Chapter 6

Jarlaxle peered into the dark chasm, his glowing red eyes searching for movement. He moved closer to the edge and raised his voice.

"I will not answer for your treachery!" he shouted into the pitch blackness. Stepping back, he felt the edge of his boot brush against something.

Jarlaxle crouched near the ledge to find a single jade earring. He knew for certain it was hers.

"Foolish female. You could have had anything you wanted. I would have handed you the entire Underdark if you'd only asked."

He stood with the earring held tightly in his grasp.

"But that was the problem, wasn't it? You never wanted any part of any of this," he whispered to the darkness. "Your pretty little head always dreaming of the surface; of things you could never have."

He raised the earring up to a nearby torch and allowed his eyes to adjust. It was beautiful. As beautiful as the day he won it; the day he presented it to her. He closed his hand and let it fall to his side as he turned to face the darkness again.

"She should have never mistaken my kindness for weakness. Often we realize the threshold has been pushed to the limit only after the dam has burst."

He squeezed the earring harder.

"By then it's too late and the irrefutable damage has been done. Whole cities have been annihilated in the name of disrespect…"

A harsh voice cut through the silence. "Funny thing, respect. It is demanded yet never returned."

Jarlaxle crushed the jade earring his in hand, the sharp edge slicing open his palm.

He slowly turned to face Matron Baenre; the blood dripping from his hand.