Don't go to Sleep

by Iliana Maura

Summary: A mysterious elf risks his life to give Drizzt a message: someone is trying to kill him. An incurable illness sweeps through Menzoberranzan, and strikes Drizzt as well. As Jarlaxle struggles to piece together the clues before time runs out, the plot thickens.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and places belong to R. A. Salvatore and WotC, except for the plot and all original characters, which belong to me.

Note: This is the revised version! I'm not using a text document, so (hopefully) my formatting will work, all of the missing scenes are here, and the typos are gone (also hopefully). If you've already read the un-edited version, I advise you read all of this one anyway, because there are some other things that have changed, such as prose and so forth.

Prologue : Inthuul Elghinn

Ivellios Amanodel thrust his slender elven frame against the chill force of the wind. Snow flew into his face, blinding him; everything was white-white and cold.

It was here somewhere, he was sure. The entrance to Mithral Hall-it had to be here! If he did find the door soon, he would freeze.

"Help!" he called, hoping someone would hear. Who would hear him? Who would be out in this blizzard? "Help!" he repeated. The words were torn from his lips and flung down the mountain.

The gold elf slipped on a patch of snow that somehow clung to the ground, despite the wind. He skidded down a few feet of slope, snow and rocks tumbling around him, and to his horror found his legs protruding into empty air. Clawing at the mountainside, searching for a handhold, his fingers sank into loose scree. For a moment, he thought the stones would not be enough, but then, after sliding a few more terror-fraught inches, he stopped falling. Shaking, he pulled himself back onto solid ground and crawled to the edge.

Looking down, he saw he had nearly fallen over the lip of a ravine. The snow blew thick and fast, obscuring his view of the bottom, but he had no doubt it was very deep. The sides looked as smooth as cut glass.

Ivellios realized there were tears in his eyes; he staggered to his feet. Was it worth all this? He might die before he could reach Drizzt Do'Urdan, and then this would all be in vain. The drow might not even be in Mithral Hall.

No, a voice inside him said. You know he is in Mithral Hall. You promised yourself you would do this, before you died. You can't give up.

The tears of frustration froze on his face, the liquid only making the wind sting his eyes worse. He limped along the rim of the gorge his muscles screaming with pain, knowing he was too close for safety, but too cold to care. He could no longer feel his his toes, face, or fingers, and found he was unable to care about that, either.

He needed to get out of the open, to find shelter-somewhere to build a fire and wait out the storm. But he realized if he stopped, he would freeze; his determination was the only thing that kept him alive.

I'm going to die, he realized. Cold finality wrapped its chill fingers around his heart. Oh, gods, I'm going to freeze up here on this wretched mountain and no one will find my corpse until the blizzard passes. It's the middle of spring, for gods' sake! Why a blizzard now

A strong gust of wind struck his side, knocking him over the edge of the gorge. As though from a great distance, he watched his feet slip off of the rock, though he could not feel them, and realized he should try to catch himself, to stop his fall. Somehow, it didn't really matter. If he was going to die up here, he may as well get it over with; at least then he wouldn't be cold.

Only he wasn't falling. Ivellios blinked in surprise, cold-numbed mind trying to figure out what had happened. He stared at his feet, and slowly realized they were standing, not on air, but on a narrow ledge of stone-the beginning of a stair that led down into the ravine, so well concealed he never would have found it.

As good a path as any, he thought, and a small ray of hope flickered in his heart; didn't the rumors say the Hall's door lay within a giant canyon? Slowly, he began his way down the stairs. It was steep and rough, made worse because he could barely see his feet, let alone feel them; but within the walls of the canyon he was sheltered from much of the wind and snow.

The path took him to the bottom of the gorge, which was strewn with huge upright monoliths. The wind whistled eerily between their towering forms, creating a keening, mournful sound. Ivellios shuddered, reminded of banshees. Once off the path, there was no refuge against its bitter bite.

He hugged the wall of the ravine, seeking shelter from the wind but finding little. The entrance was down here, he was sure-it matched every rumor or legend he had ever heard of the place. Where was it? Where was it! Oh, he was so cold!

The elf began to beat his fists against the wall in frustration, sobbing hoarsely. His legs seized up beneath him and he crumpled to the ground, still uselessly striking the stone. His hand became bruised and bloody, and he gave up, drawing his enchanted sword instead.

I can't take this anymore, he thought wildly. The pain, the nightmares.

He drew back the sword, prepared to drive it into his heart.

The hilt slammed against a wall of blue light that appeared suddenly before the gorge wall. The stone cracked and shivered, forming the clear outlines of a door, and then opened. Voices echoed from the torch-lit darkness.

Ivellios felt the world spin around him. His sword fell to the ground with a clang, and he slumped beside it.

I found it, he thought. I found Mithral Hall.

As everything went black, he felt strong dwarven hands carrying him somewhere warm.