Disclaimer: No, the Realms and Zak are not mine. RAS can have Zak back after I'm through with him. Which won't be anytime soon (cue the evil laugh!!!!!)
Zaknafein blinked as he attempted to reorient himself to his surroundings. Wherever he was, it was much brighter than the Underdark and the light was starting to give him a headache.
Something cool and damp seeped through the back of his tunic, chasing away the last ghost of the gnawing burn of the acid eating into the... thing that Malice had forced him into to hunt Drizzt. As if I'd cooperate with anything the old widow spider wanted without dragging my heels at the very least. I'd rather trade insults with the yochlols again even if I was on the rack at the time, he smirked and thought, I suppose I won't get to see the contingency revenge plan go through. How sad.
A general feeling of peaceful contentedness began to nibble at the weaponsmaster's state of mind. Ruthlessly, he willed it away. Comfort felt too much like giving up to whatever new horrors the afterlife intended to inflict upon him.
Zak's vision started to clear a little and he got up to a standing position and swayed a little as his balance shifted. I must really be out of it, he thought and carefully rubbed at his temples. He blinked a few times and figures started to swim from shapeless shadows to things shaped more or less like elves. Zak concentrated on clearing the last cobwebs out of his head and looked again at the elf shapes. Unsurprisingly, they were in fact elves. Surface elves judging by the light skin tones and wide spectrum of hair colors from as black as his skin to the same white hair he sported with every possible color in between.
The drow weaponsmaster felt a small knot of worry coalesce in his middle and surreptitiously moved his hands to where they would customarily rest on his sword hilts. He found that his sword belt was not there. Zak silently and vehemently cursed for the second time since dying the metaphysics that left him without even an illusory blade of any kind.
Most of the surface elves looked frozen with surprise, horror or both at once. And where is here anyway? he thought irritably as he looked around at the surface elves and the wooded glen they all seemed to be sitting in. Movement outside the ring of shocked faces caught his attention. Zak looked closer and saw elf-like creatures striding towards him purposefully with weapons in hand. Belatedly, he remembered that he customarily had House Do'Urden's spider insignia embroidered on the front of his tunic and came to the conclusion that he had to do something, fast.
Be a shame to die twice, he thought and shucked off the tunic as quickly as he could. When he stood in only his trousers and boots, he glanced at his shirt's front. Sure enough, the crossed swords with an orb weaver spider sitting over the hilts was stitched into the upper center of the garment right where it would have laid over his heart. Zak resented the symbolism. Then he looked at the grim faced, armed elves that now surrounded him. For whatever reason, they had not rushed to the attack while he had been pulling the tunic off over his head. Zak gave a little smirk and thought, Let's see what you make of this...
The lean, wiry weaponsmaster gave a good, sharp pull at the tunic an got it to rip a little. He gave a few more hard pulls to widen the tear and got the spider insignia to unravel before managing to tear it down the middle. Zak unceremoniously dropped the ruined cloth, kicked it behind him and glared defiantly at one of the armed elves in front of him. The pale skinned, yellow haired elf stared back, but seemed to be a touch distracted by something on the drow's chest. What, have they never seen scars before? Zak thought grouchily, then looked down.
In addition to the ragged claw scratches across his left side from a quaggoth centuries ago, the light indented semicircles from repeated encounters with snake headed whips and scourges and the thin blade scars here and there, there were a new set of incision scars, eight of them arranged in a circle over his heart. Well, at least it isn't acid burn scars, Zak thought wryly.
"Well now," a rich tenor voice commented from behind, "What have we here?"
Zak turned to see a stocky, elf-like creature in silver chainmail with eyes like fire agates and pale colorless hair watching him curiously. The weapons master decided that he was just about fed up with all of the attention and answered sarcastically, "Oh I don't know. Escapee from the Demonwebs, perhaps?"
The strange elf, if that was what he was, waved his hand and the armed elves stood down, albeit reluctantly. Zak did not really blame them. The strange "elf" then looked the drow up and down, as if trying to figure him out from looking at a relaxed and ready weaponsmaster. "You're a fighter?" he asked in that same melodic voice.
Zak grinned and felt gales of laughter straining at the back of his throat. "You might say that," he said mildly with amusement leaking around the edges of his rougher baritone.
"Oh really?" The "elf" ached an eyebrow at the drow, "I'm Faenllach in service to Lord Larethian. And you are...?"
"Zaknafein of no house worth mentioning," The drow weaponsmaster said with amusement.
"Sounds like you managed to do something rather nasty to the Lolthites before kicking the bucket," Faenllach grinned back, "Do I get to know what it was?"
"Oh nothing serious. They do seem to get so upset when you get really good at killing the clerics, corrupting the youth and not really caring who hears you disparage spiders in general," Zak answered as nonchalantly and as innocently as could and failed utterly. "What are you anyway?"
"I'm a bralani," Faenllach laughed, "So you were a professional pain in the rear?"
"No, that would be a friend of mine," Zak chuckled back, "So what are you going to do with me?"
"Probably what we do with other lapsed worshipers that end up here," The eladrin shrugged. "Put you to work. You probably know more about demon fighting that our novices. Can you teach anything? Weapon work perhaps?"
Zak chortled, "Does Lolth like spiders?" He started laughing harder at the dropped jaws and shocked expressions around him. The bralani hid his own amusement behind a gauntleted hand and led the tickled dark elf out of the grove. I wish someone had told me earlier that Arvandor has salles in it. I would have kept up those old prayers, the weaponsmaster thought happily as he followed Faenllach out.
Author's note: This is entirely random. I hope it was amusing at least. I have a theory that because Zak got sacrificed to the Spider Queen, he might have ended up in the Demonweb Pits and escaped them when he broke Malice's hold on the zin-carla. Oh well, please review and tell me how much you loved and/or hated it.