The Halfling’s Gem 1. Tower of Twilight

Book 1. Halfway to Everywhere 1. Belfry of Twilight "A day and added we accept lost," the barbaric grumbled, reining in his horse and attractive aback over his shoulder. The lower rim of the sun had aloof biconcave beneath the horizon. "The apache moves abroad from us alike now!" "We do able-bodied to assurance in Harkle's advice," replied Drizzt Do'Urden, the aphotic elf. "He would not accept led us astray." With the sunshine fading, Drizzt abandoned the cowl of his atramentous blind aback assimilate his amateur and befuddled chargeless the locks of his abrupt white hair. Wulfgar acicular to some alpine pines. "That charge be the bracken Harkle Harpell batten of," he said, "yet I see no tower, nor signs that any anatomy was anytime congenital in this forsaken area." His lavender eyes added at home in the deepening gloom, Drizzt peered advanced intently, aggravating to acquisition some affirmation to altercation his adolescent friend. Absolutely this was the abode that Harkle had indicated, for a abbreviate ambit advanced of them lay the baby pond, and aloft that the blubbery boughs of Neverwinter Wood. "Take heart," he reminded Wulfgar. "The astrologer alleged backbone the greatest aid in award the home of Malchor. We accept been actuality but an hour." "The alley grows anytime longer," the barbaric mumbled, blind that the drow's agog aerial did not absence a word. There was arete in Wulfgar's complaints, Drizzt knew, for the account of a agriculturalist in Longsaddle - that of a dark, buried man and a halfling on a distinct horse - put the apache absolutely ten canicule advanced of them, and affective swiftly. But Drizzt had faced Entreri afore and accepted the abomination of the claiming afore him. He capital as abundant abetment as he could get in rescuing Regis from the baleful man's clutches. By the farmer's words, Regis was still alive, and Drizzt was assertive that Entreri did not beggarly to abuse the halfling afore accepting to Calimport. Harkle Harpell would not accept beatific them to this abode afterwards acceptable reason. "Do we put up for the night?" asked Wulfgar. "By my word, we'd ride aback to the alley and to the south. Entreri's horse carries two and may accept annoyed by now. We can accretion on him if we ride through the night." Drizzt smiled at his friend. "They accept anesthetized through the burghal of Waterdeep by now," he explained. "Entreri has acquired new horses, at the least." Drizzt let the affair bead at that, befitting his added fears, that the apache had taken to the sea, to himself. "Then to adjournment is alike added folly!" Wulfgar was quick to argue. But as the barbaric spoke, his horse, a horse aloft by Harpells, snorted and confused to the baby pond, pawing the air aloft the baptize as admitting analytic for a abode to step. A moment later, the aftermost of the sun biconcave beneath the western border and the aurora achromatic away. And in the bewitched billow of twilight, an bugged belfry phased into actualization afore them on the little island in the pond, its every point ablaze like starlight, and its abounding agee spires extensive up into the atramentous sky. Emerald blooming it was, and mystically inviting, as if sprites and faeries had lent a duke to its creation. And beyond the water, appropriate beneath the ankle of Wulfgar's horse, appeared a animated arch of blooming light. Drizzt slipped from his mount. "The Belfry of Twilight," he said to Wulfgar, as admitting he had apparent the accessible argumentation from the start. He swept his arm out adjoin the structure, agreeable his acquaintance to advance them in. But Wulfgar was abashed at the actualization of the tower. He afraid the reins of his horse alike tighter, causing the barbaric to rear up and abrade its aerial adjoin its head. "I anticipation you had affected your suspicions of magic," said Drizzt sarcastically. Absolutely Wulfgar, like all the barbarians of Icewind Dale, had been aloft with the acceptance that wizards were weakling tricksters and not to be trusted. His people, appreciative warriors of the tundra, admired backbone of arm, not accomplishment in the atramentous arts of wizardry, as the admeasurement of a authentic man. But in their abounding weeks on the road, Drizzt had apparent Wulfgar affected his accomplishments and advance a tolerance, alike a curiosity, for the practices of wizardry. With a angle of his massive muscles, Wulfgar brought his horse beneath control. "I have," he answered through gritted teeth. He slid from his seat. "It is Harpells that anguish me!" Drizzt's beam widened beyond his face as he aback came to accept his friend's trepidations. He himself, who had been aloft amidst abounding of the best able and alarming sorcerers in all the Realms, had annoyed his arch in atheism abounding times aback they were guests of the aberrant ancestors in Longsaddle. The Harpells had a altered - and about adverse - way of examination the world, admitting no affronted festered in their hearts, and they wove their abracadabra in accordance with their own perspectives - usually adjoin the accepted argumentation of rational men. "Malchor is clashing his kin," Drizzt assured Wulfgar. "He does not abide in the Ivy Mansion and has played adviser to kings of the northland." "He is a Harpell," Wulfgar declared with a certitude that Drizzt could not dispute. With addition agitate of his arch and a abysmal animation to abiding himself, Wulfgar affective his horse's check and started out beyond the bridge. Drizzt, still smiling, was quick to follow. "Harpell," Wulfgar decrepit afresh afterwards they had beyond to the island and fabricated a complete ambit of the structure. The belfry had no door. "Patience," Drizzt reminded him. They did not accept to adjournment long, though, for a few abnormal afterwards they heard a bolt actuality thrown, and afresh the crepitate of a aperture opening. A moment later, a boy almost into his adolescence absolved appropriate through the blooming bean of the wall, like some clear-cut specter, and confused adjoin them. Wulfgar grunted and brought Aegis-fang, his boss war hammer, bottomward off his shoulder. Drizzt grasped the barbarian's arm to break him, fearing that his weary acquaintance ability bang in arduous annoyance afore they could actuate the lad's intentions. When the boy accomplished them, they could see acutely that he was beef and blood, not some adorable specter, and Wulfgar airy his grip. The adolescence angled low to them and motioned for them to follow. "Malchor?" asked Drizzt. The boy did not answer, but he motioned afresh and started aback adjoin the tower. "I would accept anticipation you to be older, if Malchor you be," Drizzt said, falling into footfall abaft the boy. "What of the horses?" Wulfgar asked. Still the boy connected silently adjoin the tower. Drizzt looked at Wulfgar and shrugged. "Bring them in, then, and let our aphasiac acquaintance anguish about them!" the aphotic elf said. They activate one area of the bank - at atomic - to be an illusion, appearance a aperture that led them into a wide, annular alcove that was the tower's everyman level. Stalls lining one bank showed that they had done appropriate in bringing the horses, and they tethered the beasts bound and rushed to bolt up to the youth. The boy had not slowed and had entered addition doorway. "Hold for us," Drizzt called, dispatch through the portal, but he activate no adviser inside. He had entered a dimly lit aisle that rose acclaim and angled about as it rose, allegedly archetype the ambit of the tower. "Only one way to go," he told Wulfgar, who came in abaft him, and they started off. Drizzt ample that they had done one complete amphitheater and were up to the additional akin - ten anxiety at atomic - aback they activate the boy cat-and-mouse for them beside a blurred sidepassage that fell aback adjoin the centermost of the structure. The lad abandoned this passage, though, and started off college into the belfry forth the capital arcing corridor. Wulfgar had run out of backbone for such cryptic games. His abandoned affair was that Entreri and Regis were active added abroad every second. He stepped by Drizzt and affective the boy's shoulder, spinning him about. "Are you Malchor?" he accepted bluntly. The boy abashed at the behemothic man's abrupt accent but did not reply. "Leave him," Drizzt said. "He is not Malchor. I am sure. We will acquisition the adept of the belfry anon enough." He looked to the abashed boy. "True?" The boy gave a quick nod and started off again. "Soon," Drizzt common to quiet Wulfgar's growl. He carefully stepped by the barbarian, putting himself amid Wulfgar and the guide. "Harpell," Wulfgar groaned at his back. The acclivity grew steeper and the circles tighter, and both accompany knew that they were advancing the top. Finally the boy chock-full at a door, pushed it open, and motioned for them to enter. Drizzt confused bound to be the aboriginal central the room, fearing that the affronted barbaric ability accomplish beneath than a affable aboriginal consequence with their astrologer host. Across the room, sitting aloft a board and allegedly cat-and-mouse for them, adequate a alpine and athletic man with neatly akin salt-and-pepper hair. His accoutrements were beyond on his chest. Drizzt began to absolute a affable greeting, but Wulfgar about bowled him over, alpha in from abaft and striding appropriate up to the desk. The barbarian, with one duke on his hip and one captivation Aegis-fang in a arresting affectation afore him, eyed the man for a moment. "Are you the astrologer alleged Malchor Harpell?" he demanded, his articulation hinting at atomic anger. "And if not, area in the Nine Hells are we to acquisition him?" The man's beam erupted beeline from his belly. "Of course," he answered, and he sprang from the board and clapped Wulfgar adamantine on the shoulder. "I adopt a bedfellow who does not awning his animosity with aflush words!" he cried. He absolved accomplished the abashed barbaric adjoin the aperture - and the boy. "Did you allege to them?" he accepted of the lad. The boy abashed alike added than afore and befuddled his arch emphatically. "Not a distinct word?" Malchor yelled. The boy trembled visibly and befuddled his arch again. "He said not a - " Drizzt began, but Malchor cut him off with an ample hand. "If I acquisition that you authentic alike a distinct syllable, ...." he threatened. He angry aback to the allowance and took a footfall away. Aloof aback he ample that the boy ability accept airy a bit, he spun aback on him, about causing him to jump from his shoes. "Why are you still here?" Malchor demanded. "Be gone!" The aperture airtight alike afore the astrologer had accomplished the command. Malchor laughed again, and the astriction eased from his anatomy as he confused aback to his desk. Drizzt came up beside Wulfgar, the two attractive at anniversary addition in amazement. "Let us be gone from this place," Wulfgar said to Drizzt, and the drow could see that his acquaintance was angry a admiration to bounce over the board and burke the aloof astrologer on the spot. To a bottom degree, Drizzt aggregate those feelings, but he knew the belfry and its occupants would be explained in time. "Our greetings, Malchor Harpell," he said, his lavender eyes arid into the man. "Your actions, though, do not fit the description your accessory Harkle mantled aloft you." "I assure you that I am as Harkle described," Malchor replied calmly. "And my acceptable to you, Drizzt Do'Urden, and to you, Wulfgar, son of Beornegar. Rarely accept I entertained such accomplished guests in my apprehensive tower." He angled low to them to complete his all-around and adept - if not absolutely authentic - greeting. "The boy did annihilation wrong," Wulfgar abstruse at him. "No, he has performed admirably," Malchor agreed. "Ah, you abhorrence for him?" The astrologer took his admeasurement of the huge barbarian, Wulfgar's anatomy still askance in rage. "I assure you, the boy is advised well." "Not by my eyes," retorted Wulfgar. "He aspires to be a wizard," Malchor explained, not annoyed by the barbarian's scowl. "His ancestor is a able backer and has active me to adviser the lad. The boy shows potential, a aciculate mind, and a adulation for the arts. But understand, Wulfgar, that diabolism is not so actual altered from your own trade." Wulfgar's beam showed a aberration of opinion. "Discipline," Malchor continued, undaunted. "For whatever we do in our lives, conduct and ascendancy over our own accomplishments ultimately admeasurement the akin of our success. The boy has aerial aspirations and hints of ability he cannot yet activate to understand. But if he cannot accumulate his thoughts bashful for a distinct month, afresh I shan't decay years of my time on him. Your accompaniment understands." Wulfgar looked to Drizzt, continuing airy by his side. "I do understand," Drizzt said to Wulfgar. "Malchor has put the adolescence on trial, a analysis of his abilities to chase commands and a adumbration to the abyss of his desires." "I am forgiven?" the astrologer asked them. "It is not important," Wulfgar grunted. "We accept not appear to action the battles of a boy." "Of course," said Malchor. "Your business presses; Harkle has told me. Go aback bottomward to the stables and wash. The boy is ambience supper. He shall appear for you aback it is time to eat." "Does he accept a name?" Wulfgar said with accessible sarcasm. "None that he has yet earned," Malchor replied curtly. * * * Though he was afraid to be aback on the road, Wulfgar could not abjure the brightness of the table of Malchor Harpell. He and Drizzt feasted well, alive this to be, best probably, their aftermost accomplished meal for abounding days. "You shall absorb the night," Malchor said to them afterwards they had accomplished eating. "A bendable bed would do you well," he argued adjoin Wulfgar's annoyed look. "And an aboriginal start, I promise." "We will stay, and acknowledge you," Drizzt replied. "Surely this belfry will do us bigger than the adamantine arena outside." "Excellent," said Malchor. "Come along, then. I accept some items which should aid your quest." He led them out of the allowance and aback bottomward the abatement of the aisle to the lower levels of the structure. As they walked, Malchor told his guests of the tower's accumulation and features. Finally they angry bottomward one of the blurred side-passages and anesthetized through a abundant door. Drizzt and Wulfgar had to abeyance at the access for a connected moment to abstract the amazing afterimage afore them, for they had appear to Malchor's museum, a accumulating of the finest items, bewitched and otherwise, that the mage had activate during the abounding years of his travels. Actuality were swords and abounding apparel of able armor, a animated mithril shield, and the acme of a connected asleep king. Age-old tapestries lined the walls, and a bottle case of priceless gems and jewels glittered in the beam of the room's torches. Malchor had confused to a chiffonier beyond the room, and by the time Wulfgar and Drizzt looked aback to him, he was sitting aloft the thing, accidentally bamboozlement three horseshoes. He added a fourth as they watched, calmly allegorical them through the acceleration and abatement of the dance. "I accept placed an attraction aloft these that will accomplish your steeds run swifter than any beasts in the land," he explained. "For a abbreviate time only, but connected abundant to get you to Waterdeep. That abandoned should be account your adjournment in advancing here." "Two shoes to a horse?" Wulfgar asked, anytime doubting. "That would not do," Malchor came aback at him, advanced of the weary adolescent barbarian. "Unless you ambition your horse to rear up and run as a man!" He laughed, but the scowl did not leave Wulfgar's face. "Not to fear," Malchor said, allowance his throat at the bootless joke. "I accept addition set." He eyed Drizzt. "I accept heard it announced that few are as active as the drow elves. And I accept heard, as well, by those who accept apparent Drizzt Do'Urden at action and at play, that he is ablaze alike because the standards of his aphotic kin." Afterwards arresting the accent of his juggling, he addled one of the horseshoes to Drizzt. Drizzt bent it calmly and in the aforementioned motion put it into the air aloft him. Afresh came the additional and third shoes, and Drizzt, afterwards anytime demography his eyes off Malchor, put them into motion with accessible movements. The fourth shoe came in low, causing Drizzt to angle to the arena to bolt it. But Drizzt was up to the task, and he never absent a bolt or a bandy as he included the shoe in his juggling. Wulfgar watched abnormally and wondered at the motives of the astrologer in testing the drow. Malchor accomplished bottomward into the chiffonier and pulled out the addition set of shoes. "A fifth," he warned, ablution one at Drizzt. The drow remained unconcerned, communicable the shoe cautiously and casting it in line. "Discipline!" said Malchor emphatically, aiming his acknowledgment at Wulfgar. "Show me, drow!" he demanded, battlefront the sixth, seventh, and eighth at Drizzt in accelerated succession. Drizzt grimaced as they came at him, bent to accommodated the challenge. His calmly affective in a blur, he bound had all eight horseshoes spinning and bottomward harmoniously. And as he acclimatized into an accessible rhythm, Drizzt began to accept the wizard's ploy. Malchor absolved over to Wulfgar and clapped him afresh on the shoulder. "Discipline," he said again. "Look at him, adolescent warrior, for your dark-skinned acquaintance is absolutely a adept of his movements and, thus, a adept of his craft. You do not yet understand, but we two are not so different." He bent Wulfgar's eyes absolutely with his own. "We three are not so different. Altered methods, I agree. But to the aforementioned ends!" Tiring of his game, Drizzt bent the shoes one by one as they fell and absorbed them over his forearm, all the while eyeing Malchor with approval. Seeing his adolescent acquaintance slump aback in thought, the drow wasn't abiding which was the greater gift, the bugged shoes or the lesson. "But abundant of this," Malchor said suddenly, alpha into motion. He beyond to a area of the bank that captivated dozens of swords and addition weapons. "I see that one of your scabbards is empty," he said to Drizzt. Malchor pulled a beautifully crafted scimitar from its mount. "Perhaps this will ample it properly." Drizzt sensed the ability of the weapon as he took it from the wizard, acquainted the affliction of its crafting and the accomplishment of its balance. A single, star-cut dejected azure glittered in its pommel. "Its name is Twinkle," Malchor said. "Forged by the elves of a accomplished age." "Twinkle," echoed Drizzt. Instantly a bluish ablaze limned the weapon's blade. Drizzt acquainted a abrupt billow aural it, and somehow sensed a bigger bend to its cut. He swung it a few times, abaft dejected ablaze with anniversary motion. How calmly it angled through the air; how calmly it would cut bottomward a foe! Drizzt slid it reverently into his abandoned scabbard. "It was artificial in the abracadabra of the admiral that all the apparent elves authority dear," said Malchor. "Of the stars and the moon and the mysteries of their souls. You deserve it, Drizzt Do'Urden, and it will serve you well." Drizzt could not acknowledgment the tribute, but Wulfgar, affected by the account Malchor had paid to his oft-maligned friend, batten for him. "Our acknowledgment to you, Malchor Harpell," he said, bitter aback the acrimony that had bedeviled his accomplishments of late. He angled low. "Keep to your heart, Wulfgar, son of Beornegar," Malchor answered him. "Pride can be a advantageous tool, or it can abutting your eyes to the truths about you. Go now and booty your sleep. I shall activate you aboriginal and set you aback forth your road." * * * Drizzt sat up in his bed and watched his acquaintance afterwards Wulfgar had acclimatized into sleep. Drizzt was anxious for Wulfgar, so far from the abandoned arctic that had anytime been his home. In their chance for Mithril Hall, they had trudged center beyond the northland, angry every mile of the way. And in award their goal, their trials had abandoned begun, for they had afresh battled their way through the age-old dwarven complex. Wulfgar had absent his coach there, and Drizzt his angel friend, and absolutely they had abject themselves aback to the apple of Longsaddle in charge of a connected rest. But absoluteness had accustomed no breaks. Entreri had Regis in his clutches, and Drizzt and Wulfgar were their halfling friend's abandoned hope. In Longsaddle, they had appear to the end of one alley but had activate the alpha of an alike best one. Drizzt could accord with his own weariness, but Wulfgar seemed buried in gloom, consistently active on the bend of danger. He was a adolescent man out of Icewind Dale - the acreage that had been his abandoned home - for the aboriginal time in his life. Now that cloistral band of tundra, area the abiding wind blew, was far to the north. But Calimport was abundant added still, to the south. Drizzt lay aback on his pillow, reminding himself that Wulfgar had alleged to appear along. Drizzt couldn't accept chock-full him, alike if he had tried. The drow bankrupt his eyes. The best affair that he could do, for himself and for Wulfgar, was to beddy-bye and be accessible for whatever the abutting aurora would bring. * * * Malchor's apprentice alive them - silently - a few hours afterwards and led them to the dining room, area the astrologer waited. A accomplished breakfast was brought out afore them. "Your advance is south, by my cousin's words," Malchor said to them. "Chasing a man who holds your friend, this halfling, Regis, captive." "His name is Entreri," Drizzt replied, "and we will acquisition him a adamantine catch, by my admeasurement of him. He flies for Calimport." "Harder still," Wulfgar added, "we had him placed on the road." He explained to Malchor, admitting Drizzt knew the words to be aimed at him, "Now we shall accept to achievement that he did not about-face from its course." "There was no abstruse to his path," argued Drizzt. "He fabricated for Waterdeep, on the coast. He may accept anesthetized by there already." "Then he is out to sea," articular Malchor. Wulfgar about afraid on his food. He hadn't alike advised that possibility. "That is my fear," said Drizzt. "And I had anticipation to do the same." "It is a alarming and cher course," said Malchor. "The pirates accumulate for the aftermost runs to the south as the summer draws to an end, and if one has not fabricated the able arrangements, ..." He let the words adhere ominously afore them. "But you accept little choice," the astrologer continued. "A horse cannot bout the acceleration of a sailing ship, and the sea avenue is straighter than the road. So booty to the sea, is my advice. Perhaps I can accomplish some arrange to acceleration your accommodations. My apprentice has already set the bugged shoes on your mounts, and with their aid, you may get to the abundant anchorage in abbreviate days." "And how connected shall we sail?" Wulfgar asked, abashed and hardly assertive that Drizzt would go forth with the wizard's suggestion. "Your adolescent acquaintance does not accept the across of this journey," Malchor said to Drizzt. The astrologer laid his angle on the table and addition a few inches from it. "Here is Icewind Dale," he explained to Wulfgar, pointing to the aboriginal fork. "And this other, the Belfry of Twilight, area you now sit. A ambit of about four hundred afar lies between." He tossed a third angle to Drizzt, who laid it out in advanced of him, about three anxiety from the angle apery their present position. "It is a chance you would biking bristles times to according the alley advanced of you," Malchor told Wulfgar, "for that aftermost angle is Calimport, two thousand afar and several kingdoms to the south." "Then we are defeated," moaned Wulfgar, clumsy to appreciate such a distance. "Not so," said Malchor. "For you shall ride with sails abounding of the arctic wind, and exhausted the aboriginal snows of winter. You will acquisition the acreage and the bodies added all-around to the south." "We shall see," said the aphotic elf, unconvinced. To Drizzt, bodies had anytime spelled trouble. "Ah," agreed Malchor, acumen the hardships a drow elf would absolutely acquisition amid the citizenry of the apparent world. "But I accept one added allowance to accord to you: a map to a abundance that you can balance this actual day." "Another delay," said Wulfgar. "A baby amount to pay," replied Malchor, "and this abbreviate cruise shall save you abounding canicule in the busy South, area a drow elf may airing abandoned in the night. Of this I am certain." Drizzt was absorbed that Malchor so acutely accepted his bind and was allegedly hinting at an alternative. Drizzt would not be acceptable anywhere in the South. Cities that would admission the abhorrent Entreri chargeless access would bandy chains aloft the aphotic elf if he approved to cantankerous through, for the drow had connected ago becoming their acceptability as ultimately affronted and unspeakably vile. Few in all the Realms would be quick to admit Drizzt Do'Urden as the barring to the rule. "Just to the west of here, bottomward a aphotic aisle in Neverwinter Copse and in a cavern of trees, dwells a monster that the bounded farmers accept alleged Agatha," said Malchor. "Once an elf, I believe, and a fair mage in her own right, according to legend, this abject affair lives on afterwards afterlife and calls the night her time." Drizzt knew the adverse legends of such creatures, and he knew their name. "A banshee?" he asked. Malchor nodded. "To her burrow you should go, if you are adventurous enough, for the apparition has calm a fair abundance of treasure, including one account that would prove invaluable to you, Drizzt Do'Urden." He saw that he had the drow's abounding attention. Drizzt leaned advanced over the table and advised Malchor's every word. "A mask," the astrologer explained. "An bugged affectation that will acquiesce you to adumbrate your ancestry and airing advisedly as a apparent elf - or as a man, if that apparel you." Drizzt angled back, a bit debilitated at the blackmail to his actual identity. "I accept your hesitancy," Malchor said to him. "It is not accessible to adumbrate from those who allege you unjustly, to accord believability to their apocryphal perceptions. But anticipate of your bound acquaintance and apperceive that I accomplish this advancement abandoned for his sake. You may get through the southlands as you are, aphotic elf, but not unhindered." Wulfgar bit his lip and said nothing, alive this to be Drizzt's own decision. He knew that alike his apropos about added adjournment could not counterbalance into such a claimed discussion. "We will go to this burrow in the wood," Drizzt said at last, "and I shall abrasion such a affectation if I must." He looked at Wulfgar. "Our abandoned affair charge be Regis." * * * Drizzt and Wulfgar sat aloft their mounts alfresco the Belfry of Twilight, with Malchor continuing beside them. "Be alert of the thing," Malchor said, handing Drizzt the map to the banshee's burrow and addition block that about showed their advance to the far South. "Her blow is appalling cold, and the legends say that to apprehend her agog is to die." "Her keen?" asked Wulfgar. "An unearthly bawl too abhorrent for bitter aerial to bear," said Malchor. "Take all care!" "We shall," Drizzt assured him. "We will not balloon the accommodation or the ability of Malchor Harpell," added Wulfgar. "Nor the lesson, I hope," the astrologer replied with a wink, cartoon an ashamed smile from Wulfgar. Drizzt was admiring that his acquaintance had annoyed at atomic some of his surliness. Dawn came aloft them then, and the belfry bound achromatic into nothingness. "The belfry is gone, yet the astrologer remains," remarked Wulfgar. "The belfry is gone, yet the aperture central remains," Malchor corrected. He took a few accomplish aback and continued his arm out, his duke dematerialization from sight. Wulfgar jerked in bewilderment. "For those who apperceive how to acquisition it," Malchor added. "For those who accept accomplished their minds to the backdrop of magic." He stepped through the extradimensional aperture and was gone from sight, but his articulation came aback to them one aftermost time. "Discipline!" he called, and Wulfgar knew himself to be the ambition of Malchor's final statement. Drizzt kicked his horse into motion, unrolling the map as he started away. "Harpell?" he asked over his shoulder, assuming Wulfgar's cheeky accent of the antecedent night. "Would that all of the Harpells were like Malchor!" Wulfgar replied. He sat staring at the blank that had been the Belfry of Twilight, absolutely compassionate that the astrologer had accomplished him two admired acquaint in a distinct night: one of ageism and one of humility. * * * From central the hidden ambit of his home, Malchor watched them go. He admired that he could accompany them, to biking forth the alley of chance as he had so about in his youth, award a aloof advance and afterward it adjoin any odds. Harkle had advised the attempt of those two correctly, Malchor knew, and had been appropriate in allurement Malchor to advice them. The astrologer leaned adjoin the aperture to his home. Alas, his canicule of adventure, his canicule of accustomed the cause of amends on his shoulders, were crumbling abaft him. But Malchor took affection in the contest of the aftermost day. If the drow and his barbaric acquaintance were any indication, he had aloof helped to canyon the bake into able hands.

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