LEGALITIES Drizzt Do'Urden appears without written permission of TSR and RA Salvatore no copyright infringements intended as appearance is not exploited for personal gain. It's a principle kind of thing. Yao on the other hand I did create, ditto the ferret, thinksme I shall put up a picture of him on my Elfwood gallery soon.
Page had put breakfast on the long low table in the middle of the pub and there were people sitting at it looking hungover and picking at the brown wheatcakes soaked in syrup very very carefully. There was a party of four stopping by on their way somewhere, always drifting in and out in between the seasons like dead leaves and settling slowly under the table early in the morning with Page catching the glasses that slipped from their fingers before they broke on the floor. Page liked the boys and didn't mind the occasional broken glass.
When the door opened and Drizzt came in with Yao they still didn't look up. There was a man in the corner who had had far too much and Page hadn't wanted to touch him so he had been there all night and all through the morning, and Drizzt had to step over him on his way to the other corner because that was where Drizzt had breakfast, when he ever had breakfast here. Yao looked at the man.
"I'll bet you had a party last night," he said.
"Don't bother him," Drizzt said.
"Trash," Yao said, coming to where Drizzt had sat down in one of the booths. It was a dark in there and he slung himself carelessly into the seat, but he held on to the front of his shirt as he sat down. Something chittered from inside.
"No worse trash than us."
"You shouldn't say stuff like that. You're not trash. I won't argue for myself but you're not trash."
"Sssh. Go get something to eat."
"Hold the ferret."
Yao took the animal out of his shirt front and passed it to Drizzt and then he got up to wander around the table poking at the things on the dishes to see if they would move. He was small and neat and ferret-like except that he was stockier in the body than a ferret would ever be and he was dark all over, the rich brown colour of a dark bay horse, but he moved with that curious dancing deadly grace that could look amusing sometimes to see. Drizzt looked from the boy to the real ferret that was now quiet in his lap and he tried to see how its bad leg was doing, but then something large and dark blocked out his light and he looked up. It was one of the travelling party that Page saw every now and then, a big one, scars all over his knuckles and a crusting of something disturbing his eyes.
"Hey, Mister Do'Urden," he said.
"Gu, isn't it?"
"That's right, Mister Do'Urden. You remembered me. I was here last time too, remember?"
"Sit down. Page."
"Not a problem," Page said. "How do you want your eggs? Kid?"
"Don't want eggs, Mister Page. Want to talk to Mister Do'Urden. Know any good hangover cures, Mister Do'Urden? We want to go out soon, do some important business, and none of us feel like going. S'right bother, drink. Goes in one end and won't come out till it's gone the whole round around your head 'n all."
"You should have eggs," Drizzt said. "Raw in brandy. Or water. A glass of water. Page. A glass of water and some raw eggs in brandy for Gu."
Yao came back to the table with that ferret gleam in his eyes, and Drizzt was happy that Yao's hands were doubly full from him carrying not only his own breakfast, but also Drizzt's and the ferret's.
"Get out of my seat," he said.
"Yao," Drizzt said.
"I don't like breathing in somebody else's beer that they had for dinner last night and can't sweat out some place else."
"Sit down, Yao. Sit down here. Page. Eggs for Yao."
"Scrambled, I take it," Page said from behind the counter. There was the sound of sizzling, then the smell of frying came up hot and Page opened the ventilator duct to let the soot and grease out of the kitchen. Gu put his massive hand over his face trying to wipe stuff out of his eyes.
"Need to be rid of this hangover, Mister Do'Urden. Got a great deal to settle in the afternoon."
"I'll bet," Yao said. He lunged his fork into a wheatcake, looked at Drizzt, put it down and folded his arms.
"Getting boring around here," Gu said, ignoring Yao, he always ignored the little people who were small and fiery like Yao. "Gentleman, he says he needs a favour and he'll do us really good for helping him, right?"
He said this to one of the others, Mox, the boy with the beautiful hands and the sleepy eyes, who had gotten out of his chair and come over to put his hand on Gu's shoulder. His hand was very small when you saw it on the mountain curve of Gu's shoulder, but it was like something made from ivory and carved bit by bit into the most beautiful delicate thing you had ever sen. He spoke like he was still in awe of his hands, still not used to them.
"Don't bore Mister Do'Urden," he said. "I'm sure he's hungry."
"I can spare the time," Drizzt said.
"S'right," Gu said triumphantly, beaming up at Mox. "Mister Do'Urden, he thinks it's a shame we hungover so bad, he got a trick to help us..."
"Raw eggs in brandy and eggs on toast and scrambled eggs," Page announced. He shoved part of Gu's bulk aside long enough to somehow slide the mug and plates on the table without dropping anything, and he disappeared just as suddenly. Gu was so amazed by this his mouth hung open in mid-air and his hand that was moving around stopped moving, only oscillated on the end of his wrist in a circle that was losing momentum with time.
Yao grabbed his plate and flicked Drizzt's plate around so that it landed right in front of Drizzt, who didn't take much interest in it, but then again Drizzt wasn't taking interest in anything, not even Mox who was saying, "Raw eggs and brandy is a marvellous idea, Mister Do'Urden. We'll pass it around the other two lads. Come on and help pass it around, Gu. Thank you very kindly, Mister Do'Urden, I hope he didn't bother you too much."
Somehow Mox got Gu out of the seat and away. There was a cloud, unseen, of hanging alcoholic's breath thick like bad perfume around the table. Yao used one of Drizzt's toast pieces to fan the air.
"And I'll bet he's going to have a party this afternoon," he said.
"Those four are harmless."
"You know the kind business they're in. Mercenary business. They're going to party today."
Drizzt was crumbling one piece of toast in his hand, the fingers slender like a woman's with the amazing ability to bend almost halfway to the back of his hand. It was strange to know what his delicate hand could do and then see it crumbling toast without him thinking about it, in a dingy corner of the pub with the smell of frying still drifting in from the kitchen.
"There's been enough fighting," he said.
"I wasn't thinking about a fight. I just thought it would be civic-minded to see what they're going to do."
"Kill a man. Nothing less than that would get all four of them together, here."
On the table, the ferret snickered and tried to hide underneath a piece of toast. Drizzt gently removed it and put it in Yao's lap, where it tried to get up on the table again although Drizzt had given it a piece of toast. It did not want the toast, which was slightly dry and bitter; it wanted Yao's breakfast.
"There's laws against killing people now," Yao said. He filled his spoon with scrambled eggs, milky and pale yellow, and the ferret bit the metal as it tried to swallow everything at once. "Unless it's people who deserve what's coming to them."
"Who are you, to decide that?"
At the table in the centre of the pub, Mox was leaving his seat to talk to Page, over the bar, his hands like works of art moving here and there as he gestured with them. He was talking about their credit. Page leaned heavy on the worn wood and nodded once or twice, and you noticed how very stocky and neat he looked next to Mox who was skinny with things hanging all over him, buckles and cuffs and long stringy hair. Gu and the other two boys were passing the mug with the brandy and raw eggs in it and making noises and jokes about cures. The ferret milled about excitedly in Yao's lap and he had to stuff it into his shirt front again to keep it quiet. It would nip him occasionally and impatiently, but it would never put a scratch on Drizzt.
"They've been paid to take out a loan shark," Drizzt said, and Yao remembered that Drizzt had very sharp ears, both literally and figuratively. "Someone you would say deserves what's coming to him. So you should be happy. Hurry up and finish. We need to see the supplier about food."
"That's ironic," Yao said. He could not stop looking at the party of four and the way they moved heavy and lazy, throwing jokes around but their faces not able to smile properly and fully because of where they were going afterward. He tried, but then he found that he only wanted to look at Drizzt and see if Drizzt was looking at them too. It was hard to say what Drizzt was thinking. There was no expression on Drizzt's face at all, and all you could tell was that Drizzt was not going to stop any of the four boys, and somebody was going to die.
Yao pushed his plate aside. The ferret squeaked because there was still a lot of eggs on it.
"I don't think I'll go see the supplier with you," he said. "I want to poke around the place a bit."
"It's not like I walk around with a compass looking for trouble."
"Not usually. Today you will. Today you have a reason to be a hero." Then Drizzt flinched as the door opened, the four boys going through, and sunlight bright gold and warm rushed into the pub before he was ready for it; Yao shifted a bit to one side, so that his slouching shoulders blocked the light a bit. Twisting his head very sharply, he watched Gu duck to get out of the low doorway, and then they were gone and the door was open and empty. Page went to shut it.
"I thought we're supposed to help people when we can. That's what I got off you and the way you do things. That you want to help people."
"Then you have learned something good."
"So why shouldn't we do something to stop those goons?"
"Because you don't help anyone when you're only trying to make yourself feel good. You don't care about the man that they're going to kill, you don't even know who he is."
"They're not going to do anything good," Yao said. "We have a right to put blades into people like that."
"You haven't the right to kill four boys in the name of righteousness - and you will have to kill them, if you want to stop them. Eat up. We will be late."
Drizzt got up, heading for Page at the counter to pay the bill. Yao pushed around the eggs on his plate until he heard the door creak open again, then he looked up at Drizzt standing in the doorway with the sun at his back making all of the dark elf's white hair flare bright, a halo burning around head and shoulders.
"It's the innocent people I'm worried about," Yao said.
"No one is innocent."