Arien-gil Bihari is a half-drow sorcerer.
I am Arien-gil Bihari, daughter of a drow mother and human father, and child of magic.
The people of my father’s line are known as the Triv, which simply means, “the people.” Through the mists of time our geographic origins have been forgotten, what is known is that for a multitude of generations, my people have traveled far and wide in a nomadic fashion, never settling in one place for very long. There are several tribes of Triv scattered about the world, but when two or more happen to meet up, there is complete warmth among the tribes. For us, our home is our communities of families and friends, not some structure of wood or stone stuck in one place in the ground. The Triv make their living mostly as entertainers, artisans, and odd-jobs men, though some also take to thieving. Combining that unfortunate reality with the fact that we have no homeland of our own, we Triv are eyed with suspicion and at times downright hostility from outsiders. It often makes me sad, because most of the Triv are the kindest, bighearted people I have ever known.
My father, Fritz Bihari, is a master fiddler. His skill is so renowned among the Triv and even some outsiders, that the shamans say he might be sharing spirits with our famous ancestor Archana Bihari, whose story from old is a favorite of the Triv. But I will come back to her momentarily. My father Fritz is not only a good man, but a gentle and intelligent one, too. Quiet and ever engrossed in his thoughts, he was content to let me do I wished growing up, but insisted on teaching me how to play the violin. I’m pretty good, but nothing like him, for he pours his very soul into playing and composing. But if my father’s first love was the strings and bow, then his second was my mother, Val’Sinthra of the drow.
Val’Sinthra Vandreel grew up in the Underdark city of Beshakanezzer, a place she says never sleeps, where prestige and profit are foremost on the minds of its inhabitants. Completely opposite of Triv communities, Beshakanezzer drow are highly individualistic and haughty. Though not evil per se, they are cunning and mostly concerned about outdoing one another in every endeavor, and sometimes go to ugly extremes to topple their competition. But there are exceptions to every rule, and my mother was one of them. Trained as a dancer, she was groomed to compete at an early age, wearing heavy makeup, big hair, and risque costumes. She won many pageants. Though she loved dancing itself, Val’Sinthra hated the pressure from her disciplinarian mother and the performance world in general, and made a vow to herself to find a way out someday.
As luck or fate would have it, my mother’s way out of Beshakanezzer turned out to be through meeting my father. Once, my father and a group of fellow musicians stopped upon a village to play in the square to drum up business for an upcoming show. Val’Sinthra and a small group of drow had come into the village to trade, buy, and sell some goods. (Though not frequently, the drow do venture to the surface for commerce.) My mother told me that when she heard dad playing, it was love at first sound, and lust at first sight! Her body began to sway to the music and she drifted over to where they played. A small crowd began to gather to watch as an obsidian-skinned, white haired elf danced alluringly to the music of human Triv players. My father says it was a though a dark angel had appeared in their midst and he knew he had to meet her. Afterward, my parents stole away for the evening to get to know each other, and, well, they’ve been together ever since.
Val’Sinthra was welcomed into the tribe without hesitation, becoming what we call “Trivaluwan,” or, “new blood of the Triv,” meaning, that she was considered one of them upon marrying my father. It wasn’t the first time a being of a different race had joined the community. Just in the time I’ve been alive, we’ve welcomed dwarves, Halflings, and those with elvish blood. Once they go through the Triv ritual of the Bloody Handshake and make their vows to be loyal to the tribe or marry a Triv person, they are part of us and add their uniqueness to the community’s.
Of course, mom’s family wasn’t too happy about her taking a human lover, especially a Triv, but mom didn’t care. Once my parents wed, mom’s family basically shunned her, and told her not to bother coming back to Beshakanezzer until she decided to become civilized again. Mom misses her home in the Underdark sometimes, but says she wouldn’t want to go back to that society. She says that in the midst of it all, there was some beauty, too, especially in the arts, where drow perfectionism yielded exquisite works to behold. I think I get my love of beauty from my mom, as well as my outgoing, sometimes rebellious nature. And sometimes I think it would be really interesting to visit Beshakanezzer, just to see what my mom’s world was like. I grew up speaking Undercommon with my mom, so I think I’d get around okay.
But there is more to me than this. You see, I was born of a very special bloodline on my father’s side, which embues me with powers of sorcery, of magic. I am of the blood of the dragon, as well.
Many of the details have been lost to history, for in that time my father’s people did not use the quill and parchment, but the stories that do exist tell of a woman in my human family’s line, Archana Bihari, who lived many generations ago. Like my father, she was an expert fiddler who captivated audiences the world over with her playing. As the story goes, one day, when she was out hunting for morels, she came upon a great Black Dragon, the likes of no one has seen since. He challenged her to a contest to see who was the better fiddler, and he forbid her to refuse. The stakes were this: if the dragon won, Archana would be his slave forever, but if Archana won, the dragon would give gifts of magic that she could pass on to some of her descendants for generations to come.
Now the Triv woman knew her fate lie in her ability to play the best tune of her life. The dragon went first, and managed a sweepingly haunting melody that would put all other fiddlers Archana had ever heard to shame. But in that moment, Archana Bihari pushed all of her fear aside and played so swiftly, so perfectly, and so beautifully that by the end of her song, the dragon’s mouth was agape, and for string of moments, he was silent. “I will honor our agreement to give you magic, because though I hate it, you have fairly defeated me in this challenge.” The black dragon spread his enormous wing over her, and her whole body began to tingle. Then, he retracted the wing. “Now, be gone from my sight,” the dragon breathed. At that, Archana took off running through the wood and never looked back.
What powers she gained from that encounter is unknown, but what is known is that many of Archana’s descendants have been gifted with various types of magic. Some had the Sight, others mind manipulation, still others had exotic gifts such as teleportation or telekinesis. I was born with the gift of sorcery in general, the skills of which I continue to develop. At my birth, dragon scales covered parts of my body, such as parts of my neck, my breasts, the sides of my torso, and my feet. My skill in sorcery is further sharpened by the use of an arcane focus, an onyx magically embedded at the base of my throat. People generally can’t see that, though, because my scales cover it up. But when I cast a spell, the scales move aside, and the onyx glows with a prismatic light.
I am just starting to incorporate my magic into our shows, because firstly, like my mother, I am a dancer. With my mother and father and the other musicians, I perform for our audiences, who are often intrigued by the sight of a half-drow, an apparent rarity in this world. Though I love to perform, I am starting to notice the pull of my innate magic on my consciousness, as though it yearns to come out and be wielded. I feel it now, more strongly than ever. I wonder what it will mean for my future…
As I sit here in this cell that I share with three other females, it all still feels surreal, like a nightmare from which I cannot awaken. For I now know what feels like to be enslaved, for the first time, to feel like I no longer belong to myself.
The day my people were attacked, we were traveling down the South Road en route to the Halfling village of Widdershins, as it has always been a good town for garnering income from our goods and shows, and the Halflings have generally welcomed the Triv. There had been previous reports of human and orcish raiders in the hills beyond the road, but none had yet dared come too close thus far, as the South Road was a well-patrolled by guards from surrounding areas. There was a common interest in keeping the road safe for commerce amongst the towns. Most of the time, the road was considered secure.
There is one stretch of the road, however, that passes through the Great Marsh, and it is here that the terrain can become nearly inaccessible at times, due to the flooding that occurs in the spring. The elders of the Triv thought we would be able to pass through it, since this year we had gotten less rain than usual, but when we arrived at that spot, as though it were an omen, it began to rain. The drops of water pummeled us as they fell hard and fast, and soon because of the deluge, we could not cross the marsh, The sentinels along the road left their posts to gain cover, and we were about to all gather in our wagons, when the unthinkable happened.
It was the whooping of the attackers I heard first, as they streamed in towards our caravan, and then the screams of my people as they were knocked to the ground and slain. I was traveling near the back of the caravan with my friends, and could not see my parents, since they were closer toward the front. I wanted so badly to run to them, but they had always taught me that in an emergency, I was to run away as fast as I could and hide. It took every ounce of willpower within me to obey their wish. Grabbing the hand of my female friend Brynna, we turned away from the carnage that was before us and ran through the marsh.
My heart pounded and my mind was crazed with terror as I ran, and then I realized that we were being pursued. I turned briefly and before I knew it, my arm outstretched and a glob of acid burst forth from my hand, directly into the path of an orc who neared me. He roared in pain and dropped to the ground, tearing at his half melted face. But I had no time to gawk at what I had done, and urged Brynna to keep going. But as we continued through the muck, I heard a cry of agony as my companion slipped and fell. As I stopped to pull her up, our foes caught up with us. I hurled another glob of acid toward one of the two men, but it missed the target and splattered harmlessly on the ground. One of them, a big half-orc with a pock-scarred face roughly grabbed my arm. I screamed and squirmed and bit the half-orc’s arm, angering him even more. He was reaching for his sword whenever I heard the other male’s voice:
“Jenek! What are you doing? You know what Boss said!”
The half-orc looked up at him, fiercely disappointed and out of breath, but dropped his sword.
The other male, again spoke, “This one will be an asset for the mines – she’s feisty and pretty, Boss will like that, hehe.”
And with those words, the last thing I saw was a huge fist fly toward my face, and then, blackness.
When I awoke, I was in chains. I found myself in a dimly lit barred holding chamber with many other women of a variety of races, similarly chained. Some were sobbing, others sat, rocking themselves, with a far-off stare in their eyes. Others spoke to each other in hushed tones. I looked around for someone I knew, but there was no one. What had become of my parents, of Brynna, of the rest of my people, I knew not. What purpose my captors had in mind for me and these others, I did not know, but soon found out.
A tall, broad-shouldered female orc entered the room and stood before us, with a few guards at her side. She spoke to the guards and gestured towards us, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying. She seemed to be looking at each of us intently, scrutinizing our bodies. The guards took me alone out of the cell, and I was delivered to another section of my underground prison to begin training in an art I never anticipated.
Called Arin by Roman.