Thia took a deep breath and looked around the courtyard as Pan’s mother spoke with Jinnaari. A prince? And not just a prince, but the heir to the kingdom? She felt the muscles in her jaw clench. Something else he hadn’t bothered to tell her.
She began to wonder just how well she knew him, after all.
“Thia,” Pan’s mother’s voice broke through her thoughts.
“I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I didn’t hear the question.”
“How fares my brother? Your father? We haven’t had word from him in some time.”
“He died,” she said. “Fifteen years ago, this past spring.”
A shadow passed over the older woman’s face. “I feared as much. I will not press you, niece. But, at some time when you are able, I would like to know the details.” She turned away and whispered something to a guard, who took off running. Thia watched her move forward and strike up a conversation with Jinnaari.
Anger still coursed through her veins. The sense of betrayal that had begun when Lolth showed her the image in the scrying mirror hadn’t dissipated with the drugs. She’d trusted him, trusted Kelemvor. How could they have agreed to murder her?
There’s more to it than She showed you, daughter.
We will talk, soon. Your soul is tired after a hard battle. It is necessary to find peace before you can heal.
The presence left her, replaced with a weariness that made her drag her feet. The Baroness was showing Jinnaari a room, closing the door after he walked into it. “Thia, please. This way.”
Pan walked with them, a small smile on his face. They stopped in front of a door farther down the hallway. The soldier who’d ran off earlier was waiting. A blue velvet box rested in his hands.
“One thing that our family does is to keep the rooms of those who leave us in stasis. Until word comes back, incontrovertible, that they have passed on, we leave it alone and locked. In this way, it remains for them to return to exactly as they left it. This,” she took the box from the soldier, “is the key to my brother’s room. His room is now yours, along with everything inside. The spell kept everything as he left it.” She held the box out to Thia.
Taking the box, she lifted the lid. Nestled in a bed of white silk was a single brass key. “Thank you,” she whispered.
“Come, Pan. Your cousin needs to rest.”
Thia watched them walk down the hallway before removing the key and inserting it into the lock. The tumblers made an audible ‘click’, and she turned the handle. The door opened inward on silent hinges.
The room was plain and unassuming. So much so that it instantly brought a smile to her face. Their home was much the same. Simple furniture without ornate decorations. A bed, with a padded bench sitting at the foot. A pair of comfortable looking chairs near the fireplace. An iron bound wood chest against a wall, with a low table beneath the window. On top of the table were a set of tools. Setting her pack on the bench, she walked over and took a closer look at them. They were almost identical to a set he’d had when she was a child. The set he’d sworn never to touch again. Small knives, tweezers, and a single magnifying glass meant to piece together intricate metal objects.
She walked over to her pack and opened it. When Pan had given her everything, she’d only pulled out enough to cover herself. Her hands found the small box she’d kept on her since his death. Unwrapping it from the leather surrounding it, she placed it on the center of the table, just above the tools.
“I came home, Papa,” she whispered.
Another wave of exhaustion washed over her. She pulled the chain shirt off, dropping it in a heap on the floor. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she unlaced her boots just enough to kick her feet free. Throwing back the blanket, she curled up and drifted off to sleep.