She held the crystal in her hand, trying to calm the dread that encompassed her soul.
“You can ask any question, Thia, and we will answer. The future is ever in motion. Whatever answer you seek is not set in stone. Not until the moment when you chose to set your foot on one path or the other.” The voice was calm, even. And did little to calm her raw nerves.
“I’d like,” she hesitated, “I need to know. Will I succumb to the evil that chases me?” The last words came out in a rush. If she didn’t say them fast enough, she knew she’d never utter them.
The smell of lilacs…my father’s laugh…the feeling of Kelemvor’s presence…using some of the techniques Adam taught her, Thia strove to regain a sense of calm while she waited for her answer.
“Yours is a clouded future, child. It is hard to say one way or another. A crossroad is fast approaching. You will be faced with a choice. How you choose will determine if Lolth sways you to Her, or if you remain a servant of Kelemvor.”
She squeezed her eyes shut and grasped the crystal rod in her fist even harder. That wasn’t an answer!
“I need to know,” she tried to keep her voice calm, but it cracked. “If I surrender, will my companions be spared?”
“No. Your only hope to retain the choice is with their aid. If you surrender, they will die. By your own hand will their fate be sealed.”
“But what happens if I’m taken against my will?”
“Lolth will do everything in Her power to turn you away from all that you know. You will become Her priestess completely if you do not choose otherwise.”
“Is Jinnaari okay?”
“He is well. The one who has him doesn’t wish him harm. It would be wise, however, to do your best to retrieve him before his captor gets him to her employer.”
“What if I die before Lolth can get me?”
“She will resurrect you, and blacken your soul with Her evil when she does. You cannot escape facing Her, Thia. That much of your future is set.”
The rod in her hand disintegrated into sand, flowing through her fingers. She leaned forward, trying desperately not to give into the despair that threatened to crush her.
“Anyone seen Thia?” Adam’s voice carried into the room from the hallway outside.
She swiped at the few tears that spilled from her eyes. One step at a time, she reminded herself. And the next step was to find Jinnaari before he got to the City of Spiders. Opening the door, she looked at her companions. “I’m here,” she said.
Adam looked at her, “You okay?”
Thia nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Even if she confided in him, it wouldn’t be now. Not when Ishacte would hear.
But how could she tell him that she’d found out there was no hope she’d be able to stay free of Lolth?