Kilsek was traditionally dominant over the Ghetto of Chattel in Erelhei-Cinlu, though it had its own estates across the Pitchy Flow. These ancient estates were sacked during the Priestess Wars, and House Kilsek has since moved to the city of Kalan-G'eld on the other side of the continent of Oerik. House Vae has replaced them as rulers of the Ghetto of Chattel.
In 576 CY, Kilsek was the second-most of the noble houses of Erelhei-Cinlu, and consequently bore great jealousy for the first house, Eilservs. When Eclavdra of House Eilservs announced she should be recognized as the city's queen, Kilsek knew she had gone too far, and they happily played the houses of Despana and Noquar against their rivals.
When House Eilservs was humiliated after the incursion of Frush O'Suggill and his comrades, Kilsek thought its victory was complete. Yet the treacherous House Tormtor, which had allied with Eilservs and turned against the spider-goddess Lolth in favor of the Elder Elemental God, pressed its case for its own dominance after its role in the conquests of Geoff and Sterich with their giant allies. Kilsek insisted its continued loyalty to the Spider Queen ought to count for something, so Tormtor turned against Lolth once again, this time embracing the cult of the newly militant goddess Kiaransalee.
The ensuing civil war saw Tormtor and its allies Everhate and Aleval, along with githyanki mercenaries, face off against Kilsek, Despana, Noquar, and Godeep, along with illithid allies probably from nearby Dra-Mur-Shou. During the conflict, Kilsek's estates across the Pitchy Flow were sacked and their forces scattered. They regrouped and led a bloody pogrom against House Tormtor and their allies. When Lolth herself intervened at the request of a repentant Eclavdra, the surviving nobles called for a truce. It was determined, after much argument and some covert assassinations, that the only way to keep the peace would be to disband House Kilsek. This was acceptable to most of the houses; it was not acceptable to the Kilseks.
The Kilseks appealed to Lolth, citing their long loyalty to the goddess, but the cold, mercurial Spider Queen stood by the decision. The estates of the Kilseks were already destroyed, and the peace plan suited Lolth's whims.
Venrit, the Kilsek matriarch, retreated to her inner sanctum to decide what to do. She was not willing to break up her forces among the other houses, nor was she willing to start another war to maintain her power with all the other houses and Lolth herself arrayed against her. Finally she snuck out during the time of sleep, dragging a Tormtor noble who she had secretly made prisoner long before into the Kilsek arena in her ruined estates. She summoned a giant spider known as Teela, and cried out to her goddess, demanding that Lolth make her judgment clear. If it was truly the will of the Demon Queen of Spiders that Kilsek be destroyed, she prayed that Teela tear her limb from limb. If Kilsek should continue, Teela should kill the Tormtor instead. While Venrit stood calmly watching, clutching the unholy symbol of Lolth with both hands, the spider fed on the Tormtor noble. Venrit lingered to watch the creature feed, confident she was in no danger.
After the sleep-cycle was over, Venrit summoned the remainders of her house and marched proudly out of the Vault. She brought with her two merchant clans (Clan Hook and Clan Puffball), a troglodyte tribe, a dozen trolls, and a hunting pack of displacer beasts. She had no destination in mind, but vowed to return as conquerors or not at all.
The following year was difficult for the fugitive house. The nomads suffered attacks from svirfneblin, beholders, and githyanki, from Underdark terrors and starvation, and Lolth gave no signs or omens. Finally they encountered an old ally of their house, an illithid priest of Ilsensine called Ohlcaig. Ohlcaig told them of an underground city on the other side of Oerth which had belonged to the ancestors of the githyanki. Ohlcaig arranged for the Kilsek survivors to be transported through several planes of existence until they reached a portal that led them to the lands of the Sundered Empire. Once there, Venrit and her people spent several years fortifying the ruins and recruiting local troops. They renamed the city, which had been known as Anithor in ancient times, as Kalan-G'eld. Soon they had cowed the local kuo-toa into submission. Initially Venrit had no plans to involve herself with the surface world, concentrating on building back Kilsek's strength so that she could reconquer Erelhei-Cinlu.
However, that year (likely 586 CY), the god Stratis was murdered by a band of mortal adventurers. Droplets of his divine blood burned through the earth and exposed the tunnels and caverns of the Underdark, opening the way for warriors of the Sundered Empire to invade, searching for the lost weapons and armor of the god. Venrit elected at first to remain in the shadows as neutral onlookers, but when it became clear the war would stretch on for decades if nothing was done, she became determined to end it herself. After all, if she were to collect the lost Panopoly of Stratis herself, she would become the new god of war, and who could stand against her house then?
- Gygax, Gary. Descent into the Depths of the Earth. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1978.
- -----. Vault of the Drow. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1978.
- Gygax, Gary, David C. Sutherland III, David Cook, and Jeff Grubb. Queen of the Spiders. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1986.
- Marmell, Ari, Anthony Pryor, Robert J. Schwalb, and Greg A. Vaughan. Drow of the Underdark. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007.