A/N: A short beginning- most chapters will be longer than this. Anyway, enjoy! And please let me know what you think.

Prologue

Fahren jumped down from the trees, burying his dagger to the hilt in the thick neck of an ogre. The monster roared and spun, desperately trying to crush the wily elf- but was stopped short as a black arrow shot through the air and landed square in the beast's forehead with a loud thwack! The ogre dropped to the ground, threatening to take its adversary with it, but in one nimble movement Fahren rolled off its shoulders and landed gently on the ground, his pale cheeks flushed with battle and panic.

It was midnight in the Hucklebeet Woods and the stars twinkled faintly through the canopy of the trees. Fahren wiped his dagger against the hem of his cloak as his companion-the one who shot the arrow- emerged from the darkness.

'You need to leave as soon as possible,' he said urgently, looking up and putting the blade back in its sheath.

Thayla nodded, tears falling freely down her cheeks. Though almost a hundred years old, the elf appeared only as young woman with a thick shock of golden hair that fell down her back and wide green eyes. Her bow hung from her hands and a smear of blood marred her pale cheek.

'Go,' Fahren urged, scanning the darkness around them. 'Please, Thayla. You have to go.'

Thayla took a long breath to steady herself and sniffed, pulling up the hood of her cloak. 'Where will I find you?' she whispered hoarsely.

'Ryajek said we're going east. The forest is thicker there and old stories say some of the old fortresses still stand. I promise, when you return you will know where to find us.' He rushed forward and hugged her, planting light kisses against both of her cheeks. 'Run.'

And she did. Thayla took to the trees, her feet hitting the ground without a sound and her slight figure concealed by the shadows that tonight seemed so numerous, as if the wood itself were trying to protect her. She hissed and pressed herself against the trunk of a tree as two goblins passed by, chattering vilely between themselves. The sound of their foul speech made her skin crawl and without thinking she stepped into the monster's path, hooking one with the string of her bow. She flipped, pulling the goblin to the ground with a gurgle as its companion froze, astonished. Dropping to one knee she pulled an ornate knife from her belt and buried it in the pathetic creature's heart. 'For my father,' she whispered venomously.

By now the other goblin had pulled its sword free and was facing her uncertainly. Thayla realised it was going to cry out and swung with her fist, connecting solidly with its jaw. A sickening crack sundered the air and blood spurted from the goblin's mouth, oozing onto the ground. Thayla spun, landing a kick against its chest and sending the monster stumbling backwards, then she pulled an arrow from her quiver and lunged forward like she'd seen the human fencers do, plunging the tip into the goblin's heart. It died without a sound. 'And that's for my sister,' she said softly, unaware as the tears fell down her cheeks once more. There was still a long way to go.

A month had passed since then. Thayla staggered against the snow drift, shivering uncontrollably. Her elven attire had long ago proved inadequate in the freezing climate and as she journeyed north she had exchanged it for old, but blessedly warm, woollen trousers, boots and a long patched cloak. The powers that may have sympathised with her plight were too far south to reach in time and she had come to Ten Towns determined to find aid. Instead all she had found was rumours and reluctance; and talk of an unusual drow elf.

Thayla had heard many stories of Drizzt Do'Urden. When she ignored the characteristically human way in which they were told (with plenty of bile) they painted a picture of an outcast- and outcast with unimaginable skill with a blade. But a drow all the same. However, Thayla was at a dead end; though she feared what this Do'Urden may have done to be exiled even from his own hateful people, he was her only chance. No one else would help a besieged elf clan.

And it might still all be in vain. Thayla realised dimly that she had been cheated- though the clothes she had traded for had seemed warm when she got them, she now realised they were horrendously inadequate against the relentless snows and chilly wind of Kelvin's Cairn. She wasn't even sure if this was Kelvin's Cairn, the endless plains of white all looked the same to the elf. In the last few days she'd realised just how sheltered her life had really been.

And four days ago she had run out of food. Feeling terribly weak, Thayla had walked non-stop the moment she realised her supplies were gone, desperate to reach help or any kind of civilisation at all before she lost her strength completely. All in vain, she thought dimly, as her legs suddenly buckled beneath her, sending her sprawling face first to the ground.

Thayla knew she was dying as the cold around her began to recede. She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief, letting the darkness take her.