Chapter 5: Hallucination

Outside the ruined fortress, Drizzt was panting heavily. Not because he was tired-although destroying the fortress and freeing the slaves was tiring-but also he couldn't believe himself.

Drizzt took the time to torture the slave overlord...and it was satisfying to Drizzt to hear his screams.

Drizzt shook himself with a little more than horror...was he becoming like the drow? Like the rest of his accursed kin?

No, the man deserved his punishment, not only enslaving and ruining the lives of many people but also for mistreating his son and sold him to a cruel master.

He started off to the east with the horse he "acquired", he will find his son and take him back home to his family again. Even if it meant unleashing hell on earth.

Catti-brie finished putting on some ointment on her son to heal the bruises that suddenly appeared on the half-drow.

Of late, strange bruises and welts would appear out of nowhere and Keloraun would burst out crying from time to time, feeling his twin's pain. Kel's mood have changed greatly, he was no longer the happy and energetic child he once was; he would sit in the middle of the common room staring blankly into nothingness as if someone had stolen his soul. Catti-brie and Lyra did their best to cheer up the boy but it did little good, he would smile for just a bit and then go back to his "catatonic" state. It pained Catti-brie, that someone out there is hurting her child. Oh how she wished she could join Drizzt on his hunt and punish the ones who dare even lay a finger on her child! But it also amazed the human woman of just how close the twins actually feel each other thoughts and emotions. In a sense, a part of her wished the twins didn't have that kind of power, she couldn't even bare the thought of how much pain her baby was going through and yet she was glad that they did or else how might she know what is happening to her child? Catti-brie felt sick, what kind of mother is she to ponder how much suffering her children are going through? She forced the dark thoughts down, it would do no good to her family. It was up to Drizzt now to find him and bring him home safely to the warmth and love of his family. Every night, Lyra, Kel, and Catti-brie would huddle together in prayer, praying for the well-being of Drizzt and Kalanfein and that they would be home soon. The siblings slept with their mother for comfort in their parents' bedroom, soothing each other and their lost brother.

One day, the sad eyes of Kel suddenly changed into embers of hope. "Momma...!"

"What is it me boy?" Catti-brie asked breathlessly, excited by her son's excitement. She almost dropped the dishes she was washing.

"Kal's out! Kal's out!" he exclaimed hopping up and down.

"Kal's out!" Lyra squealed in joy.

A smile touched upon Catti-brie's lips, her son is safe now! And he is coming home.

Catti-brie couldn't help but wonder, "Is Drizzt with him?"

Kel shook his head, "Someone else helped Kal."

Her eyes widen. She wasn't sure of the implications of that statement.

Kal's belly rumbled, he hadn't eaten properly in the last few days. He looked towards the man who rescued him, pondering if it was a good idea to ask him for some food.

The half-drow didn't have to ask though. The assassin heard the child's rumbling stomach and considering the circumstances he rescued him from, he was very malnourish. He stopped the horse and help the boy down.

"Wait here," he ordered and scampered off to the distance.

The little boy couldn't hide his joy, that someone actually is concerned about him. He waited patiently for the man to return to him with food and just a little later the assassin brought back a rabbit.

"It's not much but it should fill you for a while," he stated and the boy nodded. They made a little camp just off the road where the assassin cooked the rabbit and handed it to the boy. While Kal was devouring the rabbit, Artemis couldn't help himself but observe the boy's features. So much like his father... except the slight tinge of auburn in his hair although it was still mostly white. Anger began to boil within him, that Drizzt isn't dead, the bastard Jarlaxle lied and used him, and Drizzt have beaten him once life.

To his eyes, the boy have changed into an adult Drizzt and began to grin savagely at Artemis. "Oh Artemis, when will you ever learn?" the conjured "Drizzt" sneered at him with a wicked smile.

The assassin's right hand went to the hilt of the dagger and unsheathe it. How dare he mocks me!

Kal dropped the rabbit, eyes wide with terror. "S-Sir?" he was shaken. The man turned from a seemingly nice person to something the boy couldn't quite described...but it was pretty close to being a monster.

The boy yelped in fear and backed away slowly. The cry of the boy knocked him out of his trance and Entreri was no longer looking at Drizzt Do'urden but at his child shivering. Entreri immediately sheathed his dagger again and turned his head away in shame.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. I'll be back," he gave the boy an apologetic smile and ran into the thicket to clear his mind. Kal could only stare at him blankly, confusion written all over his face, is the man delusional?

Artemis couldn't believe it, for a moment he had a hallucination and nearly struck at an innocent child. Artemis Entreri may be a killer but he is not that low to strike at a child! But why was he seeing images of Drizzt whenever he stared at the boy for long? The assassin wondered if he was losing his mind, so obsessed he was over the drow that he is willing to attack anyone that even bare a hint of resemblance? Well the boy didn't bare a hint, he bared alot of him. For the first time, Artemis feared the well being of someone, someone that is the son of his nemesis. The boy did nothing to deserve his anger and frustration, he rebuked himself. And yet for a moment he was more than willing to slay him. Artemis felt sick to his gut, he would never forgive himself if he murdered a child, even if the child belong to Drizzt.

He threw he dagger at the bark fo the tree and groaned. He will not believe that he is losing it, he will not! After he finish his business with his employee, he will help the boy return home to his family and hopefully never cross blades with Drizzt again. He laughed, Drizzt will most likely attack him for even being near his child, not that he could blame him. But still... The half-drow didn't deserve anything of this. With a determined sigh, he stalked out of the thicket and slowly strode to the boy.

"I'm sorry for my..."outburst"...I was having a..."relapse". He truly meant the apology and actually hope the boy will forgive him. He couldn't believe it. What was becoming of him?

Kal stared at him hard, wondering if the man will have another "relapse" later. It scared him but he saw no other chance of getting home but he sensed that the man really meant his words. "It's okay!."

Artemis smile, genuinely, at the excitement of the child.