Ryld Argith was a drow master of Melee-Magthere in Menzoberranzan.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

Ryld was unusual for a drow due to his large and burly build.[6]

He stood about five and a half feet (168cm) tall. Quite unlike a typical male drow's sense of vanity, Ryld had a warrior's pragmatism and kept his hair close-cropped to prevent foes from grabbing it during combat.[3]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Although Ryld worshiped Lolth, Ryld was not particularly religious.[7] He was not overly fond of the spider motifs dedicated to Lolth that were so prevalent in Menzoberranzan.[8] He was a sava master.[9] He apparently had a liking for duergar brandy, which he snuck out of Gracklstugh and carried with him on his journeys.[10]

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Ryld was a commoner who grew up in the poor district of Braeryn in Menzoberranzan.[11] When Ryld was six years old, he was involved in one of the nobles' notorious Hunts through Braeryn that ended in a massacre of fire. He was badly burned and buried under dead bodies.[12] He attended Melee-Magthere and became lesser master there, the highest rank he could achieve with his non-noble status.[1] However, he later grew bored with his position.[13]

Ryld learned concentration at a young age. At Melee-Magthere students had to maintain concentration naked while masters dropped poisonous centipedes on them. If students gasped or cried out when bitten, they were punished. On the first breach, they were rapped on the head. On the second breach, they were rapped harder. On the third breach, they were expelled. In Ryld's class, only he and five others passed.[14]

During his years at the academy, Ryld befriended Pharaun Mizzrym, a mage from Sorcere of noble birth. They had as close a relationship as any drow could have.[1] During Pharaun's and Ryld's third year at the academy (whether as students of teachers is unclear), they hunted down a Cloaker Lord and 67 other chasm rays in its raiding party.[15]

Ryld once encountered a ghost of a man whose throat had been slit and was dripping blood.[16]

War of the Spider Queen[edit | edit source]

When Pharaun was assigned to track down a number of missing drow males in 1372 DR, Ryld agreed to assist him. Unfortunately, their friendship did not prevent Pharaun from leaving him to fend off and presumably die from pursuers while in a hideout that belonged to renegade drow and driders led by the alhoon Syrzan.[17] Although he survived the encounter, it set a deep rift between them.[18]

Ryld was then chosen as a member of a drow party led by Quenthel Baenre sent to investigate the Silence of Lolth. During the cataclysmic fall of Ched Nasad, the party met Halisstra Melarn and Danifae Yauntyrr, priestesses of Lolth. Halisstra, doomed survivor of a fallen house, had no choice but to follow the Menzoberranyr to find out the fate of their silent goddess.[19] She fled with them through a portal to the surface land of Anauroch. After a grueling fight against lamias, Halisstra revealed her secret knowledge of drow bardic music, or baeq'ueshel, to pull Ryld from the brink of death.[20]

After visiting the Abyss and losing hope in ending the Silence of Lolth, Ryld and Halisstra eventually left to try and find a different life devoid of drow corruption. On the surface, they were attacked by a troll and rescued by Eilistraeeans. In order to save Ryld, Halisstra claimed to want to convert to the worship of Eilistraee, but the claim quickly became her true desire and she joined the dancing priestesses.[21] This left Ryld feeling isolated and doubting his decision to follow Halisstra to the surface. In his view, there were three reasons for Ryld to return to Menzoberranzan: 1) he was an outcast from the Eilistraeeans for killing a giant sloth, 2) he was not a worshiper of Eilistraee, and 3) he was male. There was only one reason to stay: Halisstra.[22]

While Halisstra was being judged by Eilistraee, Ryld encountered a young werewolf boy named Yarno who had bitten Ryld while transformed. Yarno’s grandfather gave Ryld belladonna to ward off the lycanthropy infection, which Ryld later ate as the full moon rose and he began to transform. Ryld relied on the deep breathing meditation technique honed in Melee-Magathere to keep his control against the lycanthropic bloodlust. During his inner battle, Ryld hallucinated that a naked female drow was watching and judging him before a werewolf leapt through the figure, then laid beside him as he passed out. When he woke, Yarno was cooking rat and claimed not to remember anything of the night when asked about the woman. Ryld saw similarity between Yarno and himself, from eating rats as a street urchin to being hunted by drow nobles, as Yarno was hunted by Eilistraean priestesses. Ryld protected Yarno from Halisstra when the two met and Halisstra was compelled to follow through with her new-found sacred duty to cleanse the forest of monsters. After expressing his sympathy with the boy’s situation and its similarities with his own past, he asked Halisstra to “choose between what is wrong, and what is right."[23] Halisstra followed her emotions and let the boy go without sounding the hunting horn.[24]

Halisstra was given the task to retrieve the Crescent Blade in order to kill Lolth. She intended to retrieve the blade alone, but Ryld secretly followed her to the Cold Field. There they encountered a purple worm, which poisoned Ryld and swallowed Halisstra. Halisstra was able to escape, using the Crescent Blade she found within the worm to cut herself free, and carried Ryld to the edge of the moor, where the priestesses Uluyara and Feliane found them and healed them.[24]

When Danifae contacted Halisstra and Ryld, Halisstra went to meet her and the draegloth Jeggred Baenre, despite Ryld's warnings not to trust her. Danifae ordered Jeggred to kill Ryld in a battle that slaughtered an entire house full of loggers in the Flooded Forest. Ryld was able to cut off one of Jeggred's hand, but the draegloth used an enchanted axe to break Ryld's sword and slay him. The draegloth then ate Ryld's heart.[25]

In the Astral Plane, searching for Lolth, Halisstra encountered Ryld's spirit as she came upon a procession of souls moving to the new Demonweb Pits. He told her that he loved her, but he nevertheless chose to go to the afterlife with Lolth.[2]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Rather than wearing chain mail under the traditional piwafwi, as most drow did, Ryld wore black duergar plate mail and vambraces.[6] Ryld had a magical hole/cloth of holding made of phase spider silk.[26]

He wielded a magical greatsword known as Splitter.[19] Splitter was deceptively light for its size, capable of penetrating nearly any material, and dispelled magic with a successful hit.[27] Ryld liked to attend to his sword, having convinced himself that the sword (though not sentient) appreciated it.[28] Moments before Ryld's death, Jeggred sundered the blade with a magical axe taken from a soldier killed in the midst of the struggle. Ryld also employed a wickedly sharp enchanted short sword for close encounters.[29] He also carried a crossbow, but rarely used it.[26]

Ryld had two magical rings. When he left Quenthel's expedition, he gave the lesser one to Danifae to "prove" he was returning.[30] The greater ring had a dragon on it and marked him as a master of Melee-Magthere, and made his skin as tough as a dragon's.[31] Ryld carried an emblem of Melee-Magthere. The emblem allowed him to levitate similar to how a noble drow would levitate through their house insignia.[32]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Halisstra Melarn[edit | edit source]

During their travels, Ryld grew close to Halisstra Melarn of Ched Nasad, developing a relationship and even coming to love her.[33] He abandoned his task in the Underdark to live on the surface at her request.[34] While Ryld was hesitant to develop a trusting relationship with her, wary and hardened from the betrayal of his once close friend Pharaun Mizzrym,[35] the two developed trust after an encounter with a troll on the surface where Halisstra sacrificially stayed behind to help Ryld despite the certainty of their death.[21] Ryld mused on these feelings that were atypical to his prior experiences with female drow, and wondered if Halisstra had cast a spell on him and even tried to dispel it with his enchanted sword.[36] He felt out of place on the surface and in the company of the Eilistraeans, he remained for Halisstra.[37] He worried over her safety and followed her into the Cold Fields despite her insistence on going alone,[38] and later vocalized the likelihood of a trap set by Danifae.[39] Despite these feelings of love for Halisstra, Ryld remained a pragmatic drow of the Underdark. He never understood the Eilistraean’s displeasure over the giant sloth’s death,[40] calculatingly dispatched the half-orc ferryman that overheard their conversation (to Halisstra’s displeasure),[41] and dispassionately killed the unlucky humans in the logging village during his battle with Jeggred.[42] He died loving Halisstra, but nevertheless was unable to change his drow nature as she had, and chose to go to the Demonweb Pits for an afterlife with Lolth.[2]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Novels[edit | edit source]

War of the Spider Queen
  1. Dissolution
  2. Insurrection
  3. Condemnation
  4. Extinction
  5. Annihilation

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 329–330. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44. ISBN 0786932023.
  4. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 157. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  5. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 265. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  7. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 235. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  8. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  9. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 0786932023.
  10. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0786932023.
  11. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  12. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 189. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  13. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 204. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  14. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  15. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 294. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  16. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 313. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  17. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 305. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  18. Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 308. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Richard Lee Byers (August 2003). Dissolution. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-2944-8.
  20. Richard Baker (May 2003). Condemnation. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786932023.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  22. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  23. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 261. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  25. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 31–32. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  27. Thomas M. Reid (December 2003). Insurrection. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 355. ISBN 0-7869-3033-0.
  28. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  29. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 306. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  30. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  31. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  32. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  33. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  34. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  35. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 12–15. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  36. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  37. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  38. Lisa Smedman (February 2005). Extinction. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 302. ISBN 0-7869-3596-0.
  39. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  40. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 25–29. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  41. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 159–160. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.
  42. Philip Athans (August 2005). Annihilation. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 253–267. ISBN 0-7869-3752-1.


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