(A/N: This is a warning. It's 10:19PM, and I've been sitting at the computer since 3:30 reading Tamora Pierce fanfics. My brain is totally fried, so I just switched to the laptop (which, BTW, has so many bad sectors and is so old that it's amazing it still works) to write some Drizzt fanfics and try to de-fry my brain. I'm freezing to death cuz my stoopid room is so drafty and my stoopid family is asleep so I can't turn up the stoopid heat. In fact, the only source of warmth in this whole stoopid house is my laptop, which is keeping my lap warm. At least it's good for something, LOL. Hmmm. I hope I remember to delete this before sending it wherever I send these things to. So, I have no clue what this is going to be about. Enough with my psychotic, incoherent ramblings. On with the horrible story.)
The people of Rashemen gathered at the port to say farewell to Fyodor, the berserker warrior, and the Raven, better known as Liriel Baenre. The two were leaving Rashemen for the freezing northlands. (A/N: I have no clue where Rashemen is, so if it IS in the northlands, someone tell me. In fact, someone tell me where it is, period.) Fyodor's friend had recently traveled there, and sent back word of trouble. The people would miss them, having come to finally accept the drow. But, that couldn't be helped. The pair set sail into the morning sun.
"Get off me, ye durned cat!" Bruenor yelled at Guenhwyvar. The surly dwarf had just received the rude awakening of 600lbs of black fur landing on top of him. "Drizzt!" he bellowed. "Get yer durned cat off'n me!"
"What did you do to offend her?" The black elf's melodious tones came back to him.
"Nuthin'! An' ye know it!"
"Are you so sure of that?"
"O' course I didn't!"
"Think back, now. Are you sure you can't think of anything?"
Bruenor struggled futilely to get out from under the cat. "No I can't!"
"Nothing you might have said?" Drizzt came in to watch the spectacle. "Think hard."
"I never said…yer kiddin'," Bruenor growled. He told Drizzt a few days ago that if he sent the 'durned cat' to sleep on him once more, he would chop both of them into mincemeat.
"Just seeing if you would make good on your promise."
"What's going on in here?" Catti-brie walked in sleepily. "Yer makin' enough noise to raise-" she stopped in mid-sentence and burst out laughing. "What'd he say this time, Drizzt?"
"He told me that if I made Guen sleep on him once more," Drizzt answered, "he'd make mincemeat out of both of us. We were just seeing if he would make good the threat."
"Let me up!" Guenhwyvar lazily got off Bruenor and the bed. The sleek black shadow glided over to sit between Drizzt and Catti-brie. "Durned cat." The spluttering dwarf got out of his bed, and started searching his room. "Ye jes' what 'till I find me ax, elf," he muttered.
Drizzt ran lightly out of the room, with Guenhwyvar at his heels. "See you later," he called over his shoulder. "I have a feeling this is the time to leave." All of them knew that Bruenor wouldn't really try to carve up his best friend, but Drizzt had other things to do, anyway.
"And just why did we come to this gods-forsaken place?" Liriel grumbled to Fyodor for the millionth time. The beautiful drow was buried deep inside her cloak, utterly miserable. The only thing that could be seen of her was a few wisps of white hair.
The two friends were riding down a deserted road. The wind that gave Icewind Dale its name blew fiercely around them.
"If I get out of this place alive, I'm headed straight for Calimport."
"And why would you be dying up here?" Fyodor asked her. The handsome barbarian was puzzled. It wasn't that dangerous, yet.
"Hypothermia!" she said, deadly serious. "What do you think?"
"Ah," Fyodor tried to keep a straight face, but was loosing the battle. "How stupid of me not to have thought of that."
"Hmph. Figures. You have naught a care in the world but for yourself." Fyodor knew enough to ignore that statement. He realized that Liriel was miserable in the chill winds that blew incessantly over the area. He would have to do something to makeup for bringing her there, although she came along of her own free will. "Are we going to cut across the Dale and head straight for the mountains?" she asked him.
"That's what I thought to do, but if you would prefer to stop in Ten Towns and get warm, that's fine with me."
"No," she sighed. "That would just make coming back out here harder than ever. Plus, the likelihood of them actually letting me in…."
"Aye, your right little raven. Tell me when you want to stop and make a fire."
"Don't worry, I will." They laughed and continued riding, heading for the distance peak of Kelvin's Cairn.
"Race ye to the mountain!" Catti-brie yelled to Drizzt, sprinting away. It was a fine day, so the two of them and Guenhwyvar were out enjoying what was probably the last nice fall day. The snows would soon be coming, and they would be stuck inside. Plus, Bruenor was still pretending to be miffed at Drizzt for that morning's incident.
Catti-brie had gotten a head start, but Drizzt's longer legs let him catch up easily. Catti-brie stopped, and whispered something to Guenhwyvar, who was pacing them. Guen immediately jumped on Drizzt, pushing him to the ground.
"That's not fair!" he yelled to Catti-brie's back.
"Who said I would play fair?" Her voice drifted back to him.
Guenhwyvar let Drizzt up when Catti-brie was far enough ahead. "Figures you'd listen to her and not me, girl. Feminine bonding," he said exasperatedly. He'd have to run fast to beat Catti-brie, but he was determined to do it. Guen let him get just ahead of Catti-brie, and then jumped in front of him. He tried to dodge, but she blocked his way. He tried to leap over her, but she jumped right back in front of him. Catti-brie gained the lead again. Drizzt didn't mind, it was a fun game, one they played often. Guen kept letting him get almost ahead of Catti-brie, and then playfully driving him back. Catti-brie obviously won the race, Drizzt arriving a few seconds later, panting. Both flopped on the ground at the base of the Cairn to rest.
"Good race," Catti-brie told Drizzt, "but yer slippin'."
"What do you mean? If Guen wasn't here…"
Catti-brie broke in. "I haven't touched the rock yet!" A rock a few feet above the base of Kelvin's Cairn was their standard finish line. Catti-brie jumped up, and dashed over to touch the rock before Drizzt could react. "I still win!"
Drizzt flopped back down. "I'm too tired to argue."
"C'mon, ye lazy elf. Let's get to the top, and then rest."
"You're going to be the death of me, Catti-brie."
The two started to walk up the slope. Catti-brie went ahead to look at some late flowers. She stopped short at the edge of a crevice. "Drizzt," she called softly. "C'mere. An' be quiet."
Drizzt walked up behind her, and looked into the crevice. He saw a drow and a human riding along, bickering. He couldn't make out the words.
"Fight?" Catti-brie asked.
"No," Drizzt answered. "Let's leave."
Before they could do so, the human looked up and saw them. He pointed and shouted "Drow!" The drow female on the horse next to him looked up and sent a burst of magical energy at Drizzt and Catti-brie. They rolled out of the way just in time.
"Looks like it's fight," Catti-brie quipped.
Liriel and Fyodor were totally lost. They had started up the mountain all right, but then had somehow ended up in the crevice. Neither had any clue how to get out.
"This is all your fault," Liriel grumbled. "If your friend had given us better directions…."
"Wait now," Fyodor countered. "How does that make it my fault if it was my friend's directions?" He was willing to take her anger, but only if she could back it up.
"The fact that he was your friend. Not mine, yours."
Fyodor wasn't paying attention anymore. He had looked up and seen a drow peering down at them. "Drow!" he yelled to get Liriel's attention and pointed. Liriel automatically sent off a burst of magic to stun whatever he was pointing at, before realizing it would do little good if the thing really was a drow.
She levitated up, so she could see what it was. "Why didn't I do this sooner to see how to get out of the dumb ravine?" she muttered to herself. She called back down to Fyodor to give him directions out. "There's a path a few feet down, Fyodor. Try to climb up there."
The drow levitated to above the lip of the crevice. She gave her companion directions to get out, and then turned her attention to Drizzt and Catti-brie. Catti-brie loosed an arrow from Taumaril, but it hit a magical protective shield.
"Who sent you?!" Drizzt yelled. "Drop your shield and come fight!"
The human reached the lip of the ravine and scrambled out to join the fight. He looked like a barbarian, but he had dark hair and dark eyes. He certainly wasn't a barbarian of the northlands. He seemed to grow before Drizzt and Catti-brie's eyes. "Berserker," Drizzt whispered.
"What?" Catti-brie turned to him curiously.
"I don't really know. They're warriors. Good warriors, with some sort of magic fighting ability."
"I'll see jes' how good he really is." Catti-brie grinned and sprinted off to engage the berserker in combat before Drizzt could try to stop her.
"What do you mean, 'who sent you'?" The beautiful drow queried - and Drizzt had to admit, she was beautiful. "The real question is who sent you." She dropped to the ground. "Let's go - magic against sword" Without further ado, she dropped her shield and attacked. Bursts of bright magical fire flew from her finger-tips.
Drizzt attacked with a fury. He was sure she had come to kill him, and gain glory in the eyes of Lloth. The thought that his friends may once again suffer because of his heritage pained him. He would not let that happen. Drizzt and the drow were evenly matched - her magic against his scimitars. Guenhwyvar tried to jump on the other drow from behind, but she blasted the black panther back to the Astral Plane. Drizzt risked a glance over at Catti-brie and the other human - Fyodor, Drizzt remembered the drow calling him. He saw that, even in a berserker rage, Fyodor was not as good a fighter as Catti-brie, but his size almost made it an even fight. Close enough to give Catti-brie a run for her money. Apparently, the other drow noticed this, too.
"Run Fyodor," she called. "I can handle both of them. She's better than you, she fights like a drow." Drizzt was glad have someone else confirm, even an enemy, that his teachings had paid off.
"Never would I leave you, little Raven," he called back. "You should know that by know, Liriel."
Ah, Drizzt thought. She is a Baenre. Figures, although why she seems to care so much for this human, I know not.
"You foolish human!" she cried. "Go! I'll be fine." Drizzt scored a minor hit, since she was distracted talking to Fyodor.
The two fights continued, both locked in a stalemate. Drizzt weaved and twisted, avoiding Liriel's magic. She did the same, avoiding his flashing scimitars. They ducked, rolled, and weaved in a complicated dance. Liriel sported a few cuts, and Drizzt, likewise, sported a few burns. Both kept one eye on the other fight. Drizzt saw, that although Fyodor was covered with cuts, Catti-brie was tiring and he was not. Now it was Drizzt's turn to try and convince one of the humans to leave.
"Catti-brie! Get out of here!" he called to her, barely avoiding a burst of fire.
"Ha! And let ye have all the fun? I think not. And if ye think I'm jes' gonna abandon ye, ye have another think comin'."
Drizzt's heart warmed at his friend's loyalty. In Menzoberranzan, his companion would have been long gone. "Damn it, Catti-brie! Go!"
"And what? Leave ye two against one? I think not, Drizzt Do'Urden, jes' as ye wouldn't abandon me, I'm not abandoning ye. Damn it, I love ye!"
"Wonderful time to tell me that," he said sarcastically, but he felt elated that she'd actually said it. "As much as I'm glad to hear it, it's pointless getting us both killed. Go!"
"No! By the gods, elf. How many times do I have to tell ye that to get it through yer thick skull?"
"Drizzt Do'Urden?" Liriel intervened, pausing in her attack. "Traitor to Lloth?"
"Oh," he replied sarcastically, also pausing, against his better judgment, "I suppose you didn't come up here to capture me and sacrifice me and gain glory in the eyes of Lloth?"
Fyodor burst out laughing. "Far from it! Can we call a truce and sort this all out?"
"Aye," Catti-brie answered, panting. "That would be a good thing. What do the two o' ye say?" She was quite willing to stop fighting the seemingly tireless man. He kept shrinking and talking, and then growing again. It was very annoying. "And will ye decide on one size and stick with it?" she said to him.
"Truce?" Drizzt questioned. He was tired, too.
"Truce," Liriel agreed, grudgingly. She did not like the lavender-eyed drow. He wasn't a proper drow; everyone in Menzoberranzan knew that. Although, she supposed she wasn't a "proper drow" anymore, either.
"Favor of Lloth," Fyodor was still muttering under his breath and shaking his head.
"And what is so funny about that?" Drizzt demanded, still on his guard. "That's what every other drow I've seen has tried to do."
"I forsook Lloth in the middle of a battle a few years ago," Liriel explained. "I don't think even a sacrifice of you would put me back in her favor."
"Then why're ye up here?" Catti-brie interjected, moving to stand beside Drizzt.
"My friend needed help," Fyodor explained. He limped over to stand protectively beside Liriel. It was a humorous sight, the tall human next to the short drow. "Wouldn't explain with what, though…completely unlike him," he mused to himself.
"And why should we believe ye?" Catti-brie asked. Drizzt agreed wholeheartedly with her.
"No reason to," Liriel said. "Let's go, Fyodor."
"In the future, stay away from me and my friends and my home," Drizzt said venomously. He didn't trust the two of them, and was letting them go against his better judgment. Even if Liriel seemed to be sort of like him, in that she was on the surface, with a human friend. Not much of a similarity.
Liriel and Fyodor continued up Kelvin's Cairn, to try and find his friend. Drizzt and Catti-brie watched them go, both torn up from the battle. Although, they didn't look too better, themselves.
"They gave up on that fight much too easily," Drizzt mused. "Did you see how relaxed the human, Fyodor, seemed? Strange…."
"Aye, I did," Catti-brie responded. "Let's stay here and rest a bit, before going back down."
"Good idea." The sat in silence for a while, both lost in their own thoughts. Drizzt mulled over what Catti-brie had said during the fight, trying to decide whether to ask her about it or not. His curiosity - and hope - won out.
"Did you mean what you said?" Drizzt asked Catti-brie, hardly daring to hope.
"That you…" he paused, almost afraid to say it.
"That I love ye? Aye, I meant it. I guess I finally admitted it to meself." She smiled tentatively, suddenly afraid that he didn't feel the same way any more.
Drizzt smiled back and leaned over to kiss her. "This is probably the best day of my life," he said quietly.
Catti-brie heard, and laughed. "Even after getting yer butt half kicked by that durned drow?"
"Yes, those three little words make up for it all. I love you, too, Catti-brie."
She smiled, and realized that he was right. Those three short words did really make up for everything. She realized what a fool she'd been, trying to deny her love for all those years. They kissed again, more passionately.
"We really should head back for the caves," Drizzt said.
"Always the voice o' reason," Catti-brie muttered. "I'm gonna have to break ye o' that habit."
Drizzt laughed. "Bruenor's going to be worried. We'd said we'd be back a long time ago, remember?"
"Yeah, I suppose. Let's go."
They turned around and headed back down Kelvin's Cairn, hand in hand.