Bête Noire

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.

Alternate-Reality. The scene opens with Drizzt's 18-year-old son chained up in a dank, oppressive drow dungeon. In progress but temporarily on hold. Zaknafein Do'Urden is an original character. Bête Noire (French) - "Nightmare".

A/N: NOW REVISED & UPDATED.

Bête Noire

The darkness of the dungeon only enhanced the menacing red eyes of his captors. Zaknafein twisted his hands in their shackles above his head but the cold steel merely bit into his wrists and the clink of the chains the shackles hung from sounded like mocking laughter to the half-drow.

A sudden brutal punch to the stomach blasted the air from Zak's lungs and he groaned involuntarily, trying to breathe. The male drow who'd delivered the punch grinned evilly and brought his face up close to Zaknafein's. "Vel'klar zhah Drizzt Do'Urden?" he hissed.

The stench of his breath made Zaknafein's lip curl in disgust. The drow language sounded serpentine and harsh in Zak's ears; not all all like when his father spoke it. He drew in a few ragged breaths and then met his captor's eyes with a glare. "Nau kampi'un," he intoned, wondering as he said it if using broken Drow would clue them in to the fact that he actually did understand the Drow tongue. Then again, if he'd said nothing, they would probably just assume he was keeping silent out of stubbornness, rather than wondering if he understood what they were saying…

Agitated, the female drow stepped forward, pushing her less-educated male companion out of the way. "Where is Drizzt Do'Urden?" she intoned, her Over-Common surprisingly fluent and unaccented.

"He's coming to kill you all." Where the sudden mocking defiance had come from, Zak wasn't sure, but it earned him a fierce backhand across his face and the female drow's snake-headed whip on his back. Zak gritted his teeth fiercely, the iron taste of blood on his tongue. "I am not here," he told himself, "This isn't real. I am standing in the clearing, practicing…The opening move of the fourth sword dance begins by stepping forward with the right foot and drawing the left sword with the right hand in a horizontal draw, while the left hand draws the right sword in a rising arc…" Zaknafein concentrated furiously, trying to distract his mind from the blinding pain. "In the second move, a left upper block is combined with-" The female's whip struck him again and again, its insidious poison spreading through his muscles like icy knife blades, and finally Zak couldn't hold back his scream.

Grinning maliciously, the male advanced again, pulling a dagger from his belt and waving it ominously in front of Zak's face. "Vel'klar zhah Drizzt Do'Urden?" he repeated.

Zak said nothing, thinking hard. He had to take control of this situation, though even as he thought it, it seemed an impossible notion.

The drow reached up for Zak's shackled hand and pressed the knife against the base of his little finger, hard. "Where?" he began again with a growl. The knife bit deeply into Zak's finger as his captor pressed harder.

"Wait! Wait." Hot blood was running down the side of Zaknafein's hand, but at least he still had his finger. The female made some abrupt gesture in unspoken translation of the Over-Common, and his torturer pulled the knife back the tiniest amount. "Just - if I tell you, what good will it do me?"

More hasty translation from the female captor. Growing exasperated with the slow pace of things, she once again pushed her male counterpart out of the way. "Tell me what I want to know," she began in that strangely unaccented voice, "and I will give you a merciful death." Her lips parted in a grin that was at once sadistic and malicious. "Refuse, however," she continued, her voice low and deadly, "and I promise that you will beg me for death a hundred times over before I am finished with you, and I will not grant it."

"Okay, okay…" A familiar form was quickly and silently descending the stairs across from them. Zak had his breath back but he still gasped raggedly - a show he hoped his captors would buy. A little more time... "Drizzt Do'Urden - he's…he's…right behind you!"

The female smirked and reached for her whip again but the male whirled and Zaknafein leapt, kicking out hard with both feet as he swung by his shackled wrists. His boots hit his male tormentor square in the back and the drow pitched forward, hitting the dungeon floor hard.

Drizzt was, in fact, there, having silently crept up right behind the female. As she raised her whip, a fierce slash with one scimitar nearly took the head from her body. The male was just up and reaching for his weapons, but with a primal fury the Hunter leapt, his leading scimitar stabbing deep into the drow's belly. Drizzt twisted the blade savagely, a fierce light in his eyes, and the dark elf gasped. Seeming to come back to himself, Drizzt leaned in close to make eye contact with the impaled enemy. "That," he said distinctly, his Drow language still perfect despite the lack of use, "was for my son." He yanked the blade free and the drow toppled forward, a horrified expression on his face. Immediately Drizzt was turning the body over, searching for keys.

"On the female," Zaknafein choked out.

Drizzt found the keys, taking a moment to slash the hissing snake heads from the still-living whip. Then he was unlocking the cruel manacles that had Zaknafein hanging, toes barely touching the floor. One hand was free - Zak grimaced, unable to stifle a groan as his right arm was lowered for the first time in who knew how long - and then the left. Zak's knees buckled in protest, unable to accept his full weight, and Drizzt caught him, easing him to the floor.

"Can you walk?" The ranger glanced towards the stairwell, knowing that they wouldn't be alone for long. There were so many other things he wanted to say, but now was not the time.

"I knew you'd come." Zak was trying to get to his feet, but only made it as far as his knees.

Drizzt glanced around the dungeon. "Where are the potions?"

"Potions?" Zak looked up at his father is puzzlement, still struggling to rise. "This is a dungeon."

"Exactly." That was a bit of a relief - Zak couldn't have been in here for too long. Drizzt noticed a wooden crate in one corner and pried it open with a scimitar. Bottles of greenish-tinged healing potions packed in straw greeted him, and he quickly grabbed a few. They couldn't delay any longer. He crossed the room in two strides, uncorking a potion with his teeth. He thrust the open bottle into Zak's hand. "Drink it."

Zak had no way of knowing one potion from another, but he did trust Drizzt. He gulped the contents of the bottle down, trying not to gag at the salty and bitter flavor.

Immediately a shock of new strength coursed through his body and his pain lessened. Zak stood and took the female drow's sword in his right hand and the male's dagger in his left - the dagger that was still stained red with his own blood. He nodded at his father grimly.

Without a word the two turned and sprinted up the dungeon's staircase side by side, bared weapons in hand.


In progress. Please take a moment to leave a review!


"Vel'klar zhah Drizzt Do'Urden?" = "Where is Drizzt Do'Urden?"

"Nau kampi'un" = "No understand"