Ilirinee, Lady of the Drow
T he drow of the Dark have been tightly bound to their creator, the goddess Ilirinee, from the moment their first breath passed her lips. Before Chrystaria’s first dawn, when the world was new, and none but the first gods had tread upon it, the Ejo lit the Fire of Creation and gathered around it beneath the starlit sky. After a brief discussion, they decided to see who among them could make the most awe-inspiring race to inhabit their new world. So they began: first came the giants, then the dragons, then the fey. Then the twin gods took their turn: one reached up and took a great handful of stars; while the other reached down and gathered a scoop of rich, loamy earth. They combined the two, and together made the elves. So greatly did these ethereal beings delight the circle, that the Ejo blessed them and fawned upon them and made nothing more. But one among them was not impressed. Shunning the light and the circle of gods, the goddess Ilirinee rose and faded into the shadows of that endless night. She worked alone and in secret for many hours, concentrating her considerable skill and cleverness into a single creation. When at last she returned and presented what she’d made, the other gods were transfixed by what they beheld: the First Drow, a creature of such dark beauty, grace, keen intelligence and deadly prowess that she surpassed even their beloved elves. Eventually, the first dawn warmed the sky, and all was quiet for a while. But Ilirinee soon grew wary that her children might be ruined by the flaws and repulsive weakness she saw in both the other gods and the elves. She gathered the drow and took them far below the surface of the earth. Now safely away from the corrupting influences of the surface world, she remained with them for a time, teaching them her worship, her devious ways, and the skills they would need to not only thrive in the Dark, but to dominate. To this day, she is unknown to all the surface races save the elves, to whom she is but a half-remembered myth obscured by the mists of time. With the other gods now…tragically…eradicated, that may soon change. Ilirinee is a dangerous goddess of profound power, a malicious trickster and subverter of established order in the name of personal gain, who moves through the world with the elegant efficiency of a fine blade. Her unearthly beauty and sensuality belie a master strategist’s mind: just as with the drow themselves, things are rarely quite what they seem with her, and she’s always several moves ahead. She gets what she wants because she tolerates nothing less: if she must leave a trail of corpses in her wake to do so, so be it. However, she considers fighting pedestrian; and is not one for haste to open warfare. If directly challenged, she will certainly strike fast and strike hard. But she much prefers the long game, deftly manipulating and undoing her victims piece by piece through subtle moves that go unnoticed until it is far, far too late.
One moment I was fine; the next, I was overcome by an intense surge of the most overwhelming lust. I can't even describe it, except to say that suddenly, there was nothing else in all the world except this need I had to address immediately. It had my mind, my soul in a vise; and I could feel them starting to give way. It surely would have shattered both if I was delayed too long.
She whispered to me -- the sweetest, darkest sound -- while I was...uh...busy. I might have agreed to everything she said. I can't remember much of anything, except -- oh, gods preserve me -- the sound....
Divine Symbols & Sigils
"Those eyes. All of her avatars have them. Luminous, seductive; yet as merciless as the depths of the northern seas in midwinter. It is said that she can see into the darkest corners of a soul and know its most hidden, craven desires with but a glance. Many a man -- whether mortal or divine -- has met his doom in those eyes over time."Ilirinee's holy symbol is a pair of violet drow eyes on a field of velvety black. The eyes represent Ilirinee's own, a reminder that she is always watching. The black symbolizes the drow and the Dark; the velvet, the pleasure of her service. High Priestesses often wear elaborate black masks that accentuate their eyes in honor of their mistress. The color violet abounds in drow cities because it is sacred to Ilirinee. The attire of priestesses, clerics, and those in service to the Church is always violet. Lay drow frequently have something violet on their persons -- especially on weapons, in the hope that Ilirinee will see fit to guide their strikes against their enemies. In llindith, the overwhelming majority of the faerie fire lights that line the streets and light the exteriors of buildings are also violet, keeping the city eternally awash in a reverent purple glow.
Holy Books & CodesAs a very hands-on goddess, if Ilirinee doesn't appear and make her will known outright, then divine instruction typically comes in the form of visions or signs given directly to high priestesses to be enacted upon by the masses. However, the meaning behind these cryptic communications are sometimes vague at best, leaving everyone scrambling to try to interpret them correctly, lest they lose standing or, worse, fail her and face her punishment. Out of an enmity begun when the world was young, Ilirinee holds a burning hatred of undead. Her drow children remain their implacable foes to this day. There are two holidays each year that include formal undead hunts as high points of the celebration; but as the drow’s primary rivals for space in The Dark, the drow hardly need a special occasion to spur them to destroy these creatures. As a direct result of this endless war, necromancers receive neither quarter nor mercy; warlocks are greeted with extreme suspicion; and any cleric of a (lesser) deity caught using a resurrection spell in drow territory is executed on the spot.
Tenets of FaithAs The First Drow was a female, drow society is matrilineal, and Ilirinee’s priesthood is only open to female drow. High priestesses are those who hold her greatest favor and the greatest power. Male drow who demonstrate worthiness are welcome to become clerics, though they hold less authority than the priestesses do. Ilirinee values ambition, strength and guile, and rewards those who excel at them. No features of the underhand are prohibited; in fact, anything one has the power or wits to get away with is legal, getting caught makes it a crime. Long plots are especially pleasing to her, as watching the layers of the scheme slowly unfold is akin to unwrapping a layered gift, or undressing a lover.
HolidaysThe drow are somewhat short on religious holidays. EVERY day is one for honoring their goddess; any drow so foolish as to need a marked day on a calendar would not be long for this world, or the next one. However, there are a few special events in the course of the year that take on particular significance. The Academy Graduation - Students who successfully complete their studies and survive their trials graduate from the Academy. They are presented to Ilirinee as full servants, and to the community as adults. The Naming of the Consort - The most worthy of the year's new adult males is chosen to be the Temple Consort for the year.
"It's said the Lord of the Nine Hells slew a celestial; then had its wings made into the fan she carries, which he presented to her as a gift. Sure, it died and all; but to get to spend eternity that close to her? I'd say the angel won."While she prefers to work alone, Ilirinee has found it beneficial and sometimes necessary to forge alliances of convenience with denizens of other Planes in order to achieve her aims. She has a particularly notable relationship with the Lord of the Hells. While they each fully intend to betray the other eventually, for now they serve each others' purposes well.
TitlesLady of the Drow, The Lady, Mother of Destiny, Queen of Assassins, DoomWeaver
Divine DomainsDrow, Treachery, Assassins, Seduction Stealth, Shadow
Church/CultThe Church of Ilirinee
EyesViolet that smoulders with the promise of fulfilled desire -- or, if angered, a purple-black that vows unimaginable pain
HairShimmering silver, usually upswept to expose the perfect, graceful curves of her neck
Skin ToneRich obsidian that seems to glow from somewhere within
"To see her is to behold perfection made flesh -- soft, supple, warm, indulgent, willing fl...uh...what were we talking about, again?"
"How to describe the way she moves? The sway of her hips is as mesmerizing and rhythmic as the tide; smoother than the finest liquor; softer than an infant's sigh -- but liable to kill you at any moment."
Apparel & Accessories
"The amount of clothing a drow wears is inversely proportionate to the perfection of her physique and her social standing, so Ilirinee is as likely to appear in nothing whatsoever as anything. When she does appear clothed, an elegant, gossamer gown that leaves very little to the imagination is her most frequent choice. Gods bless the drow."
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