Read an excerpt from Glacier’s Edge, the new Drizzt novel by RA Salvatore
Dungeons & Dragons’ favorite drow, Drizzt Do’Urden, returns in RA Salvatore’s latest novel. glacier edge is the second book in the Way of the Drow series, and it starts where Starlight Enclave ceased in 2021. In it, fan-favorite characters Catti-brie, Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri and Zaknafein encounter a drow society never before discovered in the Forgotten Realms. Polygon is proud to present this exclusive extract.
On August 9, the novel began shipping from online retailers and independent booksellers across the country — including autographed copies available from Barnes & Noble.
They entered a wide alley of taverns and brothels, some freestanding, others carved in stalagmites, and still others nothing more than walls of fabric that barely shielded the movement within.
Dininae knew this place from the days when it was called Dinin, then second boy of House Do’Urden. He had often come here to gamble, gamble, fight – all to break the monotony of his existence as the lowest noble of Matron Malice’s court. The Braeryn seemed calmer now, and quite a bit. At first he thought that due to recent events – the march to the surface, the troubles with brewing, and the war with the demon hordes that had been fought here in Menzoberranzan just a few years earlier – but as he and Voselly continued on their way, he realized that no, it wasn’t that at all.
The shelves were filled, shelves of dirty glasses piled at the end of each bar.
Which meant this wasn’t a sign of decline. No, that day, at that moment, the avenue was strangely empty.
He saw a few regulars and potential customers, some leaning against the bars, some standing by the prostitutes as if trying to get a bargain, a couple tossing bones down a small alley between two stalagmites that formed a single tavern. But they were all so unnatural in it that he didn’t think of them as typical denizens of the stink streets. He searched for insignia and determined from the subtle revelations of their armor and weapons that these were not the downtrodden of Menzoberranzan, no.
But he saw no house markings, no emblems or crests.
And that made it worse.
“Are you ready?” he whispered to his mate.
“Of course. Do you see it too?”
“I count six.”
“At least eight.”
“Ah yes, my favorite number, at least that’s what I’ve been told since birth,” Dininae replied.
“Take heart, we have friends nearby,” Voselly told him. “We just have to assert ourselves for a moment.”
“Unless they also have friends nearby.”
Voselly stopped, half turned and grinned at him. She was about to say something, Dininae was about to yell something, when suddenly she whirled around and swung her trident down with great force, driving aside a sword that was stabbing at her back. Her attacker went off balance and fell forward just enough for Voselly to roll her shoulders and fire a devastating right cross that crunched her attacker’s face and brutally snapped his head back.
He was completely unconscious before he hit the ground.
Dininae had watched every move, the momentum and the beautiful way Voselly dropped her left shoulder back and essentially ‘threw’ the right hand with her left shoulder, resulting in such a long and truly devastating punch.
He silently reminded himself never to upset this woman, but that was all the time he had to think about something other than the fight, which was now fast taking the form of two young men or, more accurately, a barrage came at him out of four waving and stabbing swords.
His draw was so quick that Dininae’s swords just seemed to appear in his hands, just like Zaknafein had taught him to draw and stab in a single motion. His opponent on the right turned and slashed a sword to deflect him, but the other didn’t expect the sudden attack and caught Dininae’s left blade right at the top of his breastplate, where it slid up and stabbed his throat.
Dininae would have finished him off, almost decapitated him, if the other attacker hadn’t already backhanded his blocking blade, forcing Dininae to fall back and quickly turn to intercept his left blade.
He had one out of the fight, at least momentarily, stumbling and choking and falling sideways, but another enemy leapt into the void and violently pressed forward, forcing Dininae onto his heels, his two swords working furiously to stab the four blades in Chess.
Work for the rhythm, he told himself to himself.
Work for the rhythm, fall into the flow of battle, discover your opponents’ tendencies. That’s what Dininae did, and he was quite pleased with himself as he held his ground, anticipating every attack and deflecting, parrying, even riposting or dodging with a simple spin. After all his years as a rider, he still lived up to Zaknafein’s training and lived up to the compliments Voselly had just paid him.
His shock broke his rhythm and confidence as he felt something hard hit his head from behind.
Reflexively, he just folded his legs under him and dropped to his knees, also tucking his chin in and bracing himself.
But the missile – which was actually another enemy drow warrior – passed over him and fell over the two attackers, who were doing their best not to stab their poor, flailing comrade in the collision.
With just a quick look of approval back at a laughing Voselly, Dininae jumped up and forward. He first stabbed the thrown drow squarely in the kidney, and as that man collapsed in pain, Dininae blew past him, over him, taking the initiative and driving the two attackers back. Deftly using his left hand jabs, he used a series of inside-out strikes, moving his hand closer to his right hip and launching the attacks from there, forcing the stumbling, off-balance drow to move further after him to move outside.
A final shove sent the drow jumping back three paces, and Dininae spun right onto the drow, blades rolling now as if he simply intended to overpower the lad.
Except no, as Dininae broke off almost immediately to quickly backtrack to the left, where this drow charged, evidently believing Dininae was fully engaged with the other. The attacker came in offensively, one blade up, the other too far forward.
Dininae easily passed the tip of that blade and lifted his left arm, blade horizontal, to steal the blow of the drow’s raised sword.
These weren’t homeless villains. They wore fine armour.
But Dininae wielded Baenre swords, and with the momentum both combatants brought them together quickly, that fine breastplate barely slowed the thrust of Dininae’s right blade.
The drow quickly stopped and twisted oddly.
Dininae stepped back and dropped his left shoulder to slam his free sword hard behind him to stem the remaining fighter’s charge while his right foot went to the impaled drow’s chest and pushed off hard, sending Dininae out and into a roll thrown back by the mortally wounded attacker, stumbled back and fell over the first warrior Dininae had dispatched.
A flick to the right sent Dininae snapping his sword just in time to deflect a hand-crossbow argument.
He looked around, saw drow pouring into the street, and at first thought an army had moved against him and Voselly.
But no, most of them were Blaspheme warriors, the former fellow riders, he realised. He looked at a smiling Voselly.
“You were tailing us?” he asked.
“I told you we have friends,” she replied.
“You didn’t say they were tailing us.”
The warrior shrugged. “Perhaps I wanted to confirm what I was told and what I hoped to be true.”
“That I can fight?”
“Yes, and perhaps you will soon find trust in me to tell me the truth about Dininae. You are not a commoner. You are not self-taught in martial arts. You attended the academy and were trained by a master-at-arms.”
She calmed down as another tall drow woman approached her, another from the Blaspheme troop that had spent millennia in the Abyss with Lolth and her fellow torturers.
“What do you know, Aleandra?” Voselly asked.
“Your ambushers are on the run.”
“Let them go.”
She nodded. “Yes, I have already placed the order. But there is another one, a priestess of House Hunzrin. She wants to bring back these fallen enemies so they don’t die.”
“Why does she care? Are they murderers of House Hunzrin?”
“She didn’t say that, but of course I suspect it’s House Melarn.”
“So House Hunzrin is trying to mediate here and avoid war,” Voselly argued. She looked around at the five fallen ambushers, only one of whom, impaled by Dininae, appeared to be in mortal danger.
“Let her come and heal her,” Voselly decided. “And do with him what she wants. The others are coming back to House Baenre with us. I would not exceed my authority here. Let Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre decide her fate.”
Aleandra rushed away and started barking orders while Voselly led Dininae back the way they came.
“That was my prey,” he told her as they drove away. “You didn’t think that the fallen warrior’s disposition should be my choice?”
“No,” she answered simply. I was once a master-at-arms of the First House of Menzoberranzan. You’re just a commoner, you say. Why should I care what you wanted?”
Dininae stopped and let her take a few steps in front of her, standing with her hands on her hips until she turned around.
“You mean playing the same games that decided our common destiny in times past?” he asked.
“Your words have consequences. If I can trust you, I will respect you.”
“Because I’m a noble, you think?”
“Because you won’t lie to me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, warrior. I am just as anxious as you are about our disposition in this fight and about our future, if any. We’re the blasphemers, so they made the decision. We are Matron Mother Baenre’s shock soldiers, her fodder. No doubt she will throw us against her enemies and shed no tears when we are torn apart.”
“Or Lolth will reveal her wit and put us in a state of disgust,” Dininae replied, admitting his deepest fear.
“It went through my head. And that’s why I intend to bring the blasphems close together under my command. Here or back in the Abyss we stand together or we face agony – and actual death only if we’re lucky. But I like people who tell me the truth, Dininae.”
She practically spat out his nickname.
He didn’t want to cross Voselly. He really didn’t want to get in the way of Matron Mother Baenre. Most importantly, he didn’t want to be a pawn in the grand scheme of the Spider Demon Queen.
But in the end he was a Do’Urden, Elderboy Dinin Do’Urden, and in this most confusing and dangerous time he just couldn’t see how that truth would work.
https://www.polygon.com/23300262/new-drizzt-novel-excerpt-dnd-glaciers-edge-salvatore-way-of-the-drow Read an excerpt from Glacier’s Edge, the new Drizzt novel by RA Salvatore