Whren awakens and pulls her raven hair away from her sweaty neck. She clutches the pendant of Tiamat that hangs between her breasts and regards her companions. She has the utmost respect for her comrads, to be sure, but a desire burns within her that she cannot explain. She rises and slips away silently into the night.
The loss of Bronwyn has left Whren the only female in the group and though the two did not always see eye to eye, the isolation Whren feels now weighs heavy on her. Her party’s recent companionship with Isa especially has driven Whren to consider her own sexuality. As she watches the reactions Isa’s naked, writhing body stirs up among men, she resents her comrads attitudes that she is just one of “the guys.” Aeschere, Quarian, and even Tilo have had fantasies fulfilled through the passionate services of servants of desire, and now with Isa, their fantasies may be reborn. “And what of me?” Whren sighs, “I am left to satisfy my own, for no male I have encountered bears the seductive power that is kin to Isa’s.”
Though she has proven herself in battle, thievery, and scouting, she sometimes feels overlooked as a woman, and longs for sensitivity and understanding. Even Ardyth, with whom Whren has had a sordid past, has become withdrawn in his own thoughts, and is less eager to sit and converse.
Ah, but what of Zook and his traveling players? She has proven herself well among them, and earned an audience with Lady Riminoc herself. Clearly, the Lady was taken with her, and Whren must confess that the adoration was a welcome change from the doubt that she sometimes feels among her friends. It was this that drove her to make a vow to Tiamat and begin her service to the Dragon Mother.
As she ponders the events of recent days and her perplexing dream, her lust for treasure blossoms within her. Yet, as she reviews what she must sacrifice to the goddess, a pang of guilt rises in her throat. Though she does not want to become truly evil, Tiamat is an evil goddess. How will this affect the strain she already feels among her male companions?
Whren swallows the thought, and decides to practice the act that has found her new respect. She starts her dance and spells and begins to chant Madame Leota’s words:
“Serpents and spiders, tail of rat,
Call in the spirits, wherever they’re at.
Rap on an oak, it’s time to respond,
Send us a message from somewhere beyond.
Goblins and ghoulies seldom seen,
Awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond,
Let there be music from regions beyond.
Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell,
Give us a hint by ringing a bell.”
Perhaps it is the excitement of her new role as follower of Tiamat, or the suppressed desires deep within, or maybe the unseasonably warm October night, but whatever the cause, Whren feels compelled to bathe in the moonlight in the nearby lake. A shiver runs down her back as she removes her shift and wades into the cool water. Once immersed, she runs her hands over her naked body, rinsing the oil of thesbian she had so carefully applied earlier. Her breath quickens as she caresses her breasts, thighs and the tender folds of skin between them until finally she is overcome with a passionate surge of desire. She shudders as the sensation weakens, and slowly opens her eyes.
The white figure of a woman wrenches Whren back to the reality of the woods, and she quickly emerges from the water, desparately trying to cover her nakedness from the stranger. The figure approaches, and Whren gasps as the stranger moves into the moonlight. There, before her, stands Bronwyn, fallen comrad of Whren, and faithful cleric of Herronious. Whren tries to speak, but Brownwyn reaches out to cover her mouth. Her hand moves to the pendant that hangs around Whren’s neck. She studies it a moment, then begins to tighten her grip on the chain from which it hangs. A madness that Whren had never seen shone in Bronwyn’s eyes as the chain pushes into Whren’s flesh. A shriek from Whren suddenly breaks Bronwyn’s concentration, and she drops the pendant. Whren falls to her knees, gasping for breath and watches as Bronwyn backs away from her, seemingly horrified at having caused Whren pain. The madness in her eyes is replaced by despair, and she slowly backs away from Whren, then vanishes into the trees.
Suddenly feeling very vulnerable, Whren rushes to dress and hurries back through the woods to camp. She has much to think about...