Disclaimer: I do not own the Forgotten Realms setting, nor any of R.A. Salvatore's characters.


Nalfein Do'Urden smirked inwardly as he watched his brother leave the protection of their compound, the arrogant secondboy weaving his lizard mount up and down the walls like a madman in order to avoid being tracked. Nalfein allowed himself a brief moment to indulge his feeling of superiority, then silently cast a dweomer, granting himself invisibility. He slipped out of the gate and strolled through the city, not worrying for a second about being tracked.

Nalfein knew of his brother's destination and task, but he was on a personal mission, a mission to visit an old acquaintance. Friend was too strong a word for the relationship between Nalfein Do'Urden and Veraz, formerly of No House Worth Mentioning, now of Bregan D'Aerthe, but of the twenty-thousand drow elves in the underground city of Menzoberranzan, Nalfein believed that Veraz was the least likely to want him dead.

He eventually reached the stalagmite in which they had planned to meet, and conducted his business rapidly with his companion, followed by conducting their pleasureable affairs at a more leisurely pace. However, with the appointed time fast approaching, Nalfein was forced to hurry home, having once again cast a dweomer of invisibility to hide his steps from any unwanted onlookers.

The Do'Urden private chapel was almost full when Nalfein arrived. His mother, heavily pregnant, was reclining at the head of the eight-legged stone spider that served as the altar of House Daermon N'a'Shezbaernon. His three sisters and four common priestesses filled the other places at the altar, and all were deep already into their supplications to the Spider Queen. The remaining space in the private chapel was taken up by the male hierarchy of the family: Rizzen, Matron Malice's patron, Zaknafein, the legendary Weapon Master of House Do'Urden, and now himself. Unsurprisingly, the arrogant but not necessarily talented secondboy was not yet back from his mission. A drow of less self-control than Nalfein would have rocked back and forth on his heels in frustration. Shaking himself from his reverie, Nalfein noticed that the patron, Rizzen, was doing just that. Nalfein sneered inwardly with scorn. While he knew that Rizzen was supposedly his father, he couldn't help feeling himself above Malice's current lover. Nalfein was under no illusions that Malice had had only one lover at a time, and couldn't help but think that perhaps, like Vierna, his parentage was questionable. He was not Zaknafein's son, that was certain, but neither did he believe he could be related to such a snivelling idiot as Rizzen, regardless of how handsome they both were. Malice had had many lovers.

Dinin finally arrived, and Maya took Nalfein outside, casting the meld with him, before she returned to the chapel, and he joined his troops. Finely honed magical senses allowed Nalfein to sense Zaknafein as he was transported in the body of an air elemental far above the troops, and Nalfein's wizards followed the elemental on the way to House DeVir. For the most part under dweomers of invisibility, the wizards could move much faster and more directly than their mundane counterparts under Dinin's command, and they passed within arms-reach of a number of houses built in stalagmites or mushroom groves.

It was some time before battle was finally joined, and for appearances' sake, Nalfein and his wizards surrounded the DeVir estate in darkness before striding forwards and cutting apart the defenders with powerful dweomers of lightning, ice, and fire. Nalfein's black heart sang as he watched his enemies fall, screams on their lips, dying agonizingly slow and painful deaths.

Eventually, the battle was over and Nalfein was visited by Dinin, crowing over their success. The elderboy merely raised an eyebrow at the secondboy's antics and self-acclaim, until the moment that the secondboy shouted 'Alert!'. Nalfein's eyes widened as he turned to look, only to receive a dagger in the back.

Dinin's victorious feelings swelled as his dagger penetrated his brother's back. The elation rapidly turned to horror, however, as he looked down and saw the body shimmer and then blink out of existence. In the chapel, first Vierna, then Maya, felt elation, although only Vierna's elation was rapidly followed by horror and disappointment. The rapid emotional changes inflicted on her caused her to lose her balance, already at her physical limits following the exhausting ritual. She fell into the side of her sister as Briza was bringing down the obsidian sacrificial knife on the newborn babe, the purple-eyed Drizzt. With the new impulse, the knife flew wide of the babe and shattered on the spider altar. Briza went to stab the child with one of the shards, but Matron Malice cried out for her to stay the blade. "Lloth has shown us her desire," explained Malice. "The babe lives, to join the other thirdson born this year. Baenre has Berg'inyon as the third son of the first house, Drizzt shall be the third son of the ninth house." Silence reigned in the chapel before Briza finally began to protest, prompting the weary Malice to speak over her. "Lloth has spoken," Malice repeated. "The child lives. Vierna shall be its wean-mother, until the day that the boy becomes sixteen. Then Do'Urden will have a thirdson to rival Baenre. We have done well this day, and Lloth is pleased."