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|“||Far above the merciless Underdark, Drizzt Do'Urden fights to survive the elements of Toril's harsh surface. The young drow begins a sojourn through a world entirely unlike his own—even as he evades the dark elves of his past. He begins to understand his new home and its inhabitants, but acceptance among the surface-dwellers doesn't come easily.||”|
Drizzt Do'Urden, a forty-year-old renegade drow who has forsaken the ways of his evil people to live a better life on the surface of Faerûn, greets the dawn each morning to acclimatize himself to his new home, in spite of the great pain it causes him. To the rogue drow, the sun represents his denial of the other darker world of the Underdark, especially of the city of Menzoberranzan. Alongside him sits his faithful companion, the astral panther Guenhwyvar.
After a disastrous run-in with a skunk one day, Drizzt decides to leave in search of a new home further down the mountainside. He encounters a group of gnolls who invite him to be an ally. Being naive to the ways of the world, Drizzt doesn't know they are evil until they outline a plan to raid a local farm and kill and enslave the humans living therein. With the aid of Guenhwyvar, he slays the band, but for some time after feels remorse in doing so. It is at this point that he decides to learn more about the races living around him. He starts by studying the intended victims of the gnoll raid, the human Thistledown family living on their secluded farm in the village of Maldobar. After coming to the conclusion that these humans were of good alignment, he takes it upon himself to become their secret guardian.
One day, he follows the youngest Thistledown boy, Liam, and tries unsuccessfully to communicate with and befriend him. The ten-year-old runs away to tell the tale of his encounter with the drow — or as he says, the "drizzit" — and at first is not believed by his family. It is only when he takes his siblings with him to verify the story that he is vindicated. The eldest boy, Connor Thistledown, has some knowledge of other races and recognizes Drizzt as being a dark elf. A meeting is held that night and the villagers decide to go and look for this drow after the prompting of bounty hunter and trapper Roddy McGristle. In the ensuing hunt, Drizzt is forced to kill one of McGristle's dogs and maims McGristle in the process. Were it not for the interference of a quickling sprite called Tephanis, Drizzt may have eluded detection and the subsequent ire of the bounty hunter.
Tephanis is an ally to a fearsome barghest whelp known as Ulgulu. After realizing that it was Drizzt and his panther who killed his best soldiers, the gnolls, Ulgulu decides to enact vengeance upon Drizzt and at the same time cover up his nefarious activities in the region. By taking the form of a drow, he massacres the Thistledown family, leaving behind Drizzt's stolen scimitar as a way of placing responsibility for the act solely at Drizzt's feet. When Drizzt learns of the tragedy, he vows to enact his own vengeance upon the perpetrators, partly out of grief and also out of self-imposed guilt that he caused their deaths.
Meanwhile, Mayor Benson Delmo sends word to Sundabar of a drow in the vicinity of their home, requesting aid in the matter. Dove Falconhand, a ranger and Chosen of Mystra, answers the call. She leaves Sundabar with her companions, the human ranger Gabriel, the male elf archer Kellindil and the human warrior Darda. She also ask permission to Helm Dwarf-Friend, ruler of the city, to bring with her the dwarf sage Fredegar Rockcrusher (Fret). When her party reaches Maldobar, she is informed that the same drow has committed an atrocity at the Thistledown place, but after studying the evidence at hand, she soon starts to believe otherwise. Drizzt, meanwhile, has already started his own investigation and finds the lair of Ulgulu. He slays Ulgulu's brother, Kempfana, and with the help of Guenhwyvar kills Ulgulu, who by now has morphed into a monstrous wolf. He is soon pursued by another of Ulgulu's allies, a hill giant named Lagerbottoms, and is offered the same alliance as the gnolls offered, ultimately with the same end result. Seriously injured by his encounter, Drizzt flees the area with Lady Falconhand's party hot in pursuit. Drizzt confronts Kellindil, but fails to convince him of his good intentions. Later however, Drizzt helps his pursuers during a stone giant ambush, and Dove's party provide healing aid to Drizzt after noticing his severe wounds. Through his actions they follow their earlier assumptions and confirm he is innocent of the killings and not at all like the others of his kin, so they decide to let him go. Roddy McGristle, however, is not so keen on letting a 2000-gold bounty slip through his hands and continues the hunt.
Drizzt then settles in Dead Orc Pass. Surviving on a diet of fish and taking shelter in one of the many caves, he feels thoroughly dejected and sinks even further into self-pity. Fortunately for him, Kellindil, an elven archer from Dove's party, keeps a watchful eye over his dark cousin and even provides kindling for him with the onset of winter in the mountains, all unbeknownst to the beleaguered drow. It is here that Drizzt gets his first taste of snow and decides to find better accommodation. He ends up staying in the den of a grumpy brown bear named Bluster, placating him with daily meals of fish during his long hibernation. When spring returns to the land, Drizzt explores the other side of the river and runs afoul of the orc k ing Graul. With the aid of Montolio DeBrouchee, the blind ranger of Mielikki, he defeats the orcs, worgs and stone giant sent to kill him. He is taken under Montolio's, or "Mooshie's," wing. During his time in Mooshie's grove, he is taught the common surface tongue and the ways of the ranger and of Mielikki, Goddess of the Forest. It is also a time for healing. Mooshie helps Drizzt come to terms with his self-imposed guilt over the deaths of the Thistledowns and others. Roddy McGristle tracks Drizzt to Mooshie's grove but Mooshie lies to protect him and sends him on a red herring. However, wanting to be rid of Drizzt, Tephanis returns and informs Roddy of Mooshie's deception. Angered, Roddy makes a pact with the Graul and two weeks later the battle of Mooshie's grove is under way.
Mooshie and Drizzt defeat the orc attack and Guenhwyvar kills Caroak, the winter wolf. Kellindil and a group of his elven cousins give aid during the battle, and afterwards Kellindil captures Roddy McGristle and begins the journey to Sundabar to have him tried for his crimes. Tephanis helps McGristle to escape, however, and McGristle strangles the elf and buries him. Tephanis, fearing another disastrous encounter with the drow, deceives his new master by saying he was slain by a worg during the battle.
Soon after, Drizzt finds Mooshie dead, leaving Drizzt to fulfill an earlier promise he made to leave and never return to the grove. Journeying through the land of the North he is turned away and chased by the dwarves of Citadel Adbar. He finds the same rejection in other towns that he tries to make his home in. He takes it in his stride as he now has the goddess Mielikki in his heart.
Six years later, during the drow's seventh winter on the surface, Tephanis's lie is revealed in Westbridge and the surly bounty hunter heads to Mirabar in search of his long-lost quarry. Drizzt by now has taken up with the Weeping Friars, a group of beggars and religious zealots who believe that the more they suffer, the less the world has to endure. Knowing of their favorite route of travelling to Mirabar via the Tunnel, Tephanis traps the party within leaving them no choice but to face a venerable (but fairly stupid) red dragon nicknamed Hephaestus. Thanks to a clever deception by Drizzt, they manage to escape. Drizzt takes one of the friar's advice of heading to Ten Towns in Icewind Dale, a place full of rogues where he may find acceptance.
McGristle catches up with the monks shortly after they part with Drizzt and Tephanis unwittingly reveals that he trapped the party in the Tunnel, going against McGristle's plans. In a fit of rage, the bounty hunter then kills him and tortures the friars for information before murdering them as well. Drizzt journeys to Ten Towns in Icewind Dale, where he is rejected by Cassius, the spokesman for Bryn Shander. However, Cassius suggests he make a home instead on the northern slopes of Kelvin's Cairn, on the borders of Clan Battlehammer, in order to win over the public eye by protecting the settlements.
He meets Cattie-brie, the adopted daughter of Bruenor Battlehammer, in the lower slopes of the cairn and makes her acquaintance. When he first sees her he is reminded strongly of Liam Thistledown as she is around the same age, and is captivated by her charm and zest for life. After a fight with a polar worm, Bruenor, comes into contact with Drizzt for the first time. They nearly come to blows but Drizzt walks away from the conflict, leaving a furious Bruenor to hobble home. Outraged that his daughter has been meeting with a drow, he forces her to give her word that she'll not meet with him again.
McGristle turns up at the dwarf's home not long after and the clan are not impressed with the rude stranger. McGristle tells them all that Drizzt murdered the Thistledowns but Bruenor will have none of it. The dwarven king turns him out and warns his daughter to stay away from the drow for a second time. Cattie-brie disobeys her father and runs to confront Drizzt about McGristle's claims. Drizzt assuages her fears and their friendship remains unchanged. He sends her back home and gets ready to flee from his adversary, but turns back to aid Cattie-brie who is being held by McGristle. Drizzt confronts him and he relates how vengeance is all he seeks. He cares not for the murdered family nor for the bounty. A fight ensues and many times does the reluctant Drizzt offer McGristle the chance to flee, but he stubbornly refuses. Eventually the superior warrior won, by knocking McGristle unconscious. When he wakes up, he is met by Bruenor, who banishes him from Icewind Dale. Drizzt, feeling he is damned to always be an outcast, states he will leave but Bruenor bids him to stay and watch over Cattie-brie. At last, Drizzt heard the words he had been waiting to hear for years: Welcome home.
- Drizzt Do'Urden, drow renegade
- Connor Thistledown, human boy of Maldobar
- Dove Falconhand, human ranger
- Graul, orc leader
- Guenhwyvar, astral panther
- Hephaestus, red dragon
- Kellindil, elf companion of Dove
- Liam Thistledown, human boy of Maldobar
- Montolio DeBrouchee, blind ranger
- Roddy McGristle, bounty hunter
- Tephanis, quickling
- Ulgulu, barghest whelp leader
- Bartholomew Thistledown, human of Maldobar
- Benson Delmo, mayor of Maldobar
- Buster, bear
- Caroak, winter wolf
- Cassius, principle spokesman of the Ten Towns
- Darda, companion of Dove
- Eleni Thistledown, human girl of Maldobar
- Flanny Thistledown, human child of Maldobar
- Fredegar Rockcrusher (Fret), dwarf sage
- Gabriel, human companion of Dove
- Herschel, Weeping Friar
- Hooter, owl friend of Montolio
- Jankin, Weeping Friar
- Kempfana, barghest brother of Ulgulu
- Lagerbottoms, hill giant serving Ulgulu
- Mateus, Weeping Friar
- Nathak, goblin serving Ulgulu
- Shawno Thistledown, human boy of Maldobar
- Agorwal, spokesman of Termalaine
- Alustriel Silverhand, leader of Silverymoon
- Belwar Dissengulp, svirfnebli
- Clacker, pech-turned-hook horror
- Dilamon, Montolio's mentor
- Dinin Do'Urden, Drizzt's brother
- Ellifain Tuuserail (as elven child)
- Grubby the Wiseless, goblin posing as archmage
- Gruumsh, orc god
- Helm Dwarf-Friend, leader of Sundabar
- Lolth, drow goddess
- Malice Do'Urden, Drizzt's mother
- Markhe, Bartholomew's father
- Masoj Hun'ett, drow wizard
- Mielikki, goddess
- Nalfein Do'Urden, Drizzt's brother
- Vierna Do'Urden, Drizzt's sister
- Wulfgar, Drizzt's future companion
- Zaknafein Do'Urden, Drizzt's father
- Bryn Shander
- Citadel Adbar
- Morueme's Cave
- Nether Mountains
- Elemental Plane of Earth
- Spine of the World
- Underdark wilds
- Black dragon (mentioned)
- Hill giant
- Illithid (mentioned)
- Red dragon
- Tundra yeti (mentioned)
- Stone giant
- Winter wolf
- House DeVir (mentioned)
- House Do'Urden (mentioned)
- Rangewatchers (mentioned)
- Seven Sisters (alluded to)
- Weeping Friars