wilawen and pharaun

Drizzt set the black onyx figurine on the floor. Nothing that he had tried himself—with fists or swords—had penetrated the barrier. But perhaps Guenhwyvar, he thought, can find a way through.

Softly, he called the cat.

Nothing happened; staring at the polished stone, he searched in vain for the wisps of smoke that normally announced the creature’s arrival.

“What do you mean, ‘it depends’!” Wilawen slapped Pharaun’s hand away. “Depends on what—why am I even asking? Whatever it is, no.” She pushed past the drow, and made for the door.

Behind her back, Pharaun smiled.

“I have already delivered my part of the bargain, in full,” she continued, angrily, “and if you will not take me home, Drizzt will.”


“What do you mean, how?” Wilawen gestured through the open door—invisibly sealed—at Drizzt, crouching over the figurine of Guenhwyvar. “He knows the Underdark better than anyone.”

“But we are walled in here,” said the Mage, indicating the chambers with an elegant sweep of his arm. “You cannot reach Do’urden and he cannot reach you. So how is he going to take you home?”

In the strange calm of the Archmage’s newly restored chambers, his voice sounded loud—and extremely annoying. “You bastard,” said Wilawen.

“No,” replied Pharaun, unperturbed, “I know perfectly well who my father is, ”—he smiled—“though I can be rather ruthless, it is true. However, on this occasion, I am inclined to do as you ask—just not from here.”

“Then why did you say it depended?”

“To see you crackle and fizz.”

“Oh, you—”


Eryn Carantaur
The Divor Rocks

“How is he?” asked Orophin, entering the leafy shelter—set a few yards from the foot of the cliffs—where Master Dínendal was tending his patient.

The healer laid Valandil’s hand on his chest. “I believe that he will waken soon.”

“Good. I will tell the others.” He turned to leave.


Dínendal followed his friend outside. “We were wrong,” he said, quietly, “quite wrong, to leave her there alone. I know that she did it for us—for Valandil—but one of us, at least, should have stayed with her,”—his voice grew even softer—“I should have stayed with her.”


Shhhh!” The healer gestured towards his sleeping patient.

“We are not going to leave her down there,” whispered Orophin, grasping the other elf by the shoulders. “Olwë and Aistan have gone for reinforcements. It is not over yet, Master Healer, not by a long way, believe me.”


Pharaun raised his hands and, reciting a short spell, pushed his fingers into the magical seal and swept it aside, like invisible curtains. “There.”

Wilawen stepped out into the corridor. “Drizzt,”—the drow, still crouching over the figurine, looked up at her—“what is wrong?”

“Guenhwyvar,” he said, rising and seizing her hands. “It is good to see you again, O’Wilawen—but I have called, and Guenhwyvar does not answer.”

Wilawen glared at Pharaun. “Why?” she demanded.

“How should I know?” The Mage closed the chamber door and, delicately running his hands up and down the carved frame, began replacing the Archmage’s original wards.

“Try again,” said Wilawen to Drizzt, “now that he has removed the barrier—”

“For Llolth’s sake,” hissed Pharaun, “do nothing more out here—unless you want to bring every master, student, and servant of Sorcere who fancies his chances of casting a spell of destruction, running.” He offered the woman his arm. “Come.”


“My chambers.”

Wilawen frowned.

“I am hardly going to conjure up an entrance to the shadow world out here, in the corridor, am I?”

“Very well,” said Wilawen, “lead on. Drizzt and I will follow.”


“Are you ready?” asked the Mage, pouring himself another glass of brandy, and downing it in one.

Wilawen glanced at Drizzt; he nodded. “Yes,” she said.

You,” said Pharaun to Drizzt, “are no longer needed,”—the warrior’s hands moved to his twin sabres—“but suit yourself. Stand either side of me, and be quiet.”

He started the incantation, and Wilawen, holding her breath, watched as the the dimly-lit chamber faded, its colours flowing like rivulets of oil from its walls and furnishings and gathering in a dull, black hole standing somewhere—it seemed—between herself and the wall ahead.

The spell ended. “Come,” said Pharaun, and the single syllable stretched out into the distance, echoing and re-echoing. He grasped Wilawen’s hand.

“Farewell Underdark,” muttered the woman. “And good riddance—iddance—iddance.”

Together, the trio stepped through the circular shadow.

They were standing in a smooth, grey tunnel.

Beyond its translucent walls, which stretched and puckered around them, worlds boiled, their fragments bubbling up to the surface and bursting open in a succession of sharp images—a dazzling gateway to a stone city here; a troop of dwarves mining a glittering cavern there; an ink-black lake; a carven labyrinth…

“We are everywhere at once—nce—nce,” whispered Drizzt.

We are nowhere—owhere—owhere,” corrected Pharaun. “Time and place are flowing past us—ast us—ast us. Come, we must not linger. This way—iss way—iss way.” He pulled Wilawen’s hand.

But Wilawen had recognised something; and she slipped free of him and rushed towards it, crying, “Look—ook—ook!”

NO!” shouted Pharaun. “Wilawen! No—o—OH!”




Contents page


Previous chapter: Preparations
Shadow Legolas confronts Shadow Eowyn; Legolas and Eowyn return to Emyn Arnen.

chapter 26

Next chapter: The battle
The fighting begins. Wilawen makes one final bargain.

chapter 28