This is my odd little brainchild. I hope you at least kind of enjoy?

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"So, you and my sister, huh?"

Anomen Delryn looked up from his half-full tankard and into the inquisitive face of Imoen. The knight smiled good-naturedly, although at this point it was taking a good deal of his energy to even keep his head up that high. "I was wondering when you were going to give me the 'sister talk.'"

"Yeah," Imoen's ears turned pink, a shade darker than her hair, "I overheard Sarevok threatening you and was kinda like, crap, guess what I forgot to do!"

Anomen took another drink and grimaced – something about Amkethran ale burned the tongue in what was a decidedly unpleasant way; not that Anomen liked alcohol to begin with, but when all one can do is worry, drink is not a terrible way to spend the time.

One week ago (three hours and seven minutes over exactly, Anomen dourly noted) their adventuring party had confronted Sendai, who was (admittedly self

proclaimed) the most powerful mage Bhaalspawn. Viviane, who was herself a mage, did not take kindly to being second to anyone. Viviane's unique arrogance drove her to challenge Sendai to a one-on-one magic battle. Viviane had won, although it was only by virtue of the fact that she was still alive. Barely.

"To be fair," the warpriest finally admitted, "I am not entirely convinced that Sarevok was threatening me out of some sort of sibling affection for Viviane. It was more of an excuse than anything else."

"I dunno," Imoen said doubtfully, "She keeps calling him her big brother, so maybe he's buying into it?"

"Are you?"

"Nope. Viv's weird – she calls Bhaal 'Daddy' and acts like Sarevok's her big brother, but all 'n' all she doesn't seem to want to, y'know, take Bhaal's place." Imoen frowned. "Can I have some of that?"

Anomen slid the tankard to her. "Help yourself. Grow up with an alcoholic father and you grow a… distaste… for the drink."

"So why're you… oh, yeah. Is she still out cold?"

Anomen nodded.

"Ugh. Never thought I'd say it, but she could out-ego Irenicus. Stupid Viv. Stupid Bhaalspawn. Stupid Bhaal."

"I don't think I've ever seen you this bitter," Anomen observed.

"I just keep thinking that I could die and it would be part of someone's plan, y'know? Bah. I came here to yell at you about my sister. Quit trying to distract me." She shot him a glare that was not intimidating at all.

"Then do me a favor and finish off the ale."

Imoen snorted.

A silence, not respected by the other members of the inn, fell between the two.

"You know, Anomen, I never really liked you."

"Is that so?" He wasn't surprised.

"It's like I'm gone and when I get back there you are, cozy with my sis and all like 'Order Order Order Order Order.'"

"Surely I-"

"'Order Order ORDER ORDER Order Order!"

"… thank you, Imoen."

"I mean, I don't get it." Imoen put down the tankard and turned on her barstool, facing him directly. "You're passive-aggressive, you're almost as boring as Keldorn and for gods sakes you have daddy issues! If someone I dated had daddy issues I would just put him out of my misery!"

Anomen smiled as he recalled the not-so-distant past.

"Ah, I see. I must admit, my lady, that I am rather jealous of you – you had Gorion, and I had Lord Cor, a drunken- my lady? What's wrong?" Anomen felt the cold hands of death as he noticed the foul glare of evil that Viviane was giving him, her ice-blue eyes narrowed. It would never cease to amaze him how the sun elf's head came up to his mid-chest, yet she was far more intimidating than he ever was.

"So your father is an alcoholic?" she said softly.

His mind telling him to shut up and run, he stupidly voiced, "Aye, he-"

"My father," she hissed, her hands clenched, "is the God of Murder, whose plan to bring himself back to life was to EAT ME, his essence haunts my dreams, his blood boils in my veins and did I MENTION THAT MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS WANT ME DEAD, JUST 'CAUSE?"

"Actually, I believe they're trying to kill you so that they can ascend," Anomen said, his mind shouting a chorus of "Shut up, moron!"

"IF YOU EVER, I MEAN EVER, COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR DAD AGAIN, I SWEAR TO MYSTRA I WILL TURN YOU INTO YOUR SISTER!" She calmed considerably. "And I think you know what I mean by that."

"… yes, yes I do." He made a mental note to get his codpiece magically enhanced for extra protection.

In retrospect, she probably would have been disappointed had she gone through with that threat. The thought made him grin (stupidly, Imoen thought).

"Oooooookay. Um, anyhow, as I said, I don't like you. Viviane seems to, although she does threaten you a lot."

"She does that with everyone. Except for you, I noticed. And Keldorn."

"Well, I'm cheery ol' Imoen. And Keldorn would so smite her ass. Anyhow – damn, I can't seem to keep focused – contingent on Viviane ever waking up again, if you hurt my baby sister I'll so backstab you."

"She's older than you."

"Shorter, though. As long as I can beat her in an arm-wrestling match, I get to be the big sister."

"Point. And at this point I've been told I'll get backstabbed-" he gestured to Imoen, "Sarevok mentioned something about hanging me with my own entrails, and way, way back when, Jaheira said that if I hurt Viviane she would trap me in a tree for eternity. Adding to that Viviane's own threats on my health and future ability to make a child… I promise Viviane's honor is safe with me."

"Speaking of…" Imoen began, leaning on the bar, "whatever happened to Jaheira? She just sort of… wasn't there when I was rescued but was there when I was captured. I never thought Viv would get rid of her."

Anomen grimaced.

"I… you're casting me aside? I stood by you through a difficult time! I thought I was more than just a random party member to you! I betrayed and killed my own brethren for you!" Jaheira cried.

"Aw, Jaheira, don't take it too hard! It's just that there's no room for you on my party!" Viviane tried to console her.

"You're replacing me with a bard!" Jaheira roared, clearly less upset and more furious.

"Look at him! Look at his weird markings! He's got blue hair and calls me a bird! He's crazy!" Viviane said cheerfully, pointing at Haer'Dalis, who shrugged magnanimously.

"I actually have names for all of you," he supplied.

"See! And besides, Jaheira, all a druid is is a priest who worships trees-"

Jaheira's jaw dropped due to Viviane's blatant disrespect for her religion.

"and I already have two priests – Anomen, who is actually more irritating than you; for example, he's not talking to me right now because he's mad that I'm not evil," she looked at Anomen and shook her head, "and Viconia, who's a drow!"

"Is that all I am to you?" Shar's priestess snapped back. "Everywhere we go, you introduce me as 'a drow.' Not even 'the drow.' Every. Single. Time. My ears are pointed, my skin is black and my hair is white; people know I am a drow before you open your mouth, darthiir."

"Look, she speaks drow! So, sorry, Jaheira, but there's just no room for you. Good luck with the Harpers – oh wait, we killed them. Um, good luck with the druids?"

Jaheira stormed out.

"All right team! Let's move on out! It's time to finally go talk to that random lady in the graveyard about the suspicious business deal that she wouldn't know we were interested in unless she was spying on us!" Viviane declared.

The team moved out of the Five Flagons.

"Boo feels guilty for leaving Jaheira," Minsc voiced.

"Now now Minsc," Viviane replied, "Technically Jaheira left us."

"We pushed her," Anomen pointed out.

"Hey Anomen, my easy time dealing with my evil heritage makes you feel inadequate. Think about it some more."

"Hey lady, your money or your life!" A group of ruffians slid out of the shadows of a nearby building, obviously looking to make some coin.

"Minsc and Boo will plant our foot – er, Minsc's foot – so far up your backside you will never do evil while walking again!" Minsc declared.

"We'll just see about that, ey?" Usually the muggers tended to question who Boo was, but thankfully this group was all business.

The battle ensued, Anomen moving to his place to defend Viviane, who was refusing to purchase a magic license from the Cowled Wizards and thus spent Athkatla-bound battles blowing bubbles. She'd tried using magic anyway once. It hadn't turned out well.

Anomen said a silent prayer to Helm for poor, poor Aerie.

Lying amongst the corpses was a blue-haired, oddly-marked man.

"… … how dead is he?" Viviane asked, looking sick.

"Very dead," Yoshimo reported, looting Haer'Dalis' corpse.

"Any chance you can bring him back to life?" Viviane asked Anomen, looking up at him.

"Not in that condition, no."


"If you want him as some sort of undead abomination…"

"Damn. Oh! I know! Jaheira! You can… oh, crap." Viviane started wandering off into the darkness. "Jaheeeeiiirrraaaa, come baaaaaaaaack! You have to save my baaaaaard! Oh wait! That's right! We have a Rod of Resurrection! Who has it?"


"Whoever points out the fact that Jaheira has it is going to get a fireball up the ass," Viviane said, her voice deadly.

More silence.

"Well damn! We didn't unequip her, did we?"

"Maybe if you did some push-ups you could carry your own things," Yoshimo pointed out.

"Maybe if you complain some more I'll kick you in the crotch."

"So how many people died so that you all could come save me?" Imoen asked, looking a little perturbed.

"If you want me to answer that, I'm going to need some more ale."

Imoen passed the tankard back to him. Anomen took a swig.

"How dare they! I am a Child of Bhaal! I can cast magic whenever I damn well want to!" Viviane proclaimed, striking a dramatic pose. She had just cast Haste on the party and had been reprimanded by a Cowled Wizard.

Keldorn, who had grown up in Athkatla and was even trained to kill wizards, gently chided her, "Viviane, while I respect your pride, you are, at the oldest, twenty-five. There are mages amongst the Cowled Wizards who have been training in the magical arts longer than you have been alive."

"I'm only twenty still, but-"

"Oh, paladin, why even bother?" Viconia asked, sounding bemused, "Her defining attribute is an inexplicable arrogance."

"My arrogance is perfectly explicable! I'm Bhaal's obviously favorite daughter! Elminster gives me cookies when I listen! And no one is going to tell me when I can and cannot cast magic!"

"This is going to turn out poorly," Anomen voiced.

"Hey Anomen, you're the one who 'killed twenty Hillnasher giants by himself'," Viviane reminded him a tone that clearly informed him that she didn't believe him, "This shouldn't be any problem for you, oh righteous smiter of smiterness."

Keldorn snorted, more in derision than anything else.

"Okay, let's teach the Cowled Wizards to not mess with a Child of Bhaal!" She cast Magic Missile at what was apparently the darkness.

"You could have at least cast a useful spell…" Aerie voiced softly.

Six Cowled Enforcers appeared. "This is an unsanctioned use of magical energy. You have been warned." The six activated their high-level protection magics. One of them summoned a hakeashar.

"RUN! RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!" Viviane screamed, grabbing the closest person, Viconia, and sprinting away. The others wisely followed suit.

Aerie stared at the Ring of True Action on her finger, which prevented her from being hasted.

The others watched as she was turned to stone by a Flesh to Stone spell, and watched as the hakeashar, well, broke her.

"Ugh," Imoen said.

"It gets worse."

The team had just returned from Trademeet to Athkatla. They had just found out that Cernd had an 'illegitimate' child and had just left his old maid's house.

"Ah, yes, I understand why she does not respect my ways. My wife was much the same way. We were like a noble heffalump and the ignoble woozle; though we both desire honey, we have different methods of attaining it."

"SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!" Viviane screamed, her rage turning into fire and catching on Cernd's clothes. The druid let out a cry of surprise and, while trying to put out the fire, threw himself off the home sector of Waukeen's Promenade.

"Oops," Viviane said, a look of disgust on her face.

Six Cowled Enforcers appeared. "This is an unsanctioned use of magical energy. You have been warned." The six activated their high-level protection magics. One of them summoned a hakeashar.

"RUN! RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!" Viviane screamed, grabbing the closest person, Viconia, and sprinting away. The others wisely followed suit.

"And Viviane didn't buy a magic license why?" Imoen asked, looking a little bit appalled.

"She bought herself a Robe of Vecna instead," Anomen replied with a sigh.

Imoen sighed too. "I love her, but she sure is cheap."

"Unless she's spending the money on herself, yes. And I'm not even done yet."

"You're joking."

"Regrettably, no."

As she tended to do when confronted by other mages, Viviane regarded the red-clad wizard with her neck arched back a bit, trying her best to raise her nose. "What do you want?" she asked coolly.

The Red Wizard of Thay was regarding her in much the same manner. Meanwhile, Edwina was hiding behind Minsc (the irony not being lost on anyone except for the ranger in question, irony not being his forte), for fear of her life.

"I am hunting a renegade Red Wizard known as Edwin. Have you seen him?" he inquired.

Viviane turned and pointed. "Chick in the red."

"Uh!" Edwina responded indignantly.

"That is a female," the Red Wizard replied with scorn.

Viviane chortled before laughing. To be fair, she'd done so every time she'd happened to look at the Thayvian. She'd nearly suffocated due to laughter when Anomen had jokingly asked to be Edwina's champion.

"THIS IS NOT FUNNY, VIVIANE! NONE OF IT!" the wizardess roared in a rare display of outright fury.

Viviane collapsed into a fetal position, laughing hysterically.

"Wait, how did Edwin become a girl?" Imoen asked, looking as if she herself wanted to giggle.

"Some tome of something or another. I take it you remember Edwin; you probably understand."

"He wasn't the sharpest dagger on the rack, even though he would tell you he was. So I take it the other Red Wizard took him back to Thay?"

"Killed him, actually. Hmmm, who else…"

"You mustn't forget Yoshimo," came the deep voice of someone behind the two bar-sitters. Both looked up at Keldorn, who, looking exhausted, sat down on Anomen's other side. "I take it we are reminiscing?" the veteran inquired.

"Not so much reminiscing as filling in ol' Imoen on the ins and outs of what happened before you all saved her," Imoen replied. Fleetingly, Anomen had to wonder how she could manage to sound cheerful.

"Ah, I see. I suppose we never did have time to sit down and discuss things, as we do now," Keldorn admitted. "Then I suppose you recall Yoshimo's betrayal – there would be no need to recount it." The old paladin still looked angry. "I," he harshly changed the subject, "have not been to visit Viviane as of late. How is she?"

Anomen took the shared tankard from Imoen and finished it off. "Unconscious."

There was mirthful chuckling and Viconia walked over to the bar, sitting on the other side of Imoen. "And the male is helpless without his female – just the way it should be!"

Anomen ordered another tankard.

"I understand that the only thing blacker than your skin is your heart, but do you not feel any sort of compassion for Viviane? She who ignored your race – damn her for doing so! – and gave you a chance?" Keldorn demanded, still sounding angry. Imoen had never even seen the paladin address the drow, and was perplexed about the fact that Keldorn was considerably nicer to Sarevok than Viconia.

The drow looked haughtily away.

"So did anyone other than those sitting here and upstairs survive?" Imoen asked nervously, desperately trying to break the tension.

Viconia smiled cheerfully. "Oh, are we talking about the peons who fell in Viviane's wake?"

Anomen was a little surprised to find himself thinking that he wished Keldorn and Viconia had never shown up. "Valygar survived," he offered to Imoen. He was starting to feel the effects of the ale.

"So Viviane," Valygar intoned, "Have you had much experience with magic in your journeys?"

Viviane looked at him. She gave a nervous giggle but abruptly stopped when she realized he was actually being serious. She picked a piece of imaginary lint off her mage robe.

He continued to stare at her.

She started rubbing an imaginary smudge on her mage staff.

He sighed impatiently. "Well?"

She awkwardly twisted her mage rings, not sure what to say.

"Answer the question. It's not that hard of a question."

"I think you should go," she said at length.

"The short one survived, as did the dwarf," Viconia replied airily, "But paladin, I've noticed that for the first time since you attempted to kill me – and failed, might I add – you have actually addressed me! Have you decided that I am redeemable, or are you just attracted to my," she cleared her throat delicately, "charms, shall I say, as you are not receiving any from your wife?"

The entire tavern went silent as Keldorn abruptly stood up, reaching to draw the Holy Avenger from its resting place on his back. Anomen quickly moved to stand between the enraged paladin and the chuckling drow. "Sir Keldorn," Anomen said as authoritatively as possible, "I must say I've never seen you this way! Trying to murder someone so much weaker than you in cold blood, and in public?"

"Weaker?" Viconia protested loudly. Imoen covered her mouth.

The veteran stared him down. For the first time, Anomen wondered who would win in a fight. Probably Keldorn, he admitted silently.

Reluctantly, Keldorn calmed. "Aye," he admitted, "it's been… rather stressful here as of late." He chuckled. "I can't believe I let the drow get to me. I must have forgotten that I have decided she doesn't exist. … can I have some of the ale?"

The two men were still standing. Anomen reached down and pushed the tankard over. "Try not to drink too much. Your love may be countless miles away, but mine's in a coma."

"And you win. And besides, the only reason I failed," it was clear Keldorn was speaking to Viconia again, "in your demise was through no talent of yours."

Viconia's scowl deepened.

"I don't know this story," Imoen whispered to Anomen as he sat down. "Spill!"

He glanced to Keldorn, to Viconia, then shrugged. "Aye, as you wish."

"Your time is done, drow," Keldorn practically hissed as he drew his sword, "I gave you your warning."

Viconia classically looked haughty. "How noble… and how foolish."

Viviane sprinted from her place at the front of the group and moved between them, her arms spread wide as she stood in front of Viconia. "Stop, stop, stop, stoppity-stop-stop!"

"Move, Viviane," Keldorn growled.

"Bad Keldorn, very bad!" She had a look of determination on her face.

"I can handle him, elf," Viconia spat.

"Uh-huh, right, you, the frailest drow that ever did drow, against him, a trained killer. Uh-huh. Keldorn, this is the most one-sided fight ever! I mean, I could take Viconia in a fight, even without magic!"

"You? You are so weak you can barely walk under your own power!"

"Now Keldorn," Viviane continued, ignoring the irritated drow, "she may be unabashedly evil, but that doesn't necessarily make her a bad… person… okay, maybe it does, but she has yet to eat babies or sacrifice kittens to Shar, can't we just get along? Please?"

Keldorn's expression didn't change. "Move, Viviane," he repeated.

"Killing Viconia is bad and un-Orderly. If I didn't let Anomen kill the dude who may or may not have killed his sister, I'm sure not going to let you kill Viconia because she's a drow!"

"Leave me out of this, please," Anomen said pleadingly, backing up slowly. Yoshimo followed suit. Minsc looked pained, as if he wanted to aid the noble paladin but clearly had nothing against the drow in question (he personally found her to be hilarious).

There was clearly a stand off. "Move, Viviane," Keldorn reiterated.

"No, Keldorn," she replied in the same tone.

Viconia yawned behind her.

"Killing Viconia is bad. If nothing else, she is a very good cleric and we'll need to her to rescue Imoen."

"We have… Anomen…" Keldorn sounded as if he didn't quite believe what he was saying. Anomen decided to feel offended but not say anything. "He's a… good cleric…"

"Think about party dynamics! He's a half-cleric, so he's our supplement cleric. Unless you can pull another full cleric out of your holy ass, we're keeping Viconia!"

"Apparently I supplement you," Anomen said to Viconia.

"Well of course, darling. You thought you were as good a cleric as I? You might want to try switching to a better deity if you ever hope to become the team's primary cleric."

Keldorn finally lowered his sword. "I… suppose she is useful, for the time being. Any chance your friend Imoen is a cleric?"


"Damn." Keldorn still didn't look happy.

"How about if you don't convert her to an acceptable level of good by the end of the quest, then you can smite her?" Viviane suggested.

Viconia gasped in indignation. "How callous! Half-drow bitch!"

It was Viviane's turn to gasp. "I just saved your life! Don't make me make him attack you, lady!"

"The two ended up arguing about something completely unrelated and mundane for the rest of the trip. Keldorn, as you no doubt have noticed, never smote Viconia, and the two haven't spoken since," Anomen finished.

"Until now," Viconia chimed in.

Imoen didn't look impressed. "That was rather anticlimactic."

He shrugged. "True enough. If it were actually climactic, then Viconia wouldn't be sitting here, now would she?"


"You mean he wouldn't be here," Viconia retorted.

"Yeah, sure, Viccy, sure."

Before Viconia could protest, Anomen stood up abruptly. "I ought to go check on Viviane," he muttered, more to himself than to the others.

"Tell us if she's woken up," Imoen replied with a wave.

Anomen crossed his fingers and walked to the back of the inn.

Author's Quick Note: The only reason these are broken up into chapters is because one chapter'd be way too long, just in case you thought the end of this was awkward...