The recognizable characters appearing in this story are © Wizards of the Coast, Inc. They are used without permission and for entertainment purposes only. No infringement upon nor challenge to the rights of the copyright holders is intended; neither should any be inferred.

Translation for the Drow language is found in the footnotes.

A/N: Revised October 2020.

Lost & Found

Chapter 1: Lost

Zaknafein Do'Urden was lost. Lost. The icy grip of panic was squeezing his heart, and it was hard to breathe. He was lost, the deer was gone, and it was getting dark. Earlier that afternoon, nine-year-old Zak had gone hunting. He was getting pretty good at shooting squirrels and rabbits with the bow his Kel'nar had made him. Birds were still too difficult—they always noticed him no matter how stealthy he thought he was being. Zak stood still beneath the trees, catching his breath as his thoughts wandered back to the beginning of the hunt ...

After about a half hour of walking through the woods, Zak crouched silently in the brush, an arrow fitted on his bowstring, eyes intent on a nearby rabbit. Suddenly he heard a rustling, and his eyes widened. A large buck stepped out of the trees. Kel'nar had said they needed to lay in more provisions for the winter. Wouldn't he be surprised if Zak helped by contributing a whole deer! The thought made him grin. Heart pounding in his ears, Zak stood up ever so slowly and drew back on the bowstring.

Without warning, a crow began cawing overhead. Immediately, the deer's head came up. Zak let the arrow fly, but the deer was already running. Zak took off after it, nocking another arrow as he ran. He'd retrieve the other arrow later. Up came the bow. For a second it looked like he'd have a clear shot, but then the deer zigzagged. Zak crashed through a tangle of branches and leapt a fallen log. The deer was fast, but so was he, his elven heritage enabling him to achieve speeds that would seem impossible to the average human. All those footraces with Violet must be paying off too. He was keeping pace with the deer.

Zak shot again, but he missed cleanly. His side was beginning to burn, and the deer was getting away. Still, he tried to stay with it. He let his eyes slip into darkvision to see the deer more easily. He reached to the quiver on his back for another arrow and nocked it, but the warm shape of the deer was getting farther and farther away from him. Zak let his arrow fly again, only to hear the dull thud of it smacking into a tree. His side was really burning now. Finally he slowed, then stopped running. Regretfully, he watched as the warm shape of the deer grew smaller and smaller through the trees. Finally he couldn't see it anymore.

Zak slowly and carefully worked his arrow out of the tree. He'd already lost two today and didn't want to break this one on top of that. When at last it came free, he stood there, still panting, and realized with a sickening clench of his stomach that he was lost.

Kel'nar = Dad