The Beginning of Something Different

Chapter Two

It was a long day of digging and finding the dead for Entreri, but it kept him busy. Jasmal, in such a state as she was, no longer helped but watched, silent tears streaming unchecked down her face. He didn't feel anything, but a need to finish what he was doing, and in such a city as would take quite a while.

In the time since he had found Jasmal to the time night began to fall and the chill of the desert's dark hours began to descend, he had a growing pile of dead and no shelter big enough to fit in that would keep them warm from the coming cold.

Shivering slightly, he looked towards the girl, only to see her shaking in her day clothing. They would need warm clothing and good shelter, perhaps a still-standing fireplace to warm up.

Walking back over to Jasmal, he beckoned her to follow him and turned around, walking in the opposite direction. While she was most probably unsure at the thought of where he was leading her to, he could tell the young lass was following him as her footsteps were quite loud and echoed in the ruins of the city.

They walked for a while, the sun fully disappearing and the cold beginning to seep in. For the most part, Entreri could ignore it, for he had lived with it for quite a while, but the girl was young yet and would still dress warmly and snugly during the nights.

"C-cold," Jasmal said with a stutter behind him. Turning slightly to look at the girl, he noted that she was shivering continuously now and was hugging her arms around her body trying to get warm.

With a slight sigh, he waited until she was standing in front of him, before picking her up off the ground and held her close. Perhaps she would survive the night, which would undoubtedly get colder, if he shared his body heat with her.

He wasn't thrilled with the thought, as he didn't much like being touched, and it had been so long since he had been held in a hug that he didn't even know if he was doing it correctly. Still, the girl seemed comfortable enough, laying her head against his shoulder and keeping it there.

It was decidedly uncomfortable for him, but he didn't feel much like being the only one alive in the destroyed Calimport, he had spent the past few years since escaping the Underdark alone and he was wanting company. A feeling that was foreign to him, much like the way he was being with Jasmal in his arms.

The small breaths of the girl against his neck held a little comfort and he knew he had to find shelter soon. While he would survive a night in the ruins the lass didn't stand a chance. She barely had any muscle or fat to keep her warm.

The streets were eerily quiet and, while knowing that it was likely that he and the girl were the only human survivors, he still expected to hear the bark of an unruly dog, or the sound of people inside their houses getting on with their lives. Lives that had been taken away a whole lot slower than he would normally kill someone.

He would also never kill anyone who was undoubtedly innocent of the crimes he had been trialed for. Unless, of course, they truly annoyed him. Yet the thought of all this death made him shiver, and not from the cold.

The small arms of Jasmal wrapped themselves tighter about him as she must have thought he was cold. The arms were getting dangerously close to strangling him now. With as much patience as he could muster under the circumstances, he loosened the grip to something he was more comfortable with. Her arms now wrapped under his arms and away from his neck. Jasmal didn't seem to mind.

About to give up on the search for shelter big enough in the rubble for the both of them, he turned down one alley that led to the richer homes.

"Look!" cried out Jasmal, yelling the word in his ear. He almost dropped her in his surprise over hearing the sudden voice, before he noted the excitement under the cold stuttering.

Turning about, he instantly saw what the girl was excited about. Standing proudly was the arched dome that had once topped a church. Quickly walking towards it, he recognised the symbol that would be on four separate parts of the dome. It was one of the small churches to Sune. One of the open ones that usually made Entreri's lip curl in disgust. It wasn't so much beautiful like most temples to the Goddess, but rather...erotic.

Today though, he could forget the goings on that usually happened under that dome, as it was the perfect spot for shelter...if they could get under it now the pillars that usually held it up seemed to have been swept away by a tail swipe from the now deceased dragon.

Reaching the building, he walked around its perimeter, pleased to find that there was one side with an opening big enough for him to walk through while holding the girl. To his ultimate surprise, there were people inside. Two halflings and two humans were huddled about a fire, off in one corner, as if keeping watch over the opening was an elf.

All turned to look at him as he entered, all raising to their feet but whether out of welcome or threat, he couldn't tell in the bad lighting.

"Greetings, and what pray tell are your names?" he asked, trying to diffuse the sudden tension under the dome.

The two halflings sat back down, before answering him. "Im Tori," said the female, the male then smiled and said, "My name is Jori."

Entreri nodded to them both, glad somewhat that he didn't have to resort to violence just yet.

The elf shifted position slightly, and Entreri noted the elf's body was that of a female. He hadn't noticed until that second, not that it truly mattered what sex the elf was. She stayed quiet, instead she glanced at the two humans sitting by the fire, waiting for them to continue before answering herself.

"Amilia," the human female answered, leaning against the man.

The male then nodded his head slightly, before draping an arm around Amilia. "Lindan," he stated, before turning to the woman beside him and initiating a kiss that would make Sune proud.

Entreri ignored that to the best of his ability and looked towards the elf. "Individual," she said, stepping away from the wall and towards the fire.

A smirk on his face, he inclined his head. "Interesting name. Somehow I doubt it is your true one, but if you want to be that different, then by all means..."

"And what is your name, stranger!" she asked, crossing her arms underneath her chest.

With a small bow he stated his name in its entirety, something he had not done since he had been a boy. "My name? Artemis Entreri. Perhaps you have heard of me?"

Amazingly enough, only the two halflings had heard of him. The two humans it seemed weren't from here and had just been visiting the city for a holiday of sorts...and the elf was new to the city herself.

Tori sqeaked out loud, while Jori's eyes widened at his admission. " left! Its been years since you were last here..." stated Jori, before his eyes narrowed, "How do we know you truly are..."

The rest of his sentence was cut off as Entreri, careful of the child still in his arms, drew his bejeweled dagger. The halfling seemed to believe him after that, slowly backing up to hide behind the other of his kind.

"As to where I have been, perhaps the other blade I carry will give you a clue, it is dark enough in here and night has fallen..." with that said, he drew the long sword and displayed it to all at the fire. It was, naturally, a finely crafted blade made of adamantium, something the elf recognised.

"Where did you get such a fine blade?" she asked him, staring at the fine weapon with open awe in her eyes.

"I took it off the dead drow it used to belong to. Of course, we had stopped being followed after a nasty incident involving destroying a high chapel to Lloth while a ceremony was being held and were running for our lives...but I managed to kill some of the bastards and took the best sword left to me."

It had been the last time he had ever worked with Drizzt Do'Urden, and hopefully the last time. If he was truly lucky, perhaps no one would ever mention that name in his prescence again! While his obsession with killing that damnable drow was now gone, he still hated the ranger. He doubted that would ever change.

"Drow?" came the small voice of Jasmal, muffled by her saying that word against his shoulder. "What is a drow?"

The other five laughed. Glaring at them, he took the girl and stepped back from the others and back outside. The night was now fully upon them and the wind that burnt during the day was now bitingly cold. He turned the girl about so she was looking at his face.

"Drow are very bad, and I don't want you to ever go near one. They are called dark elves also. Skin as dark as pitch, and hair as white as the Northern snows."

Jasmal clung to him then, and he couldn't for the life of him remove her hands from his person. She seemed to be as strong as a giant. He noted a bit late that it must be because she was scared.

Sighing at the thought of another clinging to him, he walked back under the dome and sat beside the human female, close to the fire, hoping that the shivering Jasmal was doing would eventually stop.

"Is she your daughter?" Amilia asked, looking at the small girl in his arms. "Hey sweety."

"She is not. I found her under a pile of rubble," he answered, hoping no more questions were asked. He might as well have been wishing for the demolished city to fix itself and all the dead buried be brought back to life.

"What's your name, honey," the woman asked, this time directing her question to the child. She just buried herself further into his arms.

"Jasmal," he answered, his voice a low growl as the irritation he was feeling began to seep through into his expression.

"Noo need to get angry now, gorgeous. I merely just wanted her name."

He looked at her and if looks could kill, a dozen daggers would have impaled the annoying woman. "I do not think you will live much longer if you keep calling me gorgeous," he stated, looking her in the eyes.

She seemed to wilt under his glare, before lowering her gaze to her lap, wrapping the arms of Lindan around her as if to keep herself warm.

"There has been enough death in this place. It is beginning to reek strongly of it," Individual stated, moving closer to the fire, her clothing shown to him now as a dark blue wizards robe. He didn't like wizards.

He couldn't help but agree with her. Dropping the subject, he turned his head the other way and spotted the two halflings watching him.

Shaking his head, he stood back up, shifting Jasmal into a more comfortable position in his arms, before walking over to where some discarded throw pillows were, making a bed out of them and laying down.

The girl didn't let go the entire time. What confused him more than anything though and made him even more uncomfortable, was the fact that he had made noo move to even try and dislodge the lass.

He fell into his customary light sleep for the first time in a very long while content.

A/N - Yes, another chapter of this story is up! Thanks go to all those who reviewed the first. And no, I have never watched an episode of InuYasha, so don't really know if I am running along those lines.

Hope you don't mind so many new characters being introduced...and the name Individual is strange, I am aware of that.