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From Shadowed Corners

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A young flame haired woman with trollish features hides in the darkened shadows in the corner of the room. She keeps her eyes narrowed to slits so the glow of their elven brightness do not give away her presence. She does this quite often, hiding and listening, she’s done this since she was a small child. She listens. She learns. There is a secret in the House DeStrasza, a secret buried that keeps the family powerful despite the failing vineyard, despite the failing sanity among the matriarch and her brood, despite the meddling of Baron Nex`Cruor who would seize House DeStrasza if not by seduction than by bullying. Somehow his bullying never gets very far with the DeStrasza matriarch as she seems to have a trump card, yet that doesn’t stop her from allowing herself to be seduced by the charismatic man. The young woman, Danlyra, closes her eyes and replays the memories in her mind, of watching within House DeStrasza, within House Nex`Cruor, her feet entrenched in both houses.

The young woman’s mother, Danlily DeStrasza, daughter of that matriarch, Danroix DeStrasza, had been an agent of Immortalis and had become thrall to Clys Nex`Cruor, the Baron’s daughter. When Clys disappeared, the Baron laid brutal claim to Danlily. His claim brought forth a child, a child more Sin`dorei in blood than Danlily but still bearing those trollish wedged feet and hands. The child was kept a secret, and a slave. She was not an honored thrall the way Danlily had been kept by Clys. Danlyra was a slave in the traditional sense of the word. The Baron would never admit to fathering a child such as Danlyra. Her existence would be kept a secret within the slave quarters beneath the Nex`Cruor estates. The only time the child was allowed out was when the Baron was feeling especially lenient and allowed Danlily to take her on visits to see Matriarch Danroix DeStrasza. As far as anyone of Silvermoon knew, Danlily’s child could have been fathered by anyone. No one would suspect, no one would think of it.

Danlyra knew. She’d hidden in corners and learned. She’d seen her grandmother’s fake tears in her mother’s presence, how they must all suffer and endure the Baron for he held power over the DeStrasza’s. Danlyra had hidden in corners when she’d heard her grandmother laugh with the Baron at the lies she’d told her “ugly” troll daughter. Danlyra knew of the Matriarch’s lies long before her mother, Danlily, did.

By the time Danlyra had reached puberty, Clys had returned, Forsaken. No one knew for sure what had happened to Clys or where she’d been, but she had returned. There was a horrible uproar when Clys had reclaimed leadership of the Immortalis, but the Baron still retained head of his family’s house. Danlily was with Clys again and Clys was never made aware of her father’s sins, of the things he’d done to Danlily, that Danlily had a child. Danlily had never told her Mistress Clys, couldn’t tell her, because the Baron held Danlyra’s life, promised to snuff the child’s existence from the world if her existence was ever made known to anyone beyond their sordid little circle.

Danlyra spent the rest of her adolescence locked away naked in the Baron’s special rooms deep within the bowels of the estate, rooms that only his most trusted aide had access to. She loathed the man with a passion. Danlyra learned to hide that loathing until the day she succeeded in seducing the trust of the Baron. She thought she’d killed him, hoped she’d killed him as she was stripping him of his clothing. She had hurriedly donned his pants and tunic, rolling up sleeves and pant legs and ran from shadow to shadow, remembering the secret passages from her childhood, making her escape.

She’d made her way back to House DeStrasza. Could she trust her mother? Could she trust anyone? She’d heard servants whispering that Danlily had gone mad. That the matriarch had disappeared, likely dead, and that Danlily now called her bow “mother.” Danlyra had heard that House DeStrasza would not be passed to Danlily because she was not full Sin`dorei and that as a thrall she could not own property. Danlyra had investigated her mother’s labs and chambers and found horrors there. She’d followed her mother to a place where a paladin was held hostage. She was surprised when she saw the cheetah, Kittsu, the one that always ran with her mother turn into a violet haired Kal`dorei. From the attic she’d watched through a crack in the ceiling, down into the room as the paladin was tortured, barely noticing the white-haired Kal`dorei deep in a corner, wide eyed and in fear as Danlily, Kittsu and Clys frolicked and orgied in the blood at the paladin’s feet.

The corner that Danlyra sat in now was not within the manor of DeStrasza. It was not in the estates of Nex`Cruor. It was not in her mother’s lab, or in an attic. This corner was within the Rest in Peace inn and she sat there remembering it all, trying to sum it all up in her mind. Her grandmother was dead, good riddance. Her mother was crazy, but was only dangerous to her enemies, of which Danlyra was not one of them. Mistress Clys had found Danlyra on the streets of Razor Hill and had sheltered her, promising she would right the Baron’s wrongs herself.

It was a very odd world Danlyra found herself in. She did not know whether to worry or welcome what would come next.


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