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The Legendary Journeys of
drow warrior Drizzt Do'Urden



The Crystal Shard is the first book in R.A. Salvatore's most excellent Icewind Dale Trilogy, featuring the heroic dark elf, Drizzt Do'Urden. This adventure has been one of my favourites and is a flowing treatise into the realms of devotion, friendship and honour.

Pyreaus - Journey of Self


"The crystal shard was not content with an existence in a desolate mountain range ... It wanted more. It wanted power."

Akar Kessell has set in motion events that will lead to the rediscovery of the crystal shard, a magical device that may be powerful enough to bring about the destruction of Ten-Towns.

Meanwhile, the barbarians are also planning to attack Ten-Towns, and their brutal assault on the villages seals their fate and that of Wulfgar. Wulfgar, a young barbarian, proves himself to be a mighty warrior among his race - one with the power to reshape this harsh region of the Forgotten Realms. But, even with the help of the dark elf Drizzt and Bruenor the dwarf, is he strong enough to reunite the barbarian tribes?

And will the people of Ten-Towns put aside their petty differences in time to stave off the mysterious forces of the crystal shard?


Excerpts from Drizzt novels by
R.A. Salvatore






"we have one more duty before we return home," the cleric explained to the group when it reached the cave's entrance. She alone knew of the raid's second purpose. "The matrons of Menzoberranzan have bid us to witness the ultimate horror of the surface world, that we might warn our kindred."

Our kindred? Drizzt mused, his thoughts black with sarcasm. As far as he could see, the raiders had already witnessed the horror of the surface world: themselves!



Drizzt, still rated in the top of his class and in the point position, led this group, with Master Hatch’net and ten other students following in formation behind. Only twenty-two of the original twenty-five in Drizzt’s class remained. One had been dismissed - and subsequently executed - for a foiled assassination attempt on a higher-ranking student, a second had been killed in the practice arena, and a third had died in his bunk of natural causes - for a dagger in the heart quite naturally ends one’s life.



Another volley of energy bolts thudded into Drizzt, hammering the top of his head in rapid succession.

“How many spells remain, wizard?” he heard himself defiantly cry as he ignored the pain.

Masoj fell back when Drizzt looked up at him, when the burning light of those lavender orbs fell upon him like a pronouncement of doom. He had seen Drizzt in battle many times, and the sight of the fighting young warrior had haunted him through all the planning of this assassination.

But Masoj had never seen Drizzt enraged before. If he had, he never would have agreed to try to kill Drizzt. If he had, he would have told Matron SiNafay to go sit on a stalagmite.



The spirit-wraith kept his swords in their sheaths as he watched the deep gnomes pass by.

Then, as still another group of weary svirfnebli made its way back to the west, another flicker of cognition stirred within the spirit-wraith. If these deep gnomes were so prominent in this region, it seemed likely that Drizzt Do’Urden would have encountered them.

This time, Zaknafein did not let the deep gnomes wander out beyond his sight. He floated down from the concealment of the stalactite-strewn ceiling and fell into pace behind the patrol. The name of Blingdenstone bobbed at the edge of his conscious grasp, a memory of his past life.

“Blingdenstone,” the spirit-wraith tried to speak aloud, the first word Matron Malice’s undead monster had tried to utter. But the name came out as no more than an undecipherable snarl.



“Doom! Doom!” came the continuing chant, and the friends looked around to see more of the bird-men stepping out from other passages. They were dire corbies, an ancient race more common to the southern reaches of the Underdark – though rare even there – and almost unknown in this part of the world. Corbies had never been of much concern to any of the Underdark races, for the bird-men’s methods were crude and their numbers were small. To a passing band of adventurers, however, a flock of savage-dire corbies meant trouble indeed.

“Nor have I ever encountered such creatures,” Belwar agreed. “But I do not believe that they are pleased to see us.”

The chant became a series of horrifying shrieks as the corbies began to disperse out onto the walkways, walking at first, but occasionally breaking into quick trots, their anxiety obviously increasing.

“You are wrong, my little friend,” Drizzt remarked. “I believe that they are quite pleased to have their dinner delivered to them.”



Fully twenty feet in diameter, this boneless lump of pulsating flesh tied the mind flayer community together in telepathic symbiosis. The central brain was the composite of their knowledge, the mental eye that guarded their outside chambers and which had heard the warning cries of the illithid from the drow city many miles to the east. To the illithids of the community, the central brain was the coordinator of their entire existence and nothing short of their god. Thus, only a very few slaves were allowed within this special tower, captives with sensitive and delicate fingers that could massage the illithid god-thing and soothe it with tender brushes and warm fluids.

Drizzt Do’Urden was among this group.

The drow knelt on the wide walkway that ringed the room, reaching out to stroke the amorphous mass, feeling keenly its pleasures and displeasures. When the brain became upset, Drizzt felt the sharp tingles and the tenseness in the veined tissues. He would massage more forcefully, easing his beloved master back to serenity.

When the brain was pleased, Drizzt was pleased. Nothing else in all the world mattered; the renegade drow had found his purpose in life. Drizzt Do’Urden had come home.



Slowly, Dinin turned his head to watch Jarlaxle’s approach. Out here in the shadows, the mercenary seemed much different from the overly polite and compliant drow Dinin had known in House Do’Urden. Or perhaps it was just the spectre of the two sword-wielding drow guards standing by Jarlaxle’s sides and Dinin’s own realization that he didn’t have Matron Malice around to protect him.

“One should ask permission before entering another’s house,” Jarlaxle said calmly but with definite threatening undertones. “Common courtesy.”

“I am out in the open streets,” Dinin reminded him.

Jarlaxle’s smile denied the logic. “My house.”



Atop another of the many wide stairways that ran through the many-tiered cavern, a single slender figure mowed through a group of slaves and illithids alike.

“By the gods,” Belwar muttered in disbelief, for the devastating movements of this single figure truly frightened the deep gnome.

The precise cuts and deft twists of the twin swords were not at all frightening to Drizzt Do’Urden. Indeed, to the young dark elf, they rang with a familiarity that brought an old ache to his heart. He looked at Belwar blankly and spoke the name of the single warrior who could fit those manoeuvres, the only name that could accompany such magnificent swordplay.




Spirit. It cannot be broken and it cannot be stolen away. A victim in the throes of despair might feel otherwise, and certainly the victim’s “master” would like to believe it so. But in truth, the spirit remains, sometimes buried but never fully removed.

That is the false assumption of Zin-carla and the danger of such sentient animation. The priestesses, I have come to learn, claim it as the highest gift of the Spider Queen deity who rules the drow. I think not. Better to call Zin-carla Lloth’s greatest lie.

The physical powers of the body cannot be separated from the rationale of the mind and the emotions of the heart. They are one and the same, a compilation of a singular being. It is in the harmony of these three – body, mind, and heart – that we find spirit.

How many tyrants have tried? How many rulers have sought to reduce their subjects to simple, unthinking instruments of profit and gain? They steal the loves, the religions, of their people; they seek to steal spirit.

Ultimately and inevitably, they fail. This I must believe. If the flame of the spirit’s candle is extinguished, there is only death, and the tyrant finds no gain in a kingdom littered with corpses.

But it is a resilient thing, this flame of spirit, indomitable and ever-striving. In some, at least, it will survive, to the tyrant’s demise.

Where, then, was Zaknafein, my father, when he set out purposefully to destroy me? Where was I in my years alone in the wilds, when this hunter that I had become blinded my heart and guided my sword hand often against my conscious wishes?

We both were there all along, I came to know, buried but never stolen.

Spirit. In every language in all the Realms, surface and Underdark, in every time and every place, the word has a ring of strength and determination. It is the hero’s strength, the mother’s resilience, and the poor man’s armour. It cannot be broken, and it cannot be taken away.

This I must believe.

- Drizzt Do’Urden



Searing agony ripped through Clacker’s head, every blow sending waves of pain. The hook horror gurgled out an animal’s growl and exploded into furious motion, heaving up from the crushed duergar and spinning over at the newest foes.

A duergar club smashed in again, but Clacker was beyond any sensation of pain. A heavy claw bashed through the purple outline, through the invisible duergar’s skull. The gray dwarf came back into view suddenly, the concentration needed to maintain a state of invisibility stolen by death, the greatest thief of all.



“No!” Drizzt pleaded as a mist welled in his lavender eyes.

“Fight her.”

“I … cannot,” the spirit-wraith replied. “Flee from this place, Drizzt. Flee to the very … ends of the world! Malice will never forgive. She … will never stop –“

The spirit-wraith leaped forward, and Drizzt had no choice but to draw his weapons. But Zaknafein jerked suddenly before he got within reach of Drizzt.

“For us!” Zak cried in startling clarity, a call that pealed like a trumpet of victory in the green-glowing chamber and echoed across the miles to Matron Malice’s heart like the final toll of a drum signalling the onset of doom. Zaknafein had wrested control again, for just a fleeting instant – one that allowed the charging spirit-wraith to veer off the walkway.