Epilogue

Epilogue

Drizzt struggled ineffectually with his bonds, and looked rather glumly at the four other captured elves of the patrol. Three had not woken up yet, and the other was giving their captures a blank look of shock.

The svirfneblin seemed as horrified of taking in five captives as Drizzt was of being caught by the gnomes, the evil gnomes.

They say everything else is evil. Tyrank'al's voice surfaced in his mind. Ware the teachings of the drow, for they are sometimes false.

Drizzt attempted to relax, and looked on warily as the huddled svirfneblin came to a decision. The apparent leader walked towards him.

Drizzt took a quick inventory check and realized that the dagger, the dragon dagger, was still strapped to his belt. Odd...

The dagger was powerful indeed – one small nick and a gnome died in a very horrible way – the flesh melting from the bones like wax, or abruptly catching fire – it had so horrified Drizzt that he had put it away until they summoned the elemental. The elemental had taken out some drow and knocked out these four, before he'd managed to stick the dagger into it and withdraw quickly as the elemental just changed into boiling mud.

"No magic," the deep gnome growled in the drow tongue, "Or we will kill you."

"I can't do magic..." Drizzt began, then stopped when he thought of levitation. "Mage magic, that is."

One of the gnomes whispered urgently and pointed to the dagger on Drizzt's belt. The gnome leader nodded.

"If you touch that dagger, we will kill you. A clean blow, not like what your race would do." The leader said.

"Why didn't you..." Drizzt began, then stopped. Whatever their reason, he didn't want to be the one pointing out flaws in it.

"Your dagger burned up a gnome cleric that tried to remove it." The leader said flatly. "Only drow carry such evil things."

Drizzt bit down his protest, and thought strongly of Zaknafein and Lanfaye. Nothing happened, as he had half-expected.

"What are you going to do to us?" the other drow awake asked, drawing himself up. Drizzt mentally kicked him.

"Do? We will take you to Blingdenstone for judgement." The gnome said. "And there you may die."

"May die?" the drow half stood, eyes flashing. Drizzt saw an opening, and as all the gnomes had their attention fixed on the drow, pulled his hand to the dagger.

He winced when his groping hand cut itself on the edge of the dagger – parts of the scabbards were more than threadbare. Then he gasped as something seemed to reach into him and take, and take, without giving back...

The gnomes turned around too late.

Drizzt felt something grow outside, and there was a meaty sound in the air. Black mist began to form around them, malevolent and swirling and freezing cold.

The clerics began to cast spells, voices shaking in terror.

Then Drizzt noticed this...

The thing, whatever it was, had already formed. Not around them or near the sound, but behind them, in the corridor that led into the chamber...

**

Zaknafein paced agitatedly around the meeting hall watched by several Masters of both Sorcere and Melee-Magthere.

"If the patrol's been attacked..." he muttered again.

"We can't interfere," Larama'ln said sharply, "Arach-Tinilith will surely know."

Zaknafein glared at him, but had to admit that the older mage was right. Then the Master in charge of the scrying mirror made an astonished sound, and they turned.

Zaknafein began to smile.

**

I obey thee, Master. The words seared into his soul like white-hot brands, and he felt as though he was standing on thin glass between this world and one filled with shadows and filth and the dark of dark.

"Obey?" he whispered.

Of course, Master. Do I kill the gnomes?

Drizzt looked as the gnomes were backing around in fright. The leader began to advance menacingly towards him, holding a pickaxe firmly in both hands.

Six paces away, a blue tongue of flame shot out from the corridor, engulfing the leader. Drizzt shuddered as he felt the intense heat, and shrank against the wall.

Do you wish prisoners, Master?

Drizzt thought of what the patrol would do to the gnomes. It wouldn't even do to let them go, because they'd be caught this close to Menzoberranzan... "Kill them," he said shakily, "But quickly, mind."

Very well. The resounding voice sounded vaguely petulant at the last order. The drow awake was looking at him in awe.

More flame, white-hot now, engulfed the rest of the gnomes until they were but piles of ash on the ground. Then it padded into view from the corridor.

The corridor was small, and the creature nearly filled it from top to bottom, though Drizzt had the feeling that if it wanted to, it could become larger and larger, perhaps to fill the entire cavern of Menzoberranzan itself...

The other elf gasped. The creature was a dragon, serpentine neck arched gracefully, every scale gleaming in the black of black, eyes lavender like Drizzt's very own. The leathery wings were folded neatly on its back, the skin on it also a deep black. As it walked, sparks flew as its claws contacted with the stone.

There was a silvery, magical rune burning with dull fire on its chest, but the dragon seemed unconcerned. Drizzt remembered lectures in Arach-Tinilith about dragons abruptly.

"Dragon of magic," the other drow said. The dragon turned to regard him, the lavender stare sharper than the sharpest drow sword.

Do I kill him?

"No," Drizzt said hastily.

I obey.

"Cut us loose?" Drizzt suggested. The dragon looked at him intensely.

I could make you loose. Do you require cutting?

"Whatever you like, then." Drizzt said. He was feeling awkwardly light-headed.

"Who are you talking to?" the elf asked.

He has dared to question. Do I kill him?

"No!" Drizzt said. "I'm talking to the dragon."

The dragon blinked, and the ropes fell off them in loops. Drizzt stretched his hands, then looked at the two unconscious students.

"We need to get back to the patrol..." he began.

I obey.

There was a sharp jerk in reality that nearly overturned his stomach, and his eyes watered as the world seemed to whir by, then they appeared suddenly in front of their very surprised patrol that was resting in another Underdark chamber.

Drizzt looked for the dragon. It was gone.

"Where are you?" he asked. Some of the elves looked at him as if wondering if he was mad.

I am here. I am always at your side.

Drizzt tried using his mind to speak. The dagger, then?

The tool of Summoning, it is called.

Why don't you appear to the patrol? Drizzt grinned at the elves, who were beginning to ask questions. The other elf with him was babbling answers.

Elves excite easily, Master. Would you like me to appear?

No. Drizzt told it quickly.

Then why ask, Master?

Drizzt swallowed. This was going to take some getting used to – and Zaknafein and Jarlaxle were going to have a lot of explaining to do.

**

"You can summon the dragon?" Jarlaxle repeated. "A dragon?"

"He said that already." Zak said patiently. "Do you realize this? A Dragon of Magic! They can't argue now..."

"They?" Drizzt asked. He had been given home leave for a short while, as were the others for their 'defeat' of the gnomes. The three of them were in Bregan D'aerthe HQ. Drizzt was feeling tired – and the wound on his hand was throbbing.

The both of them ignored him. "Imagine the things it can do!" Zak was saying, "It created Narbondel..."

"Narbondel?" Drizzt tried again.

They ignored him. "And helped Menzoberra to build this city..." Jarlaxle added.

"Menzoberra?" Drizzt asked. "Tell me something!"

"Shut up." Zak snapped.

"Very helpful, hah yes," Drizzt muttered. Then his eyes widened. "This is Menzoberra's Dagger?"

"Drizzt's Dagger, now," Jarlaxle corrected with a wry grin. "And are you going to have some fun wielding it."

Zaknafein gave a heartfelt chortle at Drizzt's bewildered expression. "You'd see." He said, patting Drizzt's shoulder.