Lars started. "Who said that?"
Dalsamira was still invisible. They had forgotten she was with them.
"Ouch!" said Amalgam as Dalsamira suddenly appeared, punching his shoulder.
"It's been a long time," she said to Lars in a soft voice.
"Dalsamira!" he spluttered. "Explain yourself! Who are these people and why are you here? Are you all trying to get me killed?"
"Lars, I've traveled from Stormreach to find you. I have information about the dragon, and how you can defeat her."
"Why do I care? There is a reason I am hidden in this manufactury, although it's all for naught now! Don't you realize the sahuagin have followed you as you deactivated all of my defenses? You have all but guaranteed my death."
"Master! Hurry!" Amalgam pushed Heyton back to his room, behind his desk.
They could all hear a rushing sound now as the force field in the center of the room dropped and three sahuagin leaped out of the pool of water beneath it.
"We've got you now, Heyton!" one of them sneered. Another one laughed.
"Oh no," mumbled Lars. "The sahuagin found me!"
"There's no escape for you!" the third sahuagin called as he slammed the base of his spear to the ground, then charged.
The entire party had pulled their weapons and formed a wall in front of Heyton. He refused to stay behind the desk though and kept jumping into the fight.
"Now do you see what I'm up against?" he cried. "Once the sahuagin get your scent, they won't stop until you are dead!"
"Well, get back so we can protect you," snapped Kal. "Stop playing hero."
They easily dispatched the first wave of sahuagin.
"Keep coming, sahuagin scum!" Lars called out angrily. "I won't die that easily!"
"Would you be quiet?" Kal stared at him. "Are you suicidal?"
Another wave of sahuagin appeared over the edge of the pit. Heyton charged into them. Dalsamira stayed in the back, shooting a magic missle every now and then while the rest of them fought hand-to-hand to kill the sahuagin intruders.
"We might actually get through this," Lars said. "Hold for just a little longer.'
"This would be a lot easier if you'd let us handle it," Twila growled. "Just step back!"
Another wave of sahuagin appeared, this time there were more and one was significantly bigger than the others.
"Take out the big one first," called Kal who was busy casting heals on the people who were getting injured but mostly on Lars.
"We've stopped them, this time," announced Lars as the last of the invading sahuagin fell to Malut's greatsword. He looked weary. "What am I going to do now?"
"Why are you hiding here anyway?" asked Twila. "The town needs you! You just abandoned them when everything was going wrong."
"My dear, you have no idea what I've given for these villagers. These selfish, self-centered small-minded people just want me to stand between them and the sahuagin. They want me to die for them. Well, I won't. I've given up my own interests to stay here for them, even the love of my life. They've never given me a thing in return, not even respect."
"All of the villagers? What about Kaja?" asked Faith.
His angry features relaxed a little. "Kaja is a sweet girl. Her heart is pure. But she's safely off the island now, isn't she?"
"No," answered Twila. "She's here, looking for you. You didn't even tell her you were going to disappear!"
"Well, I talked to her father about sending her away, I thought he would have had the sense to do it," Heyton was annoyed. "For her own safety, she shouldn't be here."
"But isn't she the love of your life?"
"No," answered Dalsamira. "I am."
Heyton scowled at her.
"What are you doing here Dalsamira? Why aren't you in Stormreach, playing house with my half-brother?"
"Hans is dead," she answered quietly. "He died a few weeks ago."
Lars staggered back a little, shaken. "What do you mean? What happened?"
"He was on an expedition, to the mountain of Tempest Spine in the jungles of Xen'drik when he was killed by a giant who wanted an artifact he was bringing back to Stormreach," she answered, eyes cast down at the floor. "Kylea and I miss him so much."
"How is Kylea doing?" Lars asked softly.
"She's handling things well, such a mature young lady now. You really should come see her, Lars. She's manifested a dragonmark, you know."
"Yes, I heard she was a d'Cannith now."
Dalsamira shook herself a little.
"None of that is why I am here," she said firmly. "I am sorry you had to hear about Hans like this. But I am here to give you the information you need to defeat this dragon."
"What?" Heyton looked surprised. "How?"
"I know who summoned her here and who is controlling her. There is a mind flayer on Korthos!"