Story by Searska_GreyRaven on SoFurry

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Another old story of mine and a sister story to "Legacy." Forgotten Realms is copyright of Wizards of the Coast. I don't own the world, I just borrow it from time to time. ;)


© Searska GreyRaven

She was dreaming of the copper-eyed one again. A drowling boy, barely old enough to hold a sword, was struggling against one of the Underdark's worst nightmares: a cave fisher. The boy was hopelessly tangled in the sticky strands of goo dangling along the cave wall. Within minutes, he would be out of reach. Trielmur'ss Noqu'Zotz was simply passing by. The child should have been no concern of hers. She was to become a priestess of Lolth this day and couldn't afford to be late. Besides, the child was only a male...

But the terrified screams of the trapped drowling echoed in her ears, and she found herself striding towards the cave fisher, her sword in hand. The monster never saw her blade's approach and she sliced off its chitinous head with one fell swipe. She may not be able to weave a spell, but Trielmur'ss was one of the best fighters of her class, and no cave fisher could stand against her. The child fell to the floor in a heap of sticky webbing and looked at her.

"Why?" he asked, whispering in drow. "Why did you save me?"

Trielmur'ss couldn't answer. Couldn't explain it to herself. She looked up at the pillar of Narbondel which kept perfect time in this lightless world and swallowed a scream of denial. The ceremony had already begun! Her rescue had cost her any chance of becoming a priestess! She clenched her fist and felt the teeth of her dragon ring bite into her flesh.

"Remember this, child, I will come to collect the debt of life you've been granted this day," Trielmur'ss snarled, and she ran for Arach Tinilith, the School of Lolth. She tried to feel anger, despair, anything about missing the ceremony, but somehow she only felt a soothing wave of relief.


Trielmur'ss ran her ebon hand through her blood red hair and smiled. Once she caught this rogue male, her status with Lady Lolth would finally be on the rise. Matron Malvolentia Noqu'Zotz would have grant her the title of Priestess! After years of being the scapegoat and whipping girl of House Noqu'Zotz, she would finally get some respect. She twisted a ring on her finger and her smile broadened. The ring, a claw-like band of silver and gold, had the representation of a dragon wrapped around a large emerald. It allowed her to take the form of any dragon she wished, and was the last piece of magical jewelry she owned. Trielmur'ss doubted she would need it, though. Zekirhc Barriath was only a male, after all. It may have been a clever stroke of luck that he managed to escape to the World Above, but it seemed that his time on the surface had made the drow unwary.

It had taken her three days of traveling to get to the surface, and now her quarry was within her sight. It was night in the World Above, and Zekirhc was lounging on a rock under the stars. The crescent moon hung in the sky and Trielmur'ss winced. Even the dim starlight hurt her eyes, and she quickly averted her gaze. Drow eyes were meant for lightless tunnels. She didn't know how the male managed to gaze at them for so long without any sign of pain.

It doesn't matter. Soon, he will be back in the Underdark and I will sacrifice his body to Lolth! Trielmur'ss stalked closer and carefully pulled out a small hand-crossbow. It was already loaded with a dart tipped with a powerful neurotoxin. Once he was darted, the venom would paralyze him, and she could easily take him back for her reward. She took aim, her finger pressing lightly on the trigger. A perfect shot. Trielmur'ss paused. It was too easy. No drow would allow themselves to be taken so unaware. She switched her vision to infrared and gasped. There was no heat signature on the rock! It was a trap!

Without warning, a net fell over her head. Trielmur'ss cursed and dropped her crossbow. The weapon skidded away and came to a halt at the foot of a male drow in a long cloak. He wore black boots and had an emblem of a grinning dragon hanging from a silver chain around his neck. He glanced at Trielmur'ss and, after he was certain that she was captured, picked up the crossbow.

"That's the third time I've caught one of my own people with the same trick," he said, shaking his head. His white hair had coppery highlights to it, and shimmered in the moonlight. He pointed the crossbow at Trielmur'ss. "Why are you here?"

"You are Zekirhc Barriath, and I have come to bring you before Lolth," Trielmur'ss replied. She began to mutter a spell, but stopped when she heard the click of the crossbow's safety being turned off. Probably would have backfired anyway, she grumbled to herself.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you. The Bitch of Spiders can't hear you here," Zekirhc said.

"Lolth hears all," Trielmur'ss said. That made Zekirhc smile.

"Lolth is the bastard love-child of an ass-raping demon and a drider whore," Zekirhc said. He looked upward and spread his hands, as if expecting something. Surely Lolth would strike down such blasphemy! Trielmur'ss braced herself for a gate from the Demonweb Pits to open and swallow the male.

But nothing happened.

"Your goddess is a demon that claims to be divine. Everything she's told our people has been a lie," Zekirhc said.

"We are strong because of Her!" Trielmur'ss snarled. "She gives us the power to survive in the face of our enemies!"

"The only enemies we have are the ones we make by ourselves. Lolth keeps our people lost in the darkness."

"I won't listen to your blasphemy any longer!" Trielmur'ss shrieked. She cast a spell of holding, but before the final word could leave her lips, she felt the prick of a dart in her arm. Within seconds, she collapsed, her face in the dirt.

Zekirhc sighed and crouched down next to her. "I warned you." Trielmur'ss blinked and tried to struggle, but her limbs lay limp and useless.

Zekirhc lifted the net off and unsheathed his sword. He was just about to perform a coup de grace when he saw the ring on her finger. He knelt and easily took it off her hand. He held it up to the light as if appraising it.

"Not the usual jewelry worn by a priestess," he commented. Trielmur'ss made a growling gurgle. Her ring! The insolent male was going to take her ring! "It actually looks like a dragon artifact. Where did you get it?" Trielmur'ss gave Zekirhc a withering look. The male drow laughed and pocketed the ring. He pulled a length of cord from one of the deep pockets of his cloak and wrapped it around Trielmur'ss' wrists and ankles. He winked at Trielmur'ss and, without another word, changed into a copper dragon. Trielmur'ss stared at him in shock. No wonder none of the others had returned! Trielmur'ss closed her eyes. Was she now to become a meal? She silently prayed for Lolth to help her, save her, anything! But her Goddess was silent, as usual.

Zekirhc picked up the limp body of Trielmur'ss in his claws and leapt into the sky. The ground fell away and Trielmur'ss tried to scream, but all that came out was a shrill whimper. Zekirhc glanced at her, and she could swear that the dragon found her terror amusing.

Weren't copper dragons supposed to be good? And he calls Lolth a lie! Trielmur'ss thought to herself. The undulating motions of flight were making her ill. The ground vanished under a blanket of thick clouds, and Trielmur'ss soon lost her sense of direction. The stars wheeled overhead, and after what felt like an hour, Zekirhc began to descend. He landed on a ledge on the side of a high mountain and touched the stone with his claw. A door appeared and closed the moment the copper dragon was inside. Zekirhc placed Trielmur'ss on the floor. He muttered something in draconic and disappeared into an adjacent tunnel.

Trielmur'ss wiggled her fingers experimentally, and was pleased to feel the paralyzing effects of the venom wearing off. She twisted her wrists and felt the rope loosen. With a final wrench, she pulled her hands free and turned her attention to her ankles. Unbound and nervous, she felt along the wall where the door had been, searching for a hidden latch or trigger, but she couldn't find anything. How had Zekirhc opened the door?

She heard footsteps behind her, and Trielmur'ss ducked behind a stalagmite. The rumbling of draconic speech became louder as a pair of dragons approached. The first was Zekirhc, still in the body of a copper dragon, but the other was a massive silver dragon. The claws of the silver dragon were dull, as if they had been clipped, and it had scars along its back and legs. It's wings were tattered and scarred, and its tail dragged awkwardly in the dust. But the look in its eyes was one of strength and anger, and Trielmur'ss cowered behind the stalagmite.

Zekirhc looked around the cavern and saw the remains of his rope. He sighed. The drow female couldn't leave the cavern, couldn't even hide from the sharp senses of a dragon, but she could still cause trouble.

The silver dragon stepped toward the stalagmite and smiled coldly. Zekirhc placed his claw on the dragon's shoulder, averting the silver's attention.

"She'll come around," he said in Common. The silver dragon hissed and recoiled.

"Her kind kept me prisoner for almost a century, and you take pity upon them? What has this one done to deserve life? A priestess of Lolth gains that title only one way, and I'll not have a demon-fucking illithiiri in my lair!" He flared his wings and bared his teeth at the younger copper dragon.

"Peace, Echostar, she isn't really a priestess. Brainwashed by the culture of the drow, perhaps, but she hasn't yet gone through an initiation ceremony. She's still untouched, and if you were calmer you would have noticed it," Zekirhc said smoothly. Echostar took a deep breath. After a moment, the silver dragon's form morphed and shrank, leaving a scarred elven male in its place. His skin was as pale as paraffin wax, and his hair shimmered as if it were made of spun silver. His eyes looked around the cavern with a piercing, steel gaze. He wore a black tunic and pants that made his pallid features even more deathly. Trielmur'ss could just make out the form of dragons sewn into the silk shirt in black thread. His feet were bare, and she could see scars on the tips where claws used to be. The silver dragon-turned-elf glared at the stalagmite where Trielmur'ss was hiding.

"You are a fool, Zekirhc, to think you can change them. The Spider Queen sends mercenary after mercenary after your hide, and still, you refuse to see that they are beyond all hope. And now, you bring one of them here, to my sanctuary, and expect me to open my door to them? She no more wants your help than to open her eyes to the truth of her people!" Echostar snarled. "In fact, I'll wager that the moment I leave the room, she'll attack you. Drow make poor pets, my copper friend, and she will tempt you to murder her so that she may return to her Spider Bitch's side."

"I don't think so," Zekirhc replied. "But if it will make you feel better, you can stand by the door and watch."

Echostar sighed and threw up his hands in exasperation. "I'll be in the study if you need me." He said, and stomped off down a narrow passage too small for a dragon's bulk. Zekirhc watched Echostar leave, and then turned his attention to the concealed drow female.

Trielmur'ss trembled. She closed her eyes and tried to slow her rapid breathing. She wished she still had her ring. Then she could show this idealistic copper what a real drow could do! But, Lolth bless it, that same copper had taken her ring and her goddess wasn't granting any prayers for her today.

The sound of footsteps made Trielmur'ss' breath still in her throat, and she cracked an eye open to see what was going on. Standing before her was Zekirhc in a copper-colored shirt and his long cloak. He was rather handsome for a drow, but what struck her the most was his smile. He was smiling at her, not cruelly, not coldly, but amused. Amused! Trielmur'ss bristled. She was nobility, even if she was the disgrace of her House, but was nothing to laugh at, especially by a male of any species!

"You find me funny?" she growled.

"As a matter of fact, yes. But I find everything funny," Zekirhc said. "You must excuse Echostar. As you might have guessed, he doesn't have the highest opinion of the drow." His eyes matched his shirt perfectly. Trielmur'ss blinked and wondered why she hadn't noticed the color of his eyes sooner. There was something familiar about those eyes...

"That's his problem, not mine.You are my problem. I can't return to the Underdark without you," Trielmur'ss said. Zekirhc sighed.

"So...why not stay here?" he said.

"Why in the Nine Hells would I want to do that?" Trielmur'ss snapped. "Besides, it isn't as if you'll just allow me to leave. I'm your prisoner, aren't I?"

"Not exactly," Zekirhc said, taken aback.

"What do you mean, 'not exactly?' I can't leave because the sun will burn me to ash the moment it touches me, and I certainly can't make it all the way back in a single night."

"The sun will not burn you to ash. That's a myth," Zekirhc said. "It's never burned me."

"That's because you're a bloody dragon, not a drow," Trielmur'ss replied.

"I'm a half-dragon. My mother was drow," Zekirhc said quietly. Trielmur'ss looked at him.

"Fine then, a bloody half-dragon. The sun will still kill me." Trielmur'ss said. Zekirhc sighed deeply and touched the wall. A doorway opened, letting the dawn's light spill into the chamber. Trielmur'ss shrieked and recoiled as the sunlight touched her skin. Zekirhc grabbed her and drew her into the light. She thrashed in his arms, but he held her still with his draconic strength. She waited, her eyes shut tightly as she expected the burning sun to char her, but nothing happened. The sunlight actually felt...pleasant. Slowly, Trielmur'ss opened her eyes to see Zekirhc grinning.

"You see? Nothing to be afraid of," he murmured. Trielmur'ss chanced a look at the horizon and her jaw fell to her feet. The sun set the clouds ablaze with hues of red and orange, and the sky turned from a deep sapphire to a brilliant azure. The moon was setting, and the dawn stained the curving form like a blooded sickle. Trielmur'ss rubbed her eyes in amazement.

"It's...beautiful," she murmured.

"I wouldn't stare at the sun too much longer. Sunlight itself isn't really dangerous, but like all things, it's best in moderation. Especially for someone not used to it," Zekirhc said. With a touch, the stone folded together and sealed shut. Trielmur'ss took a shuddering breath. The cave felt so...confining, all of a sudden.

"Alright, you've proven that sunlight can't hurt me. Satisfied?" Trielmur'ss said, pushing Zekirhc away and trying to recover some of her dignity. Zekirhc laughed.

"Was I right about you not being pledged to the Spider Queen?" he asked. Trielmur'ss flinched at glared at him.

"Of course not. I'm a priestess of Lolth," she insisted.

"Your aura says otherwise," Zekirhc said with a grin.

"My 'aura' is none of your business!" Trielmur'ss snapped. "So stop looking, you pervert."

"Actually, I rather like your aura. Very red, with more than a few streaks of blue. A little bit of purple as well."

"I said stop looking at my aura!" Trielmur'ss ordered, thankful that the shadows of the cavern concealed her blushing.

"If you were a true priestess of Lolth, there would be dark yellow or black shading your natural color. Intimate contact with demons will do that, and you have none of it tainting your aura. Besides, you couldn't bear the touch of this ring if you were a true priestess of Lolth." Zekirhc said, pulling the dragon ring from his pocket. Trielmur'ss glared at it.

"Give that back! It was given to me by my father!"

"Why do you care? He was only a male, after all. What use is a gift from a male drow?" Zekirhc taunted. Trielmur'ss let out a hissing breath.

"'s a very useful ring and I want it back!" she said. Zekirhc laughed, and enraged by his amusement, Trielmur'ss attacked him. She tried to tackle the taunting drow, but Zekirhc easily dodged her and she landed flat on her face. Before she could recover, she felt something sit heavily on her back. Her breath left in a whoosh, and she gasped for air. Not again! She thought. Not only was her fighting prowess thwarted twice by this drow, but he sat on her, adding insult to injury.

"Like I said, you're a little brainwashed, but not beyond hope. Echostar doesn't believe me. He thinks that all pure-blood drow are born evil. I think otherwise," Zekirhc said, rolling the ring across his knuckles.

"Is that all I am to you? A wager?" Trielmur'ss panted.

"Not exactly," he said, furrowing his brow.

"Then why didn't you kill me when you had the chance?" Trielmur'ss said, her voice wavering.

"I suffer from an over-abundance of hope," Zekirhc replied dryly. "Echostar tells me often enough when I'm tending his injuries. You aren't evil. You aren't even close. I've seen the evil, fought against it all my life. I would recognize it in a heartbeat. All I'm asking is that you give this life a chance. If you feel it doesn't suit you, we can play out the rest of this battle to the death and I'll try again with the next deluded drow to come after me. The choice is yours." Zekirhc stood and offered Trielmur'ss his hand. She stared at it for a long moment, considering.

Lolth will strike you down! Trielmur'ss thought. But she remembered Zekirhc's blasphemy, and how nothing had come of it. She had never felt at ease among the other drow, had even been denied graduation from Arach Tinilith because she couldn't even manage a simple clerical spell, to say nothing of being late for the graduation ceremony. She survived the School of Lolth on the virtue that her House wasn't powerful enough to make an assassination worth the effort. Bringing Zekirhc back to the Underdark was supposed to bring Trielmur'ss the status she desired...

"What you want isn't what you desire, Trielmur'ss," Zekirhc said. Trielmur'ss froze.

"I never told you my name," she murmured.

"You didn't need to. I've known you for a very long time," Zekirhc said.

"I don't know you!" Trielmur'ss shouted.

"Yes you do. I know why you didn't become a priestess, why you were late for the ceremony and that you were expelled for showing mercy to a male drowling," Zekirhc said.

"Nothing that you couldn't have learned by asking around," Trielmur'ss said.

"Trielmur'ss, I'm returning a favor, so could you please just listen?"

"What bloody favor? I've never met you before in my life!" Trielmur'ss shouted.

"So, I suppose it was some other drow that saved me from a cave fisher all those years ago. Some other drow who could fight as no other and wore a dragon's ring, and vowed to come after me to collect a life debt?" Zekirhc said, raising an eyebrow.

Trielmur'ss stared at Zekirhc, stunned. "You can't be..."

"I am, and I never forgot. It was your act of kindness that made me realize that there may yet be other drow untainted by Lolth's touch. It was that same act of kindness that allowed me to survive the hell of Menzobarranzan and finally find a way to escape, along with a little help from a certain silver dragon. I made certain that the rest of my House burned as I left."

"House Barriath was breeding with dragons!" Trielmur'ss exclaimed.

"Yes, and I'm the product of one such tryst. But my father's eyes closed before mine opened, and I never met him. Echostar was my only family. He told me that the only reason I had a good heart was because I had dragon's blood in my veins, and I believed him until the day you saved me. You never answered my question, you know. Why did you save me?"

"It just didn't seem right," Trielmur'ss admitted.

"Even though you had been taught to ignore a male child's pleas for help."

"Yes." Trielmur'ss slowly took Zekirhc's hand.

"Does this mean you want to stay?" he asked with a grin.

Trielmur'ss thought about it for a moment and sighed. "I suppose I can give it a try." It isn't like I have anything to lose.

Zekirhc's smile widened and he held out the ring to her. "I believe this belongs to you," he said. "If you wish, we can go flying later."

Trielmur'ss took the ring and slid it back on her finger. "I'd like that," she said, and she felt a real smile curve her lips for the first time since the day she was expelled.


This is amazing! Trielmur'ss laughed as she dove through a pile of clouds. She could feel Zekirhc behind her, and with a giggle she wriggled deeper into the puffy mass. It had been a month since Zekirhc had taken her to his lair, and every day just seemed better than the one before. Her eyes had adjusted to the twilight hours and she could fly at dusk and dawn without even squinting. Night was falling fast, but Trielmur'ss wasn't feeling sleepy. If anything, she was feeling...frisky.

Trielmur'ss poked her red head out and looked around. Red dragons may be considered evil, but it was her favorite dragon form. She felt like she could soar endlessly with such large wings! Zekirhc flapped past, his copper wings undulating through the air as he scanned the sky for her. Trielmur'ss stifled another giggle and burst out of the clouds just behind him. She put on a burst of speed and cuffed him over the head as she sailed past.

Zekirhc hissed in annoyance and dropped. Trielmur'ss made a coughing laugh and sped away, looking over her shoulder every few wing beats. Zekirhc seemed confused at this playful new Trielmur'ss. With an impatient growl, she battered him with her wings and fluttered away again. Zekirhc hovered for a moment, and suddenly tore off after her. With a joyful cry, Trielmur'ss flapped away.

Zekirhc flew as fast as he could, but Trielmur'ss had become a very good flier and kept the copper dragon just out of reach. She sped through the stratosphere and wove around mountain peaks, and Zekirhc matched her move for move. _Higher,_she thought, _I need to be higher._Trielmur'ss took a deep breath and struggled to gain height. Zekirhc followed close behind, snapping playfully at her tail. Higher and higher she climbed until the air chilled through her scales and her breath frosted the tip of her nose. Only then did she slow enough for Zekirhc to catch her.

He embraced her, pressed his belly to hers, and for a moment they hung weightless. The moon turned the clouds beneath them to a molten ocean of red and copper. He pressed his sex to hers and slid inside just as gravity claimed them, and they plunged through the clouds. Trielmur'ss wrapped her hind legs around his waist and nuzzled his throat as she clung to him. Zekirhc gasped, the sudden heat of her body chasing away the cold in an instant, and wound his tail around hers. They fell like a red and copper arrow toward the ground, and their roars of joy caused the mountains to tremble. Faster and faster they fell, until finally they cried out together and separated, barely missing the ground. Trielmur'ss laughed, and began to climb again. Zekirhc roared and followed eagerly.

Higher this time, Trielmur'ss felt the air change and thin all around her. She gasped and flapped harder. The crescent moon hung before her, and she struggled to touch it. Zekirhc grasped her, and with a laugh she forgot all about the moon and allowed the copper dragon to embrace her again. The moonlight turned the landscape into a silver and onyx dream, and they plummeted together, Zekirhc working himself deep into her body and Trielmur'ss urging him deeper with primal moans of pleasure. She nipped his neck, and Zekirhc cried out as he spilled his seed into his lover.

Zekirhc separated from her, and they landed on a mossy outcropping near his lair. He nuzzled her neck, and she thrummed like a big cat. She wrapped her wing around him, and together they watched the stars come out. The banner of the Milky Way spanned the sky above them, and Trielmur'ss wondered why her people ever feared this place.

"Zekirhc?" Trielmur'ss said.

"Yes?" Zekirhc looked up at her sleepily.

"Will Echostar allow me to stay with you?" she asked.

"If I ask him to," Zekirhc replied. He snuggled closer to her and twined his tail tip around hers. The medallion of a grinning dragon jingled around his neck and Trielmur'ss touched it with her claw.

"We should head back." Zekirhc said softly. He gently unfolded himself from Trielmur'ss, who's only protest was a deep sigh.

"Echostar isn't going to be very happy with you," she said.

"He'll come around," Zekirhc said. He gave her a wide grin and leapt from the ledge. Trielmur'ss smiled and followed. The pair counted shooting stars and chased them across the sky all the way back to the lair. But as they approached, Trielmur'ss became uneasy. The doorway to the lair was open, and dark.

Something's wrong. She thought to herself. Across the sky, Zekirhc had come to a similar conclusion, and the two dragons ceased playing and flew as fast as possible toward the lair. Zekirhc landed first while Trielmur'ss circled above. She waited, but when Zekirhc failed to reappear, she fluttered downward. Just before she came into view of the cave, she changed back into a drow and landed silently. She peered around the corner and gasped.

The lair had been turned upside down. Torches and rubble were strewn everywhere. Suddenly, she heard a roar of pain. Trielmur'ss shifted her vision to the heat spectrum and ran down the tunnel. She cursed herself silently for not having her blade with her and glanced around a bend in the tunnel.

Echostar was chained and on his side, his tattered wings held to his sides with bands of iron. A muzzle prevented the great silver from defending himself with teeth and breath, and his claws were bound with warded manacles. And standing all around him was an all-too familiar sight.

_A drow raiding party! How in the nine hells did they find this place?_Trielmur'ss thought. She looked around and finally located Zekirhc. He lay on his side, unconscious. Several drow were wrapping bands of iron across his wings and binding him in the same fashion as Echostar. Overseeing the whole operation was her brother, Quileth. He was well known to be one of the greatest slavers in Menzoberranzan and had a reputation of always bringing his quarry back alive. If he was here, it could only mean that someone hired him to capture Zekirhc.

No! Not Zekirhc! Trielmur'ss looked around, but there wasn't a weapon in sight. Her eyes dropped to her hand, and she saw the ring. She couldn't fight as a dragon, no doubt they came prepared to fight anything she could come up with, but no drow worth her salt relies entirely on brute strength. A plan formed in her mind and with a deep breath, she invoked the magic of the ring and assumed the form of the largest red dragon she could imagine. When the magic was finished, she barely fit in the tunnel and had to fold her wings tightly to her sides to avoid scraping them against the wall. She took a deep breath and reached for that place that calmed her. When she was centered, she stepped into the chamber. The cave trembled with every step, and she soon had the full attention of every drow in the cavern.

"What are you doing in my lair?" Trielmur'ss snarled.

"Your lair?" stuttered a nearby male. Trielmur'ss snapped at him, missing his face by inches. The drow fell backward with a cry that made Trielmur'ss laugh.

"Yes, you idiots, my lair. These two are mine," she said. Quileth approached her and bowed deeply. Trielmur'ss sneered.

"Our apologies, Great Lady, we had no idea--" he started.

"Great Lady?! Do I look human to you? Get out of my lair this instant before I decide whether or not drow is on the menu tonight," Trielmur'ss roared, and blasted a nearby wall with a burst of flame.

"Your pardon, Greatest of Red Dragons, but we can't return to the Underdark without these two. You see, Lolth has demanded the return of the half-drow, Zekirhc Barriath and the traitor Trielmur'ss Noqu'Zotz. They will be sacrificed to atone for their crimes against the Goddess."

"You mistake me for someone who cares what your Spider Queen wants. These two are the most valuable treasures in my hoard, and I'll not give them up for anything. Do I make my self clear, drow? Go back into your thrice-cursed holes and tell your bloody goddess that Syzdothyx owns these two now, and nothing, not even your Spider Queen, will wrest them from me." She snarled.

Quileth shrugged and nodded. "Agreed. It would be too troublesome for us to transport both of them anyway. But, just out of curiosity, have you seen the female drow by the name of Trielmur'ss Noqu'Zotz?"

Trielmur'ss hesitated for a moment before she broke into a toothy grin. "She was here a few days ago," Trielmur'ss purred evilly. "She's gone now."

Quileth blinked and seemed to diminish. His reputation was about to take a major blow. But somehow, Trielmur'ss couldn't feel sorry for him. "In that case, we have no further business here. We take your leave, Great and Powerful Syzdothyx, and won't trouble you again."

"Better run, little drow, before my hunger gets the better of me. I find drow to be quite a delicacy. The next time you traipse through my lair will be your last."

The drow hurried out, and more than once Trielmur'ss had to stop one whose pockets were bulging a bit too much. After the third time, she threatened to barbeque the next dark elf stealing from her and the remaining drow left quietly. Echostar watched the who affair with wide, unbelieving eyes. When the last drow was gone, she sealed the cave and pried the battered silver free. Zekirhc was still out cold.

"You had nothing to gain from that. Why?" Echostar demanded, rubbing his wrists. He gestured to the walls, and orbs of magical light appeared, bathing the area in silver light.

"I had everything to lose by not helping you," Trielmur'ss said, tearing apart the bands of iron along Echostar's wings.

"Do you plan on following through with your plan to enslave us?" Echostar asked, baring his teeth.

Trielmur'ss raised a scaled eyebrow. "That was a bluff. They aren't likely to return after seeing an enormous red dragon declare two other dragons part of her hoard. Zekirhc gave me a chance at life, not just living, and I couldn't let anything happen to him." Trielmur'ss replied.

"And what about me? I just get lucky for being in the right place at the right time?" Echostar hissed.

"Don't give so little credit to luck," Zekirhc groaned. He shifted, and the silver necklace around his neck jangled. "It was luck that led me to you, luck that got us out of the Underdark in one piece, and luck that stayed my hand when I encountered Trielmur'ss. She saved our lives," Zekirhc said. Trielmur'ss smiled and helped him free of his bonds.

Echostar gave Trielmur'ss an appraising look. He stared at her for a long moment before finally heaving a deep sigh.

"My friend, you prove me wrong. I owe you," Echostar said to Zekirhc.

"You owe me nothing," Zekirhc replied. He cocked his head to the side, considering. "Though a few hours alone with Trielmur'ss would be nice."

Echostar looked at them both and chuckled. "Just don't couple on my hoard," he said. With that, he left the pair alone.

"On his hoard?" Trielmur'ss asked, raising an eyebrow. Zekirhc gave her a wicked grin, making his teeth flash in the magical light.

"Ever do it on a pile of treasure before?" he asked. Trielmur'ss could only laugh as Zekirhc took her claw and led her to his hoard.

"You certainly know how to impress a lady," she said.

"Only one, love, only one."


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