The blackness was thick. Even with her ability to see within the darkness, she couldn’t make out her own hand in front of her face. Thia kept her left hand on the wall; her fingers trailed against the smooth surface, ready to warn her if it changed. She didn’t know how she got here, but it wasn’t that bedroom where Aust’s ghost was. Nor was it the cocoon Lolth had wrapped around her.
It could be an illusion. Trust nothing. Lolth’s going to twist everything until I see it Her way.
The texture of the wall changed. Thia stopped, turning toward her left. Her fingers began to trace the outline of a door. Her heart beat a little faster with the hope that it was a way out. Her right hand found the knob. Before she twisted it, she pressed her ear against the wood. She could hear something on the other side, moving around.
What are you waiting for? Lolth’s seductive voice echoed in her mind. Thia, child, I will not harm you. You are precious to Me. What’s behind these doors are your own fears. Confront them, embrace them, conquer them. Show Me the strength that my Brother thinks should be hidden from the world.
Her hand moved to the tattoo on her cheek. “Kelemvor, stay with me,” she whispered. She had nothing but her mind, and her magic, to escape with. Open it slowly, she told herself, and then take a look. Be ready to close it.
Dim light filtered through the crack as she eased the door open. Figures were on the floor, writhing and moaning. In the middle of each group was a female Drow. Men of various races surrounded them, vying for attention. Thia felt the heat rise in her cheeks as she shut the door against the debauchery. There was no way she’d go into that room.
Laughter echoed down the hallway.
Thia started her walk again. This time, she kept a hand on each wall. The corridor was narrow enough.
“Do you need some light, child?”
As if a switch was flipped, the entire area became illuminated. The hallway stretched on in front of her, without an end she could see. Every five feet sat another door.
A scurrying of claws sounded from behind her. Thia closed her eyes at the sound. It was the same one she’d heard before Lolth put her into the cocoon. Panic and terror rose, and she was suddenly more aware of her nakedness. Both in body and soul.
“Pick a door, child,” Lolth whispered in her ear. “Or are you afraid of what you might find on the other side? Is it truly more terrifying than I am?” Something pushed against her back, forcing her forward. “Perhaps you want Me to pick for you?” Claws grasped her shoulders, dragging her to face a door at random. “Let’s try this one.”
The door was pushed inward and Thia fell after it. She landed in a puddle of thick, warm liquid. As the light of the hallway illuminated the room, she looked at her hands. Blood dripped off of her fingers and ran down her arms. Around her were thousands of bodies. They were all dead.
Twisting in the pool, her eyes grew wide in horror as she began to make out the faces.
In unison, the eyes on the corpses flew open.
“They died trying to protect you, find you, child.” Lolth taunted her from the doorway. “You could’ve prevented their deaths, and you know it, simply by becoming Mine. Explain it to them. Explain to them why your life was more important than any of theirs.”
The mouths on her friends’ faces began to move. The word began as a whisper, steadily rising in volume. “Why?”
Thia pressed her blood-soaked hands to her ears and screamed as the door was shut, plunging the room into darkness.