The Reign of Pharaun the Mad
Drow history and lore are comingled and difficult to tease apart, and reliable accounts are hard to come by. Nevertheless due in part to the long life of elvenkind, knowledge of events of millenia past can be unearthed. To the best of this scholar’s ability, then, herein shall you find a recounting of the events of Drow society’s first and only King, Pharaun, and the chronicle of his short, bloody reign.
2692 ME Queen Lledryth of Undrek’thoz, a federation of Drow city states said to be deep below the surface of North-Eastern Telisar, was deposed by an uprising of male slaves in the Undrek’thoz capital of Na’Aldrathzil. The rebellion was led by Pharaun, a slave in the Temple of the Spider Queen who entered into a bargain with Vhaerun, son of Lolth, a Dark Selarine who rejects his infernal mother’s notion of matriarchal supremacy [refer to Chapter XI, On the Nature and Relations of the Selarine –Tobin]. With dark powers granted him by his new patron, Pharaun slew his mistress the High Priestess of Lolth, and rallied to his cause the Drow males who believed themselves oppressed.
2692 - 2892 Pharaun declared himself King of Undrek’thoz, and for the next two centuries his new patriarchy brought the states of Undrek’thoz to heel under the Reformation of Vhaerun. Drow women of all castes were stripped of power and enslaved, but nowhere was Pharaun’s wrath more brutal, and more complete, than in cleansing the Temple of Lolth. Lolth worship was outlawed and temples were defiled with the entrails of the slain priestesses.
2899 - 3162 Having succeeded in unifying Undrek’thoz under the banner of Vhaerun, Pharaun began a series of crusades, bringing Vhareun worship and patriarchy to Drow settlements throughout the Underdark. The armies of Undrek’thoz called these wars the March of the Liberated, a title that still survives, though it seems ironically, in post-Restoration sources.
3162 The last March of the Liberated was apparently a disaster for Na’Aldrathzil, with much of the military might of the capital defeated by organized militants of Lolth from Drow border states. Pharaun’s power thus weakened, a secret cult of Lolth priestesses in the capital attempted a rebellion. This “First Rebellion of the Penitent” was defeated when the rebel leadership was massacred by Pharaun’s throne guard.
3178 Though the rebellion was unsuccessful, sedition took hold in Na’Aldrathzil, and in 3178 the Second Rebellion of the Penitent began. Open warfare raged in the capital for weeks, culminating in the Night of Blood, in which an assault on the Crown Keep succeeded in assassinating Pharaun and every member of his male court.
Accounts of the Night of Blood differ, but at least one diary of a Lolth priestess [See Appendix XXIII, Sources –Tobin] asserts that the rebellion was assisted by Pharaun’s chamberlain and Crown Sorcerer, Solaufein Mak’lethz, who betrayed the King by leading rebels to the Keep and fled the capital.
Following the Night of Blood it is said the restored Priesthood of Lolth, now styling themselves the Penitent of Lolth the Spider Queen, sealed the entire capital of Na’Aldrathzil and laid upon it a curse, that all the works of Pharaun the Mad, all his wealth, and any who would seek to profit thereby should know only suffering. There is no record of what became of the inhabitants of Na’Aldrathzil, and to this day the gates remain sealed.