Sea Sprite's movements.

Drizzt ran and rolled, leaped in confusing spins and always came down with his scimitars angled for an enemy's most vital areas. Under his boots, he wore bands of gleaming mithril rings secured around black material, enchanted for speed. Drizzt had taken these from Dantrag Baenre, a famed drow weaponmaster. Dantrag had used them as bracers to speed his hands, but Drizzt understood the truth of the items. On his ankles, they allowed the drow to run and dart like a wild hare.

He used them now, along with his amazing agility, to confuse the pirates, to keep them unsure of where he was, or where they could next expect him to be. Whenever one of them guessed wrong and was caught off guard, Drizzt seized the opportunity and came in hard, scimitars slashing away. He made his way generally forward, seeking to join up with Guenhwyvar, the fighting companion who knew him best and complimented his every move.

He didn't quite get there. The rout on the caravel was nearly complete, many pirates dead, others throwing down their weapons, or throwing themselves overboard in sheer desperation. One of the crew, the most seasoned and most fearsome, a personal friend of Pinochet, wasn't so quick to surrender.

He emerged from his cabin under the forward bridge, his body bent over because the low construction of the ship would not accommodate his ten-foot height. He wore only a sleeveless red vest and short breeches, which barely covered his scaly green skin. Limp hair the color of seaweed hung below his broad shoulders. He carried no weapon fashioned on a smithy's anvil but, his dirty claws and abundant teeth seemed deadly enough.

'So the rumors were true, dark elf,' he said in a wet, bubbly voice. 'You have returned to the sea.'

'I do not know you,' Drizzt said, skidding to a stop a cautious distance from the scrag. He guessed the pirate to be Carrackus, the sea troll Deudermont had spoken of, but could not be sure.

'I know you!' the scrag growled. He charged, his clawed hands slashing for Drizzt's head.

Three quick steps brought Drizzt out of the monster's path. The drow dropped to one knee and spun about, both scimitars slashing across, blades barely an inch apart.

More agile than Drizzt expected, the opponent turned the opposite way and twirled, pulling in his trailing leg. The drow's scimitars barely nicked the monster as they passed.

The scrag charged, meaning to bury Drizzt where he knelt, but again the drow was too quick for such a straightforward tactic. He came up to his feet and started left, then, as the scrag took the bait and began to turn, Drizzt came back fast to the right, underneath the monster's swinging arm.

Twinkle stabbed a hip and Drizzt's other blade followed with a deep cut along the scrag's side.

Drizzt accepted the backhand his opponent launched his way, knowing that the off-balance scrag couldn't put much of its formidable strength and weight behind it. The long and skinny arm thudded off the drow's shoulder and then off his parrying blades as he spun to face the lurching brute.

Now it was Drizzt's turn to charge, lightning fast and straight ahead. He slid Twinkle under the elbow of the outstretched scrag arm, drawing a deep gash and then hooked the fine-edged and curving blade underneath the hanging flap of skin. His other scimitar poked for the scrag's chest, slipped past the frantic block of the other arm.

There was only one way for the off-balance monster to move. Drizzt knew that, anticipated the scrag's retreat perfectly. The drow secured his grip on Twinkle, even braced his shoulder against the weapon's hilt to hold it firm. The scrag roared in agony and dove back and to the side, directly opposite the angle of Twinkle's nasty bite. The sickly flesh peeled from the scrag's arm, all the way from its biceps to its wrist. The torn lump fell to the deck with a sickening thud.

His black eyes filled with outrage and hatred. The scrag looked down to the exposed bone, to the writhing lump of troll flesh on the deck. And finally, to Drizzt, who stood casually, scimitars crossed down low in front of him.

'Damn you, Drizzt,' the monstrous pirate growled.

'Strike your colors,' Drizzt ordered.

'You think you have won?'

In response, Drizzt looked down to the slab of meat.

'It will heal, foolish dark elf!' the pirate insisted.

Drizzt knew that the scrag spoke truly. Scrags were close relatives of trolls, horrid creatures renowned for their regenerative powers. A dead dismembered troll could come back together.

Unless …

Drizzt called upon his innate abilities once more, that small part of magic inherent in the dark elf race. A moment later, purplish flames climbed the towering scrag's form, licking at green scales. This was only faerie fire, harmless light the dark elves could use to outline their opponents. It had no power to burn, nor could it prevent the regenerative process of a troll.

Drizzt knew that; he was betting that the monster did not.

The scrag's gruesome features twisted in an expression of sheer horror. He flailed his good arm, beat it against his leg and hip. The stubborn purple flames would not relent.

'Strike your colors and I will release you of the flames that your wounds might heal,' Drizzt offered.

The scrag snapped a look of pure hatred at the drow. He took a step forward, but up came Drizzt's scimitars. He decided he didn't want to feel their bite again, especially if the flames prevented him from healing!

'We will meet again!' the scrag promised. The creature wheeled about to see dozens of faces- Deudermont's crew and captured pirates-staring at him in disbelief. He howled and charged across the deck, scattering those in the way of the furious rush. The pirate leaped from the rail, back to the sea, back to his true home where he might heal.

So quick was Drizzt that he got across the deck and managed yet another hit on him before the scrag got off the rail. The drow had to stop there, unable to pursue and fully aware that the sea troll would indeed regenerate to complete health.

He hadn't even gotten a curse of frustration out of his mouth when he saw a fast movement to his side, a rush of black. Guenhwyvar leaped past Drizzt, flew out from the rail, and splashed into the sea right behind the troll.

The panther disappeared under the azure blanket and the rough and choppy waves quickly covered any indication that the scrag and the cat had gone in.

Several of the Sea Sprite's boarding party peered intently over the rail, worried for the panther who had become such a friend to them.

'Guenhwyvar is in no danger,' Drizzt reminded them, producing the figurine and holding it high so that all could see. The worst the scrag could do was send the panther back to the Astral Plane, where the cat would heal any wounds and be ready to return to Drizzt's next call. Still, the drow's expression was not bright as he considered the spot where Guenhwyvar had gone in, as he considered that the panther might be in pain.

The deck of the captured caravel went perfectly quiet, save the creaking of the old vessel's timbers.

An explosion to the south turned all heads, all eyes strained to perceive tiny sails, still far away. One of the pirate ships had turned away; the other caravel was burning while the Sea Sprite literally sailed circles about her. Flash after flash of silver streaking arrows came from the Sea Sprite's crow's nest, battering the hull and masts of the damaged, seemingly helpless ship.

Even from this great distance, the people on the captured caravel could see the pirate flag go down the mainmast, colors struck in surrender.

That brought a cheer from the Sea Sprite's boarding party, a rousing yell that was halted abruptly by churning waters just off the side of the caravel. They saw green scales and black fur tumbling in the turmoil. A scrag arm floated out from the mass, and Drizzt was able to sort the confusing scene out enough to realize that Guenhwyvar had gotten onto the scrag's back. Her forelegs were tight about the monster's shoulders, her back legs were kicking, raking wildly, and the panther's powerful jaws were clamped tight onto the back of the scrag's neck.

Dark blood stained the sea, mixing with torn pieces of the pirate's flesh and bone. Soon enough, Guenhwyvar sat still, teeth and claws securely in place on the back of the dead, floating scrag.

'Better fish the thing out,' one of the Sea Sprite's boarding party remarked, 'or we'll be growing a whole crew o' stinking trolls!'

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