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Eilistraee, goddess of beauty and song

Goddess of the drow of good heart

Eilistraee, the "Dark Maiden," is the goddess of the good drow - those rare dark elves who yearn for a return to life in the surface Realms, an existence akin to that enjoyed by elves of the woodlands, left behind by the drow long ago. Eilistraee (pronounced "eel-ISS-tray-ee) is a goddess of song and beauty, worshipped through song and dance - preferably in the surface world, under the stars of a moonlit night.

Eilistraee aids her faithful in hunting and swordcraft, and worship of her is usually accompanied by feasting. Eilistraee has worshippers of human, elven, and in particular half-elven stock (particularly around Silverymoon), and looks kindly upon the Harpers. She is usually seen only from afar, but her song (of unearthly beauty, driving many to tears) is heard whenever she appears.

Eilistraee is a melancholy, moody drow female, a lover of beauty and peace. The evil of most drow banks a burning anger within her, and when her faithful are harmed, that anger is apt to spill out into wild action. It is not her way to act openly, but she often aids creatures she favors (whether they worship her or not) in small, immediately practical ways. Eilistraee is happiest when she looks on bards singing or composing, craftsmen at work, lovers, or acts of kindness.

Eilistraee's avatar takes the form of a glossy-skinned female drow, nine feet in height and with ankle-length, sweeping hair of glowing silver. Her hair and wandering silvery radiances cloak her body in smooth, continuously-moving array of beauty. She can call on all spheres of magic.

Eilistraee is also known as the "Dark Maiden" and seldom takes a direct hand in the affairs of mortals, but will sometimes appear in the midst of a dance in her honor, leaping amid the flames of the fire unharmed. She also appears, radiance dimmed and clad in plain, cowled cloak, at the campfires of wayfarers in the woodlands by night, to test their kindness. Most worshippers see Eilistraee only from afar, perched on a hillock or battlement, silver hair streaming out behind her. She appears to show her favor or blessing, and will often rally or hearten creatures by causing a high, far-off hunting horn-call to be heard. (On several occasions, this has frightened off brigands or orc raiders, who thought aid for their quarry was on the way).

Eilistraee's most used manifestations are a silvery radiance, sometimes accompanied by wordless song, or a few echoing harp notes. If the radiance surrounds an item (almost always a sword or other bladed weapon), that item typically gains Eilistraee's blessing - giving the wielder aid in the battle against their attacker. Eilistraee has also been known to aid her worshippers by providing a faint silvery radiance when they need to find something dropped in darkness, or follow an unknown trail by night through dark woods, or when childbirth occurs in darkness.

Eilistraee's priestesses nurture beauty, music, the craft of making musical instruments, and song wherever they find it, assist hunters and hunting, and help others in acts of kindness whenever they see ways to do so. Her Priestesses are also skilled in the playing of at least one of the Dark Maiden's favored instruments-horn, flute, or harp. They are also singers and fit, graceful dancers. They gather songs and musical knowledge constantly, and acquire skill in the use of the sword when they can. Whenever and wherever possible, the faithful of Eilistraee must encourage drow to return to the surface world, and work to promote harmony between drow and surface-dwelling races, establish drow as rightful, non-evil inhabitants of their world.

The customary worship of the Dark Maiden is a hunt, followed by a feast and dancing, and a "circle of song," in which the worshippers sit and dance by turns in the circle, each one in succession leading a song. If possible, this is done outdoors, in a wooded area, on a moonlit night.

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