“Damn it, Jinnaari!” Pan screamed at the paladin. Thia staggered toward one of the prisoners; her naked body splattered with blood from the woman she’d killed as they arrived. The curved dagger she held slashed at the air in front of her. She was on drugs; Pan knew that much. That the paladin had ignored her and moved on Lolth angered him. “You’re the only one who can save her! If you let my cousin die or become one of that bitch’s followers, I’ll make sure Bahamut knows you let her die!”
Drawing on his own magic, he summoned an invisible creature and sent it after one of the Drow closest to him. Maybe, just maybe, he could use it to keep Thia safe somehow. “This is your last warning, paladin!” he screamed across the temple chamber. “If she dies, I’m making sure you’ll never have the chance to father a child!”
Jinnaari changed course, moving toward Thia, and Pan took a deep breath. Helix was…somewhere. Moon was trying to set a prisoner free. And the one the Dragonborn had freed was already engaging Lolth.
Pan watched Thia’s face closely, waiting for some sort of sign that the drugs Lolth had fed her were gone. He moved closer. Her gear was in his pack, and she’d need it once she had her wits about her again. His creature tore apart one of the Drow and moved toward the next foe when the ground beneath them began to rumble.
Scores of skeletons emerged from the ground, moving toward Helix’s latest pet. Pan took one out, still focused on Thia. The disorientation left her face, and her eyes focused on what was around her. She drove the knife into a skeleton, then sent out a wave of healing to the group. Thank the Gods!
“Thia, use this,” Helix said as he appeared next to her. He held out his staff.
Jinnaari started to work his way back toward the Goddess as Pan ran at Thia. Flipping his pack off his back, he dropped it at her feet. “Get dressed,” he advised her as he turned back to face another skeleton. He heard her dig into his bag. “You okay, cousin?”
“I think so,” she said. Something was still wrong. Her voice cracked, as if she was on the verge of tears.
He glanced over his shoulder at her. She was pulling her chain mail shirt on. “Let’s kill the bitch first, Thia. Later, if you want to, we can talk.”
She nodded, picking Helix’s staff up off the ground. Pan smiled as grim determination crossed her face. A single blast from the tip and the last Drow warriors fell down, dead.
Pan shifted his attention back to Lolth. The Goddess snarled at them, and swung at the fighter they’d freed. Just then, Jinnaari activated the talisman he wore. The ground beneath the Goddess opened up, swallowing Her and sending Her back into the abyss.
“I’m done with all of this,” Thia muttered behind him. Holy words left her mouth, turning the remaining skeletons into dust. Helix’s pet ran in terror.
Reaching out, he grabbed her arm. “Stay close,” he told her. “Helix, can you teleport us somewhere if I describe it to you? I think we need to leave here, and fast.”
“What’s wrong with the Green Frog?” Jinnaari asked.
“Too many Drow know we’ve got a base there. They’re going to want revenge for this.”
“Where do you have in mind, Pan?” Helix asked.
Quickly, he described a courtyard in great detail. Down to the crest that was etched into the flagstones. “The town’s called Cirrain.”
“Got it,” the Tabaxi replied. Thia handed his staff back to him. “Everyone ready?”
“But my soul!” Moon cried out. “We can’t leave without that! It’s in the dragon’s hoard!”
Pan took in Thia’s face. Making her stay down here, even another day, wasn’t a good idea. “Moon, we know where it’s at. There’s no guarantee the lair is here in the Underdark. We’ll do better to find out where it is than to go searching blindly.”
Helix nodded, “Pan’s right. Give me a week, Moon. Let me do the research. Then we can go right to it instead of wasting months searching and getting nowhere fast.”
Reluctantly, she nodded. “A week, Helix. That’s all.”
The walls of the temple swirled into a multitude of colors. When the haze cleared, they stood in the courtyard Pan had described.
Ten guards moved toward them, alarmed at their sudden arrival.
“Hello, Mother,” he replied.
The statuesque woman, a small silver and pearl circlet on her head, began to descend the stairs. “Mom, you have to meet someone.” He grabbed Thia’s arm and moved her closer. “Mom, this is Thia. She’s Uncle Bran’s daughter.”
The Baroness placed her hands on each side of Thia’s face, studying her intently. “I see my brother in you,” she embraced her. “Welcome home, niece.” As she pulled away, she glanced at the rest of them. When her eyes hit Jinnaari, she dropped into a deep curtsey, “Welcome, Your Royal Highness. Our house is honored.”
Pan’s eyes grew larger and he caught the look on Thia’s face. Something was definitely wrong with her.
Jinnaari came forward, “Thank you, Baroness. My apologies for dropping in on you unannounced, but we’re weary. May we impose on your hospitality for a short time?”
“Of course, Your Highness. Our home is yours. Please, follow me. Anything you might need will be at your disposal.”
Helix moved forward, “Do you have a library? I have need of researching something of great importance.”
She waived for a guard to come forward. “Artur here will lead you there.”
Pan watched Helix disappear, then followed the rest into the keep. He longed to get to his own room, but there was something he wanted to witness first.