Author's Note: Apologies for how long this took. Projects afterwards should be much faster, on the bright side. Between technical difficulties and life...well, it happens.
"You are incredibly lucky that you rescued Drisinil Baenre, or I might have had you tortured," Yvonnel said flatly, staring down the returned inquisitor. As always, Sabal had carried her instructions out to the letter, despite the grisly nature of the task. "Did none of our lessons sink in? You of all people should understand what happens when an inquisitor hesitates, when an inquisitor fails."
Sabal weathered the storm in silence, hands clasped behind her back. They were in Yvonnel's private chambers within the Yath'Abban's walls as the priestess paced back and forth.
"Still, your little fit of rebellion and this chaos has played to our advantage, so I'm inclined to be charitable. Besides, when has physical pain taught you anything? And will you stop just watching the wall and answer me?"
"As you wish, Revered Yvonnel," Sabal said softly, amber eyes still studying the smooth expanse of stone. "My understanding was that my opinion is irrelevant."
"There is that," Yvonnel ground out. She gave the inquisitor a hard look. "You are confined to the Yath'Abban and its grounds when you are not on a patrol I assign. No visitors. No leisure time will be permitted either. You will train and, I hope, reflect upon your mistake. This is your only second chance, Sabal."
"Thank you, Revered Yvonnel," Sabal said, inclining her head with a feigned, but appropriate level of both contrition and gratitude.
Yvonnel laughed and shook her head. "You really are Xullae's child. Not by blood perhaps, but once I had her in my office just like this," she said. "I shudder to think the amount of trouble any student you train might cause. You are dismissed, Sabal."
The amber-eyed drowess felt a slight warmth in her chest despite her confinement. Being reminded that she was anything like her mentor did that. And so did the knowledge that Alystin, at least for now, was safe. Maybe someday she would be able to flee Menzoberranzan for the surface, while the inquisitor knew in her heart of hearts that the city would always be her home even if Alystin was there no longer.
It startled her when she opened the door to her quarters and saw Aly perusing her bookshelves. "You have got to get some variety. This is all about cults."
"They are useful," Sabal said in defense of her books, though she smiled despite herself. "How is the House?"
"Nede may deny it all she likes, but she's a good leader," Alystin said, sitting down in one of the wilder's armchairs. "The soldiers like Sszrar. The priestesses are frightened of her. It's a solid combination. Things are already starting to come together and rebuild. It feels strange, to be a part of family that's chosen, not blood."
"But better," Sabal said with confidence, her amber eyes bright. "I will not be able to see you for quite a while. Isolation is the next part of my penance."
"And will we get a chance to do things right?" the mage asked quietly.
"I hope so. But nothing is certain."
"I wish I could have seen it," Drisinil rasped, emaciated frame leaning against the railing beside Quenthel. "Why did you even agree to aid them?"
"It was not a matter of choice," the Mistress of Arach-Tinilith said quietly, manicured nails tapping against the smooth stone of the rail as she watched the city begin the work of repairing itself, particularly the smoldering ruin that had once been Kenafin's fortress. "It is done now, whether to your satisfaction or not."
"It will never be done as long as one of them keeps breathing," Drisinil said thickly, thinking back upon that terrible time. She needed revenge more than anything–more than food, more than rest, more than air.
"Pick your battles, daughter," Quenthel said with a hint of a smile. Now there was the fire she'd wanted in her child, that burning ambition for more. "You do not have the status or the power for striking at the valued member of House Druu'giir. Patience is a virtue."
"Then I will bide my time, become someone with the power to move with impunity. After all, you won't be around forever," Drisinil said. Her smile was brittle, like shattered glass. "I haven't forgotten that you abandoned me, Mother."
"We'll see, now won't we?" The elder Baenre was pleased when she turned to go inside. All of this had worked out so well...almost as if according to plan.
She turned the shard of mace she had been holding her hand over, rubbing her thumb across the metal and feeling a shiver of power run up her arm. Yes, exactly according to plan.