Elven House - The Neverlights
The drow of Neverlight tend to have dark violet eyes nearly the same color as the stone that surrounds their House, but some Neverlights are known to have lavender colored eyes.
A purple many-pointed star with an elongated tail.
Their House crest tattooed over the left half of the face. The ink used to tattoo them has a faint distinct smell so those who have the blindness can still identify them as Aitha.
Two interlocking pickaxes branded on the left cheek. This mark is purposefully based off the crest of House Blackhelm. The burn scar caused by the branding is raised so those with the blindness can identify them by touch.
Non-Morcala Half Drow
Non-Morcala half drow born into slavery are branded with the image of a sword on the left cheek. The burn scar caused by the branding is raised so those with the blindness can identify them by touch.
This House is known for its members knowing how to cast a particularly potent invisibility spell only they know how to cast. This spell stands apart from the typical invisibility spell since the person cloaked by the spell cannot be detected visually in any way. Throwing objects such as powder or paint simply goes through them.
They create the spell using skin oils extracted from a medium sized predatory bat unique to their region. This bat is naturally invisible in the same manner as the spell they cast. Long ago the Neverlights knew that a large bat species must be in the area. Slain animals and bat guano were all over their territory, but they had never laid eyes on a single bat that size. These bats remained illusive until the discovery that some of their people had the ability to literally sniff out the location of the bats.
A Mysterious Blindness
A small percentage of Neverlight infants are born with a peculiar disease that renders them totally blind and hard of hearing. The disease turns the whites of their eyes black, and their irises into a strange purple star shape. Though they are blind and their hearing not too great these individuals have an exceptional sense of smell. The invisible bats give off a faint odor only these individuals are able to pick up. They can also detect the unique smell given off by those who’ve casted this House’s invisibility spell.
While the exact cause of this disease is unknown, this blindness is an affliction solely found with in Neverlight’s population. Many of Neverlight believe it is connected to the location of their House. Descendants of drow who left House Neverlight for another House stop having children born with this disorder. Similarly, drow who move to Neverlight and have children there will someday produce descendants with the blindness. It is only elves born in House Neverlight –both drow and non-drow– who have this blindness. Other races living in this particular section in the Underdark are still affected by its strange magic, just in different ways than the elves are. There isn’t much of a difference between a drow and a Cala’di, Taurel’di or Morcala with the blindness except for the color of their eyes, which depends on the House they are descended from. Otherwise all of them have the whites of their eyes go black, and their irises in a star shape.
Neverlight’s first Matron was one such person with the blindness, as well as a handful of other Matrons through out the centuries. People with this disease are not pitied. They are highly respected individuals. Since the disease is rare baby boys who would normally become Aitha or be killed would be spared from either fate if born with this disease. Many of these drow grow up to become bat hunters or guards specially trained to protect various nobility from invisible intruders.
An Aitha Uprising
Around two thousand years ago about forty Aitha and a small number of non-Aitha escaped from House Neverlight and reached the surface. This event would forever alter the history of two elven Houses. The escape was instigated by two men, a famous bat hunter at the time named Ildan Bloodforge and an Aitha named Drizic. The Bloodforges are a noble family known for using bat blood in their smithing process. Weapons and armor made in this way have the ability to go invisible once per day in the same manner as Neverlight’s version of the spell.
Having been born with the blindness and being male, Ildan was not one of his family’s many weapon smiths. He was a highly skilled bat hunter with the reputation for easily slaying dozens of bats in a single hunting expedition, often times hunting for weeks on end with only Drizic by his side. Drizic, like many other Aitha sorcerers in Neverlight, was specially trained from a young age to be Ildan’s personal guardian. The two of them were practically raised together and had always been close—or as close as a master and his slave could reasonably be. Growing up Ildan and Drizic shared a strange bond neither of them could really explain. In adulthood that strange bond eventually turned into love.
Through his relationship with Drizic Ildan came to realize the enslavement of the Aitha was wrong and morally abhorrent. Although the two of them could have easily slipped away and “disappeared” together during a hunting trip never to be seen again, Ildan wanted to free more Aitha than just the man he loved. He knew realistically there was no way he could free every Aitha within Neverlight, but he still wanted to free as many as possible.
House Neverlight has credited Ildan as being the sole mastermind behind that escape. The House minimized and has practically forgotten Drizic’s involvement beyond him “tempting” Ildan. In reality Ildan and Drizic equally concocted their plan of action and they worked together to pull it off. They enlisted the help of another bat hunter and a blacksmith they knew harbored sympathies towards the Aitha. The other bat hunter and the blacksmith agreed, and promised to free all the Aitha they owned. Furthermore, Ildan and the blacksmith worked to free at least a few Aitha owned by other members of their families during the escape. By chance the two of them discovered one of the women who cared for the Aitha children still too young to be sold had fallen in love with the one Aitha she owned and was going to have his child. This set a precedent to get the escape attempt ready sooner. If they stalled for too long the woman would eventually have been found out and her, her Aitha, and her child would all be killed.
In the end the group totaled at about forty five people. The bulk of them, of course, were Aitha. Mostly adults, with roughly a dozen child Aitha. Ildan and Drizic devised they all leave the city in four smaller groups. The smallest of the four was led by the blacksmith, and consisted of Aitha either he or his family owned. The second was led by the woman, with her Aitha and the Aitha children in tow. The other bat hunter was in charge of the third group, and the fourth and largest group would be led by Ildan and Drizic themselves.
Since large groups of Aitha leaving the city at once would instantly raise the alarm, most needed to be hidden. The group made dozens of invisibility potions months in advance prior to the escape. Ildan could easily obtain the ingredients needed to make them without rousing suspicion. When he’d go out bat hunting he’d secretly kill one extra bat, store the corpse in a hidden bag of holding, and not report it in his earnings. The blood and skin oils from these extra kills were used in creating the potions. But using the potions would not be enough to escape. To keep the Neverlights off their trail by scent the entire group covered themselves in a substance that masked their scent for a couple days, long enough to get a decent head start.
Some Aitha in Neverlight are in ownership of the city guard, and trained as highly skilled warriors implemented for a variety of purposes. Often bat hunters would rent up to five of these Aitha to use as extra muscle while out hunting. Ildan and the other bat hunter routinely rented the same Aitha and wanted to free them as well. But obtaining those Aitha would prove the most daunting part of getting everyone out of the city, since Ildan and the other bat hunter had the entire rest of their smaller groups with them as they did so. Although many of the Aitha were already invisible by that time, one wrong person running into a single one of the invisible Aitha would have uncovered their plan.
Although for months leading up to the escape both Ildan and the other bat hunter said they’d be out on a month-long hunting trip together, it took only a day or two for the House to realize something was amiss. Once the House had realized a bunch of Aitha had escaped the Matron had other blind bat hunters called in to track down the runaways and capture them. Many of them knew Ildan and Drizic’s distinct smells and figured they could easily find them. But due to the scent masking substance the group had covered themselves with, finding their scent trail proved a bit more difficult than the Neverlights initially expected.
The escape itself came as a total shock to the entire House. Such an attempt with so many Aitha had never been attempted before, let alone succeeded. To make matters worse, the seeds of rebellion had been sown. Not long after the escape other Aitha took to the streets demanding change. The Aitha riots rocked the House for months. When one would be taken care of another riot with more Aitha would arise not long after. It took years, tighter regulations, and a lot of propaganda to extinguish that spark of rebellion with-in their Aitha. It is a spark that never truly faded away completely, and has continued to plague House Neverlight for millennia.
A Helm Acquired & A Land Desired
The escaped Aitha’s attempt to elude House Neverlight only worked for about a month or so. Once their scent trail was eventually picked up it did not take the blind bat hunters long to track down where they had gone to. They scouted the area and reported back to their Matron the Aitha had been taken in by a surface high elven House known as House Blackhelm. If not for the bat hunters also reporting a strong smell of adamantine wafting from House Blackhelm the Neverlights surely would have wasted little time retrieving those Aitha. After hearing these first reports Neverlight’s Matron decided getting back and punishing their Aitha was something that would have to wait.
When touched by anything forged of adamantine the bats’ ability to go invisible is temporarily disabled. Similarly, their version of the invisibility spell is lifted for a short time. Bat hunting would be far more efficient if they had greater access to adamantine. But House Neverlight’s access to adamantine at the time was scarce at best since no adamantine mines existed in their region of the Underdark. All of it had to be acquired by trade, and the trade wasn’t cheap. Only the wealthiest of bat hunters could afford the steep price of adamantine weapons, armor and traps. Access to the Blackmines would have guaranteed all their bat hunters had all adamantine items they desired.
After a few years the scouts monitoring House Blackhelm returned to Neverlight with more unsettling reports. Many of the Aitha had begun having children with the high elves. The news of this atrocity spread around House Neverlight like wildfire. Many of the common folk, already agitated over the ramifications of the escaped Aitha, called for their Matron to act immediately and send in her army to slaughter both the Aitha and the abominations they had fathered. Abominations the drow had begun referring to as the Morcala. It was a word that encompassed the utter disgust, fear, and hatred the drow felt towards the children of those Aitha.
But if House Neverlight truly wanted the Blackmines for themselves, their disgust over the Aitha and the Morcala had to be put aside. They could not let that get the best of them. They had to be tactical. Acting too rashly would certainly result in failure. So the drow of Neverlight monitored House Blackhelm from the shadows, secretly gathering as much information as they could on this strange House all too eager to accept dark elves as their own. For fifty years they patiently observed the Blackhelms. All the while they meticulously planned out their assault.
During that time Neverlight’s Matron heard all about the Blackhelm and its myriad mind controlling powers, and she wanted that incredible power for herself. Surprisingly, a supposed double agent from the escaped Aitha stealing the helm—while the perfect insult to injury against Blackhelm—was not House Neverlight’s primary goal. If anything it was a very minor one in comparison to acquiring the Blackmines. In the end, it would be House Neverlight’s only real accomplishment out of that first war. Although House Neverlight had failed to overtake House Blackhelm, stealing House Blackhelm’s most prized possession has not been with out its benefits.
For the past two thousand years the Blackhelm has sat upon the heads of House Neverlight’s Matrons, all of whom have regularly used it to control and manipulate their subjects. Members of House Neverlight relish in having succeeded in stealing it and do not hesitate to mock House Blackhelm’s loss at every opportunity. An attempt to reclaim the Blackhelm has not been tried for well over seven hundred years, and the drow of House Neverlight suspect House Blackhelm may have finally given up hope of ever getting it back.
The Shadow-Venom Scourge
That long ago Aitha rebellion has not been the sole occasion the Neverlights have run into serious problems with their Aitha. About fifty years ago roughly twenty Aitha successfully escaped into the Underdark. These escaped men founded a mercenary group that quickly developed a notorious reputation. At first this group was known as The Scourge, the blight of House Neverlight.
Matron Neladrith wanted every last one of them returned to their owners or eradicated as soon as possible. But time and time again The Scourge outsmarted their own House, avoiding capture at every turn. Rumors spread they’d begun removing their Aitha marks as a way to proclaim their new found freedom. Over a couple decades The Scourge continued to grow both in power and sheer numbers. By the time their leader Kelnir was finally captured over fifty escaped Aitha and a handful of male Morcala had joined their ranks.
Kelnir’s execution was one of the highest attended executions in Neverlight’s history. Nearly every available member of the House came to watch him be thrown into the spider pit. But this was neither the end of Kelnir nor The Scourge. At the end of those three days he emerged from the pit as a newly transformed drider. Following custom he was both pardoned of all previous crimes and was now a free drow. Since his failed execution his mercenary squad developed an addition to their name. They are now known as the Shadow-Venom Scourge. To further signify their freedom Kelnir and his men changed their last names to Shadow-Venom.
Publicly the Neverlights say they do not tolerate the existence of the Shadow-Venom Scourge at all. In reality the Neverlights abandoned getting rid of them after Kelnir became a drider. They have proved to be quite useful to House Neverlight, and for the time being the two groups have a secretive but shaky alliance.