This is more or less my first attempt at fan-fiction, or creative writing, period. When searching for inspiration to write this, I recalled a passage in R.A. Salvatore's "The Servant of the Shard" wherein the priest Cadderly speculates as to why Entreri is so bitter--especially toward priests. Cadderly wondered if perhaps Entreri had been terribly wronged by a priest in some way-----and I decided to elaborate on that little tid-bit. This story takes place in two times, really--it's set when Entreri was a young man still working his way up through the ranks of the Basadoni guild; but within there are some rather long-winded flashbacks that will (of course!) be identified as such. I hope you enjoy the story--but even if you don't, constructive criticism is ALWAYS appreciated! Just don't brow-beat me for silly grammatical errors--I'm only human.

Listen as the wind blows
from across the great divide,
Voices trapped in yearning,
memories trapped in time,
The night is my companion
and solitude my guide,
Would I spend forever here
and not be satisfied,

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear

Through this world I've stumbled
so many times betrayed,
Trying to find an honest word,
to find the truth enslaved,
Oh you speak to me in riddles and
you speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath,
you words keep me alive,

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear

Into this night I wander,
it's morning that I dread,
Another day of knowing of
the path I fear to tread,
Oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride,
Nothing stands between us here
and I won't be denied,

And I would be the one
to hold you down,
kiss you so hard,
I'll take your breath away
and after I'd wipe away the tears,
Just close your eyes dear...


{Many of the characters, locations, ideas, et.cetera represented in this work of fan-fiction are property of R.A. Salvatore and Wizards of the Coast and I do not presume to claim them as my own. A few characters, idea, and locales are indeed of my own creation, but to avoid liability--I hereby denounce them. Don't sue me...I'm a poor college student....}

Close Your Eyes

Chapter I: A Leave of Absence

The warm summer nights of the Southern Sword Coast brought with them the tepid rains that gave life to the otherwise desolate landscape. This night was no different. Droplets pattered softly upon the sandy streets of the bustling city of Calimport. The seasonal rains were few but enough to fill the reservoirs for at least a few months, and at the very least they provided a much desired treat for those afflicted by the desert heat. Filthy street urchins giggled and squealed in pleasure as they played a game of stickball in a dilapidated alley, the rain leaving muddy trails down their faces.

High on the rooftops of one of the mudbrick stuctures that made up so much of the city's taupe skyline sat a lone figure, legs swinging freely over the side of the building. His dark eyes darted back and forth between the playful children in the alley below and the dead body of a haggard old beggar only a few yards away from them. How well it summarized life as he knew it. The young man raised a hand and wiped the rain from his brow, pushing a few strands of wet hair back behind his ears. There was work to be done, true, but it could wait. The target wasn't going anywhere, and it wasn't often that peace came so readily to Artemis Entreri. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back, the warm rain hitting his face as gently as a lover's sweet kisses. The pure water poured down his upturned visage like saltless tears; tears that he had vowed would never again come to him. There would be no more tears--tears were signs of lowly emotion that only led to weakness. I am strong, he had told himself. I will be the strongest...untouchable in everything that I do from this day forward, he had sworn. To keep such vows was a task harder than he had ever believed possible...but he would do it. There was no choice about it anymore.

"Artemis..." whispered a lilting adolescent voice from behind him.

"Go away." Entreri replied simply--not moving in the slightest.

"Artemis...Old Man Basadoni wants you to come back to the guildhouse immediately...Derrick said the target was already cancelled...Rassiter's guild, he said...So you--.....Artemis?...Are you listening to me?"

"I said go away. I suggest you do so." He replied evenly, this time turning to look at the rainsoaked half-elf behind him.

The half-elf let out an exasperated sigh, throwing his hands up into the air--little droplets of water were flung in every direction. "Sulking in the rain is for morons, drunkards, and brokenhearted fools, Artemis! Derrick told me to bring you back to the guildhouse within the hour--Basadoni needs to speak with you-----I...I...Artemis..." The half-elf shut his mouth, taking a few steps back as Entreri rose from his perch at the edge of the rooftop; his heartbeat racing as the assassin stared veritable daggers at him.

Artemis Entreri said nothing...his boots making not a sound as he padded toward the visibly shaking half-elf.

", Artemis...if..if you like..I..I'll say I couldn't find you..."

"Let's go." Entreri mumbled...walking silently past the confused half-elf and toward the staircase that led to the ground level of the building.

Theo let out a deep breath; relieved that his fast tongue had not gotten him killed this night, and followed the rapidly moving figure of the assassin.

* * * * *

Derrick paced the length of the receiving room; his heavy boots clicking loudly against the hard ceramic tiles. He was an imposing man--as most in positions of power in a guild tended to be, but his face showed signs of the hardships associated with 40 years of worry. Most of those 40 years has been spent elevating the station of the Basadoni guild within Calimport's notorious underground. Everything he knew he had learned from old Basadoni himself; but for over a decade now the old guildmaster had been too preoccupied with failing health to see to his duties; and thus the majority of them had fallen to Derrick--his right hand man. Hard times were approaching---everyone knew it---and the guilds would be the hardest hit. New legislation in the City of Calimport was not was, after all, one of the largest cities in the Southern hemisphere...but new legislation in addition to one-thousand praetorian guards on loan from Waterdeep with a few meddlesome new sects of religious fanatics who were rapidly gaining power within the region thrown into the mix was going to make life as everyone knew it here very, very different. Individually each factor was bribable...but the guild's coffers would definitly be scraped dry by the time everyone was paid off. That would never do....

Derrick was broken from his thoughts by a faint knock at the large oaken door. "Enter," he spoke loudly.

The door cracked slightly and Theo's sopping wet head poked through..."Entreri's here..."

"Then why don't you MOVE and let him IN!?" snapped Derrick; his agitation over the impending troubles very clearly conveyed in his voice.

Theo stumbled through the opening and quickly swung around to pull the door open for the assassin to pass. Entreri did so, seeming to drag his feet as he shuffled with a fair amount of disinterest toward Derrick.

"I'm glad you're here..." Derrick began, his tone taking on that of a businessman...

"I'm not." Entreri interjected, drawing a confused look from his superior.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Glad. I'm not glad. In fact, I'm downright belligerent. Am I kept on such a tight leash here that I may not sit for a quarter hour where I choose without your tactless messengers prodding me home?" Entreri's deadpan expression darkened, small tendrils of his dark hair curling about his face as they dried. His eyes; long without the luster found in those of most young men his age, stared into Derrick's.

The Guildman was angry for having received a scolding from an inferior...but for this one, he would look the other way. Entreri was far too valuable a tool for the Basadoni Guild---and besides...who would they hire to kill him? Behind Entreri the half-elf Theo fidgeted nervously; wondering if perhaps this would be the ideal time to excuse himself...."Theo, go. Find Dondon." The half-elf didn't need anymore prodding than that and within 15 seconds he was gone, the door clicking shut behind him. Derrick turned his attention once more to Entreri. Old Man Basadoni had high hopes for Artemis Entreri--a fact which worried Derrick on more than one occasion. Would this young upstart one day usurp his own position? "I have need of your services--and no, it could not wait. I need.."

"And here's what I need..." Artemis began; once again interrupting the now fuming Guildman. "I need time off. I need for you to leave me be for a while. You have other assassins. No target you have yet assigned has been so difficult that Lucas could not have handled him...If there's someone you need eliminated so desperately why don't you leave your silk cushion and kill him yourself?..."

It was all Derrick could do to keep himself from lashing out at the impetuous young assassin. Entreri was cocky--very true--but it was not without merit. Derrick half wondered who would be the victor should the young Entreri ever challenge him..."I hear Rassiter's pack is offering quite a bounty on your head. Perhaps you would do wise not to tempt me to collect on it." To that he recieved an amused scoff from Entreri; who believed Derrick's idle threat about as much as he believed Old Man Basadoni was really a strapping teenager....

"It wasn't a request...You are being informed. I'm taking some time off. Basadoni won't have a problem with it; and if he does, he'll know where to find me." Artemis shot Derrick a smug grin; well aware of the superior Guildsman's worries about the young assassin's quick ascent up the hierarchy within the powerful guild. Old Man Basadoni had taken in the young Entreri from the streets more than six years ago; and since then had spent great amounts of time, effort, and most importantly, money, in Artemis's training. The assassin had developed his skills with such fervor that Old Man Basadoni was not only spared disappointment for his investment; but rather had come to prize Artemis Entreri as one of his guild's most valuable assets. Perhaps moreso than that, Basadoni had taken a liking to the young man. Old man Basadoni had acquired his power and status in Calimport by being one of the shrewdest, most calculating men in the city; but he had also learned to surround himself with men that had the power to advance his station and that of his guild. Entreri was such a man--or, as Basadoni jokingly insisted--he would be when he grew up.

"This is preposterous!" Derrick snarled at Entreri as the assassin turned and started toward the door. "You walk out of this guildhouse and I'll have every cutthroat, bounty-hunter and criminal south of Luskan after your head!"

Entreri rolled his eyes, not even bothering to turn around and acknowledge the irate Guildsman. Without another thought Entreri pulled the door open and slipped out into the hallway, letting the door slam behind him...

* * * * *

"What do you mean?" Dondon asked as he and Theo rounded a corner, emerging from a back alley onto the main thoroughfare of the market avenue. Merchants were jammed like sardines into their tiny shops, the lucky ones with cloth overhangs to keep the sun, and on this night, the rain off of them. Dondon casually swiped a handful of dates from a basket atop a merchant's counter as he passed. Nonchalantly he tossed one to Theo, taking a moment to nibble on one himself.

"I mean he said he was leaving....I heard him with my own ears...I was right there...well...before Derrick told me to leave...."

"Yes, I heard you the first time...but where does he plan to go? Is he coming back? Will Derrick LET him come back?"

"I don't know...I had to leave..." Theo paused to take a bite of his date... "but he seemed rather preoccupied with the idea. In fact, now that I think about it, he's been in a fairly melancholic mood for quite a while now. Maybe he's fed up with the whole lifestyle..."

Dondon chuckled, shoving two more dates into his mouth. "I don't believe it for a minute..."

"I told you...I'm not lying...I heard it..."

"I'm not talking about that, Theo...I mean Artemis. I can't think of anyone more suited to an assassin's life than he....but you're right. He's certainly lost his drive for action lately." The pudgy halfling swallowed the coarsely chewed dates and filled his mouth with two more.

Theo quieted for a moment, staring thoughtfully at the toes of his boots as he padded down the dusty street. "Think it's got anything to do with that prostitute?" he whispered, as if fearful that someone might hear.

Dondon stopped chewing... "I think it's got everything to do with her."

* * * * *