Closing her eyes, Cattie-brie listened to the southerly wind's mournful song as it gusted around her. She tilted her head back as it gently tugged on her auburn hair. A shiver came involuntarily as the wind forced her cloak open and stole her warmth. As she closed her cloak in an effort to regain some heat, Cattie-brie opened her eyes and, with the help the Cat's Eye circlet, she took in the nighttime landscape.
From her vantage point on Kelvin's Cairn, Cattie-brie could see the black waters of Lake Maer Dualdon to her right. During the winter months, which this far north was most of the year, the lake was a great source of food. Large fish could be had for those who knew the fine art of ice fishing.
Almost directly in front of her to the Southwest was the small city of Termalaine, the third largest city, and considered by many to be the most beautiful settlement in the Ten Towns. With its tree lined streets and elegantly sturdy buildings, she had a hard time disagreeing with popular opinion.
To her right was the forest known as the Lonely Woods. The hardwood forest lined the southeastern portion of Lake Maer Dualdon. The woods also housed the town which was called the Lonely Woods as well. Her friend Regis had been the mayor of that town once.
"It is not safe to be wandering the countryside at night." While Cattie-brie recognized the soft voice coming from behind her, she still reflexively gripped the hilt of sword.
"Aye," she agreed slowly. "That is why I am sitting here." She looked over and saw that her friend Drizzt was smiling as he settled in next to her.
Drizzt Do'Urden was a dark elf or a drow as they are more commonly called. Living deep underground, drow were known and feared by all and with good reason. Without mercy or compassion they enslaved or killed everyone they encountered. While most had never seen a drow in person, none would mistake the coal black skin and white hair as belonging to anything other than a drow.
Cattie-brie however was not afraid of this dark elf in the least. Drizzt had forsaken the ways of the rest of his kind. He was one of the most honorable people that she had ever met. He never hesitated to put the needs of others before his own, even going so far as to put himself in danger because that was what was needed.
She had known Drizzt for most of her life. Their first meeting had happened not very far from where they now sat. While she had been only eleven years old, a mere child, Drizzt looked exactly the same. He would still look the same even when she was an old woman on her deathbed.
"Ye think we should leave soon?" She asked glancing over at her friend. Seeing Drizzt looking towards the sky, she followed his gaze. The moon Selύne was full tonight and gleamed brightly in the night sky. The Tears of Selύne, the glittering trail that chased after the moon was also clearly visible tonight.
After a moment of silence, Drizzt answered, "The snows will be coming soon. If we do not leave soon we will have to wait until after the spring thaw." In the corner of her vision, Cattie-brie saw him turn towards her. "The decision is your however. We can stay or go as you please."
Lowering her gaze form the moon, Cattie-brie allowed it to settle back to the city of Termalaine. She noticed twinkling lights from a small group of torches. As she watched, she noticed that the group seemed to be traveling the perimeter of the city. A patrol group most likely.
"I miss him, Drizzt," she said suddenly. There was no need to say the name out loud. She knew Drizzt would understand she was talking about Wulfgar, son of Beornegar. "I still have nightmares. Sometimes I see the rocks falling down and he disappears beneath them." Cattie-brie had to stop and blink away the tears that threatened to start flowing. "Sometimes the whole cave collapses and everyone is crushed." She gave up trying to fight the tears and just let them slide down her cheeks. "And… and sometimes I be in complete blackness, but I can hear him calling me. He be begging me to help him, Drizzt. Begging me, and there be nothing I can do!"
Burying her face in her hands, Cattie-brie openly sobbed. She didn't know how long she had cried, nor had she realized that Drizzt had put a comforting arm around her shoulder. Normally she would have thought letting herself cry would have been something akin to showing weakness. But this time, crying like that felt like letting go of some heavy burden she hadn't known she had been carrying.
"I know you miss him. I know you do, and I miss him too." Drizzt's voice sounded as though he was fighting back his own tears. "Actually, sometimes I wish I could take…"
Realizing that he wasn't going to continue, Cattie-brie turned his direction, wiping her eyes quickly as she did so. She had expected to find that Drizzt had been to overcome by emotion to talk. But when she found him slowly looking around with an intense looking of concentration on his face she immediately went on edge.
"What be wrong," she asked quietly. Instead of answering, Drizzt slowly rose to his feet, pulling the hood of his cloak off free from his head as he did so.
Also rising to her feet, Cattie-brie slowly scanned the area. "Did ye see something?"
"Listen," he replied so softly she almost hadn't heard him.
Closing her eyes, Cattie-brie listened. After first, all she could hear only the sound of the gusting wind. As she focused, she noticed the the sound of her hair blowing the breeze, then her own shallow breathing.
Then she faintly heard a low buzzing. It was so faint that at first she dismissed it as her imagination. But she realized that the sound was getting louder. Not so loud that it was obtrusive, but enough that she didn't have to try very hard to hear it.
"What be that?" she asked quietly.
"I do not know," Drizzt replied slowly. Then his arm suddenly shot out as he pointed to the sky. "There," he declared.
Looking up Cattie-brie immediately saw a tiny sphere of pale, blue light traveling through the night sky. At first she thought it was a falling star, but then it occurred to her that she had never heard a falling star making a buzzing noise before, or any other noise for that matter. Not only that, but this one suddenly changed direction and now looked to be coming towards them.
Coming in from the North, the light followed the eastern shore of Lake Maer Dualdon. It was moving incredibly fast, traveling most of the eastern shore in a matter of a few seconds. As it approached the Lonely Woods it slowed suddenly and glided just above the tree tops. Coming to a stop at the southern edge of the forest, the light stayed there for moment before it slowly descended behind the trees and disappeared from view.
"By the gods! What was that?" Cattie-brie asked and even as she did, she realized that she could no longer hear the buzzing.
"We will know soon," Drizzt replied just before he quickly set off down the side of the mountain.