The Murder Hobos – Episode 57 – Grasping at Straws

Thia grasped the fabric of her cloak tightly, moving the edge closer to her chin. Almost everyone else was sleeping. Adam was moving around on the floor below her, where Jinnaari, Caelynn, and Moon slept. Pan was up here, with her. Where Helix was, no one knew.

She shifted again. Her body was used to sleeping on the ground. And she was so tired. Every muscle ached tonight. Jinnaari had set a quick pace when they left Vizeran’s tower. Now she knew why.

“Thia?” Adam whispered.

She opened her eyes and watched him emerge from the opening in the floor. “What?” she asked.

“Why are you still awake? Is something wrong?” He moved near her and lowered himself to the floor.

She laughed, but there was nothing funny in the sound. “I did the math, Adam.”

“What math?”

“We’re going to be in front of Lolth, have this over and done with, in less than forty-eight hours. Even if we get into a dozen fights from now until we reach the conduit, the timeline doesn’t shift much.” She paused, staring at the ceiling. “In less than two days, I’ll be in front of Her. And I don’t think She’ll take ‘no’ as an answer from me.” The words were barely a whisper. “Do you think she’ll be there? With Lolth?”

“Who?”

“My mother.”

She heard him shift. “Probably. It shouldn’t matter. Herasta may have given birth to you, Thia. But she is no mother. To her, you’re probably nothing more than a way to get into Lolth’s good graces. I wouldn’t waste your energy thinking about her. She showed how little she truly cared about you decades ago. If anything, she made a choice to get rid of you and that was the best thing she could’ve done for you. You had a good life with your father, from what I’ve heard you tell Pan. If she hadn’t rejected you, you wouldn’t have known him. And we wouldn’t have known you.”

She nodded, knowing he was right. Her life would’ve been drastically different if Herasta had kept her. “It’s just…” her voice trailed off.

“Just what?”

“I thought I had this figured out, Adam. We’d get close enough for Jinnaari to do what he needs to do, then leave. I’ve been running scared for months now, ever since the first time they tried to take me. Ever since we found out I was a target. With us being so close, I almost hope that we’re past all of that. Do you think it’s possible? That we’ll make it to Her lair as a group?” She turned her head and looked at him.

He smiled. “I certainly hope so. I don’t think we need to let our guard down, though. You’re still doing the meditations, right? Are they helping you stay calm when you need them to?”

“Except for tonight, yes. My mind won’t shut up. We’re so close to being able to leave that I’m thinking of all the ways it could go wrong.”

“Try thinking about all the ways it could go right instead.” She felt his hand rest briefly on her shoulder, reassuring her.

Closing her eyes, she did as Adam suggested. Eventually, she drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

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