Among the Drow
Property of the Faceless One
============================== Guenhwyvar's Figurine
first comes to light as the property of the Faceless One
, a wizard of Sorcere at The Academy
in Menzoberranzan. In Sorcere, Faceless One
arrives at the chambers of the Faceless One, and is immediately attacked. He runs, but cannot get away from the more powerful wizard, and is near his end. Just before the killing blow, the Faceless One informs Alton that he is the last of his family, his house has fallen. Raising his hand to complete his end of the deal, the Faceless One is suddenly killed by a crossbow quarrel through the back of his neck. He has been killed by his own brother, Masoj Hun'ett
, in revenge for years of subservience to the Faceless One. Masoj has spared Alton, concocting a plan to allow the final member of the DeVir family to take the place of the Faceless One, and eventually enact his revenge on Do'urden. In return, Masoj will no longer be subservient, and immediately gains access to a myriad of powerful magical items, the most desirable of which is a Guenhwyvar's Figurine
of a black panther.
Hunter of Masoj
Drizzt Do'urden enters The Academy's warrior school, Melee-Magthere. While Masoj shares plans Alton about Sinafey's designs for the downfall of House Do'urden, Drizzt is subjected to the hysterical ravings of Hatch'net, head instructor of Melee-Magthere. Drizzt remarks to himself that, though he is constantly barraged with so-called evidence of the evil and treacherous "lesser races," the only deceit he has ever actually witnessed (or been the recipient of) has been that of his own people. He bore the psychological training so that he could get to the physical. At this he excelled, quickly and easily surpassing his comrades.
For Drizzt's final year at the Academy, he and every other student are assigned a year in the other two divisions of the school, sixth months in Sorcere, and six in Arach-Tinith. The idea is to give the warriors exposure to the other disciplines so that they can better function in their necessary societal role. Unbeknown to Drizzt, he has stumbled into the clutches of one of his mortal enemies, a man he has never met before, Masoj Hun'ett. Masoj proves to be a braggadocio (as all drow wizards are), but found that his time in Sorcere was the most enjoyable of all his years at the Academy. He found that he was quite adept at the discipline, dexterity, and intellectual acrobatics necessary to perform magic, and within a few short week was already surpassing some of the most promising wizard acolytes. If his mother has not been convinced he would be a better warrior and had been sent to Sorcere instead, Drizzt might have become a master mage.
Drizzt spent his time mastering every cantrip and spell assigned, and thoroughly enjoyed being shown magical artifacts and weapons. Masoj grew more and more jealous and hateful of Drizzt because how easy all this seemed to the warrior. Many times he saw opportunity to eliminate the boy, but the orders of his matron stayed his hand. He had no desire to incur her wrath. Near the end of his time in Sorcere, Drizzt is introduced to Masoj's master, the Faceless One. Alton DeVir, still hot for vengeance, ignores the commands of Sinafey Hun'ett and attacks Drizzt in his office. He might have succeeded in killing the warrior if not for the intervention of Masoj. Alton is pounced upon by a great black panter, a beast that Masoj calls his pet, summonded from the astral plane via an onyx figurine. Drizzt is immediately enamored by the majesty and beauty of the animal, for he has met Guenhwyvar
for the first time. It would not be their final meeting.
A year later, Drizzt joins one of the official patrol groups that kept the caverns safe around Menzoberranzan. In his group was his brother Dinin, Masoj Hun'ett, and a brand new friend, the beautiful astral panther Guenhwyvar. Many times the pair fought shoulder to shoulder as friends and comrades, much to the chagrin and hatred of Masoj who takes it upon himself to castigate the great cat harshly. Masoj grows worried and hopes that Sinafey will call for his death soon. After a surface raid, Drizzt's patrol takes them just five miles outside of the city, where they encounter a crew of Svirfnebli, deep gnomes on a mining expedition. Drow and deep gnomes were mortal enemies, and such an encounter could only end in bloodshed. Drizzt tries to dissuade Dinin from attacking, even to the point of suggesting parley, but he is rebuked in typical drow fashion. Dinin orders the attack, commanding them to go after the Belwar Dissengulp
first, stating, "He is the key to their strength with the stone."
They rush into the gnomes, taking down the non-working scouts first, then heading for the crew leader. The drow are outnumbered but ruthless, giving out much more damage than they took. This prompts the leader to grab a jewel and slam it to the ground, creating an earth elemental and commanding it to attack the drow. Drizzt races to the attack, but is struck down. Guenhwyvar, against his master's wishes, rushes in to defend Drizzt and is gravely injured, but buys him the time he needs to recover.
As Drizzt climbs up to the creature's head and is about to strike a killing blow, Masoj sends a bolt of lightning into them, hoping to kill both the elemental and Drizzt, making it appear to be an accident. Masoj is then clubbed in the back of the head by the gnome leader, who then moves on Drizzt. Drizzt tells him to go ahead and torture him, but the gnome tells him that is not their way. They capture the gnome, and Dinin orders him killed. As the priestess moves forward to torture the gnome, Drizzt convinces them to allow him to live and go back home to tell the other Svirfnebli of the superiority of drow strength. Dinin likes the idea, but not before the take the gnome leader's hands first. Dinin says, "I want to hear his screams."
Malice orders her entire household to stay within the walls of the home, an order which Drizzt promptly disobeys. Masoj puts his second chance plan into motion, calling on Guenhwyvar and setting her to track down and kill Drizzt. Guenhwyvar tries to resist the order, but the magic of the figurine compels her to obey, no matter her own wishes. Out in the wild of the Underdark, Drizzt is so wrapped up in his own thoughts and concerns that he is caught unawares by a cave fisher. The beast lashes Drizzt around the neck with its proboscis and begins to draw him up when Guenhwyvar appears out of the shadows and rescues him. The two of them take the monster down together, but then Guen immediately turns on him. Drizzt realizes that she has been sent to kill and prompts her to fight the unwanted urge to obey. Soon, Guen breaks the programming, and her lifelong friendship is assured. Drizzt get Guen to lead him to Masoj.
Near Sorcere, Masoj Hun'ett waits for the return of Guenhwyvar, and is enraged to see Drizzt coming up behind her, hale and healthy. As Drizzt is castigating Masoj over Guen's freedom of will, Alton DeVir appears and cries out for vengeance against Drizzt. Drizzt tries to strike a deal with Masoj, the figurine of Guenhwyvar in exchange for the Hun'ett's life. Not knowing that Zak is already dead, Drizzt further sweetens the deal by saying he will depart House Do'urden and take Zak with him, depriving Hun'ett's enemies of their two best warriors. Masoj scoffs at the offer, believing the power of wizards to be greater than the skill of warriors.
Alton tries to hit Drizzt with a bolt of lightning from behind, but Guen puts herself in the way and absorbs the strike. Guen goes after the Faceless One, while Drizzt attacks Masoj. Though it seems at first that the pair cannot win against the wizard's trickery, neither of them give up. Both fight through burns and broken bones to see their enemy dead. Drizzt has taken a drow life, but it was in self-defense, not in murder or internecine treachery, so he is unconcerned by the deed.
Drizzt returns to House Do'urden and searches for Zak. He is met in Zak's chambers by his mother and siblings. When he asks after Zaknafein, Malice lies and says he is away on House business, and chastises him for disobeying her command to stay within the household. Malice then notices his wounds, and he informs his family of the death of Masoj Hun'ett and the Faceless One. He also reveals the true identity of the Faceless One as Alton DeVir, and the connections all become clear to the Do'urdens. As Malice begins to praise Drizzt for slaying two enemy wizards and giving them an edge in the coming House war, Drizzt asks for Zaknafein once more. Malice's answer gives him the clue that he has been killed, and Malice confirms the deed, telling him that Lolth demanded repayment for sparing the elven child. She tells Drizzt of the agreement Zak made, sacrificing himself not only to let Drizzt live, but that Drizzt would now be weapons master of the House. Drizzt refuses, and yells, "A true god damn you all! And damn the Spider Queen as well!" He throws a flash bomb on the ground and escapes the House while they are all blinded.
In tears, Drizzt leaves Menzoberranzan behind, taking Guen, her figurine, and his memories of his father with him.
Friend of Drizzt
Companion of The Hunter
For ten long years, Drizzt lives in the wilds of the Underdark with Guenhwyvar as his only companion. Even then, he is alone for most of his waking hours, since Guen cannot stay on the material plane for more than a few hours at a time, and must return to the astral plane for food and rest. Drizzt is still racked with guilt over Zaknafein's death, feeling that his father's sacrifice is his fault. He faces the dangers of the Underdark, defeating such monsters as hook horrors, cave trolls, and Basilisk
; living off the natural resources and striving to live in peace with the underworld's non-violent citizens. Unfortunately, he finds his self drifting away a little more each day, sometimes losing his self-awareness to a feral side of himself he calls The Hunter. The Hunter is part of what has allowed Drizzt to survive all these years, going off pure training and instinct when attacked by the creatures of the Underdark. Drizzt puts himself on the move again, knowing he cannot live in his beloved cavern is no longer secret, no longer safe. He runs through the tunnels, into twists and turns which he had never seen before until he ran directly into his past. At the end of his last stretch was a bright light (at least bright for the Underdark), he had come upon a gnome mining expedition. Drizzt follows them for days, hanging back in the shadows, listening to them longingly. They possessed something he himself had never experienced, camaraderie. He was drawn to their voices, their laughter, their smiles, believing he might go mad and totally loose himself in The Hunter if lost track of them. Eventually, their journey ended. He had come to Blingenstone
, the great fortress city of the Svirfnebli.
Drizzt makes an on the spot decision, and pulls Guen's figurine from his pocket and calls her to him. He says goodbye to her, stating he can no longer live out in the Underdark alone, and turns himself in to the gnomes at the gates of Blingenstone. He knows they will most likely kill him, his people and the deep gnomes were natural enemies, and might attack him on sight. Drizzt was not afraid, the fate of death at the hands of goodly people was better than the horrible isolation of the Underdark. He kept walking toward their gates and hoped and trusted for the best.
Members of the Blingenstone city council investigate Drizzt. They are naturally suspicious of him and his reasons for being in the city. Incredulous, they cannot believe that he has not only given himself up, but also the figurine of Guenhwyvar—a very powerful magical item not to be given up lightly. All the while Drizzt sat before them in chains, the Hunter inside him railed to be free, every moment heightening the rage and hunger to be free. Drizzt remained in control, keeping his composure before these wizened souls who held his life in their hands. They believe him a spy, and though he claims to be a renegade, they do not believe him since his House not only still exists, but has risen in stature in recent days. He replies that he is "rogue by choice,"
and that he has nowhere else to go. Firble
, the gnome king's chief counselor and head of their spy network warns, "Our king will rule upon your fate, dark elf. And though I believe you and shall ask for mercy, I suspect you will be executed."
Drizzt is eventually recognized and befriended by Belwar Dissengulp
, and taken in to his home. The King and his councilors decide that Drizzt has proven his trustworthiness, and thus return his armor and scimitars. In additions to his arms, he is reunited with Guenhwyvar for the first time in many weeks. The councilor who had been given the task of examining the figurine did not wish to part with such a powerful and useful artifact, but they realized that Guen was much more of a friend and companion to Drizzt than she was a servant. Brickers, the burrow-warden who returns Guen, tries yet another time to entice Belwar on a mining expedition. In anger, Belwar refuses, and pushes the gnome out the door. When Drizzt asks, "You should go with them Belwar...or are you bound to stay here and watch over me?"
Belwar indicates that it has nothing to do with that issue, and certainly nothing to do with his lack of hands. He could cut rock faster than anyone with his new hands. Belwar reveals that he cannot go because the last expedition he led ended in bloodshed, and he holds himself responsible. Drizzt argues in the converse, stating that it was his people and their evil intents that caused those deaths that day. Drizzt further baits Belwar by questioning his courage, a move which makes Belwar so angry he decides to go, saying, "Put on your swords, elf. If I'm to go, then so are you!"
Belwar, Drizzt and Guen join Brickers and his expedition. Brickers was happy to have the "most honored burrow-warden" along, as well as the extra blades and skill of the drow. They met no resistance on their way to the place where the mineral scout had identified as potentially owning a rich vein of ore. The scouts were correct, and the gnomes threw themselves into the work of excavation, not the least of which was Belwar who carved literal rings around the rest of the workers with his fantastic hammer and pickaxe hands. Belwar was truly happy for the first time in many, many years.
Drizzt spends his days during the expedition patrolling the surrounding caverns and tunnels with Guen, himself happy to be both free to roam, but able to return to friends and companions at the end of each day. When he ventured far from the expedition, he felt the Hunter try to rise up and overtake him, but he was stronger now, and able to push the beast back down and remain Drizzt Do'urden. Both Drizzt and Belwar returned from the expedition in great spirits, Belwar feeling he finally deserved the title of "most honored burrow-warden," and Drizzt finally at ease with himself and his place in the world.
Because of drow activity near the city, King Schnicktick unfortunately decides that Drizzt must be put out for the safety of Blingenstone and its inhabitants. Drizzt walks the streets of Blingenstone with Guen at his side. The citizens bow their heads with heavy hearts, hating what has become necessary for them to do. The drow and the great cat walk out of the gates of the stone walled city, and they thud shut behind him. He wondered how long he would be able to survive in the Underdark alone again but for the sometime companionship of Guenhwyvar. His kind measured their lifespans in centuries, and he had nearly lost himself to the Hunter in only a decade. How could he make it alone for hundreds of years?
Strolling through the gate, the pair are met by Belwar, who has decided to leave his home behind and join Drizzt in the dangerous Underdark. Drizzt is loathe to let him come along, but Belwar will not take no for an answer, taking off from the city walls and into the deepening darkness before the drow could stop him. The first thing they do is set up a false camp about a day's march from Blingenstone's walls to create a diversion for whoever it was tracking them. They then set off in the opposite direction, into the caverns west of the Svirfnebli city.
After walking for weeks and weeks, they come upon a cavern that is glowing with a bright light, and so they move to investigate. They enter a vast cavern filled with a sea of acid—the source of the light—and find the greatest danger they had yet faced. Set upon by overwhelming numbers of bird-men, the trio back into a tight defensive circle. Belwar slams his new "hands" together, yelling the magical gnomish word "Bivrip!"
, filling his implements with glowing magic which gives huge weight and force to his blows as they fight against the creatures. They fight for quite a while, but are sorely outnumbered.
Drizzt is able to hold it together until Guenhwyvar is knocked off the bridges above the glowing sea and into the acid bath itself. When Guen roars in pain, Drizzt uses the figurine to will the panther back to her home on the astral plane. Though severely hurt, Guen will recover and be fine within a few day, but the pain would be remembered. Because of the pain, Drizzt called up the Hunter and allowed him to take over. Belwar is left to watch in both horror and amazment as he sees the greatest display of warrior skill and swordsmanship he would ever experience. Drizzt was too fast, too precise, too deadly and seemed unreal to Belwar. It was as if his best friend had become Death itself.
Finally, even with the help of the Hunter, they are forced to flee, and Belwar has to eventually call out for Drizzt to stop, otherwise he would have run himself to exhaustion. Drizzt is full of fear that he let himself give sway to the Hunter again. He confessess to Belwar that he felt possessed by rage, his only desire was to kill them all, not out of self-defense, but out of darkness. Belwar tells him he was not acting out of rage, but rather out of instinct. "You saved us this day, Drizzt Do'urden. Do not apologize to me, or to yourself."
The pair continues on their journey. Drizzt calls Guen back to him after three days, her fur is singed, but otherwise she was fine and glad to see her friend. A few days later, they stumbled over exactly what they had been looking for, even though they had not exactly known they were searching. They come to a cavern with an underground lake fed by a fresh-running stream. It is small enough for the two of them to defend, and the lake would provide them with ample fish and crab for their sustenence. They were home.
One day later, Drizzt and Belwar hear curious sounds outside their cavern. Drizzt remembers those sounds, and races out of the cavern yelling "Hook Horror!"
Outside, he finds exactly what he thought it was, and gets his scimitars on the creatures neck, about to strike the killing blow. Just then, the monster speaks, something he believed a hook horror incapable of doing."No...not...monster..please..no..kill..me!"
the thing manages to squawk. Drizzt stays his hand, and the creature says it is not a hook horror, but rather a thing called a "pech"
. Belwar knows of the pech by the name rock children, creatures whose only reason for being seems to be rock carving, and their numbers are very small. The pech tells that it was turned into a hook horror by an evil wizard, and does not know how long it has been that way, having lost all sence of time because it is no longer connected to the stone in its present form.
When Belwar asks the creature its name, it either does not have one, or it has forgotten, so Belwar names it "Clacker," a name which the pech approves. Belwar then intends to say goodbye to the creature and send it on its way, but Drizzt says they must allow it to be with them. Drizzt has pity on the creature, feeling akin to the creature being adrift and apart from itself, something similar to what he feels when he is overtaken by the Hunter. Belwar still thinks it is a bad idea, because a spell such as the one Clacker has undergone changes not only the body, but the mind as well, and in time he will cease to be a pech even in mind, but just a hook horror, and then he will be a great danger. Drizzt insists that they track down the wizard who did it, and then force him to unmake the spell.
So, the next day, they followed as Clacker tried to retrace his step to where the wizards was. The creature was easily confused, his memory clouded because of his transformation, and so he got them lost numerous time. Just as they were about to become too tired to go on, the entered a great tavern that was dominated by a huge tower made of pure adamantite. Belwar stands in awe at the sight, for adamantite is the toughest substance known in Faerun, and just a small amount is worth a king's ransom, and extrememly hard to work with. "How did he build such a thing?"
the gnome asks. "Magic,"
is Drizzt's reply, with more than a hint of disdain in his voice.
Drizzt's plan is to hide until the wizard appears, and then take him by surprise, but Clacker in his rage chooses otherwise. He rushes the tower and begins striking it with his claws, calling on the wizard to show himself. Drizzt and Belwar rush to the pech's aid, just as a bolt of lightning comes from above, forcing Drizzt to shove the pitiful creature out of the way. From inside the tower, the wizard rages, "Damnation! You ist going to pay dearly for that one. I vill keell you all!" (a german wizard?) Drizzt pulls out Guenhwyvar's figurine and holds it up near one of the bolt-holes carved in the adamantite tower's surface. When he calls on her, he will her to appear inside the walls, and the smoke that comes from the figurine that marks her appearance wafts through the crack and into the tower. Drizzt calls on the wizard to open the tower, to which he momentarily refuses, but then Guen's roar behind him persuades him otherwise. Once the tower is open, they persuade wizard to heal the pech, but not before he goads poor Clacker into killing him.
When they reached their home, they found it in total disarray. Belwar wondered if the bird-men had tracked them down, but Drizzt recognized the fine cuts in the belongings, the mark of a drow blade. Drizzt believes that his mother's assassins have tracked him down again, and so they abandon the only home Drizzt had ever felt he could completely call his own. The three of them pick up what few belongings remain intact, and run all the way through the day and long into the night without stopping, putting as much distance as possible between themselves and the evil drow. Eventually, they come to a cavern that is wide open, and seemingly a good place for habitation, but it is emply. Not only is it empty, but it seems totally devoid of any signs of life. "This isn't right,"
Belwar says warily. "It's too quiet."
Suddenly, the three of them are hit by an unseen psionic force, and knocked unconscious. From the shadows, a group of illithids float into the cavern and hover over their fallen victims.
Slaves of the Illithid
The illithids, creatures who rightly claimed the title of "mind flayers," using their inborn psionic abilities to twist the minds and desires of any creature that comes into their clutches. Creatures with enough skill were sent down into the mines to dig for jewels and precious metals. The more bestial creatures were sent to the areana to fight for sport, the illithids betting on each match. When such servants grew old, or outlived their usefulness, they became dinner as a final service to their master. Illithids could turn violent being docile, and the wildest animal into a domesticated pet. In turn, they could change a peace-loving individual into a violent and warlike barbarian. Clacker they had turned into a herdsman for their rothe, Belwar was sold as a gladiator in the arena, and Drizzt was sent to tend the Central Brain.
While all this is going on, Guenhwyvar has been trapped on the astral plane. She remained unworried, it was not the first time Drizzt had not summoned her immdiately after her rest period, and she was busying herself hunting the entity of the Elk.
Hidden in the astral shadows were the remaining two illithid slavers, having finally deduced what the onyx figurines purpose was. They were observing Guen on her hunt, evaluting her worth and salivating at the weath she would bring her in the arena. Though they thought themselves hidden, Guen sensed the two and immediately recognized them as an enemy. She attacks, killing the astral presence of one, causing its death on the material plane. Then she does the extraordinary. Using the still living illithid as a portal, she jumps through its astral presence into the material plane, ripping it to shreds in the process. Scenting out Drizzt, she runs off into the hallways of the castle.
At that same instant, Zaknafein strode through the gates of the illithid castle, moving down mind flayers, guards and slaves alike. Zak knew that Drizzt was near, and he would let nothing stand in his way, the only thing that would salve the raging beast in his breast would be the death of his son at the end of his blades. Far above, Guen barreled down the endless flight of stairs, carrying Drizzt's scimitars on her back and her figurine in her maw. Taking numerous blows, she found opportunity to take a short cut by jumping over the railing and down to the central chamber below, landing directly in the Central Brain, killing it instantly.
All over the castle, illithids were driven down to their knees, wailing horribly in pain. Already in confusion from both Zak's arrival and Guen's romp through the castle the illithids were not equipped to deal with the fallout of the death of their god. As soon as the connections between masters and slaves were broken, slaves began revolting all over the castle, Belwar among them. Without thinking twice, he rose up against his former master and slew him with a stroke. Down in the bowels of the castle, Clacker was released from his bondage, and the hook horror aspect of his transformation took full control. Guen and Drizzt are reunited, and are immediately thrust into battle against Drizzt's overseer, a fight ended quickly by a sharp scimitar.
Running through they castle, they meet up with Belwar and then race to find Clacker. When they find him, his is fully taken with hook horror rage, and Drizzt must draw his blades to defend himself. He is able to stop, and regains himself, and the quartet runs towards the gate together, Clacker leading the way towards a back entrance. Near that entrance, Drizzt's world falls apart as he sees his father alive and fighting his way through a mass of remaining slaves. Drizzt rushes to see his father, but is met with sharp blades and a mindless rage. In his confusion, Drizzt realizes that it may be his father's body he is meeting, but it is not his father's mind or soul that are in control, and he is overwhelmed by the fierceness of the attack.
As Zaknafein raises his blades for a killing strike, Clacker see his friend in dire harm and mumbles something unintelligible. From the path between the battling drow raises a solid wall of stone, separating the two from one another and allowing Drizzt to flee out the back entrance. Zak, blocked by the wall, is unable to follow. Back in Menzoberranzan, the stain of keeping Zak under control is nearly overwhelming for Malice, and her health is nearly gone. He daughters continue to test her, but she tells them she will not fail.
After Drizzt and the others put some distance between themselves and the illithid castle, he tells them that their attacker had been his father whom he thought had been sacrificed to the Spider Goddess. Drizzt then thanks Belwar for creating the wall and allowing them to escape. Belwar is confused, and states that such magic is beyond his skill, whereupon Clacker admits it was his doing. He tells of the pech and their connection to the earth, speaking of it as if it were a living, breathing thing. "It is, for those who can hear it," he says. "Yes, pech know that stone best of all. Better than even dwarves or gnomes. For and instant I was not this monster, I was pech—more pech than ever before. But now, I am falling"
Returning to Menzoberranzan
Drizzt determines they must help Clacker before it is too late, so he turns their direction back toward Menzoberranzan. When Belwar protest, Drizzt says that his former home is full of wizards who can undo the polymorph spell. When Belwar points out the danger to Drizzt, and asks what they could possibly offer a drow wizard in exchange for such a service. "The wizard's life," is Drizzt's baleful reply.
Drizzt leads his three friends as fast as he can back toward the hated drow city. In time, they came back to the familiar sight of the acid sea, home of the dreaded bird-men. Realistically, they should go around the dangerous cavern, but Drizzt was concerned that every spare moment would count, and every second lost would hasten Clacker being lost to the monster inside. When they enter the cavern, they find it completely empty, no sign of the bird-men remains. They wonder if they cleared them out the last time they passed through, or is someone else had. Clacker reaches the end of the cavern and exits, letting out a blood-curdling scream. Clacker comes back into the cavern with a gaping chest wound and falls over dead. He finally reverts back to his original form, finding the peace in death that his life had cheated from him.
From the shadows springs Zaknafein, his blades flying. "You're not my father,"
Drizzt yells. Another voice comes through Zak's mouth, "No. I am... your mother."
Malice presses the attack, slashing Drizzt across the cheek, a move which makes Drizzt finally give in to the Hunter. Even with the added advantage of fighting purely on skill and instinct, Zak fought his son to a standstill. This makes Drizzt think that Zak is still inside the undead body somewhere, so he lowers his scimitars and refuses to fight.
Malice takes the advantage, and moves Zak for a killing blow, but the old weapons-master pulls his blades just short of his son's neck. Malice screams at him over their connection, and Zak is able to strike back and momentarily overcome the control. Zak, the real Zak is now back in control, but he warns Drizzt back. Drizzt thinks they can be together again, but Zak explains that he is still dead, and would rather return to death than cause harm to his son. He tells Drizzt how proud he is of him for not only his fighting skill, but even more so for his courage to do what he had never done and leave Menzoberranzan.
As Zak begins to loose control of himself again, he proclaims his pride for his son one last time. "I do this for us,"
he yells, and casts himself from the earthen bridge and into the acid sea below.
Drizzt and Belwar bury Clacker, and also raise a beir for Zaknafein, believing he deserved a proper grave to mark his passing from the world. Belwar prayed to his gods for the soul of Clacker, while Drizzt, having forsaken his people's evil goddess, hoped that his father was finally at peace. Their trials over, they head to Blingenstone, Belwar believing they can go back and live in the city in peace now that Drizzt was no longer hunted. When they come to the city gates, Drizzt tells Belwar he cannot stay, and means to depart to yet another place in an effort to get further away from his evil kind, and take their vengeance toward him as far as possible from the only people he had ever met and truly come to care for.
Belwar insists he come with Drizzt, but Drizzt will not allow it and bids a final farewell and thank you. Calling Guenhwyvar from her astral home, the two of them travel for weeks, Drizzt retracing his steps along a path he had travels well over a decade before. He could no longer stay in the Underdark. Even though his mother was dead and his House fallen, Lolth and Baenre would not rest until they had tracked him down and slain him. He also could not stay lest the madness of the Hunter claim him forever, so there was only one place left to go.
Life on the Surface
Before long, Guenhwyvar and Drizzt's favorite part of the day in their new world was the sunrise. The sun, which the drow's people hated with unreasoning fear, became a companion and guardian to him. His lavender eyes were stung by its great light, and he might never grow used to the intensity, but he accepted the pain as a necessity to become a creature of the surface world.
Drizzt was forced to adapt to this new world in ways he had not thought of before. He knew of the sun and its great light, and exposure of not having miles of solid rock surrounding him on all sides, but other things were beyond his knowledge. Biting winds that chilled him to the bone in the early morning were unheard of in the always mildly-warm Underdark.
Taking up residence in a small mountain cave, Guen and Drizzt spent their days roaming the countryside around a farming community down in the valley below. Met by a pack of gnolls, doglike humanoids that are often kept as slaves by drow in the Underdark, seeing Drizzt as a friend, owing to the drow reputation for violence and cruelty, and ask him to come along as they go to kill their enemies. Not entirely trusting the creatures, but not wanting to immediately mistrust them, he went along until they came to a farmstead down in the valley near Malobar. When Drizzt asks the gnoll leader's intentions, he is answered with, "Enemies. Kill oldest woman, catch men."
When Drizzt asks, "What of the children?"
he is met with the reply, "Dinner."
Now knowing that the gnolls are evil, and the family below innocent, Drizzt quickly draws his scimitar and slays the leader. Drizzt and Guenhwyvar quickly finish off the remaining two, leaving them in puddles of blood. When it was over, Drizzt began to second guess himself. He was new to the surface world. Who was he to judge the gnolls in such a way. Perhaps the humans and gnolls were at war with one another, and the gnolls had had relatives killed by someone in the human family. Drizzt needed time alone to learn more and consider further action. He sends Guen home and begins observing the family. He soon sees that they are a happy family of hard, honest workers. Within three days he is assured he had made the right decision in killing the gnolls. This family was good, and he vowed to protect them to the death.
Later, when the barghest Ulgulu murders the Thistledown family, Drizzt takes his weapons and Guen and trudges up into the mountains, where all the signs of the murderous creature pointed. As they neared the hiding place of his new enemy, he heard the familiar sound of the running creature that had stung him and stole his scimitar. Not caugh unawares this time, he catches the little beast, a quickling name Tephanis, and forces to tell him who killed the farmers. After giving the name and location of the barghest Ulgulu, the green-skinned little creature stabs Drizzt in the hand to try and get away, but Drizzt ignores the pain, smashes the quickling against a rock, and throws it down into the valley below. He pulls the tiny dagger out of his hand and walks on.
At the barghest's cave, he is confronted by two goblins, which he promptly slays and enters the cave. Inside, he finds the two demonic fiends standing inside, and immediately slips into The Hunter. Ulgulu, thinking he's found easy prey and a final meal on the material plane, jumps toward the drow but is stopped in mid-air by Guen. Drizzt turns to attack Kempfana, and is set to hopping to stay out of the huge beast's reach. Ulgulua shapeshifts into a great demon wolf after Guen bites him in the shoulder, and chases Guen from the cave. Kempfana, meanwhile, has caught Drizzt and is holding him up by the neck. When the barghest opens his mouth to bite off Drizzt's head, the dark elf shoves his scimitar through the back of the demon's mouth, impaling his brain. Released, Drizzt rushes out to see Ulgulu trap Guen near the canyon edge. When the demon wolf jumps, Drizzt uses the figurine to send Guen home, causing Ulgulu to miss entirely and plummet to the canyon floor below to certain death.
When Dove Falconhand and her band of trackers arrive in Malobar, Drizzt and Guen decide they must run, and run they do, as fast and as far as they possibly can.
While tracking Drizzt through a narrow canyon, Dove and her men are ambushed by a clan of stone giants, some of the least intelligent, but powerful types of giants. They throw huge boulders down on their heads, even striking Gabriel in the chest, and knocking him out of the battle. While Dove is caring for Gabriel, Fret spies Drizzt throw himself into the fray with his panther at his side. Between the two of them, they distract the giants long enough for the trackers below to take cover and assume a more beneficial stance from which to fight back. Drizzt jumps from shoulder to shoulder on the giants, slashing at their jugulars and eyes, taking the throwers above out of the battle in rapid succession. Having done what he could, Drizzt fled the battle before those he had helped also turned their weapons against him. Dove is convinced of Drizzt's innocence, and will no longer follow him.
As days spread into weeks, Drizzt did the best he could to survive, still hoping the cold weather would not get worse. Then the snows began. Drizzt and Guenhwyvar set off in search of shelter, finding a cave. Upon entering, they find a bear just starting to bed down for winter hibernation. Drizzt stared the beast down, somehow finding a sort of unspoken understanding and accomodation. Offering the bear a fresh fish, the bear settled down and allowed the newcomers to share the cave, at least for the time being. Guenhwyvar, unaffected by the cold, foraged daily for the food and wood needed to keep the drow alive. Otherwise, Drizzt sat cold and alone in the cave, despairing as the weather produced more and more snow, and finally ice. Just when he believed he could bear no more, winter broke into spring, and the snows began to melt.
The local Orc Chieftain, Graul, hears of Drizzt's presence in the area. Scared that the drow was a threat to his authority, he sends some of his minions to kill Drizzt and Guen. They found Drizzt walking with Guenhwyvar through the local forest, enjoying his first spring. He was enamored by the new growth literally springing from the once dead ground. So enamored, in fact, he was caught by surprise by the attacking orcs. Drizzt easily killed the first two attackers, but was taken down by one of their feral wolves, pinned until he could call for Guenhwyvar. Even with the wolf off his back, he was severely disadvantaged, and would have been slain by a third orc if not for the timely intervention of an arrow in the beast's back. All enemies now dead, Drizzt looks up to see an old, green clad human bearing down on him with a great wooden bow. "You're my prisoner,"
the newcomer stately matter of factly, to which Drizzt responds, "I think not."
Guen moves in to flank the human, and the man reaches out a hand to the great cat. Guen licks the old man's hand like an old friend.
Intrigued with the bearing and intent of Drizzt, the old man introduces himself as the ranger Montolio Debrouchee. Drizzt soon comes to realize that the man is blind, and is amazed that he could function well, let alone fire an arrow accurately in that condition. Montolio warns him that he had killed minions of Graul, something the Orc Chieftan will not allow to go unpunished. Because of his blindness, the orcs believe Montolio is "bad magic" and will not approach his castle. He tells Drizzt that coming to live with him is the safest place. Drizzt refuses, saying "You would be better served, Montolio Debrouchee, to keep away from me. I bring trouble." Even after more prodding and assurances of safety from the old ranger, Drizzt still refuses. So, Montolio leaves Drizzt behind, taking Guenhwyvar with him. It was Guen's trust of the man that changed Drizzt heart. He knew that the great cat's instincts had never been wrong before, and he did not relish the idea of facing an army of orcs on his own.
Roddy McGristle, Caroak the Winter Wolf, and Graul the Orc Chieftain gather their forces together to attack Montolio's Grove. While the battle is raging at the front entrance to the grove, Caroak and his wargs were sneaking into the grove through the thick growth behind the defenders. Their plan was to come up on them from behind and tear them apart, but little did they know the rear was guarded by the most silent, and possibly most deadly of the grove's defenders, Guenhwyvar. The black panther jumps on the winter wolf, and at first they seem evenly matched, Guen easily evades the freezing breath of the wolf and goes for the jugular. Caroak the Great Winter Wolf is dead, and the remaining wargs flee in terror.
When Montolio passes away a few months later, Guenhwyvar and Drizzt leave the grove. Over the next six years, they traveled from village to village, town to town, hoping the next one might take them in. Their reception was always met with fear and prejudice which always turned to anger. Many times the dark elf had to defend himself against senseless violence towards him. Even after so many rejections, Drizzt and Guenhwyvar pressed on, believing in his heart that he would one day find acceptance, and with it a home.