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A Minute With: The Dinfein Twins at Watermill

Describe an endangered species in your world. Why is it in this position?

  H Hi! Listen, I couldn't help overhearing: you're really going into the Dark? Alone? And you're looking for someone to describe something endangered? Maybe I should describe you! You don't look like a warrior of any kind...are you a mage? No? Sorcerer? No?   Just a scholar hoping to do some surveys.   Wow.   You're either brave or insane; but either way, that's amazing! Come sit with us: if you have time, I'd love to hear your story, and what gave you this idea! But first I'll answer your question, I'm always happy to help where I can! I should warn you, though: I might be the only female you get to talk to while you're doing this. Don't expect any audiences with the drow ladies in the Dark. No offense, but they'll consider talking to you beneath their dignity -- at least the noble ones, anyway. The gutters are a little different; but that's out of necessity, not because they think any better of you. You'll still need to mind your manners.   Oh, but where are mine! Loreli Dinfein at your service, and this is my brother – older brother...ugh, Berg, honestly: it's six minutes. As I was saying, this grump is my brother, Berghzandiyn. Haha, yes: there are a lot of Dinfeins here! Everyone in Watermill is from some branch of House Dinfein. We’re Dinfein halfs.   You’ve never heard of that?   Oh.   Well, let's see then, there's some things you'd need to know first. Since all elves have much longer lifespans than humans, we reach adulthood later, and don't reproduce as early or as often. In the Dark, a drow wanting children will only accept another drow as a partner. Humans and surface elves are available, but things. Conception with a human or surface elf is never intentional; in fact, most drow see half-drow as a stain on their bloodline and their honor that must be removed immediately, kind of like red wine on a white shirt. So halfs are killed at birth.   But House Dinfein always welcomes its half-drow children. Unlike everyone else, they believe the birth of a half-drow is a sign of good fortune -- not as good as a drow female with violet eyes, of course; but still a very good omen. Half-drow can't become Matron or hold any important roles in the House, but they do get to live. So any time you meet a half of Dark descent, they're most likely a Dinfein. Other drow use the term derisively; but we're proud of our House and ourselves, even if it makes things a little complicated sometimes.   Oh! Oh! There's Genya! Bergy, take over for a bit, huh? I'll be right back!   I see the look on your face. Don't worry, that's just Loreli. She's never met a stranger, only allies she hasn't seen yet. We're told she's exactly like our father. Her sociability makes our work easier, for sure. But it's also the reason I do all I can to keep us away from the Dark: the only thing less welcome than a half-drow would be a half-drow who acts like a surface elf.   So you wanted to know about an endangered species, and she started telling you about half-drow? Heh. That's a good one. I don't usually think of us that way, but she isn't wrong. Halfs are held in so much contempt in the Dark that it's too dangerous for any of us to live there. So with Matron Dinfein's blessing, the halfs came to the surface and started forming settlements here. Watermill is one of them. The settlements are havens where we can live mostly free of the worst of both worlds, and where we know we can find shelter or help when we're traveling. Some of the oldest towns grew beyond their half-only origins long ago; but in many ways, it’s easier when it's just us. We're all still part of the House, and we serve it just as our full-drow relatives in the Dark do. We're just able to go places and do things they can't. Through us, the surface world remains within our people's reach.   As for what we do, Dinfein is a merchant family, so most of us support its trade and diplomatic interests. There are scouts, brokers, buyers, drivers and sailors, mapmakers -- and then, of course, the settlements themselves need running. Loreli and me? We...resolve complex problems. Our House is big and always looking for its next partner and the next horizon. The dance never ends. But, we can't say we're bored. Speaking of which, here comes Loreli.   Hey, sorry about that; I'd been looking for that guy for over a week! You'd think it'd be hard to lose someone in a place this size. I have something for you, though! Take this pair of glasses: I've laid a simple enchantment on them that'll let you see in the dark almost as well as you do in daylight. Just be careful not to lose them; you don't want to be blind down there. Also, would you mind delivering a message for us? We'd do it ourselves, know. This'll be safest in your book, so keep it there, and make sure it goes to no one else. You're looking for this drow in House Baroniarian....
Loreli and Berghzandiyn Dinfein
Colorful House Dinfien is well-known for its rather undrowlike approachability and good humor. But should a rival merchant overstep its bounds or a courted business partner refuse to deal, and diplomacy fails to produce the proper ends, the House quietly deploys part of its very small, very efficient stable of assassins to permanently remove the problem. Half-drow twin siblings Loreli and Berghzandiyn Dinfen are part of that stable.   Gregarious, charming Loreli is skilled in magic, while athletic Berghzandiyn is quick on his feet and with a blade. Despite their different specializations, the twins work seamlessly together, and neither ever travels alone.

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23 Dec, 2020 14:08

That was a fun read. I love the idea of a super friendly assassin

- Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
23 Dec, 2020 18:27

I imagine being her brother would be one of the more exasperating jokes the genetics DM could play on someone. :D I'm looking forward to coming up with new ways to drive poor Berg nuts.   Thank you!