Hey everyone, hope you enjoy this newly rewritten opening chapter. I didn't realise just how difficult it is to rewrite and edit old stuff without mucking up your reviews etc, but I shall try my best. I owe everyone who has read this story that much at least. Thank you all for your patience.
The lavender eyes scanned the horizon, as the sun rose over the peaks of the distant mountains. Even though he had spent over a decade on the surface, the sunlight still stung his eyes, a blazing inferno searing through his mind, blinding him, making him oblivious to the world.
After he had all the light his sensitive eyes could take, the drow turned and entered his room, pausing to shut the door to his balcony and almost knocking over Cattie-Brie, who had been watching him closely throughout his lonely vigil. "Cattie," he said with a smile, "It's the most beautiful thing in all the realms, is it not?" the drow turned to look out over the plains surrounding Mithral Hall .
"Not quite," she replied softly, placing her hand lightly on his arm. "You know, I've known you for so long, yet…" She placed her arm around his neck and turned to look into his eyes.
"Do you truly feel nothing for me?" she asked, eyes searching for an answer in his face, but knowing all along in her heart what he would say. "It's not that I don't..." he began.
"Don't say it," she replied, "I know you don't love me," the young woman removed her hands from him, took a step back and looked him up and down, scrutinising the elf that she loved so dearly.
I do feel for her, but it is not love, I think. How do I say this? What about Wulfgar? It would crush him for me to take up with her, yet she is my friend...
"Cattie," he sighed. "I truly am sorry; I just think that you deserve someone better. Do you truly believe that I'll settle down here, spend the rest of my life in these halls? Even now, I can feel the lure of the wild calling me out, to my home."
"Where is home for a drow, other than the cities of your kin?" she asked him sceptically.
"Would you rather return to the sure death of your home, than spend time with me here? Am I truly that meaningless?"
"No, of course not, but Menzoberranzan was not me home, nor will it ever be." replied the renegade drow. Out there, there are many places I wish to see, many things I wish to do before..."
"None of those things would even be hampered by the colour of your skin, then?" She asked.
Drizzt knew the truth in her words, yet he still felt the desire to try to see more of the varied realms.
Mooshie encouraged me to seek out my own place, and my duties as a ranger bind me to protect the people of these lands, yet can I truly forsake my friends, and venture off into the wilderness alone, never to see them again? For I know that I lie to myself when I talk of settling down.
"Power to you, Drizzt Do'urden," she said, realizing that the drow could not be dissuaded from his chosen course in life, that of a wanderer. "Just remember," she said, raising a hand to his cheek. "You will always have a home wherever you go, and that is in the hearts of your friends." The drow turned his head away, to look over the sunrise again.
Cattie-Brie stopped her hand short of his face, dropping it back to her side. She turned to leave, but stopped at his door. "I just wish you would let me have my home in your heart." She closed the door quietly behind her, and Drizzt slumped onto his bed, breathing a heavy sigh of relief. He lay back, staring up at the ornately carved dwarven ceiling. He had much to think about.
Later that morning, a firm knock on the dark elf's door woke him from his reverie.
The ebony skinned elf rolled off of his bed, and pulled on his shirt and leggings.
Belting on Icingdeath and Twinkle, he strode to his door and pulled it open, already readying an apology for Cattie-Brie, and his harsh treatment of her, though he knew he was just in his reasoning.
"Oh, Bruenor," said Drizzt, recognizing his closest friend and comrade throughout many battles. "Who were ye expectin', elf?" replied the gruff dwarf, by way of greeting.
"No one in particular," said the drow, casting thoughts of the earlier morning's argument away. "So do what do I owe the honour of a visit from his highness, the almighty king of Mithral Hall?"
Bruenor blushed, a rare act for such a stoic person. "I still don't know why ye must always mock me title, ye damned drow..." he said with a smile, feigning anger as always.
"Listen," said the dwarven king. Drizzt beckoned Bruenor into his room, sitting back onto his bed. "Earlier this morning', coupla dwarves we had in from Mirabar were telling me of tales they heard of some of the guards from the less prosperous areas of Mirabar being murdered by an unknown assailant."
"Do you wish for me to go and hunt down the murderer?" asked the drow, obviously concerned for the people in the city.
"Wait a moment and listen, Drizzt." said the dwarf. The dwarf's use of his name rather than the usual "elf" or "damned drow" caught Drizzt's attention even more than the urgent tone in the dwarven king's voice. Seeing that the drow was now sitting up, looking at Bruenor curiously, the dwarf decided he would continue. "The thing about the killings, is that all 4 of the victims have had their throats cut."
"Nothing too unusual about that, even in a prosperous city such as Mirabar," said the elf, relaxing again. "Are ye gonna let me finish?" asked Bruenor. Seeing the elf's amused expression, he kept on going. "When the last guy was killed, well, the Axe almost got the killer." said the king, shifting about uncomfortably.
"Almost?" said Drizzt, sitting up immediately, knowing full well that an opponent who could evade a patrol of the famous Axe of Mirabar would be no normal thief or assassin. "The Axe recovered the murder weapon, a jeweled dagger, left in the throat of the guard, who had appeared to not have been surprised by his death, so there must have been a confrontation." said Bruenor. Thoughts of a jeweled dagger brought back dark memories, and the scar on the drow's back twinged painfully.
"Do the Axe still have the dagger?" asked Drizzt, thinking to travel to Mirabar and inspect the weapon for himself, to make sure that what he suspected was not true.
"Well…eh...no." said the dwarven king "The men of the patrol who recovered it disappeared from their beds along with the dagger. The entire city is in uproar, the watch has been doubled and there is talk of a curfew."
"It's him, isn't it?" asked the drow, resting his head in his hands.
"We don't know for sure, but I would think that ye should be watchin' yer back more carefully, drow." said the King, rising from his friend's bed and striding to the door.
"Yet more problems," sighed the drow, flopping back onto his bed for the second time that day."
"What do ye mean more?" enquired Bruenor, turning back to look at the elf.
"Nothing important, friend," replied Drizzt. "And thanks for the warning, though I doubt that there will be any trouble, no matter who it is."
"Humph," said the king, turning to leave, knowing that Drizzt would be open with him when the time was right, and he left, leaving his ranger friend to his thoughts.
The assassin trudged through the darkened streets of the city, trained eyes automatically scanning the numerous alleys and turn-offs for sign of an approaching watchman, or a concealed attacker.
As if there is anyone who would dare to attack me, or even stand a chance against my blades, except one...
The cloaked man shook his head, as if to dislodge thoughts of the dark elf, whose face seemed to occupy most of the assassin's thoughts of late.
Then it was decided then, he would head for the ancient dwarven hall, and take his vengeance upon all those who had ruined his previous "arrangement" with Pasha Pook, the infamous leader of Calimport's thieves guild.
Hearing a splash from behind him, the man swiveled and ducked behind a street corner, right into the face of an approaching watchman. "You there!" he called
Damn it! That blasted elf, making him drop his guard!
"Halt!" called the watchman again. The assassin moved like lighting, his sword and dagger appearing simultaneously in his hands. He began to advance menacingly on the guard.
The watchman held his ground, failing to see his own death incarnate in the assassin's eyes.
Half an hour later, a lone figure dressed in the half-plate mail and red leggings of the city watch left the city by the west gate, heading towards Mithral Hall, and his true foe.
The assassin entered the dwarven fortress a lot more easily than he expected, though he had a strange desire not to kill every lax dwarven guard on his way.
He made it all the way through into the quarters, using the famous ruby pendant to convince a passing dwarf that telling him where Drizzt Do'urden slept was of the utmost importance.
The man moved into the drow's room, eyes, roving for traps or an ambush.
Instead, his eyes jumped to the sleeping form of his enemy, curled up on top of his bed, smooth ebony skin flat against the white silken sheets. The assassin felt a slight involuntary tightening of his lower regions. He wasn't sure if it was the fact that he enjoyed have so much power over the defenseless dark elf, or something else.
To be honest, he didn't really care.
Damn the drow again, and damn my needs.
The assassin approached the sleeping elf, unsheathing his dagger. He raised it above his head to kill his most hated foe, but found he couldn't. He replaced it at his hip, and watched the drow's chest move up and down in a slow motion. The man couldn't deny the fact that he was sorely tempted to pounce upon the elf's sleeping form, and have his way with Drizzt, yet Drizzt was his foe, his nemesis. The man plunged the dagger into the wooden post of the drow's bed in anger, and stalked from the room, to find a place to hide and rest, for the confrontation he knew was coming.
Ha! You didn't honestly think I would write lemon in the first chapter, did you?