barely got his fingers away before the doppleganger bit at them.

Guenhwyvar growled and tightened her jaws, forcing the creature's face to slam hard back into the floor.

'Go and check out Dock Street!' Drizzt called to Waillan. 'Near to where you last saw the captain!'

'But …' Waillan protested, pointing to the prone form.

'This is not Captain Deudermont,' Drizzt assured him. 'This is not even human!'

Waillan motioned to several of the Sea Sprite's crew and headed out, followed by many other sailors who called themselves friends of the apparently missing captain.

'And call for the Watch!' Drizzt yelled after them, referring to the famed Waterdeep patrols. 'Be ready with your bow,' Drizzt said to Catti-brie and she nodded and fitted another arrow to the bowstring.

Working with Guenhwyvar, the drow managed to get the doppleganger fully subdued and standing against a wall. The bartender offered some heavy rope, and they tightly bound the doppleganger's hands behind its back.

'I ask you one more time,' Drizzt began threateningly. The creature merely spat in his face and began laughing, a diabolical sound indeed.

The drow did not respond with force, just stared hard at this impostor. Truly Drizzt's heart was low then, for the way the impostor looked at him, laughed at him, only at him, sent a shiver along his spine. He wasn't afraid for his own safety, never that, but he feared that his past had caught up with him once again, that the evil powers of Menzoberranzan had found him here in Waterdeep, and that the good Captain Deudermont had fallen because of him.

If true, it was more than Drizzt Do'Urden could bear.

'I offer your life in exchange for Captain Deudermont,' the drow said.

'It's not your place to be bargaining with the. . whatever it might be,' remarked one sailor whom Drizzt did not know. The drow, scowling fiercely, turned to face the man, who went silent and backed away, having no desire to invoke the wrath of a dark elf, especially one of Drizzt's fighting reputation.

'Your life for Deudermont,' Drizzt said again to the doppleganger. Again came that diabolical laughter and the creature spat in Drizzt's face.

Left, right, left came Drizzt's open palms in rapid succession, battering the creature's face. The last punch bent the thing's nose, but it reformed, right before Drizzt's eyes, to perfectly resemble the unmarred nose of Captain Deudermont.

That image, combined with the continuing laughter, sent ripples of rage through the drow and he slugged the impostor with all his strength.

Catti-brie wrapped her arms about Drizzt and pulled him away, though the mere sight of her reminded Drizzt of who he was and shamed him for his rash, out-of-control actions.

'Where is he?' Drizzt demanded, and when the creature continued to taunt him, Guenhwyvar came up on her hind legs, resting one forepaw on each shoulder, and putting her snarling visage barely an inch from the doppleganger's face. That quieted the creature, for it knew that Guenhwyvar recognized the truth of its existence, and knew that the angry panther could utterly destroy it.

'Get a wizard,' one sailor offered suddenly.

'Robillard!' exclaimed another, the last of the Sea Sprite's crew, besides Drizzt and Catti-brie, in the tavern. 'He'll know how to get the information out of this thing.'

'Go,' Catti-brie agreed, and the man rushed out.

'A priest,' offered another man. 'A priest will better deal with …' The man paused, not knowing what to make of this impostor.

Through it all, the doppleganger remained passive, matching Guenhwyvar's stare but making no threatening moves.

The crewman had barely exited the tavern when he was passed by another of the Sea Sprite's hands, heading back in with the news that Deudermont had been found.

Out they went, Drizzt shoving the doppleganger along, Guenhwyvar on the other side of the creature and Catti-brie behind it, her bow up and ready, an arrow tip nearly touching the back of the thing's head. They came into the alley even as the sewer grate was being pried open, one sailor promptly dropping into the smelly hole to help his captain out.

Deudermont eyed the doppleganger, eyed the perfect image of himself, with open contempt. 'You may as well assume your natural form,' he said to the thing. Drawing himself up straight, he brushed off some of the muck, regaining his dignity in an instant. 'They know who I am, and know what you are.'

The doppleganger did nothing. Drizzt kept Twinkle tight against the side of its neck, Guenhwyvar remained alert on the other side, and Catti-brie went over to Deudermont, supporting the injured man.

'Might I lean on your bow?' the captain asked, and Catti-brie, with hardly a thought, quickly handed it over.

'Must be a wizard,' Deudermont said to Drizzt, though the captain suspected differently. The injured Deudermont took the offered bow and leaned on it heavily. 'If he utters a single, uncalled for syllable, slash his throat,' he instructed.

Drizzt nodded and pressed Twinkle a bit closer. Catti-brie moved to take Deudermont's arm, but he waved her ahead, then followed closely.


Far away, on a smoky layer of the Abyss, Errtu watched the unfolding scene with pure delight. The trap had been set, not as the great tanar'ri had expected when he had sent the doppleganger to Waterdeep, but set anyway, and perhaps more deliciously, more unexpectedly, more chaotically.

Errtu understood Drizzt Do'Urden well enough to know that the mention of Caerwich was all the bait that was needed. Something awful had happened to them that night and they would not let it pass, would go willingly to the mentioned island and discover the source.

The mighty fiend was having more fun than he had known in years. Errtu could have delivered the message to Drizzt more easily, but this intrigue-the doppleganger, the blind witch who waited at Caerwich-was the fun of it all.

The only thing that would be more fun for Errtu was tearing Drizzt Do'Urden apart, little piece by little piece, devouring his flesh before his very eyes.

The balor howled at that thought, figuring that it would soon enough come to pass.


Deudermont straightened as much as possible and continued to wave away any offered help. The captain put on a good face,

and stayed close behind Catti-brie as she moved slowly toward the alley exit, toward Drizzt and Guenhwyvar and the captured doppleganger.

Deudermont watched that strange creature most carefully of all. He understood the evil of the thing, had felt it up close. Deudermont hated the thing for the beating it had given him, but in assuming the captain's form, the thing had violated him in a way that he could not tolerate. Looking at the creature now, as it wore the features of the Sea Sprite's Captain, Deudermont could barely keep his anger in check. He kept very close to Catti-brie, watching, anticipating.

Near to Dock Street, Drizzt stood quietly beside the bound impostor. The drow and the many crewmen nearby were focused on the injured captain, and none of them noticed as the creature began to shift its malleable form once more, reshaping its arms so that they slipped and twisted free of the bonds.

Drizzt just got his second scimitar out after the creature suddenly shoved him aside. The doppleganger bolted for the alley's exit with Guenhwyvar close behind. Wings sprouted from the doppleganger's back and it leaped high, meaning to fly off into the night.

Guenhwyvar charged and sprang mightily in pursuit while Captain Deudermont slipped an arrow from the quiver on Catti-brie's hip. The woman, sensing the theft, spun about as the bow came up. She cried out, fell to the side and Deudermont let fly.

The doppleganger was more than twenty feet off the ground by the time Guenhwyvar began her leap, but still the great panther caught up to the flying monster, her jaws catching a firm hold on the creature's ankle. That limb shifted and reformed immediately, making the panther's grasp tentative. Then came the silver-streaking

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