Spider and Stone
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Lolth—patron deity of the drow, Spider Queen, regent of the Demon Web Pits—has once again stirred the dark elves into roiling aggression against the rest of Faerûn, reveling in the chaos born from her dark schemata. This is the Rise of the Underdark.
In Iltkazar, the last subterranean kingdom of the once resplendent dwarven realm of Shanatar, King Mith Barak faces a siege of drow soldiers, spies, and assassins looking to seize the powerful city and the ancient magical artifacts hidden there. Somewhere in the city, the Arcane Script Sphere—a mystical orb touched by Mystra, the long-dead goddess magic—calls out to heroes and adventurers, beckoning with whispers of power and knowledge. Mith Barak hears it and knows he cannot hold the artifact much longer, but fears what the drow may do with it.
Enter Icelin, Ruen, and Sull, Waterdavian wanders whose desire to understand their own spellscars sets them in search of Mystran mysteries—they hope to understand magic and thus understand its plague. As they move from town to town, city to city in search of knowledge, Icelin hears the siren call of the Arcane Script Sphere, and it draws the trio deep into rocks of the Underdark where they find themselves at the center of the struggle between the dwarves and drow.
Only King Mith Barak can initiate them into the mysteries they hope to illuminate. But first they must help him with a mystery of his own—a dark elf assassin, himself a seeker of the sphere, lies in Iltkazar’s dungeons shrouded in the mystery and magic of Lolth. Icelin might be the one to see past that shroud and determine the true goal of the Spider Queen’s schemes.
As the dark elves intensify their attacks, the trio realizes their quest for knowledge has taken them into a new and dangerous realm . . . a realm dictated by the whims of spider and stone.
The breath whooshed out of Zollgarza, and his face creased in pain, but he did not cry out. He kept his gaze on the floor and did not meet Mith Barak’s eyes. “We should kill him, my king,” said a rough, feminine voice from the doorway. Mith Barak swiveled his head to regard his master armswoman. The hatred in his expression did not abate. “No one is to touch him, Dorla,” he said. “Let me be understood on this. Swear an oath!” he shouted when she didn’t immediately reply. “I’ll have a godsdamn
Levriin lashed out with a mental command, sharper than any whip, and the slave’s silent cry cut off abruptly. He struggled no more. “Should we fear the goddess’s will?” Kraefmir said after a moment. “Is this chance she offers us—and the promised reward—genuine?” Oh, so very diplomatic. Levriin silently applauded his apprentice. He really wants to know if I am afraid, for he is too young yet to fear any doom. The true horrors of the world had not revealed themselves to him. Perhaps it was time
seneschal explored her memory. Efficient as Icelin’s mind was, the older the memory, the longer it took her to recall all the details. She started in surprise when the seneschal answered her question almost immediately. “There are four such texts in the library,” she said. “One of these I am forbidden to share.” “Why?” Zollgarza interjected, surprising Icelin again. She hadn’t expected him to show interest in what she asked the seneschal. Then again, he was seeking the sphere as well. The
what I want.” She clasped her hands in front of her, but when she looked at him, she was no longer weeping. Clear-eyed, she stared him down. “I want to live my life on my own terms. I won’t spend any more of it chasing down a cure for my spellscar. What happened to me shaped who I am. I’m not ashamed of it, and I’m not afraid to die. I’m more afraid of living without hope and love.” She laughed then, without humor. “Zollgarza showed me that, if you can believe it. His existence is so empty, so
Its serpentine necks braided together in shades of red, black, green, white, and blue. Icelin tried to pull back, but Mith Barak flew them relentlessly toward the maw. “Turn away,” Icelin cried, frantic. “Why are you taking us toward it?” “Because it’s already too late,” Mith Barak said in a remote voice. Before Icelin could answer, a loud screech split the air, and two giant masses slammed into them from either side. Mith Barak roared and went into a diving roll, so that the stars blurred