Excerpt from
Lords of Darkness
By Jason Carl and Sean K Reynolds

The Daemonfey

The only sound in the dimly lit stone chamber was the eerie resonance of Saryass long, talonlike fingernail scraping over the naked bone of the skull she hefted before her. The whiteness of the polished bone contrasted well against the red hue of her skin, and her batlike wings fluttered as she contemplated her victory. The half-fiend scraped her nail once more over the bleached surface of the skull, and this time she smiled as the sound bounced and played off the cold stone.

The trophy had belonged to an enemy, and it was over his defeat that she was gloating. Baron Ryvvik had thought to usurp his mother's place at the head of their clan, but Saryass foolish child had underestimated both her knowledge of his plans and her ruthlessness. If mother could only be here, Sarya thought, she would be so pleased.

The daemonfey collectively comprise a clan of evil, magically talented half-fiends and fey'ri (tieflings descended from elf-demon crossbreeds) that has been recently freed from centuries of imprisonment to stalk Faerūn once again. These folk are true monsters: ambitious, cruel, proud, and utterly unconcerned with anything apart from their own selfish desires. The daemonfey are at their core a small group of hate-filled individuals who live to exact revenge on those who thwarted their plans and sealed them off from the world so long ago. The daemonfey are a hidden but imminent threat to the peoples and communities of the North while they plot to punish the elven race for having the effrontery to imprison them.

Brief History

The original daemonfey were members of House Dlardrageth, proud but politically ambitious families of sun elves who dwelled nearly six thousand years ago in the area that would one day become known as Cormanthor. The members of the house trafficked with demons as a means of gaining power, and they believed that they could strengthen their bloodline by mingling it with the infernal. The children born of such unions were indeed powerful, and became skilled sorcerers as well. When their fellow elves learned of these horrifying activities, they destroyed House Dlardrageth. A few survivors escaped and fled into hiding.

Centuries later elven mages discovered the remaining half-fiends, who fought desperately to save themselves but could not prevail against the forces arrayed against them. The mages imprisoned the handful of survivors of this assault in a magical prison that confined them for millennia. While they remained in a state of near-slumber, a few lesser sun elf houses decided to follow House Dlardrageth's example. Their children were likewise set upon by outraged elves and either killed or imprisoned by elven mages.

The destruction of Hellgate Keep in 1369 DR freed the original members of House Dlardrageth from their centuries-old prisons. They in turn freed the descendants of the lesser houses, who had interbred with succubi and incubi to create a race of sun elf tieflings known as fey'ri, and adopted them into House Dlardrageth.

The Organization

Headquarters: A subterranean lair in the North located beneath the ruins of Lothen of the Silver Spires, near the dwarven ruin known as the Hall of Four Ghosts.

Members: 52 (2 half-fiends, 33 fey'ri, 9 servants, and 8 individual associates).

Hierarchy: Loose.

Leader: Countess Sarya Dlardrageth.

Religion: The daemonfey do not worship the deities of Faerūn. They venerate their namesakes (the demon elves of House Dlardrageth) and pay homage to certain infernal powers.

Alignment: CE.

Secrecy: Medium.

Symbol: As the rightful heirs of House Dlardrageth, the daemonfey feel free to use a stylized version of that family's ancient crest. The house is now known by a scarlet phoenix with the sable, batlike wings of a demon, and a burning whip clutched in its beak. The traditional house colors are scarlet and sable, and the daemonfey incorporate both hues into their garb.

The daemonfey are structured into a loose hierarchy, with Sarya in control.

Hierarchy

The daemonfey are ruled by the eldest member of House Dlardrageth. In this case, that individual is Sarya (CE female sun elf half-fiend Sor17), the half-elven, half-demon countess of House Dlardrageth. Only two half-fiends remain of the Dlardrageth clan, Sarya and her nephew Xhalth (CE male sun elf half-fiend Bbn12). Baron Xhalth used to harbor plans of unseating his aunt as the leader of the daemonfey, until he saw her kill her own son Ryvvik without hesitation. The rest of the daemonfey are fey'ri of the Dlardrageth and associated clans, a handful of allies, and servants.

Motivation and Goals

The daemonfey are driven by the desire to punish the elven race for the humiliation and suffering the elves caused them. Sarya plans to capture sun elves and use them as breeding stock, mating them to summoned demons in the deep boltholes under the High Forest. Eventually, she'll have a small half-demon and fey'ri army, and with that force she'll wreak chaos and havoc on the elves of the North.

The daemonfey have already abducted several sun elves from the Silver Marches and are holding them prisoner in preparation for bringing in the outsiders for breeding. Before she can embark on that plan in earnest, however, she and her fey’ri followers are engaged in an aggressive program to educate themselves about the sort of place that Faerūn has become in their absence. Small scouting missions composed of three or four fey'ri make their way stealthily through the woodlands, spying on the other creatures there. These scouting parties take great care not to be seen or noticed, since tipping off the elves to their presence now, while the group is still weak, would be disastrous to their plans.

Recruiting

The daemonfey believe in forcible recruitment. They abduct sun elves whom they consider "suitable" candidates for demonic breeding, and thereby induct them into the society as unwilling associates. The daemonfey plan to rear the offspring of these foul unions as their own and to dispose of the elven parents as quickly as possible.

Allies

The daemonfey prefer to keep to themselves, but they sometimes work alongside evil humanoids for a short duration. Though their ancestors considered the drow to be degenerates, Sarya has considered approaching them to discuss an alliance, since they seem to share some of the same goals.

To date the daemonfey have not dared to approach any mages living in civilized areas with offers of alliance, even though they could certainly use the arcane knowledge to be gained by such associations. Sarya has recently become aware of a small but powerful cabal of wizards and sorcerers living in Luskan—the Arcane Brotherhood—who might not be averse to working with half-fiends and fey'ri. She plans to make contact with the Brotherhood just as soon as she learns the location of their headquarters.

Enemies

The daemonfey consider themselves superior to all other beings of Faerūn, and cast anyone who might stand against them in the role of enemy. Their most venomous hatred and eternal enmity is reserved, however, for the entire elven race, and in particular moon elves and wood elves. Countess Sarya feels an intense, personal loathing for the Silver Marches, because that confederation is exactly the kind of experiment that her irritatingly smug elven kin would attempt, and she is certain that the mutual defense pact was somehow orchestrated by the elves of the High Forest.

Encounters

Small groups of daemonfey might be encountered along the outskirts of the High Forest and throughout the North. A typical encounter is one fey'ri leader who is a rogue of at least 7th level, accompanied by a sorcerer and a pair of fighters. Individual encounters are likely to be with solitary scouts.

Daemonfey Encounter (EL 8): 1 daemonfey scout leader (CE fey'ri Rog7), 1 daemonfey mage (CE fey'ri Sor4), and 2 daemonfey guards (CE fey'ri Ftr2).

Daemonfey Bolthole

The daemonfey know the locations of a number of underground structures throughout the North that are not familiar to the younger races that now dwell there. Older elves probably know about many of these places, but have no reason to presume that anyone is making use of them again. By the time the elves realize their ancient foes have returned, Sarya hopes it will be too late for them to stop the revitalized daemonfey.

(CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The bolthole described here was once a dwarven way station where tired dwarves could stop and rest on their journeys between strongholds. It is located in the northern eaves of the High Forest, about 20 miles west of the Stone Stand. It is currently occupied by a scouting party that is en route to the daemonfey stronghold after a successful spying mission in the Silver Marches. Unless otherwise noted, each room is lit with a pair of torches thrust into iron sconces just inside and to either side of the doorways.

1. Staircase Characters who pass within 30 feet of the top of the staircase should make a Spot Check (DC 20) to notice the bolthole's entrance, hidden by a manufactured deadfall of brush and boughs. The stairs are strewn with dead pine needles, bits of decayed leaves, and scatterings of dirt. The center of each stair is relatively free of this debris—a sign that this staircase has been well used recently.

2. Great Hall Those familiar with dwarven architecture recognize it immediately in the style of this large chamber. All the accoutrements and appointments that made it a welcoming respite from travel are now gone, replaced by the stench of sweat, road dust, and the faint but unmistakable whiff of brimstone that accompanies some of the fey'ri.

A pair of daemonfey warriors (CE male fey'ri Rog2/Ftr1) waits here at all times, sitting on the floor near the bottom of the entrance stairwell, on the lookout for trouble. If they discover intruders, they rush to the attack, and the sound of the battle draws the attention of all other creatures within the bolthole.

3. Vesryn's Chamber Vesryn (CE male fey'ri Sor10) has taken this room for himself while he tries to determine the best route back to the daemonfey headquarters.

Vesryn Aelorothi: Male fey'ri Sor10; CR 12; Medium-size outsider (evil); HD 10d4; hp 37; Init +6; Spd 30 ft., fly 40 ft. (poor); AC 18 (touch 12, flat-footed 16); Atk +7 melee (1d8+2/19-20, +1 longsword); SQ Alternate form, familiar benefits, demonic abilities, elf traits; AL CE; SV Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 13, Cha 17.

Skills and Feats: Alchemy +13, Bluff +5*, Concentration +8, Hide +4*, Knowledge (arcana) +13, Listen +5*, Move Silently +2, Scry +9, Search +7*, Sense Motive +4, Spellcraft +13, Spot +9*; Alertness, Combat Casting, Flyby Attack, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative. *Fey'ri gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks, which is included in the values above.

Alternate Form: Fey&'ri can change shape at will to humanoid forms of approximately the same height and weight.

Familiar Benefits: Grants master Alertness feat (when within 5 ft.); master can share spells; master has empathic link.

Demonic Abilities: Damage reduction 10/+1; fire resistance 10; detect thoughts, suggestion once per day as Sor10.

Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/7/7/5/3; base DC = 13 + spell level; 20% spell failure chance): 0—detect magic, disrupt undead, flare, light, mage hand, open/close, ray of frost, read magic, resistance; 1st—cause fear, grease, obscuring mist, protection from good, sleep; 2nd—cat's grace, darkvision, endurance, invisibility; 3rd—clairaudience/clairvoyance, haste, slow; 4th—ice storm, shout; 5th—teleport.

Possessions: +1 elven chain, +1 longsword, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, potion of neutralize poison, scroll of flashburst, scroll of lesser ironguard, ring of counterspells (magic missile), wand of Melf's acid arrow, 2 waterstars (500 gp each), leather scroll case containing a hand-drawn map of the North.

Bat Familiar: HD 10; hp 18; AC 21; SQ Improved evasion, can deliver touch attacks, can speak with master, can speak with animals of its type; Int 10; see Monster Manual Appendix I.

Vesryn is an exceptionally tall and cadaverously thin fey'ri with dark copper hair. His fiendish heritage is readily apparent when his true form is visible, but he spends much of his time in other, less distinctive shapes. (His favorites are that of a portly human sorcerer with wild, white-blond hair or a moon elf of noble bearing and quiet demeanor.)

Vesryn joined with House Dlardrageth after he was freed from imprisonment following the destruction of Hellgate Keep. He has sworn his obedience to Sarya, and carries out her instructions with relish. He believes wholeheartedly in her agenda, and supports it by making himself available for scouting missions and raids.

4. Teryani's Chamber Sarya's chief scout, Xhalth's daughter Teryani Ealoeth (CE female fey'ri Rgr7), stays in this chamber. The room holds her traveling gear: a backpack (normal adventuring equipment, plus six tindertwigs and a vial of alchemist's fire), a +2 masterwork shortbow, a quiver of 30 arrows and 10 masterwork arrows, and a potion of invisibility.

5. Curing Chamber The sharp smell of game permeates the air of this room. Stretched out on makeshift racks assembled from tree limbs are six deer hides that the daemonfey are curing for later use.

6. Warriors' Chamber The warriors who guard the entrance to the bolthole store their possessions here, typical adventuring gear.

7. Scouts' Room The three remaining members of the party have elected to share this room. They are Jhaartael Ealoeth (CE male fey'ri Ftr2/Sor2), Laerdya Floshin (CE female fey'ri Rog5), and Sariandi Floshin (CE female fey'ri Ftr4). Their travel-worn gear, backpacks containing normal adventuring equipment, and pieces of the same are strewn among their bedrolls.

8. Stairs These stairs descend to the lower level.

9. Kitchen This was once a kitchen where the dwarven travelers prepared their meals. Now it smells of the kill once again, for it contains the slaughtered carcasses of three deer that the fey'ri killed recently. The carcasses hang from stone hooks built into the ceiling on the opposite side of the door for this very purpose. The blood drains into a shallow gutter that carries the liquid away into the earth. A large fire pit dominates the center of the kitchen, filled with recently gathered fallen timber that awaits only a flame.

10. Storage Chamber The dwarves sometimes stored dried and preserved foodstuffs here, but now it's the last resting place of a monstrous large spider that had been dwelling within this chamber before the fey'ri slew it. They have not yet bothered to remove its repulsive carcass.

11. Trophy Room The daemonfey have removed the antlers from the buck deer they killed and affixed them to the wall of this chamber. The antlers (six sets in all, no significant value) function both as trophies of the hunt and as convenient drying racks for cloaks and outer garments.

12. Prisoners Each of these three small chambers, formerly dwarven sleeping rooms, holds a pair of elven prisoners restrained in manacles. The daemonfey captured these folk (all of whom fit Sarya's breeding criteria, since they are particularly fit and attractive members of the elven race) during their excursion into the Silver Marches. They are being marched back to the daemonfey stronghold to await the start of Sarya's infernal breeding program.

13. Dwarven Shrine Three giant dwarven faces, one on each wall (except for the wall near the entrance), glower at the center of this room. This area was a shrine consecrated to dwarven deities. The daemonfey haven't done more than look inside briefly because the place makes them feel uncomfortable.

14. Natural Cavern This entire complex was once a natural cave system, as evidenced by the unworked portion here. The dwarves who built this place either did not have the opportunity to finish, or left the cave as it was for some other reason (perhaps as a tribute to a dwarven deity).

Three frightened quaggoths hide in the rearmost part of the cavern. The fey'ri looked into the cave briefly but failed to notice the concealed creatures. The quaggoths were the slaves of an illithid, but they managed to escape from their master a short time ago. Emerging from the Underdark many miles from here, the creatures made their way through the forest until they stumbled upon this complex. They thought that they had found an ideal place to shelter until the daemonfey showed up a couple of days later. Fearful of being pressed again into slavery or killed outright, the quaggoths have remained inside the cave. Their meager supply of food has run out now, however, and their growing hunger will prompt them to acts of desperation if the daemonfey do not leave soon.


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