A New Drider
"They're safe! Now, I've just got to get away," muttered the young female drow as she ducked behind a set of muted stalagmites that grew behind her home. She knew she needed to leave the city. Heck, she truly wanted to leave her entire home realm behind. To go somewhere else that was less distrusting.
"Where'd Ethe go," screamed the drow's older sister out of nowhere. The burning hatred in her voice seem to drip with venom. "Don't let her get away, otherwise, I'll feed you all to my spiders!"
Ethe ducked deeper behind the rocky blind as she watched the her family's guards rush by. Jan, Ethe's older sister, was not pleased at all. Ethe's latest disloyalty had been the last straw. The younger drow had always been a disappointment to her elder family. She never wanted to plot or scheme like her older sister. That she felt as if she had a heart that she did care about those adventures and their rescue quest.
Though, Ethe didn't see what she did as treachery, but just doing the right thing. She could not stand by and hear their anguished screams any longer. To hear her sister endlessly torture them for information that they obviously did not know.
Ethe had been secretly listening to the group's whisperings with a little help from of her magic. She learned that they had no idea what her sister was raving about. That they had no clue about the outright war her house was in the middle of with the Terinthal house. What she learned was that they were in the underdeep to try and rescue an old friend. That they were only just trying to pass through the underground realm she grew up in.
Ethe had always hated her sister, hated how she had no remorse, no pity, and no caring, not even for her own siblings. In Jan's eyes, Ethe was just a weakling who cared too much. Not a true drow. Not someone Lilith would even think about or notice.
To tell herself the truth, Ethe didn't really care about Lilith or her sister in the first place anymore. That she was tired of the dark dealings the other drow in her city lived and breathed daily. She yearned for a much more honest and open society to live in.
Maybe if she got out of this alive, Ethe could move above ground where there might be some better people who could trust her. Maybe she could go to one of those dwarven kingdoms in the other sections of the underground or even a human city. Either way, she had to get out of there before her sister's guards caught her.
Cautiously Ethe checked to see if the coast was clear. Seeing no more guards passing by, she quietly stepped around the rocks. She knew she had to skirt the outer wall of her families estate before coming to the main entrance. However, Ethe also knew that there is a spot along the long encircling wall that afforded her a way out other then the main entrance.
A plan formed in her mind where she would skirt the wall to the spot, climb over the wall, and then rushed to the edge of the town. From there, she would follow the cavern's high walls until she came to one of the cave tunnels that led away from this hateful place. From there all Ethe would need to do is keep hiking upwards until she reached above ground.
That plan first assumed that she could get away from the compound. Slowly she prowled around the wall, carefully keeping her eyes open for any patrolling guard. At one point she paused behind some crates to peer at the rock grouping she needed to climb to get over the wall. The spot appeared to be devoid of any drows.
Not wanting to wait any longer, with the urge to flee pushing her, Ethe rushed out from behind the crates towards the wall. Heart thumping in her chest as she ran flat out towards the rocks. Finally she got to the outcropping and practically leaped from rock to rock trying to get over the wall.
Before she could ascend the last rock and jump over the wall's summit, something stung her in her behind. The pain caused her to miss the last rock and come crumbling down to the hard ground below. She only had a brief moment to see a small dart sticking out of her rear before whatever had been on the thing overtook her consciousness and rapidly she blacked out.
Ethe had no idea how long she had been unconscious. She hazily awoke to the sight of a darkened space around her. The only bits of light she could make out were weakly glowing candles. Briefly struggling told Ethe that she was bound to a hard stone slab by thick leather straps and magical spells, while her limbs were spread eagle. Plus by the drafts she felt, someone had stripped her of all her clothes.
Still a bit foggy from the dart, Ethe began to make out a lone shape moving through the gloom towards her. Coming closer she could see the evil gloating visage of her older sister leaning close to Ethe's face. "I knew you would be stupid enough to try and escape across those rocks. Everyone and their mother has used those rocks at one point. Now it is finally time to pay the price for your impudence to our family. I have put up with your weakness for far too long," Jan gloated as she stood back up.
"Sister please," Ethe pleaded knowing that her words fell on deaf ears.
Jan ignored her pleading and squirming sister bound before her, "Ethe I had a hard time trying to figure out what would be an appropriate punishment for you. At first I thought of killing you outright," Jan paused to saver the idea. "But that would be too quick and in the end, you would only feel the pain I know you deserve for just a short moment. Then I thought about letting some of my giant spiders eat you. To let their digestive juices slowly dissolve you from the inside out. But in the end, while that would be far more slow and painful, you would still die in the end." Jan paused to put into words what she had planned for her little sister.
"No Ethe, I both wanted to cause you a lot of pain, but I also don't want you to die. No, I want to mark you permanently for the absolute failure you are. For the disloyalty you showed not only to our family, but to me personally. To make you the very thing of derision of all the drows. The thing that our society rejects. Something that will be nearly an eternal torture for you," Jan gloated to her helpless sister.
Ethe was just beginning to understand her sister's plan, "no Jan, please no!"
"Yes Ethe, a drider. One that isn't blessed by Lilith!"
"No…" Ethe screamed in abject horror at what her sister planned.
"Let the ceremony begin," Jan called out to what sounded like an empty stone cave surrounding the two. She promptly disrobed herself and moved towards the front of the stone slab ahead of the terrified Ethe. Standing there, Jan raised her arms high up into the gloom above her and began to deeply chant all sorts of arcane words.
As soon as her sister began chanting, her eyes began to glow a deep burning red. Soon even her nude body began to glow a soft bluish grey as her dark arcane power began to rise throughout her body.
Not that Ethe had truly noticed as deep burning pain erupted all over her body from every nerve ending. It lanced deep into the very core of her being. At some points it felt as if the pain was fire that burned away her very nerves. Other times it shifted to a deep cold, so intense that her bones felt as if they were going to shatter.
The pain was so deep and unremitting that even Ethe began to primitively scream. Her throat rending shrieks echoed about the cave. Each horse scream fueled Jan as they gave her a bit of joyous pleasure. It pushed Jan on and strengthened her casting.
Ethe had no concept of time. The pain could have only lasted seconds or days, just that it would not end. That the endless scouring pain seemed to burn out her very core. The good heart she had nurtured. The caring that allowed her to set those travelers free. All of that rushed to leave her.
Then through the endless waves of pain, something began to form along between her rear legs. At first Ethe didn't notice whatever it was due to the amount of torture she endured. Yet soon, it grew large so quickly that it began to push against her legs. Rapidly the thing was large enough that it shoved her legs against the leather straps, and raised her lower body up off the stone slab. With loud snaps it began to shatter the bones in each leg. Briefly opening her eyes against the never ending pain, Ethe glanced that the object was a huge nearly black spider abdomen.
The pressure from her ever growing abdomen became enough to abruptly rip both of her grey skinned legs away from her body. The sudden tearing caused her blood to gush out of the ripped open arteries in long pulsating steaming streams across the dark room. Each thick spray coated Jan with Ethe's warm slick blood. Not that Jan noticed or cared, this forced transformation was absolute ecstasy to her. Something she had been looking forward to doing almost her whole life.
Before Ethe's body could lose anymore blood, the shredded remaining stumps of her legs began to bubble and grow. Within seconds eight long hard spider legs shot out of them with four legs on either side. As these legs grew in, her still human abdomen began to reshape and reform into a spider's front half. The area became an amalgamation of hard dark spider shell and soft grey drow skin.
Yet, the changes were not just with Ethe's lower body. Her arms began to lengthen a bit while her fingers each grew out into long sharp talons. The canines in her mouth began to grow outward into spider fangs. Even small horns began to push out of her scalp at her temples.
Along with the physical change, between the spell and never ending pain, Ethe's mental state also shifted. A deep hatred she had never felt before began to formant in the back of her mind. She absolutely hated her sister right then. That if it weren't for the still remaining leather straps and various magical restraints, she would have leap off the table and rip her sister apart. The caring soul within Ethe had been eradicated by the endless waves of pain and forced transformation.
"Let me go right this instant," Ethe darkly remarked. By this point the pain felt like nothing to her anymore. Her still transforming body didn't concern her. Just the thought of ripping her sister's throat out was all she cared about.
Yet Jan didn't seem to notice or care as she continued to chant for a couple more minutes. Finally the spell and transformation was over. The caring drow that had been Ethe was now replaced by a hateful drider.
"Let me go now," yelled Ethe angrily at her sister. Any sort of innocence to her voice had long since disappeared. Her tone now had a feverish burning hatred to it. "Untie me, and let me show you how grateful I am," Ethe emptily promised.
Jan ironically chuckled at the request, "no not yet my sister. You are now an outcast of the entire drow society. Even Lilith has turned her eyes away from you. You are nothing more than a monster to be hated and hunted by my kind." With that said Jan began to wave her hands above Ethe while chanting something, "now go to sleep. This will be the last time we meet."
With that, Jan's powerful sleep enchantment overcame Ethe.
When Ethe awoke again, she found herself in the middle of a huge unfamiliar cavern. It took her a few moments to get used to her new body and coordinate all her eight legs and bulbous lower body. However within a short bit she was scuttling around the cavern on her eight chitinous legs. Her new spinneret's in the back of her abdomen felt eager to begin spinning webs.
For a brief moment she tried to figure out what to do now. Should she try and find her way back home to extract her eager revenge? She could go hunting and take her revenge out against some unsuspecting drow.
Ethe chose to wait until she knew a little bit more about where she was. That her sister's painful death could wait for a short bit while she wandered the various cavern tunnels. Though after some time even she was unable to come up with a clue as to where she was. That this area she found herself in was completely unrecognizable to her.
The realization that she would be unable to take out her revenge caused Ethe to scream in frustration. That she would not be able to use her new clawed hands to rip out her sister's throat. That she finally realized that Jan's punishment appeared complete.
Ethe needed to kill right then, needed to take her anger out on something. It was at that moment when she heard the scrape of leather and metal against a cave wall. It was a very quiet set of sounds, but her enhanced hearing easily caught it.
Someone was heading towards her cavern!
Quickly using her webbing, Ethe was able to climb the cavern wall up out of the way of the oncoming beings. Safely hidden, she quickly began readying a stun spell.
Two unknowing drow travelers entered the cavern opposite of where Ethe hid. The two seemed to be looking around for where the screams came from. Yet seeing no one, the two continued on across the cavern floor towards another exit tunnel.
Once the two drows came into range, Ethe unleashed her spell with a bright blue flash. The spell hit the two drow square in their chests throwing both of them to the ground. Without hesitation, Ethe leapt from where she was hiding with her eight legs easily cushioning her drop. From there she quickly rushed over and pinned both drow to the ground with her front legs.
Then Ethe reached down and grabbed both of them in each of her strong clawed hands. One after another she brought up to her mouth. There she sank her large fangs into each of their grey necks delivering her poison directly into their blood streams.
Once paralyzed and slowly dying, Ethe lazily dropped the two onto the cave floor. Then she turned around to let her rear legs and spinnerets easily wrap the two up with her sticky webbing. Once safely cocooned, she dragged them over to a cave wall. There she suspended the two now dead drows from the wall.
Letting her poison work its way through their limp trussed bodies, Ethe contemplated her life. She concluded that she would never be able to get her revenge against her sister. Nor could she ever return to drow society. Not that she ever wanted to go back before she was forcibly transformed into a drider. But her new form also meant she couldn't go topside either.
That meant her life was now completely dedicated to doing as much damage and kill as many drows as she could. Her only burning wish was that one day she could meet her sister again. Then Ethe would truly show Jan the monster she had become!
Ethe wasn't sure how long it had been since she had been transformed. Not being in contract with any sort of underground society meant she had no concept of time passing. About the only thing she did know was that she had killed and eaten large amounts of drows.
While she was willing to kill any sort of being she met, eating drows gave her the most pleasure. Finding bits of her old drow culture on them also helped keep her sane. Allowing her to hang onto bits of her old self, even if they were enshrouded by an ever unremitting hatred. The pain her sister had caused her still burned brightly in her chest.
At first Ethe thought to stay in that one cave she awoke in and make it her abattoir. Yet, she felt the need to wander and discover more of her surroundings. Maybe even find a trace of her sister.
It was during one of her wanderings that she heard the distant echoes of metal upon metal. To her developed sense of hearing, it sounded like a group of beings were walking through the tunnel ahead of her. Were they drow or maybe some other type of being that inhabited the tunnels?
She had already eaten for the moment so she was not in the mood for more food. Should she kill them and string them up for a meal later on or maybe she could play with them a bit? Should she just hide and let them pass unmolested? That last option did not seem all that much fun for her.
She decided to have a bit of fun with them. Quietly, Ethe spun a thin but strong strand of webbing from one side of the tunnel to the other. Scuttling her large body into a suitably sized crevice in the side of the tunnel, she let the strand of webbing go slack onto the tunnel floor.
As quietly as she could, Ethe turned her body around and grasped the strand between her front legs and waited. The group seemed to have sensed something monstrous was ahead and quieted down. They guardedly crossed the tunnel expecting something at any moment.
Then unknowingly the group crept across her waiting silk strand. Abruptly Ethe pulled the strand tight tripping the people in the front of the group. Then just as quickly, Ethe jumped out to attack the group.
"Drider," yelled someone in the back of the group.
It was then that Ethe abruptly realized that this group was the same beings she had rescued a long time ago. The image of them fleeing away from her family compound was still stuck in her mind. The same group who inadvertently caused Jan to turn her into a monster.
"Hey it's that drow that helped us earlier," cried out another member of the group. A dwarf warrior by the looks of his short stature.
Ethe wanted to do something to them. To hurt them for doing this to her. Yet, something far back in the recesses of her mind held her back. Kept her from pouncing on them despite their raised swords. Whatever that feeling was, it didn't stop her from panting heavily with hatred. Her fangs barred and ready to plunge into their necks.
"What has happened to her," asked another member towards the dwarf. The one who spoke looked like a human to Ethe.
"You are Ethe, right," the dwarf hesitantly asked her while raising his axe anticipating her attacking them at any moment.
"Yes," Ethe coldly said, clear venom dripped from her upper fangs from her eagerness.
"What happened to you? We thought you had been able to escape," asked a female member of the party. She looked like a high elf.
"Who is this," queried a fourth member Ethe had not seen the last time when she helped them escape her sister's clutches.
"This drider used to be the drow who helped us escape that dungeon," stated the high elf.
"You were the ones that caused this to me!" Ethe nearly screamed in rage as the painful memories of what Jan did to her came flooding back.
"Sleep," yelled the high elf as a bright flash of purple light lanced out from her wand straight into Ethe's center mass. Before she knew what hit her, Ethe had blacked out.
When Ethe awoke again, something felt different about her. Though she still was drider by the feel of her eight hard legs and abdomen. Yet the group she had encountered before now surrounded her and strangely none of them had their weapons out. It was about then that she was able to put her finger on the difference, she wasn't feeling any rage or pain at that moment. That her hatred had faded.
"I'm sorry that we were not able to shift you back to a drow. Whatever magic that had been used to transform you was too powerful for me to counteract. However, I was able to at least ease your pain," the high elf earnestly apologized.
While Ethe didn't completely feel like her old self, at least she felt a little bit better. "Thank you," was all that Ethe had been able to get out. She wasn't sure what else she could say.
"It was the least we could do after the help you gave us earlier," muttered the dwarf.
"How much do you know about the tunnels around us," inquired one of the humans.
"Um, ah, I know these tunnels pretty well," Ethe stuttered as she was a little unsure of herself at that moment.
"Think you could help get us out of this maze? Show us the way towards the topside," drawled the dwarf.
"Um, sure, I think so," Ethe hesitantly replied as she pushed herself back up onto her eight spider legs.
"Great, then let's get out of this god forsaken place," exclaimed the dwarf in relief as the group began to reform and follow Ethe's lead. With the burden of her pain removed from her mind, Ethe felt a little bit better. A little bit more like her old self. With each step leading the way, her old nature came back bit by bit. She knew she would always hate her sister. Plus at the very least she would still distrust any drow she came across. However she knew she could at the very least trust this group.
Maybe after she led them out of these tunnels she could tag along with them for a bit. Get to a better life, even if it was a life with her as a drider. At the very least, she knew it would be a better life than the one her sister had cast her into.
Ethe realized then that meeting these adventures and heading away from the underground was the perfect revenge against her sister. That she had not turned into the mindless monster Jan had hoped for. That sort of revenge gave her a bit of a spring to her eight legged step.