Adam looked around the room, puzzled. All of the paladin’s gear was there. But Jinnaari was not.
A slip of paper was tied to the hilt of his sword. That bothered him. Adam had yet to see his friend without a weapon in arms’ length. To leave it, sheathed and laying across his bed, was not at all what he expected.
“What’s it say?” Thia asked.
Picking up the note, Adam started to read aloud. “I have the murderer. He will be delivered to Herasta for justice unless you hand over the one Lolth covets.”
“Shit,” Pan breathed.
Adam looked at Thia. Her lilac eyes were wide with fear and a resolve that cut into his soul. “No, Thia. That’s not what’s going to happen.”
“It will, if you don’t listen to me.” A woman spoke from a dark corner of the room.
Turning sharply, he peered into the shadows. The woman stepped out enough that he could see her. Her black skin was stark contrast to the pale blonde hair. Lilac eyes stared at him with contempt. The only difference between her and Thia was the newcomer was younger. And fully Drow.
“Who are you?” Caelynn demanded.
“My name doesn’t matter. And I recommend you keep that half breed away from me.”
Adam glanced back. Pan was holding Thia back. “Talk to her,” he said, “I’ll keep Thia from doing anything stupid.”
He nodded and turned back to the Drow. “Try again. Because as far as we know, you’re the one who took our friend.”
“Diak has him. And you’d best listen to me if you want to get him back before he’s delivered to our mother.” She leaned against the wall, one hand resting on the hilt of a dagger attached to her belt. “I don’t want Lolth to get that thing,” she pointed at Thia, “any more than she wants it. I have a friend. He can get you into Menzoberranzan without being detected. If you’re lucky, you’ll find your friend along the way. Diak’s going to move slow. She likes to transport her prey in coffins. Says it’s easier on the client that way. The tunnel she’ll use will go near Vizeran’s tower. I get you to him, he can help you get into the city.”
“What makes you think we need a guide?” Caelynn snarled.
“Because your descriptions are known to the entire population of the city, wench. Especially that one. What Lolth wants, Lolth gets. There’s hardly a Drow between here and the City of Spiders that won’t know you on sight. I can get you to Vizeran.”
Caelynn’s body shimmered as her appearance shifted. “You sure they can spot me?” Instead of her normal elven features, she was now a Drow. With a single lock of bright pink hair running down the side of her head.
Adam held up his hand. “Why help us?” he asked.
“Because I don’t want that mongrel leading our house. I thought about killing her, but our mother would just resurrect her. Better to help you do whatever you need to do, and be there to pick up the pieces.”
Sighing, he looked at Caelynn. They didn’t have much of a choice, not without Jinnaari. He turned to Thia, “I don’t like this, but it’s probably our best option. We’re not going to find him without help. Not down in the Underdark. Are you staying here, or coming with us? It’s your choice.”
Her jaw clenched, she looked at him. “I’m hunted either way. I will not leave him to be tortured by the Drow.”
“It’s settled, then. Now do we get your name?”
The woman smiled, but there was no mirth to it. “I am Ishacte.”