The four blades rose and fell in harmony, perfectly matching the moves of the two combatants. The 70 centimeter long slightly curved blades wove together to create a spectacular shimmering dance of reflected light. The clang of metal on metal was alike to the sound of well tuned bells. The flutes that comprised the hilts of the four blades whistled a fast pace melody matching the guiding beat of metallic clashes.
Jalen ducked yet another fast swipe from the right aimed at his head, his blade intercepted Kinara's, ringing sweetly. He angled the curved swords so that Kinara's blade rose higher than was intended. Dropping to balance on one bent knee he snapped his leg forwards and upwards aiming for his lady's abdomen.
The agile Half-Drow quickly spun and reversed the angle of her second blade sending it jabbing for her lover's face.
The move caught Jalen by surprise, he quickly kicked his second foot from under him laying flat on his back and began rolling away, he knew that to rise without a blade leading would mean to lose the sparring match.
After two rolls he kicked his left leg to the right while on his back. The move gave him the momentum he needed to rise to his knees. both blades twirled around him as he spun blocking two blows before he even fully settled. Jalen snapped his blades again quickly forcing Kinara back a step and stood up fully. A wide smile appeared on two dark faces.
Kinara wiped her face with a delicate yet callused hand and tucked a lock of her platinum blond hair behind her ear. She stared at her handsome Half-Drow companion, how she loved him, with a passion to match the love she held for the Dark Maiden herself.
Jalen also looked deep into his companions Dark green eyes, the intensity of their relationship frightened him sometimes, he knew that they would wed soon.
The moment of tranquility stopped and the Sword-Dance began anew.
Just as Jalen felt he was regaining the upper hand the door to the practice gym opened and the high priestess Irvine entered. Both half-Drow lowered their weapons and gave a slight bow and a warm smile to their adopted "mother" and teacher.
"Hello children." She greeted them warmly, "You do Eilistraee a great honor by performing the sword dance in this manner." the old Elven priestess loved her two students very much and longed to see them wed. But that would have to wait, she thought, Eilistraee's will comes before all.
"Thank you Irvine" said Jalen, "Your kind words warm us and give us great pleasure. Our skill is nothing more than a testimony of your own prowess at teaching." The half-Drow held so much love and respect for his teacher he truly believed those words.
"Now now, Jalen don't be so modest. I think we can out fight our Lady herself by now, not even Irvine can defeat us at swordplay." Kinara was a proud fighter but the playful tone the statement was spoken in completely contradicted the boastful words.
Irvine smiled again, the child might be kidding but she was not so far off the mark.
Her two students have long surpassed her at swordplay and their unique magical abilities made them formidable to say the least. The only thing missing in the two young warriors was experience and that was about to change.
"I have come to you with a message from the high priestess herself. She has a small assignment for you." Irvine smiled for the third time at the bright sparks on the faces of her students.
"You have heard of a Drow-elf ranger by the name of Drizzt Do'Urden. The Drow in question is a ranger of a human goddess, the Dark Maiden wishes to introduce herself to him. Your job will be to travel to Mithral Hall, where this Ranger dwells from time to time, and persuade him to return to the temple here in Skullport. The arch-priestess wishes you leave today. Pack your bag and get something to eat, and children… say farewell to an old lady before you go."
"Yes lady." They said, the wild enthusiasm of youth shining in their eyes.
The young half-elves bowed again and left the gym.
"Finally!" said Kinara as they were racing to their quarters, "It has finally come, our training is complete! No more skulking in skullport. Killing priests of Vhaeraun had become most tiresome. We can finally see more of the outside world, other than the dancing circle in the forest."
"You forget my love," said Jalen as he calmly ran beside her "I have yet to see the dancing circle, and killing the serpents of Vhaeraun is never a waste of my time." Jalen's usually cheerful tone always took a darker tone when discussing the Drow good of thieves. He quickly regained his good nature and said:
"You can't say we have been stuck in the under-mountain without a breath of air. During our training we were out plenty of times, learning the secrets of tracking and living in the wild…"
"But we were always under Irvine's watchful eye!" interrupted Kinara. "You know I love her dearly but it will be good to be on our own." A quirky half-smile spread on her beautiful lips and a small shudder passed through Jalen, he smiled too. The next moment they were inside the apprentice quarters and moved into their individual rooms. With the precise moves of seasoned veterans they donned their light studded-leather armor. Jalen and Kinara created this armor together, with the aide and guidance of their adopted mother, Irvine, each piece of metal on the armor had a metal repellant enchantment on it. The spells gave the wearer the protection one would expect from full plate mail but only against metallic weapons. They both slung their short bows and a quiver of twenty arrows on their shoulders and strapped their curved blades on the special hilt crossed on their back.
Picking up the other equipment took several minutes but Jalen was out of his room in no time at all. As always he waited for Kinara for a few moments and they went to eat something.
The temple cook knew they were going out on assignment; Jalen and Kinara were among her favorites in the temple. She served them a healthy portion of stew and fresh bread. The couple ate quickly and without much talk. They took 10 days worth of supplies from the pantry, hard bread and cheese, some dried fruits and salted meat. They were both excellent trackers and hunters and those parts of north were full of bountiful game.
A few moments later they entered the chambers of Irvine Silverwand, the old gold elf female was the mistress mage of the followers of Eilistraee. Her hair flowed golden white across her shoulders, her face was smoth and ageless as most elf's, but her eyes betrayed her 4 centuries in service of the dark lady. Her Eyes were bright blue that changed hue to green and purple with the lighting, eyes full of warmth wisdom and a touch of mischief. She wore a dark blue robe that hugged her slight frame, magnificently beautiful this was not the first time kinara was stunned by the perfection of elves, as much as she loved Irvine, she always felt lessened by her presence, and ashamed of her mixed blood. And that was even more disturbing to her since it was her human mother who raised her and cared for her. Her father was a Vhaerunian raider and their meeting was one of violence and force not love and moonlight. Shaking her head Kinara walked further into her adopted mother's office, the earth colored drapes, carpet and shelves sent a warm feeling through the couple, a feeling of welcome and comfort.
"Good" said Irvine as she rose from her desk, "you wasted no time getting ready. Sit down children." She gestured towards the two black velvet armchairs facing her beautiful mahogany desk. The two half Drow sat down, barely containing their excitement.
"You bring me great joy and pride, my children." Irvine said in her warm and melodious voice. "You have trained with us for over twenty years now. I know you were angry with me for holding you close and for not allowing you to wander the realms, even in the service of Eilistraee. That will change now. When this assignment is complete you will be given free rein. Your life will be yours to lead with my blessing, and the occasional service to the Dark Maiden. I have prepared several items for you, as a parting gift. These I hope will help you in your mission and future journeys."
The aging Drow female held out two masterfully carved wands of jet black wood engraved with silver runes, and four highly decorated song-swords, sheaths in silver leather scabbards.
"Your training, unlike most in the temple, was a mix of fighting and arcane magic as opposed to the clerical magic more common to the priesthood. Your unique skill at single word casting made you perfect spell-swords and thus you were trained as such. Yet your inability to heal yourself through the grace of Eilistraee did not sit well with the Arch-priestess, she loves you two almost as much as I do." The two young fighters nodded, they knew Quile Valderon, Arch priestess and chosen of Mystra did indeed hold them in high regard. "Therefore," continued Irvine, "she herself, with the grace of our Lady Eilistraee, created these wands. They are activated by the arcane energy you can control. They each carry a charge that can heal serious injury. Also, by the grace of the Dark Maiden, you may recharge them once a night under the light of the stars or moon."
The Elf handed the wands to her students and turned back to the four beautiful song-swords.
"These," she said handing each of the warriors two blades, "where also enchanted by the Arch-priestess, with my assistance. They are known as you are known, as spell swords. They have a strong varying enchantment laid upon them. You may use them as they are, in this way the magic in them will enable them to hit better and cut deeper. You may also call upon the magic to ignite the blade, charring your enemies. The powers of lightning and ice can also be called in this manner. We give them to you with the clear knowledge that your sword dance will be brighter still while carrying these blades"
Jalen and Kinara took the slightly curved blades that so resembled their own swords and studied them with silent awe.
"The scabbards" continued Irvine "have an invisibility enchantment, you may hide the blades from sight at any time, until you choose to disable the invisibility or you draw the blade. Replace your own song-swords with these and return the old blades to the armory before you head out."
Irvine looked hard into her children's eyes and gave a soft moan of acceptance and loss.
"Do you have any questions?" she finally said.
"Yes," answered Jalen, "how can two half-Drow gain entrance to a dwarven city? Especially, one that has fought the Drow in recent history, will they not just swing axes and ask questions after no heads are left attached?"
"That is a pessimistic yet wise observation; there is no reason to put you at risk. My advice would be to try the lady Alustriel of Silverymoon. As you well know she is the sister of our Arch-Priestess, I am sure she could send an emissary to precede you or aid you in other ways."
"Yes, that will do nicely," said Kinara, her smile wide "I have wanted to see Silverymoon for a long time!"
Jalen shared those feelings too. For the longest time the quite half-Drow had wanted to see the fabled city of Silverymoon. Amazing architecture and a variety of kindly races were rare in the under mountain. For a brief moment no one spoke, their minds racing with the possibilities of the upcoming trip.
It was Irvine who broke the silence, "My children!" she said, rising and embracing the two Half Drow. "It is with a heavy heart I send you out into the wide world, remember me and return to us often."
"We will, mother." It was the first time Jalen had used that word in referring to Irvine. Though it was difficult, he knew in his heart it was right. Irvine shed a solitary tear and kissed Jalen on the forehead. She heartily embraced Kinara and whispered something in her ear that made her laugh. With a final bow the two left the office.