A/N: This really isn't my best writing. I was kind of rushing it, and I know there is definitely room for plenty of improvement in this. I am doing my best to "patch it up," so please bear with me.
However, do not leave anything out of your review! I may be trying to fix things up, but you may spot something that I may not. Thanks for the reviews, whether they are praise or constructive criticism (both are very much welcome!). I hope you enjoy my story!
Drizzt Do'Urden sat in a quiet cave. It was a short walking distance away from Bruenor's mines in Icewind Dale. Bruenor had offered his friend a place in the dwarven mines to live, but Drizzt, having lived his first forty decades in the Underdark, preferred to stay above ground in the fresh air.
The dark elf looked out over the valley below his cave home, blindingly white snow covering the ground. His thoughts momentarily slipped from the present and into the past. Drizzt involuntarily remembered his life in Menzoberranzan, located in the unforgiving Underdark, home to just as merciless drow. Drizzt had long ago forsaken his people and their cruel ways. He remembered how his mother, Matron Malice, had killed his father for Drizzt's mistake. Drizzt remembered clearly how his mother had animated his father's dead body to go and murder him, to regain Lolth's, the Spider Queen deity of the drow's, favor. Drizzt's revelations invariably led to his arrival on the Surface, where he traveled to find where he truly belonged. The drow remembered how he was so often rejected from towns for the reputation of his dark skin, how often he was so wrongly prejudiced.
He shook his head, clearing his thoughts. He had found his home, Icewind Dale, and his reputation of deeds far outweighed that of his skin color to the people of Ten-Towns. Here he had his dear friends who accepted him for who he was, who followed his same principles.
Drizzt had not been to visit his dearest friend Bruenor Battlehammer in a long while, so he decided to visit the dwarf king. The drow checked to make sure his scimitars were secured to his belt and the onyx figurine was safely in his belt pouch. The dark elf grasped his traveling cloak and draped it around himself. Icewind Dale was appropriately named. Even in its short summer, the chill winds stung even those used to it. As he stepped outside his cave home, the chill wind expectantly bit at his unprotected face, and Drizzt covered up his exposed face as best as possible. Though he had lived in Icewind Dale for many years, the drow was not fully accustomed to the freezing bite of the winds.
Snow lay on the ground around him, but as he strode in the direction of the dwarven mines, none but the keenest of ears would have heard the muffled footfalls of the drow.
Drizzt approached the entrance to King Bruenor's mines. He gave a knock before allowing himself in, to warn any dwarves nearby of his presence. "Ah, welcome Drizzt!" called a dwarf that the dark elf knew to be a cleric. Drizzt did not recognize her in any way except that he knew she had just recently come from Citadel Adbar. "What brings you here today?"
"I'd like to speak with King Bruenor," Drizzt replied honestly. The dark elf wanted to ask Bruenor if the dwarf king could spare enough time to go hunting tundra yetis with him. Drizzt dearly missed the days of exciting adventures he and his friends had had, but as Bruenor was king of the Battlehammer Clan, he could not sporadically leave. Bruenor had duties to fulfill that neither him nor Drizzt could deny.
The cleric's expression turned apologetic. "I'm so sorry. You didn't hear? King Bruenor left two days ago, along with Catti-brie and Regis, for Mithril Hall. Bruenor hadn't even told you? I thought he'd have invited you along for the journey!"
Disappointment clouded Drizzt's thoughts for a few seconds before he remembered he was still in the company of the dwarf cleric. "What was the reason he went? Was it urgent enough that he could not stop by my home, that he had to leave immediately?"
Unsure of what response would upset Drizzt the least, the dwarf frantically wondered how to react. Finally, she came to the decision to give the truth. "A battle rages at Mithril Hall," she said slowly. "They asked for Bruenor's help, as he had battled there as king before, and he accepted immediately. Without delay, he, his daughter, and the halfling left. They said nothing of you, or of Wulfgar, but I suspect they went and invited the barbarian along with them. I am not sure, but those are my thoughts. Is there anything else I can help you with before I return to my duties?"
Confusion and betrayal flashed through Drizzt's mind, though he immediately shrugged those emotions aside. Bruenor had his reasons, whatever they were, for not inviting Drizzt, and Wulfgar may still be around. The dark elf thanked the cleric and left, not wishing to remain there.
Striding nearly soundlessly through the snow towards the barbarian camp, where Wulfgar spent most of his days in Icewind Dale, his thoughts raced to the ongoing battle at Mithril Hall. Bruenor had not been the only one to fight there, and Drizzt remembered those past battles all too clearly. Drizzt had been the reason for one of the wars, he believed. Matron Baenre, the Matron of the ruling house of Menzoberrazan, had tried to take control of Mithril Hall, so as to expand her Spider Queen deity's kingdom. Drizzt, however, believed that Matron Baenre truly desired to sacrifice him to Lolth, a feat so many other drow had failed.
The drow had also fought for Mithril Hall against an army of orcs. At that time, he had believed his friends all murdered by the orcs, and they thought the same of him. Drizzt's morale had greatly increased after he had learned of his friends' survival.
Drizzt was thrown from his contemplations when he realized he'd reached the top of a hill overlooking the nomadic barbarians' newest campsite. His keen eyes burned from the glare of the sun on the snow, but he did not blink or look away. The dark elf strained to see if Wulfgar was among his people, but he could not distinguish one from another at that distance.
The barbarians did not exactly welcome Drizzt's uncommon appearances, but they did not shun him from their society, either. "Drizzt Do'Urden," said a barbarian as he approached in greeting. "What is your purpose for coming here today?"
"I come in search of Wulfgar. Is he here?"
"No. He left with Bruenor, to fight for some dwarven mines a long way away. You are not with him and the dwarf?" the barbarian then asked in confusion.
Drizzt hesitated before answering. "No." With that, he left the barbarian encampment, with the barbarian gaping after him, puzzled.
Had his friends really gone back to Mithril Hall? Or had they gone on some secret adventure that they had not wanted him to join in on? Had they finally realized he was a dark elf, and that no one in their right minds would keep a drow as a friend? That thought stung Drizzt even though he did not believe it to be true. But was it?
His mind full of questions, he made his way back to his cave home, with nothing else to do. No merchants ever traveled at this time of the year. Ten-Towns was safe from most harm but the biting cold and the occasional natural threat.
Drizzt's continued to buzz in his confusion, and he became less attentive to his surroundings. He hardly registered that his legs were moving at all. Before he realized it, a white bear, which had camouflaged itself quite nicely in the snow, was charging towards him.
The drow's scimitars seemed to magically appear in his hands, ready for battle. The large white bear was charging relentlessly at him. Drizzt sidestepped the bear's charge, and its momentum carried it past Drizzt. This gave the dark elf just enough time to set the onyx figurine on the ground and softly but urgently call, "Come to me, Guenhwyvar!"
Out of the corner of his eye, Drizzt saw the familiar black mist swirl into the shape of a large, six hundred pound panther. Guenhwyvar's ears flattened the moment she fully arrived, and she positioned herself to spring. From the urgency in her master's voice, she knew something was wrong.
Drizzt saw the white bear charging again, giving a roar of frustration. The drow hopped to the side again, but the bear expected it this time, and it turned to its right to attack Drizzt head on. Scimitars flashing with blinding speed and accuracy, Drizzt thrust his curved blades into the flanks of the bear multiple times. Great claws slashed out at Drizzt, and he agilely dodged and blocked them.
Guenhwyvar leaped on top of the bear's back, raking it with her sharp claws and deadly teeth. The white bear reared, roaring its pain and rage, and Drizzt took the opportunity to drive his scimitars into the bear's underside. The bear gave one final roar before falling to its side, defeated, unmoving. Drizzt approached it cautiously, then, finding it quite dead, pulled his blade from the bear's belly.
Large tufts of white fur littered the area, as well as blood. The drow cleaned his bloodstained blades before sheathing them. He stooped and picked up the statuette resembling Guenhwyvar, his one companion that would never leave him. The intricately detailed figurine once again momentarily mesmerized Drizzt, but he stowed it in his pouch, deciding to keep his panther friend on the Material Place for a little while. He then turned and gave his great feline friend a grateful pat before ordering Guenhwyvar to patrol the perimeter. Drizzt did not wish for another battle like this on his return home.
As he walked, however, he felt a restless feeling growing inside him. The drow picked his way up Kelvin's Cairn, a lone mountain in Icewind Dale, slowly making his way to a cliff that would allow him a strategic view of Ten-Towns. From this point, he could easily spot any danger. Guenhwyvar bounded up the mountain as though she ran on flat terrain, helping Drizzt discern the safest path up. Finally, Drizzt reached the cliff he had been aiming for, and did not like what he saw.
An unknown settlement very far to his left was quickly spotted, and Drizzt could not know if they were friend or enemy to Ten-Towns. Guenhwyvar seemed to sense he was troubled, and she let out a low growl in the direction of the settlement. "Who has come to visit Ten-Towns?" Drizzt absentmindedly asked Guenhwyvar, expecting no response from his feline companion.