A Game of Gods
Deathgold, 'Black Widow', the Prince of Venom, Assassin.
Lanemae was born the third and youngest son of Zhengyi the self proclaimed witch king of Vaasa. He and his two older brothers Fa’zum and Taladorn were raised to become Zhengyi’s loyal and trusted lieutenants. Fa’zum who displayed a talent for the arcane arts of necromancy like their father became Zhengyi’s prince of bone. Taladorn who’s talents leaned toward the marshal and his fiendish heritage granting him the ability to control fire he used these abilities to burn the armies of their fathers enemies as his general becoming his prince of fire. Lanemae who’s talents leaned more toward the art of death it was as if Lanemae was born to end lives. His training was directed into the arts of stealth and murder. As the head of Zhengyi’s assassins Lanemae was crowned his prince of venom.
As the prince of venom Lanemae became feared all across Zhengyi’s empire as the blade in the night. At the whim of Zhengyi Lanemae would strike. The peoples of Vaasa lived in terror as his legend grew, peasants would use his title to scare young children to be good ‘go to sleep or the black widow will come out of the night and take you’.
As the years passed Zhengyi with the aid of Fa’zum used powerful magic’s to transform himself into a lich. Believing he was now invincible the witch king of Vaasa Zhengyi summoned a hoard of demons that he bent to his will. The demons constructed the seat of Zhengyi’s power in one night on the shores of the lake of tears Castle Perilous. With the castle constructed Zhengyi compelled the hoard to assemble an army comprised of dire wolves, giants, goblins, orcs, and undead with which he began a campaign of rapid expansion. Taladorn was sent with Zhengyi’s armies to the east to invade the lands of Damara while Lanemae and his elder brother Fa’zum were sent to the west to Zhentil Keep to broker an alliance with the Zhentarim. Once there Fa’zum began manoeuvring himself politically in order to earn favour and influence with Manshoon and other powerful members of the black network while Lanemae eliminated their rivals by arranging for them to have unfortunate accidents before raising their concerns with Manshoon. Manshoon seeing the benefits of working with Zhengyi and his armies agreed to the alliance and began using the Black Networks spies to feed information to Zhengyi through Fa’zum.
With the information gleaned from the Black Network Zengy discovered that the elves of the elven court in Cormanthor had heard of Zhengyi and his invasion of Damara and there were certain members of the court who were pushing to grant aid to Damarans in order to stop this Zhengyi before his eye turned to the rest of Faerun. Zhengyi decided to send Lanemae to infiltrate the eleven court to and eliminate the strongest proponents for aiding the Damarans. Zhengyi provided Lanemae with a magical ring to hide his drow heritage and make him appear to be an elf to all those who observed him.
The gods were with Lanemae as he was working his way into Cormanthor to find the elven court as he chanced upon a group of elves under attack by a contingent of drow who had been laying in ambush for them. Lanemae leapt into the fray providing much needed assistance to the elves under attack. With his help the drow were driven off and after the fight only two of the elves were left alive a young elven sorceress and her body guard who had been mortally wounded during the fight. Lanemae introduced himself to the sorceress as an elf from Evereska on a pilgrimage to visit the forest of Cormanthor the home of his ancestors before they moved west to their new home. She informed Lanemae that she was Lyandra Valanor the daughter of Braelion Valanor one of the lords of the elven court of Cormanthor. Lanemae offered to help her reach the courts and together they travelled through the forest with her injured bodyguard it was a slow journey. The two talked as they worked their way through the forest. Soon they became friends and much to Lanemae’s surprise he found he liked her. But worse was that he found himself obsessed with her, he obsessed. Every moment he craved to be with her, it was like he was addicted to her and it scared him.
When they arrived in the elven court Lyandra’s father welcomed him as a hero and offered to let him stay in his house as a guest while he was visiting the court. Over the months he stayed their Lanemae and Lyandra grew closer, he shared thoughts and secret feelings with her that he had never told anyone not even Taladorn who he had always been close to. He told her that he sometimes doubted how his life had turned out without ever telling her any details that would have ruined his mission. Lanemae soon discovered that the member of the elven court pushing to lend aid to Damara was Braelion Valanor, Lyandra’s father. As much as Lanemae desired to complete him mission he could not bring himself to kill Lyandra’s father. It was then he realised that he loved her. So he devised a plan to complete his mission without harming her father. One night while he was alone with her he slipped a sleeping drug into her drink. Once asleep he took her from the elven court leaving a letter informing her father that as long as Cormanthor remained out of the war in Damara his daughter would remain unharmed. Lanemae kept her drugged and unconscious until they were both back at Castle Perilous where he explained what he had done to Zhengyi.
Rather than being angry with his sons actions Zhengyi thought Lanemae’s plan brilliant rather than just silencing Lyandra’s father they had secured a voice in the elven court which would stop the elves from getting involved. Plus Zhengyi now had something to secure Lanemae’s loyalty. Under Zhengyi’s influence Lyandra was compelled to use her magic for Zhengyi’s purposes and to marry Lanemae where she became the princess of shadow. Amused by adding a princess to his family Zhengyi instructed his other sons to find appropriate wives too. Fa’zum chose a mage spy who worked for the Zhentarim who became the princess of flesh and Taladorn chose a demon from his army who had excelled on the battlefield who became the princess of blood. Zhengyi then constructed a crown for each of the princes and princesses each containing a small piece of Zhengyi granting his children powers specific to their purpose as well as giving him insight into their minds and allowing him influence over them. Through the crown Zhengyi compelled Lyandra to do increasingly more terrible things corrupting and bending her to his purpose. It was slowly destroying her with each act Lanemae saw more and more of Lyandra die and as she was being torn apart he could no longer live with seeing what he had done to the woman he loved. So one night he stole away with her and after putting many miles between them and Zhengyi he removed her crown breaking Zhengyi’s power over her and in that moment she looked upon Lanemae with hate and his heart broke with the shame of what he had done. Tears in his eyes he fell on his knees before her and offered her his dagger. “I’m sorry for what I have done to you. If you should wish it I will die now. Kill me if that is your will. I shall not fight you. You deserve it.” Lyandra took the blade from him and with shaking hand raised the blade to strike. “Was any of what you said to me in Cormanthor true?” she asked him. Lanemae raised his head and looked into her tear filled eyes and replied with one word, “Yes”. An eternity passed with them staring into each other’s eyes before the blade fell. It hit the ground and she turned her back to him, “Then go.” Lanemae stood and as her left her words followed him into the night, “If I see you again I’ll kill you.”
He strode into the night with purpose. Like the arrow from the bow his course was set he knew what he must do. He had betrayed his father and now he must kill him. He travelled to Darmshall by night where he stole in under cover of darkness. Once inside he frequented the taverns and other such locations which attracted adventurers seeking those who would aid him in his goal. It was in one such tavern he met Gareth Dragonsbane a man who had gathered other adventurers and was planning to attack Castle Perilous in an attempt to slay the evil witch king of Vaasa. Lanemae offered to join their party and shared the secrets of the castle with them. After a brutal assault they managed to storm into Zhengyi’s chambers where they slew the monster.
After the fall of Zhengyi Fa’zum disappeared into obscurity using the contacts and allies he had acquired while working with the Zhentarim and Lanemae went to meet his brother Taladorn on the battle field with what remained of Zhengyi’s armies the demons and undead no longer bound by Zhengi’s will having abandoned the field or simply dissolved to nothing. Lanemae using the disarray of what remained of Zhengyi’s armies to sneak in where he found Taladorn still attempting to remain in command. When he revealed himself to his brother they squared off against each other with the intent to fight. “Traitor!” his brother spat at him. “No brother.” Lanemae replied. “Our father was the one who betrayed us. We were made by him to fulfil his dreams. His purposes he used us to further his goals. Was any of this truly what you wanted? Even your wife was part of his plans. We were his slaves and I have granted us freedom.”. “Freedom! Freedom? You call this freedom?” Taladorn retorted, “What are we free to do now? Die for our crimes?”. “No brother. We run.” Lanemae explained his plan to his Taladorn.
Together they fled the army. They ran all the way to Waterdeep where they found a portal leaving Faerun behind them finding a place between the worlds called Sigil. On Sigil the brothers joined an interplanear mercenary company called the Grey Rose Mercenaries. The deal being they sign up for seven years of service and the guild removes all your memories thus eradicating your past. The brothers found this offer intoxicating. There was nothing else they wanted more than to forget their pasts so they jumped at the guilds offer.
The guild took their memories and gave them new identities Taladorn became Frost Fire and Lanemae was renamed Deathgold. The Grey Rose kept them together as they worked well as a team and over the next seven years the two became firm friends and brothers in arms fighting through many wars on many planes together. By the time they retired they were entirely new people with not even a hint of who they once were. Deathgold took the money he had amassed in his career in the Grey Rose and realising he would never be accepted in a normal society looking as he did he bought a small cabin in the Neverwinter woods where he intended to live a quiet life. He lived happily in his cabin hunting in the woods and trading some of what he caught with a small to the east of his cabin. Posing as an elf using the ring he had always remembered owning so no one would fear him for looking the way he did.
He lived this way for another seven years until one day while trading skins in the village a large group of ogres attacked. Immediately Lanemae’s training kicked in and with the help of some of the villagers who knew how to fight they fought off the ogre assault. Curious as to where the ogres had come from and why they attacked Lanemae set off to track the ogres trail. Lanemae tracked the ogre to a large encampment thousands strong in the Evermoors where he learned that they were intending to march on the elven city of Silverymoon. Taking this knowledge he took flight to Silverymoon to warn them of the impending attack. While journeying to Silverymoon he met a young pseudodragon who he named Sly which joined him in his quest. Wearing his ring he made it to Silverymoon where he told them all he had discovered of the ogres and volunteered to aid in the cities defence. He fought in the battle for Silverymoon and defeated the ogres. After the battle he was hailed a hero and knighted as one of the Knights in Silver, the army of Silverymoon.
He served loyally for three years in the Knights of Silver earning renown among his new people. After his years of loyal service Silverymoon rewarded him by appointing him title and land as lord of Silverfell, a small town to the north of Silverymoon. At the ceremony where he was given his new appointment he met an elven lady who hated him on sight. The revulsion in her eyes turned his stomach but yet he felt strangely attracted to her. She left soon after seeing him and one of his friends in the Knights of Silver informed him her name was Lyandra Valanor the daughter of an elven lord of Cormanthor who had moved to Silverymoon to escape some horrible past she would not speak of with her young son Braelion, Braelion was assumed to be a half elf as he had grew at an accelerated rate compared to normal elves. That night while returning to his home Lyandra attacked him in the street where she had lay in ambush for him. Not sure why she was doing this Lanemae did not know how to act Lanemae defended himself by disarming her once he had her at his mercy he questioned her asking why she had attacked him. Through her tears she told him the story of their past and shocked by this he listened as the tapestry of his former life unfolded in front of him.
Horrified by what he had been he told Lyandra what he knew of his life, of his time in the Grey Rose, of his life in Neverwinter and what he had done since, before begging forgiveness for his past self and placing himself in her mercy. Seeing that this was not the man she had once known the hate she had once felt for him left her. She told Lanemae that the transgressions of who he was before the Grey Rose were not his sins but the sins of a man now dead. Lyandra then asked Lanemae if he wished to see his son. She told how when she had left him in Vaasa she had been carrying his child and many months later had given birth to a drow child. Like all drow children he had grown with the quickly as human children do, so she like Zhengyi had forged him a ring which allowed his heritage to go unnoticed. Lanemae went to visit his son who was now nearly a man grown.
Over the next few years Lanemae became a part of their lives and grew close to Lyandra and soon their love began to flourish. They married quickly by elven standards and lived together as the lord and lady of Silverfell. Until one night he woke to find Lyandra missing and on her pillow lay a crown forged from the skull of a giant spider. Lanemae felt compelled to wear the obscene object and upon placing the crown on his head he felt a strange coldness the reminded him of a memory long forgotten and an instinctive pull to the east. Knowing the end of his path and the woman he loved would be found in Vaasa he asked his seneschal to care for Braelion in his absence and took wing to Vaasa.
His first port of call was Darmshall where heard rumour that Castle Perilous was active again and he found his old friend Frost Fire waiting for him. “You felt it too?” Frost Fire asked. “Yes.” Lanemae replied as dread filled them both. Frost Fire told Lanemae how he had become a pit fighter in Baldur’s Gate where he had been earning a name for his skill when one night he awoke for find a crown fashioned from a demons skull on the pillow next to where he slept which when he placed upon his head filled him with an urge to travel to Vaasa. They did not know why but they knew their journey would end at Castle Perilous so they left the town that night to reach their destination and fate.
When they reached Castle Perilous they found it inhabited by a hoard of demons and undead but were unharmed by any of the host merely allowed to pass. Upon reaching the summit of the tallest tower Lanemae saw Lyandra bound and gagged with a crown of obsidian on her head, flanked by a woman and a female demon each wearing similar crown to the ones worn by everyone in the room only the demons seemed to be formed of congealed blood and the woman’s of strips of flesh. It was then a drow entered the room with a crown made of bones upon his head. “Greeting brothers.” The drow started, “Has it been so long you can’t remember your own blood.” He smiled a sinister smile. “Of course you can’t you sold your memories to escape for your sins. I am Fa’zum. Oldest and most loyal servant to our lord father and master. Who you murdered and shall now help restore.” Fa’zum having spent the years since Zhengyi’s fall amassing his strength and finding a way to return their father to his once glory had found a way. He intended to use the pieces of Zhengyi’s soul which he had placed in each of the crowns and the blood of his sons to grant Zhengyi new life by having him to be reborn in Fa’zum’s own son who lay on the alter in the centre of the room.
Seeing the blades at Lyandra’s throat Lanemae felt helpless to resist and surrendered to his brothers will. Frost Fire attempted to resist but Fa’zum’s powers had grown considerably since their last meeting and he restrained Frost Fire with his magic. Each took their place and was restrained around the alter as Fa’zum began the ritual he took blood from each of the brothers and anointed the baby with it. Then the room grew dark as the powers in the room coalesced around the child as the ritual began to take form but before Zhengyi could posses the child Lanemae felt the palpable moment to strike. He slipped his bonds like gloves and flicked a dagger which had been hidden up his sleeve. With only one knife there was only one way to stop the ritual and in an act which still haunts him to this day he threw the dagger into the baby’s chest ending the ritual. While Fa’zum was consumed with the agony of magical backlash from the failed ritual and Fa’zum’s women distracted by what had just happened he freed Frost Fire and retrieved his weapons before setting of Fa’zum and the women slaying them.
Not knowing of a method of destroying the crowns Lanemae hid them across Faerun leaving Frost Fire’s with him before they said their farewells. Lanemae and Lyandra returned to Silverfell where she has become colder to Lanemae of late after seeing some of the man she had thought dead in her husband.
Lanemae now feels the threat of Zhengyi growing again in Vassa and knows his coming is soon. The Zhentarim have something to do with this and as of yet he has not discovered the Black Networks involvement in these matters. Lanemae fears what is coming but fears more what he must become to deal with this threat. In order to fight Zhengyi Lanemae must again become the man who killed him. He must become the Black Widow, the Prince of Venom, and the Deathgold. He has become an assassin again. The blade in the night all men fear. He is building and army of assassins this time he calls his soldiers the Shadow Spiders and has joined forces with Agon Bonecutter helping to eliminate his enemies for assistance in his fight against Zhengyi. But for a price. Agon has set a high price for his help. For Agon has given Lanemae no ordinary target. Lanemae must assassinate Cyric, the mad God.