Glaciers Edge, a new Drizzt novel, is available for download in an exclusive excerpt

Glaciers Edge, a new Drizzt novel, is available for download in an exclusive excerpt ...

Drizzt DoUrden, the most popular drow in Dungeons & Dragons, is back in R.A. Salvatores' latest novel. Glaciers Edge is a sequel to Starlight Enclave, which began in 2021, and follows the leads of popular characters Catti-brie, Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri, and Zaknafein into a drow society unlike anything previously discovered in the Forgotten Realms.

On August 9, the novel began shipping from online retailers and independent book stores around the country, including signed copies available at Barnes & Noble.

They entered a broad corridor of taverns and brothels, some free-standing, others carved into stalagmites, and still others little more than thin walls that barely protected the movements inside.

Dininae knew this place from the days when he was named Dinin, and he had come here often to play, to gamble, and to do whatever it took to get through the monotony of his existence as the lowest noble of Matron Malices court. At first, he thought that due to recent events the area might be quieter, but as he and Voselly walked on, he realized that it wasnt the case at all.

The shelves were well-stocked, and racks of dirty glasses were placed at the end of every bar.

Which meant that this was not a sign of impending demise. No, this day, this moment, the avenue was strangely empty.

He noticed a few patrons and potential customers, some leaning on the pubs as if bargaining, 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 saw no house markings, no emblems, or crests.

And that only exacerbated the situation.

Is your companion at the ready? he whispered to his companion.

Yes, you see it as well?

I have six names.

At least eight people.

Dininae replied: Ah yes, that's my favorite number, or so I was told from the moment I was born.

Voselly told him: "Weve friends around." We need only stand up for a few minutes.

Unless they have pals nearby.

Voselly paused and half-turned, looking down at him. She was about to say something, and Dininae was about to slam something, but suddenly spun around, bringing her trident sweeping across and angled downward with great force, driving aside a sword stabbing for her back. Voselly was overbalanced and fell forward just enough for Voselly to unleash a devastating right cross that struck her attackers face and snapped his head violently.

Before he landed on the ground, he was completely unconscious.

Dininae had seen every move, the sweep, and the wonderful way Voselly had lowered her left shoulder back, basically slapping the right hand against her left shoulder, resulting in a so long and devastating 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 be in his hands, just like Zaknafein had taught him, drawing and stabbing in a single motion. The other one had not anticipated the sudden strike 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.

Dininae retaliates on his heels, his two swords pounding hard to keep the four stabbing blades at bay.

He joked quietly: "Work for the rhythm."

Litany of Zaknafeins.

Dininae was able to hold his ground, anticipating every move, deflecting, riposting, even, or avoiding with a simple twist, despite his previous training.

When he sensed something pressing on his head from behind, his shock pushed him out of 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 two attackers, who tried very hard not to stab their poor flailing companion in the collision.

Dininae sprang up and forward, stabbing the thrown drow first, right in the kidney, then fleeing behind him, taking the lead, repelling the two attackers with his left-hand stabs, then launching the attacks from there.

Dininae turned completely on the drow to the right, blades rolling now as if to completely overpower the fellow.

Dininae broke pretty much immediately to go back out fast to the left, where that 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 maneuvered past the tip of the drows raised sword with his left arm raised high, making his blade horizontal.

These weren't rogues who lived without a house. They wore good armor.

Dininae wore Baenre swords, and with both fighters bringing them fast together, that fine breastplate hardly slowed the thrust of Dininaes right-hand blade.

The drow slowed down abruptly, bizarrely.

Dininae stepped back, dropping his left shoulder to send his free sword cutting out hard behind him to keep him from chasing down the remaining fighters, while his right foot climbed up to the impaled drows' chest and pushed off hard, sending Dininae out and into a loop, knocking the mortally-wounded attacker stumbling back and toppling over the first warrior Dininae had dispatched.

Dininae was able to pick up his sword just in time to deflect a handcrossbow conflict thanks to a flicker to the right.

He saw drow streaming into the street and at first assumed an army had assaulted him and Voselly.

No, most of them were Blaspheme warriors, the other former driders, he realized. He turned to Voselly, who smiled.

Is it true that they have been watching us? he asked.

She responded, "I told you that we had friends."

They were not merely watching us.

The warrior shrugged. Perhaps I wanted to confirm what was given to me, and that I hoped would be true.

Is there any way I can slap something back?

Yes, and perhaps you will soon trust me to tell me the truth about Dininae. You are no commoner. You were not taught by a weapon master. You attended the Academy.

Another large drow woman came 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 them go.

Yes, I have already given the order. But there is another, a priestess of House Hunzrin, who wishes to retrieve these enemies who have died, and to tend them so that they will not die.

Why does she care? Are these people the murderers of House Hunzrin?

No.

Then why do you care?

She did not respond, but my guess is House Melarn.

House Hunzrin is attempting to serve as a mediation mechanism 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 directed her to bring her to house Baenre to heal that one. Then, do as she will. The other four come to House Baenre. I would not be outright hostile 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 departed, he said to her, "It was my murder." 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, so you say. I am just a commoner, after all. Why would I care 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.

You mean to use the same games that determined our mutual fates in the past? he asked.

Your actions have consequences. When I can trust you, I will respect you.

You believe I am a noble man because of that?

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 throw us against her opponents, no doubt, and will shed no tears when we are torn apart.

Dininae replied, admitting his deepest fear that Lolth would reveal her wacky sarcasm and send us to a state of agony.

I've had this thought. That's why I'll keep the Blaspheme tightly together beneath my command. If we're lucky, we'll stand together here or back in the Abyss. But I like people who tell me the truth. Dininae.

She spat his sobriquet so profusely.

He didn't want to slay Voselly. He didn't want to slay Matron Mother Baenre. He didn't want to be a pawn in the elaborate plot of the Demon Queen of Spiders.

In the end, he was a DoUrden, Elderboy Dinin DoUrden, and in this most confusing and dangerous time, he simply couldnt discern how that truth would play out.

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