NPC Closeup
By Owen K.C. Stephens

Erelea has no idea who her parents were, or how she came to be the drudge at a drow academy of magic. All she remembers of her past is the cruelty of young wizards just learning their craft, and how no one with the power to help her ever bothered to do so. She had a natural gift for stealth and survived longer than many of the academy's servants by never being obvious when something went wrong. As soon as she was old enough to survive on her own, she escaped into the tunnels of an underground world filled with danger, betrayal, and excitement.

Erelea spent as much time hiding as fighting, and she picked up a weapon designed to both inspire fear and keep foes at a distance -- a spiked chain. While it took her some time to master the weapon, she soon discovered it allowed her to hit targets that couldn't reach her. She used this ability with special zeal whenever she found herself facing an enemy spellcaster, since she still had a deep resentment of the young apprentices who had abused her.

Unable to afford a comfortable life in any large underground cities, Erelea traveled to many different subterranean kingdoms and became a familiar sight to kuo-toa, illithid, and gnome travelers. Though she was rarely welcomed into such lands, she often found some small group who were fighting against some spellcaster, and her offers of aid where happily accepted. She made a meager living fighting against wizards of a dozen races, but mostly took on such work for the satisfaction it gave her.

Her vendetta against drow wizards and priests soon resulted in Erelea having a price on her head, forcing her to flee her homeland for the surface world. It took her months to acclimate to skies with no ceiling, days filled with blinding light, and societies that feared and loathed her based solely on her race. In time, she learned to stick to major cities and spent time acting as an enforcer and adventurer for hire. She became part of the underground in many cities and occasionally got work as an assassin who specialized in killing spellcasters.

Erelea made a place for herself, but she was never comfortable living in the surface world. She longed for the day she could go home and carve out a niche for herself there, as well.

Word of Erelea's ability as an enforcer, especially of her expertise in taking out users of magic, eventually reached her underground homeland. Ironically, the very academy she had once run away from contacted her and asked if she'd be willing to act as a troubleshooter. The academy had need of someone to track down and dispose of rogue members of the school and enemy wizards who had stolen school secrets. Erelea jumped at the opportunity to go home again, especially if given the chance to inflict more pain on spellcasters.

Erelea was perfect for the tasks the academy gave her, because she could sneak up on spellcasters and strike them from concealment. She became an object of respect and fear within the academy and even arranged for the disappearance of a few staff members who had tormented her in her youth. She was hired by others who needed help dealing with wizard enemies as well, and she grew rich and powerful in her old homeland.

So great has Erelea's fame grown since then that she has opened her own academy to teach a new generation of mage-killers. Students are taught to strike at spellcasters at range with long reach weapons and force the spellcasters to cast on the defensive. Most of her students are other drow, since their spell resistance makes them natural wizard killers, but she takes anyone with a drive for excellence and a desire to hurt spellcasters. She also employs a few down-on-their luck wizards as menial drudges and laborers.

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