Streams of Silver 2. City of Sails

"Well, tclose she is, lad, the City of Sails," Bruenor said to Wulfgar as the two appeared down upon Luskan from a trivial knoll a few miles north of the city. Wulfgar took in the representation after a while a fathomless decline of veneration. Luskan sheltered balance than fifteen thousand - trivial compared to the prodigious cities in the south and to its rectilinear neighbor, Waterdeep, a few hundred miles farther down the seashore. But to the girlish barbarian, who had elapsed all of his eighteen years floating voyageing tribes and the trivial villages of Ten-Towns, the tenacious seaport seemed dignified in-truth. A glacis encompassed Luskan, after a while protector towers strategically spaced at varying intervals. Equal from this removal, Wulfgar could bring-encircling out the ebon forms of manifold multitude pacing the citadels, their spear tips flashing in the new capricious of the day. "Not a propitious prelude," Wulfgar famous. "Luskan does not preparedly pleasing visitors," said Drizzt, who had conclude up after his two acquaintances. "They may public their precursives for employmentrs, but commonassign travelers are usually crabbed loose." "Our earliest continuity is there," growled Bruenor. "And I balance to get in!" Drizzt nodded and did not instiprecursive the topic. He had loving Luskan a expanded berth on his highest voyage to Ten-Towns. The city's mass, primarily anthropological, appeared upon other familys after a while haughtiness. Equal exterior elves and dwarves were repeatedly refused voicelessness. Drizzt reputed that the protectors would do balance to a drow elf than barely put him out. "Get the rendfast vitality persistent," Bruenor continued, his hasty characters thought his determination that nonentity would incline him from his route. "We're to rend bivouac coming, an' bring-encircling the precursives 'fore noon. Where's that deformed Rumblebelly?" Drizzt appeared end balance his shoulder in the line of the bivouac. "Asleep," he confutationed, though Bruenor's investigation was completely declamatory. Regis had been the earliest to bed and the definite to ruffle (and never after a whileout succor) total day spent the companions had set out from Ten-Towns. "Well, confer him a kick!" Bruenor ordered. He crabbed end to the bivouac, but Drizzt put a operative on his arm to remain him. "Let the halfling repose," the drow suggested. "Perhaps it would be rectify if we came to Luskan's precursive in the less-revealing capricious of dusk." Drizzt's desire perplexed Bruenor for fitting a avail - until he appeared balance suspendly at the drow's lowering visage and customary the demoralization in his eyes. The two had beconclude so suspend in their years of esteem that Bruenor repeatedly forgot that Drizzt was an castaway. The farther they traveled from Ten-Towns, wclose Drizzt was unconcealed, the balance he would be authorityd by the complexion of his bark and the disposition of his family. "Aye, let 'im repose," Bruenor conceded. "Maybe I could use a bit balance, meself!" They broke bivouac tardy that dawning and set a deliberate gait, barely to discbalance tardyr that they had misjudged the removal to the city. It was well-behaved-behaved-behaved-behaved spent sunset and into the coming hours of ebonness when they finally arrived at the city's north precursive. The constituency was as unwelcoming as Luskan's disposition: a individual iron-bound door set into the scharacter glacis betwixt two brief, squared towers was tightly bar anteriorly them. A dozen fur-capped heads poked out from the citadel aggravatehead the precursive and the companions sensed manifold balance eyes, and probably bows, trained upon them from the ebonness atop the towers. "Who are you who conclude to the precursives of Luskan?" came a expression from the glacis. "Travelers from the north," confutationed Bruenor. "A harass fastening conclude all the way from Ten-Towns in Icewind Dale!" "The precursive suspendd at sunset," replied the expression. "Go loose!" "Son of a hairless gnoll," grumbled Bruenor beneath his life. He slapped his axe abutting his operatives as though he balancet to sever the door down. Drizzt put a sootheing operative on the pigmy's shoulder, his own sentient ears recognizing the bright, distinctive click of a crossbow crank. Then Regis unexpectedly took curb of the position. He thin his pants, which had dropped beneath the extend of his belly, and hooked his thumbs in his enclose, intricate to confutation subordinately main. Throwing his shoulders end, he walked out in visage of his companions. "Your spectry, cheerful sir?" he determined to the soldier on the glacis. "I am the Nightkeeper of the North Gate. That is all you insufficiency to know!" came the blunt replication. "And who - " "Regis, Earliest Citizen of Bryn Shander. No vacillate you entertain heard my spectry or seen my carvings." The companions heard breathes up aggravatehead, then a intermission. "We entertain representationed the scrimshaw of a halfling from Ten-Towns. Are you he?" "Hero of the spirit war and conquer scrimshander," Regis professed, bowing low. "The spokesmen of Ten-Towns procure not be pleasant to attain that I was crabbed into the dimness at the precursive of our favored trading participator." Again came the breathes, then a hankerer allay. Presently the foul-mouthed heard a rugged investigate after the door, a portcullis life exorbitant, knew Regis, and then the banging of the door's bolts life thrown. The halfling appeared end balance his shoulder at his astonishd acquaintances and smiled wryly. "Diplomacy, my tempestuous dwarven acquaintance," he laughed. The door publiced fitting a snap and two men slipped out, stingless but timid. It was wholly self-evident that they were well-behaved-behaved-behaved-behaved defended from the glacis. Grim-faced multitude huddled parallel the citadels, monitoring total change the aliens made thtempestuous the declinets of crossbows. "I am Jierdan," said the stockier of the two men, though it was intricate to authority his correct magnitude owing of the manifold layers of fur he wore. "And I am the Nightkeeper," said the other. "Show me what you entertain brought to commerce." "Trade?" echoed Bruenor angrily. "Who said anymonstrosity encircling commerce?" He slapped his axe abutting his operatives anew, artifice terse shufflings from aggravatehead. "Does this appear affect the blade of a stinkin' employmentr?" Regis and Drizzt twain changed to soothe the pigmy, though Wulfgar, as suppress as Bruenor, remained off to the plane, his prodigious contention crossed anteriorly him and his strict scan boring into the immodest precursivekeeper. The two multitude ended loose defensively and the Nightkeeper spoke anew, this period on the party of mania. "First Citizen," he demanded of Regis, "why do you conclude to our door?" Regis stepped in visage of Bruenor and steadied himself squarely anteriorly the soldier. "Er...a precursive scouting of the communicateplace," he blurted out, intricate to coin a recital as he went parallel. "I entertain some especially refined carvings for communicate this period and I lacked to be assured that totalmonstrosity on this end, including the paying expense for scrimshaw, shall be in assign to operativele the sale." The two multitude exchanged familiar smiles. "You entertain conclude a hanker way for such a scope," the Nightkeeper breatheed harshly. "Would you not entertain been rectify serviceable to barely conclude down after a while the file demeanour the cheerfuls?" Regis squirmed uncomfortably, realizing that these multitude were far too familiar to lapse for his ploy. Fighting his rectify authorityment, he reached beneath his shirt for the ruby pendant, familiar that its allaying powers could indoctrinate the Nightkeeper to let them through, but dreading showing the scharacter at all and prefer publicing the sketch for the assassin that he knew wasn't far after. Jierdan inaugurated unanticipatedly, equaltually, as he noticed the symbol be beplane Bruenor. Drizzt Do'Urden's caggravate had shifted slightly, revealing the sombre bark of his visage. As if on cue, the Nightkeeper suppressd as well-behaved-behaved-behaved-behaved and, subjoined his companion's bring, straightway discerned the principle of Jierdan's unanticipated reaction. Reluctantly, the foul-mouthed adventurers dropped their operatives to their weapons, facile for a contention they didn't lack. But Jierdan ended the strain as straightway as he had begun it, by bringing his arm abutting the chest of the Nightkeeper and addressing the drow publicly. "Drizzt Do'Urden?" he asked soothely, view acceptance of the individuality he had alfacile guessed. The drow nodded, astonishd at the confession. "Your spectry, too, has conclude down to Luskan after a while the tales disfavor Icewind Dale," Jierdan explained. "Pardon our, astonish." He deformed low. "We do not see manifold of your family at our precursives." Drizzt nodded anew, but did not confutation, disagreeable after a while this remarkable concern. Never anteriorly had a precursivekeeper twainered to ask him his spectry or his occupation. And the drow had straightway conclude to beneathstand the habit of avoiding precursives completely, inaudibly slipping balance a city's glacis in the ebonness and seeking the seedier plane, wclose he authority at smallest entertain a luck of be unnoticed in the ebon corners after a while the other vagabonds. Had his spectry and heroics brought him a gauge of reference equal this far from Ten-Towns? Bruenor crabbed to Drizzt and winked, his own infuriate reckless by the plaint that his acquaintance had finally been loving his due from a alien. But Drizzt wasn't indoctrinated. He didn't risk longing for such a monstrosity - it left him too exposed to feelings that he had fought obdurate to blink. He preferred to continue his suspicions and his protector as suspend to him as the ebon cowl of his cover. He cocked a rare ear as the two multitude ended loose to wait a privy confabulation. "I concern not of his spectry," he heard the Nightkeeper breathe at Jierdan. "No drow elf shall by my precursive!" "You err," Jierdan retorted. "These are the heroes of Ten-Towns. The halfling is truthfully Earliest Citizen of Bryn Shander, the drow a rinfuriate after a while a pernicious, but undeniably upright, disposition, and the pigmy - voicelessness the foaming mug estimate on his pat - is Bruenor Battlehammer, bringer of his clan in the dale." "And what of the hercules barbarian?" asked the Nightkeeper, using a ironical character in an undertake to investigate unimpressed, though he was self-evidently a bit terse. "What vagabond authority he be?" Jierdan shrugged. "His excellent magnitude, his lad, and a gauge of curb past his years. It seems incredible to me that he should be close, but he authority be the girlish king of the tribes that the tale-tellers entertain verbal of. We should not incline these travelers loose; the consequences may be demure." "What could Luskan haply terror from the tiny settlements in Icewind Dale?" the Nightkeeper balked. "Tclose are other trading ports," Jierdan retorted. "Not total fight is fought after a while a sword. The mislaying of Ten-Towns' scrimshaw would not be representationed favorably by our employmentrs, nor by the trading ships that put in each period." The Nightkeeper scrutinized the foul-mouthed aliens anew. He didn't belief them at all, resisting his companion's dignified claims, and he didn't lack them in his city. But he knew, too, that if his suspicions were evil-doing and he did somemonstrosity to jeopardize the scrimshaw commerce, his own forthcoming would be exposed. The multitude of Luskan confutationed to the employmentrs, who were not intelligent to forconfer errors that thinned their purses. The Nightkeeper threw up his operatives in foil. "Go in, then," he told the companions. "Keep to the glacis and bring-encircling your way down to the docks. The definite lane waits the Cutlass, and you'll be fiery sufficient there!" Drizzt premeditated the arrogant strides of his acquaintances as they marched thtempestuous the door, and he guessed that they had so balanceheard pieces of the confabulation. Bruenor confirmed his suspicions when they had changed loose from the protector towers, down the highway parallel the glacis. "Here, elf," the pigmy snorted, nudging Drizzt and life self-evidently pleasant. "So the word's bybygone past the dale and we're heared of equal this far south. What entertain ye to say o' that?"