Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore

Starless Night by R.A. Salvatore

Author:R.A. Salvatore [Ismeretlen]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Forgotten Realms (Imaginary Place), Fantasy & Magic, Fantasy Fiction, Epic, Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Elves, General, Drizzt Do'Urden (Fictitious character)
ISBN: 9780786948611
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Published: 2008-05-06T04:00:00+00:00

Chapter 15

MASKS

Catti-brie had never seen such creatures. They somewhat resembled gnomes, at least in stature, being about three feet tall, but they had no hair on their lumpy, ruddy heads, and their skin, in the starlight afforded her by the magical circlet, showed grayish. They were quite stout, nearly as muscular as dwarves, and judging from the fine tools they carried and the well-fitting metal armor they wore, they were, like dwarves, adept at mining and crafting.

Drizzt had told Catti-brie of the svirfnebli, the deep gnomes, and that is what she presumed she was looking upon. She couldn’t be sure, though, and was afraid that this might be some offshoot of the evil duergar, gray dwarves.

She crouched amid a cluster of tall, thin stalagmites in an area of many crisscrossing corridors. The deep gnomes, if that’s what they were, had come down the opposite way, and were now milling about one wide, flat section of corridor, talking among themselves and paying little heed of the stalagmite cluster twenty feet away.

Catti-brie was not sure of how she should proceed. If these were svirfnebli, and she was fairly sure of that, they could prove to be valuable allies, but how might she approach them? They certainly did not speak the same language and probably were as unfamiliar with humans as she was with them.

She decided that her best course would be simply to sit tight and let the creatures pass. Catti-brie had never experienced the strangeness of infravision, though, and she did not hilly appreciate that, sitting among the cool stalagmites, her body temperature fully thirty degrees warmer than the stone, she was practically glowing to the svirfnebli’s heat-seeing eyes.

Even as the young woman crouched and waited, deep gnomes fanned out in the tunnels around her, trying to discern if this drow (for Catti-brie still wore the magical mask) was alone or part of a larger band. A few minutes slipped by; Catti-brie looked down to her hand, thinking that she felt something in the stone, a slight vibration, perhaps. The young woman continued to stare at her tingling hand curiously. She did not know that deep gnomes communicated in a method that was part telepathy and part psychokinesis, sending their thought patterns to each other through the stone, and that a sensitive hand could sense the vibrations.

She did not know that the minute tingling was the confirmation from the deep gnome scouts that this drow crouching in the stalagmite cluster was indeed alone.

One of the svirfnebli ahead suddenly burst into motion, chanting a few words that Catti-brie did not understand and hurling a rock her way. She dipped lower behind the stones for cover and tried to decide whether to call out a surrender or take out her bow and try to frighten the creatures away.

The stone bounced harmlessly short and shattered, its flecks spreading in a small area before the stalagmite cluster. Those flecks began to smoke and sizzle, and the ground began to tremble.

Before Catti-brie knew what was happening,



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