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Yvonnel Baenre, often known only as Matron Baenre or simply Baenre, was the matron mother of House Baenre in the city of Menzoberranzan. She led her house and the city itself with an uncanny strength bred from deceitful ambition.[2]


Matron Baenre had lost much of the beauty she possessed while young to a combination of factors, including several uses of zin-carla. At the end of her life she looked haggard, with a patchwork of wrinkles across her face. However, possessing an unusual vibrancy, she was capable of pregnancy till her late 1900s.[citation needed]


Yvonnel Baenre was born in −685 DR.[2] She was the younger of twin-born drow priestesses, though not much was known of her youth.[citation needed]

Some time in the past, she encountered Gandalug Battlehammer and his bodyguard Crowmower Pwent. During this confrontation, her twin sister was slain by the first king of Mithral Hall among others (mainly by the king's bodyguard). She managed to entrap Gandalug's soul in one of his teeth that had been knocked loose.[citation needed]

During the following two thousand years, she had many children and became the most powerful matron mother known to Menzoberranzan, with influences stretching across the Underdark and with so much of Lolth's favor bestowed upon her that she may have been rightly seen as Lolth's chosen prophetess. Several decades prior to her death, she oversaw the rise to power of House Do'Urden, even going out on a limb (by drow standards) to help them defend their home while they continued their search for their blasphemous son Drizzt when they had little to no favor with Lolth.[3][5]

At the very end of her life, she put into motion the plan she had been nurturing for two thousand years: an all-or-nothing assault upon Mithral Hall, the location, layout, and old defenses having been gleaned from the tormented spirit of Gandalug. Initially, things seemed to be going well. In 1357 DR, she ended up with Drizzt Do'Urden as her prisoner, but then Catti-brie rescued him with the aid of Artemis Entreri (and Jarlaxle). As a parting gift, they sent a heavy stalactite crashing through the house chapel during a ceremony wherein Lolth's blessing was asked for the invasion of Mithral Hall.[6]

After that, the Time of Troubles hit Toril in 1358 DR, further stalling Matron Baenre's plans. During this time, she came close to losing her life when House Oblodra decided to abandon Lolth and attempted to conquer Menzoberranzan. With the balor Errtu's aid (courtesy of a deal made by the goddess Lolth), she managed to wipe House Oblodra off the map (and into the Clawrift).[7]

After the Time of Troubles ended, she led an army gathered from all houses in the city on her long-awaited conquest. Though they might have succeeded had drow not been drow, her plans were ruined by the valor of the defenders, dissent and desertion in her ranks, and by the unexpectedly successful headhunt by Drizzt's party. When Errtu's appointed general opened a chest with a dead-magic gem inside, all magic failed and Matron Mother Yvonnel Baenre fell to the floor from her glowdisc and was killed by an enraged Bruenor Battlehammer.[7]

In 1484 DR, Yvonnel's body was in the possession of her son, Gromph Baenre.[8] Her head had been given to Gromph by Jarlaxle; the illithid Methil El-Viddenvelp used it to psychically absorb her personality and pass some of it on to Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre, Yvonnel's daughter.[9]

Gromph's child (with Minolin Fey) was to be named Yvonnel after his mother and groomed as Quenthel's (and thus Yvonnel's) sucessor.[10]


Yvonnel Baenre had twenty children in her life, fifteen of whom were priestesses. Her most notable children included Gromph, the Archmage of Menzoberranzan; Triel, her immediate successor; and Jarlaxle, her rogue son and leader of Bregan D'aerthe. Other children included Doquaio,[11] Dantrag, Bladen'Kerst, Vendes, Sos'Umptu, and the youngest son Berg'inyon.[2]

During the last decade of her life, the illithid Methil El-Viddenvelp served as Yvonnel's duvall (secret advisor).[12]



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Referenced only
Road of the Patriarch
Night of the Hunter