Within the tunnels leading into Mithral Hall, Drizzt led Kalandyn and his dire wolf, Argryn, through them. The small group were heading to the drow ranger's room where the cloaked drow's brother rested and recovered. The silence between them was uncomfortable for the cloaked one however, as he turned his head and looked around nervously, his hood somehow managing to stay on with how quickly his head moved.
"Nervous?" Drizzt then asked calmly, not having overlooked Kalandyn's movements. Within the darkness of the tunnels, the ranger's dark vision had kicked in, and he could make out the cloaked drow's facial features a little easier in the infrared spectrum. The hooded drow flinched when he spoke, and as Drizzt saw through the different colors provided by the heat given off between them, he saw that the boy's face had a feminine shape to it, compared to the faces of many male drow he had seen in his life, especially when he was fighting to keep it after he was considered ready for the Academy to train as a warrior, long before he left Menzoberranzan and later, the Underdark itself.
"Uh… w-well…" the hooded drow said, his hands fumbling beneath his cloak. Drizzt could see that the cloak couldn't block his body heat, and saw one of the other drow's hands wrap around the handle of a weapon, one that made the ranger shudder when he noticed it wasn't a sword or an axe, but a whip.
"You have a whip?" the ranger then said absentmindedly, his memories of his sister Briza striking him constantly coming to mind.
"Huh? O-Oh y-yes." Kalandyn said, seemingly unaware of the implications the weapon had for the ranger. "She was a gift from the drow male that taught my grandfather and his two brothers before the four of them fled the Underdark."
"She?" Drizzt then asked, raising an eyebrow. Either the whip was sentient, or this young man was one of those people who liked to treat their weapons like a woman and give them nicknames. Though, to hear that this drow's grandfather was possibly a third born with two living brothers and he wasn't sacrificed to the spider queen was a surprise to the ranger. Of course, his mind didn't last long on that thought since the whip had taken his interest.
"Y-yes, she. Jared said that this whip chooses her wielder. When she's held by someone that has special spark in their soul that she likes, she'll burst into black flames as a sign of acceptance." Kalandyn explained, "When I was about 16, Jared had left her lying on the table while he was talking with my mother, and I picked her up out of curiousity. Imagine his and my own surprise when she just sparked to life in my hands!" He then gave a brief chuckle, as if the memory in question was one that would have been funny if Drizzt had seen it for himself.
"And how did a drow get his hands on such a special whip?" Drizzt then asked, "Sentient weapons aren't very common after all."
"I think he said something about finding her in a chest on the surface when he was going after someone who messed up a raid." Kalandyn said, tapping his chin. "Jared also told me that she was too grateful to be out of that chest to care what her current wielder at the time was that she accepted him as her master. He had her as his weapon for about 444 years I believe."
Drizzt blinked at the number, surprised that any male drow could have held on to such a special weapon to themselves without a priestess of Lolth trying to take it for her own use. But then again it seemed house Rydrion was, as he had gathered from what Killik had mentioned of it and being around Kalandyn, a mad house that didn't follow the social norms of drow society.
"So… anything you want to tell a story about?" Kalandyn then said, from what Drizzt could tell in his darkvision, the cloaked drow's face was glowing red from embarrassment, as if he didn't like being the center of attention. The ranger heard the dire wolf with them growl something before letting out a few quick wheezes, causing the cloaked drow to mutter "Clau." Under his breath. Apparently the beast had said something to the younger male as a joke.
"Well, once I and a former companion of mine, Wulfgar, were out taking care of a group of giants." Drizzt then said, deciding to humor Kalandyn's request, "We decided that I would get their attention, while Wulfgar waited in the tunnel, and I would lure them into it."
"What happened?" Kalandyn then asked.
"I got their attention like planned, and also took a piece of meat off their table, and so I ran back to the cave with them following behind, moved to the side and started eating. Wulfgar asked where the giants were, and I told him they were right behind me." Drizzt then said, pausing to laugh at the memory. "The reaction he had to the giants entering the cave, and chasing him while I remained hidden in the shadows off to the side was priceless. He shouted a phrase in the Elk Tribe's tongue that translated to 'may the fleas of a thousand reindeer nest in your genitals!' as he ran. We did manage to defeat the giants though." The ranger then smiled at the memory, he missed the barbarian in all honesty, much like his other companions especially Cattie-Brie. Wulfgar had died of old age only 50 years ago, after fighting a trio of yetis and winning. When the human had passed on afterward, Bruenor wept for losing his adopted son a second time, and had him buried along with the rest of Mithral Hall's great heroes.
The two continued through the tunnels, swapping stories as they made their way to Drizzt's room, and Killik.
As Jarlaxle Baenre walked through the streets of Calimport, he thought about the Blue Phoenix and how disrespectful he acted towards the master of Bregan D'aerthe. The younger rogue seemed to be arrogant, underestimating of his betters, and above all, a complete show off.
It was at that moment Jarlaxle stopped and thought.
"Perhaps I'm going about this the wrong way." He said to himself before smiling, "Yes, that's it! Instead of killing him, perhaps I should use him as a distraction for my own schemes, Recruit him into Bregan D'aerthe, teach him some respect in the process, and I will not only have myself a new asset, but the wonderful chaos that boy can cause while I do my own work will be quite entertaining as well. Jarlaxle, you are brilliant!" the colorful drow laughed as he walked down the street towards the city's port, thinking of plans to use so he could convince the Blue Phoenix to join him, thinking nothing could go wrong.
"Blue Phoenix, your future is in my hand!" Jarlaxle said as he walked, the numerous pieces of jewelry he wore clinking and jingling as he moved. However, he sensed that he was being watched then, and in order to catch whoever was watching him, pretended not to notice as his words reached someone else after his future pawn.
"Someone else is after him?" the strange avariel with green and orange wings said, before taking flight and following the brightly dressed drow from above as the winged elf thought: The Blue Phoenix is my quarry, and no one else's. I better talk some sense into that fool outside the city…
"… and then he just ran headfirst into the plowshare!" the ranger said as he related the story of how he managed to take care of annoying quickling- a very speedy sprite- and he and Kalandyn laughed as they entered the lavender eyed drow's room. Of course, a groan from the bed let them know that they had accidentally disturbed Drizzt's other guest, and the two rangers looked over to the recovering fey'ri. Kalandyn gave a sigh when he looked over at his brother, before he smirked and turned to speak to Drizzt.
"Pardon me for asking this, but has your friend, Guenhwyvar, been formally introduced to my brother?" Kalandyn then said, "I'm sure he'd love to meet such a wonderful cat."
Killik's tail then shot upward, as if something his younger brother said had gotten his attention, shifting in the bed and sitting up, the fey'ri frowned.
"It's nice to see you too Kal," He said flatly, his face not as spotted as before thanks to resting, while his long white hair hung loose instead of braided like it was before, "and you know full well I hate cats!"
"You stood me up." Kalandyn said in reply, crossing his arms. "You said you'd meet with me in Silverymoon, and you ran out of town on me. I felt this was decent payback."
"Solonor's longbow, Kal!" Killik then said, as he raised his hands in exasperation, "How was I supposed to know there would be rosemary in the food?! I should go over there and take your hood off just because you're mad over a little bad luck on my part."
"Y-You wouldn't dare!" Kalandyn then said, flinching a bit. But seeing Killik's grin despite the purple spotted drow's condition, caused the cloaked male to gulp. With a flick of the fey'ri's tail, Drizzt watched as something –his guess being Khrima –grabbed at the hood and pulled it back, revealing Kalandyn's face to be blue in the fire that lit the room, and his white hair cut short enough that it barely passed the nape of his neck. However, the blue elf's eyes, as Drizzt turned his head to get a better look, were amber instead of silver like Killik's. Of course, Drizzt had forgotten the older brother's words when he noticed that Kalandyn's face was very feminine, more so than what he had seen back in the tunnels.
"Killik!" Kalandyn said, frowning at his brother, "You know how I feel about showing my face outside of Riftwood!"
"Relax Kal, there are only guys here, so you don't have to worry about getting followed around by girls." Killik said before chuckling a bit, "Now then, what did you want to talk to me about that was so important little brother?"
Kalandyn walked over to the bed and sat down, before he spoke to his older brother… or rather, punched him in the face first.
"What the nine hells Killik?!" the blue elf then said, "You go off adventuring five years ago, and when you do visit home and mom asks about it, you don't say a word about what you've been doing! Mom, Dad, and even Emeraude are worried that you've gotten yourself into some serious trouble that you can't get out of on your own! Dad is especially afraid you got yourself mixed up with Jarlaxle and his goons! Not to mention lately I've been hearing rumors on my way here to Silverymoon about someone called The Blue Phoenix going around and gathering cursed or haunted treasures and in the process doing strange things like talking to thin air, or humming to himself while escaping armed guards, or running from some avariel from Chult, and something about a stage show! Killik, as your brother, I know that what they're saying about the phoenix is a lot like you… except for the stage show, but you better explain right now just what is going on!"
"I told Madame Pomp not to advertise that show until after I got back to Baldur's Gate… one of her dancers must have had loose lips…" Killik said, "Better be careful aft-"
"Killik Alakven Rydrion!" Kalandyn shouted, causing the fey'ri to flinch at the use of his full name, "Just get to the explanation already!"
Killik looked to Drizzt for help, but the lavender eyed drow simply shook his head. The fey'ri had gotten into this through his actions, and it would seem he had to get himself out. Looking to the side at Khrima, the spirit phoenix invisible to Drizzt and Kalandyn, the horned drow sighed. "Looks like I don't have a choice, huh partner?"
Khrima answered with a nod, which caused the ill man to groan.
"I was afraid you'd agree with them." Killik then said, before looking back to his brother and their host. "Okay, I'll tell you two, but after I do, you're both going to help me out with the last of my work, got it?"
"We shall see after you tell us." Drizzt said, while Kalandyn nodded in agreement.
"Fair enough." Killik said, before laying back against the headboard of the bed, and prepared to tell his story.
And that's it for this chapter! Next time, Killik's going to tell what happened from his point of view. But, of course it also seems Jarlaxle has changed goals while a new player has entered the game. What is going to happen? Will Jarlaxle get an ally in his search for The Blue Phoenix? Or is the stranger not going to last long? Will the next chapter be up sooner than this one? Find out next time!