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Darkmaiden's Leap

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Darkmaiden's Leap was a shrine sacred to the goddess Eilistraee and her followers, found in the northern High Forest, southeast of Everlund.[1]

DescriptionEdit

Darkmaiden's Leap was a small clearing with a large flat-top gray rock about six feet tall and five feet in diamater. Pre-Time of Troubles the stone was known as Hastrin's Grayrock, but after 1358 DR, the time when the place became sacred to Dark Maiden, the top of the stone bore a single left footprint the size of a drow female's foot and the place was named Darkmaiden's Leap by the followers of the goddess.[1]

PropertiesEdit

Darmmaiden's Leap was a planar touchstone, a hub of energies linking strongly connected planes together[2] (in this case, Toril and Eilistraee's realm in Arvandor).

Darkmaiden's Leap was infused with the magic of Eilistraee. Lolth worshippers had difficulty in casting divine spells when in the area, while travelers that chose to attune with its power (by dancing in the moonlight for at least one hour) could be granted low-light vision, the ability to perform graceful and beautiful movements when dancing and to invoke a blade of moonlight (as the spell moon blade). The stone also acted as a two-way portal to a small cavern near the Promenade of the Dark Maiden, if activated through a moon beam spell, or as a portal to Eilistraee's realm in Arvandor, if activated through a moon path spell.[1]

HistoryEdit

During the Time of Troubles, the absence of divine magic led the drow houses in most Lolth-dominated cities to battle each other, trying to seize the oppurtunity and gain ranks. This time of conflict forced many drow to flee their homes, due to the defeat of their house or simply to escape the danger and chaos of the war. A group of such drow, decimated by the perils of their travel away from home and exhausted, were driven to a particular tunnel by hostile creatures. Lacking anywhere to escape, they followed it, until they eventually found themselves amidst a forest lit by moonlight, surrounded by an echoing, haunting melody.

They decided to follow the sound, and it led them to a clearing among the trees, lightned by moonlight, where a single, old drow woman was dancing atop a wide, flat stone, the music apparently coming from the air around her. Beneath their eyes, as the woman danced, she began to become younger, gaining the strength, agility and beauty of youth, and slowly the vision of a beautiful drow woman appeared to them: that of the goddess Eilistraee, cloacked by her shining radiance, singing, leaping and dancing with the old drow. It was her Last Dance, the ritual in which priestesses of the Dark Maiden who didn't die in battle finally joined with their goddess, dancing with her one last time in their mortal life. The priestess continued her dance, slowly fading away as she became younger, still dancing with joy as she completely faded, leaving only a footprint on the stone.

When the dance came to an end, the shining figure, whom the drow exiles didn't know as Eilistraee, turned her attention to them. Upon seeing her visage, they felt something that they had never before, something ancient, running deep inside their souls, the echo of a time when all dark elves were free from Lolth. They understood that the woman before them was a goddess, but one that was beautiful and strong, that sincerely and truly loved them, something that Spider Queen could have never done. Instinctively, they yearned for her and what she made them feel, they danced with her, coming to know about and feel the hope of a new life. The Underdark drow felt the desire to join the goddess, and Eilistraee transported them to a safe place near the Promenade of the Dark Maiden.

Eventually, they became faithful of the Dark Dancer and started working with Qilué Veladorn at the temple, returning to the stone once per year in pilgrimage (and it was on their first return that they found a footprint on the rock). On one of those pilgrimages, they found a small group of wood elves surrounded by orc assailants. The drow aided the wood elves, saving many lives, and then managed to diplomatically avoid eventual conflict (speaking in common). This happening was the beginning of a cooperation between the two groups: having understood that the Eilistraeen drow were not a threat, out of gratitude, the elves offered to guard the sacred place. After this event, the followers of Eilistraee used a given set of signal to identify themselves during their pilgrimages.[1]

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 133–135. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
  2. Planar Touchstones

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