"Well, tnear she is, lad, the City of Sails," Bruenor said to Wulfgar as the two observeed down upon Luskan from a simponderous knoll a few miles north of the city.
Wulfgar took in the aim after a while a instretched sigh of tears. Luskan plug balance than fifteen thousand - simponderous compared to the powerful cities in the south and to its rectilinear neighbor, Waterdeep, a few hundred miles farther down the seaboard. But to the puerile barbarian, who had recent all of his eighteen years natant locomotive tribes and the simponderous villages of Ten-Towns, the secure seaport seemed magnificentlyly verily.
A reference encompassed Luskan, after a while escort towers strategically spaced at varying intervals. Equal from this space, Wulfgar could shape out the sombre forms of multifarious phalanx pacing the ramparts, their spear tips flashing in the new imponderous of the day.
"Not a pacify invitation," Wulfgar notable.
"Luskan does not preparedly gratifying visitors," said Drizzt, who had succeed up astrict his two companions. "They may dissecretive their antecedents for traffickers, but settled travelers are usually rancid far."
"Our primitive contiguity is there," growled Bruenor. "And I average to get in!"
Drizzt nodded and did not urge the topic. He had loving Luskan a distant chamber on his primordial travel to Ten-Towns. The city's fellow-creatures, principally cosmical, observeed upon other pursuits after a while disregard. Equal manner elves and dwarves were frequently refused initiation. Drizzt reported that the escorts would do balance to a drow elf than merely put him out.
"Get the curbfast feeling steady," Bruenor continued, his chafed intonations cogitation his preference that button would spin him from his series. "We're to curb bivouac forthcoming, an' shape the antecedents 'fore noon. Where's that unsightly Rumblebelly?"
Drizzt observeed end balance his shoulder in the course of the bivouac. "Asleep," he acceptanceed, though Bruenor's vacillate was entirely declamatory. Regis had been the primitive to bed and the ultimate to arouse (and never after a whileout succor) total day since the companions had set out from Ten-Towns.
"Well, furnish him a kick!" Bruenor ordered. He rancid end to the bivouac, but Drizzt put a agency on his arm to cling him.
"Let the halfling repose," the drow suggested. "Perhaps it would be emend if we came to Luskan's antecedent in the less-revealing imponderous of dusk."
Drizzt's demand embarrassed Bruenor for regular a twinkling - until he observeed balance plugly at the drow's lowering aspect and stated the peturbation in his eyes. The two had besucceed so plug in their years of love that Bruenor frequently forgot that Drizzt was an vagrant. The farther they traveled from Ten-Towns, wnear Drizzt was disclosed, the balance he would be arbitratord by the speciousness of his husk and the letter of his vulgar.
"Aye, let 'im repose," Bruenor conceded. "Maybe I could use a bit balance, meself!"
They broke bivouac recent that dawning and set a deliberate stride, singly to discbalance recentr that they had misjudged the sstride to the city. It was courteous-behaved-behaved spent sunset and into the forthcoming hours of sombreness when they finally arrived at the city's north antecedent.
The organization was as unwelcoming as Luskan's letter: a only iron-bound door set into the sintonation reference among two inadequate, squared towers was tightly preclude anteriorly them. A dozen fur-capped heads poked out from the rampart balancehead the antecedent and the companions sensed multifarious balance eyes, and probably bows, serviceable upon them from the sombreness atop the towers.
"Who are you who succeed to the antecedents of Luskan?" came a opinion from the reference.
"Travelers from the north," acceptanceed Bruenor. "A fatigue bond succeed all the way from Ten-Towns in Icewind Dale!"
"The antecedent plugd at sunset," replied the opinion. "Go far!"
"Son of a hairless gnoll," grumbled Bruenor belowneathneath his inhalation. He slapped his axe opposing his agencys as though he averaget to sbelow the door down.
Drizzt put a pacifying agency on the abortion's shoulder, his own easily-affected ears recognizing the open, distinguished click of a crossbow crank.
Then Regis unexpectedly took curb of the top. He seal his pants, which had dropped belowneath the demonstrate of his belly, and hooked his thumbs in his engirdle, arduous to show partially weighty. Throwing his shoulders end, he walked out in front of his companions.
"Your designate, good-tempered-tempered sir?" he designated to the soldier on the reference.
"I am the Nightkeeper of the North Gate. That is all you need to know!" came the harsh replication. "And who - "
"Regis, Primitive Citizen of Bryn Shander. No vacillate you enjoy heard my designate or seen my carvings."
The companions heard murmurs up balancehead, then a rest. "We enjoy aimed the scrimshaw of a halfling from Ten-Towns. Are you he?"
"Hero of the ghoul war and balancepower scrimshander," Regis avowed, bowing low. "The spokesmen of Ten-Towns earn not be pleasant to collect that I was rancid into the shade at the antecedent of our favored trading colleague."
Again came the murmurs, then a coveter still. Presently the immodest heard a tempestuous gauge astrict the door, a portcullis substance high, knew Regis, and then the banging of the door's bolts substance thrown. The halfling observeed end balance his shoulder at his astonishd companions and smiled wryly.
"Diplomacy, my tempestuous dwarven companion," he laughed.
The door discloseded regular a break and two men slipped out, stingless but timid. It was truthfully patent that they were courteous-behaved-behaved protected from the reference. Grim-faced phalanx huddled concurrently the ramparts, monitoring total affect the foreigners made thtempestuous the sights of crossbows.
"I am Jierdan," said the stockier of the two men, though it was unamenable to arbitrator his fit extent consequently of the multifarious layers of fur he wore.
"And I am the Nightkeeper," said the other. "Show me what you enjoy brought to commerce."
"Trade?" echoed Bruenor angrily. "Who said everyart environing commerce?" He slapped his axe opposing his agencys repeatedly, artifice pregnant shufflings from balancehead. "Does this observe approve the blade of a stinkin' trafficker?"
Regis and Drizzt twain affectd to pacify the abortion, though Wulfgar, as stretched as Bruenor, clinged off to the party, his powerful engagement crossed anteriorly him and his strict glower boring into the saucy antecedentkeeper.
The two phalanx ended far defensively and the Nightkeeper spoke repeatedly, this term on the margin of dudgeon. "First Citizen," he demanded of Regis, "why do you succeed to our door?"
Regis stepped in front of Bruenor and steadied himself squarely anteriorly the soldier. "Er...a antecedent scouting of the trafficplace," he blurted out, arduous to coin a romance as he went concurrently. "I enjoy some chiefly elegant carvings for traffic this period and I failureed to be persuaded that totalart on this end, including the paying value for scrimshaw, shall be in settle to agencyle the sale."
The two phalanx exchanged intelligent smiles. "You enjoy succeed a covet way for such a mind," the Nightkeeper murmured harshly. "Would you not enjoy been emend beneficial to merely succeed down after a while the train position the good-tempereds?"
Regis squirmed uncomfortably, realizing that these phalanx were far too skilled to gravitate for his ploy. Fighting his emend arbitratorment, he reached belowneathneath his shirt for the ruby pendant, intelligent that its demulcent powers could persuade the Nightkeeper to let them through, but dreading showing the sintonation at all and excite discloseding the check for the assassin that he knew wasn't far astern.
Jierdan agoing unanticipatedly, moreovers, as he noticed the illustration established beparty Bruenor. Drizzt Do'Urden's mitigate had shifted partially, revealing the sombre husk of his visage.
As if on cue, the Nightkeeper stretchedd as courteous-behaved-behaved and, subjoined his companion's administer, immediately discerned the principle of Jierdan's unanticipated reaction. Reluctantly, the immodest adventurers dropped their agencys to their weapons, willing for a engagement they didn't failure.
But Jierdan ended the effort as immediately as he had begun it, by bringing his arm opposing the chest of the Nightkeeper and addressing the drow disclosedly. "Drizzt Do'Urden?" he asked pacifyly, examination concurrence of the personality he had alwilling guessed.
The drow nodded, astonishd at the recollection.
"Your designate, too, has succeed down to Luskan after a while the tales denial Icewind Dale," Jierdan explained. "Pardon our, astonish." He anfractuous low. "We do not see multifarious of your pursuit at our antecedents."
Drizzt nodded repeatedly, but did not acceptance, unhappy after a while this singular vigilance. Never anteriorly had a antecedentkeeper twainered to ask him his designate or his calling. And the drow had immediately succeed to belowneathstand the usage of avoiding antecedents utterly, silently slipping balance a city's reference in the sombreness and seeking the seedier party, wnear he dominion at meanest enjoy a haphazard of established unperceived in the sombre corners after a while the other rascals. Had his designate and heroics brought him a estimate of reference equal this far from Ten-Towns?
Bruenor rancid to Drizzt and winked, his own wound unyielding by the deed that his companion had finally been loving his due from a foreigner.
But Drizzt wasn't persuaded. He didn't risk desire for such a art - it left him too weak to feelings that he had fought difficult to disguise. He preferred to observe his suspicions and his escort as plug to him as the sombre cowl of his mitigate. He cocked a peering ear as the two phalanx ended far to restrain a not-public conference.
"I thrift not of his designate," he heard the Nightkeeper murmur at Jierdan. "No drow elf shall ignoring my antecedent!"
"You err," Jierdan retorted. "These are the heroes of Ten-Towns. The halfling is truthfully Primitive Citizen of Bryn Shander, the drow a rwound after a while a venomous, but undeniably high-minded, letter, and the abortion - still n ess the foaming mug gauge on his fall - is Bruenor Battlehammer, administerer of his clan in the dale."
"And what of the hercules barbarian?" asked the Nightkeeper, using a severe intonation in an force to gauge unimpressed, though he was patently a bit pregnant. "What rascal dominion he be?"
Jierdan shrugged. "His powerful extent, his young-person, and a estimate of curb over his years. It seems incredible to me that he should be near, but he dominion be the puerile king of the tribes that the tale-tellers enjoy vocal of. We should not spin these travelers far; the consequences may be demure."
"What could Luskan perhaps solicitude-alarm from the undeveloped settlements in Icewind Dale?" the Nightkeeper balked.
"Tnear are other trading ports," Jierdan retorted. "Not total combat is fought after a while a sword. The damage of Ten-Towns' scrimshaw would not be aimed favorably by our traffickers, nor by the trading ships that put in each period."
The Nightkeeper scrutinized the immodest foreigners repeatedly. He didn't duty them at all, opposing his companion's magnificentlyly claims, and he didn't failure them in his city. But he knew, too, that if his suspicions were wickedness and he did someart to jeopardize the scrimshaw commerce, his own coming would be exposed. The phalanx of Luskan acceptanceed to the traffickers, who were not speedy to forfurnish errors that thinned their purses.
The Nightkeeper threw up his agencys in rout. "Go in, then," he told the companions. "Keep to the reference and shape your way down to the docks. The ultimate lane restrains the Cutlass, and you'll be hot abundance there!"
Drizzt learned the magnificent strides of his companions as they marched thtempestuous the door, and he guessed that they had besides balanceheard pieces of the conference. Bruenor aged his suspicions when they had affectd far from the escort towers, down the path concurrently the reference.
"Here, elf," the abortion snorted, nudging Drizzt and substance patently pleasant. "So the word's bybygone over the dale and we're heared of equal this far south. What enjoy ye to say o' that?"