Dreus stepped away from the laboratory table, the staff in her hands crackling with dark magic. Behind her, bookshelves, distillation tubes, specimen jars, and piles of old books filled every corner of the room.
Her hair, once blonde, had now been bleached of light, and was white and thin. The look of a starved woman hung heavy under her eyes.
Fargrim turned, seeing the undead begin to rise from a pile of old bones. A flick of her fingers, and the shambling bones snapped into place, the ancient skull turning to face the intruders. The dwarf narrowed his eyes and reached for the axes strapped to his back. “Ya might want to get your sorry hides down here!” he shouted to the rest of the group upstairs.
As for Lucan, as soon as the door opened, it all made perfect sense. The son of a mage, a psionic link between them. And the ring solidifying the bond, giving Dreus a conduit into his mind. Glancing downward, Lucan could see the ring drifting toward Dreus, begging to be reunited with the rest of the set. He wanted so badly to just speak with his mother, figure out what she was planning to do. Perhaps he could stop her, or at least make her see reason. After all, what was Treona so terrified about anyway? True, Dreus was obviously a formidable mage, but the Sword Coast boasted dozens of them. As he looked at her, Dreus seemed little more than a small, delicate elf, capable of an impressive spell or two. But certainly no more than that…
Just as this thought crossed his mind, Dreus rose up and a blaze of flame seemed to light up from her eyes. The rings on her left hand began to hum and shudder, and the pendant around her neck glowed an angry red, the color of a dying sun. Lucan’s eyes grew wide, and he suddenly noticed other things in the room he hadn’t seen at first. Two jars with human fetuses suspended in a green liquor of some kind. A huge, grotesque skull of some slain demon, larger than Lucan himself, lying in the corner. On the table, bits of fresh flesh, and what appeared to be human finger bones, arranged in a pattern.
This woman, his mother, had glimpsed beyond a veil no mortal should ever see.
Lucan stumbled backward, grasping for his staff. “Vul! Nathaniel, Seraphina! What the hell are you waiting for?”
Dreus, meanwhile, slowly began advancing on Lucan, and his blood went cold. “We may yet find another use for you, Lucan, my love…” A baleful, joyless cackle erupted from her lips as she raised the twisted staff above her head…