She was sitting atop the Trade Spire of Hammerfast. Today had been a profitable day. Her father didn’t quite get what he wanted out of the meeting. After Doughnut had given him the information she had told him to give her father, he had died of natural causes….as it it quite natural for one to die with a blade in the heart. The only thing she did regret was that she didn’t have enough time to feast on his soul. Though she was quite confident they wouldn’t have any ways of bringing him back. All that was left to do now was to lead his party to Fallcrest and complete her job. She spat into the night as she recalled his allies. Worst of them was the Dragonborn. How could could her father have dealt with that damn lizard! If she didn’t have her orders she would have slipped into his room the first night and they would have found him the next morning as a dried husk, his soul stripped from his body and feasted on. But he was to be left to the “others”. She would have to find some creative ways to motivate them.
Instead of looking at the awe inspiring view of the city she looked deeply into her blade and the image of the one inside it. It took her back to those many years ago when “They” took her.
It was her tenth birthday when she started having the dreams. She was in a dark plane wreathed in fire. Devils tortured a figure huddled in the middle of them as winged figure stood back in the darkness watching it all. She caught glimpse of what she knew to be her mother. The creatures would tear into her only to have the wounds heal moments afterwards. The winged figure held her hand up before Caelynn and she heard a dark whisper in her mind. “Only you can set her free from her torment. You have only to say my name and she will be free.” Her mother would plead for her not to speak the creatures name amidst the torture.
She hadn’t told the guild about her dreams because she thought they would think her crazy. And the dreams would come to her every night. Her mother being tortured and the winged creature offering to save her mother. All she had to do was to speak her name. What harm could come by speaking a simple name? Then it stopped becoming mere dreams. She could hear the whispering of the creature during the day and the tortured screams of her mother. The next night she had her last dream. This time it was different. Her mother’s wounds weren’t healing. “This is the last time I’ll ask you child.” Creature whispered to her. “If you don’t do what I have asked of you your mother’s very soul will be destroyed.” She held her hand up and the devils stopped. “Now it’s time to make your choice child.” Tears where streaming down her eyes. “I can’t!” “You will!” “Please no!” “Say my name!” Her hand descended and the devils leaped at her her mother. “AlianaNashRavana!” She laughter of the winged creature entered her mind.
And she woke up from the horrible dream as a thunder boomed off in the distance. It had apparently started raining while she slept. She looked out the window next to her bed and the could see sheets of rain falling down and lightning off in the distance. She wasn’t alone in the room of course, she slept in one of the guild barracks room with her friends from the guild. Lightning struck right in front of the window and she had to stifle a scream which came out as a squeak. One of the guild members, Zog rose from his bed and went over to her. “Shh it’s just a storm. There’s nothing to worry about lass.” Lightning struck again and she saw a shadow appear at the door of the barracks. It was the creature from her dreams.
Frozen in sheer terror she couldn’t say anything as Aliana grabbed Zog and pulled him into a deep kiss. His face turned blank as she ended the kiss. She whispered into his ear. “Kill your friends.” She smiled as he crept up and slit Macks’ throat while stifling his death rattle. He continued about his gruesome work until only he stood alive among the rooms occupants other than her and the child. Caelynn stared in horror as her only friends in the guild were taken from her one by one. ‘Save me father…please.’ Aliana whispered into her ear as she heard Caelynn’s thoughts. “Your father isn’t coming to save you child. He isn’t even on this plane. By saying my true name you have bound your soul to me. And I believe a taste test in on the first order of business.” She pressed her lips to Caelynns’. Caelynn felt a strong tugging at her very being. She felt part of her consciousness rip away from her and be absorbed. Aliana laughed. “Well, well, well like father like daughter.” And then darkness blissfully took Caelynn.
A feeling of emptiness broke her from her reverie. The thirst had come again. She needed a fresh kill. To sustain her infernal powers she had to feast on the souls of those she had slain. It had become an addiction to her. One that Aliana had been quick to make use of. After failing to take the dwarfs’ soul she needed to find other alternatives. She looked at her blade and the figure inside of it. She had to consciously stop herself from thinking of that alternative. To do so would bring swift and horrible punishment from her master. A thought did come to her though. She smiled wickedly as she drew a sliver of its soul to slake her thirst for the moment. The figure seemed to shrink down a bit as she feasted on it. She could sustain herself this way for a while. The soul was resilient enough to last a couple more feedings…and if not, then it wasn’t her fault.
Suddenly Caelynn was assaulted by past memories that were not her own. They were gone as quickly as they had come, though she seemed to be able to recall them at will now. This had never happened before. Normally she would only get their last thoughts and memories and those would quickly fade away. She looked more carefully at the memories now and they reminded Caelynn of her own past.
She was being taught differently than her father. Aliana didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Caelynns’ powers relied on infernal power rather than personal strength and poisonous trickery that her father was taught. By age eleven she was able to manifest her pact weapon, a wicked looking emerald blade with the symbol of Sehanine in the hilt. It took another year to learn how to wield the blade with proficiency. All along this time Aliana was indoctrinating Caelynn against her father. After all if her father loved her so much why wasn’t he there to protect her and instead halfway across the world and beyond. Aliana would free her mother if and only if she spent the rest of her natural life working for her.
On her 12th birthday she was to receive her infernal powers after completing one final test. “Your opponent today will be an old acquaintance of yours.” Aliana smiled and with a gesture of her hand, Zog her still dominated servant stepped out to face her. “To continue the final stages of your training you must kill him with your blade child.” Zog stalked in towards her and she barely got up her blade in defense. How could she kill one of her only friends? Zog’s face remained blank as he rained blow after blow against her as she dodged and blocked his attacks. She saw an opening in his defenses and out of instinct she stabbed at him with her blade.
Time slowed down to a crawl as her blade slipped past his guard, through his chainmail and into his heart. She saw the slightest smile on his face. Tears streamed out of her as she tried to drop the blade. But it seemed glued to her hand. It was not finished with Zog. She felt a sudden surge of energy as his soul passed into her. She felt his sadness and anger at what she had been forced to become. “Get her” was his last thought as his consciousness faded into her.
Aliana was smiling at Caelynn as she slipped her blade out of Zog’s body. She wouldn’t be smiling anymore though. She gathered all her rage and the energy that Zog’s soul had provided her and unleashed it on Aliana. Scores of fiery copies of her blade appeared before her and with a gesture of her hand they shot straight out at Aliana. As then impaled the ground it shot up a dust cloud that covered the area. When they had all hit the ground she had one last card to play. With another gesture the fiery swords exploded in gouts of fire. No way it wouldn’t have killed her.
Or so she thought. Aliana strode calmly outside of the dust cloud and fire clapping her hands. “I’ve never seen hexblade powers manifest in that way before.” Her eyes flared red. “But then again you are his daughter.” Caelynn stumbled down to the ground and suddenly felt very tired. “Though it seems like you need a lesson on who is in charge here. You will never have the power to destroy me child. After all I gave you the power…and I can take away much more.” She was tortured personally by Aliana for several months after that. She would take her soul one piece at a time. She would then tug at the last remnant of her soul as it stood on the edge of oblivion. She would make a game out of it, forcing her to hold on with all her willpower on that last piece. Part of her wanted to give in and let it be done. But she kept on as Aliana would play her games with Caelynn.
She started out with small and easy jobs. Go places, gather information and kill a random person. She was finally able to alleviate the void she had felt inside of her since Aliana had taken most of her soul when she had tortured her. Each soul slaked her thirst. At first she felt horrible about it. She was taught as a child that the souls of the dead would enter the Raven Queens realm and then pass on into their god’s realm and remain there forever more. Wasn’t that their right? Didn’t they have a right to their own afterlife? On nights she had taken a soul she would cry herself to sleep at the thought of another soul consumed so she could fill the void that could never seem to be filled.
But one night everything changed. She was to kill the son of the Baron of Darkwater. He was next in line to inherit the barony. She was advised to get close to him and then perform the deed. Mason Darkwater was his name. They were almost the same age. If she didn’t have to kill him she would have considered him as a potential lover. Using the tricks Aliana had taught her she easily found her way to his bed chambers. As he lay there exhausted after having a wonderful time she got up and looked at him. It was time for her to finish the deed. She summoned her blade and held it up to pierce his heart.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered. The boy looked up at her. “Why?” was all he said. Tears trickled down her cheeks. “Because I have to kill you…no it’s much more than that. I have to take your soul too. You won’t have an afterlife…I’ll take your soul inside of me and…it’ll just be gone.” She explained. The boy’s reply changed her perspective. “Would that be so bad?” Her sword wavered over him for a second then was back to pierce his heart. “What?” Everyone else she had cornered like this had always pleaded and begged but the result was the same. This was something new. “I’d rather fade away inside a stunning beauty such as you, than an afterlife I know nothing about. At least that is certain. Besides I would never really be gone. A piece of me will always be inside you if you look hard enough.” He nodded to her as she pierced his heart with practiced ease.
She took in his soul and suddenly the void became easier to fill. She took to his way of thinking. She wasn’t denying them an afterlife…she was just provided them a certain one. She smiled as his soul faded away into her. ‘Remember you only need to look deep inside yourself to find me again.’ And he was gone. She smiled again; she was never going to cry herself to sleep again.
She was 19 years old now. Aliana had thought to kill her by sending her on increasingly suicidal missions. But she only succeeded and grew stronger. She had also been set free to pursue any leads on her father’s whereabouts. She had tracked down an individual named Dusk who had a vendetta against her father’s party. She tracked him down through a crystal cave that led into an island in the feywild. He had decided to stay there after saving a ill-fated couple and being granted a boon from the fountain of life. He was quite a formidable opponent. In the end he fell to her blade after giving her the little information he knew about the party. His soul was quite delicious. She also gained an interesting companion.
She was worried her father had gone beyond the planes and beyond her reach. While she was training in her downtime in Dis she received word of an odd group of adventurers had appeared in Fallcrest though they quickly left. It had to be them. Aliana confirmed it when she received information from a devil that he had been contacted by her father and that someone had activated the devil statue using Aliana’s name. She was sent out immediately with her orders. When she got to the gates of Hammerfast she smiled. It was past time for this family reunion. She owed him ten years of pain, torture and loneliness. Maybe his soul could finally fill the void…. She almost drooled at the prospect.