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Zaknafein Do'Urden was the famed weapons master of House Daermon N'a'shezbaernon more commonly known as House Do'Urden. He was also Drizzt Do'Urden's father, his mentor and his dearest friend. It was he who gave Drizzt the courage to leave Menzoberranzan and trained him to become an excellent warrior. Zaknafein also played a great part in shaping his personality, protecting his son from the truth of Menzoberranzan for as long as he could.
Zak delighted in killing the priests of Lolth. He hated the passionless evil they represented, and saw chances to kill them as a way of fighting against it. He had a strong and willful personality, in contrast to the status quo submissiveness that was seen in other drow males. Matron Malice took note of it, but often said nothing because it was that quality that made him even more desireable to her. He also believed in honor and hated the idea of killing children. He was proud when he found out that Drizzt didn't kill a moon elf child.
Zaknafein was heavily involved in his son's martial training. He taught Drizzt to think creatively in a fighting situation and trained his muscles to respond to such thoughts. He insisted that improvisation was the mark of a good warrior. It is through Zaknafein's tutelage that Drizzt developed the dual-wielding fighting style common among the drow, and that allowed Drizzt to become known as one of the greatest swordsmen in Faerûn.
Zaknafein Do'Urden was an excellent warrior, the finest in Menzoberranzan, but most importantly, he was good beyond the ability of his kin. Noble, kind-hearted, and strong in his own way, he did his best to live by his principles, in a world where greed overcomes compassion and ambition overrules all. He also had a mysterious friendship with Jarlaxle, leader of Bregan D'aerthe.
Zaknafein was the Weapons Master of House Do'Urden prior to its eventual destruction, and was said to be the "greatest weapons master to ever cross blades in Menzoberranzan". As such, he can be considered as one of, if not the, greatest swordsmen in drow history. Drizzt learned a great deal from Zaknafein, and though he was the weapon master and a great swordsman, making use of the 'Double Cross Down Parry' which apparently had no counter, and later on, used it in a full blown fight with his son. Zaknafein trained Drizzt using two finely crafted drow long swords in the dual wielding fighting style common among drow warriors but when he was raiding other houses he used a long sword and a whip, Zaknafein was so good with the whip that he could whip out the tongues of priestesses with his eyes closed.
Zaknafein is known to have had two children with Matron Malice, Drizzt Do'Urden and Vierna Do'Urden. He maintained a relationship with his son, but Vierna spent most of her time with her female siblings and mother when not in Arach-Tinilith, though that isn't to say that some of his influence did not rub off on her. Zaknafein was later sacrificed to Lolth when House Do'Urden fell out of Lolth's favor. The reason that the house fell out of Lolth's favor was due to Drizzt, having not slain an elf child (the baby Ellifain) on his raid above ground, instead protecting her, hiding her under her dead mother that another dark elf had slain. Afterwards, thinking that Drizzt had slain a child, something which went totally against his code, Drizzt and Zaknafein fought ferociously, where Drizzt showed him that the Double Cross Down Parry did indeed have a counter. Toward the end of this battle, Zaknafein learnt that Drizzt hadn't slain the child at all, that he had instead hidden it, much to his relief, though ultimately to his demise. Upon discovering Zaknafein's sacrifice, Drizzt left Menzoberranzan for the wilds of the Underdark. Zaknafein was later brought back through Zin-carla to hunt his son; the spirit-wraith found Drizzt and fought him in the Acid Aerie. Ultimately, Zaknafein fought through the mental barriers, aided by Malice giving him back too much of his mind (so as to be able to use more of the skill he had in life) and he hurled himself into the chasm to prevent himself from killing Drizzt.
Years afterward, Drizzt learned that someone he thought lost became a prisoner of the demon Errtu. He set out to rescue whom he thought was his father. It was revealed that Wulfgar was the demon's captive and that Zaknafein was indeed dead. However, the priest Cadderly Bonaduce summoned Zaknafein's spirit and he went to Drizzt, who was at that time in his quarters within the dwarven mines of Icewind Dale. The fallen warrior told Drizzt what had happened to him, and expressed the pride and love he felt for his son before disappearing.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ed Greenwood (1992). Menzoberranzan. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Dale Donovan (July 1998). Villains' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 111. ISBN 0-7869-1236-7.
- ↑ Mark Anthony (April 1996). The Fires of Narbondel (Realms of the Underdark). (TSR, Inc), pp. 6–80. ISBN 978-0786904877.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 R.A. Salvatore (August 1990). Homeland. (TSR, Inc), p. 18. ISBN 0-88038-905-2.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (July 2003). The Thousand Orcs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 184. ISBN 978-0786929801.
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (July 2003). The Thousand Orcs. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 978-0786929801.
- ↑ Warning: edition not specified for Homeland
- ↑ R.A. Salvatore (March 2006). Exile. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3983-4.