The dwarven king started as the doors to the war room thudded open once again. He placed his head in his hands and groaned. Just when he thought he might get a little rest. "Are we under attack?" he asked, not bothering to look up at whoever wanted his attention this time. "No?" he said when there was no immediate answer. "Then go away and stop bothering me!" Cattie-Brie turned round, and glared at the pair being restrained by the barbarian. She regarded Entreri, thrashing about, trying hard to break Wulfgar's iron grip; and the still, resigned drow in his other hand. She decided that the importance of making sure that Bruenor was aware of this far outweighed the inevitable amount of grief she would get for disturbing him. She cleared her throat loudly to get the King's attention. The dwarf raised his head and peered at his adopted daughter through his weary, bloodshot eyes. As he surveyed the hall, he noticed that all his generals, normally stern and imposing figures, were staring open mouthed at something behind his daughter. She stepped quickly to the side, and winced when she saw Bruenor's expression. Drizzt blushed under the gaze of his dwarven friend, a purplish tinge showing on his cheeks. Artemis had finally realised that, if he struggled, it was a hell of a lot harder to 'preserve him modesty.
"What in Moradin's name!" bellowed Bruenor, making almost everyone in the hall jump. He bounded from his throne with a speed and youthfulness that you wouldn't have thought possible from the seemingly exhausted king.
The dwarf's gnarled hands reflexively reached for his axe, but found nothing there, yet another grim reminder of his duties as king.
Drizzt was the first to speak. "Bruenor..I..we..' he began, only to be cut off with a single glare from the enraged dwarf. "Alright everyone, get yerself's out o' here," sighed Bruenor after a few second's of 'angry stare exchanging' with Entreri. Dagnabbit (a youngish dwarven general, for those who don't know), started to protest, but gave up, and strode out of the hall accompanied by the remainder of the shell-shocked dwarves. He truly has no desire to hear or see what was coming.
Bruenor's angry glare immediately softened as the other dwarves left the room, and he turned to the four in front of him.
He motioned to the barbarian and his daughter to drag the assassin of to the side so he could converse privately with his ranger friend.
Drizzt looked up at the dwarf, standing upon the dais so that, for once, he was taller. The king looked at the drow with a great deal of concern, and asked quietly "what did he do to you? Did he, y'know.." Bruenor trailed off into silence, and looked at Drizzt pleadingly, silently praying that his suspicions were unfounded.
The drow ranger's eyes widened in confusion, and, if possible, he seemed to turn more purple when he finally discerned what his gruff friend was hinting at.
"No..he..that is...I". The king shook his head sadly, and averted his gaze to the floor, seemingly lost in thought over what to do. When he (after what seemed an eternity for the other occupants of the room) looked up, his normally placid features were tempered with rage.
"Take that dog down below and throw him into a cell," said Bruenor, gesturing at the human. The king marched over to Entreri, halting the group. He looked the assassin in the eyes, a feat only possible because of Entreri's 'hunched over' position.
"You're lucky that I'm not going to kill you right here right now. I'll let you live, til tomorrow at least." thundered the dwarf. "And a finer notch you'll never put on your axe," added Wulfgar, who hadn't quite found it in his heart to forgive the assassin for his kidnapping of Regis, a halfling friend of the group.
"No!" shouted Drizzt, eliciting shocked stares from the assembled gathering, except Entreri, who was of course, being himself, gauging whether or not he could make a break for it during the distraction.
"Would we be any better than he is if we killed him in cold blood?" asked the drow quietly, only just recovering from his recent embarrassment.
"Fine," snorted the gruff dwarf eventually. "Chuck him in a cell, even he'll have a hard job murdering a stone wall"
Cattie and Wulfgar dragged the struggling man away, through the double doors and down the hallway.
"And for Moradin's sake get him some clothes!"
The assassin leaned against the cold wall, his head in his hands, the only refuge his soul had ever known, well, save for one individual…
"Artemis!" came a voice from the deserted corridor outside, drawing the human from his reverie.
He looked up, eyes squinting in the complete blackness that surrounded him. "It's me," came the voice again. "Look, I brought you some food." A small loaf of bread and a few strips of steak were slipped through the bars of his cage on a thin metal tray.
Entreri knelt down and quickly grasped the arm of his benefactor. Feeling the cool skin under his fingers, he looked up and locked his gaze with an astonishing pair of lavender eyes, which seemed to glow faintly in the dark.
Surprised (Not a word commonly associated with the assassin), he fell backwards, causing the tray to clatter away loudly across the hard stone floor.
"Shh!' hissed the drow ranger, looking around nervously. "Someone'll hear us"
"What the hell is up with your eyes?" hissed back the man, having never noticed that particular attribute about his elf before. "Always to the point, heh, y'know that's one of the reasons I like you? Oh it's infravision by the way." said Drizzt.
The assassin could just imagine the ranger's cheeky smile.
"Sorry I didn't get the chance to greet you properly," said Drizzt, gently shrugging off the man's hold on his arm and settling down comfortably on the floor (Well as comfortable as possible). The dark elf chuckled a little to himself.
"We haven't seen each other in what, 4, no 5 tendays? You only had to wait another one and I'd have been well on my way to Nesme to visit you, and now you've gone and got yourself killed. Just because you're so damn impatient." The man snorted. Drizzt turned slightly and leant his back up against the bars For support.
"Well, can you blame me?" asked the man. "I have needs you know, not all of us are incredible dark elves." At this Drizzt really did laugh out loud.
"Is that a compliment?" smirked the drow, though he already did know the answer to that question.
"Ha, no way!" barked the assassin, eliciting more frenzied 'shhing' from the ranger.
"Well," said Drizzt, acting a little grumpy, "I'll go to you funeral, don't worry"
"Humph…" said the assassin, looking very resigned for an angry, murderous killer.
"Anyways, I'll try and talk him out of it, but y'know…" That possibility didn't even bear thinking about for Drizzt, so he pushed it aside swiftly, instead pulling Artemis's head in close for a quick kiss.
The dark elf stepped back and, true to his race, he melted away into the darkness almost immediately, leaving the assassin to ponder the night's (or was it morning's?) events. Entreri pursed his lips and leaned back against the unforgiving stone, deep in thought.
At the sound of soft footfalls receding into the distance, Cattie-Brie glanced around the corner, catching a glimpse of the ranger's back.
She slid down the fall, tears running down her cheeks and soft sobs echoing through the empty chamber.
Before she left, she stole back to the assassin's cell, and gave his sleeping form such a venomous glare that even Artemis Entreri would be proud of it.
Cattie decided on her grim course, and hurried upwards through Mithral hall, towards her adoptive father's chambers.
So, what did you think? don't worry, all will be revealed next chapter, which you can expect to see in the next few days. Sorry again for my long absence, oh yeah, don't forget to review if you liked it, and if you didn't I'll try to make sure the next bit is better.