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The Drow in R.A. Salvatores books
Quotes in Homeland
These are some quotes from various books(Drizzt Do'Urden books)
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Station: In all the world of the drow, there is no more important word. It is the calling of their-of our-religion, the incessant pulling of hungering heartstrings. Ambition overrides good sense and compassion is thrown away in its face, all in the name of Lloth, the Spider Queen.
Ascension to power in drow society is a simple process of assassination. The Spider Queen is a deity of chaos, and she and her high priestesses, the true rulers of the drow world, do not look with ill favor upon ambitious individuals wielding poisoned daggers.
Of course, there are rules of behavior; every society must boast of these. To openly commit murder or wage war invites the pretense of justice, and penalties exacted in the name of drow justice are merciless. To stick a dagger in the back of a rival during the chaos of a larger battle or in the quiet shadows of any alley, however, is quite acceptable-even applauded. Investigation is not the forte of drow justice. No one cares enough to bother.
Station is the way of Llolth, the ambition she bestows to further the chaos, to keep her drow "children" along their appointed course of self- imprisonment. Children? Pawns, more likely, dancing dolls for the Spider Queen, puppets on the imperceptible but impervious strands of her web. All climb the Spider Queen's ladder; all hunt for her pleasure; and all fall to the hunters of her pleasure.
Station is the paradox of the world of my people, the limitation of our power within the hunger for power. It is gained through treachery and invites treachery against those who gain it. Those most powerful in Menzoberranzan spend their days watching over their shoulders, defending against the daggers that would find their backs.
Their deaths usually come from the front.
|The Weapon Master
Empty hours, empty days.
I find that I have few memories of that first period of my life, those first sixteen years when I laboured as a servant. Minutes blended into hours, hours into days, and so on, until the whole of it seemed one long and barren moment. Several times I managed to sneak out onto the balcony of House Do'Urden and look out over the magical lights of Menzoberranzan. On all of those secret journeys, I found myself entranced by the growing, and then dissipating, heat-light of Narbondel, the time-clock pillar. Looking back on that now, on those long hours watching the glow of the wizard's fire slowly walk its way up and then down the pillar, I am amazed at the emptiness of my early days
I clearly remember my excitement, tingling excitement, each time I got out of the house and set myself into position to observe the pillar. Such a simple thing it was, yet so fulfilling compared to the rest of my existence.
Whenever I hear the crack of a whip, another memory -more a sensation than a memory actually- sends a shiver through my spine. The shocking jolt and the ensuing numbness from those snake-headed weapons is not something that any person would soon forget. They bite under your skin, sending waves of magical energy through your body, waves that make your muscles snap and pull beyond their limits.
Yet I was luckier than most. My sister Vierna was near to becoming a high priestess when she was assigned the task of rearing me and was at a period of her life where she possessed far more energy than such a job required. Perhaps, then there was more to those first ten years under her care than I now recall. Vierna never showed the intense wickedness of our mother-or, more particularly, of our oldest sister, Briza. Perhaps there were good times in the solitude of the chapel house; it is possible that Vierna allowed a more gentle side of herself to show through to her baby brother.
Maybe not. Even though I count Vierna as the kindest of my sisters, her words drip in the venom of Lloth as surely as those of any cleric in Menzoberranzan. It seems unlikely that she would risk her aspirations toward high priestesshood for the sake of a mere child, a mere male child.
Whether there were indeed joys in those years, obscured in the unrelenting assault of Menzoberranzan's wickedness, or whether that earliest period of my life was even more painful than the years that followed -so painful that my mind hides the memories- I cannot be certain. For all my efforts, I cannot remember them.
I have more insight into the next six years, but the most prominent recollection of the days I spent serving the court of Matron Malice -aside from the secret trips outside the house- is the image of my own feet.
A page prince is never allowed to raise his gaze
It is the propagation of the lies that bind drow society together, the ultimate perpetration of falsehoods repeated so many times that they ring true against any contrary evidence. The lessons young drow are taught of truth and justice are so blatantly refuted by everyday life in wicked Menzoberranzan that it is hard to understand how any could believe them. Still they do.
Even now, decades removed, the thought of the place frightens me, not for any physical pain or the ever-present sense of possible death -I have trod down many roads equally dangerous in that way. The Academy of Menzoberranzan frightens me when I think of the survivors, the graduates, existing -revelling- within the evil fabrications that shape their world.
They live with the belief that anything is acceptable if you can get away with it, that self-gratification is the most important aspect of self-existence, and that power comes only to she or he who is strong enough, and cunning enough, to snatch it from the failing hands of those who no longer deserve it. Compassion has no place in Menzoberranzan, and yet it is compassion, not fear, that brings harmony to most races. It is harmony, working toward shared goals, that precedes greatness.
Lies engulf the drow in fear and mistrust, refute friendship at the tip of a Lloth-blessed sword. The hatred and ambition fostered by these amoral tenets are the doom of my people, a weakness that they perceive as strength. The result is a paralysing, paranoid existence that the drow call the edge of readiness.
I do not know how I survived the Academy, how I discovered the falsehoods early enough to use them to contrast, and thus strengthen, those ideals I most cherish.
It was Zaknafein, I must believe, my teacher. Through the experiences of Zak's long years, which embittered him and cost him so much, I came to hear the screams: the screams of protest against murderous treachery; the screams of rage from the leaders of drow society, the high priestesses of the Spider Queen, echoing down the paths of my mind, ever to hold a place within my mind.
The screams of dying children.
What eyes are these that see
The pain I know in my innermost soul?
What eyes are these that see
The twisted strides of my kindred,
Led on in the wake of toys unbridled:
Arrow, bolt, and sword tip?
Straight run and muscled spring,
Soft on padded paws, sheathed claws,
Weapons rested for their need,
Stained not by frivolous blood
Or murderous deceit.
Face to face, my mirror,
Reflection in a still pool by light.
Would that I might keep that image
Upon this face mine own.
Would that I might keep that heart
Within my breast untainted.
Hold tight to the proud honour of your spirit,
And hold tight to my side,
My dearest friend.
Zaknafein Do'Urden: mentor, teacher, friend. I, in the blind agony of my own frustrations, more than once came to recognise Zaknafein as none of these. Did I ask him more than he could give? Did I expect perfection of a tormented soul; hold Zaknafein up to standards beyond his experiences, or standards impossible in the face of his experiences?
I might have been him. I might have lived, trapped within the helpless rage, buried under the daily assault of the wickedness that is Menzoberranzan and the pervading evil that is my own family, never in life to find escape.
It seems a logical assumption that we learn from the mistakes of our elders. This, I believe, was my salvation. Without the example of Zaknafein, I, too, would have no escape-not in life.
Is this course I have chosen a better way than the life Zaknafein knew? I think, yes, though I find despair often enough sometimes to long for that other way. It would have been easier. Truth, though, is nothing in the face of self-falsehoodom and principles, are of no value if the idealist cannot live up to his own standards.
This, then, is a better way.
I live with many laments, for my people, for myself, but mostly for that weapon master, lost to me now, who showed me how-and why-to use a blade.
There is no pain greater than this; not the cut of a jagged-edged dagger nor the fire of a dragon's breath. Nothing burns in your heart like the emptiness of losing something, someone, before you truly have learned of its value.
Often now I lift my cup in a futile toast, an apology to ears that cannot hear.
To Zak, the one who inspired my courage
||Elminster ^ top, Cadderly Bonaduce left