Arriving in Calimport, Ir'revrykal stopped at the popular Jet Jambiya tavern for a drink, met a halfling spy known as Hamhock, and arm-wrestled with Kahim el Tunril, the skilled armorer and owner of the Shields Italazar store. The evening ended when an unlucky thief lost their knife to the mysterious Jet Jambiya itself.
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A tressym was a magical beast resembling a small winged cat. Its wings were bat-like, extending from their shoulders with long, hollow finger bones. The leathery skin between these was covered in feathers, which could display impressive designs and peacock-like "eyes" at their tips. On their bodies, they had fluffy, short-haired coats that could vary as much as any cat, though were often gray, black, or tabby. With owl-like faces and tufted ears, they were widely seen as simply adorable.
A tressym combined the acute senses and hunting prowess of cats and owls in an agile aerial predator. Tressyms preyed on insects, rodents, and birds, which found no refugee in the sky, but they were wise not to over-hunt. They had a unique ability to detect all kinds of poisons via smell, touch, or taste, yet were entirely immune to poison themselves. Although cat-like in nature, they were quite intelligent—more so than many humans. Shy and skittish in nature, they could be mischievous, known to tease dogs from the air. Curiously, they were deadly rivals to stirges and manticores, gathering in packs against them.
Although rare, they could be found across the warm and temperate lands of Faerûn, and were most common in northern Cormyr, especially the village of Eveningstar, where they were praised as lucky mascots and vermin control. They were popular as familiars for good wizards, like Lord Tessaril Winter and Tsarra Chaadren, Blackstaff of Waterdeep. They could also be companions to druids, and generally pets and friends. They formed close bonds with individual humanoids, and stories told of heroic tressym sacrificing themselves for their friends.
Centuries ago, in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, the City of Drow, nestled deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril, a young weapon master earned a reputation far above his station or that of his poor house. The greater nobles watched him, and one matron, in particular, decided to take him as her own. She connived with rival great houses to secure her prize, but that prize was caught for her by another, who came to quite enjoy the weapon master. This was the beginning of the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle, and the coupling of Matron Malice and the weapon master who would sire Drizzt Do'Urden.
R. A. Salvatore reveals the Underdark anew through the eyes of Zaknafein and Jarlaxle—an introduction to the darkness that offers a fresh view of the opportunities to be found in the shadows and an intriguing prelude to the intriguing escapes that lie ahead in the modern-day Forgotten Realms. Here, a father and his son are reunited and embark on adventures that parallel the trials of centuries long past as the friends of old are joined by Drizzt, Hero of the North, trained by Grandmaster Kane in the ways of the monk.
But the scourge of the dangerous Lolth's ambitions remain, and demons have been foisted on the unwitting of the surface. The resulting chaos and war will prove to be the greatest challenge for all three.
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