Disclaimer: the usual. I'm not making any money off this. Everything belongs to RAS and WotC. Please don't sue me, I don't have any money.

Author's Note: I've adopted everyone's favorite mercenaries at fanfic100 on LJ, so I'll be slowly writing a lot of oneshots about them. When I have enough to warrant it, I'll collect them all together, but for the moment there's just this one and "The Dark, at Night." To see my (98% incomplete) table, go to ..

The prompt for this story was "snow."


"Jarlaxle!"

Entreri's voice fell flat and dead over the bleak landscape, smothered under the weight of drifting snow and ash. Very faintly, he could hear the sounds of people in the battered keep on the rise above him: the winners and losers of the battle, one celebrating a painful victory, the other mourning a more painful loss. Somewhere on the trampled battlefield, a single man cried out hoarsely, over and over.

"Jarlaxle!"

He followed the broken moans and screams over the scattered bodies. Discarded weapons and shattered armor lay half-buried in the churned mud alongside dead horses and torn banners. In some places the bodies of men lay three thick. Entreri found the wounded man impaled on a splintered lance, shuddering and whimpering. Crusted blood caked his abdomen and the shaft of the lance, and his eyes stared sightlessly up at the clouded night sky. He turned his head blindly toward Entreri as the assassin approached. He stretched out one hand in agonized entreaty, but no amount of magic could save him. Entreri drew his jeweled dagger and brought it across the man's bent throat in a swift, hard motion. The man fell silent.

Entreri moved toward the edge of the battlefield, where a line of burnt and smoldering siege engines bordered a sparse forest. Thick smoke still billowed up from some of the ruined wooden structures, rising up through the falling snow.

"Jarlaxle!"

He stepped under the cover of the first skeletal trees. The battle had not spread deeply here; the evidence of pockets of fighting could be seen in scattered clusters of bodies and swathes of trampled snow. The thick vertical lines of the trees screened the keep and the battlefield from view, and in some places it seemed almost as though the foolish battle had not happened at all. A layer of fallen branches, covered by a camouflaging sheet of snow, collapsed under Entreri's boot, burying his leg up to knee. A foolish battle, he thought, waged over a foolish feud; Jarlaxle was twice a fool to bring us into it.

Entreri called the drow's name again, and this time he heard a faint response.

He tracked the sound to shallow ravine, thickly wooded and covered in a heavy blanket of snow. At the bottom, his shoulders submerged in a narrow, icy stream, lay Jarlaxle. A dead warhorse, more than ten times the slender drow's weight, crushed his legs beneath its armored bulk, and its rider's shield pinned him to the frozen ground, the sharp edge driven through the flesh of his upper thigh, parallel to the bone.

Jarlaxle lifted his head as Entreri approached. "Ah, there you are!" he said lightly, but Entreri did not miss the pain in his voice. "Took you long enough—"

"Shut up," Entreri said roughly, kneeling beside his friend. "I'm here now. It's all right."