Basic Explanation and Standard Disclaimer:

This is a fanfic. Hence, unfortunately Zak and the Realms do not belong to me. As much as I adore R.A. Salvatore and horde his books, I cannot match his skill in describing battles. Despite that, I wanted to try and write out a story about Zaknafein. After all the promises and preludes were made, with the expectation that Zak would be returning, and Wulfgar came back instead I was rather ticked. In order to rectify this wrong, what follows is my attempt at resurrecting Zaknafein and having my way with him. I can't promise that it's stellar, but it contains no Mary Sues or self-insertions and I've attempted to stay as close to character as possible.

The following is a short recap of what happened in Exile, in the final battle between Zaknafein and Drizzt. If you haven't read the book it and it doesn't seem to make sense and I'd highly suggest skipping it. Without the context it's difficult to explain exactly what's going on. Still, I tried. Hopefully you will get some enjoyment out of this fanfic. Enjoy!

Standard inspirational song which seems to be mandatory to post with a fanfic:

"I've seen the terrible hand of struggle I've felt the pain that hubris brings I have tasted the wisdom of divinity And the horrors of it sting

And though they tell you I am lost And their words report my death is come The fates have left me breathing still Very much alive

And though my mind is cut by battles fought so long ago I return victorious, I am coming home And though the path that I have followed Hath tread against the flow, There is no need for sorrow I am coming home"

Cruxshadows – Return (Coming Home)


This is not how it was supposed to end.

These words rang through Zaknafein Do'Urden's mind as he tried to block out the sound of weapons and the shouting that was going on around him. He had assumed that it had come to an end years before when his son, Drizzt had escaped Menzoberranzan and the cruel machinations of the drow city they'd both grown up in. It was then that Zaknafein, former weapons- master of House Do'Urden and Drizzt's biological father had given up his life as a sacrifice to Lloth so that his son might live and find a way to escape the hell that they'd both lived in. At that time Zaknafein had given up his life peacefully, content in the fact that with his sacrifice he was making it possible for Drizzt to survive and to become something more than just another pawn in Lloth's dark and twisted game.
If Zaknafein had known what the future had held, he would have gone fighting in an attempt to take Malice to her grave with him despite her threats. Anything to prevent the horror that he was watching happen now.

Malice had decided that her rebellious son had to be punished for his actions and so had demanded one of the highest and most draining gifts of Lloth. The ritual had restored Zaknafein's body and returned his skills, memories and spirit to his body. However, his body and his skills remained under Malice's control while his spirit could only watch with helpless frustration as the newly created spirit-wraith was sent out to find and kill Drizzt Do'Urden.

When the spirit-wraith had been created, Zakanafein had not entirely understood what was going on, only that his soul had been wrested from its resting place and that for some unknown reason he was now a spectator to his own actions. It was only when Malice had given him his horrible mission and referred to him as what he now was that he truly understood what had happened to him. Since that time he had tried to fight against Malice's control many, many times in order to regain control of his body and to end this cruel course, but each time his attempts had proven fruitless.

Malice Do'Urden, the matron mother of his house and his former consort controlled his body now, as she had since she'd restored his body and made him a spirit-wraith. For months now, his soul had been pushed to the side and made to watch as the hunt continued and he killed time and time again due to Malice's frustration and lust for violence. Everything had been given for this moment. Despite the fact that he knew what was happening and that he was helpless to prevent it, he found himself battling violently against Malice's will in a desperate attempt to regain his body.

Sword clashed against Scimitar as the two dark forms fought, and Zaknafein watched in horror as his body moved against his will to hack at his son. Behind him lay a Hook Horror and a gnome, Drizzt's companions no doubt. The Hook Horror was dead, and Zak had no doubt that after he killed his son, Malice would ensure that he killed the gnome as well.

Unable to do anything but watch, Zaknafein wept in despair and cursed Lloth's existence even as Drizzt cursed at him. He was a damned thing, a pawn in life and now in undeath as well. Unable to do anything but to battle against Malice's will he fought her as violently as his son fought him, trying to find some chink in the Lloth-granted powers she'd been given.

The battle continued as Drizzt flung himself at Zaknafein in a rage, scimitars up high. Zaknafein countered the foolish attack with an ease that he loathed, and working the other drow's weapons up high, then driving into a double-thrust low, a move that they'd often practiced together as Zak proudly trained his son to follow in his footsteps. Drizzt concentrated on the move, his lavender eyes burning with an inner fire as he parried in a cross-down position that pinned both of Zaknafein's swords. He followed up the move by putting his booted foot between the scimitar hilts and kicking at Zaknafein's face. The spirit-wraith moved it's head out of the way long before the blade reached it, a secret counter that only Zaknafein could possibly have known.

Drizzt's eyes went wide with astonishment. "You are Zaknafein!" he cried, "What has Malice done to you?"

For a brief moment Zak overpowered Malice's will, and he struggled to explain what was happening, and that Drizzt must kill him else he would never be free of Malice's grasp. The moment was too brief though, and he found himself thrown back from control, a helpless spectator once more.

Zaknafein watched as Drizzt's eyes suddenly filled with hope and the realization that he was still somewhere within the spirit-wraith's body. The drow shouted to his ally what was going on, then launched into a training routine that he'd practiced with Zaknafein many times before. Zaknafein's heart ached at his son's courage and flawless performance, even as he wanted to yell at him for his foolishness. As a gap opened, the spirit-wraith hacked at Drizzt's side and Zaknafein grimaced.

The only deity he'd known in his life had been the false goddess Lloth, who had twisted and perverted the people of his city, turning them into malicious things whose only desire was for more power. Despite that, Zaknafein sent out a silent plea to whatever god might be listening for some form of deliverance from this nightmare.
Dimly, he heard Drizzt pleading for him to understand what was going on, but Malice was firmly in control and he could give the young drow no words of comfort.

The battle continued, and now Drizzt looked worried. He would tire eventually, Zaknafein knew, and that was when he would get careless and the killing blow would fall. As an undead animation, his body felt no fatigue, and the slashes across his neck and belly that Drizzt had scored neither neither pained him nor hindered him in any way. Aside from destroying his body, there was no way that Drizzt could end this fight. He would die.

Even as he thought this, Drizzt slipped on a loose stone and went down to one knee. The spirit-wraith drove his swords forward pitilessly, and soon had the drow on his back, only inches away from the lake of acid that filled the area below this particular cave. He heard the gnome scream out Drizzt's name, even as his swords readied themselves for the final blow.
Suddenly, he felt a surge of power not entirely his own come over him, strong enough for him to pull back and to hold in the killing blow. Drizzt seized the opportunity and punched out with a scimitar hilt, driving the spirit-wraith backward and he regained his footing.

"Zaknafein!" Drizzt called.

"Driz-" Zaknafein struggled to reply, but Malice gained control again and the spirit-wraith attacked, swords leading the way.

No! Zaknafein screamed in desperation, though no one heard the words. Please ... I'll do anything, just let this nightmare end.

In front of him, Drizzt slipped his scimitars back into his sheaths.

Zaknafein struggled to take control again as the spirit-wraith cut into the air with his swords in anticipation of the coming battle.

You know what needs to be done, a female voice assured him. He felt the same rush of power come to him again, this time accompanied with an image of what was going to happen if he didn't act.

I do, and I will. Thank you, whoever you are.

His body once more his own, Zaknafein brought the swords down to rest at his side.

"Drizzt." He re-sheathed his swords against Malice's will and Drizzt's eyes brightened with relief and joy as he started towards him. As much as he wanted to embrace Drizzt and express everything that he was feeling at the moment, Zaknafein put up a hand to stop him.

"No." He explained. "I do not know how long I can resist. The body is hers, I fear –"

"Then you are-?" Drizzt began, and then stopped in confusion.

"I am dead." Zaknafein said bluntly. "At peace, be assured. Malice has repaired my body for her own vile purposes." The part about being at peace was a lie, of course, but it was something that Drizzt needed to hear, and something that he had the feeling would be coming soon.

"But you defeated her," Drizzt argued. "We are together again."

"A temporary stay, no more." Zaknafein said. As he spoke, Malice wrested some of his power from him and one of his hands shot to the hilt of his sword. He snarled and fought against her will, and gradually managed to bring his hand away from the weapon again.

"She is coming back, my son. That one is always coming back!" Much as he wished it to be otherwise, he knew that there was no way that he could possibly win in a battle against Malice. This body was Lloth constructed, and the spider queen would have it back, regardless of how he might wish otherwise. Even if he'd doubted it when the goddess who'd taken pity on him had first informed him of the fact, the degree to which he was struggling, even now reaffirmed that in a way he could not deny.

"I cannot bear to lose you again," Drizzt said. "When I saw you in the illithid cavern-"

"It was not me that you saw," Zaknafein explained, as he attempted to explain to Drizzt what he now was. "It was the zombie of Malice's evil will. I am gone, my son. I have been gone for many years."

"You are here." Drizzt argued, a stubborn light showing in his eyes.

"By Malice's will, not ... my own." At the mention of her name, Malice fought once more to gain control and Zaknafein growled as he fought her off. It took longer this time to fight her off, and he knew that his time was fleeting.

He took a long look at his son, noting the physical changes and remembering the changes in his fighting style. Drizzt had come a long way from who he was when they'd last met, and he was easily now Zaknafein's equal or better.

"You fight well," He said at last. "Better than I had ever imagined. That is good, and it is good that you had the courage to run –" Malice fought for control again, and Zaknafein fell silent as he fought to regain control again. This time, he felt the separation between his body and his spirit, and watched as his hands went to the swords once more. This time, both came flashing out, ready and in a guard position.

"No!" Drizzt pleaded as tears began to form in his lavender eyes. "Fight her."

"I ... cannot." Zaknafein replied. "Flee from this place, Drizzt. Flee to the very ... ends of the world! Malice will never forgive. She ... will never stop-"

Zaknafein lost control again and the spirit-wraith leapt forward. This time Drizzt had no choice but to draw his weapons. Refusing to allow the combat to continue, knowing that he wouldn't win another time, Zaknafein jerked to the side before he reached Drizzt.

"For us!" Zak cried in victory as he fell towards the lake of acid. Malice's hold on him was destroyed as he hit the acid and his body dissolved. Rationally, Zaknafein knew that he should be panicked. As the last of his body was destroyed though, he felt an incredible sense of release and relief. Regardless of what happened next, he was completely free from Malice's grasp.

As oblivion loomed ahead, Zaknafein embraced it and all that came with it. For the first time in his existence, he was completely free. It was a beautiful feeling.