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Mind Games I

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#1 Guest_MorningGlory_*

Posted 18 March 2004 - 06:26 AM

Welcome, gentle readers.. :D

To the second in a series of stories based upon the character Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston. Some of you have already been introduced to Dr. Glory through The Angst and The Analyst, and this story picks up a few months later when she is approached with secret information regarding an intricate plot by the illithid to dominate Amn. Most of the information contained herein is canon to published ref mats covering the illithid, however, a few minor elements have been 'added' by your's truly.


From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston

(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence,)


I sat in my office mulling over the thin patient file of one ‘Sashar Deconso’, one of the three town criers in Athkatla, stationed for the past ten years in the Government District. Sashar had been quick to correct my pronunciation – “Sa-shar, with the accent on the ‘Sa,’” he had said. He was a short man, human by species, and not at all disagreeable by nature. He was slightly rotund and he seemed to have a sense of humor to go with his shape. In short, he was round, not very tall, fairly happy, and relatively well adjusted. And, after his first visit, I couldn’t figure out why he wanted to waste his coin to come and see me. My rates weren’t cheap, by any means, and I was finally getting to the point that I had a fairly modest practice that included some of the city’s nobles as well as some of the country’s most famous adventurers. Of course there had been a few new patients whose sole purpose was to ask me to intercede with the Goddess Waukeen, thinking that I might have influence with her since she was my mother-in-law. But those were fairly quick to get to the point and I was equally as quick in telling them not waste my time.

I took off my half-glasses and laid them carefully on my tapon desk and rubbed my eyes. Since the twins had been born a little more than eight months ago, I felt I was finally getting my own body back but it seemed it was at the expense of other parts. My eyesight had diminished within the past few months and I was forced to use the half-glasses for close-up work and reading. I rubbed my eyes again.

I turned and indulged my habit of staring out my window at the Promenade, which was always good for thinking. It looked a little seedy here at ground level, but it was still one of my favorite views. It was always a hotbed of activity with colorful street vendors and the bustling of noisy customers who frequented them and the stores above. The circus down the way had become a permanent fixture and the animal noises mixed incongruously with the street din. The bureaucrats had finally awarded the contracts for the cleaning up and rebuilding of the far north corner of the Promenade and the noise of the workers and their tools monotonously droned on as the backdrop to the general racket. The city government had promised new stores and that there would be a revitalization of commerce in the Promenade. Better than ever, new and improved, they promised. Maybe Waukeen’s re-appearance had something to do with them finally getting off their duffs almost four years after the disastrous calamity that introduced the once-Bhaalspawn Riona to the city of Athkatla. This was the City of Coin and Waukeen was, without a doubt, the Mistress of Coin. A little homage to increased commerce couldn’t help but curry favor with the city’s patron goddess, or so the city fathers thought.

The Adventurers’ Mart was still next door and occasionally through our common wall, I could hear Ribald shouting obscenities at either his stock boy, or an unfortunate customer who had provoked his ire. He could be a very excitable man and despite his reputation as being a bit on the coarse side, he was always perfectly charming to me when perchance our paths crossed.

From my ringside seat watching the Promenade, the Mart did provide an interesting parade of patrons from all across Faerun trooping in and out its front door. One-sies, two-sies, and whole groups marching in to see the former-adventurer-turned-merchant’s selection of goods. Ribald’s advertisements boasted the biggest inventory of weaponry and special armory in all of Amn. Everything you could possibly want or need for that special romp with your favorite nemesis. Rumor had it he also kept ‘special’ items in a back room for the more discriminating and discerning adventurer. Weapons imbued with various magics and spells. Reportedly some new, and some ‘collectibles’ that were older than the realm itself and steeped in lore of long-forgotten gods and mortals alike. He must have paid a king’s ransom to someone, or other, for the right to deal in what would otherwise be contraband or some other country’s national treasures.

I, myself, never had occasion to see these items, but I guessed the room was adjacent to our little storeroom as even low-toned conversations could be fairly well discerned through the thin wall separating us. I usually never paid attention because I was usually in a hurry trying to find a particular file or something equally as mundane. That plus I didn’t have a clue what in nine hells they were even talking about as I hardly knew how to use a dagger or a rapier, much less a sword, or a bow, or a sling. And the descriptions of the more exotic, enchanted items were surely beyond me. Strangely, I never heard anyone argue the coin he asked, which I knew to always be sizeable. Apparently, his goods were not negotiable. But what Ribald had in his back room would have been a mystery to me even if he had shown me and then explained it to me in great detail.

I had grown up in a house dominated by a premier wizard, my father Tabor, who for the past two years had served on the Council of the Cowled Wizards. We had ornamental swords that hung blade-over-blade over the fireplace in the library. They were dust catchers, not weapons. Other than that, there were a few kitchen knives that Gernsey used in her cooking chores, and Drusay, my father’s man servant, strategically stationed a short rapier inside the front hall closet – just in case, he always said. Father always chuckled because he never believed that Drusay knew how to wield it properly should the situation require. Unknown to Drusay, Father did enchant it with a spell of magic that would compel it to defend Drusay against any uninvited interlopers. That was the extent of our tangible weapons, and it had never occurred to me to ask Father what magical protection he employed to see to our safety.

The Amnish Town Criers’ Association, or ATCA, as it was known, had recently relocated their main headquarters on the other side of my offices. It was my understanding they were previously housed over in the slums district, but apparently in an area with which I was unfamiliar. But in the time Hendak and I were together at the Copper Coronet before we were married, I didn’t venture too far from the main street going to and from the area. The ATCA was now the premier news organization in all of Amn, boasting at least three Criers in each of Athkatla’s districts. Trademeet had one full-time Crier and there was a weekly visitation to Umar Hills. ATCA had also developed a rather intricate web of messengers and couriers across all of Amn and was expanding into adjacent areas. According to their news this morning, a small satellite office had recently been established up the Sword Coast and also in Baldur’s Gate. There were also small outposts stationed along the various borders in the deep southern reaches of Amn where troops still engaged in skirmishes with age-old enemies and were reported daily.

Sashar was one of our resident Athkatla Criers. He had held his coveted post in the Government District for nearly a decade imparting the latest news from here and abroad with unbiased, impersonal delivery. He was well known and he was trusted. Prior to his stationary post in the District, he had been a running stringer, picking up news however and from whomever he could. During that time, he had ‘scooped’ a few news features with exclusive interviews with some disenfranchised Gods during the Time of Troubles. His unwavering professionalism had earned him his fellow Criers’ respect as well as a coveted Golden Bell award for outstanding reporting. All his peers held him in high esteem. As for the general public, he was always considered one of the best at his craft and they respected him for his integrity and honesty in his reports.

I admired the little man. He had a trusting face and after our first session when he had not asked me to arrange an interview with Waukeen about the ‘missing years’, I was very relieved and liked him even more. However, he had not given me the real reason why he wanted to consult with me in the first place. Perhaps he would this morning during our second session.

When I had come back to work two months ago, I decided to just do half-days so I could be with the twins the majority of the time. Although Margarite was a more-than-competent nurse and nanny, after discovering certain magical abilities Helena and Haandor were developing, I thought it best if ‘Mommy’ was a clear and present force. I had been on this half-day schedule now for two months, and so far, the schedule appeared to satisfy everyone’s needs, including my own. I probably couldn’t have worked it as well without Charona’s help.

Now in her third year at the Academy, it would be less than a year and I would have to reluctantly relinquish her to her own practice or whatever else her heart desired. Right now she was more interested in the young Sir Conrad, the Order’s young, formerly eligible, handsome Knight, whom she had consoled immediately after his very public humiliation at our union ritual, and apparently had been consoling him ever since. They were planning a mid-summer union ritual, a scant four months away. In fact, it was scheduled two weeks before the twins’ first birthdays. As she had no living relatives, she had asked Hendak if he would offer her to the union. He had blushed at the honor and willingly accepted.

I had two patients for this morning. The first, Lady Annabella Pointelle, was returning for her fourth session. She was very unhappy with her husband of six years, Lord Paxton Pointelle, who was substantially older than her with no apparent interest in any physical pleasures -- hers, his, or otherwise. She had decided that the only way to reconcile the dilemma was to engage in a torrid affair with her gardener, a fairly young and virile man whose talents and abilities were not only plied in the flower bed. She found herself caught between the guilt of betraying her loyalty to her husband and the obsessive need for physical gratification from her lover. She was unwilling to give up either the social status or the sex, and simply wanted to have her cake and – well, you know the rest.

After she was gone, and no closer to resolution, Sashar was scheduled. I turned to Maurice. Maurice was my new Kirani bird for the office – a gift from Mother Waukeen that Ki might be able to stay at home with the twins. Maurice was very young and lacked Ki’s personality, but he was an expert in nuance, something the Monks had refined in their birds’ training over the past few years. As for Ki, he was very happy to be relegated as part-time Nanny and loved being with the children. I could also depend upon him to record the small and subtle changes as the children grew and developed. They were also uninhibited when only Ki was in their nursery, and toys danced and balls bounced without benefit of human participation. He always discreetly reported the little incidences to me. I had also learned to recognize the giggles between them from the adjacent room when such goings-on occurred.

“Maurice, how much time until Sashar?” I asked.

“16 minutes, Mistress,” he replied. Just enough time to have a cup of tea.

Sashar arrived a few minutes later and Charona showed the smiling little gentleman into my office. He had such a sincere face, I could see how even Gods could be lulled into giving in to his request for a ‘few words, on the record’. I surmised it was a day off for him as his professional coat of red and black breeches were replaced with a very stylish jacket of tan leather and perfectly tailored trousers.

“Good morning, Sashar,” I said. “May I pour you a cup of tea?”

“Oh, thank you, Madam Glory. That, indeed, would be so very pleasant.” He sat down in the overstuffed chair and his feet barely touched the floor. He very elegantly balanced his cup of tea as he made small talk.

“Sashar,” I began. “I can’t quite determine why you have come to see me. You are obviously not suffering from any malady with which I might be of assistance.” I was hoping to get to the heart of the matter by directly confronting him.

He blushed slightly and looked down into his cup as if he were reading the flaked brown bits drifting at the bottom.

“Madam Glory,” he said, still observing some unknown oracle, “I have a confession to make.”

I waited and sipped at my cup.

“I am privy to certain information that can devastate a great number of people – people I love and people I don’t even know. But I don’t have enough information to present it to the public to expose, er, ‘it,’ and if I did have enough information, I don’t know if I could make it public.” He sighed, still rapt with the tealeaves.

“And, how can I help you with this,” I asked cautiously. He looked up at me.

“As you know I, like you, am bound by certain professional standards. I have never reported a story that I didn’t observe first-hand, or having been told by another first-hand witness, I have always sought a second, independent confirmation of the facts. But this is different.” He slowly shook his head.

“There are only a few shreds of fact, other innuendo, no confirmation -- but if it turns out to be true, it would be devastating for our country of Amn, and possibly all of Toril. I am at a loss as to how to proceed!” He very delicately scooted forward in the chair until his feet were flat on the floor. He sat on the edge of the chair.

“Sashar, if this is a matter of national security for Amn, then you should go to the proper authorities with what you have. With your reputation I am sure they would give your information, as well as your insight, the highest consideration and regard. I don’t think that I am –.” He held up his hand to interrupt me.

“Madam, if you will allow me,” he sighed. “That is exactly who I can’t go to.”

This was certainly confusing. This didn’t make any sense. Unless his information had some direct bearing on the government itself. On second thought, what exactly was he saying?

“Sashar, you know you don’t have to tell me anything, but anything you do choose to tell me will be held in privilege,” I explained. “Even the law of Amn protects that privilege.”

He nodded. “Yes, Madam, I do understand that and that is one of the reasons I am talking to you.”

My instincts told me I should be a little uncomfortable right about now, but I said nothing and he continued.

“I have information that certain very high officials within our government have been, shall we say, compromised.”

“What do you mean ‘information,’ and what do you mean ‘compromised,’” I asked. My instincts told me I should be a whole lot uncomfortable right about now.

“I have been in contact with a source that has delivered unconfirmed information to me regarding two of the Council of Six. It is my source’s contention that these two members have been compromised by a new technique developed by the illithid. I assume you are familiar with illithid.” I nodded in reply. “Reportedly, they can now infiltrate a host’s mind and totally subjugate it by telepathically linking it with a controlling psionic illithid. The controlling agent remains constantly in trance and he sees, hears, tastes, exactly what his host sees, hears, etc.”

I listened intently.

“This mind control by the illithid, as I am sure you well know, is not necessarily new, as they have long enslaved different races to their will with various psychic links, depending upon the slaves’ species. However, with this new technique, the controlling entity also has the benefit of utilizing the host’s stored memories, habit patterns, and anything else that comprises his behavior, and subsequently, can make the host appear as ‘normal’ to the outside world. All is known to the controller, all of his host is at his disposal in the ruse. And, if that were not insidious enough, the controlling psionic illithid is allegedly totally undetectable, even with magical means.”

He stared straight into my eyes and I felt the icy edge of fear sweep by me. I gave an involuntary shudder.

We had studied various forms of mind control practiced by different races and different species at the Academy. But with each of the methods we studied, there were various, conclusive methods of determining what was in play at any given instance. We also learned the various techniques and remedies for such mind games. We had even studied the Illithiad, and other mindflayers, and their insidious appetite for mortal gray matter. If they couldn’t manipulate it, they devoured it – sometimes both. But from what we had learned, their powers to bend the will were not even close to what I just heard. To think they now had the ability to gain total control of a person without any possible sign of detection made me shudder again as I thought of the unthinkable possibilities. I had to ask the obvious.

“Sashar, your source --.” Again, anticipating my question, he interrupted me.

“He is unimpeachable, Madam,” he said quietly and firmly. “I cannot disclose who it is, but I can assure you I have known him for nigh on twenty years and he is a man of great integrity and honor. If he says it is so, then I would stake my life on it.”

“Sashar, are you also suggesting that there are others in the government – other than the two on the Council?” I asked.

“Madam Glory, it is only logical. The illithid would have had to, shall we say, ‘work their way up,’ to even get to the two in question,” he replied.

“And your source, Sashar. What does your source say are the illithid’s primary objectives with this ‘infiltration?’” I was afraid to ask because I already knew the answer.

“Domination, dear Madam. Domination.” He didn’t even flinch when he said it.

I sat back and took a deep breath. Domination. A completely shadowed world of nothing but slaves doing the bidding of a race of genius, slime-ridden subterranean creatures. I cringed and tightly shut my eyes hoping to block the horrible picture from my mind’s eye. Sashar’s voice brought me back to the present.

“Madam Glory?” he asked softly.

“Sashar, forgive me, but this brings me back to my original question. What can I do to help you in a professional capacity?”

“There are two things, Madam,” and a glint of a smile returned to his face. “Number one, I understand you have a close relationship with the adventuress Riona and her husband Anomen, and I need to meet with them regarding this matter. I do not, however, have a great deal of coin to offer them and their party for their expert assistance.

“I was hoping you might be able to help me convince them to return to the Underdark to verify if the illithid have again taken up residence in their old stronghold there. If they have not re-established themselves there, then we must find where they are. And, we must find whatever other outposts they have established within Amn and destroy them.

“Logic suggests there is an elder-brain, and a very powerful one, who is at the very heart of this plan. I can only guess it is bigger than anything ever before encountered. But I do not know if they are linking to it over a long distance by virtue of several intermediaries, or if it is actually nearby. If it is powerful enough, it could, indeed, be far away and communicating via some method unknown to us, and the entranced, controlling psionic illithid would be within operating proximity to it and taking its overall instruction. I would also surmise they would require many slave workers to sustain both the elder and the trancing ones. In any case, I am sure we will find them all physically together.” He paused assessing my reaction.

“Madam, we will need the most intrepid to vanquish them at their source.” He again paused, waiting for my reaction. “Lady Riona is our only hope. She and her party have had experience with these creatures and survived. She knows what we would be up against and how best to fight them.”

If what he was saying was correct, Riona and Anomen, and their little party of adventurers, probably were our only hope. And after what Anomen had told me about their captivity by the illithid in the Underdark, I knew that Sashar was not speaking idle talk of these vile creatures.

“And, number two?”

“Ah, yes. Number two…. Madam, I need you to find a way to determine if an illithid is in control of any particular person at any given time.”

“Is that all?” I asked sarcastically. He couldn’t be serious, I thought.

“Madam, your work, and the fact that you do not employ magics to accomplish your marked results, has given you a reputation without reproach. I quite well imagine that my faith in your abilities is hardly misplaced.” He smiled. “You must develop a methodology by which we can determine the link and presence. And, of course, a prescribed methodology by which we can de-program the hapless victims after we have destroyed the link.” The little man’s intense stare bore down on me.

“Let us suppose for a moment that I can help to persuade Riona and her band of adventurers to undertake such an ominous quest, and let us also assume that I can develop a method by which we can determine the mindflayer’s hosts, what then?” The possibilities seemed ridiculously unattainable.

“Please understand, Madam Glory. I love my country and this ball of dirt upon which we live, and do not wish to see it destroyed and its people laid to ruin by anyone or anything. In my opinion, panic caused by the public knowledge of this information would be equally as devastating. I am proposing we address this as discreetly as possible. That we at least attempt to keep our knowledge and actions confined to as few people as would have to know. If necessary, when we have enough genuine hard evidence, we can always take it to the public as a last resort. But my strong desire is to quietly eradicate this great threat long before ‘domination’ becomes a reality for Amn and Toril.”

I sat back in my chair. Everything I had ever known, everything I had ever loved was suddenly being threatened. My home, my hearth. Everything and everyone. I couldn’t comprehend such a devastating, widespread vision of such magnitude.

“Sashar,” I finally spoke my voice uneven and unsure. “I will talk with Riona immediately. At the very least we may be able to find the elder brain and the controlling psionic illithids and destroy them. It might at least buy us the time to develop a means of preventing this technique being used again. But if I cannot do that, we are doomed to repeat the exercise.” I tapped nervously on the edge of my desk, desperately racking my brain for quick answers. None came.

“I can only promise that I will research as much as I can. If your source can give you any more particulars as to how the Illithid have developed this new power, it would be most helpful to me. But I cannot promise you any positive results without benefit of any clinical experiments, or the other subject research needed.”

His terse smile said it all. “Madam, all any of us can do is try. That is all I am asking of you. But you see, if you do not try at all, our eventual fate surely will be sealed, of this I am most certain.”

I sat and thought for a moment. “Sashar, do you know who the two on the Council are?”

“No, Madam. That information is supposedly forthcoming, but I have not seen it as yet.”

I nodded. Nobody was even supposed to know who the real Council of Six was, I thought. If nobody knew who they were, how in the Gods names were we suppose to determine the two of them who were now nothing more than Illithid masquerading as mortal beings?

Sashar had left my office and Hendak had come to pick me up just before noon and we were on our way home for the noon meal.

“What is troubling you, my love,” he asked sensing my unusual quiet as I mulled over the information that Sashar had just given me.

“I..I will explain when we get home,” I said as I glanced at our driver immediately asking myself, ‘Could he be one?’ I reminded myself that paranoia would serve no good purpose now.

Hendak nodded his understanding that I wasn’t saying anything until we were alone. He must have also innately sensed my fear as he put his arm around me and pulled me close to him. I attempted a smile and a change of subject.

“And, my darling, how is the Coronet? You know, I really want to come over for noon meal one of these days very soon so I can see everyone. It has been so long and I really do miss them. And I really must bring the twins so everyone can see them.”

I felt a twinge of guilt as I hardly ever took the time to go see the crew at the Coronet. I had promised them that when the weather warmed I would bring the twins so everyone could ‘ooh’ and ‘ah.’ I was almost afraid to now. Afraid the little imps might send pots dancing through the air--much to the chagrin of the more inebriated denizens of the place. I was simply going to have to speak with Father about this magic thing with them. He was the family expert in that department. But first I would have to find a way to tell him that they had been born with such a ‘gift’.

“Yes,” smiled Hendak, “The kitchen crew has asked why you do not come and bring the babies to see them. I think they may feel a bit slighted, my love.” And he leaned over and kissed the top of my head.

“I will come day after the ‘morrow,” I smiled up at him. “Tell them to be expecting us.” He grinned and nodded and planted yet another kiss of approval on the top of my head. I always felt so safe and comforted with him. I knew he would move the heavens and Toril to protect us and I was desperately hoping he wouldn’t have to.

The day was lovely and the peaks of spring were everywhere. I found myself suddenly appreciating the warming sun as the small green shoots rose to meet it. How beautiful our world was – light, green, full of the sounds of birds as they were in the middle of their annual trek to the north. People had also begun to shed their heavier cloaks for the more colorful and lighter weights of spring. They had also traded their heavier, dour winter expressions, for the smiling, lighter countenance of the season. The cycle of renewal continued.

Father joined us for noon meal. He had just returned from one of his trysts with the lovely Waukeen and was in a particularly jovial mood. Since the children had been born, he spent approximately half of his time presumably with her in some enchanted plane somewhere--although he would not admit that was where he was. I had to admire Waukeen. It would take the energy of a Goddess to manage her own portfolio of interests and manage Father, too. But I had decided a long time ago that if their long-distance, long-term affair made them happy, then more power to them. And happy they both were.

During the tendays that Father didn’t ‘disappear’, she came to visit us. She was a wonderful mother, a wonderful grandmother, and a wonderful mother-in-law. Even Drusay, Gernsey, and Margarite had grown accustomed to her and no longer showed undue reverence. She may have been a Goddess, but we all saw her more simply as a major part of our family, and I believe she was the most comfortable when she was in the great house with us, her mortal family who loved her.

Immediately after noon meal, Father excused himself and left the house for the Cowled Wizards. An important Council meeting, he had sighed, but he would be home in plenty of time for dinner. Hendak and I retired to our apartment for a little ‘alone’ time while Margarite and Ki watched over napping babies in the nursery.

“Ah, my love,” Hendak sighed as he put his arms around me and pulled me tightly against him. “I miss our long, languid afternoons we use to spend at the Coronet…Just you, me in our little bed.” He tipped my face and gently kissed my lips. “Now tell me what is wrong. You hardly spoke during noon meal. What is troubling you so?” His brow wrinkled reflecting the worry on my face.

“Come, sit down,” I said, “and I will tell you all of it.”

For the next hour I relayed the entire story to him, complete with footnotes outlining my textbook knowledge on the illithid. Hendak was knowledgeable of the illithid, but it wasn’t first-hand information. He had never ‘met’ one.

“So, this scenario of the illithid infiltrating one’s mind in this manner is entirely possible?” he asked.

I nodded. “Yes, at least theoretically. They are already known for keeping slaves by the domination of the entity’s will power. Lesser of the mindflayers use spells to enslave their victims, but the psionic illithid use mental powers. Abilities and talents with which they are naturally imbued and have from the time they are literally tadpoles swimming in the elder-brain’s pool.

“But, until now there was never a suggestion that they could simultaneously access the host’s memories and habit patterns and willfully utilize them.” I shook my head.

He was nodding his head slowly, his brow even more furrowed with what I had told him. “And, would it take one illithid to control one mortal?” he asked.

“That I do not know. They are a genius race with brains and mental capabilities far more developed than any species with which I am familiar. My guess is that they might be able to manipulate more than one drone at a time, much the same way we can articulate two separate puppets with simultaneous thoughts from our one brain being sent to our hands.”

He sat back staring into a dark memory that could be easily read on his face. Enslavement.

“Slavery,” he said. The word stuck in his throat and his pale gray eyes took on the color of storm clouds. “And I thought when we destroyed the cartel that would be the last time I would have to hear that word.” There was a low tone of anger in his voice then he sighed heavily.

“What I don’t understand is why would they want to dominate surface dwellers,” I said. “From what we were taught, they were always trying to become the undisputed rulers of the Underdark. They don’t even like sunshine, or green trees, or anything else here. By the Gods, they’re amphibians!” I looked at him, hoping he would tell me that nothing of what I had said was logical or possible. That it was the hysterical ravings of a nice little man who had nothing better to do than invent the news he so much craved to tell. Hendak always had a way of seeing straight to the facts of the matter.

“It’s very simple, my love,” he said thoughtfully. “We have the most abundant resources for their needs right here. We have an unlimited, and renewable, food supply for them, as well as the greatest potential army ever dreamed of across the planes. They will need the new food source when they eradicate the drow and the other denizens of the Underdark. And they will need the armies to dominate in the first place.” He paused a very long time staring off into space. It was as if he could see the drama unfolding. “Then on to conquer the rest of Toril, and then.. who knows? Other planes.. Maybe even the Outlands.

“If they can establish themselves in Amn, there will be no way to stop them.” His eyes grew darker and his face even more taunt. “They could become masters over all the world of Toril and beyond, and I don’t know if even the Gods will survive.”

We sat for a long while in silence, just holding each other trying to keep out the thoughts of how the world could turn. I buried my head in his chest.

“We must send a messenger to Trademeet for Riona and Anomen today,” he finally said. “They must get here as soon as possible.”


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