Drizzt DoUrden, the most popular drow in Dungeons & Dragons, is back in R.A. Salvatores' latest novel, Glaciers Edge. It follows the Starlight Enclave ending in 2021, and features fan-favorite characters Catti-brie, Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri, and Zaknafein who meet a new drow group in the Forgotten Realms.
The novel was officially shipped from online retailers and independent bookshops throughout the United States on August 9, with signed copies available at Barnes & Noble.
They entered a vast lane of taverns and brothels, some free-standing, others carved into stalagmites, and still others little more than textile walls that barely protected the movements inside.
Dininae knew this place from the time when he was known as Dinin, at the time the Secondboy of House DoUrden. He had come here often to play, to gamble, and to do anything to fight the monotony of his existence as the lowest noble in Matron Malices court. At first, he assumed that recent events would bring the situation to a head, but as he and Voselly continued on their journey, he realized that this was not the case.
The bars were well-stocked, and racks of dirty glasses were piled at the end of each bar.
Which meant that this wasnt a sign of depreciation. No, this day, this moment, the avenue was strangely empty.
He did notice a few patrons and potential customers, some leaning on the bars, some standing with the prostitutes as if signing a contract, and a couple pitching bones in a small alley between two stalagmites that comprised a single tavern. He looked for badges and noted from the subtle revelations of their armor and weapons that these were not Menzoberranzan's downtrodden.
Yet, he could not see any house markings, emblems, or crests.
And that made it worse.
Are you at the ready? he whispered to his companion.
Yes, you can too. Do you notice it?
I have six children.
At least eight people are involved.
Dininae answered, "Oh yes, my favorite number." From the moment I was born, I was told.
Voselly told him to take heart. We only need to hold our ground for a brief while.
Unless they have friends nearby.
Voselly smirked down at him, ready to do something, and Dininae was about to strike out a sword stabbing for her back. Her attacker overbalanced and fell forward just enough for Voselly to launch a devastating right cross into his face.
Before he fell to the ground, he was completely unconscious.
Dininae had seen every movement, the sweep, and the wonderful way Voselly had dropped her left shoulder back, basically throwing the right hand with her left shoulder, resulting in a long, brutal punch.
He silently reminded himself never to enrage this lady, but that was all the time he had to think about anything other than the fight, which now came at him quickly in the form of two young men, or more pointedly, in a closing barrage of four waving and stabbing swords.
Dininaes swords appeared to appear in his hands in a single motion, just as Zaknafein had taught him, drawing and stabbing in a single move. The other one 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 slashing across to intercept.
One enemy leaped into the gap and pressed forward fiercely, forcing Dininae back on his heels, his two swords wreaking havoc on the four stabbing blades.
He said quietly, "Work for the rhythm."
Dininae was quite content with himself as he kept his ground, anticipating every assault, riposting, even, or avoiding with a simple twist. After all of that years as a drider, he was still living up to Zaknafeins' training and living up to the praises Voselly had just heaped upon him.
When he sensed something coming hard for his head from behind, his shock splintered him from that rhythm and that confidence.
Reflexively, he just folded his legs under him and fell to his knees, tucking his chin as well, and bracing himself.
But the missile, which was actually another enemy drow warrior, went over him, falling over the two attackers, who tried very hard not to punch their poor flailing companion in the collision.
Dininae sprang up and forward, stabbed the thrown drow first in the kidney, and as he collapsed, he blew over him, taking the lead, undoing the two attackers with his left-hand stabs, then launching the assaults from there.
Dininae turned completely on the drow to the right, blades rolling now as if to eliminate the fellow.
Dininae broke almost immediately, retaliating quickly to the left, where the drow was charging, evidently believing that Dininae was fully involved with the other. The attacker came in with an offensive stance, one blade high, the other too far forward.
Dininae climbed up high and thrust his left arm horizontally to slay the drows raised sword.
These were not rogues who lived in rented houses. They wore excellent armor.
Dininae wielded Baenre swords, and with both fighters bringing them fast together, that fine breastplate barely slowed Dininae's right-hand blade.
The drow slowed down rapidly, strangely.
Dininae stepped back, dropping his left shoulder to send his free sword cutting out hard behind him to keep his opponents from falling away, while his right foot went up to the impaled drows' chest and pushed off hard, sending Dininae out and into a roll, shoving the mortally-wounded attacker stumbling back and toppling over the first warrior Dininae had dispatched.
Dininae snatched his sword up just in time to deflect a handcrossbow dispute.
He looked all around, seeing drow streaming into the street, and at first believing an army had assaulted him and Voselly.
But no, most of them were Blaspheme warriors, the other former driders, he realized. He turned to Voselly.
Do you think they've been following us? he asked.
She replied, "I told you we had friends."
They were not implying you were watching us.
The warrior shrugged. Perhaps I wanted to confirm what was promised to me, and that I hoped would be true.
Is it possible to fight?
Yes, and perhaps you will soon trust me to tell me the truth about Dininae. You are no commoner. You are not self-taught in the arts martial arts. You attended the Academy and were trained by a weapon master.
She sat as another big drow lady walked 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 asked.
Your ambushers are fleeing.
Let's get rid of them.
She nodded. Yes, I gave the order already. But there is another, a priestess of House Hunzrin. She wants to rescue these fallen foes, to tend them that they will not die.
Why does she care? Are these people the murderers of House Hunzrin?
What does that say about the future?
She did not respond, but my guess is House Melarn, of course.
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. And do as she please with him. The others return to House Baenre. I would not go above my authority here. Let the Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre decide their fate.
Aleandra rushed away and began barking commands, while Voselly led Dininae back the way they had gone.
As they walked off, he said, "It was my death." You did not think the disposition of the fallen warrior should be my choice?
I was once the weapon master of the First House of Menzoberranzan. You are merely a commoner, so you say. Why would I care what you wanted?
Dininae paused and let her go a few steps ahead of him, then stood there with hands on her hips until she turned back.
Do you want to emulate the games that determined our mutual destiny in the past? he asked.
Your actions have consequences. When I can trust you, I will respect you.
You believe 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 concerned as you about our situation in this battle, and our future, if we ever have one. We are Matron Mother Baenres shock soldiers, her fodder. She will throw us against her enemies without question, and will shed no tears when we are broken.
Dininae responded, admitting his deepest fears. Or Lolth will offend her slurs and revert us to a state of depravity.
It has crossed my mind. That's why I'll join the Blaspheme tightly together beneath my command. Here or back in the Abyss, we stand together or we'll suffer torment and actual death only if we are fortunate. But I like people who tell me the truth. Dininae.
She spit his sobriquet into his throat.
He didn't want to be a part of Voselly's grand scheme. He didn't want to be a part of Matron Mother Baenre. And, most importantly, he didn't want to be a participant in the Demon Queen of Spiders' grand scheme.
In the end, he was a DoUrden, Elderboy Dinin DoUrden, and in this most difficult and dangerous time, he simply couldn't see how that truth would play out.
Pricing were taken at the time of publication.