Storm of the Dead review

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DarkSongKnight
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Storm of the Dead review

Post by DarkSongKnight » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:01 am

Here is my take on Storm of the Dead, book 2 in the Lady Penitent trilogy. It is much better than the first, in my opinion.

BEWARE! Major spoilers! [b:1xi9zm3q]Spoilers![/b:1xi9zm3q] Spoilers!
You've been warned. ;)




Ok, here goes... *takes breath*

[hide:1xi9zm3q]There have been some major changes in Eilistraee's faith. It is set in 1376, and it has been near two years since Eilistraee killed and absorbed Vhaeraun. In that time, males have become accepted (well, tolerated is a better word) in her faith as clerics. These males are mostly the "nightshadows" from Vhaeraun's faith that now serve "The Masked Lady." They participate in High Hunts, running around naked like the priestesses. You can imagine the effect this has had on after-ritual activities.

Eilistraee's symbol now appears to be a half-moon. Part of it moonlight, part of it shadow. She also accepts more underhanded means of dealing with foes, including using assassins (the nightshadows). There is a split in the faith. Those who cling to the older worship styles of Eilistraee, and the newer ones who accept her shadow aspect.

Cavatina (drow Clr 14/Ftr 8.), the DarksongKnight that defeated Selvetarm in the first novel, still clings to the older ways of worship, and is somewhat resentful and suspicious of the males. There is a great part of a chapter, that describes her on the High Hunt. It really does an incredible job at describing what it would be like to be an Eilistraeen on the High Hunt. I particularly enjoyed that bit. It later goes on to say that she pretty much ignored the shadows that came along with the moonlight in her clerical powers.

She is later betrayed by Halisstra and captured by Wendonai. She is tied up, but not gagged. He tries to make her bitter, poking at her weakness that she will never be redeemed. She sees the flaw in that logic, as the ritual of redemption had to be made for something. She then realizes that redemption isn't so much about turning from "evil" to "good," but more about facing one's own weaknesses and fears, and overcoming them for the better. Eilistraee herself then manifests protective powers long enough over Cavatina, to allow the DarksongKnight the chance to kill Wendonai.

Oh yeah, she also leads a battle against the Acropolis of Thanatos, Kiaransalee's main temple, and they would have lost if the wizard drow (Q' something?) hadn't erased her name. He did this to keep the voidstone that the followers of Kiaransalee were going to use to summon an undead army into the world, from making faezress (sp?) stronger, and thus luring more drow back from the surface into the underdark.

Apparently, faezress was part of the High Magic ritual used during the descent. The faezress lured the drow into the underdark.

There is a conspiracy theory held by one of Vhaeraun's faithful that Vhaeraun has merely disguised himself as Eilistraee in order to allow his faithful to sneak into Eilistraee's strongholds of power, and to test his faithful. The heretic also adds that the time will come for the Masked Lord to reclaim those who have been faithful, etc. A nightshadow assassin was sent to kill him, but he convinces the assassin that what he says is true. That same nightshadow goes on to lead the nightshadow section of the crusade against the Acropolis, alongside Cavatina.

For some reasons, the priestesses of Eilistraee wanted that follower of Vhaeraun dead because the priestesses were saying that it was Eilistraee who went into Vhaeraun's plane and killed him, and not the other way around. I'm not sure why it would be important as to which deity entered who's domain, as Vhaeraun is apparently dead either way.

There have also been some odd going-ons with Qilue. She "attunes" herself to the Crescent Blade (and oddly nicks herself with it, by accident it seems), and accepts the change in her faith without a second thought. There is one part where Cavatina gets irked that a male walks into the Cavern of Song and begins singing, as only females had sang there non-stop for all the years that the Promenade had been founded. She contacts Qilue, who responds with a mere "that has to change to" or something along the lines thereof.[/hide:1xi9zm3q]

*takes another breath*
Ok, I'm done with the review.


Also, I'm a (fairly) active member at the Wizards community site.
Why don't some of you join? It'd be nice to have some of my fellow Eilistraeens there. The forum is here. [url:1xi9zm3q]http://forums.gleemax.com/forumdisplay.php?f=9[/url:1xi9zm3q].

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Post by Bhaern Quel » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:58 pm

As to which plane a deity was killed in, it did matter in 2nd Edition.

You can kill a deity on any plane except their own and not really kill the deity, the essense flees back to its plane and revives. The rules then were the only way to actually kill the deity was to kill it on its own plane. Of course the deity was also much more powerful on its home plane becoming harder to kill.

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Post by Narsia Ny'Dhun » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:19 pm

I'm not at all surprised with Qilue's acceptance of the changes in the faith. It is my understanding that she has a unique insight into Eilistraee and is somehow connected to her goddess in a way that allows her to see things clearer and without the prejudices of others with more...narrowed vision.

I wish the book would go deeper into her mindset to help us understand better, but I think I'll stick with my theory until that happens because it seems most likely at the moment.

After all, Qilue is the Lady's Favorite for a reason.
Harl l'drathir udos alure, Eilistraee lu'Anixiel ulu kyorl udossa zuch

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Post by DarkSongKnight » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:24 am

[quote="Bhaern Quel":2izo0n87]As to which plane a deity was killed in, it did matter in 2nd Edition.

You can kill a deity on any plane except their own and not really kill the deity, the essense flees back to its plane and revives. The rules then were the only way to actually kill the deity was to kill it on its own plane. Of course the deity was also much more powerful on its home plane becoming harder to kill.[/quote:2izo0n87]

So it [i:2izo0n87]is [/i:2izo0n87]possible for Vhaeraun to still be alive! *gasp*

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Post by Argoth » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:25 am

Hope not.

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Post by Narsia Ny'Dhun » Wed Sep 12, 2007 11:26 am

I don't see Vhaeraun being subtle enough to put up with Eilistraeean followers for very long just for the sake of testing his faithful. Then again he would be more patient than Lloth if it were her, but I still don't buy it

And on another note, something inside my mind thinks that some of the changes to Eilistraee better fit her CG alignment. Like tolerating the use of assassins in the fight against evil. Is it not the very definition of a CG to do whatever it takes to do what that character believes in, such as fighting what they perceive as evil?
Harl l'drathir udos alure, Eilistraee lu'Anixiel ulu kyorl udossa zuch

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Post by DarkSongKnight » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:43 pm

True, cerain Chaotic Good individuals may use assassins, however, the end does not justify the means.

Something else that occured that I forgot to mention, is how the remainders of Kiaransalee's faithful were treated.

*Spoilers* ...again.
[hide:db0qepma]Cavatina glanced around at the milling Crones. Their faces, no longer contorted with the madness of their faith, looked lost, tired, and sad. One of them touched Cavatina's arm and looked pleadingly into her eyes, as if seeking an answer to a question she didn't know how to ask.
Cavatina shrugged her off. "Should we offer them redemption?" she asked Qilue. "There may be some who-"
Qilue's mental voice lashed out like a whip. [i:db0qepma]No. Kill them.[/i:db0qepma]
"But-"
[i:db0qepma]Eilistraee demands their deaths. They cannot be redeemed. Kill them.[/i:db0qepma]
Cavatina lifted her weapon. That had been an order. And a darksong knight did as her high priestess commanded. Cavatina told herself that the Crones had sown the seeds of their own destruction by choosing to worship...whatever evil goddess had just been slain. Cavatina was merely the scythe that fulfilled the grim harvest.
Lips pressed together in a grim line, she swung her weapon. Right, left, cutting down Crones. Easy as reaping wheat.
The remaining Crones didn't even put up a fight. Sword blow by sword blow, they fell.[/hide:db0qepma]

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Post by Narsia Ny'Dhun » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:54 pm

Hmm, I see your point. Really makes you wonder where things are going, because that was just off in my opinion.
Harl l'drathir udos alure, Eilistraee lu'Anixiel ulu kyorl udossa zuch

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Post by Bhaern Quel » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:40 pm

[quote="Narsia Ny'Dhun":1r9806wi]Hmm, I see your point. Really makes you wonder where things are going, because that was just off in my opinion.[/quote:1r9806wi]

Wrong author I suspect, Steven might have done much better after ahe invented her.

Of course there could have been a mandate from above, or perhaps a desire to see Eilistraee fans want because of her changed nature dead. *sighs*

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Post by Narsia Ny'Dhun » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:42 pm

In the end it just feels to me like they're trying to revert all drow back to evil, because evil drow are a bigger cash cow and that ticks me off so bad.
Harl l'drathir udos alure, Eilistraee lu'Anixiel ulu kyorl udossa zuch

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Post by Sancha » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:19 am

[quote="Narsia Ny'Dhun":2czbzonz]In the end it just feels to me like they're trying to revert all drow back to evil, because evil drow are a bigger cash cow and that ticks me off so bad.[/quote:2czbzonz]

But they're not. Not really. Though I feel you are correct in saying that, I just think WotC is wrong to think that way. They don't spend enough time amongst their gamers.

I've been playing in and running D&D games with Drow allowed as PCs since the original Drow of the Underdark came out, and hardly anyone wants to play evil spiderkissing drow, it seems. I'd always chaulked that up to everyone having read the Drizzt novels and wanting a drow like him.

But playing alot of FR campaigns on the net the past 10 years, I don't think that's true either. A LOT of gamers love playing drow (and tend to engage in PvP if accused of being Drizzt Clones lol) Way more than half of those I've met (even on Drow-centric NWN servers like Menzo and Menzo 2), want to play good drow, or drow rebels that aren't evil for evil's sake but are willing to use 'evil' tactics like assassination against the evil drow in power.


Personally, I think they could turn the Drow into a much bigger cash cow if they put out a whole sourcebook for each drow deity and their followers, and an overall drow religious war campaign book. Hell I'd buy a copy of each of those.

Not likely to buy a 'all drow are evil spiderkissers again' book though. That just retconns 20+years of cannon sourcebooks that I already bought. heh
They can 'explain' their 4E changes all they want, it's STILL retconning.

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Post by Sancha » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:26 am

[quote="DarkSongKnight":ter30zw1]True, cerain Chaotic Good individuals may use assassins, however, the end does not justify the means.

Something else that occured that I forgot to mention, is how the remainders of Kiaransalee's faithful were treated.

*Spoilers* ...again.
[hide:ter30zw1]Cavatina glanced around at the milling Crones. Their faces, no longer contorted with the madness of their faith, looked lost, tired, and sad. One of them touched Cavatina's arm and looked pleadingly into her eyes, as if seeking an answer to a question she didn't know how to ask.
Cavatina shrugged her off. "Should we offer them redemption?" she asked Qilue. "There may be some who-"
Qilue's mental voice lashed out like a whip. [i:ter30zw1]No. Kill them.[/i:ter30zw1]
"But-"
[i:ter30zw1]Eilistraee demands their deaths. They cannot be redeemed. Kill them.[/i:ter30zw1]
Cavatina lifted her weapon. That had been an order. And a darksong knight did as her high priestess commanded. Cavatina told herself that the Crones had sown the seeds of their own destruction by choosing to worship...whatever evil goddess had just been slain. Cavatina was merely the scythe that fulfilled the grim harvest.
Lips pressed together in a grim line, she swung her weapon. Right, left, cutting down Crones. Easy as reaping wheat.
The remaining Crones didn't even put up a fight. Sword blow by sword blow, they fell.[/hide:ter30zw1][/quote:ter30zw1]

Ouch. That's even more painful than the sad and sorry portrayal of Selvatarm and his followers in the first book.

Bunch of priestsesses capable of getting sick spells like Weird and Wail of the Banshee, and they don't even put up a fight..... Then again, neither did the Drow God of Warriors. :uh-huh:



Thanks for the review, Neyinssin. Probably just saved me 30 bucks. I'll get a bottle of whiskey and drown my sorrows instead.

:roll:

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Post by Narsia Ny'Dhun » Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:28 am

All I have left to say is that I'm in the same boat as Shirl'e. If they bone Eilistraee and the good drow I'm done with FR.
Harl l'drathir udos alure, Eilistraee lu'Anixiel ulu kyorl udossa zuch

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Post by Jubilee » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:36 pm

I just finished the book, and I really like it. It left me wondering whats next at every turn, like the first WotSQ books did, not cringing at the next lame or sick and twisted segment.

Only person I hoped actually died was Halistra, she gets on my nerves, like the guy who killed the mouse in the Green Mile, makes me wanna stick her in a chair with a dry sponge. Just a spineless coward heavily contrived and portrayed as some "badass"
It is difficult for others to truly speak their heart or listen to it. The words often prove difficult, or they do not come at all - Brianna

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Post by Argoth » Sun Oct 28, 2007 1:05 am

I see what you mean. At any rate I'm pretty worried myself.

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