Sitting silently with the spray of the falls hitting him in the face Drizzt wondered if he should stay one more day. He had liked the peacefulness of the small glade that he had found. He was happier then he had ever been with his closest friends, how he relished his times of solitude, though he did miss them all the same. But, he had been gone from Mithral Hall for more then a tenday, and he had told Brunor that he would return by the next full moon, which is to night. And he knew that if he did not return his friend would go in search of him. Because Drizzt Do'Urden was never late. If he could help it.
"Well maybe I should stay, then when they come in search of me; I can greet them and share with them my glade!" He spoke aloud to himself. He stood even as he laughed at his own statement. He would go; he did not take any pleasure in the worry of his friends. With one last look back at the wondrous falls, the drow pulled his cowl up to shield his eyes from the midday sun; he headed for the path that would lead him back to the road to Mithral Hall.
He had passed through the wood that rested at the foot of Forth Peak many time to and from his home, and he was always awed by the serenity of the place. The wood was full of ancient oaks and abundant with aspens, the sight of which was breath taking to the drow ranger.
As he walked through the over grown vegetation that blocked the only entrance to the glade, he knew that places like this always reminded him that his difficult decision to leave the under dark and his people was well worth it.
The path leading to the road was dark and hide most light from the sun, another reason the drow chose to walk it, most of the goodly races would not walk it for the shadows and the thickets that would make a good spot for an ambush, and that meant that Drizzt would not be disturbed.
Relishing the silence Drizzt slowed his pace, his senses, ever alert, picked up the sound of quick feet. After a moment he heard that they were behind him. Uncertain why any one would be coming this way at this time of the day Drizzt's slender ebony hands found the hilts of his scimitars, and upon hearing the soft pads of hurried steps come closer, he whirled around, both blades coming out in a flash, and confronted his pressures.
Four men dressed in black and armed with swords of their own stood ready to face the lone drow. Their determined faces told Drizzt that they were not surprised to find the black skinned drow to be the one the meant to ambush. This in it self was a puzzle to him, but he paid no head to it. His name had floated from town to town, not many drow make there home on the surface, and befriend a dwarf king, his adopted human daughter and a Barbarian warrior. Not to mention an unassuming haling, he was well known of in these parts.
The men looked at each other stealing them selves to attack the well armed elf. And then they charged. Even though he was out numbered Drizzt fought them back once, twice and a third time. His well placed blocks and parries carried there skilled thrust well out of harms way, and he kept a firm grip on the out come of the simple battle. He would not kill them. Though they had there own purpose, and evil it may seem, Drizzt would not kill if he did not have to. But as his attempts to push them back failed, he wondered what drove them.
Pushing them hard and attacking more then defending, not to kill but to drive them off, he tried to show them that they should flee and find an easier victim. It did not work; it only caused them to push back just as much. And with four to one, Drizzt found him self giving more ground then taking it. Finally when his back pressed against a large oak, Drizzt realized that they would not take the hint. And with a feint to the right he brought Twinkle back, slicing into the lead man's gut. As he fell dead, the remaining three, flanked out. Forming a wide arc around the drow. Not one showing the slightest reaction to the sudden death of there comrade. His back against the tree, he had nowhere to go. He glared at them from under the cowl of his cloak. His eye aflame in his battle rage he growled, "What is it you want?"
The fighters looked at one another with a grin. But the answer did not come from them but from a loud snap behind them, the man in front of him ducked to one side as Drizzt saw two iron balls flying at him.
Thinking only to get out of the way of the missiles, he stepped closer to the tree allowing the balls to fly harmlessly passes him on either side. A split second later Drizzt saw his mistake. A rope attached to the end of each weight hit him in the chest slamming him in to the tree behind him. His breath knocked from his body by the force of the collision Drizzt could not get his scimitars up fast enough, so he stood helplessly as the weights swung around him and the tree a few more times. Pinning his arms to his side. He was caught.
The men relaxed in there stance as they saw there quarry defenseless. One walked up and pulled the drowse weapons from his hands.
"Now that is much better!" Came a voice from the shadows. Drizzt looked up to see a well armed woman step out of the trees. A large cross bow like weapon hung at her side. As she swaggered over to him, the elf noted her confidence; her long legs carried her proudly. She came to stand before him, as he stood silently bound to the tree. Looking him up and down the woman called back to the men.
"That was not so hard, was it?" Her voice almost purred with her confidence.
Turning back at him she bowed mocking to him. "Your legend precedes you, Drizzt Do'Urden. They thought this job might be to big the risk for the pay. And that is saying something." She laughed. He looked at her. Though her hair was a thick black and her face beautiful, Drizzt saw deadness in her black eyes that reminded him of some one he could not place.
"You seem to know of me, lady, and I have no idea who you are." Drizzt said. And again she bowed, lower this time in introduction.
"I am Rae'lani," Straighten up, "Though most know me as the Dark Raven."
Drizzt had never heard of her. And his thoughts were betrayed by his silence. Raven's eyes narrowed in her disappointment.
"What is it you want, Lady?" He asked her. He did not use her name and that again annoyed her, though she quickly put it aside.
"I have business with you this day, Drizzt Do'Urden. My patron was most generous to pay highly for you." She purred again. Stepping closer still to him.
"Who, then, might your patron be?" He said, he involuntarily wished that he could step back from her, her closeness was almost repulsive. As he thought this she came closer again, her curvaceous body coming to brush against his. The discus burned in him.
"You will find out soon enough." She whispered.
Her hand came up and pushed his hood from his head, gently she rapped her fingers in his white hair. Instinctively he pulled his head back to get free of her. Raven, apparently not used to being refused, tightened her grip in his hair, pulling his head back almost painfully. His eyes did not leave hers. Finally she let go and stepped back. Not completely away she leaned in to whisper in his ear, "No one refuses me, Drow. My patron only wants you alive. And I can think of plenty painful games to play that you will survive. I have all the time in the world!" And she turned away from him.
He let his breath out sharply. His normal visage of calm acceptance was lost with her, he did not know why she caused such an irrational repulsion in him. And he was disturbed by it. He turned his thoughts from her and looked to his bonds. He had to try to get free. He tried to twist and turn his upper body to loosen the ropes but to no avail. The ropes weights were behind him, but he still could tell that he would not be able to get free with out help. Slumping against the tree, he had only one choice. Guendhwyvar. Looking up to see if any one was looking at him directly, he saw that the group was deep in a heated conversation, he had to risk it.
Sifting his weight, he brought his right hand close the pouch at his side, taking a deep breath, if they saw him go for his pouch he knew his only chance was lost, he slowly started to untie the pouch's draw string.
"What are you doing?"
Concentrating on his task Drizzt looked up to see one of the men start to come to ward him, he had not gotten the knot untied yet. Damn! He thought. Thinking of kicking out at him to gain a second to get to the figurine, Drizzt readied himself. But the man never got there.
A hooded figure drop out of the very same tree the drow was tied to. No one was as surprised as he was of their sudden appearance. Drizzt never knew that they were there, his drow senses were high and the fact that this person was able to hide in the tree and not be detected by him was a feat in it own. But Drizzt did not questions his good fortune. Keeping his attention on his captors and the new comer, he worked at loosening the pouch.
"Well Raven, I can not say I am surprised to see you here."
And Drizzt was surprised to here another woman's voice. Apparently she was familiar with this group.
"I go where I please, Witch, and do not fallow the request of fools like you!" Said Raven in her purring manner, but Drizzt noticed her hand stray to the hilt of her sword.
Her hesitation caused the drow to pause in his work and watch. Who was this so called witch? He wondered.
"This is none of your concern." Raven continued, "So I suggest that you leave me to handle my business!" And her blade slide gleaming out of the sheath at her side.
"As touched as I am with your kind suggestion, I will have to decline, you are not to be here, so I suggest that you leave, and leave the drow as well." The witched said. Her voice rang with the tell tail sound of a smile. Though she was out numbered four to one, she appeared not at all distressed.
Raven's hesitation lasted only a moment longer, then with a glare at her enemy she whispered."The drow is mine!"
Raven motion for her men to assist her, they obeyed, reluctantly it would seem to the dark elf.
"Have it your way, then." The witch shrugged. The four attackers rushed her and Drizzt was amazed at the elegant movements and graceful skill she had. Her one blade parried and blocked the four swords almost effortlessly.
Drizzt knew that it would not last long and she was still out numbered. His resolve set he pulled the draw strings knot and was relieved that it came open. Pulling out the onyx figurine he dropped it softly on the ground.
"Come to me, Guenhwyvar." He whispered.
As the dark mist cleared, Guenhwyvar crouched low, sensing her master's distress, and at the sight of the whirl wind of blades that was the witch and her opponents, she growled softly. Not wanting to have any one of them see the panther Drizzt quickly got her attention.
"Hurry my friend, get the ropes." Guan circled the tree and came to the back, as far from her master as possible to keep from him being harmed by her attempt to free him.
With a quick swipe of her mighty claws, the ropes feel to the ground and the drow was free again.
He crouched low to the ground, and scanned the area, his sight caught what he was looking for. His scimitars lay on the ground about ten feet behind the battle. Drizzt and the cat ran silently to his weapons. Luckily it was not notice that he had escaped until he had both blades in his hands. The men looked around and saw that the drow not only was free but armed, and at there flanks.
That was too much for one man. He dropped his sword and ran in to the woods. The other two would not so blatantly displease there mistress. With caution in there steps they turned to face the drow.
His battle rage in his eyes, Drizzt could not help his smile, the two remaining men knew that the small victory that they had accomplished earlier was not about to happen again. But still they engaged the dark elf, and he had no qualms of killing them now.
Just as his blade parried off the sword of the first attack, Drizzt saw that Raven had gained the upper edge in her fight against the witch. She forced her opponent to the ground with her blade at her chest Raven stood over the witch's silent form.
"Guenhwyvar!" Drizzt called cat to the battle, but could not see the out come of her interference. For the men had both attacked fast and hard, together, forcing his attention back to them. Both scimitars flew to the defense and pushed them back again, but they were fast still, and they tried yet another double attack. This time Drizzt got Twinkle up and parried both blades. And Ice ling death slid its way through one torso then the next. Both men fell dead, to the ground.
Drizzt quickly ran to help the battle with Raven, but what he saw was not at all what he had expected. Guen and the witch were still on the ground, fighting hard to detangle them selves from each other while staring shocked at a black cloud of smoke were Raven had been.
Still several feet from the two on the ground Drizzt stared as well.
A voice, Raven's voice, floated through the cloud.
"You will not escape me, Drizzt Do'Urden, I will find you again! Until then a parting gift!" A flash of light flared from the smoke cloud. Drizzt turned from it, shielding his eyes. Then there was a sharp stinging pain in his exposed neck. He reached to feel what had caused it, as a burning sensation flowed from the prick. Once he found the cause he pulled the small dart from his neck.He looked at Guenhwyvar, and before he could say a word he felt himself start to fall. And darkness closed in on him.
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