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Morning Glory Blade
By Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel

A dilettante at heart, Morning Glory Blade became a bard because it seemed the easiest way to make a living in the world. Often she would trade a smile and a song for a soft bed, tasty meal, or a shiny coin. What could be better?

She began her career by performing in small thorps, hamlets, and villages. The locals welcomed a talented bard. She traveled on foot between these rural settlements and often took off-the-road shortcuts through woods or fields.

One day, deep in a wood, Morning Glory caught a glimpse of a beautiful woman seated before a mirror-surfaced pond beneath a large oak tree. No stranger to stories of fey since she had sung numerous songs about them, the bard yearned to talk to the lovely dryad, but she feared that approaching closer might frighten the fey woman away.

Morning Glory stayed very still and started singing a sweet country air. Like a startled deer, the fey looked up with muscles tensing, preparing to flee. The beauty of the song, however, soothed her and listened raptly.

When Morning Glory finished the song, and the last tone died away, the fey whispered: "Come with me." The dryad took the bard to the realms of the faerie to play before the Dawn King and the Queen of Air and Darkness in the Great Hall of their castle.

Fair though Morning Glory's performance for the dryad might have been, the bard outstripped it as she sang the classic ballad "The Death of Spring."

All eyes turned to the Queen as the bard finished.

"Play on," said the Queen.

Morning Glory sang and sang and recited and sang some more. Glistening water nereids wept at a tale of shipwreck. The Queen laughed as the bard led some of the assembled pixies and grigs in a comic round.

When Morning Glory finished one ballad, she started another. An epic poem, a sweet lullaby, a rousing battle tune followed one after the other as water down a stream. The fey enjoyed themselves and applauded loudly once their dark queen indicated her approval of each piece.

The next thing that Morning Glory remembers is waking under the tree, beside the pool, in the cold dawn, filled with an eternal longing to return to the fey realms.

Seeing the glorious splendor of the fey realms made the mortal world seem drab to Morning Glory. The bard sought to live fully and make deeds worthy of song -- songs she hoped to someday sing at the court of the Queen of Air and Darkness.

She traveled extensively on roads fraught with danger where her bow and sword were never far from hand. She handled herself well in a fight. Many is the base brigand that didn't live long enough to regret his choice of target.

She freelanced for various adventuring parties, helping one group kill a dragon and another destroy a lich's phylactery. Recently, a lawful good group known as "The Holy" asked her to help them find a legendary rod known as Dark Fate.

The rod called Dark Fate was in a long-abandoned drow crypt now inhabited by driders and their pet monstrous spiders. Things went poorly for the group as they attacked. The spider's poison affected more than one party member, including Morning Glory, and the group's leader called for a retreat. Unable to carry off all the wounded, one group member took a hair from what he believed to be Morning Glory's dead body, and left it, with plans to resurrect her once they got back to town.

The bard was not dead, only dying. The driders stabilized her and went to work transforming her into one of them.

Now Morning Glory Blade is an angry drider, and she is filled with loathing for the mortal world, though she especially hates her former friends from "the Holy." She plans to try to find the rod, Dark Fate, on her own and use it to wreak her vengeance.

About the Author

Gwendolyn F. M. Kestrel is an editor for Wizards of the Coast's Roleplaying Games R&D department. Recent credits include editing Faiths and Pantheons, Oriental Adventures, and Magic of Faerün, and designing part of the Book of Challenges. She's a frequent contributor to the Dungeons & Dragons website. Also, check out the website she created for her husband, game designer Andy Collins.

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