Disclaimer: Neither the characters nor the places in this story belong to me; and I don´t make any money with this.
Such a strange name. A human name. When I first heard it, I found it just as ugly as any other human name. And when I first saw the man who bore it, I found him just as repulsive as any other human.
I remember clearly the first sight I got of him, in one of Rai´guy´s scrying pools. We did not like Jarlaxle´s idea of expanding to the surface, nor did we like to spend our time searching for this Artemis Entreri, a human fighter and assassin with whom Jarlaxle had worked several years ago, when he and Vierna had tried to find Drizzt Do´Urden - Entreri´s archenemy, as we were told. Our leader obviously liked this human - I have never come to understand Jarlaxle´s whims - and he praised his intelligence and skill. Thus he thought Entreri would be the perfect partner for his ambitious plans.
Rai´guy found the assassin some days before the human returned to Calimport, in a little village on the road where he had rented a room for the night. He looked neater and cleaner than a week later in Calimport and at our first meetings, but I - and Rai´guy as well - found him nonetheless repulsive. He was slender by human standards, but to my drow eyes, he was too stoutly built, too brutish. His face was clean-shaven, but I could see the black stubble on his cheeks and I didn´t even want to know how rough they would feel. The slightly tanned skin, not as smooth as a drow´s, but covered with soft short hair on his arms - and probably on his legs and chest as well -, the harsh features, the slender, but calloused hands - I was disgusted.
The next impressions I got from this man who was to be our partner (even though he didn´t know about it at the time) forced me to respect him as a fighter, but nothing more. Again in a scrying pool, Jarlaxle, Rai´guy and I watched Entreri´s flight and battle against some enemies he had made among the powerful guilds in Calimport. I had to admit that I was impressed - Entreri was indeed a consummate warrior, better than most drow I had seen, and as quick, dexterous and nimble as any of my kin. Even I, not a fighter myself and certainly no expert in this domain, recognised his extraordinary skill. And he was cunning, outthinking his enemis as well as he could outfight them. Yes, if we were obligated to work with humans - something I still didn´t want to do - Entreri was probably the best choice.
After that ... I cannot explain very well what happened next, and when exactly. I know that my distaste for him was, at the beginning, genuine. I was disgusted by his scruffy looks, by the untended beard that had grown in his face, by his deep, harsh voice, by his smell, by his self-confidence, by his insufficient ability to speak our language, by the way he looked at me and my kin ... He hated drow, as clearly as I hated - and still hate - humans. And somehow, he feared me, me and Rai´guy, but I was even disgusted by the way he dealt with this fear - he stayed so ultimately calm, so composed, so ... in control.
He was so much like a drow, and maybe that´s what offended me. Rai´guy said this once to Jarlaxle - "He thinks like a drow" -, and it was the only compliment one of us ever paid him. But I believe now that he might have erred, at least partially - yes, Entreri often thought like a drow, he fought like a drow, and yet, he was far more complex than most drow. I could understand my kind - their motives, their goals - but I could not understand Artemis Entreri. I did not understand what he wanted, what he hoped, what he feared ... I did not find out what had made this human act and think like a drow. I did not know what had made him the man he was.
Maybe that is what fascinated me more and more. I could not see through the mystery that was Artemis Entreri. There was something about him that preoccupied me, that made me wake up at night and think about him, that made me stare at him so long that he came to believe that I hated him even more than other humans.
Until today, I cannot discern where this neutral, nearly scientifical curiosity and fascination turned into more, where my taunts and insults lost their sincerity and became a way to mask my feelings. At first, I didn´t understand myself what happened. I, a psionicist, a master of the mind, first failed to see through another man, and then failed to recognise my own thoughts. Emotions are weakness, I told myself when I finally realised what happened to me, but this rational admonition did little to stop it.
Slowly, I came to see his beauty: the beauty of this perfectly muscled body, of his gracious, powerful movements, of his angular features - as harsh as they were -, of this black, well-trimmed goatee he wore later ... even the beauty of those grey, hard eyes, because I saw that there was so much more behind these seemingly lifeless orbs - there was depth, intelligence, a mind and will of iron, a complicated, intriguing personality, and a tumultuous mixture of memories, motives, goals.
I came to recognise his cunningness, to appreciate his ideas, to respect his mind as much as I admired his body - when he lured Jarlaxle to the oasis, only to get this sword and gauntlet (which he needed, ironically, to protect himself from Rai´guy and me).
But most of all, I came to desire him because of his skill with the blades: I am drow, I have seen many great warriors - but none of them fascinated me as much as Artemis Entreri. One might object that he is not the best fighter - I saw with my own eyes how Drizzt Do´Urden defeated him, even if it was very close -, but Entreri was not only efficient. Most great warriors are somehow beautiful when they fight - certainly, Drizzt Do´Urden whirling his scimitars is beautiful and impressive - but Artemis Entreri working his sword and dagger with ultimate perfection is more than only beautiful - it´s erotic.
There, I said it. Erotic. That resumes pretty much how I thought of Entreri after some time. I imagined touching him when I bedded Rai´guy, I wondered suddenly how these stubbly cheeks felt, what it would be like to lie under this muscular body ... When I stared at him now, it was not out of disgust or curiosity anymore, but out of desire, because I could not stop looking at him, because I wanted to devour him with my eyes if I couldn´t touch him.
Why didn´t I tell him? After all, I can say honestly that I am handsome, and most men I desired shared that opinion. Maybe Artemis Entreri would have shared it as well. Maybe his hatred was as much a mask as mine. Maybe he, who despised drow, desired a drow, just as I, who despised humans, desired a human.
I doubt it. I don´t even know if Entreri favours women or men. But even if he had desired me, he would never have slept with me. He´s too suspicious, too cautious to relax in the arms of a drow who seemingly hates him, and unlike me, he doesn´t have any psionic defences he can hold up while being naked and seemingly helpless. No, he would have refused, or even tried to kill me for offending him in such an importunate way.
Why didn´t I just take what I wanted? Before he obtained Charon´s Claw, I could have overwhelmed him easily, and even after, Rai´guy and I might have found a way (and I´m sure Rai´guy wouldn´t have said no if I had asked him for help). Yes, Jarlaxle favoured and protected him, but I could also have found a way to elude this problem. But I didn´t want to force Entreri into my bed, I didn´t want to rape him, holding him down with some spell or shackle, destroying this perfect body, breaking this perfect mind. I did want him to give in to me, enjoy me, just as Rai´guy enjoyed me.
But I knew he would never do that. And so I remained silent. Towards him, towards Rai´guy, towards Jarlaxle. I doubt that any of them, as cunning as they all are, ever learned of it. It is my secret, my weakness, my failure. I continued to pretend that I hated him, I took every chance to humiliate and insult him - the only way to show him any emotion at all, the only way to punish him for what he did, unknowingly, to me. Sometimes I fantasised about torturing him, slapping him, yelling at him, burning this beautiful face away, tearing these perfect muscles apart, destroying what I could not possess.
I did not. Maybe I loved him. Maybe this is what distinguishes Artemis Entreri - greatest of all humans - from the drow to whom he´s so alike: he inspired in me a feeling no drow could have inspired.
Maybe I still love him. Thus I pray to Lolth and any other god whose name I know that I may never see Artemis Entreri again.
A/N: I really enjoyed writing this, because I think Entreri and Kimmuriel could make a rather ... interesting, albeit unusual couple. If you took a bit of time to read it, maybe you could take another minute to write a little review. ;) I´d be very grateful for some constructive criticism or even a short note to let me know that someone actually read this, all the more because it´s my first fanfic. ;)