Child of Faerun
Part 1: The Grey Hat
"Alone again. For the first time in two hundred and eighteen years, I am alone. To be alone, without my loved ones and comrades, is a state I have grown to fear in my life. Is that not a state in which we all fear? As intelligent beings, is it not natural for us to fear that which makes us most vulnerable? Is it not instinct to fear pain, to fear suffering, to fear the unknown, to fear death and perhaps strongest of all….to fear being alone? Those years ago, when I first emerged from the black of the Underdark and stood on the side of Bruenor's mountain, I made every effort to avoid the kindness offered to me by King Bruenor and the dwarves, by Wulfgar, by Regis and…
I feared this day would come. I knew without a doubt, should I be honest with my feelings that I would have to bear witness to Cattibrie's mortality. Those beautiful blue eyes would dull, that shimmering red hair would gray, that soft skin would wrinkle. But my love for her would only strengthen. I knew that there would come a day when she would grow weaker and weaker, and one day she would wither away and die in my arms. This would happen, for she was human and I am drow. I was so afraid. That day did come and as I held her tiny frame in my arms, she gave me two words that I will forever cherish but at the time could not understand.
But for what, subjecting her to a life of loneliness? I was away most of the time, as a ranger it is my duty to protect the people of this realm. She spent much of her life, waiting for me, a husband whom was always away. Each time I would leave, she gave me a smile and a kiss and a hope for a safe return. But each time I returned, she grew older and older, as if before my very eyes. What then? What right do I have to be thanked for wasting her life? This, I could not understand and for many years it tore at the depths of my heart, filling it with guilt beyond measure. I had wasted our time together. I had wasted her life. The woodland elves had warned against this, however selfishly I…I was a fool.
Years passed, Wulfgar too had grown old. His son, Beornigar took up his throne and Wulfgar passed on, asleep in his bed with his wife at his side. In some ways I envy Wulfgar for that. It is a peaceful death that I will never know. Still, I felt as though my time with Wulfgar was somehow foolishly spent. Perhaps I did not journey to Icewind Dale enough and visit with him? Perhaps there was more I could have done to help him in the difficult years of his youth and in the concurrent difficult years of his adulthood? Perhaps I did not give enough.
When Bruenor, King of Mithril Hall took ill, I was at sea. I arrived in the hall as soon as I could, but he was already gone. The King of Mithral Hall was dead, without from me even as much as a farewell. This strong, kind, gentle dwarf who had greeted me, a drow, with such kindness was now gone from this place. The Companions of the Hall was no more. My friends, my family, were dying all around me and I was slipping deeper and deeper into the endless spiral of regret and into the ever deep well of the strongest of fears. The fear of being alone.
At last, long after the Orc had lay down their swords against the free peoples of Faerun. Long after the Pirates lower their sails and agreed to fly them only as Privateers for the protection of the trade routes, even after the Witch King himself fled these lands, Regis was dying. I entered his estate and found his tiny body wrapped in red satin sheets, his white hair poking out over a little smiling face.
'Oh, it's you!' He laughed weakly. 'Come here, come here.' I walked up to Regis slowly and was shocked to see that I almost didn't recognize him. He was so very small and so very ill that he looked nothing like Regis at all, and more like a tiny doll.
'You haven't changed at all, not here at least.' He said, putting his hand against my cheek. It was so very cold. 'But here, ah yes, here your age truly shows.' He said as he removed his hand from my cheek and placed it on my heart. 'Why is that the case?' He asked. 'I…very soon, I will be alone.' I said. 'Bah!' said Regis. 'Hold out your hands.' I did so, and in them, he placed a big thick book. It was called 'The Companions of the Hall.' 'My part is all finished!' He chuckled and grinned proudly. At that, I could not stop the tears and they flowed freely down my cheeks. Regis' smile faded and was replaced by a look of concern. 'Drizzt? What troubles you so?' He asked. 'My apologies, do not be concerned by me.' I said. 'Come dear friend, tell me. Please.' He begged. 'I wasted my time, with all of you. I should've been a better friend to you, a better brother to Wulfgar and a better son in law to Bruenor. Even worse, as Cattibrie's husband, I wasted our time together.' It was then that Regis' eyes filled with tears. 'No, no that could not be farther from the truth.' He wiped his eyes and motioned to the book. 'Please, open it…' I rubbed my hands across the smooth leather. I opened the book, its pages smelled of fresh paper and ink. 'After we retrieved the Crystal Shard and Akar Kessel was defeated, we all decided to write our experiences in here. We knew that one day, we would all leave you. But, we wanted you to know that you are never without us. Take a look.'
I looked down at the book, its pages filled with all that we had accomplished. From Regis, the first line read 'I lived a life of dishonesty. That is until Drizzt Do'Urden came along. He taught me that sincerity is the greatest trait one can have.' Bruenor's said 'Long was I stuck in self abiding ignorance, it took a drow of all creatures to open my eyes. Hah! A Drow! Drizzt thank you.' Wulfgar's stated 'In my life, I have experienced many shortcomings. Many times did I fall along my path, but each time, there was always a voice that said 'Stand up! Keep moving!' That voice was Drizzt Do'Urden's.' I flipped the pages to Cattibrie and breathed heavily. 'Here is the person I miss the most.' I said to Regis. 'Go on, read it.' He said. 'She's waiting.' I gasped. 'She's been waiting for a long time, for you to read her words.' I nodded and gently ran my fingers across the page, reading what she had written long ago. It read 'My head, my heart, my eyes, and my life. No, even more. All of these things are forever yours, just as you are forever mine. And someday, you will stay there, while I will have to go forward, into the next life. So many steps ahead and so far away in body but in spirit we are forever one. Though in years it may be thousands, looking back upon it and it will seem as mere moments. In that light, we will soon be together. We are as the Earth and the Moon. Though on this day, I may be sinking away from your gaze, do not fear! I am merely at your back, protecting you. And one day, just as sure as the moon returns the next night, I shall be in your gaze again. Throughout this life, throughout its joys and storms and frost of doubts, there has been one constant that has made it all bearable. It is my time with you. The warmth of your love caused the frigid cold in my heart to melt. Our time, however brief, was time well spent and forever cherished. And though my body may chill and return to the earth, do not let our love die! You must carry on! Go onward! You are blessed with long life and a gift for serving those in need! Use it, carry our beliefs, and help the people of this world just as you always have done. For this is the way of the ranger I spent my life with. This is the way of the drow whom I so deeply love. This is your way. So please, continue on! In this dead time of mine I may not be right in front of you, I may not be there in person to hold you during times of strife and make love to you in times of joy. But I will watch on proudly, as the husband I love so deeply carries onward the fruit of accomplishment that our life together has bared. I am content in all that we have accomplished in the short time we had together. I would not want it differently. Though I am southward gone, and you grow weary of the tedious day ahead, look to the moon. For one day, I shall return, and at that time I hope the moon never sinks beyond the mountains and our nights together will forever burn onward. Within my breast, I know this to be true. And soon I will be with you, my dearest. Wherever you are, whatever you must do, do it knowing I will be there to protect your back, always. Until those lavender eyes grow tired and nature finally claims you and returns you to me, I will be waiting for you. My flesh is your flesh, my bones are your bones, though I am here and you are there. We are always together, as one. For the many blessings you have given me. For this rich life, thank you' Finally, I understood the meaning behind her last words. Tears came again but this time they were of joy. 'No Drizzt.' Regis said. 'We do not regret, not at all. Your time was not wasted with any of us, and especially not with her.' I flipped to the next page. It read 'Drizzt Do'Urden' I flipped to the page after and the page after that, but nothing was written. 'These are blank.' I said. 'Well of course, those pages are for you to fill. Those are for your story, which is not finished, Not yet. Finish it Drizzt! Finish it!' Then Regis let out a long sigh and was gone.
Alone again? Perhaps in body. But in spirit, she is here. At my side, protecting my back, and always smiling down on me in the light of the moon. So I continue forward into this new era. Without fear, without tears, and never alone."