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Charon's Claw (novel)

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Charon's Claw is third novel of The Neverwinter Saga by R.A. Salvatore.

In the conclusion to the #4 New York Times best-selling Neverwinter Saga, Drizzt draws his swords once more to herald a final battle for freedom. Returning to Neverwinter alongside the beautiful elf Dahlia, he plots revenge against the dictatorial Netherese lord Herzgo Alegni, then joins old foe Artemis Entreri as he seeks to destroy the magical weapon that holds him hostage—even if destroying the weapon means his own destruction as well.


SummaryEdit

In the underground drow city of Menzoberranzan in 1463 DR, Ravel Xorlarrin, Matron Mother Zeerith Q'Xorlarrin’s second son and the leader of the House’s wizards, met with the other members of his family. Through spying into a magical skull gem possessed by Gromph Baenre, the Archmage of Menzoberranzan, Ravel had ascertained that the devastation of the city of Neverwinter over a decade earlier had been caused by a fire primordial that was magically entrapped in the ancient dwarven homeland of Gauntlgrym. After Ravel told his family what he had discovered, Zeerith ordered him to lead an expedition to Gauntlgrym and attempt to construct a new drow city that was under the control of House Xorlarrin in the dwarven stronghold. In addition to Ravel, Zeerith sent Brach'thal Xorlarrin, Ravel’s older brother and father and a wizard of diminished power since the Spellplague in 1385 DR; Jearth Xorlarrin, the weapons master of the House; and Berellip and Saribel Xorlarrin, Ravel’s sisters and priestesses of Lolth, the Spider Queen, the evil goddess of the drow. Besides the Xorlarrin nobles, the expeditionary force consisted of one hundred drow, twenty driders, and a large number of goblin slaves. Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre, the unofficial ruler of Menzoberranzan, sent her nephew Tiago Baenre, the assistant weapons master of House Baenre, with the Xorlarrin contingent to ensure that the establishment of a drow city in Gauntlgrym followed her wishes. Tiago was accompanied by the drow Gol'fanin, a former warrior and wizard who was now an accomplished weaponsmith.

Meanwhile, in a forest near Neverwinter, the drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden and the elf warrior Dahlia Sin'felle planned to journey to the city. Nearby, the misshapen tiefling warlock Effron spied on the two companions and had several members of the Netherese mercenary organization known as Cavus Dun prepare to ambush them. Effron had hired the group of mercenaries to kill Drizzt and capture Dahlia. The Cavus Dun band consisted of Jermander, the leader and a swordsman; Ratsis, a spider tamer; Parbid and Afafrenfere, warrior monks and friends; Amber Gristle O' Maul (Ambergris), a dwarf priestess; Bol, a large tiefling warrior; Horrible, a silent female warrior; and the Shifter, a Shadovar mage.

Also at that time, a struggle for power was occurring between different groups in Neverwinter. The Shadovar tiefling warlord Herzgo Alegni declared himself the ruler of Neverwinter and named his Netherese forces as the city’s defenders, despite opposition from the local leader Jelvus Grinch and the settlement’s citizens. Arunika, a succubus disguised as a mysterious human woman, and her associate Brother Anthus, a priest of Oghma, the god of knowledge, tried to find a way to undermine Alegni’s rule while waiting for the eventual return of the Abolethic Sovereignty. Arunika traveled to the remnants of the Dread Ring, a necromantic area of devastation, in Neverwinter Wood in search of Valindra Shadowmatle, an insane lich and the new leader of the Thayan forces in the region following the death of the sorceress Sylora Salm. Arunika could not locate Valindra, and instead found her imp familiar Invidoo and Sylora, who had been transformed into a deformed zombie that was bent in half and unable to walk. Invidoo wanted his freedom from service to Arunika, who promised to grant it to him if he could find a replacement for himself who was familiar with Drizzt.

Artemis Entreri, an assassin who was a former nemesis of Drizzt and was now essentially Alegni’s slave because he could be controlled by the tiefling’s magical sword Charon’s Claw, decided to seek out the drow ranger and Dahlia. Entreri hoped that the three of them could work together to defeat Alegni and find a way to end his servitude to Charon’s Claw. As Drizzt and Dahlia were journeying toward Neverwinter, the mercenaries of Cavus Dun beset them, and during the fight, Entreri arrived and helped the two companions defeat the Shadovar. Bol, Parbid, Horrible, and Jermander were killed, and the Shifter and Ratsis fled to the Shadowfell. In the confusion, Ambergris knocked Afafrenfere unconscious and carried him away, and the two of them later made their way to Neverwinter. After the clash, Drizzt, Dahlia, and Entreri joined forces and traveled to Neverwinter together to confront Alegni. Dahlia and Entreri began to share a common bond because of the pain that they had both suffered at the hands of Alegni, a connection that Drizzt did not share.

As the Xorlarrin expedition journeyed through the Underdark, a power struggle began to occur between Ravel, his two priestess sisters, and Tiago as to who was in overall command. Eventually, the contingent reached Gauntlgrym and defeated the multitude of dwarf ghosts guarding the ancient stronghold. Tiago soon decided to support Ravel, giving the wizard an advantage over Berellip and Saribel, and also allowing him to rise above Brach'thal in the hierarchy of House Xorlarrin. Ravel and the other drow quickly began the process of securing complete control of Gauntlgrym and reactivating the legendary forges of the city. Although his magical powers were diminished, Brach'thal had a major role in the expedition’s activities in Gauntlgrym because he was skilled at controlling elementals.

Drizzt, Dahlia, and Entreri decided to secretly enter Neverwinter through the sewers. As the companions made their way through the sewers, they were continually attacked by a large group of snakes. Drizzt’s ranger knowledge caused him to realize that something was wrong with the high number of snakes, and he eventually reached the conclusion that they were babies. The trio followed them to their "mother," which was really an aboleth sentry and scout left behind by the Sovereignty. Dahlia and Entreri were subdued by the aboleth’s telepathic seduction, but Drizzt’s harrowing encounter with illithids during his journey to the surface of Toril over a century earlier gave him the power to resist for a short time. As Drizzt finally succumbed, his magical panther Guenhwyvar attacked the aboleth and broke its control over the three companions, allowing them to assail and kill the psionic creature.

When Drizzt, Entreri, Dahlia, and Guenhwyvar emerged from the sewers, they confronted Alegni on Neverwinter’s prominent bridge. However, Alegni had been expecting them since he had already learned of their presence in the city. After a vicious fight, Drizzt and his comrades managed to defeat Alegni and take possession of Charon’s Claw, and when the wounded tiefling tried to escape through a shadow gate, he was tackled by Guenhwyvar. They both traveled through the gate to the Shadowfell, where Guenhwyvar was magically imprisoned by Draygo Quick, a Netherese warlock and lord.

The citizens of Neverwinter viewed Alegni’s defeat as an ideal opportunity to revolt against the Shadovar forces occupying the city, and they immediately attacked the Netherese. Ambergris and Glorfathel, a Shadovar elf wizard of Cavus Dun who served Draygo and was one of the leaders of the Netherese troops in Neverwinter, quickly realized that Alegni’s soldiers were outmatched by their opposition. Glorfathel decided that the battle was lost and retreated to the Shadowfell with the surviving Netherese troops. Ambergris remained in Neverwinter and met with Drizzt and his companions, offering to heal their wounds. The dwarf also told Drizzt to speak with Arunika, who informed him that Guenhwyvar was no longer connected to the onyx figurine that summoned her. Alegni was healed in the Shadowfell by Shadovar priests, and Draygo ordered him to retrieve Charon’s Claw, making it clear that failure was not an option.

Shortly after the battle in Neverwinter, Drizzt, Dahlia, and Entreri decided to travel to Gauntlgrym, since the primordial was their best chance to destroy Charon’s Claw. The trio was attacked by a group of Shadovar while they were journeying to the ancient dwarven complex, but they defeated them. When the companions entered the tunnels that led to Gauntlgrym, the Shifter approached Drizzt and offered to give him back Guenhwyvar in exchange for Charon’s Claw, but the ranger refused, earning him Entreri’s trust.

Alegni and a Shadovar band that included Effron, Glorfathel, Ambergris, and Afafrenfere teleported into Gauntlgrym and intercepted Drizzt and his companions as they entered the city. A fight ensued, but it was interrupted as both groups were attacked by the Xorlarrin force. Drizzt and his comrades were captured by the Xorlarrins, but Entreri was able to convince the dark elves that they were agents of the drow mercenary company known as Bregan D'aerthe. The Xorlarrins and Tiago decided to release them, and the entire drow expedition, except for Brach'thal, who had allied with the primordial and gained control of a lava elemental, retreated to the lower levels of Gauntlgrym to avoid the fight that would inevitably resume between the three companions and the Shadovar. The drow’s withdrawal interrupted Gol'fanin’s ongoing work on a magical sword and shield for Tiago.

After their brief clash against the drow, Alegni and his forces made their way to the primordial chamber and prepared to confront Drizzt, Entreri, and Dahlia. Meanwhile, the trio traveled through Gauntlgrym and encountered Brach'thal and his lava elemental. The group managed to kill Brach'thal and destroy the elemental, and they then moved to engage Alegni and the Shadovar. While the three companions fought the tiefling warlord and the Netherese soldiers, Ambergris betrayed her comrades by throwing Glorfathel into the primordial pit, stunning Afafrenfere with magic, and assailing Effron. When he realized that defeat was inevitable, Alegni told Effron to retreat to the Shadowfell and was about to do so himself when Drizzt used Charon’s Claw to show the Shadovar warlord a vision of the sword being thrown into the primordial pit, begging for him to save it. This distraction provided an opening for Dahlia to launch an attack on Alegni that killed him.

While Dahlia continued to brutalize the body of Alegni, Effron called out in anguish to his dead father, revealing that he was the son of the Netherese warlord and Dahlia, who had been raped and impregnated by Alegni decades earlier. Dahlia had attempted to kill her child shortly after he was born by throwing him from a cliff, but Effron’s revelation showed that he had survived and had developed a hatred for his elf mother. Before Dahlia or the others could act, Effron used his abilities as a Shadovar to escape to the Shadowfell. With nothing left stopping the group, Drizzt threw Charon’s Claw into the primordial pit, expecting that this action would kill Entreri as well. The sword was destroyed, but Entreri lived, for reasons that none of his companions understood.

In the Shadowfell, Effron immediately began to plot his revenge on Dahlia, with Draygo’s consent. Afafrenfere attempted to attack Drizzt, but Ambergris stopped him and then placed an enchantment on him so that he could not ever assail the drow ranger. Even though Ambergris soon revealed that the spell was not real, her assistance had earned her Drizzt’s trust, and the group then left Gauntlgrym together. Ascertaining that all the opposition had left Gauntlgrym, Tiago urged Gol'fanin to return to the forge and complete his work on the magical sword and shield.

A short time later, in the throne room of Gauntlgrym, the dead dwarf battlerager Thibbledorf Pwent returned to life as a vampire. Meanwhile, Invidoo’s replacement imp revealed himself to be Druzil, a servant of Errtu, a balor whom Drizzt had defeated twice in the course of his adventures. Errtu’s one hundred years of banishment from the Prime Material Plane were almost over and he was plotting his vengeance on Drizzt. In the forge room of Gauntlgrym, Gol'fanin revealed to Tiago that the drow who he thought was an agent of Bregen D'aerthe was actually Drizzt Do'Urden. The weaponsmith explained that the sword and shield that he was forging would give Tiago the power to become the weapons master of House Baenre, but the head of Drizzt would make him a legend in Menzoberranzan.

IndexEdit

Characters Edit

Main charactersEdit

Supporting CharactersEdit

Minor charactersEdit

Mentioned charactersEdit

LocationsEdit

CreaturesEdit

ArtifactsEdit

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

Charon's Claw was part of the D&D Rise of the Underdark event.

ReferencesEdit

  1. R.A. Salvatore (August 2012). Charon's Claw. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 1. ISBN 0-7869-6223-2.

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