Fanfic journal: “Bright Future,” chapter 2

Read chapter 2 (“Og’elend”) here.

Chapter Summary

Kinyel murdered you and I had to watch, petrified, as life left your eyes.

The heroes of Velkynvelve and their semi-willing drow defector Jorlan Duskryn arrive in Mantol-Derith to find assassins on the loose, mad beholders, insanity-causing gems, and creepy-but-well-meaning Zhentarim. A battle goes very badly, bringing into sharp relief certain emotions.

Chapter End Notes

You can read my as-it-happened tweet-along of the events behind this chapter here. Many capitals. Much feels. Wow.

Also I have a problem: I have too much fun with the Drow language. I hate to be one of those authors where every third word is a completely unnecessary fantasy word, but the nouns in Drow are just SO DANG DESCRIPTIVE of the culture as a whole. (The morphology, though? Leaves something to be desired). Also I found this Drow Dictionary, which is one part the glossary from 2E’s The Drow of the Underdark, one part fan-created. Reader, I married it.

Phrases not pulled directly from that dictionary:
vlos’calin is a compound of “vlos” (blood) and “cal” (to eat). So, “bloodsucking,” basically.
har’shebali is a compound of “har” or “harl” (under) and “shebali” (rogue or non-noble drow). I use it to mean a lowest-of-the-low commoner, which should give you Jorlan’s opinion of the guy. Basically DM-as-Jorlan called Zilchyn an “underside leech” and I was trying to figure out how to translate that.
k’lavulin is entirely my own invention; I was just thinking of Clavulinopsis fungus. And hey, what’s a Drow word without a few apostrophes among friends?
waela jalil = “foolish woman”

Many “DEATH BY SNU SNU” jokes were made (mostly by me) about the fact that Mavash is in fact at LEAST a foot taller than Jorlan. Drow are small, folks, and kalashtar are pretty tall. Canonically Mavash is 6’4″, and drow vary from 4’7″ to 5’5″ in height. You do the math.

In case it’s not obvious, the PCs are:
– Mavash no-last-name (she/her), kalashtar druid (Circle of the Moon).
– Gaulir Turac (he/him), dragonborn paladin of Bahamut (Oath of Devotion).
– Umbra (she/her), presents as drow, plays as Mark of Shadow elf, actually shadar-kai sorcerer (Shadow Magic)
– Luxan Grey (they/them), changeling blood hunter (Order of the Lycan).

Our fine DM Nixon who TOTALLY MURDERED MY WAIFU changed a lot A LOT about Mantol-Derith, apparently. But it meant we got to fight Xazax the Eyemonger on the shores of the Darklake instead of in a warehouse, so that was pretty cool.

Ana’Ise is a yuan-ti wizard from the Zhentarim who is meant to take the place of Davra Jassur from the RAW adventure.

“Vash,” btw, is the name of Mavash’s quori. Yes, I think of Trigun every time I write it. Look, I didn’t think I’d get this far with this character.

Finally, while this is trending in a romance-y direction, it is gonna be slowest of slow burn, not just because Jorlan is a Very Broken Dude, but also because a) I’m ace spectrum, and my elf-fancying is mostly of the mind, and b) at the end of the day I have to play D&D with these people, and I’d rather not make it awkward. Romance, yes, steamy smut, no. Sorry not sorry.

Fanfic journal: “Bright Future,” chapter 1

If you follow me anywhere on social media, you’ll know that I am currently obsessed with my D&D 5E campaign of Out of the Abyss, run by my larp pal Nixon. It helps that my kalashtar druid character, Mavash, has developed a romantic relationship with a random drow NPC, Jorlan Duskryn — who we were probably intended to kill, but who we adopted instead.

As we got to the halfway point of the campaign, I wrote this first chapter of “Bright Future” as a one-shot, not expecting I’d write more. But the campaign just kept getting better, and the relationship between Jorlan and Mavash deepened, so I continued.

The campaign is drawing to a close, but I continue to slowly make my way through an adventure full of elf fancying, demon incursions, and characters who are good with swords and bad with words.

As I do, I have a pile of notes on each chapter I write.

And yet, I don’t love pasting a wall of text at the end of each chapter. I like the work to stand on its own, but I also think I’m too clever and can’t shut up. This “fanfic journal” was the compromise –an idea I took from pensword, a fic author whose work I enjoy.

Without further ado… all you could never want to know about “Bright Future,” chapter one.

Summary of fic

Jorlan Duskryn, now prisoner of the heroes of Velkynvelve, has left a trail of ash behind him. Lost in the surface world, with no home to return to, the druid Mavash tries to convince him of his bright future.

Based on the latter half of my playthrough of the “Out of the Abyss” adventure. But, like, with more feels, elf fancying, and spreading friendship across the Underdark.

While there are some inevitable spoilers, our campaign is very different from the rules-as-written module, and the focus here is more on characterization and emotion than plot, anyway. Don’t be scared away if you haven’t played the module!

Chapter End Notes

Thank you, first and foremost, to DM Nixon and my fellow players, for supporting my long con of making Jorlan Mavash’s waifu. I apologize if I have misremembered details about your characters or their actions.

This differences from the RAW module:

  • Jorlan isn’t disfigured in this version. I guess my DM swapped that aspect of him with Shoor? Jorlan’s still the one who was out of Ilvara’s favor and let us out of prison, though.
  • Nixon tends to turn NPCs into full DMPCs once they start traveling with us. Which is how Jorlan turned from a warrior into a rogue.
  • Obviously there’s some Eberron stuff in here — kalashtar, the quori, the kalaraq quori, etc. This all came about because my DM foolishly said “you can play any race you like, but if it’s not native to Forgotten Realms, I’ll retcon it in somehow.”
  • Likewise, I’m pretty sure that Ambergris(tle O’Maul) isn’t supposed to be in the module as written? And she’s definitely not supposed to be a priestess of Shar. But hey, she showed up in Gauntlgrym to explain Eberron stuff, including that il-Lashtavar has joined our pals the fiends of the Abyss in opposing us.
  • I was as surprised as you when I read the Gauntlgrym chapter of the mod and found out Morista Malkin of the Emerald Enclave was supposed to be a dwarf lady. In ours, it’s a dude, and he’s some sort of sylvan.
  • Our DM made Eldeth the adopted daughter of Bruenor Battlehammer, hence “princess.” It might just have been his secret plot to have less NPC Theater. He also had her take some cleric levels when our cleric PC quit the game, because while we can all heal a little, we’re usually too busy smiting things. (Literally, in Gaulir’s case)
  • Speaking of Bruenor, see if you can catch the one-off Drizzt references in here. Because we all like to joke about our misspent youths perving on drow.
  • The Eldritch Windstone is a magical item Nixon totally invented for me, because there are astonishingly few magical items that work when you’re in beast form.
  • While I appreciate the effort by WotC recently to make drow less “elves in blackface,” I reject the idea that they look like Warcraft night elves. My drow are ash grey, just like their cousins, the Dunmer of TES, my favorite murder elves.

Other random notes:

  • The amount of research I put into this fic = TOO MUCH. My elf-fancying will be accurate to the source material or it will be bullshit.
  • I’m kind of appalled that best source on drow culture and society is still the 2E book Drow of the Underdark. Which I have on my bookshelf, because let’s be real, my sexual orientation is “murder elf.” Of course I referred to it extensively here.
  • That said, I was unimpressed with what exists of a drow conlang; it was clearly not put together with anyone with any knowledge of morphology.
  • Mavash did in fact escape Velkynvelve by spider-walking down the cliffs to the pool below, with the myconid sprout Stool on her back. He may have said “wheeeeee!”
  • Before I perved on Jorlan I perved on Sarith, but Bad Things ™ happened to him.
  • Fun fact: I live in the next town over from R.A. Salvatore. This fic will not be how I introduce myself to him.