The door clicked quietly behind the last wizard and Ran padded over to the corner farthest from the table in the room, “just let me know what you gentlemen decide.” He puffed on his pipe.
The wizards leaned their staves against the wall, and sat at the table, leaning on it, all refilling and lighting their own pipes and beginning to confer. Smoke hung in the air, as Ran’s soft humming lilted through. A drow male of his age was well versed in raising the ambient noise in his immediate space to block out what could be heard quite clearly by an elf in a quiet room.
The wizards had no need to question why a dark elf man would turn traitor to his race. The society was matriarchal, which wouldn’t be so bad, but it was also steeped in evil. Rather than simply not being given positions of power, male drow were servants of the women at best, and their slaves at worst. They had no power, save that which they fought for amongst themselves. If a peasant drow woman objected to even the mere presence of a noble-born male, that male could be sure his immediate future would hold painful torments that seemed unending. Every single drow is a murderer and a sadist. By the time they’re born, they’ve killed at least one sibling, murdering their twin in the womb.
The highest honor a male drow could receive was to be allowed to practice wizardry. Ran had the interest, but his mistress had more need of a pair of holes to rent out to clients than she did for a pair of deft hands to weave the threads of the multiverse. The highest honor a drow woman could obtain was high priestess, and Ran’s mistress was far from that position, though her slaves and the shows she performed torturing them and whatever males could be captured in the caves, afforded her wealth and prestige, and the favour of many women who were priestesses.
Drow reproduction comes in two varieties- grim necessary things, where the transfer of genetic material is an after thought, the woman using the man to slake her more visceral lusts; or ribald, debauched ceremonies in which a priestess summons a fell demon from the deepest pits of the abyss to sire a half-demon child in her. Ran’s lot in either was not good.
There was precisely one legitimate path to something resembling freedom for a male in Drow society- service in a military troop sent away from the drow cities for long periods of time. Even then though, a man’s mistress had to let him be trained, and Ran’s was far happier to keep him skilled in other arts. He had no choice for escape but desertion.
The lead wizard beckoned Ran over, and the elf sat on a nearby bed. “Well?” he said, puffing on his pipe again.
“If you can get us the information we seek, we’ll take you out with us. After you’re on the surface, your life is your own. You get into the Order on your own merit, not as further thanks for this.”
“Agreed.” Ran said. “It hasn’t been long enough. If I leave the room now, mistress will be suspicious. Anyone have any cards?”
One of the younger wizards, still old as humans count years, but likely less than half Ran’s age, smirked and pulled out a pouch. Opening it, he took out a deck of cards and poured out an assortment of tokens and dice.