Disclaimer: The recognizable characters appearing in this story are © Wizards of the Coast, Inc., all rights reserved. They are used without permission and for entertainment purposes only. No profit is being made by the author for writing this story. No infringement upon nor challenge to the rights of the copyright holders is intended; nor should any be inferred.
Chapter 1: At The Turning of The Season
"I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand."
Eight-year-old Violet perched on the chopping block and leaned forward, tucking her loose white hair behind her pointed ears. She watched as her father sharpened his gleaming scimitars. His stark white hair was tied back with a tan leather lace, but a few wisps had come loose, just like with her own ponytails. Today he wore his fawn-colored cloak instead of the usual deep green one. The ring of the metal on the whetstone was rhythmic and familiar.
Being a protector of Icewind Dale and the Ten Towns often meant that Kel'nar was hunting goblins, yeti, orcs, wolves, or some other threat. But today he was home! Violet twisted a strand of her long white hair around her index finger and smiled. She wiggled closer. The fall air was crisp and pleasant today, the breeze laden with the scent of the turning leaves. Perhaps on such a fine day as this, with the green leaves just starting to yellow, Kel'nar would realize that she was growing older too. Old enough for her own scimitars even! But so far she had none – not even practice ones. Violet's smile faded. If only he would realize that she was old enough to handle weapons! She frowned and nibbled the inside of her cheek.
Drizzt laid Twinkle on the bench beside him. He looked up and smiled. "One done."
Violet nodded, still nibbling the inside of her cheek.
"Someone's quieter than usual." He picked up Icingdeath.
Violet hopped down from the chopping block and crossed to the bench in two quick steps. "Can I do that?"
Drizzt looked up again, one eyebrow and the whetstone raised. "When you're older."
Her face fell. "But Kel'nar, I know how! I always watch you do it!"
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Watching and doing are two different things." He began sharpening with sure, even strokes.
Violet pouted. She reached out and ran a finger over the sparkling blue jewel on Twinkle's pommel. "You never let me try."
He looked up at her, continuing to sharpen. "As I said, I'll teach you when you're older."
Her frown deepened. "Can I pick up Twinkle?" Even as she asked, she wrapped her fingers around the hilt of the scimitar.
"Aww!" Reluctantly Violet let go of the grip. She crossed her arms and fixed her father with a glare. "You never let me do anything fun."
Drizzt frowned too, the hand with the whetstone pausing in mid-stroke. "I don't think you'd consider it 'fun' having your skin stitched back together." He looked at her meaningfully.
Violet rolled her eyes. "I'd be really careful. I'm not stupid."
"The blades are too heavy for you." His tone was matter-of-fact.
"You always say that."
"That's because it's true."
"If you won't let me hold one, at least let me sharpen," Violet tried.
Drizzt pursed his lips. "The scimitars are too sharp."
"Then why are you sharpening them more?"
He sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "They need to be extremely sharp to be effective. These aren't just for carving wood."
Violet considered, and suddenly her eyes lit up. "Can I sharpen my knife?"
Drizzt's shoulders relaxed. "All right. I suppose you're old enough to learn that."
"Really?" Her eyes lit up even more, and she bounced on her toes. "Yes!"
Kel'nar found his smile again. After a few final strokes he must have been satisfied with the edge on Icingdeath, because he laid it beside Twinkle and patted the bench on the other side of him. "Come sit here."
Violet complied with a giddy grin. She got her little knife out of its belt sheath and grinned even wider when Kel'nar handed her the whetstone. "Can I spit on it?"
He laughed. "Sure."
Drizzt put an arm around Violet and wrapped his hands around hers, angling the knife blade and helping her draw it across the stone. "Like this. Keep the blade at the same angle. Do that about five more times."
Violet tried it while he watched.
She grinned from ear to ear.
"Now the other side."
She glanced up at him. "Aren't you going to help me find the right angle?"
His eyes twinkled. "You try. You 'know how!'" he mimicked her prior wail of protest.
Violet couldn't help but laugh, but she elbowed him in the side. "I don't sound like that!"
He raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?" His lavender eyes still twinkled, and his smile was broad.
Violet rolled her eyes and flipped her knife blade over, positioning it on the whetstone. She peeked up at him questioningly, but Kel'nar didn't even adjust her angle, just nodded his approval.
"You're a quick learner."
Violet beamed, and suddenly she felt warmed, despite the almost-chilly air on her face.
"Five times or so. It doesn't really need much sharpening."
So intent was she on sharpening her knife just right, that Violet jerked and nearly cut herself when she heard the sudden panicked yelling.
Drizzt started. Zaknafein was yelling from inside the house, and he sounded terrified. The ranger jumped to his feet.
"Kel'nar, there's a snake!"
Drizzt paused in mid-reach for his scimitars. He blew out a long breath, then turned toward the house.
Violet looked up at him and smirked. Her wide-eyed look had vanished at the word 'snake.' "Remember last time, when it was a tiny green jewel snake? He's so scared of them." She rolled her eyes.
Drizzt pressed his lips together. "Stay here just in case." He strode toward the house.
Violet nodded, once more intent on holding her knife blade exactly right. For a moment she had been worried, but snakes didn't bother her. She finished the fourth and fifth strokes and carefully wiped the blade on her doeskin leggings as she had seen her father do. Then her gaze fell upon his gleaming scimitars, resting on the bench beside her. He hadn't taken them with him.
Kel'nar = Dad