My name is Raena’malarra of House Torduis. My name means Haven of the Secret Queen, which probably reflects some nefarious plan my mother had. I really don’t want to know. The name of my House, Torduis, refers to “Mistresses of the Whip”. So yeah. I have that legacy to live up to.
I can’t say much about my birth or even who my father is. That hardly matters. Where I come from, it matters who your mother is and what you do with your life. To that end, I’d say I’m a pretty adventurous person. I had to be.
Being born into a noble house doesn’t quite grant me a whole lot of privileges. Instead, I get expectations. Like, depending on who you spoke to, they might have said I would become a great leader one day, just like my mother. Or if you were talking to my mother, she might have told you I’d one day find a way to summon a greater Devil and forge a pact to my benefit and that of my House. If you spoke to the men, they probably would have told you one day I would slay or enslave enemies of House Torduis.
The list goes on. You get the idea. Basically, I get respect because of who my mother is and because of who I’m expected to become.
Thing is, I was less than interested in proving how vicious I could be. I was, and am, more interested in exploring my world on every level. So in the social circles I found myself within, I tended to be outspoken, but polite. Hey, when you live in a society where pain and suffering is often celebrated you practice verbally walking on eggshells, right? I got good at walking the line and I enjoyed it. Almost as much as I enjoyed a bit of adventure behind bedroom doors. I discovered that purely physical relationships could be as much fun as social ones.
Compared to my country-women, I’m really good at befriending people. Even foreigners. I enjoyed it so much because it was an opportunity to learn what life was like elsewhere. My sisters (other women of my house, not necessarily related by blood) apparently couldn’t imagine a more boring or irritating thing than to tolerate an outsider that was not yet a slave. Even my mother shared that opinion to some extent. I think she would have said, “Raena’s too friendly and wastes too much time cavorting instead of outmaneuvering her sisters, but at least she follows Gaeruilil the Mistbound. At least Gaeruilil had a proper appreciation for the drow.”
I’m useful to my mother, but at the same time I embarrass her. My mother, the great Mistress Remiriel Torduil has little patience for me sometimes.
Still, I think it was out of exasperation more than outrage when my mother began to devise a plan to either force me to grow into what she thought of as my full potential — or die. Either way, Mistress Remiriel would not have to find her daughter “experimenting” with the servants in her mother’s own bed. Again.
So, Mother sent me to get some rudimentary training. I didn’t strike a pact with some demon or devil, though. They were all terribly interested in corrupting me and I can do that all by myself, thanks anyway. Nor did I really have the aptitude to take up the robes and become a cleric. I did find acceptance among monks devoted to Gaeruilil. My mother didn’t entirely approve of that either, so she didn’t let me stay with them very long. I learned the foundations of martial arts, ingested a few bits of wisdom, and Mother sent me on my way.
Mistress Remirial has determined that I shall be her envoy to the surface world. Bright, shiny, blinding surface world. Yay. Luckily, my mission is to establish trade with the elf kingdom nearby. It won’t be easy since they have no reason to trust me or any of my kind, really. I suspect Mother expects them to use me like a hostage if I screw up badly.
I provided them a letter of introduction on behalf of myself and House Torduis and boy did they seem puzzled. I could read it in their faces. Could they kill me? Not without invoking Mother’s wrath. Could they send me away? Bad idea — might upset evil nasty dark elveses you know.
Mother anticipated this wouldn’t be easy for them either, so she was gracious enough not to stipulate any kind of time restriction. After all, people that can expect to live five centuries or more (barring being put in an early grave courtesy of one’s own murderous kin) tend to have plenty of time.
Well, I managed to um…. make an impression among the staff and certain sons and daughters. I mean, why would my little adventures have to come to an end just because I was away from home? That’s the best time to have them! The point here is I was nice to them. And interesting. Very interesting if I was at all successful. I really don’t think they knew what to make of me. I was having fun!
Then one day the king asked for me. He told me his kingdom was looking to scout, settle, and create a buffer zone of vassal states in some “river lands” place. He strongly hinted my mission could be a success if I was willing to lend a hand.
That meant leaving the nice, dark, stone halls of the castle and wandering around in the muck and bugs and the sun! Ugh. Well, maybe I’ll meet some interesting people at least…