- Posts: 42
- Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:23 pm
First Name: Val'lyn
Last Name: Teken'ep (Unused)
Weight: 106 lbs
Hair: White hair bound into braided tendrils, sides shaved to the skin.
Notable Features: Val'lyn's body bears the signs of years of abuse. His youthful skin marred in many places with a plethora of scars, some having healed far more cleanly than others. Though like all Drow he seems selectively bred for his physique, it undoubtedly mars his looks by the standards of most.
As far as his face goes, a small burn on the back of his neck and a few cross-crossing scars upon his face are notable. They seem shallow and well-healed enough to keep from disfiguring his features, or impairing his senses.
General Health: Physically fit and lean, suggesting a hard life but sufficient exercise and nutrition for the considerable demands of Underdark adventuring.
Initial Alignment: Neutral Evil
Profession: Officially: Shebali / Unofficial: Scout/Cave stalker.
Base Class & Proposed Development:
Habits/Hobbies: Hunting, Exploring, Spelunking, Study of venomous creatures, Anatomy and Herbalism, Feasting on his kills.
Languages: Common, Drow, Undercommon, Drow Sign, Elven + others secret or of the Slave Races.
Weapon of Choice: Short swords and repeating crossbows.
Personality Assessment: Like the vast majority of Drow, Val'lyn has been bred and raised for cruelty and violence, having had likely irreparable damage done to his psyche and world-view (for those who think there's a problem with it anyway!). Physical and mental abuse, in an environment that rarely allows for any form of 'softness' has led to him becoming a vicious and paranoid individual with absolutely no regard for the value of life in itself.
He views things cynically and takes pleasure from the exertion of power over others. He has a closer kinship with predators than sadists. He finds no value in valour, honour, trust or kindness for their own sake but instead views the world through the lens of action and consequence - even his conversion of faith was done after weighing up the pros and cons.
The Underdark to him is home, and unlike many Drow he finds a certain equilibrium out there that he cannot find amongst the scheming of his own kind. One can sometimes underestimate the peace a simple life in the most inhospitable environment (in the world) can bring to a mind that grew up in perpetual fear, anger and paranoia.
He suffers the typical fears of failure, of humiliation, and of Lolth's ire (and now to a degree Vhaeruan) should he ever be discovered. No Drow enjoys the thought of catching the Spider's Queen's attention in the soul-draining capacity. There are other, more personal fears, but they would have to be discovered (or inquired after if a DM) through roleplay - a number of them can follow/form from understanding Drow themselves and applying a certain situation.
Mother: Rilrae Teken'ep
Father: Unknown, irrelevant(?).
Sisters: Laele, Belareyl and Minafae Teken'ep
Brother: Imbros Teken'ep
Val'lyn was born a male in the Merchant House of Teken'ep, whose loyalty was primarily to profit and power - second to Lolth. The House operated traditionalist hierarchy and practices in terms of how it conducted business, breeding and religion. The males were in a small majority, but enough so for the House to suffer the insinuation that Lolth did not favour them. To be a male in Teken'ep, by birth or service, often meant you served in a variety of relatively mundane roles. Only those who showed a particular aptitude for sword or spell became scouts, warriors or wizards.
The females occupied the typical positions of power, and could be found holding authority in any role they showed talent or ambition for. Only a few were ever relegated to servile roles amongst the lesser males.
Their House kept their assets mobile but found it's head quarters in Maeralyn. From there they operated numerous merchant convoys that supplied the House with their main source of revenue. They also contracted out their services in exchange for political favour from the Noble Houses. Where the Nobles schemed and plotted for the downfall of those above and below them, so too did the Merchant Houses clash for ownership of the greatest assets. Outright violence was mostly prohibited, so the majority of jostling for prestige came through intrigue. Holdings and even loyalties were supplanted, bartered, sabotaged or destroyed by proxy.
Val'lyn's mother was a Noble within the House and he was her 5th child, second son. His father is unknown as his mother, Rilrae, kept several favourites for breeding. Drow children are rarely raised by their parents and are often handed-off to retainers and kinsmen to rear. Since he was not born a female, he had little to do with his sisters unless they happened across him - such encounters were always unpleasant, for him, but thankfully short-lived. If the Merchants could be relied on for anything, it was in never wasting value through permanently damaging their assets.
As for Rilrae's first son, Val'lyn saw plenty of him. The brothers had been similar in many ways, though Val'lyn was more delicate in his youth and of a more methodical and keen mind. His brother Imbros, however, was greatly athletic and sociopathic in his viciousness. Imbros possessed great drive, passion and a fearlessness that bordered on insane. Though it presented problems if mis-managed, they were for the Ladies of the House to concern themselves with. For those who fell under his sphere of influence, Val'lyn included, he exerted his dominance with cruel ruthlessness. Of them all, none could claim to have suffered more at the hands of Imbros, than Val'lyn. Natural rivals thanks to blood, Imbros did whatever he could to make sure Val'lyn's life was utterly miserable. To this day, his body and mind still bear the scars of half-a-century of abuse at the hands of his older brother - one who held both influence and experience over him.
Assigned to a Merchant caravan making it's way to Sshamath, the House retainers were to fulfill their contracts and draw up new agreements with potential allies en route. Once concluded, their final destination would be where the most promising would be inducted into Sshamath's Schools of Magic for training in exchange for many rare resources and treasures from the deepest parts of the Underdark. Val'lyn, a youth, would soon be expected to undergo the Test and such was the expectation at journey's end. His focus during adolescence found him serving as a junior scout whilst also working with the apothecary when rotated.
During journey through the Underdark, Imbros' attentions escalated to evermore sinister heights, leaving Val'lyn suspicious that he would soon suffer an 'accident' unless he could deal with his brother. Discovery in any way would lead to his immediate torture and execution, yet doing nothing would surely result in his death just the same. Cycle by cycle he grew weaker as paranoia drove him to refuse food or drink within the camp, relying as best he could on the known watering holes where the caravan would stop and refresh. During the parched stretches of tunnels, he would often be caught satiating himself purely on the blood of creatures he knew would not have him heaving his guts up by the wayside. On occasion, he would cajole slaves to test the food and water for him and keep their silence.
It was after they concluded business in the city of Jhachalkhyn that it occurred.
The convoy halted by a fast-flowing underground river. The expedition took the time to go about their expected tasks, and the scouting groups were due to rotate. The leader of Team One, Ilphril, returned with her cohort. They came back with smiles on their faces, but short a few in number - including the only other female in the Scouts. Ilphril's cohort held their blades were unsheathed and bloody, approaching the camp to speak with the leader of Team Two: Gulafein.
Val'lyn had been watching from a distance whilst preparing Rothe steak for the caravan leader and could not tell quite what had happened; by the way Ilphril brandished bestial trophies, and wore a wicked grin, he surmised it must be an explanation for those missing scouts. It was only when he spotted the nature of the trophies that a thought flashed through his mind. He recognized the mandibles of the slain creature, and had wondered how he had failed to find out about recent quakes near Jhachalkhyn. Certainly none of those creatures had been reported as good hunting in the proximity of these passages - new tunnels would explain it however.
When Gulafein passed him. He glared at Val'lyn, questioning what he was looking at. Those thoughts quickly evaporated as he finished his preparations and went to take the meal to the Expedition Leader. Speed was needed if he was to be ready for Gulafein's return.
Val'lyn was not sure what stuck in his memory more whenever he reviewed this moment in reverie; the stink of the burning flesh, or the blood-curdling screams that so suddenly rung through-out the cavern. Attacked by their rivals in House Orlyndar, the caravan startled as crossbow bolts whistled from the darkness, picking off exposed Teken'ep retainers with surgical precision. When he turned, he saw Gulafein on his back, grasping at his throat and the bolt jutting out under his chin. Ilphril and her followers had betrayed them, attacking the group from within and showing their switched allegiances openly for the first time.
Looking around frantically, he could see Drow turning on their foes with sword, spell and bolt as chaos erupted. He followed his instinct, rushing over to his to the fallen crossbow by Gulafein. He came close too, before his legs gave beneath him and the world tumbled in his vision. It was not until he managed to roll over that he saw Imbros' boot crash down on his chest - a repeater crossbow aimed at his eye. His accursed brother chortled as he saw the horror in young Val'lyn's face, and then he pulled the trigger..
Val'lyn still gets shivers down his spine as he remembers that moment, recalling the pain and shameful terror that gripped him in the moment between seeing his brother standing over him, to the seeing his brother knocked sprawling onto the cavern floor by an errant magical missle. He never knew if it was Teken'ep or Orlyndar that could claim responsibility for the Missile Storm, but he was far too busy leaping at Imbros. The pair growled, snapped, rolled and twisted for the superior position. Daggers had appeared in their hands amidst the chaos, and they tumbled close to the edge of the river. He could never match Imbros, standing or on the ground and so it did not take long before his vision swam red - interrupted only by flashes of glinting light on the sharp metal that rose and fell from his chest. His brother's malevolent smile was visible in the shifting light as a fire blazed somewhere amidst the encampment and Val'lyn knew he was done for. Crying out in pain and seething with impotent anger, he grasped at that twisted face and clawed with all his might. Imbros reared away from his baby brother, who suddenly seemed filled with a desperate fire to follow through and gouge out Imbros' eyes. It was in that moment of despair, that the pair tumbled over the edge and into the rapids alongside.
It would be five years before Val'lyn would wander in from the dark tunnels of Sshamath, changed from a down-trodden youth to a grim survivor that had managed to scrape a living in the tunnels long enough to find Haven. What happened in between that time is not something he often speaks of, but in truth that is because there is nothing to boast of. Survival in the Underdark was notoriously difficult for the native creatures, given the lack of unguarded food and water. The twisting, labyrinthine tunnels ensured no maps stayed relevant long and the dangerous of the environment and logistics easily rivaled its bestial denizens.
In truth, a sharp mind, a drive to stay alive, and a predator's cowardice (and the Luck of Heroes some might say) conspired together within Val'lyn to enable him to find his way back to Jhachalkhyn. Once fully recovered from the shock and upheaval of everything he knew, he decided to face the terrors he saw in the Underdark and embrace them.
After being out there by himself, surviving through the sacrifice of pride and the embrace of practicality, he had adapted to his environment. Still, in the quiet moments of reverie, he often thought he could hear the thrum of the Darkness itself. As if the Underdark had a current or heartbeat, a rhythm to it's existence and somehow, it had touched him over the years.
Plot Hooks for DMs:
- Imbros can be dead or alive, but Val'lyn still belongs to Teken'ep and they continue to survive - Merchants dislike losing their assets as a point of pride, practicality and favour in the Spider Queen's Gaze - we all know she is no absentee Goddess.
- It is not certain if Imbros was a traitor or involved in the attack, only that he developed a taste for the suffering of his brother and would undoubtedly enjoy hunting him down.
- Val'lyn is now a heretic in the eyes of the Yath (if they knew) and so nothing good would come of his past finding him, nor any current Lolthite Houses in the City.
- Val'lyn spends a great deal of time outside of the City, exploring the Underdark, scouting it's tunnels and generally pitting himself against nature - due to this (and what I RP a mutation from Faerzress exposure in his backstory and whenever not in a warded city), he has physically changed to meet the description of a Cave Stalker. It also means he could feasibly find out a lot about disturbances and changes in the environment around the City. Tunnels that are not connected by pathways do not stop him from becoming a thin mist and drifting up towards ceilings or down pits for further exploration.
- Val'lyn serves Clan Selmiyeritar and therefore is known to the Masked Tower and it's agents.
As a general note to anyone who wants to play with me, I have a great many years of experience with Drow though I may be somewhat rusty. I am used to grimdark roleplay since I mainly play Underdark races, and favour realism and grounded-ness in RP when reacting to situations. I have also never role played more than a single strictly good-aligned character in my life. It was a home-brew paladin once for group RP, never stuck.
However, please remember my character and I are not alike. You will not hurt my feelings by being nasty or cruel, nor will you offend me if you want to be opposed to him - I ask the same in return. I am more than happy to discuss any RP that you have in mind even if it involves conflict, or even if it does not.
My expectations from others are simply that you are courteous, open (about our RP), and mature.
I am not overly fond of mechanics being the governing aspect in character-to-character role play, nor in Events. They are important and have their place in both, peaceful or not, but its an RP server so I do obviously want to have plenty of that.
I admit I am not used to playing a non-traditional Drow, and as said I am rusty, so if I am doing something you think is wrong feel free to say.
Lastly, I enjoy a chat, so be warned if you start up a dialogue with me OOC. You only have yourself to blame.
Val'lyn Teken'ep - Drow Scout.