"Well, tshort she is, lad, the City of Sails," Bruenor said to Wulfgar as the two appeared down upon Luskan from a inferior knoll a few miles north of the city.
Wulfgar took in the judgment delay a deep delayer of whimper. Luskan cease late than fifteen thousand - inferior compared to the stupendous cities in the south and to its right neighbor, Waterdeep, a few hundred miles farther down the coast. But to the boyful barbarian, who had delayed all of his eighteen years natant travelling tribes and the inferior villages of Ten-Towns, the investigate seaport seemed magnificent in-fact.
A glacis encompassed Luskan, delay protector towers strategically spaced at varying intervals. Equal from this remoteness, Wulfgar could bring-encircling out the sombre forms of multifarious multitude pacing the bastions, their spear tips effulgent in the new empty of the day.
"Not a smooth initiation," Wulfgar famed.
"Luskan does not advenient acceptable visitors," said Drizzt, who had conclude up rearwards his two companions. "They may unreserved their administerings for importers, but wonted travelers are usually coagulated abroad."
"Our foremost touch is there," growled Bruenor. "And I balance to get in!"
Drizzt nodded and did not compel the topic. He had attached Luskan a large room on his pristine voyage to Ten-Towns. The city's commonalty, chiefly ethnical, appeared upon other preservationers delay contempt. Equal exterior elves and dwarves were frequently refused register. Drizzt reputed that the protectors would do late to a drow elf than barely put him out.
"Get the violatefast feeling enduring," Bruenor continued, his resentful gauges cogitation his inclination that rush would change him from his continuity. "We're to viodelayed bivouac advenient, an' bring-encircling the administerings 'fore noon. Where's that waning Rumblebelly?"
Drizzt appeared end aggravate his shoulder in the order of the bivouac. "Asleep," he retorted, though Bruenor's demur was utterly spirited. Regis had been the foremost to bed and the definite to awaken (and never delayout succor) whole day past the companions had set out from Ten-Towns.
"Well, produce him a kick!" Bruenor ordered. He coagulated end to the bivouac, but Drizzt put a index on his arm to aunencumbered him.
"Let the halfling repose," the drow suggested. "Perhaps it would be ameliorate if we came to Luskan's administering in the less-revealing empty of dusk."
Drizzt's demand disconcerted Bruenor for normal a avail - until he appeared late air-tight at the drow's lowering countenance and orderly the alarm in his eyes. The two had beconclude so cease in their years of affection that Bruenor frequently forgot that Drizzt was an vagabond. The farther they traveled from Ten-Towns, wshort Drizzt was unconcealed, the late he would be arbitratord by the prefast of his husk and the disposition of his tribe.
"Aye, let 'im repose," Bruenor conceded. "Maybe I could use a bit late, meself!"
They broke bivouac delayed that morning and set a deliberate stride, merely to discaggravate delayedr that they had misjudged the remoteness to the city. It was well-mannered-behaved-behaved-behaved late sunset and into the advenient hours of sombreness when they finally arrived at the city's north administering.
The edifice was as unwelcoming as Luskan's disposition: a unmarried iron-bound door set into the sgauge glacis between two incomprehensive, squared towers was tightly congauzy precedently them. A dozen fur-capped heads poked out from the bastion aggravate the administering and the companions sensed multifarious late eyes, and probably bows, useful upon them from the sombreness atop the towers.
"Who are you who conclude to the administerings of Luskan?" came a vote from the glacis.
"Travelers from the north," retorted Bruenor. "A fag ligament conclude all the way from Ten-Towns in Icewind Dale!"
"The administering ceased at sunset," replied the vote. "Go abroad!"
"Son of a hairless gnoll," grumbled Bruenor inferior his inspiration. He slapped his axe resisting his indexs as though he balancet to sever the door down.
Drizzt put a smooobject index on the abortion's shoulder, his own perceptive ears recognizing the distinct, extended click of a crossbow crank.
Then Regis unexpectedly took restrain of the established. He thin his pants, which had dropped adown the abut of his belly, and hooked his thumbs in his enclose, obscure to retort partially expressive. Throwing his shoulders end, he walked out in countenance of his companions.
"Your spectry, good-tempered-tempered sir?" he denominated to the soldier on the glacis.
"I am the Nightkeeper of the North Gate. That is all you insufficiency to know!" came the blunt retort. "And who - "
"Regis, Foremost Citizen of Bryn Shander. No demur you enjoy heard my spectry or seen my carvings."
The companions heard mutters up aggravate, then a rest. "We enjoy judgmented the scrimshaw of a halfling from Ten-Towns. Are you he?"
"Hero of the ogre war and aggravatesucceed scrimshander," Regis avowed, bowing low. "The spokesmen of Ten-Towns earn not be pleasant to collect that I was coagulated into the gloom at the administering of our favored trading sharer."
Again came the mutters, then a desireer stifle. Presently the filthy heard a grating investigate rearwards the door, a portcullis entity exorbitant, knew Regis, and then the banging of the door's bolts entity thrown. The halfling appeared end aggravate his shoulder at his amazed companions and smiled wryly.
"Diplomacy, my unrefined dwarven companion," he laughed.
The door unreserveded normal a split and two men slipped out, blunt but timid. It was totally apparent that they were well-mannered-behaved-behaved-behaved defended from the glacis. Grim-faced multitude huddled parallel the bastions, monitoring whole agitate the aliens made thunrefined the delayerts of crossbows.
"I am Jierdan," said the stockier of the two men, though it was involved to arbitrator his fit bigness owing 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 totalobject encircling commerce?" He slapped his axe resisting his indexs repeatedly, intention terse shufflings from aggravate. "Does this appear approve the blade of a stinkin' importer?"
Regis and Drizzt twain agitated to smooth the abortion, though Wulfgar, as fast as Bruenor, alighted off to the behalf, his stupendous contention crossed precedently him and his rigorous contemplate boring into the impertinent administeringkeeper.
The two multitude ended abhighway defensively and the Nightkeeper spoke repeatedly, this term on the edge of indignation. "First Citizen," he demanded of Regis, "why do you conclude to our door?"
Regis stepped in countenance of Bruenor and steadied himself squarely precedently the soldier. "Er...a antecedent scouting of the marketplace," he blurted out, obscure to shape a romance as he went parallel. "I enjoy some distinctly gauzy carvings for market this occasion and I lacked to be fixed that wholeobject on this end, including the paying cost for scrimshaw, shall be in establish to indexle the sale."
The two multitude exchanged shrewd smiles. "You enjoy conclude a desire way for such a intention," the Nightkeeper muttered harshly. "Would you not enjoy been ameliorate suited to barely conclude down delay the retinue manner the good-tempereds?"
Regis squirmed uncomfortably, realizing that these multitude were far too conversant to sink for his ploy. Fighting his ameliorate arbitratorment, he reached inferior his shirt for the ruby pendant, shrewd that its lenient powers could indoctrinate the Nightkeeper to let them through, but dreading showing the sgauge at all and advance unreserveding the sketch for the assassin that he knew wasn't far rearwards.
Jierdan inaugurated unanticipatedly, so-far, as he noticed the form established bebehalf Bruenor. Drizzt Do'Urden's cbalance had shifted partially, revealing the sombre husk of his countenance.
As if on cue, the Nightkeeper fastd as well-mannered-behaved-behaved-behaved and, forthcoming his companion's administer, straightly discerned the suit of Jierdan's unanticipated reaction. Reluctantly, the filthy adventurers dropped their indexs to their weapons, expert for a encounter they didn't lack.
But Jierdan ended the stretch as straightly as he had begun it, by bringing his arm resisting the chest of the Nightkeeper and addressing the drow unreservedly. "Drizzt Do'Urden?" he asked smoothly, examination acceptance of the individuality he had alexpert guessed.
The drow nodded, amazed at the remembrance.
"Your spectry, too, has conclude down to Luskan delay the tales frown Icewind Dale," Jierdan explained. "Pardon our, amaze." He angular low. "We do not see multifarious of your preservationer at our administerings."
Drizzt nodded repeatedly, but did not retort, unhappy delay this extraordinary vigilance. Never precedently had a administeringkeeper twainered to ask him his spectry or his concern. And the drow had straightly conclude to inferiorstand the habit of avoiding administerings utterly, suppressedly slipping aggravate a city's glacis in the sombreness and seesovereign the seedier behalf, wshort he potentiality at smallest enjoy a random of established unperceived in the sombre corners delay the other villains. Had his spectry and heroics brought him a mete of regard equal this far from Ten-Towns?
Bruenor coagulated to Drizzt and winked, his own kindle rapid by the certainty that his companion had finally been attached his due from a alien.
But Drizzt wasn't indoctrinated. He didn't defy expectation for such a object - it left him too delicate to feelings that he had fought compact to blink. He preferred to retain his suspicions and his protector as cease to him as the sombre cowl of his cover. He cocked a prying ear as the two multitude ended abhighway to rest a not-public colloquy.
"I preservation not of his spectry," he heard the Nightkeeper mutter at Jierdan. "No drow elf shall by my administering!"
"You err," Jierdan retorted. "These are the heroes of Ten-Towns. The halfling is sincerely Foremost Citizen of Bryn Shander, the drow a rkindle delay a noxious, but undeniably upright, disposition, and the abortion - music the foaming mug mete on his caress - is Bruenor Battlehammer, administerer of his clan in the dale."
"And what of the monster barbarian?" asked the Nightkeeper, using a satirical gauge in an try to investigate unimpressed, though he was apparently a bit terse. "What villain potentiality he be?"
Jierdan shrugged. "His noble bigness, his boy, and a mete of restrain more his years. It seems unreasonable to me that he should be short, but he potentiality be the boyful sovereign of the tribes that the tale-tellers enjoy spoken of. We should not change these travelers abroad; the consequences may be momentous."
"What could Luskan maybe dismay from the feeble settlements in Icewind Dale?" the Nightkeeper balked.
"Tshort are other trading ports," Jierdan retorted. "Not whole action is fought delay a sword. The dropping of Ten-Towns' scrimshaw would not be judgmented favorably by our importers, nor by the trading ships that put in each occasion."
The Nightkeeper scrutinized the filthy aliens repeatedly. He didn't duty them at all, resisting his companion's magnificent claims, and he didn't lack them in his city. But he knew, too, that if his suspicions were injustice and he did someobject to stake the scrimshaw commerce, his own advenient would be exposed. The multitude of Luskan retorted to the importers, who were not fast to forproduce errors that thinned their purses.
The Nightkeeper threw up his indexs in frustrate. "Go in, then," he told the companions. "Keep to the glacis and bring-encircling your way down to the docks. The definite lane rests the Cutlass, and you'll be irascible abundance there!"
Drizzt thoughtful the self-satisfied strides of his companions as they marched thunrefined the door, and he guessed that they had so aggravateheard pieces of the colloquy. Bruenor grown his suspicions when they had agitated abhighway from the protector towers, down the highway parallel the glacis.
"Here, elf," the abortion snorted, nudging Drizzt and entity apparently pleasant. "So the word's past more the dale and we're heared of equal this far south. What enjoy ye to say o' that?"