Author's note 1: Alright, a couple of things.
Sorry this took a while, school followed by Christmas break has been keeping me busy.
While doing research, and RPing with some other FR fans on Tumblr, someone had told me that Tieflings were human only, and that Killik was in fact a Fey'ri. So from this point forward, I'll be using that term for Killik instead.
Also, I had to rewrite this chapter, since I felt what I originally had seemed to introduce too many people to keep up with, so I'm going to try and keep character appearances spaced enough that I can put in some development in this story.
After Drizzt had left, Killik looked over to the blue phoenix spirit and smiled. The purple spotted Fey'ri noticed his friend was still a bit angry and sighed.
"Thanks for not roasting Drizzt alive back there." he said, "And I'm sorry I made you worry, and that we missed meeting up with Kalandyn. Whatever he wanted to say to me in person, instead of with the Kinderstone while I was on the way here must have been pretty big. " Looking back at the spirit, he saw that it gave him an irritated look, and hopped on the bed until it stood on his chest, and pecked the young drow's forehead a couple of times before flying back to the foot of the bed.
"Ow!" he said cringing. "Alright, alright! I might have put dad in danger by saying that bit about his dad to Drizzt, but I don't think I had much of a choice. If he met dad or Kal, and I hadn't told him what I did, the moment he realized just where dad came from would just cause some serious trust problems. Khrima, you and I both know I need people to trust me, especially with what I am." Killik then let out a yawn, and closed his eyes as he fell asleep.
"Besides… I have someone I want to help…"
Five years ago in the city of Baldur's Gate, a young human girl with blood red hair was sitting on a bench in the garden of her family's manor. It was night time, and she had been having trouble sleeping. She had hoped some fresh air would help her relax, but then she saw something, or rather someone on the top of the wall around the garden. The figure , stood on the top of the wall, but they then seemed to wobble a bit before falling into a bush with a loud "Ow." Curious, the girl walked over to see just who, or what the person was. Grabbing a stick off the ground and holding it like a club, she crept over until she could see the intruder, and had just raised it over her head when she stopped and blinked.
The trespasser was a young man with coal black skin, short white hair and silver eyes. He had horns and a tail, but the strangest thing about him was that he had a blue mark around his left eye, and he seemed to be talking to himself as he rubbed his lower back.
"Well, that could have gone better… What do you mean I forgot to check for traps? I didn't pretend to be a part of the staff for a week for nothing. Hey, what matters is that we got proof he's up to something, if I can just take it to the Council of Four like in the plan, we can move on without any more problems." He said, before looking up at the girl, and froze.
"Uh… hi there?"
A couple of hours later, Drizzt was standing outside the entrance of Mithral Hall, trying to think. The fresh air was doing well to help clear the ranger's head at the information he had learned from the young fey'ri. While he had first thought Killik was a tiefling, he then remembered his education at Melee Magthere, and reading about the elven variety of infernal blooded beings. Unfortunately, what Killik had told him had raised more questions as he used that time to think about what he had learned and about the strange young male as well.
A blue elven druid? A house that I had not only haven't heard of, but is allergic to rosemary as well? A drow sorcerer whose father I met in the past? This boy just isn't making much sense. Why does he hide the fact he is a fey'ri, as well as that birthmark? How it is that harp of his became enchanted when he was born? Is that even the true story behind it? How could something like that cause even Guenhwyvar to be visible when unsummoned? Just… who or what is Killik Rydrion really? Yes, he does claim to be a good person, and he did honor our wager in Silverymoon but …
Unfortunately, the sounds of footsteps coming toward him broke the ranger out of his thoughts. From what he heard, they were being made by a large animal. As it came closer, he could hear the whine of a wolf and he opened his eyes, looked up and saw the source of the sound. Coming toward him, rather quickly as he noticed, was a black Dire Wolf with a white muzzle. The fearsome looking beast with bony plates growing on his back barking something at the cloaked figure on its back. Drizzt raised an eyebrow as his sensitive ears picked up the rider's voice.
"Argryn! Will you slow down?! I know your eager, but you're going to slip off if you don-VITH!" the figure yelled, and the beast made a sudden stop, causing the rider to get thrown forward, hit the ground, and then unceremoniously skid to a halt at Drizzt's feet. With a muffled "Ow," the stranger then got up on his knees, and kept his hood pulled over his face with one hand.
"Are you alright?" the ranger asked, raising an eyebrow at the stranger. The cloaked figure kept his head down as he spoke, as if trying to keep Drizzt from seeing his face for some unknown reason.
"I'm fine… I've been through worse." He said, his voice quiet, "My name is Kalandyn Rydrion, I was told by a guard in Silverymoon that my brother, Killik was seen heading to the gates, and that you had asked about him as well. I'm looking for him, and I have to give him a message. We were supposed to meet in the city… but well…"
"He didn't show up?" Drizzt asked, and seeing Kalandyn nod, he continued. "Killik was keeping his end of a wager I had made with him during a performance he was giving, and I believe rosemary caused him to run off. What is this message you need to give him? I'll tell him for you." The cloaked figure then flinched and quickly shook his head as he raised his hands up defensively.
"No! No!" he said, "Killik needs to hear it from his little brother, if I had someone else give the message to him, then I would be accused of trying to get both of us killed… Killik's and my heritage contains drow blood, and with the Shevarashi out there, it's hard to know who wouldn't try to kill me or my brother if they got close. Please, if you know where my brother is, please, please, take me to him."
The strange drow's pleas were confusing to Drizzt, having never seen drow brothers care for each other like this, or any siblings born among the drow in the Underdark. Usually, drow were so busy plotting against each other that they'd rarely, if ever, formed bonds as an actual family. Then again, something just felt wrong about this whole situation, but he could not put his finger on what it was.
"Will you lower your hood for me then?" the ranger asked, the man he spoke with flinching at the question, "I feel it would be best to see the face of the person asking me a favor, then put my guest in danger."
"I-I can't." Kalandyn answered, pulling his hood down even lower over his face, whether from anxiety or shyness Drizzt couldn't tell. "I… I'm not very comfortable with people seeing my face outside of Riftwood, I've been chased out of towns before because of it. Killik will know me, I promise! Just please, please, please take me to my brother! I'm begging you!"
The ranger then sighed. It was painful for him to see Kalandyn, or just about anyone beg like this, and against his better judgment, relented. "Very well." He told him, and signaled that the cloaked man follow him as he turned around to go through the maze of tunnels leading to Mithral Hall, and the ranger's room.
The poking continued for Artemis as Jarlaxle wouldn't give up. And eventually, the assassin sat up in bed, turned to the drow, and glared.
"What in the nine hells do you want?!" he shouted, while the leader of Bregan Dearthe grinned in victory.
"I need your assistance my old friend." The drow said, before taking his hat off, and pulling out a pile of papers from it. "You see, a month ago in Rashemen, I encountered this upstart rogue, who not only stole a gem that was rumored to be able to locate a magical item that can turn the tide of any battle before I could, but he had the audacity to mock me as if I was a joke!"
"You point?" Artemis asked, not amused at the drow's reason for coming to him.
"He said he'd be in the south western part of faerun before he got away, and I've searched for him here, I've searched for him there, and I can't find that zal'toast anywhere!" Jarlaxle said, the grip he had on the papers he pulled out of his hat tightening. "Is he on the Prime Material, or in The Abyss? Curse that damned, elusive, Blue Phoenix!"
Artemis rolled his eyes at Jarlaxle's ranting. Oh no, the drow's pride was injured, someone get a cleric. He thought to himself, and while the brightly dressed drow started going into incomprehensible shouts and curses, his mind went to an incident just about a tenday before…
He had been hired to kill the leader of a minor thieves guild that had been quickly climbing through the ranks of Calimport's criminal underworld. He had just visited the base of Dwavel Tigerwillie's old guild that, after the somewhat peaceful century that passed , was now under the control of the halfling's daughter, Merina, who had taken after her mother in several ways. After getting an address for his target, he made his way across Calimport, and had just arrived at his destination when he noticed something happening on the street in front of him. The sky was cloudy that night, and while the moon was full, what little moonlight came through the clouds was only enough to let him see that a lone man wearing a lot of blue was surrounded by some local thugs consisting of half-orcs, a couple of humans, a dwarf, and one surprisingly burly looking gnome. Moving out of sight quickly by hiding behind a barrel, the assassin took note of the gathered group.
The thugs looked pissed, the dwarf hitting his fist against the palm of his other hand, the half-orcs and humans brandishing their weapons and glaring, and the gnome looking the most angered in the group. However, the man in blue, who seemed to be a drow from what little skin Artemis could see combined with the white hair that was tied back into a ponytail, seemed to be unintimidated. Though with the short-beaked, birdlike mask he wore, the man's face was a little difficult for the assassin to read. The blue clothed stranger then stretched his arms towards the sky and gave a yawn before the leader of the thugs surrounding him spoke up.
"You must be pretty stlarning cocky to think you can get away from us so easily after stealing my prized possession, and my records!" the gnome said, while the masked man gave a shrug.
"Well, with your 'wonderful' security of just one spike trap that even a goblin rogue in training could disable, I feel more insulted than cocky." He said, before turning his head to the right and laughed. "Yeah, it seems you were right, he does look like he's been building more muscle than the dwarf! He'd be intimidating if it weren't for that stupid curly mustatche he has! And what's with the single blond curl on his head? He looks like a muscular idiot!"
The group looked at each other in confusion, Artemis himself raising an eyebrow, as they looked at the stranger as they tried to find at least some sign of whoever he was speaking to. However, no one was there, and the thugs and Artemis wondered if the masked man was actually sane.
"Who in the nine hells are you talking to?!" the gnome shouted then, his face seeming a little redder from rage.
"Hm?" the masked drow then said, "Oh right,that was my current employer. Black haired, half-elf, holding his head in his hands, rest of the body heavily scarred, framed for something in Basadoni and killed, does any of that ring a bell to you?" The gnome flinched as his eyes widened in surprise, but then regained his composure.
"Do you think I'm stupid or something?" the angry little gnome said, "Even I know that it's impossible for the dead to hire someone for a theft! Besides, unless you're 'employer' happens to have a tattoo of Battlin' Bethany Glyder on his back, then I ain't got nothing to do with his execution!"
Well that sounded a little too specific. Artemis thought, and looked over at the masked stranger, seeing the man give an annoyed frown.
"Yes. Not true. And…" the man said, shifting to appear as if he was looking at something, "Disturbingly enough for me, he does have a tattoo of Bethany Glyder…. Without anything on." His tone when he described the tattoo though, held a hint of disgust, almost as if he had, to Artemis at least, heard about Jarlaxle and the dragon he once slept with. The thought of having to remember that moment forced the assassin to shudder.
An awkward silence fell across everyone gathered in the street, the thugs looking at each other with a mix of confusion, fear, and curiousity about this masked man's sanity. One or two of them coughed a bit, and the gnome leading them just stood there dumbfounded.
"How much of her body do you see?" he then asked, getting a perverted look on his face. The masked man reeled back visibly disgusted as he spoke up.
"Why the hells would I tell you that?!" he said, "It's a tattoo featuring my grandmother for Erevan's sake!"
"WHAT?!" the gnome yelled, while Artemis wondered how all this noise was going on and yet no one had woken up yet to check what was happening, "There is no way a beautiful, curvy, blessed elf like her would screw a damned, dirty drow! Boys! Let's get this liar and teach him a lesson on besmirching the name of one of the Battle Ready Monthly Almanac's most famous and still active Sparring Partners to be featured in the centerfold AND cover!"
"Not listening! Not Listening!" The drow then said, disgusted by the gnome's description of what was apparently a figure from some sort of series of almanacs that had most likely become something even Jarlaxle would enjoy looking at just to make note of any women he recognized from his exploits. Before the assassin could dwell too long on how much bragging the leader of Braegan Dearth would do, the sounds of the thugs charging grabbed his attention as he watched the battle.
The thugs had their weapons drawn. Axes, hammers, knives, a quarterstaff used by one of the humans, and the gnome himself using of a bastard sword with both hands, were ready to strike as they all charged the masked drow at once. However, before they could reach him, their target jumped into the air, the gnome stopping while his underlings crashed into each other, one of the half-orcs getting hit in the skull by another thug's hammer and getting killed in the process. The drow landed on his feet on top the dead thug's body, and clicked his tongue as he wiggled his finger.
"Wow, you try and distract me by talking about a relative, and then attack me when I say something true. You guys must not be the sharpest swords in the barracks." He said, before drawing his own weapons, a rapier with the hand guard designed to resemble a bird's wing and a dagger with a blade that resembled a shard of a broken mirror. The dagger held an aura of magic too it, and for some reason, the assassin thought he had seen the dagger once before, but couldn't remember where. The rapier though, seemed normal until part of the drow's mask started to look like something underneath it was glowing. Next thing Artemis saw, was the rapier's blade become surrounded by a bright blue flame, the moment enough to surprise the thugs as they were preparing to attack again. Taking his chance, the drow became a blue, almost firey looking blur as he attacked.
The gnome stood to the side, acting as if his now 19 underlings would easily take care of the drow, and smirking like he won. But as Artemis saw from the shadows behind the barrel, the drow fought like a mad man. With a few strikes from the rapier, three thugs went down as their clothes caught on fire. While a few of them managed to get a few hits in with their knives, the drow didn't even blink as he simply stabbed one of the half-orcs with his dagger, the mirror like blade glowing as the victim screamed. However, Artemis saw that the drow's injuries started to heal and the assassin quickly put a hand on his own jeweled dagger, surprised to see another blade that could drain the life out of an opponent. As the drow jumped up to kick two thugs that tried to double team him, Artemis watched as he sheathed the dagger, quickly pulled out a grappling hook from behind his back, and launched it at the axe one of the thugs held. The masked drow then grinned, before using it to disarm the owner and using the hook's line to sling the axe around and behead three more thugs as it rewound back into the device.
Certainly some ingenuity there. Artemis thought to himself, and then saw as the drow proceeded to kill a rather large half-orc by stabbing upward twice with his weapons, then jumping and stabbing down into the half-orc's back twice, followed by a dodge left, a swing to the right, another swing to the left and a roll to the right, a block using the dagger, and finally ending the move with a head on attack with the flaming rapier. The flaming blue blade struck the thug in the stomach, running him through. However, the half-orc would scream as the fire started consuming his body from within. Next, the human with the quarterstaff swept his weapon across the ground, trying to knock the drow on his feet from behind. However, the drow somehow seemed to sense this as he jumped and landed on the staff itself when the wielder lifted the staff over his head. The human then tried to knock the drow down by spinning the staff, however, the man's eyes widened when he saw that instead of falling off, the drow started running on the spinning staff, his feet going from end to end as it twirled.
"Really?" the masked drow then said as he moved, "Please, I've been doing this trick for years!" The man then started to sing to himself as he kept on the human's staff, the owner soon deciding to throw him off by switching the direction he was twirling the weapon. The human succeeded in throwing the drow off as he landed on his back, and the moment he was stunned gave the thugs an advantage as the dwarf ran over to try and behead the drow with his axe. However, once the dwarf had raised the weapon over his head, something odd happened. The drow didn't even move, or speak, but it was as if something had grabbed the dwarf's weapon and kept him from swinging down.
Magic? Or is something else protecting this drow? Artemis thought as he watched the confused dwarf struggle with whatever was holding him back, only for the weapon to rise and lift him into the air, causing the dwarf to kick helplessly as he held on to his floating weapon. The drow then managed to recover and stand back up, and quickly stabbing the human with the quarterstaff with both his weapons. The unlucky dwarf though, was screaming as his body started showing signs of something attacking him. Claw marks appeared on his armor, surrounded by blue flames much like the rapier the drow wielded, and the dwarf's body caught fire as he screamed in pain as he died.
"Thanks!" the drow yelled to no one, and in the short time after that, the rest of the thugs were defeated and their boss was the only one who remained. Throughout the battle, Artemis had noticed that the gnome had grown quite pale as he watched the battle, and the assassin swore he could smell his fear as he noticed gnome's shadow on the ground seemed a bit darker around his feet. The masked drow then looked over at him, and pointed the flaming rapier at the gnome.
"Just… who are you?" The gnome asked, holding up his bastard sword defensively. The drow simply smirked as he answered.
"Who am I? Well, I'm the masked thief that never sleeps, and the hunter of haunted things. I am the poor being's defense, and the friend of the dead. I've been here and there, but haven't been caught anywhere. It's been said that I've been a shadow on the prime material, or a demon of the abyss. They're not true mind you, I'm just the amazing Blue Phoenix." He said while moving towards the scared gnome as he grinned, his voice also becoming a little musical while he spoke.
"WHAT!" the gnome shouted as he started to shake with fear. Artemis simply watched as the drow moved calmly, that grin reminding him a little of Jarlaxle. "The Blue Phoenix is a damned drow?! I heard he was a man with enormous feet, and a warty nose! Possibly a cleric or a guildmaster from Almraiven!"
"You were expecting maybe, Drizzt Do'Urden?" he asked, sidestepping the sword and getting close to the gnome to flick him on the head and then yank on the single blond curl. Jumping back when the gnome swung, the Blue Phoenix clicked his tongue again. "What's the matter, afraid? Well, since there's a pissed off ghost behind you, that'd probably be a good reason to be that way."
The gnome turned around, his eyes wide with fear as he started looking around in a panic. He saw nothing, and yet he noticed that it was certainly colder tonight than normal in the desert city of Calimport, as he and Artemis noticed, it was low enough to for the gnome to see his own breath.
"Y-You're Insane… Y-you got to b-be!" the frightened thug said, while the thief laughed.
"Maybe I am, I mean, madness is in the family after all." The Blue Phoenix said, "But then again, I've yet to meet anyone who could see what I can without a little help. Anywho, my employer's getting impatient, and he's just given me the okay to let him kill you so…. buh-bye!" The man then waved good bye, turning around and walking across the street as the burly gnome was lifted in the air, and had barely enough time to scream as he had his neck snapped by an unseen force. Once the gnome hit the ground dead, and filled with fear, for a brief moment Artemis thought he saw the outline of a man with his head on a sling at his hip, the head mouthing the words "thank you" before it vanished.
"You're welcome." The drow said then, as if he heard the spectre's voice, and then turned to casually look at where Artemis was hiding. "You can come out now, I'm done here."
The assassin was dumbstruck, how could this man know he was there? Standing up, he held a hand over the hilt of his jewel dagger, his cloak remaining closed in case of trouble.
"How long have you known I was there, and what do you mean by 'done here'?" Artemis asked.
"Hm?" said the drow, "Oh, about… halfway into the fight. A firebird told me you were there, but since he figured you were only a spectator, he told me to just ignore you, take care of the thugs, and just leave with what I stole like I planned. Whatever business you have here, I don't want anything to do with. Besides, those thugs were tailing me from about, five streets over I think. Well, seeya." The blue phoenix then started walking off, leaving a surprised Artemis stunned for a moment to watch him leave.
"ARTEMIS! ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!" Jarlaxle yelled, pulling the assassin out of his thoughts. Artemis stared at the pissed off leader of Bregan D'aerthe, his own glare matching the intensity of the drow's.
"Jarlaxle. I'm not helping you in this." Artemis then said flatly. "When we went our separate ways so long ago, I told you that I wanted nothing more to do with you."
"Well, yes," Jarlaxle said, "But this is important! I have to find that blasted upstart and show him his place!"
The assassin groaned at that statement, realizing just where Jarlaxle was headed. He knew what obsession could do to someone, as he remembered what he went through just to face Drizzt in a duel to the death. Over the years though, he put that rivalry behind him and tried to move on from the past. Seeing Jarlaxle now though, and hearing what he wanted Artemis to do, was enough for the man to keep glaring at the dandy drow as he spoke again.
"Jarlaxle. You're obsessing over a younger theif. I've been on this road before, and it is not something I want to go down again in any way, shape or form. I'm not going to help you in this. I'm not going to be your hound in your little hunt. And I am sure as the nine hells not going to do what you ask, and watch you go mad from obsession." Artemis then said, before standing up, and picking up Jarlaxle by the cape, and the seat of his pants before carrying the drow to the window of his room. "You're on your own. NOW GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
With that, Jarlaxle Baenre found himself flying out the window and hitting the streets of Calimport and was about to get up and shout at the assassin when he was immediately hit in the head by the papers he had pulled out of his hat earlier.
And thus ends this chapter. The Blue Phoenix has shown up again, but it seems more questions have been raised. Just who was Killik speaking of when he said he had someone to help? What is the message Kalandyn is trying to tell his brother? If Artemis Entreri isn't going to help Jarlaxle, who will? Just what is that treasure The Blue Phoenix stole from that burly gnome? How long will it take for the next chapter to get posted after this one?
Anyway, I hope you readers enjoyed the fight scene in Entreri's flashback, and spotted any references I snuck in this chapter as well! Please write a comment or critique on what I have so far, feedback is much appreciated! Next time, we may get an idea on what's really going on in this story.