Six years. Not so long in the life span of a drow, and yet, in counting the months, the weeks, the days, the hours, it seemed to me as if I had been away from Mithril Hall a hundred times that number. The place was removed, another lifetime, another way of life, a mere stepping stone to …

To what? To where?

My most vivid memory of Mithril Hall is of riding away from the place with Catti-brie at my side, is the view in looking back over the plumes of smoke rising from Settlestone to the mountain called Fourthpeak. Mithril Hall was Bruenor's kingdom, Bruenor's home, and Bruenor was among the most dear of friends to me. But it was not my home, had never been so.

I couldn't explain it then, and still cannot. All should have been well there after the defeat of the invading drow army. Mithril Hall shared prosperity and friendship with all of the neighboring communities, was part of an assortment of kingdoms with the power to protect their borders and feed their poor.

All, of that, but still Mithril Hall was not home. Not for me, and not for Catti-brie. Thus had we taken to the road, riding west to the coast, to Waterdeep.

I never argued with Catti-brie — though she had certainly expected me to — concerning her decision to leave Mithril Hall. We were of like minds. We had never really set down our hearts in the place; we had been too busy, in defeating the enemies who ruled there, in reopening the dwarven mines, in traveling to Menzoberranzan and in battling the dark elves who had come to Mithril Hall. All that completed, it seemed time to settle, to rest, to tell and to lengthen tales of our adventures. If Mithril Hall had been our home before the battles, we would have remained. After the battles, after the losses. . for both Catti-brie and Drizzt Do'Urden, it was too late. Mithril Hall was Bruenor's place, not ours. It was the war-scarred place where I had to again face the legacy of my dark heritage. It was the beginning of the road that had led me back to Menzoberranzan.

It was the place where Wulfgar had died.

Catti-brie and I vowed that we would return there one day, and so we would, for Bruenor was there, and Regis. But Catti-brie had seen the truth. You can never get the smell of blood out of the stones. If you were there when that blood was spilled, the continuing aroma evokes images too painful to live beside.

Six years, and I have missed Bruenor and Regis, Stumpet Rakingclaw, and even Berkthgar the Bold, who rules Settlestone. I have missed my journeys to wondrous Silverymoon, and watching the dawn from one of Fourthpeak's many rocky perches. I ride the waves along the Sword Coast now, the wind and spray in my face. My ceiling is the rush of clouds and the canopy of stars; my floor is the creaking boards of a swift, well- weathered ship, and beyond that, the azure blanket, flat and still, heaving and rolling, hissing in the rain and exploding under the fall of a breaching whale.

Is this my home? I know not. Another stepping stone, I would guess, but whether there really is a road that would lead me to a place called home, I do not know.

Nor do I think about it often, because I've come to realize that I do not care. If this road, this series of stepping stones, leads nowhere, then so be it. I walk the road with friends, and so I have my home.

– Drizzt Do'Urden


Drizzt Do'Urden stood on the very edge of the beam, as far forward as he could go, one hand grasping tight the guide rope of the flying jib. This ship was a smooth runner, perfect in balance and ballast and with the best of crews, but the sea was rough this day and the Sea Sprite cut and bounced through the rolls at full sail, throwing a heavy spray.

Drizzt didn't mind. He loved the feel of the spray and the wind, the smell of the brine. This was freedom, flying, skimming the water, skipping the waves. Drizzt's thick white hair flipped in the breeze, billowing like his green cape behind him, drying almost as fast as the water wetted it. Splotches of white caked salt could not lessen the luster of his ebony skin, which glistened with wetness. His violet eyes sparkled with joy as he squinted at the horizon and caught a fleeting glimpse of the sails of the ship they pursued.

Pursued and would catch, Drizzt knew, for there was no ship north of Baldur's Gate that could outrun Captain Deudermont's Sea Sprite. She was a three-masted schooner, new in design, light

and sleek and full of sail. The square-rigged caravel they were chasing could put up a fair run in a straight line, but anytime the bulkier vessel altered its course even the slightest bit, the Sea Sprite could angle inside it, gaining ground. Always gaining ground.

That was what she was meant to do. Built by the finest engineers and wizards of Waterdeep, funded by the lords of that city, the schooner was a pirate chaser. How thrilled Drizzt had been to discover the good fortunes of his old friend, Deudermont, with whom he had sailed all the way from Waterdeep to Calimshan in pursuit of Artemis Entreri when the assassin had captured Regis the halfling. That journey, particularly the fight in Asavir's Channel when Captain Deudermont had won-with no small help from Drizzt and his companions-against three pirate ships, including the flagship of the notorious Pinochet, had caught the attention of sailors and merchants all along the Sword Coast. When the Lords of Waterdeep had completed this schooner, they had offered it to Deudermont. He loved his little two-master, the original Sea Sprite, but no seaman could resist this new beauty. Deudermont had accepted a commission in their service and, they had granted him the right to name the vessel and allowed him to handpick his crew.

Drizzt and Catti-brie had arrived in Waterdeep sometime after that. When the Sea Sprite next put in to the grand harbor of the seaport, and Deudermont found his old friends, he promptly made room for them among his crew of forty. That was six years and twenty-seven voyages ago. Among those who monitored the shipping lanes of the Sword Coast, particularly among the pirates themselves, the schooner had become a scourge. Thirty-seven victories, and still she sailed.

Now number thirty-eight was in sight.

The caravel had noticed them, from too far away to see the flag of Waterdeep. That hardly mattered, for no other ship in the region carried the distinctive design of the Sea Sprite, the three masts of billowing triangular, lateen sails. Up came the caravel's square rigs, and so the chase was on in full.

Drizzt was at the point, one foot on the lion-headed ram, loving every second. He felt the sheer power of the sea bucking beneath him, felt the spray and the wind. He heard the music, loud and strong, for several of the Sea Sprite's crewmen were

minstrels and whenever the chase was on, they took up their instruments and played rousing songs.

'Two thousand!' Catti-brie yelled down from the crow's nest. It was a measure of the distance yet to gain. When her estimate got down to five hundred, the crew would move to their battle posts, three going to the large ballista mounted on a pivot atop the flying deck in the Sea Sprite's stern, two going to the smaller, swiveling crossbows mounted to the forward corners of the bridge. Drizzt would join Deudermont at the helm, coordinating the close combat. The drow's free hand slipped to the hilt of one of his scimitars at the thought. The Sea Sprite was a vicious foe from a distance. It had crack archers, a skilled ballista team, a particularly nasty wizard, an evoker full of fireballs and lightning bolts, and of course, Catti-brie with her deadly bow, Taulmaril the Heartseeker. But it was in close, when Drizzt and his panther companion- Guenhwyvar-and the other skilled warriors could get across, that the Sea Sprite was truly deadly.

'Eighteen hundred!' came Catti-brie's next call. Drizzt nodded at the confirmation of their speed, though the gain was truly startling. The Sea Sprite was running faster than ever. Drizzt had to wonder if her keel was even getting wet!

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