With growing experience and confidence, Asse’s qualities emerged – her ambition and passionate love of her race driving her to forge her own family and own House, with a fierce conviction her House must become the First House of the Drow."
So began the House Le’Tent, destined to be mightiest of the Drow Houses, but there were no magic wands for Asse – only faith, hard work and natural ability she employed to make this happen.
Asse was quite amazed at the amount of traffic that went through Underdark Central. She just sat there watching and waiting. Every now and then she caught a glimpse of someone who looked as lost as she did on her first day here, only this time it was she who was doing the pouncing.
Within a month she had gathered quite a little group together. They were all grateful and overwhelmed by the gifts that she gave them, declaring their loyalty to her. This made them available to her at her whim, a sensation she quickly became to relish. Their allegiance and debt to her for her generosity far outweighed any monetary gain she could have made from the sale of the items.
She and Vrug began to get into a routine. Hunt with House Nulefnein, get the left over treasure, hang out at the entrance portal to the Underdark, get more recruits, take her own Hunting Party out to Hunt so they all grew in experience and strength.
Asse enjoyed the benefits of both worlds. All she learnt, she passed on immediately, establishing herself as the expert amongst her peers, and thus the natural leader.
Her new companions included Elthium who was the strong silent type of meat shield that Asse needed to stand next to Vrug up the front in order to form the front blocking wall. Thraldryn was a wielder of magic who she hoped one day would be worth something. He was forever dropping dead, and visited Lloth on more occasions, more regularly than any other Drow Asse has ever known even to this day. She knew if she could keep him alive long enough he would eventually be a great asset. Keeping him alive was something she constantly failed at. Nebril was devout and pious and then there was Amandel.
Amandel had first come to Asse’s attention when she heard his deep, dark and arousing voice somewhere behind her. Upon turning she saw a stranger purchasing potions from a nearby merchant. He was tall and muscular, loosely dressed in black and unencumbered. His hair was pulled back tightly revealing a face of fine features and most handsome. She swallowed the excessive amounts of saliva being produced in her mouth.
Asse managed to get through her usual introductory speech without making a mistake despite loosing her train of thought and concentration more times than she would care to admit and prayed no one noticed. She found him to be disconcertingly attentive and his long and quiet gazes into her eyes from a distance, while the party hunted together, even more so.
Eventually she could stand it no longer. She ordered Belia to take over the party and bid them all depart to continue their hunt, ordering Amandel to accompany her back to the Underdark. Along the way she detoured into a dark dead end tunnel and had her way with him. He proved to be more satisfactory than anticipated, and from that day forth he was never far from her side. Asse developed a passion for something greater than the hunt and started spending more and more time following her latest pursuit.
One day, very boldly, she admitted to Streea that she was gathering together a Hunting Party of her own, with the view of establishing her own house one-day. Much to her very great surprise, from that day on she found herself the recipient of even more gifts of treasure from House Nulefnein. One day she even found herself hauled up unexpectedly, in front of Maul Pindanon, who recognised her position of up and coming authority by presenting her with many fine gifts for her to disburse as she saw fit, including a very rare bow. It was this honour that prompted the realisation that House Le’tent actually already existed, and that she was, in fact its Matriarch. What she needed now was a large number of daughters if Le’Tent was to rise to the position of First House.
Asse and Amandel were standing in Loknar together when a voice said,
“Excuse me,” and a halfling pushed through them causing them both to step sideways.
“Who do dos think dos are, pushing past the Jabress,” said Amandel as he grabbed the little fellow and spun him around, holding a blade to his throat. Without missing so much as a heart beat the halfling replied
“I am Tass and the Stars have foretold that I am destined for very BIG THINGS,” he waved his finger at them both for extra emphasis, “And I have not got the time to waste here standing around talking to the likes of you.”
Asse was lost for words. She was surprised that Amandel didn’t just slash his throat open there and then for his impertinence. She burst out laughing instead. Amandel stood, sheathed his dagger, and placed an arm around her for support as her hysterics got louder. Eventually she wiped away the tears and stared down at the halfling who was frowning at her very seriously.
“Tell me… what was your name again?” she enquired
“TASS,” he replied curtly.
“Tell me Tass, what do you do?”
“I am a rogue,” he said with pride.
“Vrug?,” called Asse, “look in your backpacks and see if we have anything for a thief...”
“I am NOT a thief,” he said interrupting as Vrug dropped his load and started to rummage through it, “I am a ROGUE.”
“What ever Tass. Here put these on,” she said handing him a pair of gauntlets. Tass took them hesitantly, inspected them, inspected them again, smiled and put them on. “Now you’re mine,” she declared with a smile.
“I could use a good thief,” she added just to annoy him, which it did. “Walk at the back with the other rothe,” she commanded. “And if you find anything else you can use in there,” she added pointing at Vrug packing away the bags whilst trying not to drop his scythe, “help yourself.”
With that the halfling noticed the quantity of gear the half orc was carrying and decided it may be worth a look after all. He went over to the half orc and started to help him, as Asse and Amandel continued on their way.
“Da Jabress is a bwael mistress,” said Vrug quietly so only Tass could hear. “She gibs lotsa stuff to everyone.”
“Yeah?” said Tass looking at Asse as she wandered onwards.
“Yeah. Just da other day she hired my sister Vruggette too as her very own personal cook. My sista be very good cook.” The bags were packed and Vrug stood up hauling it onto his back. “Anyways you stick wif me friend and I’ll look afta ya OK.”
“OK Vrug, I’ll do that,” he replied. The huge lumbering half orc and the plodding little halfling who came up to his knee, set off together after their mistress.
Streea, standing at the end of a long bridge that disappeared into the distance said, “dos must promise not to tell ANYONE about this shop OK. It’s a SECRET. Very few know of its location. Many surfaces have tried to find it and have died trying,” and with that statement an evil grin crossed Streea’s face. “Remember this path,” she added, “For to loose your way IS certain death. Here kitty kitty” she called running off over the bridge. Her gruff laugh could be heard echoing in the valley.
Asse, Amandel and Vrug took off after her. Asses eyes had still not adjusted to the peculiar light here so she fell behind. The thick fog was blood red and the forest here was dense. She arrived at the other end of the bridge to see Streea kill the last of three legendary tigers. The fact that Amandel had already worked up sweat was not lost on Asse, and the scent of him hovered in the still air tantalising her senses.
Streea ran left with the others following close behind. Another tiger was dispatched and then some bears. They went this way and that, around corners and through crevices. Asse was lost but she knew Amandel would not be. In the heart of the forest was a cabin and fences. She wanted to venture inside but the party ran past killing the undead creatures that tried to stop them. Through the gate and right, up a long defile, and there it was, in the middle of nowhere, an established camp with all the comforts of a home.
The goods Lord Xavier offered were unique. Expensive beyond Asses capabilities, but the knowledge was priceless. She wondered how many Drow knew about this surfacer who travelled so far to bring them exotic goods.
A sudden sharp cramping caused Asse to drop to the ground groaning in pain. Amandel was holding her instantly.
“The time has come, Amandel,” said Asse struggling for breath. “Dos must take ustaan (me) home immediately. The child comes now.”
Amandel nodding started to assist Asse to her feet. Streea steeped forward, pushing Amandel out of the way.
“This is private Jabress business,” Streea announced leaving no room for doubt or uncertainty. Lowering Asse back onto the ground another contraction seized her. “We will not make it back in time,” she announced looking only slightly concerned. Standing, Streea started to order the small gathering crowd around, issuing all with orders and tasks to fulfil immediately. Soon Amandel was bid carry her into one of the tents, which he did. Laying her down on a pile of blankets, he stroked her hair, kissed her on the lips one last time and departed the tent with an acknowledging nod from Streea.
It was several hours before Streea emerged bloodied from the tent. Once again she barked orders, but this time for celebratory drinks. Amandel was told that mother and child were resting peacefully.
“This is dosst (your) ilar (third) daughter then?” enquired Streea.
“Xas,” replied Amandel proudly. He mused on the pleasure he would gain from watching the other two squirm when they are given the news of the child being female.
“Her name is Shay,” stated Streea.
“Bwael (good),” replied Amandel. “Ustaan (I) will drink to that.” And everybody did.
Her small family and House members gathered around the table and chairs in Underdark Central. It was all they had and it was the closest thing to a home that they possessed. All the corridors had been searched and every building examined in the Underdark and not one suitable place for a residence could be found anywhere. Asse grew increasingly irritated at this. The nomadic lifestyle suited many, but not her or her ambitions. She prayed to Lloth, as did the entire family for guidance and knowledge to lead them to a place they could claim as their home, but no answer ever came. So they continued to meet in Underdark Central, to organise their hunts.
Asse enjoyed standing around watching her children interact with each other. The complexities and the intrigue delighted her often. She would slowly wander the circumference of the group listening to all and smirking when one achieved a verbal victory over the other. Insult abuse was a gentle and most refined art that every fine jabress should possess and her daughters were proving most up to the task.
Her first daughter Sol Del, was tall and breath-takingly beautiful. She wielded duel swords and her prowess became legendary as she eventually became the first Le’Tent to ever solo a red dragon. Her sharp tongue likewise cut hard and deep. Talice, Asse’s second child, was far less refined but never the less effective. Her sharp wit combined with her obvious evilness earned her the fear of all family members whom she could silence with a single glance. Shay was fierce but blunt. The twins Aradith and Anadrith preferred to spar together in the arena and thus were always silent to assist the commencement of the hunt, for when the hunt was done, they could return to the Arena. Rith was always far too cheery and wanted everyone to be friends. Rith was full of talk whilst being always fearful, hoping that one-day the tides would turn and it would be she who was feared.
Her sons Jix, Anen, Kertog and Monty were jaluks who followed orders well. They were loyal and fierce and knew their place. This is what made them invaluable. Asse treasured them. Grand children started to follow soon as her children found their own way in the world. Soon their regular weekly hunts had to be divided into two groups.
Everything seemed to be going very well until the day that Asse visited one of Amandel's training sessions to discover him and Streea naked together. This came as a sharp reminder to Asse that leader of a House she may be, but nothing of her’s was truly her’s if a Jabress senior to her wanted it. There could only be one solution to that – become the Drow Matriach.