Drizzt Do'Urden dropped into a defensive crouch, both scimitars resting lightly in his hands. He slowed and quieted his breathing until it was almost silent even to his sensitive drow ears. Lavender eyes glittered in the dark. His prey was close; he could hear their racket over the ridge, smell their foul stench. Slowly and silently, Drizzt edged closer to the edge of the ravine, where he waited for a few moments. Suddenly Drizzt exploded into action, bounding down the ravine with all the speed and fury of a raging river. As he neared the bottom, he spotted a rock jutting out slightly. The agile drow planted one foot on the rock and pushed off with the other, performing a somersault and landing with both scimitars in the chest cavity of an ugly orc.
The rest of the camp stared at the drow for a moment, closing in a circle around him, but not quite daring to attack. Drizzt removed his scimitars from the now deceased orc and stared around him at the rest of the orc camp. His unique lavender eyes shone with fury and blood-lust. Drizzt fixed his gaze upon one particular orc; there was nothing particularly special about his chosen victim, save that he seemed the most frightened. The drow exploded into action once more, and went in, Icingdeath leading the way. The poor terrified orc tried to parry the blow but found that Twinkle was already coming round to stab him in the kidney. Icingdeath took his throat, and Drizzt spun around, kicking out at the swarm of orcs now at his back.
Drizzt carried on his spin, whirling both scimitars as he went. When the spin finished, he dropped into a defensive position once more, and took a split second to re-evaluate the situation before he was moving again. The next orc came in with the intent to take off Drizzt's head with his rather unwieldy club. Drizzt blocked the blow with his scimitars in an X before kicking the orc in the groin. While the orc was still registering the pain of that blow, Drizzt put a blade between his ribs, and the orc collapsed to the ground, its lung filling with blood.
The drow whipped around to find another orc almost on top of him, and he knew he had no chance of parrying any blow he landed. An arrow whistled in and thudded into the orcs chest; Taulmaril the Heartseeker was out there somewhere, and Drizzt's heart leaped at that knowledge. Never stopping to consider what might have been, Drizzt spun up to his feet, slashing the abdomen of another enemy. Arrows continued to fill the air, taking out or injuring many of the orcs. Drizzt growled inwardly; Cattie-brie was going to steal all his fun. Unwilling for that to happen, Drizzt simply launched his attacks faster. The drow took out two orcs simultaneously, slashing at their throats with his scimitars.
Another arrow blazed into the chest of an orc Drizzt was about to kill, and he stepped onto the body, pushing himself into another aerial somersault. Drizzt landed in the midst of two rather large and threatening orcs. This is more like it thought the drow as he was forced to parry two coordinated blows. The drow ducked as one orc tried to take his head off, and took the opportunity to stab the other orc in the back of the knee. Drizzt kicked out backwards, shattering the kneecap of his other adversary, and straightened, scimitars up and ready. The orcs tried to launch another synchronised attack, but, hindered by the injuries Drizzt had caused in their knees, they just tripped up over one another. Drizzt leaped at one as it went down, and slashed its carotid artery. Blood spurted high, but the drow had turned his attention to the other enemy. The orc parried the blow from Icingdeath, and anticipated that Twinkle would follow, but the blow never came. Drizzt twisted his writs, forcing the orc's weapon out of its hand, before plunging Icingdeath into its chest. The orc looked mildly confused as it died.
Drizzt ducked as an arrow blazed past him, almost taking his head off, and when he straightened he saw that the remaining orcs were running away. Drizzt laughed and called out to his companion to give chase, before setting off after them himself. Drizzt was almost upon the sorry group when he realised they were headed for a pass in the mountains. If they got through the pass, he would never catch them, for beyond it was wild shrub with a million places to hide. Drizzt thought fast and hurled Twinkle into the air. The scimitar flew swift and sure, and it landed in the back of the leading orc, who fell to the ground dead. The next few orcs stumbled over the body and died upon the blade of the scimitar. Three bodies piled up were enough to stop the rest of group, forcing them to turn and meet their pursuer.
The first orc died as Taulmaril launched another blazing arrow into its head, bursting it asunder. Drizzt swung in after the arrow, Icingdeath leading. The scimitar claimed two more orcs it quick succession, and the third tried to back away. Drizzt simply shrugged, and swung Icingdeath one last time, taking the poor orc's head off. Aware that Cattie-brie had picked off all the remaining orcs, Drizzt stepped up to the mess of bodies caused by Twinkle's aerial assault and retrieved his blade. Cattie-brie stepped out of the shadows to greet her friend, Taulmaril in her hand and a smile on her face. Before either could say a word, an enormous roar split the night air from the direction of the mountain pass.
"Mountain troll!" yelled Drizzt, and grabbing Cattie-brie's hand, took flight in the opposite direction.
The mountain troll, however, was evidently not happy that it had been woken up, and gave chase, lumbering behind the two companions. The two ran as fast as they had ever run, back down the trial and past the decimated orc camp; the troll was right behind them. Both Cattie-brie and Drizzt knew that they would have to stop and face the troll eventually, and the agile-minded drow desperately began to look about for favourable ground. Their battle-ground was chosen for them however, as the path gave way to a steep ravine whose bottom was enshrouded in darkness. Drizzt came up short and whipped around, scimitars ready; Cattie-brie turned and launched an arrow into the troll's stomach. The arrow didn't even slow the beast, and Drizzt felt a cold sweat run down his neck; now was not a good time to fight a troll.
The troll roared again, and Cattie-brie loosed another arrow; Drizzt stayed stock still, pondering his options, trying desperately to find an area of weakness on his adversary. Drizzt dropped into another crouch and gestured to Cattie-brie to go left. The drow rolled to the side and landed in some shrubs. Scrambling to his feet he ran forwards, under cover of darkness and Cattie-brie's arrows he made it past the troll. Planting a foot he turned, and leaped onto the troll's back. Reaching around the troll's head he plunged both scimitars into the troll's eye sockets. The troll screamed and thrashed in pain. Drizzt tried to pull his scimitars out of the troll's head but fund that they were stuck. Before he could even think, the troll plunged over the edge of the ravine, taking Drizzt with him.
Drizzt heard Cattie-brie's scream as though she were a million miles away. The only sensation Drizzt was aware of was falling, and the drow braced himself for the impact, but he never hit the ground.
Drizzt woke up clutching the sides of the bed, his face covered with sweat; he'd had another one of those dreams. Ever since he'd returned to Mithril Hall he'd been having dreams about fights in which he was the one who should have died, but strangely he never did witness his own death. Drizzt knew it was his guilty conscience still beating him up about what had happened over the past few weeks. Drizzt looked to his side and saw that Cattie-brie was still sleeping peacefully, beautiful as ever. At least he hadn't woken her.
Some part of Drizzt still couldn't believe that this woman was truly his; that he'd finally had the courage to do what he had really wanted to do since they had gone to Calimport to rescue Regis. He loved this woman, mind body and soul; and he had finally had the courage to show her just how he felt.
He loved the way she looked at him as he was about to kiss her; he loved the way she melted into his arms when he did kiss her. He loved the feel of her skin of his, the contrast of ebony and fair that looked and felt so right. He loved the way she held his hand in a room full of people, the way she teased him in front of their friends. He loved the fact she was completely stubborn about anything she set her heart on, and he knew that now she had him, she wouldn't let go. He loved the fact he could talk to her about anything, and she would listen and understand. But the thing he loved most of all was that he had all of these things, he who had tried to deny himself love and pleasure, for the sake of an ideal he couldn't quite understand now.
Drizzt watched Cattie-brie sleeping with a smile on his face. Her chest rose and fell gently with her breaths; she was obviously in a very peaceful sleep. Drizzt knew he would never tire of watching this woman, whether she be sleeping, laughing arguing or in battle. Cattie-brie had captured his very soul.
Morning came, and was heralded not by the rising of the sun, but by the sound of Dwarves rising and stomping around deep within the halls. Cattie-brie's eyes fluttered open, and a smile lit her face when she saw her beloved.
"Good mornin'," whispered Cattie-brie.
Drizzt didn't answer her with words, but pressed a tender kiss to her forehead. Cattie-brie frowned when she saw his face close up; tired and drawn, and she knew he hadn't slept well.
"Ye've had another nightmare." It was a statement, not a question "How long have ye bin awake?"
Drizzt shrugged. Cattie-brie snuggled up to her drow and took him in her arms.
"Tell me about it," she whispered.
"I was fighting again; a large camp of orcs. One of them came up behind me and would have got me but one of Taulmaril's arrows got it. I continued fighting, with you firing off arrows to help. Some of the orcs ran and we gave chase, blocking their way through a pass and finishing them all off. You stepped out of the darkness and we would have greeted each other, but there came a roar from a mountain troll. I grabbed your hand and we ran, until we reached a steep ravine and had to fight. You kept firing off arrows while I crept behind the beast. I jumped on its back and killed it, but it went over the ravine and took me with it. I woke up before I hit the bottom."
"Always dreams about fightin' and runnin' and dyin'." Cattie brie sounded frustrated. "It wasn't ye're fault, ye know that."
"So you keep telling me."
Drizzt smiled and snuggled up to his lover. The last threads of control that his dream had had over him seemed to dissipate when he was in her arms. They lay like that for a while ere either spoke.
"I suppose that we had best get up, before Bruenor comes to find us and drag us out to get some work done."
Drizzt didn't seem so convinced, even at his own argument. Cattie-brie laughed.
"I could quite happily stay here all day," she said, kissing Drizzt's neck.
"Mmmm, me too. But I daren't risk the wrath of a dwarf, not before breakfast at least."
Drizzt's eyes smiled, and Cattie-brie's heart gave another lurch. He had been happier that she had seen him in years over the last few days, and she still couldn't quite believe that that was down to her. When he had returned to Mithril Hall and kissed her in front of everyone she thought she would wake up at some point. Cattie-brie had waited for what seemed like forever for him to be ready, and now they were finally together. Cattie-brie never wanted to let him go.
Reluctantly, she had to let him go when he got up; though she consoled herself by admiring the drow's muscled form. He was telling the truth about Bruenor; the day after Drizzt had returned they had been absent from breakfast, so the Dwarven King had personally gone to find them and drag them out of bed, which had almost been very embarrassing.
Groaning, Cattie-brie forced herself to get up and dressed. When they were both ready, Drizzt offered her his arm, and he escorted her to the dining room for breakfast. When they got there, the room was already full of rowdy dwarves, and the couple had to endure the usual teasing comments, some of which were very crude, since they were in the company of dwarves.
Drizzt looked around at the faces in the dining hall; so many were missing, and those who were there looked grey and weary. At the high table sat King Bruenor, the Halfling Regis and Wulfgar the Barbarian; his friends. Drizzt did not miss the look that Wulfgar gave him as he approached the table, hand in hand with Cattie-brie. Jealousy clouded those piercing blue eyes and that noble face, and why not? Cattie-brie had once been betrothed to Cattie-brie, and Wulfgar had recently lost his wife; he was in need of comfort and what man would not be jealous of the drow who held this captivating woman's heart? But Wulfgar's behaviour troubled Drizzt greatly. Their adventures were not yet over, and Drizzt and the others would need Wulfgar at their side if they were to succeed in their mission. The last thing they could afford would be for Wulfgar to fall back into his darkness.
Drizzt took his place at the high table, barely aware of King Bruenor's good morning. He was with Cattie-brie, and he wanted to believe that the world was perfect, but it wasn't. He knew where his happiness lay, but there were others who had lost their way and he needed to help his friends.
Drizzt's thoughts turned to the dream he had had that night; what if these dreams weren't his conscience reminding of the events of the last few weeks? What if these dreams were warning of something that had yet to happen? Drizzt had never experienced foresightedness, nor knew of anyone that hade, but he wondered. Evidently he had been lost in his thoughts because Cattie-brie gave his hand a gentle squeeze that brought him back to the present. The drow sighed.
There were so many questions that needed answers. He wanted the world to be perfect, now that he had Cattie-brie, but it wasn't. The world still needed saving, and there were adventures yet to be had. Drizzt looked at the auburn-haired woman sat by his side, and smiled; he knew that he wouldn't change anything for the world.
"Do you know?" said Drizzt to no one in particular, "I think we all need a good adventure!"
"I couldn't agree with ye more, drow!" bellowed Bruenor Battlehammer, "When're we off then?"
The companions laughed at their boisterous friends remarks. Cattie-brie looked at Drizzt, and the two shared a private sentiment; the world might never be perfect, but right now it was a damned good place to be!