“Let me go!” Adam clenched his jaw, fighting against the hold that Maynard had put on him. He felt the strain on his muscles, knew he’d fall flat on his face if the staff relented, and didn’t care.
“I’ve been down here a long time, Adam,” the voice echoed in his mind. “I know what’s up ahead. The group can handle it without you. And we have to get a few things straight between us.”
Adam relaxed a little, but not completely. In the dark corner of his mind, in the one part of his psyche that Maynard hadn’t wormed into yet, he remained alert. “Like what?”
“Are you going to be reasonable?”
“I’m listening.” Adam wasn’t going to commit to anything beyond that.
“It’s a start,” the staff snorted. A truly odd sound. It wasn’t human, but Maynard excelled at conveying a sense of derision. “We have to develop a plan, you and I.”
“For what? We’ve got a mission. Kill Acerack. Remove the death curse. Keep Thia away from Lolth and the Drow.”
Pain seared through his legs. “Not that plan, you idiot! The one where I am given the glory I deserve! It won’t happen as long as that gnome,” disgust dripped like ooze off of the word, “wields Dawnbringer. We have to drive them away from the party. Or make sure they’re killed. Your choice.” Maynard paused. “I wonder if the Tabaxi knows my language.”
“Helix?” Dread seeped into Adam’s soul.
“Teach him. He’s an excellent creature, one with a great sense of self preservation. And a love of special objects like myself. I need a backup plan.”
“Why?” Adam really didn’t want to know the answer, but the question left his mouth before he could stop himself.
His legs became unlocked, and he stumbled forward. Maynard had released him, and fallen silent. You know why, he thought. He dashed down the stairs, intent on finding his companions before the staff decided to kill him where he stood.