The Ivory Sanctum was colder than usual, or perhaps it was the company. Jerribeth did her best to blend in with the intricate inlays of the wall, a cold marbled surface. She was unsure how to breach the news to Xanthir, wondering how the wormed one would express his anger. “Kiranda was unsuccessful to report yesterday…” she imparted to the wizard.
“And… you fail to mention what she was doing.” Xanthir let his low rasp echo inside his study chamber.
Jerribeth blinked weighing her next words, “She was checking in on our contacts in the marchlands.”
“Really? I had her taking a newfound slave the crusaders recently banished from their hole,” he turned to see her response. It had never occurred to Jerribeth that Kiranda was also working for Xanthir. The feeling of fear quickly turned to terror. Did Xanthir know about her plans for the Ivroy Sanctum without the wormed one. She had hoped the apparent incompetence would leave her superiors to dispose of him. Now she felt toe to toe with a foe that could easily call retrievers to rip her apart.
She shrunk looking for a way out alive, “Why would you have her do such a thing?”
“My dear demon of secrets. For as clever as you are, you cannot hide your hatred for me. I know you have slowly been leading the adventures by their noses. Their apparent liberation of Drezen extend from Wintersun to the Molten Scar and now with Kiranda’s absence, you have successfully talked them into destroying the dragon Sizorcar.” He wiggled with a thousand sounds moving towards Jerribeth.
“I do not know what lies she has told you…” Jerribeth let blurt in feigned pride. With deft quickness, Xanthir had his hands around the demon’s neck. The worms pressed against her flesh, compressing the air inside her body as they writhed against her chest, back against the frozen wall.
“Yes!” Xanthir let ring from Jerribeth’s voice. His magic body controlling her words in a strange sign of power. Jerribeth thought quickly about changing. “Why do you not reveal your true self now?” Again the words coming from Jerribeth but clearly the wormed one. The small larval flesh flexed as they played puppeteer to the demon. “Do you want to ruin your perception as another lackey to Baphomet? Let go your precious skin into the creature you are? Please do not, I would find the body distasteful for my hands.” Letting go he laughed as a dog would cough.
Jerribeth released her tension, fell to the ground and began to rub her wounds. “So why do you let me live?” She wondered aloud, in control of her own voice
Xanthir held his distance and began moving his hands in space, dancing them to some strange pattern. “It is all part of a plan. Have you keep the focus of the vain crusaders, thinking they are doing good. Let them remove the threats to power in the Marchlands. See that they are ready to find me.” He was amused with his thoughts, “So was your plan also mine. That I might supplant the idea of where the hag had your fallen sister held into one they already trust. So that she may lead them to me now when we are ready.” The worms curving on his face attempted a smile. “All the while your power vacuum has attracted another ambitious marilith seeking to make her crown once again on that shite hole of Drezen.”
Not knowing that Drezen was under sieged once more pushed a hideous idea into Jerribeth’s mind.
“Ah, it strikes you that your mistress would not be happy if she returns to find her play toys lost to another of her own kind. What do you think she would do to you now? Shed a tear like you have for Kiranda I assume.” He delighted in knowing more than the supposed spymaster of the labyrinth. He squirmed as much as she did, for different reasons.
“But why bring them hear now when you could have done so earlier?” She asked confused.
“Oh but I did! Well, at least one. I know you do not agree with my methods or the company I keep but I trust you to know, cross me again and you will be trapped as they, vain, shallow, singled minded and our sister mercy will soon be. It will not be long before we will bring them all before Deskari to atone for their sins.”