Thia walked slowly, her body alert for anything out of the ordinary. You’re in a Drow arch mage’s tower…in the Underdark…none of this is ordinary! Still, it was wise to be cautious.
The door she wanted was open. The dim light within drawing her forward. Vizeran had no need for the light. Neither did she, for that matter. Jinnaari and Pan, though, needed the help. The gesture to make everyone feel somewhat comfortable wasn’t unnoticed.
Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that things weren’t as the mage wanted them to think they were. His answers to questions made sense. But she didn’t understand much about Drow society. She wasn’t trying to learn more, either.
Walking into the room, she stopped. The table was set for eight, but it was just her and Vizeran. The Drow rose, his black robes falling gracefully from his shoulders. “Welcome, Priestess. Please, have a seat,” he gestured toward a chair next to him. “Your friends will be here soon. I gave them a different time for the meal. I wanted to be able to speak with you privately.”
Thia walked about halfway down the table, pulling out a chair other than the one he pointed to. There was room on each side of her for her friends to sit. And it was far enough away from their host that she had a chance of making it out of the room if things went badly.
“I’d prefer if you didn’t call me that,” she said as she sat down.
He started, “Clerics of Kelemvor are not priests or priestesses?”
“Those titles are usually reserved for the higher echelons of the church. And,” she took a deep breath, “given the circumstances, I tend to associate the title with something I will never be.”
“What is that?”
She stared at him, “I will never be a priestess of Lolth.”
He studied her, but she didn’t lower her gaze under his scrutiny. “Lolth can be quite, how can I say this, persuasive. You may not be able to resist what She offers you for your loyalty.”
“I would rather die than betray Kelemvor, or my friends, in that way.”
“I believe you believe that, Thia. If your friend is able to fulfill his task, I would ask that you consider remaining down here with us for a time. You are part of our world, after all. Your mother, and siblings, deserve the time to get to know you. And you to know them. I’m familiar with your family. There’s power you could claim. Herasta would welcome you as her heir, I’m certain.”
“When this is done, I’m leaving with my friends. This has never been my world.”
“Does not the surface treat you poorly? Have you not spent your life hiding simply because you don’t look like they do? Here, you would be seen as a princess. Your beauty would be celebrated, emulated. You wouldn’t have to hide your true self.”
“She said no,” Pan called out from the doorway. Thia turned toward his voice. Jinnaari, Adam, and the rest were coming into the room. The dragonborn took the seat between her and Vizeran, while Pan moved to her right. “You okay?” he whispered.
“Now I am. He’s not the best at taking ‘no’ for an answer,” she said.
“If you need to leave, just let me know. I’ll make sure it happens.”
“I hope you’re all hungry,” Vizeran said. “I made my chef dust off some surface recipes to make you all more comfortable.”
A bowl of soup was placed in front of her. Not bothering to hide it, Thia cast the spell to make sure everyone’s meal would be safe to eat.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Vizeran chided her.
“Yes,” Jinnaari replied, “she did.”