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Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:48 am
by Malia

The dim light of a few nearly-extinguished torches
barely illuminated the carnage. Over two dozen
corpses lay torn throughout the cavern’s floor.
Although the majority of the bodies were dwarven,
several were of their dark siblings, the duergar.
They had ambushed the dwarves crossing from one side
of the mines to another, and had been extremely
successful. None had escaped. Bloody streams,
half-coagulated within moments, covered the floor like
a small subterranean river. The duergar had quickly
searched the bodies, retrieving items and weapons of
interest and now most stood around the body of a
female dwarf. She was not dead, though her time had
definitely come. The duergar watched as this dying
dwarf, vainly attempted to protect her mid-region with
one weak but steady hand. She was pregnant.

“Enough!” shouted the leader of the raiding party,
Dauroghl. “Have ya neva seen two dwarves die at
vonce?” he spat, as he made his way through two
duergar and stood directly over the dying dwarf. “So,
you vish to protect yer young? You could not defend
yourself, let alone your unborn!” Dauroghl continued
approaching the female, but was surprised to see her
eyes red from rage, and blood. She would not give up
her young just yet. “Very vell dwarf! If you so vish
your dwarf to live, so be it!” Dauroghl lept briefly
over the female, impaling her into his daggers without
any resistance. There was a loud cry from the female,
and then a slow gurgle. Dauroghl quickly released his
weapons and sliced the female’s stomach clean with his
blade. The clothing split in two, as did the skin
covering her mid-section. Dauroghl threw his hands
into her, and after a few moments of tearing, withdrew
them and a small bloody dwarven baby, yet living, yet
crying. The hairless, ripped child was covered in her
mother’s blood, tainted by it in the dark gloom of the


“Vake up, slave!” was the usual way Pava would awaken.
Having slept a dismal sleep, and barely enough to
survive, the dwarf quickly became aware of her
surroundings and crept to her feet. The duergar
slavemaster quickly pushed her out of her pen and to
the all too-familiar fighting room near the slave pens
of Gloomhaven. Here, duergar warriors in training
would fight captured slaves and prisoners to train
themselves for battle. Sometimes the slaves did not
die. Pava was still alive. The duergar had taken
her, and given her to the slavemaster as payment for
an old dept. The slavemaster had in turn brought her
up as his own personal toy and servant, among other

Pava quickly learned the duergar tongue, and
throughout the years also picked up several other
languages from the various slaves that would pass
through her pens. She also learned she was a slave,
and that this life she had was not Life. Her prowess
in the fighting pens had kept her alive, although many
times throughout the years, she wished someone had
beaten her. Today was just another day, fighting to
survive, fighting to live the life of a slave.
Sparring with the duergar had taught her much about
survival. The simple duergar blades she used were
poorly made, and too large for her hands, but she had
learned to adapt, for she had to.

Several duergar warriors had already begun to armor
themselves for practice, and upon seeing her enter,
spat on the ground. She was Pava, a dwarf slave who
had not been killed by duergar warriors. Although
Goolaro could order her dead, he preferred to keep her
alive, for she had now become a rather prized slave,
and a good one at that; his fighting pens had grown in
fame because of her, he could not give up such status.
Pava stood motionless, watching the duergar begin
their approach. She was handed her sword, and shoved
forwards to meet her foe, her sparring partner, as
they called them. The duergar lept forward, slicing
the air with his axe, but Pava easily avoided it, and
managed to strike the duergar on the head with the
blunt of her sword, barely drawing any blood. She was
used to it. Too quick, too aware. The duergar became
furious, and taunting could be heard from several
other trainees in the room. The duergar once again
lept towards Pava, slashing at her with the axe. Pava
drew her sword up to block the attack, and hope to get
an attack in. But the duergar had strength behind his
attack, and fury in his eyes. Pava blocked the axe in
time, but the strength of the attack, and the unkept
state of her training swords, made the blade break in
several pieces, and Pava was left with only a fragment
of the blade in her hand.

Fear came flying into Pava, harder and faster than if
the axe would have hit. She had little to no defense
now, and her attacker knew it. The duergar continued
his volley of attacks, and Pava could do little to
avoid them. But then it occurred to her, then she
realized it. The shard of steel she held in her hand
was much lighter now, and smaller. This was not the
heavy blade she had wielded for so long. Pava quickly
regained her resolve, and instead of defending against
the duergar, she attacked, leaping forwards and
dodging to her side, landing a quick and painful stab
to the duergar’s side. The duergar was not used to
this kind of pain, and dropped his axe and fell to the
ground in pain. Pava quickly dropped to her knee and picked up
another piece of the shattered blade, just in time to
deflect the attacks of two more duergar who had rushed
to attack the dwarf that had injured the duergar.
Pava ducked and rolled through the two attackers,
slicing the leg of one and blocking the axe of the
other. Today was a different day.

Triaz’l Treen had stopped his commercial banter to
watch the bald dwarf fight her three attackers. This
one was different, he thought. A female dwarf,
hairless, fighting with broken shards against three
duergar. Not only that, he thought, but she was
winning. The drow had come to the city, as he did
each month, to sell some spices and metals, and gain
some information for his organization. Treen, a
senior merchant with Bregan D’aerthe, was in charge of
keeping tabs on Gloomhaven, and he knew it well.
Usually he would depart with a few gold coins extra
and much information, but today, he thought, he might
depart with more.

That day Treen bought the dwarf slave Pava from
Goolaro for a hefty sum, but he knew much more so than
the duergar slavemaster the potential value of that
beardless dwarf. She was incredibly adept at using
small piercing weapons and had the quickness and
awareness that many lacked. Treen treated her not as
a slave, but as a student, for he knew Bregan D’aerthe
would reward him greatly for his find.

Over the next few years, Treen and his associates
trained Pava as a drow. Her fighting and her tactics
were refined, as were her stealth and skills. Pava
herself felt proud of her newly found trade, and
understood the value of the training she had received.
She had heard of Bregan D’aerthe while living in
Gloomhaven, and knew its usefulness and power.
Trained as a surface spy, and assassin, she could go
where others could not. She could enter places others
would not. She could see in places others would be
blind in. She was the perfect informant of surface
activity, dwarven and other, for Bregan D’aerthe. An
informant, tainted since birth, tainted by birth, to
sneak through the surface world that gave her death,
to live in the darkness that gave her life.


Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:49 am
by Malia
Special thanks to Adriorn for taking my thoughts and giving them some life =)