Herasta sat at her desk, her head in her hands. The search of Thia wasn’t going as well as she anticipated. Lolth demanded updates daily now, and there was little that she could share that would please the Goddess.
Aust was still out there, though. Of her sons, he showed the most potential. He was ambitious, though, and not to be trusted.
Then again, Herasta didn’t become Matron Mother because she trusted anyone. She earned her rank the best way she knew how: through deceit, deception, and outright murder.
Someone knocked on the door, and she raised her head. “Enter,” she commanded, settling back in the chair. The last thing she’d show to anyone is weakness.
The door opened and Ishacte entered. A daughter of hers, to be certain. And this one was fully Drow. Sadly, she wasn’t nearly as gifted as Thia. “Pardon the interruption, Matron Mother, but we received word on Aust.” The young woman crossed the room and placed a sealed envelope on the desk.
Herasta nodded once, dismissing Ishacte. It wasn’t until her daughter had left the room and closed the door that she picked up the envelope.
A black ribbon, sealed with red wax, was enough for her to know Aust was dead. The imprinted insignia was from Bahamut.
What was that bastard God up to now?
She slid a finger underneath the flap, breaking the seal, and unfolded the letter.
That brat you called a son is dead. I’d send him back to you, but Jinnaari made sure there wasn’t enough left to bother.
Let my sister know that our Champion is ready. If She wants to live, She’ll leave Thia alone.
She’ll leave all of our followers alone.
In a rage, Herasta crumbled up the parchment and flung it into the fireplace. The edges of the paper began to burn and curl. How dare He speak to her that way!
Another knock on the door. “What is it?” she snapped.
Ishacte peered through the opening. “Lolth demands an update, Matron Mother.”
Herasta straightened herself. “I’m on my way. While I’m gone, summon Diak.”
Aust was dead. Thia was still missing. And now Bahamut taunted her mistress with a champion of his own. It was time to bring in Diak. She was one of the best Yathtallar Lolth had ever trained. If anyone could find Thia, it was her.
Herasta knew she was dancing on the edge of the knife. Her inability to bring Thia before the Goddess tested Lolth’s patience. If anything, news of this champion was welcome. Bahamut would’ve picked some arrogant prick of a paladin. Someone bent on fulfilling meaningless vows.
Someone stupid enough to bring Thia down into the Underdark with him.