Malbaste Jhaeltel

A dark elf of about 150 years of age. 5'11'. Lithe in figure. Green eyes that are slightly jaundiced. Medium length grey hair.




Disclaimer: This account is by no means complete, and is subject to change at the GM and author’s whim. May contain fragments of Meta-knowledge. Reader discretion is advised.

His name means “Mystery Walker, Pariah family” in the drow tongue. It is of no surprise then, that Malbaste Jhaeltel was born into a poor drow family, or that his future was uncertain. Growing up in adverse conditions, “Mal” (as he was called for short) soon became extremely resourceful. He often surprised his family and neighbors by turning seemingly useless pieces of scrap into valuable inventions, improving their quality of life. Despair was a word unknown to the young elf, though optimistic would not fit him either.

Mal tended to be somewhat reserved, and refused to participate in the petty scuffles and competitions that young drow his age frequently enjoyed. At first, this earned him the title of a “sissy”. But woe to the elf that bullied Mal or his friends! He soon found himself plagued with a dozen nuisances, that seemed inexplicable. And before long, that once high-and mighty elf would find his deepest secrets revealed, and would himself become target. It soon became evident, much to his parents delight, that the young drow had a quick and cunning mind. He was a skilled theif, but if put on the spot could come up with a dozen highly plausible alibi that would put him in the clear. He also soon proved himself to be skilled in the art of manipulation. And he had no lack of ambition; determined to raise his family name to that of Aleantyl; the noble line of the pits.

It will strike the reader as no great surprise, then, that Mal was soon found as a star pupil at one of the drow’s military academies. Though it was evident to all that he was simply an ambitious commoner, they soon discovered that Mal was untouchable. He excelled in every exercise, and was a quick learner. However, advanced magery is only taught to Drow nobles, who posses the innate ability to detect magic and sense the magical abilities of others. Try as he might, there was no way Mal could find a way around these universal tests. Besides, it was evident to more experienced mages that his aura was weak. The best he was permitted to do was take some elementary magic courses. These helped, and it was more than most commoners could expect, but magery never became Mal’s real strength.

After many years of service, Mal was distinguised as an important member of the drow military; a skilled pilot and fighter. But he was no closer to his goal of nobility. He wasn’t even granted officer status. One day Mal was accosted roughly by his commanding officer. “Inbau tir dosst taudl et’zarreth” {get off your sorry arse}. He was kicked roughly, then boxed in the ears. Mal longed to hit the woman, but he was wise enough to know that death would be inevitable. Such rough treatment of drow commoners was usual. He’d get back at her later though… Mal was dragged into a transport, his mind working the whole while on how best to plot revenge. When he noticed that the transport was drawing near the palace of high queen Kelbreena, however, Mal became paralyzed with fear. Surely a direct summons to the high queen herself meant he had committed some crime worthy of a torturous death. Could it have been his attempts to learn magic? His officer gave an evil chuckle. “l’amith dosstan!” {enjoy yourself!}. Trembling with fear, Mal was transferred into the custody of two guards.

Anyone unfamiliar with the drow would have remarked that the guards did not appear to be especially strong, and that they were unarmed. But they would have been decieved, as both were powerful mages. Mal felt their presence in his mind, letting him know that if he did not obey he would experience the most intense pain possible before his mind was broken by their combined telepathic attack. In fact, the guards did not speak to Mal, or lay a hand on him. All commands were issued telepathically. They proceeded up a long staircase, around a corner to the left, down a hall lined with the embalmed heads of past rulers, and up another wide flight of stairs. To the untrained observer, it would almost have appeared as if Mal was some honored dignitary who knew these passages by heart, and that he was accompanied by a servant and a valet. Nothing could have been further from the truth. At the top of the stairs a smooth, yet sharp arch opened into a large pavilion. At the far end of the pavilion sat a wicked-looking throne, occupied by a drow woman with a beautiful, but ruthless figure. This was queen Kelbreena Helvirahel. As all drow knew, she was a tier 7 mage, and also a skilled cleric. Mal was commanded to his knees. The guards were dismissed, and the mental chains were removed from Mal’s mind. The high queen laughed lightly. “Why so afraid, pariah?”. This was not good. It indicated that she was in an extremely dangerous frame of mind. Mal would have rather she was stern and angry. “News of your dedication has reached me. I need you for a task. We have more skilled pilots, to be sure, but I want one I can trust.” Mal felt her probing his mind. “It is as I thought. You wish to be powerful. But you have no thoughts of treachery yet. Perform your task well, and you will be granted a position as a yorn in my courts. Fail, {and here her eyes glowed with fire} and you will be first emasculated. Your food will perpetually taste like raw sewer. You will not spend a night without living out your worst fears in vivid realism. You will slowly fall into madness, and as your mind weakens, you will feel only dread for your ineptitude. Finally you will die. But even then you will have no rest. For your death will not be a natural sleep, but the result of your body being transferred to the incorporeal realm.” Her countenance again lightened and she broke out in a wide grin. “But I’m sure we have no fear of that. Follow me.” The queen, passing several guards led Mal down several corridors until they finally arrived in the royal hangar bay. This was the stuff of legends. Mal had been privy to many conversations in which pilots wished for a glimpse of the ships within. Most of the ships were royal transports, with beautiful, smooth lines. They were painted a glossy black with just a faint tint of purple. Of course, they were purely for class, as the queen could have easily teleported herself no little distance. Mal longed to observe more closely the engines and wiring. But these ships were not the queen’s object of attention. She continued past them. Finally they stopped in a far corner. While all the ships had smooth lines, the one Mal set his eyes on was by far the diadem of them all. It looked fast, and had ion turrets mounted on the wingtips.

“This is Shrijss {Unseen scout}. It possesses a reactionless cold fusion drive; the most powerful and quiet engine known to us. You may not have yet been aware that we had mastered such technology. This ship is the first to contain it. The communication stones were developed by the best mage among the drow; me, of course. They have a range of 10 times what is normally found. I have also imbued the sensor array with unique magics that will allow you to detect ships as far as three parescs away. The cloak is flawless. true, one will still have to disengage it to fire. But in that event, using my powers of illusion, I have given the ship the ability to distort its actual position by a kilometer. Yet one must avoid combat at all costs. The weapons are not the strongest that we have available, nor is the shield. Despite these flaws, I trust that it will suit you for the task I shall give you. You are to pilot this ship to establish details of a strangely stable, yet powerful wormhole that I have detected in space some distance from here. It is my intent to bring this valuable resource under drow control. You may observe other races near this wormhole, doubtless bent on the same intent. You are not to engage them. Investigate the wormhole and report back to me. Oh, and one last warning, Jhael. Don’t hurt my ship.

On arriving at the wormhole, Mal was relieved to find that the drow had apparently been the first to learn of its existence. No ships appeared on the long-range scanners. He disabled the cloak to conserve energy and reduce minimal wear. After all, this was the queen’s baby. But his mission was far from over. It was imperative that he find out where the worhmole led. He knew better than to ask permission. This would be seen as a weakness in drow society, and he wanted to make a good impression. Soon he had entered the wormhole. Seconds later he was surveying a strange star system. He was in orbit over a large planet. Mal activated the communication stone. Nothing. That was strange. Communication stones had a very long range, and the queen herself had assured him that these had a range even 10 times longer than usual. He must be on the other side of the universe. No matter. He would deliver his report summarily after returning through the wormhole. Mal reactivated his cloak. Better safe than sorry. An hour later, he had completed a detailed scan of the star system. Only this one massive planet. Odd. Mal decided to fly in for a closer look. The gravitational pull of the planet, Mal noticed, was exceptionally strong. But it was nothing the engines could not handle. They were, after all, the best known to the drow.

The terrain and biosphere of the planet was varied. It would be a valuable resource for the drow. But descending lower, Mal observed scattered villages and towns. It was occupied. But by whom? Still cloaked, Mal drifted towards one of the larger towns and manuevered near the center of the town. Only the drow possesed cloaking technology, which was much to his advantage. Walking below, Mal noticed a mixture of all sorts of races. Drow, humans, goblins, dwarves, elves, and gnomes. None were lacking. Could this be a trade center? But it was hard to explain the apparent lack of technology or sophistication. Mal ascended to orbit and made for the wormhole. But there appeared to be an invisible shield keeping him from entering. Was the gravity from the planet too strong? But even with the powerful engines at maximum capacity; nothing.

After a few days, with no drow aid through the wormhole (which puzzled Mal),the realization of the gravity of his situation hit like a wall. If he was far enough from the homeworld that the communication stones did not work, it might take him years to make the jumps back. Assuming that he could navigate correctly. None of the stars were imediately recognizable. Furthermore, would it be worth going back? Mal realized that within a few weeks of his absence, the high queen would assume that he had tried to trick her and stolen her ship. She would then activate the curse. Mal doubted that it would reach him out here. There was a limit to the range of the queen’s magic, and if her best communication stones were silent, so would be her magic. But he realized he could never return. Truly he was a Jhael, separated from his race and people probably for ever. He would not be free to return to the homeworld until the queen died, at any rate, and he had no doubt that she, with her powerful magic, would outlive him. There was only one thing to do, then. Try to make a life on this strange planet.

For the next few years Mal stole unmercifully from the natives, becoming something of a legend. With his ship, he had the ability to move invisibly from one village to the next, taking what he wanted or needed at will. But eventually the loneliness began to eat at Mal. Even for a drow, which are largely solitary in nature, it eventually became more than he could bear. After a time, though he still stole, Mal began to develop a bit of a soft spot for those he considered his people. If anyone was in grave danger or illness, they soon found themselves unexplicably aided. It became rumored that the dark shadow (as Mal was known) had a soft spot. But still no one knew him. One day a human child strayed near Mal’s secret encampment. Mal made himself invisible, so to speak, and watched silently. But when the child started poking intently around Mal’s stores, the elf made himself known. There was a time when he would have killed silently and unmercifully. But this time the girl only found several rocks land near her feet. Looking up and seeing no one, she proceeded until she was hit more firmly on the shin. The child let out a cry, and ran away. But inevitably, the next day there were 10 children. Mal had been wise to hide his stores more thoroughly, for they poked around every corner, before finally leaving. By degrees, though still a hermit, Mal’s anonymity was weakened. He even has a few friends among the people, although his relationship with the people as the whole may be termed more appropriately as an uneasy truce.

Such has been the existence that Mal has led on this planet for the last 80 years. The years have stripped away much of his pride, ambition, and arrogance. He no longer dreams of being a drow noble. And he has realized that he would rather live a life free among the stars than be a commoner, scarce better in drow society as a slave. Mal has begun building a ship. It is a slow and imperfect process, and he is scarce past working on the frame. Hiding such a large vehicle from scavengers has proved difficult as well. But a series of ingenious traps and alarms, in addition to a remote building site, has so far protected it. Mal thinks that perhaps he can crew his ship with some of the locals and begin a piracy operation. But he knows that is far in the future. There are a significant fraction of these poor souls (having no knowledge of his ship or its cloaking technology) who think he is a god, since he appears and reappears so mysteriously almost instantaneously (to them) between locations thousands of miles away. For his part, Mal has neither confirmed nor denied these theories. But the fact remains that he is eons away from having a workable crew. Though he no longer wishes to be a noble, Mal does wish to lead at least a small band; his thirst for power not completely diminished…

Malbaste Jhaeltel

Athatar TigerHobbes89