Conceived out of hatred and fear but born out of love, Naiya Silverleaf entered the world with the cards already stacked against her. The victim of a Drow hunt, her mother did not want to punish her unborn child – whom she viewed as an innocent – for the crimes her child’s father committed. She allowed her child to be born and to experience life – whatever it would bring her.
Those of the Woodsinger clan that welcomed Naiya did so cautiously, not knowing how she would grow up to view the world. Though her youth was not without teasing and ridicule, she always had her mother’s love and with it she flourished into a young woman who fully embraced the wood elven heritage in her.
Naiya became a skilled huntress and tracker with a burning hatred for the Drow. She despised her father for what he and the other party members had done to their former village. She was horrified when she discovered she inherited Drow abilities, and hid them from everyone knowing she would receive further hardship if word got out.
She spent her time living an otherwise normal life though she waited for the day she would get a chance for vengeance. That thought was always in the back of her mind no matter what daily tasks she carried on. This was the way she thought she would continue living and was rather comfortable with it despite her differences from the rest of her clan.
Her world however would start to crumble beginning with the death of her mother. She had hidden a debilitating illness for decades and it had finally caught up to her. What Naiya had thought would be a difficult recovery as the village’s healers worked on her ended with her decline. What ailed her mother was too aggressive for them to treat with their abilities.
Completely grief-stricken, the only comfort Naiya found was in her close friend Rhys. The two had grown up together and he was one of few who completely accepted her for the person she was rather than judge her for what blood flowed through her veins. They grew particularly close during this time, and soon Naiya could see a small ray of light in this dark time.
As the Half-Drow came out of her darkened cloud of depression, a new emotion emerged: love. It was of a different kind than she had for her mother, and it was for Rhys. Soon after Naiya received yet another surprise: she was with child.
The idea of such a new beginning marked a time of great happiness for her. Nature had taken her mother but it was about to give her new life. Though she and Rhys were barely out of adolescence they welcomed their new future together with ease. For the first time in a great while Naiya felt at peace with her place in the clan.
However the peace the couple had found would soon be shattered. A year and a half had passed and they had relocated to a village closer to the outskirts of the Harkenwold Forest. Some had said it was a risky move with the undead that roamed the lands, but food had been more plentiful here after a particularly harsh winter. They kept their options open to going back after supplies had stabilized, especially after hearing reports of foreign, ravenous beasts roaming the woods South of where they resided.
Naiya and Rhys had spent most of the day foraging as the former grew restless of staying in the village day after day. An unusual sense of tension filled the air, and both were well aware of it. Though highly alert, the two could not pinpoint where this feeling originated from. With Rhys being the only one of the two somewhat heavily armed, they decided to head back to the relative safety of the village, especially as the forest life began to grow eerily quiet.
It was Rhys who stopped the two from coming any closer to the village, setting down their gathered spoils for the day as he took up his bow.
“Love, what is-” Naiya was silenced by a gesture of his hand. That was when she heard the unmistakable sound of terrified screams emanating from their home. An attack had just begun and now from her position behind an oak tree she could not see what or who was ransacking the village.
Rhys was soon on the move like a predator stalking his prey. He did not get far before realizing two things: the attackers were a large band of savage gnolls, and both he and Naiya were upwind from them. He came tearing back to her as the beasts caught their scent, yanking her to her feet.
“Run!” he growled, and as the Half-Drow saw what they were up against a was of both fear and the overwhelming urge to protect their child came over her. She ran as fast as her feet could carry her and despite the both of them knowing the forests well, Naiya was still slowed by her delicate state. She could hear the snarls and yells of the gnolls draw closer even as she and Rhys put considerable distance between them and the village. They would catch up to them at this rate, but she knew there was another village not too far from them. If they could just make it close enough she knew there was a chance for help.
Usually quite sure-footed, in her panic she tripped over a stray root, rolling to her side as she hit the ground hard. It was her scream that brought Rhys back to her in a flash, drawing his bow and rewarding their closest attackers with a bloody death. Naiya rose to her feet, but they could not run any further. It was fight or die now.
Rhys had not fought foes such as these before, but the drive to protect the woman he loved and his unborn child created a fire within him that made him fight with a fury he’d never felt. Despite his frenzied efforts, the bloodthirsty pack closed in on them.
Frustrated and helpless, Naiya watched as Rhys picked off the pack until he ran out of arrows. The beasts seemed to cackle at them once they knew he was out of ammunition, mocking them in what was possibly their last moments in life. The gnolls circled the couple for what seemed for eternity. Then they charged.
Naiya had not used her Drow abilities in quite some time. But now in this time of crisis she did the only thing she thought she could do; she threw up what was a cloak of complete darkness, plunging both her and Rhys into a pitch black orb. It was the last thing she remembered doing before something struck her, rendering her unconscious.
She awoke later on with great pain coursing, pulsing through her body. She was not in the forest but rather in a room shaped from a great oak tree. As she gathered her senses she realized something had gone gravely wrong.
“My baby!” She screamed with a tone not usually her own. Her hands grabbed at her belly, now considerably more flat than before. Horror ripped through her as she realized what must have happened to her. “Rhys! Where’s Rhys?! Where’s my baby?!”
The face that greeted her was not Rhys but a woman she’d never seen before. She tried to soothe this frantic girl now filled with terror and pain.
“Please child, lay still. You’ll open your wounds.” The woman pleaded with her, and although it took convincing despite the pain she was in, Naiya eventually laid still, tears streaming down her face as she looked up at this stranger, waiting for answers. Even before she spoke her next words, Naiya could see a great sadness in her eyes.
She introduced herself as Alassiel and gently took the Half-Drow’s hand before she continued. “I’m so sorry, child. Your husband died from his injuries and the little one… he was born still. You were injured so badly we thought we would lose you as well…” Her eyes darted to her lap before she continued, “I’m truly sorry, I really am. We did everything we possibly could for you and your loved ones.”
Naiya could hear someone screaming in anguish and was so disconnected from the moment that she didn’t even realize the sounds were coming from her. Alassiel jumped at her sudden screaming, but could do little else to ease her pain beyond what was physical.
The rest of the Half-Drow’s stay in this new village followed with much of the same theme. While she recovered from her physical wounds, the emotional impact of losing both Rhys and her son was crippling. She thought she was getting something precious back to her after losing something so dear to her. Now everything she had ever loved had been ripped away from her.
The villagers held burial rights for Rhys and for her son who she had named Revyn after Rhys’ own father as they had planned to do from the beginning for a son. If there was any animosity towards Naiya in this new village no one dared show it. She was treated as a grieving widow and mother – nothing more.
Some time passed, and Naiya still was left feeling like a hollow shell. The villagers had suggested she stay and overall had been very welcoming, but she still couldn’t shake the fact this felt so wrong to her. She never felt as if she fit in with any village she stayed in due to her mixed heritage, and being without the man she loved and her child only made the feeling more agonizing. She was supposed to be having a much different life. Things weren’t supposed to turn out like this.
Eventually she made the decision to leave the Harkenwold Forest all together. Her sights were set on setting out East, perhaps to Oria. She knew not what cities she should travel to, but she knew she had to get out of this place. To her surprise she found quite a few people insist she stay, and even more surprising was the healer Alassiel’s reaction to her decision. She did not try and stop her at all.
Alassiel had seen Naiya suffer and hurt the entire time she’d been with them, and even time was not mending her wounds. She had feared for her well-being, so when she heard the Half-Drow was making plans to leave, she was very much encouraging the decision. Naiya was touched by the woman’s thoughtfulness, and even more so by the gift she was given: an intricately-carved wooden medallion of a tree, its roots and branches sprawling and reaching out to cover the trinket’s surface. It was a tree that represented life itself, and it also was something that had brought her ‘great luck and good fortune.’ She wanted to see Naiya finally have some of just that.
The Half-Drow never had many true friends, but she saw Alassiel as one of them now. She vowed to repay her for her kindness someday – that her absence from these lands would not be permanent because of her. She departed from the Harkenwold forest still filled with sorrow from her tragic losses and with conflict still brewing within her from the tainted blood that flowed in her, but now she had some comfort and most important of all: hope.