Drizzt DoUrden, Dungeons & Dragons' most popular drow, is back in R.A. Salvatores' latest novel, Glaciers Edge, which takes place after Starlight Enclave in 2021. In it, fan-favorite characters Catti-brie, Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri, and Zaknafein discover a drow society unlike any previously discovered in the Forgotten Realms.
On August 9, the novel began shipping from online retailers and independent bookshops across the United States, including signed copies available at Barnes & Noble.
They entered a vast network of taverns and brothels, some free-standing, others carved into stalagmites, and yet others as little more than rigid walls that barely shielded the movements within.
Dininae was familiar with the place since he was called Dinin, at that time the Secondboy of House DoUrden. He had come here often to play, to gamble, to wage anything to fight the monotony of his existence as the lowest noble of Matron Malices court. At first, he assumed that the situation at the Braeryn would be worse due to recent events, the brewing conflicts, and the battle with the demon hordes that had been fought here in Menzoberran
The shelves were filled, and racks of dirty glasses were stacked at the end of every bar.
Which meant that this wasnt a sign of decline. No, this day, this moment, the avenue was strangely empty.
He noticed a few patrons and potential customers, some leaning on the bars as if making a deal, and a couple pitching bones in a small alley between two stalagmites that constituted a single tavern. However, all were so unnatural at it that he didnt consider them to be typical of the Stenchstreets. He looked for signs, and recognized from the subtle revelations of their armor and weapons that these were not Menzoberranzan's downt
Despite seeing no house markings, no emblems, and no crests, he saw no house markings.
And this made things worse.
Is your car at the ready? he whispered to his companion.
Of course. You notice it, too?
I have six children.
At least eight people.
Dininae replied, "Oh yes, that's my favorite number."
Voselly told him: "Take heart. Weve friends around." We need only hold our ground for a brief while.
Unless they also have pals nearby.
Voselly paused and half-turned, smirking down at him. Dininae was about to scream something when she suddenly spun around, bringing her trident across and angled downward with great force, driving aside a sword stabbing for her back. Voselly rolled her shoulders and launched a devastating right cross that cut into her attacker's face.
Before he slammed the ground, he was completely unconscious.
Dininae had seen every movement, the sweep, and the wonderful way Voselly had lowered her left shoulder back, basically tossing the right hand with her left shoulder, resulting in a huge punch.
He silently reminded himself never to enrage this woman, but that was all the time he had to think about anything other than the fight, which now came at him swiftly in the form of two young men, or more pointedly, in a closing barrage of four waving and stabbing swords.
Dininaes swords appeared to just grab his hands, just like Zaknafein had taught him, drawing and stabbing in a single move. The other had not anticipated the sudden attack and caught Dininaes left-hand blade right at the tip of his breastplate.
Dininae would have finished him and nearly decapitated him, except that the other attacker was already countering with a backhand sweep with his blocking blade, forcing Dininae to fall back and turn fast to bring his left-hand blade slapping across to intercept.
One enemy leaped into the void and pressed forward fiercely, forcing Dininae back on his heels, his two swords fighting ferociously to keep the four stabbing blades at bay.
He silently told himself, "Work for the rhythm."
Litany of Zaknafeins.
Dininae continued to hold his ground, anticipating every attack, deflecting, parrying, even, or avoiding with a simple twist. After all of those years as a drider, he was still living up to Voselly's expectations.
When he sensed something going hard for his head from behind, his shock shook him from that rhythm and that confidence.
He rolled his legs under him, tucked his chin in, and bracing himself.
But a missile which was actually another enemy drow warrior went over him, falling over the two attackers, who tried to avoid stabding their poor flailing companion in the collision.
Dininae leapt up and forward, stabbing the thrown drow first in the kidney, then fleeing behind him, taking the lead, retaliating against both attackers with his left-hand stabs, then launching the attacks from there.
Dininae turned fully on the drow to the right, blades rolling now as if to simply overpower the fellow.
Dininae fell pretty much instantly, going back out fast to the left, where that drow was charging, evidently believing that Dininae was fully involved with the other. The attacker entered the arena with an offensive stance, one blade too high, the other too far forward.
Dininae pushed through the tip of the drows raised sword with his left arm raised high, with the blade horizontal.
These were not rogues who lived in rented houses. They wore fine armor.
Dininae fought the Baenre swords, and with the momentum of both fighters bringing them fast together, that fine breastplate barely slowed the thrust of Dininaes right-hand blade.
The drow slowed down very quickly, strangely.
Dininae stepped back, dropping his left shoulder to send his free sword cutting out hard behind him to keep his escape from the rest of the pack, while his right foot went up to the impaled drows' chest and pushed off hard, sending Dininae out and into a roll, toppling the first warrior Dininae had dispatched.
Dininae snapped his sword up just in time to deflect a handcrossbow fight, thanks to a flicker to the right.
He looked around, seeing drow streaming down the street, and at first believing an army had come against him and Voselly.
No, the majority of these were Blaspheme warriors, the other former driders, he acknowledged. He looked to Voselly.
Are they still watching us? he said.
She replied, "I told you that we had friends."
They were not posing for us, you did not add.
The warrior shrugged. Perhaps I wanted to confirm what was promised to me, and that I hoped to be true.
Is it possible to wage a conflict?
Yes, and perhaps you'll soon have confidence in me to tell me the truth about Dininae. You are no commoner. You've never been taught in the arts martial. You attended the Academy and were trained by a weapon expert.
Another large drow woman stepped up, another of the Blaspheme force who had spent millennia in the Abyss with Lolth and her fellow torturers.
Aleandra, what do you know? Voselly replied.
Your ambushers are fleeing.
Lest them go.
She nodded. Yes, I gave the order already. But there is another, a priestess of House Hunzrin. She desires to retrieve these fallen foes, so that they will not die.
Why is she interested in this? Are these house Hunzrin's murderers?
Then why do you care?
She did not respond, but my guess is House Melarn.
House Hunzrin is attempting to play a mediator role in order to avoid a conflict, according to Voselly. She looked around at the five fallen ambushers, where only one, skewered by Dininae, appeared to be in mortal danger.
Voselly has decided to have her come and heal that one. She will do so with him as she pleases. The others will come with us back to House Baenre. I would not overstep my authority here. Let the Matron Mother Baenre decide their fate.
Aleandra rushed away and began barking orders, while Voselly led Dininae back the way they had come.
As they walked off, he said to her, "It was my killing." You did not think the disposition of the fallen warrior should be my choice?
She answered the question simply. I was once the weapon master of the First House of Menzoberranzan. You are a commoner, after all. Why would I care about what you wanted?
Dininae paused and let her move a few steps ahead of him, and stood there with hands on her hips until she turned back.
Do you want to continue playing the same games that decided our mutual fates in the past? he asked.
Your statements have consequences. I will respect you when I can trust you.
You think I am a noble person because I am?
Because you will no longer be lying to me. Do not misunderstand me, warrior. I am as apprehensive as you regarding our behavior in this conflict, and our future, if we ever have one. We are Matron Mother Baenres shock soldiers, her fodder. She will bring us against her enemies with force, no doubt, and will not shed tears when we are broken.
Dininae replied, admitting his deepest fear that Lolth might spit out her joke and return us to a state of depravity.
I've made up my mind. That's why I'll keep the Blaspheme tightly together below my command. If we're lucky, we'll stand together here or back in the Abyss, or we'll only suffer torment and actual death if we are fortunate. However, I like people who tell me the truth. Dininae.
She spat out his sobriquet.
He didn't want to join Voselly. He didn't want to join Matron Mother Baenre. And, most of all, he didn't want to be a part of the Demon Queen of Spiders' grand plot.
Despite his previous existence, Elderboy Dinin DoUrden was a DoUrden and in this most difficult and dangerous time, he simply couldnt see how this truth would play out.
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