about the Book
A sylvan elf, Connate, is attacked in the forest. He has lived a life of healing through herbal remedies and his magical abilities, and he has never held a weapon. Out numbered, he flees, only to discover his assailants have been killed by someone or something. That very night, at his mother’s home, he discovers the one who saved his life in the forest is his real father, a drow called Dradamus. His mother had wanted to tell him, but didn’t know how to say his father is the drow who saved her life when she was very young. Anger and confusion turned into a desire to know and understand his father. Driven to know his father’s world, he must travel into the deep caverns of the Underdark to find his heritage. To survive in the realm of the drow, he must master the often violent rules of a world totally different from everything he has known from childhood. Is it possible to change that much? Come along with Connate, as he learns the drow language, and how, for the first time, to use the weapons necessary for survival in the world he is about to enter.
Weapon training never stops, and his growing, yet clumsy skill with two swords, is tested in early encounters with small, but deadly creatures. He befriends a rare and beautiful tarkin cat. This unique animal travels with Connate and his father through the Underdark and becomes a valuable friend in times of need. Dradamus must return home before Connate has learned enough to enter the city. With his father gone, he stays with a ramandi, an ultra-intelligent dweller of the Underdark. Ramandis feed on solid food, but they also absorb the mental energies of others. They teach their young through direct mental transfers, and, by this method, Connate learns more in the few months his father is away, than he could possibly have acquired over years of experience.
When Dradamus returns, they travel to the dwarven underground trading city of Gordenna Lourda Ki, also known as Denna. Here, Connate learns that not all perils lie in the wilds of the Underdark. Dangers based on deceit, greed, and hatred are more difficult to see coming than any subterranean monster. He is beginning to understand what is father has been trying to teach him. To survive in the drow’s world, he must believe and follow the rules of the Underdark, and follow them instinctively. Is it possible to make the adjustment, both mentally and physically, from the peaceful life as a sylvan elf to the chaotic life of the drow? The drow’s hatred for the elven race is constantly drilled into each and every member from birth. Will they even accept a feted elf walking freely among them? Follow Connate as he transforms from a peaceful, trusting healer into a wary, self-confident, and a yet hated member of the drow city of Ribbonstone. Danger comes from all directions, and Connate is tested beyond his abilities.
His left hand pressed tightly against his side and his right shoulder and arm throbbed with pain. He was accustomed to holding leather pouches of healing herbs and the heavy sword made his arm ache even more. Members of the elven guard had tried to teach him weaponry, but he had refused because his mother strongly encouraged him. “I’m a healer, no threat to anyone,” he had said. “Nobody would want to hurt me.” That was really stupid, he thought now as he emerged from the thicket into the open forest. He could hear two elves shouted, calling the others. Limping from the wound in his side and holding a weapon he had never used in a hand throbbing in pain from the shoulder down, he was no match for even one opponent, let alone several.
Sharneka gave a sharp command and rapped the staff leaning against her chair on the floor. Connate hear a scrap behind and turned to see a giant spider crawling through the doorway. Its leg span was nearly as wide as he was tall. He gasped as the spider crept directly toward him. He immediately cast his spell to communicate with animals. The spider hesitated, then continued to advance. At first, he received nothing from giant hairy creature. Then, he sensed a great desire to eat and it was looking directly at him. Primal instincts dominated the creature’s actions, and right now, it was the hunter and he was the prey.
Connate slowly got to his feet, his right leg ached and blood flowed from the cut delivered by Rennen. A sudden pain in his side was followed by a burning sensation. A crossbow (sleep) dart protruding from his armor. He grabbed the dart and looked around to see a drow coming toward him with a dagger in hand. The cavern began to spin, and he reached out to steady himself on a stone column. He felt his hand touch rock, but he never felt the cold stone when he collapsed next to Rennen’s body.
Connate was alone and in trouble. He drew his weapons, but he knew his two swords were no match for the evil snake-headed whip. The strands were reaching out in his direction. Roushina slowly advanced, her own short sword now filled her left hand. He stood his ground and slashed both swords in toward her whip, the most painful and dangerous weapon she carried. Roushina snapped the whip back and pivoted. Her short sword wickedly struck his long sword. She was stronger than she looked. The impact knocked the sword completely out of his hand; it clattered off to his left.
“That is the opening to Kambelas Abbazia, the Chambers of Death. Several parties have entered and only one drow ever returned. He was delirious and died shortly after from poison injected by some unknown creature. They are sure we will not enter. When the others arrive, they will push us into the caverns or force us to fight. Either way, they expect our death is near.”