Fyre pauses briefly, lost in her thoughts while she stares at the flames dancing in the fireplace. Fedrel watches her jaw tighten with anger and patiently waits for her to continue.

Finally, she sighs and turns to Fedrel, a huge smile covering her face. Fedrel smiles back and says, “I’m sorry for rehashing these terrible memories. However, I find your story absolutely fascinating. If you wish to stop, you can.” He reaches into a bag at his waist and pulls out a book with steel binding and gold trim. “This book you turned in is more than adequate for entry into Candlekeep.”

Fyre shakes her head, declining Fedrel’s invitation to discontinue her story. She takes a small sip of her wine and after, says, “You wanted to know how I ended up in Thay, and I am almost to that part of the tale.” She leans forward in her chair and continues:

 We did indeed get up early, and I joined other slaves to pack Elkzyr’s possessions for the trip. Loading up his lizards and the rothe serving as his pack animals, I was able to avoid Elkzyr for most of the morning, but when it was time to go, he had me riding with him on the lizard while the rest of the caravan walked. Needless to say, it was very uncomfortable sitting behind him. I was afraid of touching him, more than I was afraid of falling off, so I balanced precariously on the back of the lizard.

As we rode through the city, he started talking to me. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed your uncanny memory, beast. This is why you are coming with me. I can use your abilities to obtain information at a discounted price. But you will do exactly as I tell you or your life is forfeit. Do you understand me?”

I was certain that this would probably be my last day, and it terrified me. “Y-yes, Master,” I stammered.

After that, he ceased talking to me and we continued through the city. At the same time that I felt this impending doom, I also couldn’t help feeling a bit of wonder at seeing the city. Since I had first arrived, I had not been outside of the Mlezzond compound, and despite the cruelty and evil of the drow, Menzoberranzan was truly a beautiful city. Many lights dotted the city despite the fact that drow, and many of the slaves, did not need light to see. Towers and homes were carved out of stalagmites, with spider motif’s decorating everything.

I carefully looked around from behind Elkzyr’s back, looking down only when we passed other drow. Eventually, we reached a building nestled into a stalagmite, where we were met with a checkpoint.  Elkzyr dismounted and stepped up to the guards. They exchanged coins. As my master returned, I lowered my gaze back to the saddle and didn’t look up again until I saw the feet of the guards pass.

We entered a large room with a circular pedestal in the center. A glowing sliver of light spiralled around the base. When two of Elkzyr’s guards stepped onto the platform, they started glowing, then disappeared. I gasped as they vanished, then cringed when my gasp sounded amidst the silence. Fortunately, Elkzyr must have been in a good mood because he merely smirked. However, he turned and grabbed my arm, lifting me onto my tip toes. “Your turn, beast!” Then he flung me at the portal, and I felt his boot propel me faster when it struck my back.

I landed at the base of the platform and quickly crawled up onto it, despite my fear. What happened next, I was hardly prepared for. It felt like my body was trapped in a twister, and my stomach was left behind.

Michael C. Sahd, author of The Unfettered Child and Assassin Marked

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