The Curse of Narnil


ur progress slowed journeying through the foothills. Narrow uneven paths took their toll on beast and merchant alike. Our leader did not falter though, seemingly knowing every step we were to take, yet never once did I see him consult a map. Come nightfall we were forced to camp with little shelter but he regaled us with another wondrous tale of these lands as we found what little comfort we could around a meagre fire.

For almost a century elven elders pondered the fate of the orcs. In time some captured orcs and refugees had earnt the respect of the elves, proving themselves honourable and studious. Still there was unease over their fiery nature but no evidence of demonic magic was found amongst them. Council elders resolved to cease attacks on the remaining orc clans, already weakened by years of war and famine. The wanderers were allowed their freedom and the elves would no longer track them.

The voice of one elfess spoke above all others against this. Onathrae Nirié Narnil, eldest of the house of Narnil, was resolute the orcs should be punished. It was rumoured she had once survived captivity having seen her parents slain and a brother sacrificed and devoured by the orcs. Onathrae lived to revenge them and together with her sisters, swore to eradicate the clans.

Angered by the council's decision, Onathrae called upon the Gods but received no answer. Instead a priest confronted her, pronouncing destruction of an entire race as intolerable blasphemy towards the Five. He declared it forbidden to condemn the clans for the actions of individuals. Full of rage, Onathrae slew the priest and fled with her sisters. So it came the House of Narnil heard the call to arms to hunt down the orcs.

Legend says the Gods themselves cursed the Narnil. From that fateful day their eyes could no longer bear the sunlight and they were forced to travel by night. Turning their backs on the Gods, to the elves they became the 'Erume-Lie', meaning those who have departed; most will know them simply as the drow.

Pursuit of the orcs led the Narnil to the foothills of the Aramon Mountains. Finding abandoned dwarven settlements with no signs of war they assumed the orcs had butchered a peaceful crafting populace that had no means to protect themselves. Scouts found an entrance to the mines and the Narnil took refuge in the subterranean caverns. Dwarven guardians allowed them shelter but forbade them from entering their underground fortress or hallowed remains of an abandoned hall.

Before long the House of Narnil splintered, as some tired of endlessly tracking the orcs set off to rejoin elvenkind. They were shunned, however, commanded to beg first the Gods and then the council of elders for pardon. Instead, angered by rejection, the Erume-Lie stole artefacts from the Temple of the Five. Amongst the treasures were a faceted gem and a silver chalice shaped like a firnis blossom that had once belonged to the House of Narnil. According to legend, the gem that became known as the 'Bloodstone' turned blood red as the temple guard died, a knife embedded in his back. Banished from the elven kingdom, the Erume-Lie returned to the Aramon foothills.

Settled in the caverns the Erume-Lie advanced their exploration, even entering areas forbidden by the dwarves. As a final insult they even instigate reconstruction of the hallowed hall, an act of blasphemy in the eyes of the dwarves. Tensions escalated and the dwarves summoned reinforcements from other settlements to retake the ruins and ensure their destruction. During the battle over the hallowed hall the dwarves were also able to seize the firnis-shaped chalice of the House of Narnil. Bitter skirmishes continued until dwarven priests called upon Irmorom to collapse the tunnels to the lower caves where the Erume-Lie resided. The House of Narnil was believed lost but rumours soon surfaced of drow beyond the Aramon ranges.