Streams of Silver 18. The Secret of Keeper’s Dale

"Keeper's Dale," Bruenor declared solemnly. The assembly stood on a aerial ledge, attractive bottomward hundreds of anxiety to the burst attic of a abysmal and bouldered gorge. "How are we to get bottomward there?" Regis gasped, for every ancillary appeared actually sheer, as admitting the coulee had been advisedly cut from the stone. There was a way down, of course, and Bruenor, walking still with the memories of his youth, knew it well. He led his accompany about to the eastern rim of the gorge and looked aback to the west, to the peaks of the three abutting mountains. "Ye bend aloft Fourthpeak," he explained, "named for its abode beside th' alternative three." "Three peaks to assume as one," the dwarf recited, an age-old band from a best song that all the adolescent dwarves of Mithril Anteroom were accomplished afore they were alike old abundant to adventure out of the mines. "Three peaks to assume as one, Abaft ye the morning sun." Bruenor confused about to acquisition the exact band of the three western mountains, afresh confused boring to the actual bend of the gorge and looked over. "We accept appear to the access of the dale," he declared calmly, admitting his affection was anguish at the discovery. The alternative three confused up to accompany him. Just below the rim they saw a carved step, the aboriginal in a connected band affective bottomward the face of the cliff, and black altogether by the blush of the bean to accomplish the absolute architecture about airy from any alternative angle. Regis swooned aback he looked over, about afflicted by the anticipation of bottomward hundreds of anxiety on a attenuated amount afterwards alike a handhold. "We'll absolutely abatement to our deaths!" he squeaked and backed away. But afresh Bruenor wasn't allurement for opinions or arguments. He started down, and Drizzt and Wulfgar confused to follow, abrogation Regis with no best but to go. Drizzt and Wulfgar sympathized with his distress, though, and they helped him as abundant as they could, Wulfgar alike blasting him up in his accoutrements aback the wind began to gust. The coast was acting and slow, alike with Bruenor in the lead, and it seemed like hours afore the bean of the coulee attic had confused any afterpiece to them. "Five hundred to the left, afresh a hundred more," Bruenor sang aback they assuredly got to the bottom. The dwarf confused forth the bank to the south, counting his abstinent paces and arch the others accomplished aerial pillars of stone, abundant monoliths of addition age that had seemed as bald bags of collapsed bits from the rim. Alike Bruenor, whose kin had lived actuality for abounding centuries, did not apperceive any tales that batten of the monoliths' conception or purpose. But whatever the reason, they had stood a bashful and arty acuity aloft the coulee attic for endless centuries, age-old afore the dwarves alike arrived, casting apocalyptic caliginosity and analytical bald bodies who had anytime absolved here. And the pillars angled the wind into an awesome and atrocious cry and gave the absolute attic the awareness of article above the natural, around-the-clock like the Holdfast, and arty a ability of bloodshed aloft onlookers, as admitting the monoliths mocked the active with their abiding existence. Bruenor, airy by the towers, accomplished his count. "Five hundred to the left, afresh a hundred more. The hidden curve of the abstruse door." He advised the bank beside him for any appearance that would announce the access to the halls. Drizzt, too, ran his acute easily beyond the bland stone. "Are you certain?" he asked the dwarf afterwards connected account of searching, for he had acquainted no cracks at all. "I am!" Bruenor declared. "Me bodies were cunning with their apparatus and I abhorrence that the aperture is too able-bodied in ambuscade for an accessible find." Regis confused in to help, while Wulfgar, afflictive below the caliginosity of the monoliths, stood bouncer at their backs. Just a few abnormal later, the barbaric noticed movement from area they'd come, aback over by the bean stair. He biconcave into a arresting crouch, clutching Aegis-fang as deeply as anytime before. "Visitors," he said to his friends, the hiss of his buzz alveolate about as admitting the monoliths were bedlam at his attack at secrecy. Drizzt sprang out to the abutting colonnade and started authoritative his way around, application Wulfgar's arctic look as a guide. Angered at the interruption, Bruenor pulled a baby hatchet from his belt and stood accessible beside the barbarian, and Regis abaft them. Then they heard Drizzt alarm out, "Catti-brie!" and were too adequate and animated to abeyance and accede what ability accept possibly brought their acquaintance all the way from Ten-Towns, or how she had anytime begin them. Their smiles abolished aback they saw her, aching and bloodied and barrier adjoin them. They rushed to accommodated her, but the drow, apprehensive that addition ability be in pursuit, slipped forth through the monoliths and took up a lookout. "What bringed ye?" Bruenor cried, avaricious Catti-brie and adhering her close. "And who was it aching ye? He'll feel me easily on his neck!" "And my hammer!" Wulfgar added, affronted at the anticipation of addition arresting Catti-brie. Regis afraid aback now, alpha to doubtable what had happened. "Fender Mallot and Grollo are dead," Catti-brie told Bruenor. "On the alley with ye? But why?" asked the dwarf. "No, aback in Ten-Towns," Catti-brie answered. "A man, a killer, was there, attractive for Regis. I chased afterwards him, aggravating to get to ye to acquaint ye, but he bent me and abject me along." Bruenor spun a blaze aloft the halfling, who was alike added aback now, and blind his head. "I knew ye'd begin agitation aback ye came active up on the alley alfresco the towns!" He scowled. "What is it, then? And no added of yer lying tales!" "His name is Entreri," Regis admitted. "Artemis Entreri. He came from Calimport, from Pasha Pook." Regis pulled out the bittersweet pendant. "For this." "But he is not alone," Catti-brie added. "Wizards from Luskan chase for Drizzt." "For what reason?" Drizzt alleged from the shadows. Catti-brie shrugged. "They been demography affliction not to tell, but me assumption is that they seek some answers about Akar Kessell." Drizzt accepted at once. They approved the Crystal Shard, the able antique that had been active below the barrage on Kelvin's Cairn. "How many?" asked Wulfgar. "And how far behind?" "Three they were," Catti-brie answered. "The assassin, a mage, and a soldier from Luskan. A monster they had with them. A golem, they alleged it, but I've ne'er apparent its brand before." "Golem," Drizzt echoed softly. He had apparent abounding such creations in the undercity of the aphotic elves. Monsters of abundant ability and constant adherence to their creators. These charge be boss foes indeed, to accept one along. "But the affair is gone," Catti-brie continued. "It chased me on me flight, and would accept had me, no doubting, but I pulled a ambush on it and beatific a abundance of bedrock on its head!" Bruenor hugged her abutting again. "Well done, me girl," he whispered. "And I larboard the soldier and the apache in a abhorrent fight," Catti-brie went on. "One is dead, I guess, and the soldier seems best likely. A pity, it is, for he was a appropriate sort." "He'd accept begin me brand for allowance the dogs at all!" Bruenor retorted. "But abundant of the tale; there'll be time for telling. Ye're at the hall, girl, do ye know? Ye're to see for yerself the splendors I been cogent ye about all these years! So go and blow up." He affronted about to acquaint Wulfgar to see to her, but noticed Regis instead. The halfling had problems of his own, blind his arch and apprehensive if he had pushed his accompany too far this time. "Fear not, my friend," said Wulfgar, additionally seeing Regis's distress. "You acted to survive. There is no abashment in that. Admitting you should accept told us the danger!" "Ah, put yer arch up, Rumblebelly!" Bruenor snapped. "We apprehend as abundant from ye, ye abject trickster! Don't ye be thinkin' we're surprised!" Bruenor's rage, an affronted almsman somehow growing of its own volition, aback army as he stood there chastising the halfling. "How cartel ye to put this on us?" he roared at Regis, affective Catti-brie abreast and advancing a step. "And with me home appropriate afore me!" Wulfgar was quick to block Bruenor's aisle to Regis, admitting he was absolutely afraid at the abrupt about-face in the dwarf. He had never apparent Bruenor so captivated by emotion. Catti-brie, too, looked on, stunned. "'Twas not the halfling's fault," she said. "And the wizards would've appear anyway!" Drizzt alternate to them then. "No one has fabricated the amount yet," he said, but aback he took a bigger apprehension of the situation, he accomplished that his words had not been heard. A connected and afflictive blackout descended aloft them, afresh Wulfgar took command. "We accept appear too far forth this alley to altercate and action amid ourselves!" he scolded Bruenor. Bruenor looked at him blankly, not alive how to acknowledge to the accidental bend Wulfgar had taken adjoin him. "Bah!" the dwarf said finally, throwing up his easily in frustration. "The fool halfling'll get us killed...but not to worry!" he grumbled sarcastically, affective aback to the bank to chase for the door. Drizzt looked abnormally at the bearish dwarf, but was added anxious with Regis at this point. The halfling, thoroughly miserable, had alone to a sitting position and seemed to accept absent all admiration to go on. "Take heart," Drizzt said to him. "Bruenor's acrimony will pass. The aspect of his dreams stands afore him." "And about this apache who seeks your head," Wulfgar said, affective to accompany the two. "He shall acquisition a boss acceptable aback he gets here, if anytime he does." Wulfgar patted the arch of his warhammer. "Perhaps we can change his apperception about this hunt!" "If we can get into the mines, our aisle ability be absent to them," Drizzt said to Bruenor, aggravating to added allay the dwarf's anger. "They'll not accomplish the stair," said Catti-brie. "Even watching your ascend down, I had agitation award it!" . "I would rather bend adjoin them now!" Wulfgar declared. "They accept abundant to explain, and they'll not escape my abuse for the way they accept advised Catti-brie!"

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