins at a time. She was a gifted pickpocket and was rarely caught in the act. On the few occasions she was caught she was able to use her small size and quickness to dart through crowds and escape without incident. The petty nature of her crimes kept her off the radar of both the local gangs and what passed for constabulary in the lawless city. And so it went for several years, scraping together coins during the day, hiding at night with what little possessions she owned, with few contacts and no friends. It all came to an end quickly one day, though, when large sections of the cave containing the city collapsed, a result of a slaad causing damage to the cavern. Arunae was uninjured in the collapse, but the damage to the cavern made it unlivable and stopped all trade coming into or out of the ruined city. With no source of income and no other options Arunae found herself forced to abandon the place she called home for the second time. Using information she had gathered over the years she made her way out of Skullport, through Undermountain, and to a passage that led to the basement of the Yawning Portal Inn in Waterdeep.
Arunae's arrival in Waterdeep was a different experience than her arrival in Skullport several years earlier. It was worse. Despite the fact that the city was lawful and civilized the trading season was in full swing and the roof collapse in Skullport had driven many Undermountain residents to the surface, so there were no rooms available anywhere in the city that Arunae could afford. The Yawning Portal's owner, Durnan, sold her a meal and was kind enough to give her little information about the city, but with no available rooms she was forced out onto the street a few short hours later when the Yawning Portal closed. The city was at once magnificent and terrifying. The energy of the city was like Skullport, but being out in the open for the first time was a frightening experience. Sound echoed differently, the smells were more diverse and intense, and people were everywhere. Arunae was alone in a city of several hundred thousand people. That night she slept on the roof of a warehouse. The next day brought the intense pain of the sun. Arunae fled into a temple to seek refuge and pretended for the next several hours to worship there before she mustered enough courage to journey out again into the sun. The noon sun was even worse on her unaccustomed eyes. She wanted to flee the city, to run underground and hide from the awful light, but she had no choice. she had to adapt. The next several says were a routine of picking pockets in the evening and slowly adapting to the sunlight during the day. During this time her activities drew the attention of the local theives' guild. They kidnapped her off the street during the day in a slum that she was unused to, beat her, and took her to the local guildhall. There she was interrogated for hours about her activities and history. Eventually, convinced she was not a spy for a rival gang, they offered her a job working for them in exchange for a dark room, food, and a little bit of coin. Much like her mother twenty years before, she had no choice. She accepted.
Arunae's specialty became luring men, usually travellers or merchants, into alleyways or abandoned buildings, where her associates would pounce on and rob them. This went on for years until one fateful night when Arunae stumbled upon a transaction in the thieves' guild involving a guild officer making a deal with a member of a rival gang. She tried to leave before being noticed, but was caught by the officer. She promised not to say anything and he let her go. The next day, Arunae lured a burly half-orc into an abandoned building, but her associates failed to appear. Small, and armed only with a dagger, the half-orc pounced upon Arunae and beat her mercilessly. It had been a set-up. The half-orc had been hired by the officer she had seen to kill her, and the officer had arranged for the associates she normally worked with to be reassigned for the day. After the half-orc was through with her he left her a beaten, bloody mess on the floor, assuming she was dead. As she lay there dying Arunae saw a vision of a pair of eyes surrounded by seven stars set against the night sky. She felt some strength return to her shattered body, got to her feet and stumbled outside in the direction of the building where she had seen that symbol before...
The House of the Moon Edit
The Temple of Selune, the Moonmaiden, took Arunae in, healed her, and nursed her broken spirit. She told them of her vision and they offered her a place to stay in exchange for service to the Moonmaiden. Something compelled her stay, so for the next several months she performed chores around the temple while she learned about the church's tenets and what it offered. The clergy learned of her youth in The Promenade and of her mother's conversion, and the head priestess of the temple encouraged her to join the Moonmaiden's priesthood. She eventually accepted and was brought into the fold of Selune's clergy.shortly thereafter she was given her first assignment. She was to go to a small town east of Waterdeep and become the fourth priestess at a new church dedicated to Selune. She would be tending the people of the town and seeing to their general good fortune. Arunae accepted the position and the opportunity to travel that it presented. The next day she left for Red Larch.
Red Larch Edit
Red Larch was a departure from everything Arunae knew up to that point. Seven days by wagon from Waterdeep, the hamlet was quiet and peaceful Set in the woods and with little activity, Arunae settled in quickly. She liked the three other priestesses at the small temple and despite her drow heritage the villagers grew to accept her. Her life over the next two years settled into a routine of assisting around the temple with worship services and of helping the locals cure minor illnesses. It was during a trip out to a remote farmstead to help an injured farmer that had been bucked off a horse that this reality, too, would come crashing down. Upon returning to Red Larch that evening Arunae and her fellow priestess noticed smoke in the direction of their temple. Rushing to the scene they found the temple burned to the ground and the other two priestesses, including the head of the temple, dead. Left behind on the scene was a holy symbol of Shar, Mistress of the Night, and Selune's evil twin sister. It was clear the church had been razed by worshippers of Shar. Unsure whether this was an attack of opportunity or a prelude to a larger invasion of Red Larch, Arunae and the surviving priestess decided on a course of action; Arunae would stay behind to watch over the villagers while the other priestess raced to Waterdeep to inform the temple there of the events and bring back assistance. This act endeared Arunae to the villagers. Every night, armed with nothing but an old short sword and a battered shield, she would wait in a house, barn, or on a roof, on the lookout for Shar worshippers that might attempt to harm the villagers. For two weeks she kept constant vigil, barely sleeping and hardly eating. After two weeks reinforcements arrived and took over protection of the hamlet.
Arunae traveled back to Waterdeep and advised the head priestess that she tired of the life of a temple priestess. The events at Red Larch and The Promenade had convinced her that the fight needed to be taken directly to evil, to protect the lives of innocents and bring good where evil held sway. The priestess smiled and handed over the week's donations to Arunae and told her to go out and bring Selune's justice to wrongdoers. Arunae spent the next several days gearing up and booking passage out of the city.
Current Day Edit
After leaving Waterdeep, Arunae traveled with a trading caravan for several weeks. After arriving at a waypoint to stop for the evening she met several unusual individuals. Despite her reticence to associating with new individuals she was drawn with a group of adventurers into events that took on a life of their own...
Arunae commonly carries the following gear, but due to her relatively low strength Arunae cannot carry more than 60 pounds of gear without being encumbered, therefore the only additional gear she likes to carry is that which she deems necessary for the job at hand. Her current equipment includes:
- Leather Armor
- Shield with holy symbol
- Traveller's clothes
- Holy water
- Mess Kit
- Rations (usually 5-7 days worth)
Arunae typically has the following cantrips and spells prepared:
- Dancing Lights (drow ability)
- Sacred Flame
- Spare the Dying
- Cure Wounds
- Detect Magic
- Create or Destroy Water
- Guiding Bolt
- Healing Word
Plot Elements Edit
- Arunae wishes to recover as many of the 20 sacred Singing Swords that were lost in the destruction of The Promenade as possible so that she may gift them to the church of Selune for use in fighting evil.
- She has knowledge of the existence of The Harpers and would willingly join if offered a position with them.
- Arunae has not seen Bors since he left for the surface many years ago. Encountering him again could prove interesting.
- She still harbors a grudge against the guild officer that betrayed her. She has heard nothing of him since leaving Waterdeep, but would jump at the opportunity to take revenge against him if he is still manipulating the innocent to his own ends.
- Zin'Triel's piwawfi, which had the abilities to conceal the wearer, protect against fire, and improve armor class, was lost in the invasion of The Promenade. She would like to retrieve it.
- Because she has no home and no place to store extra gear, Arunae has strong interest in lightweight gear (like mithral chainmail) and ways to carry extra equipment without a weight penalty (like bags of holding). She may go out of her way in pursuit of these kinds of items.