Drizzt Do'Urden sat in his private chambers, considering all that had transpired. Memories of Wulfgar dominated his thoughts, but they were not dark images, were not flashes of the alcove wherein Wulfgar had been buried. Drizzt remembered the many adventures, always exciting, often reckless, he had shared beside the towering man. Trusting in his faith, Drizzt placed Wulfgar in that same corner of his heart where he had tucked the memories of Zaknafein, his father. He could not deny his sadness at Wulfgar's loss, didn't want to deny it, but the many good memories of the straight-backed young barbarian could counter that sadness, bring a bittersweet smile to Drizzt Do'Urden's calm face. He knew that Catti-brie, too, would come to a similar, accepting mind-set. She was young and strong and filled with a lust for adventure, however dangerous, as great as that of Drizzt and of Wulfgar. Catti-brie would learn to smile along with the tears.

Drizzt's only fear was for Bruenor. The dwarf king was not so young, not so ready to look ahead to what was yet to come in his remaining years. But Bruenor had suffered many tragedies in his long and hardy life, and, generally speaking, it was the way of the stoic dwarves to accept death as a natural passing. Drizzt had to trust that Bruenor was strong enough to continue.

It wasn't until Drizzt focused on Regis that he considered the many other things that had occurred. Entreri, the evil man who had done grievous wrongs to so many, was gone. How many in the four corners of Faerun would rejoice at that news?

And House Do'Urden, Drizzt's tie to the dark world of his kin, was no more. Had Drizzt finally slipped beyond the grasp of Menzoberranzan? Could he, and Bruenor and Catti-brie and all the others of Mithril Hall, rest easier now that the drow threat had been eliminated?

Drizzt wished he could be sure. By all accounts of the battle in which Wulfgar was killed, a yochlol, a handmaiden of Lloth, had appeared. If the raid to capture him had been inspired simply by Vierna's desperation, then what had brought so powerful a minion into their midst?

The thought did not sit well with Drizzt, and as he sat there in his room, he had to wonder if the drow threat was ended, if he might, at long last, finally know his peace with that city he had left behind.


* * * * *

"The emissaries from Settlestone are here," Catti-brie said to Bruenor, entering the dwarf's private chambers without even the courtesy of a knock.

"I'm not for caring," the dwarf king answered her gruffly.

Catti-brie moved over to him, grabbed him by his broad shoulder, and forced him to turn and look her in the eye. What passed between them was silent, a shared moment of grief and understanding that if they did not go on with their lives, did not forge ahead, then Wulfgar's death was all the more pointless.

What loss is death if life is not to be lived?

Bruenor grabbed his daughter around her slender waist and pulled her close in as crushing a hug as the dwarf had ever given. Catti-brie squeezed him back, tears rolling from her deep blue eyes. So, too, did a smile widen on the vital young woman's face, and, though Bruenor's shoulders bobbed with unabashed sobs, she felt sure he soon would come to peace as well.

For all he had gone through, Bruenor remained the Eighth King of Mithril Hall, and, for all the adventures, joys, and sorrows Catti-brie had known, she had just passed her twentieth year.

There still was much to be done.


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