Campaign Logs

The Reality of Fear

By David Pontier

The Reality of Fear is the property of the author, David Pontier and is used with permission by Candlekeep.  Email David with any comments and feedback on The Reality of Fear and visit his website at:

Chapter 7: Final Confrontation - Menzoberranzan

Drizzt stopped his approach toward the south end of the Baenre compound and signaled the twelve fighters that followed him to do so as well. He had told Jarlaxle that he would be attacking the north end with two hundred drow. So he had been wrong.

Drizzt was even now still adjusting to the numerous magical items he wore. When he had walked into Jarlaxle's private office the first time he felt several magical wards warning of him of many things, but he did not know what. One of them felt familiar, and as he had pulled Khazid'hea during their discussion, he remembered when he had felt it before. The Baenre emblem on the sentient sword had given him a slight warning.

In the hands of Drizzt, the Baenre emblem was not that powerful and needed to come up close to him before he felt its presence. It was the same feeling he had felt when he had walked in. It was also the same feeling he had felt when he had battled Berg'inyon the previous night. Berg'inyon had been in Jarlaxle's room.

Drizzt had again felt the Baenre noble's presence when he had returned earlier this day to give the details of his attack. Details that he had purposefully gotten wrong. Details he knew Berg'inyon would believe and act upon. Now Drizzt led House Do'Urden's twelve best fighters, as chosen by his two students, toward the most powerful compound in the city.

There were not that many guards patrolling this end of the compound. Drizzt guessed most of them were over on the north end getting ready for his mammoth invasion. Even though there were only half a dozen guards on this end, one was enough to sound the alarm, and they were almost a hundred feet from the spider web fence that surrounded the Baenre compound. It was much too far for a crossbow shot, and even if they could shoot through the holes in the fence the darts would not be strong enough to kill the guards and the sleeping poison would allow them too much time to sound the alarm. Drizzt had a better idea.

He drew a weapon that most of the drow with him had never even seen before. He had remembered seeing it in the gym when he had trained with Zaknafein and hoped it would still be there in this reality, it had been. It was a longbow. It was not a common weapon for a drow for obvious reasons. Drow lived in tight quarters and needed to specialize in melee combat. Crossbows were nice because they could be preloaded and fired quickly. They also hung from a belt when not in use and were too small to get in the way.

This was a finely crafted composite longbow and Drizzt wondered if it had ever been used before. He had tested its aim before coming here and found it to be perfect. It would have to be. He knocked his first arrow and stretched the bow to its limit with ease, his muscles rippling comfortably beneath his supple armor and piwafwi. He picked a guard, aimed, let out a long sigh, and fired.

The arrow took off like a rocket, flying straight through a hole in the fence and exploding through the head of a guard, dropping him quietly. Drizzt moved quickly now. He picked the guards that were out of sight from each other or were behind their fellow Baenre soldiers. In fifteen seconds all the guards were dead and no alarm had been sounded. Drizzt had timed his arrival at the beginning of the guards' shift so these guards would not be checked on for quite some time.

Now came the fence. The Baenre fence was very imposing. The silver webbed barrier had been a gift from Lloth upon House Baenre's assent to the first house. The strands of the web fence were several inches thick and would hold fast any living thing that was so unfortunate as to touch it. If any other house were to use their magics near it, alarms would go off. If not for that, it would just be a simple task of levitating over it.

This fence alone had kept many an army from attacking. Drizzt laughed at the absurdity of it. He had found a way around it and marveled at how simple it was. Magic was the way of life in the underdark. If something was in your way, you cast lightening bolts or fireballs at it until it was destroyed. If it was invulnerable to magic, then it was to be avoided at all costs. Drizzt had lived a long time on the surface with dwarves and humans who preferred to engineer a solution to a problem.

Drizzt had brought a heavy pack with him and opened it now. From inside he pulled a vast collection of bed sheets he had sewn together. He had soaked them in oil, and the smell was rather pungent once released from the pack. With the help of a few of his soldiers, they slung the sheet up and over the fence so it covered a good ten-foot section. Then they started to climb.

The sheets stuck fast to the fence, never to be released, but the drow did not stick to the sheets. They climbed to the top and easily down the other side. Once everyone was across, Drizzt had a few of his fighters cast globes of darkness on the sheet. As soon as it was hidden from view, he struck a match and tossed it into the darkness. The oil soaked sheets would turn to ash, and in a minute's time, there would be nothing left. When the darkness disappeared another minutes later, there would be no evidence the perimeter had been breached.

The vast Baenre dormitories were in front of them now and Drizzt figured they would maybe be a third full. He had instructed his drow that this was meant to be a perfect elimination. The Baenre commoners should not be woken before they are killed. Make it swift, final, and above all, quiet. They would not have to contend with a full house because Drizzt had a good idea that Berg'inyon would have sent the majority of the house elsewhere. He was right.

* * *

Three hundred Baenre fighters escorted by two dozen wizards moved as silently as possible down the narrow streets of Menzoberranzan. Berg'inyon was not with them, but he had told them what to expect. House Do'Urden would be almost empty and those that remained would be stationed at easily ambushable locations around the chapel, protecting the house's females.

In order to keep their passage a secret, the wizards in the group had cast powerful silence spells over everyone in attendance. This spell would last well after their entrance into the Do'Urden compound, ensuring that they caught the doomed house off-guard.

Sure enough, the gate to the main compound was unguarded. The drow crept into the Do'Urden courtyard way too easily. The only reason they did not think anything was suspicious was because Berg'inyon had told them it would be this easy. The ambushers never once thought that they would become the ambushees.

The courtyard into the Do'Urden compound was surrounded by four tall dormitories. The chapel was nestled behind them in the base of the house's main stalagmite. As soon as the entire Baenre troupe was with in the compound, the trap was sprung. The gate slammed shut behind them, only to be opened again with magic. At the same time, fifty magical webbing spheres were cast from the vacant looking dormitory windows around the huddled Baenre army. These spheres exploded into the group and vast spider webs sprung up all over the compound floor.

These webs were enchanted with the same strength as that of a queen spider and spread to a diameter of 25 feet each. They filled the small alcove so completely that they often lay five thick. The Baenre group was held fast. None were strong enough to break free and only the lucky ones on the edge who still had an arm or two unstuck could hack at the strands with a weapon.

The wizards could dispel these webs if they were not within a shroud of silence. It had sounded like a good idea at the time, but they had figured by the time their services would be required, the spell would have expired. They were wrong. As they tried to think of a few spells they could cast without having to speak, the fireballs from above started. It was over before it ever really got started.

* * *

Drizzt's assassin squad move like silent death through the Baenre dormitories making sure the drow within never woke up again. The plan was going well so far, but Drizzt knew that the strength of the Baenre house lay within its females. That was where the second part of his plan came into play.

* * *

Sos'Umptu used to be the keeper of the Baenre chapel. Ever since Matron Baenre had died, Triel had placed one of her daughters in charge. The new caretaker had not done as good a job.

When Matron Baenre had been alive, Sos'Umptu had overseen everything that went on in the chapel. So when Berg'inyon had warned her about the coming attack she had been the one to organize the priestess' response. She had assembled all of her sisters and every priestess that could be spared. Everyone was packed tightly into chapel. Everyone, that is, except for Triel. The idea that a gathering of this size could escape her attention just showed how self-centered the matron was and how little she cared for the happenings within her house.

Sos'Umptu and Bladen'Kerst stood in the center of the great chapel waiting for their signal. It was assumed that the Do'Urden priestesses would unite together when the attack against the compound was to take place. Once the three hundred drow that were stationed at the north end of the compound relayed the message that the attack was underway, they would begin their counter attack. With five hundred priestesses in attendance, they would be able to direct a shock wave into the Do'Urden compound that would destroy everything completely. It would be a message to the rest of the houses that one did not just casually attack the first house in the city.

After a considerable wait with no warning given, the priestesses began to get nervous. Was this attack going to come? Had Berg'inyon lied to them? No, what would he have to gain from that?

Bladen'Kerst tugged at her robe. "They are growing restless."

"We can not attack until we receive the signal," Sos'Umptu replied.

"Why not?" It was an innocent question and one that the younger sister did not really have an answer to. Berg'inyon had told them how the battle would go, and she trusted him. But now that she thought about it, there was no reason they could not make a preemptive strike.

Sos'Umptu nodded. "Begin the ceremony."

* * *

Drizzt had spent a good while that day preparing for this battle. He needed to get with his twelve fighters and explain the invasion plan. He had arranged with the house's wizards to set a trap for the Baenre troupe that Drizzt knew Berg'inyon would send. But his most important preparation had taken place in the tunnels around Menzoberranzan.

Ten years ago, Entreri, Catti-brie, and Drizzt had escaped from this Baenre compound by punching a hole in a very thin section of the cavern ceiling and into a little used passageway. Drizzt had found the passageway easily and had then proceeded to cut a hole back into this cavern. With the use of Khazid'hea and a small sledge, the job had been easy.

When finished, he had been able to look down directly onto the Baenre chapel. The little alcove he had carved was in the base of a very large stalactite, just like he remembered it to be. Inside the hole, he had placed enough explosive oil to light up the entire cavern of Menzoberranzan. Now, confident that the Baenre priestesses would be gathered with in their chapel to repel the Do'Urden priestesses' attack that Drizzt had said was coming, he tried to pick out his target in the ceiling.

Drizzt had left behind a yellow glowing orb that produced no heat. In the infrared it would be invisible, and he felt safe that no one would be looking around the cavern in anything other than infrared. When he switched his vision into the normal spectrum, he saw the orb clearly. He lit an arrow with an oil soaked rag at the tip, strung it to his bow, and fired. The explosion above was incredible.

* * *

The chanting inside the Baenre chapel was growing louder by the second. Bladen'Kerst and Sos'Umptu reveled in the power around them. They would both be the focussing tools for aiming the shock wave across the city of Menzoberranzan and into the Do'Urden compound, for no one priestess would be able to channel such energy. As the power reached its peak, they searched out their target. It was not there.

Sos'Umptu frowned. Even a gathering of ten Do'Urden priestesses should stand out clearly in the magical aura of the city. Surely if the whole house was gathered together, invoking the powers of Lloth, they would be impossible to miss. But there was nothing. Drizzt had lied more than once when he had given Jarlaxle the battle information. Matron Malice and her daughters had been told to sit tight.

The spell had long since passed the point of no return. It had gained too much power to end without releasing the energy that had been built up, but it could only be released thought a magical connection. It was not a simple fireball. It could not be directed at a physical target. It needed a magical one.

The air around the two sisters began to hum with energy as the spell approached its climax. This energy was being funneled into them and needed to be released or they would be consumed by it.

"Where are they?" Bladen'Kerst cried, for she too was searching for the Do'Urden gathering that must be out there somewhere. "We must find them!"

Their hair was now standing on end, and the heat that radiated from them was enough to incinerate wood, but still they had nowhere to go with the energy. The power was growing exponentially now, doubling in intensity with each passing moment. "We must find something!"

The huge explosion from above as Drizzt's flaming arrow found its target was heard clearly within the chapel, though it was easily misinterpreted. "The attack has begun!" Bladen'Kerst cried. "They must be out there!"

Sos'Umptu was now barely holding onto consciousness as her mind searched the magical plane of the city. The Do'Urdens could not hide themselves from her. It was impossible. With the amount of power that coursed through her right now, she would be able to detect anything, but there was nothing to detect.

They had built a power balloon of immense size and strength. It needed to be released. That release came as a huge stalactite crashed through the center of the great chapel. The ensuing explosion awoke the entire city. Drizzt had been standing on the roof of one of the dormitories and was tossed like pebble into the air. He would have been crushed to a pulp if his levitation spell was not as strong as it was. Also several of his magical protections sensed his dilemma and cushioned his body against the magical shock wave and slowed his perilous flight. Still, it was only enough to keep him from breaking any bones as his back rammed into the side of the cavern, and he fell to the floor of the Baenre compound.

Somehow he had held on to consciousness and was amazed at what he saw. There was nothing left - nothing. All of the dormitories had been leveled, and his death squad with them. The three hundred soldiers that had been stationed at the north end of the compound had been shredded from the shrapnel. The hundred or so guards that had been stationed around the Baenre chapel to protect the ceremony inside from interruption were no where to be seen. Even with all his protections, Drizzt would have been vaporized as well if had been at the same level as the horizontal shock wave. The chapel was gone as if it had never been there. All that remained was a hole in the ground. House Baenre was totally destroyed.

As Drizzt slowly pulled himself to his feet, he heard one sound clearly amidst the eerie calm that permeated after the deafening explosion: applause.

"Very well done. I'm impressed. I really am. I did not think you could actually pull it off."

Drizzt did not need to turn around to see who it was. "Is your wizard with you?" Drizzt asked slowly, still eyeing the wreckage in front of him. "I wish to go home now."

"In a manner of speaking," Jarlaxle responded.

Drizzt felt the now familiar sensation of the Baenre house emblem and turned around. Gromph Baenre, the first born son of the deceased Matron Baenre stood several feet behind Jarlaxle. Behind him stood Berg'inyon. The Baenre fighter was looking a little haggard. He had been one of the ones waiting for Drizzt and his supposed army at the north end of the compound. His clothes were torn and his face bloody, but he seemed without major injury. As the weapon master of the first house, he was not without magical protection, and he had survived the explosion while his men around him had not.

Berg'inyon had planned on being able to return to his house after the defeat of House Do'Urden. Now that seemed rather impossible. Also, House Do'Urden was far from defeated. He held no illusions about how the fighters he had sent to invade the Do'Urden compound had faired. He knew when he had been played.

As Drizzt examined the hungry look in his adversary's eyes, he knew there would be more fighting tonight. "Has your wizard prepared the spell to send me back to my reality?" Drizzt asked, pretending to give Jarlaxle the benefit of the doubt.

Jarlaxle was not fooled. "I know you know who this is," Jarlaxle replied. "And yes, Gromph has prepared a spell for tonight. Where it sends you is yet to be determined."

Drizzt shifted his eyes to the powerful wizard. He knew that he was protected against just about any spell the wizard might cast. He had toyed with fire earlier and knew he could not be harmed by it. His advanced mobility surely protected him from any type of hold spell, and his earrings would keep his mind clear of any magic up to that of a mind flayer and perhaps beyond. What did Gromph have in mind?

The Baenre wizard smiled at Drizzt, said a few words under his breath, and cast a black porcelain sphere to the ground. A shimmering wave of energy quickly expanded around the four drow, encompassing them and then disappearing in the distance. Drizzt did not need to be told what the spell had done. He felt suddenly heavier and slower, all the magic on him nullified.

Drizzt made a brief check of his person and then looked up to see Jarlaxle smiling at him. Curiously, Jarlaxle and Gromph had now moved behind Berg'inyon. Though Jarlaxle was never defenseless, without magic, he would be handicapped more than he liked. Berg'inyon drew his weapons, stopping any thoughts Drizzt might be having about attacking either of the other two drow. "Now we will see who the better fighter really is." He charged.

* * *

Alustriel looked at the shirtless drow tied to one of her chairs. She had regained consciousness only an hour ago and finally felt composed enough to face the situation Catti-brie had told her about. "You are saying this is not Drizzt?"

"Not the right one," Catti-brie replied.

Though Catti-brie did not really know what she was talking about, Alustriel did. The locket she had told her that the elf in front of her was Drizzt, but everything else denied it. She understood about the potential for alternate realities, and that is what they seemed to have on their hands here.

Wulfgar had been the one to search Drizzt and remove his cloak. He had found a curious blue orb, and as soon as he removed it from the drow, Drizzt had spoken in nothing but gibberish. Wulfgar thought it was gibberish, but Catti-brie, having once been to Menzoberranzan recognized it as the Drow language. She did not know it well, and Drizzt spoke it too quickly and angrily for her to even begin to reason it out, but she had picked out two words clearly enough.

"We think Artemis Entreri might have played a role in this," Catti-brie said. "It is the only thing he said that we understand."

Though she knew that these other realities might exist, Alustriel knew little about them. They usually sprang into existence because of a spell gone wrong. When a wizard tried to change the past or shape the future, he usually only did so in a fantasy dimension that would spring into existence. Why Entreri would wish to create another dimension to bring forth a version of Drizzt with the common demeanor of his people was beyond her knowledge, but here he was sitting in her private chambers.

"What is keeping him on that chair?" Alustriel asked.

"I tied him," Wulfgar said, daring her to say it was not enough.

Alustriel held her hand up, paused as she worried about wounding the barbarian's pride, but cast her spell anyway. Drizzt had been moments from wriggling free, but now his limbs froze.

"Retie him," she said. "The spell will give out suddenly, and I do not want the first indication that it has to be him leaping out of that chair."

As Wulfgar examined his handiwork and how Drizzt had almost gotten free, Alustriel turned away from the scene to go back to her collection of books and spells. Catti-brie followed her.

"You can get the real Drizzt back, right?"

Alustriel shrugged. "I don't know. First I need to make sure this is not the real Drizzt. He might just be under a spell." Catti-brie did not need to voice her opinion about that. She and Guenhwyvar were not wrong. "And if he is not, then I need to find out where our Drizzt is and how to get him back. I will work on it."

Catti-brie could not ask her for more than that, especially after what she had already gone through for them in the last two days. Instead she went back to stare at the imposter and make sure that Guen did not kill him.

* * *

Drizzt met the charge with his blades out. He was slower, weaker, and could not clearly envision the battle in his mind as he could before. He was still ten times the fighter Berg'inyon was. The young Baenre came on fast, but Drizzt blasted the attacks away almost effortlessly. Though his body was not used to fighting like this, Drizzt's mind was. He was still a bit bulkier than normal, but Drizzt felt far more familiar with his body now than he had before.

Berg'inyon was clearly overmatched from the start, and as he lost his footing on a loose stone, Drizzt pressed in for the kill. Before he had a chance, a bolt of lightening came shooting in, hitting Drizzt square in the chest. He flew backwards, his breath leaving from a moment. Berg'inyon took the opening and came in, driving Drizzt to the ground. The Do'Urden weapon master quickly rolled to his side as Berg'inyon's swords scraped against the stone half a second later.

Drizzt continued to roll till he was a few yards away and came up cautiously, just now getting his breath back. How had Gromph cast that within the magicless sphere? Drizzt looked toward the wizard and got his answer. Gromph had not cast the lightening strike, at least not directly. The Baenre held a wand. The wand still should not work, but it did. Gromph had come prepared.

Drizzt had little time to think about it because Berg'inyon was on him again. Drizzt stayed low, fending off the attacks from above and rocking backwards as if off balance. Berg'inyon pushed his apparent advantage too far, placing his legs within striking distance. Drizzt suddenly hopped off his feet, landing on his backside and kicking out with his legs. He caught Berg'inyon in the knee, and the Baenre stumbled.

Drizzt used the momentary reprieve and somersaulted backwards to his feet, coming up with his blades wide to catch the continued attack. Drizzt swung his hands inward, keeping his blades out wide in a "V." He stepped inside the block with his hands together in front of him, punching out with his hilts. One strike caught Berg'inyon in the shoulder, while the other smashed his nose. Once again, the weaker fighter went stumbling backwards. Once again Drizzt pressed on to finish him. And once again a bolt of lightening came in to ward off the attack.

Drizzt was prepared this time and darted away at the last second. The lightening strike still caught him in the side and spun him to the ground. Drizzt felt something under him as he landed and quickly formed a plan. With his fingertips pressed against the stone as he lay face down, he felt Berg'inyon's approach. At the last second he rolled to the side, letting the over-anxious fighter trip past him.

Drizzt lashed out with a scimitar at the stumbling drow, but Berg'inyon was too nimble and jumped over it. Drizzt was also too nimble and rolled to his back, kicking out with his right leg as Berg'inyon landed, sending the fighter to the ground. Drizzt then rolled again into a crouch, dropping his two scimitars and picking up the thing he had landed on.

Jarlaxle recognized it immediately and hit the ground. Drizzt ignored him. It was not for the mercenary. Gromph had never seen a long bow before, but as Drizzt pulled one of his remaining arrows from the quiver he still wore, the wizard figured out the weapon's use quick enough. It was true that the wand was designed so it could operate within the magicless sphere, but none of Gromph's other spells could. The only thing he had left was waving his arms in front of him frantically. It did not work.

Even Drizzt could not have dodged the arrow in the split second it took to travel the thirty feet to the wizard. Gromph took the shot in the chest, launching him straight back. As he fell, a second arrow nearly split his skull open. He died without making a sound.

Berg'inyon rolled over on the ground slowly, knowing something was up. His weapons felt suddenly lighter, and he could feel his crushed nose tingling as it magically began to heal. His enchantments were working again. He came to his knees and looked up to see Drizzt standing over him, his scimitars back in his hands. "Play time is over."

Berg'inyon frantically waved his weapons above him, miraculously catching Drizzt's lightening quick attacks, but the standing drow pulled the blocking blades out wide and kicked between them. The enchanted boot caught Berg'inyon under the chin lifting him off his knees and into the air. As he flew backwards, he was able to compose himself, flipping over and landing on his feet.

He hoped his sudden acrobatics might catch Drizzt slightly off-guard. They did not. Drizzt was on him again almost before he landed. It seemed like Drizzt was using four weapons, and Berg'inyon had had a difficult enough time with just two. Strike, strike, punch. Strike, strike, kick. Berg'inyon was able to catch the attacking blades only because Drizzt let him. He could do nothing against the extracurricular attacks except stumble and bleed.

Drizzt was frustrated with his situation. He had not expected Jarlaxle to come through, and had counted on the mercenary backstabbing him, but that still did not make him happy. He would deal with this situation and head to the surface. He did not wish to return to his home, but to find a wizard who could send him to his real one. It would not be easy.

While it was not traditional of Drizzt to take out his frustration with senseless violence, he found it far too easy to let his hunter instincts take over in this situation. Bedsides, beating up Berg'inyon was something he never got tired of.

Even though Drizzt was purposefully letting Berg'inyon block his attacks, opening the Baenre for a more personal punishment, the over-matched drow misjudged one attack, and Drizzt's attack caught the side of his blade, sending the weapon flying out of Berg'inyon's hand. His follow up kick then sent his opponent to the ground.

Berg'inyon was panting hard, ready for the death that awaited him, but Drizzt was not finished with his statement. He unsheathed Khazid'hea and tossed it to Berg'inyon. The fallen fighter caught the weapon in his free right hand, but then tossed it aside, refusing to be played with.

"Pick it up!" Drizzt demanded, his left scimitar flashing out and sending Berg'inyon's other sword flying away. So quick was Drizzt's attack, that Berg'inyon only realized a few seconds later that Drizzt had not knocked his other blade out of his hand, but had in fact cut his entire hand off. Berg'inyon clutched at the wound, crying out in pain.

Drizzt shrugged his shoulders and sheathed his weapons. Now to deal with Jarlaxle. He turned slowly and then froze. Before he even searched out the mercenary, he felt something else. It was a very faint tug. Drizzt glanced quickly at Gromph, but the wizard would never draw breath again, to say nothing about casting a spell. This was something else. It was also slightly familiar. Then it hit him. This was the same thing he had felt the moment before he had been summoned to this horrible dimension. Someone was calling him back.

* * *

The hold spell had ended, but Wulfgar had retied Drizzt much tighter this time and in several more places.

"Stop your fussing," Catti-brie scolded the fidgeting drow. "If this works you'll be going back to your true home quick enough." She turned to look at Alustriel. "It will work, right?"

Alustriel did not hear her. She was too caught up in her spell. After much searching she had found the location of this alternate dimension, and she had been able to link up with Drizzt's spirit, but something was wrong. Something was blocking the spell. Alustriel summoned all her power, and pushed on.

* * *

Drizzt could feel the tug, but he could also tell it was far too weak to bring him home. Drizzt brought his hands up to his head to try and focus on the distant tether and latch onto it. He felt cold metal against his palm. His earrings! Not caring about the pain, he ripped the hoops and studs out of his ears and could immediately feel the results. His mind was able to make a clear connection with the distant spell, but it was still distant.

Drizzt could feel the pulsating gems in his piwafwi protecting him, but this was not a time he wished to be protected. He quickly pulled the cloak over his head and tossed it aside. The spell grabbed hold of him more completely, but still not enough. Next went his armor. His weapons fell to the ground followed by his boots. He wore a necklace and, he ripped that free too.

He could feel the spell working powerfully now, but he was not finished. He kicked off his pants and cast off his bracers and several rings. Soon he stood in just a loincloth and Alustriel grabbed hold of him. Drizzt knew it was her as soon as the spell had taken full affect. He closed his eyes as all feeling left his limbs. The journey was quick, just as it had been before, and the sensation was again likened to that of waking out of dream.

Unlike before, Drizzt did not find himself in a soft bed, but tied to a hard chair. His eyes took a while to adjust to the light in the room, and then to the people who stared at him, concerned looks on their faces. He smiled warmly at his friends. "It's me. You can untie me now."

* * *

Drizzt had been straining against his bonds, his mind fighting against the spell that consumed him. He did not know what this witch was doing to him, but he did not like it. His whole body had gone numb and his mind floated freely in the void between dimensions. He was dumped so suddenly back into his body that for a moment he thought he had broken free of the ropes.

Instead he found himself stumbling forward and tripping over a pile of equipment. As he shifted his eyes back to the more comfortable infrared, he saw that it was his equipment. He was nearly naked!

Drizzt stood quickly, and then looked up. Berg'inyon was walking toward him. The Baenre weapon master had only one hand, but in it he held Khazid'hea. The vicious edge of the sword seemed to gleam in the lightless underdark. "Play time is over," he said, but Drizzt did not catch the irony.

Instead, the naked drow dove for his scimitars. For the first time in his life, Berg'inyon proved the quicker. Khazid'hea flashed out and caught Drizzt's trailing left arm, cleaving it just below the elbow. Drizzt hit the ground, but instead of grabbing a weapon, his right hand latched onto his bloody stump. Berg'inyon stepped over him and took his head.

A sense of calm went through the Baenre. It mattered not how he had killed Drizzt, only that he had. In drow society, you only needed to be the last one standing. Skill counted for little if you were dead. He moved over to Drizzt's discarded equipment, not quite sure why the drow had taken it all off, but happy that he had. He stooped to pick up the bracers. He only had use for one now, but there were ways to replace his hand, and he stowed the other one in his cloak.

Berg'inyon stood up straight and turned to face Jarlaxle. Now that he was without a house, he figured to take up with the mercenary. Together the two would rule this city. Jarlaxle had other ideas. When Berg'inyon spotted him, he caught the end of a quick wrist motion. Without even really being able to see the dagger, Berg'inyon's remaining hand came up and caught it.

A smile spread across Berg'inyon's face as he tossed the dagger aside. Maybe he would not join up with the mercenary. "You will pay for that," he said. Or at least that is what he tried to say. What actually came out was a very strained gurgling noise. His hand went quickly to his throat where the first dagger Jarlaxle had thrown was sunk into his neck to the hilt, the handle still quivering slightly. Berg'inyon had caught the second one. The last thing Berg'inyon saw before his eyes closed forever was Jarlaxle surveying the three dead drow before him and sighing at what might have been.

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