Little Talabrina stifled a giggle with her tiny hand. She poked a single gold eye around a corner. She played with Yasraena like this for hours. Her stuffy big sister wanted her to do some boring stuff in the family Chapel. No doubt, it was for some dumb boring chanting again, or something else just as boring. So she snuck out and let her sister chase her around the House. This was much more fun than staying in the Temple. Right now, she hid by her eldest brother’s room. She heard Yasraena scream her name and hurl curses to that nasty Lady Lolth. Time passed without finding her, the angrier the elder became. The more the little girl giggled happily. Yasraena was not being very nice today. Then again, Yasraena was never very nice.
All at once, the girl’s snickering stopped as a brilliant bluish light illuminated the hallway behind her. Startled, Talabrina turned to stare at a dark elf lady who stepped out of a glowing door. Glowing red eyes glittered menacingly down at her. Tala’s eyes widened in fright as her jaw dropped.
“Come with me, little one,” the lady whispered. “Somebody wants to speak with you.”
Fear gripped the drowling and she turned to flee.
Without warning, an arm snapped around her tiny waist as a hand clasped around her mouth. Fear gripped the drowling. She turned to flee. Slowly, the sides slid together until they were once again a single blue-white light, before fading entirely.
Yasraena rounded the corner as the last light faded.
* * *
Summoned to the throne room in her sister’s House, Baltana smiled to herself. Even though the messenger did not specify why the Matron demanded an audience with her, she guessed its purpose. Young Talabrina, Sabrae’s youngest daughter was missing. When the younger Matron entered, she encountered a livid Sabrae.
As she bowed before her sister, Baltana crooned, “You summoned me, Matron? How may I serve you this day?”
“You may tell me where my daughter Talabrina is?” Matron Mother Sabrae demanded.
“What makes you think that I have her?” Baltana shot back in anger. “Why is it, every time one...