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Matron Murders

The Underdark is a cycle of life and death, Eryndlyn being no different. Drow were killed, so our goddess asked for us to kill. Without death, we can never gain the power to survive.
— Zilvra Baenre
  Deep within the dark elf city of Eryndlyn, two Matron Mothers of the ruling council fall, one from her altar, the other from her throne. No one is there to witness the change of hands from mother to eldest daughter, but the dim colored lights that rise to the ceiling of the cavern marking the new day shed their glow on new Matron Mothers installed on thrones that had been held for centuries. Two young faces enter the council room amongst the faces marked with centuries of age, two young faces hide a truth behind the deceiving smile of the drow.   The death of a noble is nothing out of the ordinary in a drow city. If no one survives to bring charges against an attacker, against a house or otherwise, then the event is relegated to the black history of the city, never to be spoken of or mentioned again. But that does not stop the bold from speaking of possibilities in hushed voices in the street, rumors spreading about what happened behind the closed doors of the houses. Even those of the houses where the deaths occurred do not speak of the deaths of Matron Xune Baenre and Matron Haelre T'sarran. Those that dare utter the names of centuries past may find themselves facing the wrath and ire of the newly named Matron Mother of House Baenre or House T'sarran.   Rumors abound of that fateful night, centuries before the surface would be ravaged by the Eldritch War. With the Eldritch War becoming a new horror story to tell in the Eryndlyn, very few still fear the same fate that those two faced. Centuries after the fact, small truths about the murders have filtered through the Underdark, causing those that are in Eryndlyn to give House Baenre, House T'sarran, and their matrons a wide berth.  
House Baenre Emblem
Emblem of House Baenre by RiverFang
Matron Xune Baenre died bowed over her alter to The Huntress, a dagger etched with the symbol of her house embedded in her back. The grey stone of the floor at the foot of the stairs was pooled with blood, but the dark garments of the Matron were fresh, untouched by the blood from her back. She wore her ceremonial robe, head bowed in prayer, hands spread palms upward to the vaulted ceiling. Not a single drop of blood could be found staining the pristine black finish of the alter, nor could the Matron's young handmaiden be found.    
House Tsarran Emblem
Emblem of House T'sarran by RiverFang
Matron Haelre T'sarran died sitting on her throne, a well-worn copy of the Song of Darkness resting in her lap. Upon the arm of the throne laid a knife, its blade caked in black blood, upon its hilt the symbol of her house. Her neck, sliced before the lace edge of her ceremonial robe, dripped blood, painting the column of her thin neck in stripes. The black of her robe was unmarred by the presence of blood, but the black metal of the throne, upon its arms and down to the floor, leaked of the last of her essence. Her hands were bloody, as if she had tried to cover the gaping wound in her neck, but the book of the The Huntress lay untouched.   Both women died within minutes of each other, the chill wind of the Underdark blowing open loose doors that were the expected escape route. The darkness of the night covered whoever may have completed the murders, a silent mist in Eryndlyn as the night turned to morning. But those of House Baenre and House T'sarran expected that the perpetrators of the crimes were not from within the caverns that held the enormous city, but from within the walls of each house. No one dared speak these thoughts aloud, for the new matrons, Matron Zilvra Baenre and Matron Lythrana T'sarran were known for their cruelty of punishment and their need for power. In the houses of the dead matrons, there was no mourning or discussion, daughters stepped into the places of mothers, and the houses continued their dark and twisted dance of existence.  
The Supposed Truth

Rumors of wars between houses and feuds between many of the Matron Mothers run rampant in the city. Many rumors have sprung up over the centuries about the murders of the matrons, some farfetched, others more plausible. The distinct facts that all have known since the night of the murders' happening have caused certain truths to rain out over the rumors and have become the accepted truth.   Both Matron Mothers were killed by daggers of their house, their ceremonial robes untouched by blood or violence. The items blessed by The Huntress present in each house were also left clean and free of the evidence of the night's happenings. It is said that the murders were the work of two people, a weapons master and a priestess, as only the stealth of a male weapons master and the magic of a priestess could create the scenes that were left for the rest of the house to find. Whether it was the daughters that would step up to take their place as Matrons, or another house attempting their revenge or beginning a war against both House Baenre and House T'sarran is left to be seen.   The constant rumors also spread that only the ruling council knew the actual truth behind the murders of Matron Xune Baenre and Matron Haelre T'sarran. Some believed that the ruling council and the Matron Mother of the city were the ones behind the murders. For decades after the murders, the streets and houses of Eryndlyn were quiet, as no one wished to bring the wrath and ire of the Matron Mother of the city.

Cultural Reception

House Baenre

The morning after the murders, Zilvra Baenre assumed the role of Matron Mother for House Baenre. She refused to allow those to mourn the previous Matron Mother, who many saw as a great woman, as Xune Baenre was known for being less conniving and cruel compared to her counterparts throughout the city. Zilvra began amassing an army, bribing soldiers from other houses and finding mercenaries on the streets. Within five years of her ascending to the throne of House Baenre, she has traded, or at least the rumors said traded, the resident weapons master from Matron Xune's time, for the weapons master of House T'sarran.
House T'sarran

Newly named Matron Lythrana T'sarran wept and mourned for her mother for nearly a decade, keeping a shrine to her mother on the throne upon which the previous Matron Mother had died. Others of the house were encouraged to mourn as well, as Matron Lythrana moved the house away from its amassing of power through forces to finding power through knowledge. She was known as the soft-hearted Matron Mother, and her actions after her mother's passing showed this. Others of her house refused to mourn Matron Haerle T'sarran's death as she was known for her cruelty. When House Baenre offered to trade weapons masters, Lythrana finally stopped mourning.
Date of Setting
29 Winter's Morning, 200 I.M.
Related Locations
Related Organizations
Rumors from House Baenre
Matron Zilvra would not be above killing her own mother! She's as vicious as they come for a drow. But you didn't hear this from me. She turns those who speak against her into driders!
— Male fighter of House Baenre
 
Rumors from House T'sarran
Some other house in the city must have it out for House T'sarran. Matron Lythrana mourned for days. The rumors of her being her mother's killer is outrageous!
— Female priestess of House T'sarran
 
Rumors from the Streets of Eryndlyn
A feud between House Baenre and House T'sarran has existed for centuries. It finally came to a head and the Matrons paid the price!
— Houseless male rogue
House Baenre and House T'sarran were getting too strong. The ruling house of the city must have put an end to the desires of the lesser houses.
— Unknown
   
If the rumors were not enough for you and you wish to learn the truth, enter the chambers of the ruling council.

The Truth of the Matron Murders
The murders were carried out by Zilvra Baenre, Lythrana T'sarran, and their weapons masters. Only the death of their mothers and their ascent to the throne of their house would allow them to be with the men they hoped to build their houses to power with. The plot required seven years and the eventual exchange of the houses' weapons masters to fulfill the plot.


Comments

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Oct, 2019 15:09

Oooook time for a hopefully inspiring comment! First off I loved the opening quote and your writing style in general. It's lovely and kind of just rolls off the brain while I read it. While im on the topic of the opening   "one is there to witness their downfall, to witness the moment that these houses change hands to that..."   You can remove to that, leaving "from mother to eldest daughter" and it would sound even better IMHO. The two words don't seem to serve a purpose in the sentence as is and the writing is just flowing so well that it caused my brain to trip for a moment.   I also noticed, though it is not wrong or really NEEDS changing: you use fall in the previous sentence and then downfall in this one. It isn't repetitive but for a moment it felt like it if that makes sense. Just a passing thought. :)   "the cavern marking the new day rise on new Matron Mothers installed on thrones that had been held for centuries."   The new day rise? I was confused in this sentence.   The next paragraph is gorgeous. It depicts the culture of the crowd quote well in a way that is neither boring or overstaying its welcome. You discuss how the black history works quite well and I feel I understand enough to continue.   "Matron Haelre T'sarran died sitting in her throne" I think on the tribe is more appropriate but I don't think its incorrect so that's up to you.       So lets talk about the descriptions of the crimescenes and the facts you present next. your description is fantastic, something I'm saying and will continue to say often with this article. Its amazing. I noticed a few little things though.     Upon the arm of throne rest a knife, its blade caked in black blood, upon its hilt the symbol of her house. Her neck, severed before the lace   You have a missing the here before throne, and it seems in the wrong tense by saying the knife rest on the arm. Rested would fit the article a bit better but makes the sentence feel wrong imo. Perhaps rephrasing would work if you choose to edit it. "A knife rested on the arm of the throne." For example.   The final thing is the word severed. Based on my interpretation, it makes it seem that her head is completely severed as opposed to her throat being cut open. Perhaps sliced, cut, or some other synonym if other complaon about the confusion. I understood though, and it is a fine description.     "and the houses continued their dark and twisted dance of existence" *shudders* ooooo now that's the good stuff. I loved this line.       And then you have this here.   "Early of the morning..." which begins the paragraph of House Baenre. I think in the morning fits much better.     Now lets talk about these quotes.   You lay out the rumors very well, and each feels genuine in context. I sadly must admit that I had no idea when it comes to the truth. I won't spoil it, bit I didn't see it coming. Though I did assume the two were in cahoots so there is that. Lol       Overall you have an excellent contender here that is teaming with excellent description, almost poetic flow, and tells a narrative that is truely intriguing and keeps the readers attention. It was a joy to read through the details of the case and I love the element of Drow society where really no one tried to truely solve it and just swept it under the rug. It's amazing. I hope I offered some sound advice on how to make it even better. Good job, good day, and good luck!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
22 Oct, 2019 18:14

A good start here! I like the mysterious atmosphere you create in these first few sentences!  

...one from her alter...
Altar is the noun you're looking for, alter is a verb for changing something.
 
...Those that dare uttered the names...
I'd change this to "utter" as this sentence is present tense, and "uttered" is past tense.
  An intriguing mystery, no blood anywhere but the floor?
 
...and have become the excepted truth.
"Accepted"is the word you'd want to use here, "excepted" means that something is NOT believed or included.
  Beyond small typo/grammar bits I don't have any questions or feedback! You've given a clear air of mystery and set up who may be responsible— without making it obvious.

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