Chapter 23:


Artemis had long gotten used to spending time with thieves. They had returned to the ragged Flagon some time ago after a bit more rest. Evelyn seemed to be doing just fine now as she sat with her fellow thieves as they show what they find. It was a lot of loot, their former guild master had been stealing from them for years. So he had a lot of time to collect his horde. But they look so happy, going through it all. Of course most of it will return to the vault to repay any debt they had fallen into thanks to Mercer. He wasn't aloud to go into the inner cistern, but Artemis was fine with that. He wasn't a thief after all, he had no interest in joining. Once her business there was done they leave Riften. She'll leave Brynjolf and the others to figure the rest of it out. Since they have a better idea where all that loot should go to. Artemis isn't one to ask questions so he just follows her like normal. They ride their way to Whiterun, which is rather normal. It's almost noon when they make it to the town. Once they enter the gates, they witness a few kids running around, playing tag. Lucia is one of the kids and turns when they enter. "Mama~" The girl smiles and runs over to Evelyn, hugging her. Evelyn just smiles and hugs the girl back. "It's good to see you Lucia, having fun?" The girl nods, the other kids run past, not giving much thought to the interactions. "Mama can I have my allowance?" Evelyn places her hands on her hips. "Have you been doing your chores?" "Yes mama.."

Evelyn ends up giving the girl about a hundred gold coins. "Thanks mama!" She turns and skips away with her prize. Artemis just watches the whole thing closely. She just shrugs it off as she makes her way to Jorrvaskr. Only to see her two boys getting into it. Alesan stomps his foot. "Oh yeah, you have a face like a Horker!" Blaise shoves him. "Take that back!" "HEY!" They stop fighting as she glares at the both of them. They look down, sheepish. "Both of you, separate, go do your chores." They just nod and run off to go find something to do. She just gives Artemis a helpless look. But he looks more amused then anything. She enters the mead hall and Farkas is the first to rush her and give her a giant bear hug. She struggles a bit, but chuckles. "Hello to you too." Vilkas joins his brother. "You're crushing the Harbinger..." Farkas just blinks, but she smiles warmly. "I'm okay, can't breath though..." He quickly lets her go, but she just pays his arm. He does it out of love, and she's okay with that. "I'm used to it by now. Hell if I wasn't greeted this way I would wonder what I did wrong." Vilkas shakes his head, but a large smile covers his face. They're always happy to have her around. "So what's the word?" Vilkas asks her. "I haven't heard much news, but we did learn about a large ship. It was one that's been sitting in the harbor in Dawnstar for awhile. Turns out it belonged to Mercer. He got the think to make a quick get away once he had stolen what he wanted." Farkas gives her a surprised look. "What was it like?" "Fancy, like really fancy, but there wasn't anything worth taking so I burned the thing."

Vilkas gives her a odd look. "Why did you burn the ship?" Her eyes turn to Artemis, but shrugs. "I felt like it, plus there was no real reason to keep it, or even sell it. No one would be interested." Farkas seems sad about it, he always wanted to travel by sea. She pats his arm again. "I'll get you a better ship, something far less fancy." He perks up at this promise. After a few minutes of chatting, she makes her way out to the back. A few people were training, per normal. It made her feel warm to see her family doing so well. The Companions will always be her family just like the Brotherhood. She enjoys her time here, and when everyone goes inside for lunch, she turns to Artemis. She picks up a pair of training weapons and he rises his brow at her. "Humor me." He joins her, picking up a small wooden dagger and a sword. They have been fighting side by side for awhile now. But a part of her wanted to spar with the man. It's been awhile since he's done this, but he's up for the challenge. They start slow, testing one another since they're both experienced fighters. But as a few minutes pass it's clear they're both equal, but he can move faster. His size gives him a slight advantage over her, but she can cover the slack. After a hour of this she lowers her weapons. "We should do this when we have any arguments." His brow rises at this, but it's not a bad idea. Not that they seem to have this problem. But they're both fighters so it's better to get it all out. Artemis picks up his weapons again, ready for round two as she smirks at him.

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It's hard to tell just how much time had past since the two Drow had hit the road. Jarlaxle takes a moment to catch his breath. It's not like he's not used to this, but the air is heavy. It's been like this since they left Silverymoon. Even Drizzt is having a hard time, which has made traveling far harder then it needed to be. But Drizzt can't shake they're getting closer to Longsaddle. "We're almost there." Jarlaxle Takes a minute before slowly joining Drizzt. "I swear, it's like climbing a mountain." They have been traveling for days together. In that time they've talk about just about everything. Drizzt now has a better understanding what Jarlaxle has been up to the last few years. Still he never really pictured himself ever traveling with the man. It was better then being alone. They finally reach the Ivy Mansion, even here, Drizzt can see something was wrong. The magic here is so weak, like many places they have been to. A few of the wizards are outside, talking among themselves. Harkle sees Drizzt and runs up to him. "Drizzt, I'm surprised to see you. Are you okay?" Drizzt shakes his head slowly. "No, the magic here feels so weak, what's going on?" Harkle looks even more surprised. "You don't know? Mystra has been assassinated." Drizzt feels his eyes go wide. Mystra was the Goddess that tended to the Weave. No wonder everything felt so off. "So the Weave is vanishing..." Harkle nods slowly at this. "We've been trying to mend what we could, but it's pointless. Magic will die, to think of a world without it..." Harkle has no idea how to handle this, none of them do and most of them are starting to panic.

Jarlaxle shuffles at this, thing were far worse then he thought they would be. He digs into his hat and pulls out the small pin. There's still a powerful aura coming from the tiny item. There might still be a chance to find Artemis. Right now, it's the only path to take. "Can you summon enough magic for a portal?" Harkle tilts his head at the strangely dressed elf. "Maybe?" Jarlaxle hands him the small item. "The other half belongs to...someone we know." He was about to say 'friend' but that might be cutting it close. Harkle takes the pin and calls to his fellow mages. They work together, and open a rather shaky portal. "I doubt we'll be able to keep this open for long." Jarlaxle turns to Drizzt. "It's a long shot, but it's the only chance we have..." Drizzt pauses, looking at Harkle. There's a part of him that doesn't want to leave. However he has little choice, he can't stay here. They have no choice but to take the portal and hope for the best. Jarlaxle takes back the pin. He'll need it to navigate the magical tunnel. Drizzt takes one last look at a long time friend, before going into the portal. It closes the minute they get in. "Good luck.." Harkle keeps his eyes on the spot for the longest time. "You'll need it.." The Astral Plane is complete chaos. It's no wonder Drizzt hadn't been able to summon Guenhwyvar. He can't help but shied a tear, knowing he may never see his friend again. Right now though, they need to make their way out of here. He just hopes they can make it through without to many issues. Jarlaxle just hopes they don't get hopelessly lost in this place.

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Artemis pants lightly as he takes a break. Evelyn is far faster then he thought she was. However he found he liked the idea of having someone that was his equal. Even more so having that someone as his lover. It's a win win in his book. Though he is aware, she can use her Thu'um at any time. But she wont fight dirty, but he still keeps it in mind. He's about to pack up to get something to eat when her head turns. He blinks, but he can feel a strange shift in the air around them. Evelyn takes his arm and pulls him back slightly as a large portal opens. It looks unstable as a elf stumbles out of it, hitting the ground. Artemis is shocked to see it was Jarlaxle. The elf slowly gets onto his feet as Drizzt quickly follows. The portal slams shut as Jarlaxle quickly dust himself off. "For a moment there, I didn't think that would work.." Drizzt slowly pulls himself up, looking around, Jarlaxle too wonders where they are. Artemis frowns deeply at the sight of Jarlaxle as the elf just smiles. "Well my plan worked, for the most part. We're here....where ever here is.." Artemis is not happy as he storms up to Jarlaxle and grabs him from the front of his outfit. "I demand to know how you found me!" Jarlaxle holds out his hands. "I...may have hidden a item on your belt..." Artemis shoves him to the ground. Evelyn slowly steps in, and holds him back. "You have a lot of nerve, showing your face after everything you've done." Jarlaxle takes a careful step back. "We had no choice...besides, how are you here?" Artemis scowls, but doesn't answer at first. "I'm not sure, I wasn't awake, just what is going on?" Jarlaxle bites his lower lip before he answers.

"The Weave is on the brink of vanishing." Artemis staggers back at this. "How?" "Mystra is dead...everything is chaos now.." Artemis goes quiet as his brows knit slightly. "If that's the case...that doesn't answer what's going on. Why I saw so many dead." Jarlaxle rubs his chin. "We they non-human?" Artemis glares at him, but nods his head slowly. "We saw the same outcome when we hit Silverymoon. Seems the humans are blaming everyone not human for what's going on. Rather typical, no offence." He makes a sweeping bow to Evelyn, but she hardly reacts. Jarlaxle fixes himself, tilting his hat. "I left the Underdark to look for answers.." It slowly hits him what he just did. "I see, I had suspicions he was still alive." Jarlaxle just gives him a helpless shrug at this. "It was for your benefit. You would have never let your obsession go if I didn't step in." Artemis is about to slug him, but again Evelyn stops him once again. She'll let him go once they have more answers. So he steps back, for now. Jarlaxle decides to ignore the slight, it's reasonable Artemis is so angry. "So, that leaves the question on where are we now?" Evelyn answers that. "You're on Nirn. From what I understand, our worlds are connected in some way. Or was before crap happened. Seems you got lucky, it's better then being on a ship." She points to Artemis. "That's what happened to him. He took a ship that somehow ended up in here." She keeps her eyes on not only Artemis, but Jarlaxle as well. The last thing she needs is for Artemis to kill the elf. "At any rate, you're here now, I doubt going back is an option." Jarlaxle shakes his head at this. "I for one, do NOT want to go back. I don't even want to know what's going on in the Underdark of magic is failing."

Evelyn sees a few of her friends watching from the doors, wondering what was going on. She just gives them a look telling them to stay back for now. She turns her gaze back to the two elves. "You're welcome to stay." Her gaze turns to Jarlaxle. "Given you behave yourself. I won't bail you out if you choose to misbehave." He just gives her an innocent smile and bows once again. "I shall be the perfect gentleman." Artemis lets out a low. "Ha." He just shrugs, but keeps up the charm. Which he's known to do around women he finds attritive. "I take by your attitude you're the one in charge. I wonder what Artemis told you." "Enough, I know who you both are, and what he's done. Compared to what you've done." He can't help but wince slightly. "Fair enough.." He's not sure what it is, but he can't shake the feeling she's not someone to mess with. "I meant well." Artemis scowls at Jarlaxle. "You manipulated me, through a flute. Be thankful someone is holding me back." Jarlaxle takes another step back and throws up his arms. It's going to be a long time before Artemis comes close to forgiving him. For now all Jarlaxle can do is try and learn more about this place. "What is this place like? Is it anything like back home?" Artemis is still glaring at him. "In some ways, it's the same. Magic works differently here, Gods, races are different as well. No one here will know you're Drow." Jarlaxle gives him a surprised look as he turns his gaze to the woman. "Most people will just assume you're just another Dark Elf from Morrowind.." Jarlaxle rocks back at this as he smiles at Drizzt. "Things are already working out for us!" Drizzt just shakes his head, he hasn't said much since he got here. He's unsure of what to make of all of this. Let alone what to say to Artemis after all this time.

Given everything Artemis knows about Drizzt. Seeing him alone, means he lost his friends. He knows well enough he would have never left them behind for any reason. "Well, now that everyone has calmed down." Jarlaxle makes his way over to Evelyn, taking a hold of her hand. He goes for a sweeping bow as he kisses the top of her hand. "I would be honored to be of any assistance My Lady." Artemis doesn't move, knowing her, she's two seconds away from Shouting him over the wall. "You have two seconds to let go before I send you on a one way trip over the wall." Jarlaxle is quick to let her go, looking at Artemis. "She's joking....right.......right?" Artemis shakes his head. "No, she has the powers of a dragon. Be happy she hasn't decided to unleash her fire on you." Jarlaxle leaps back, eyes wide. "Really, I thought there was something more to you." She just gives him an innocent shrug. "I'm nice, just watch yourself." She makes her way to Jarlaxle, much to his surprise. But he lets out a yelp as she grabs his ear. "Come on you.." She drags him away, giving one last look to Artemis before taking the Drow inside. Leaving the assassin and Drizzt, alone. Artemis rubs the back of his neck, watching Drizzt. The two of them have stayed apart, for now. Drizzt looks him over slightly. "You've changed." Artemis doesn't look as angry before. The armor is new and so is the sword. But there's something off about his skin and eyes, those are different. Artemis shrugs at this. "We all have, given what's happened back home. I had no idea it was so serous as Mystra dying..." He shakes his head at this. "Doesn't change what it's done, who we lost..." Drizzt gives him a surprised look, but turns his gaze down. Seems they've both lost much, so maybe Drizzt shouldn't be to quick to judge.

But he can't help but ask. "So will you fight me again? To try your hand again to see which of us is better?" Artemis almost laughs but he can't blame Drizzt for asking. "No, Jarlaxle is right. As much as it pains me to admit that." He scowls slightly as he crosses his arms. "My state of mind was not in the right place. I had to do it, just as much as he had to fake your death. I've moved on, there's really nothing to prove anymore.." Drizzt looks at him, he really has changed. He doesn't trust him, maybe he never will. But he can move on at least, after all he has little choice. He turns to the building before them before looking back at him. "You've made a life here." Artemis shrugs slightly. "I learned to survive here. It's what I do." Drizzt isn't so sure about that. He didn't quite miss the look between him and the woman that dragged Jarlaxle away. "I guess the question is where to go from here." Artemis glances at Drizzt. "Stay here, the Companions are good people. Protecting those that need it. Just speak to Evelyn." "The woman that was here earlier? What is your relationship with her?" Artemis scowls at this. "That's none of your concern." Drizzt smiles at this, that's really the only answer he needed. "Will we really be welcomed here?" Drizzt can't help but ask. "Some people will ask questions. But you won't face the same hate as before. You'll never really escape racism however, so keep that in mind." Drizzt nods as he slowly walks over to Artemis. The two of them stand there, eying one another. Drizzt slowly offers his hand and after a moment, Artemis shakes it. Artemis is willing to move on. It might take time but Drizzt is willing to move on as well.