Above the Spine of the World mountain range in the northwestern corner of Faerun lies the wide valley known as Icewind Dale. Originally settled by rogues with no where else to go centuries before, the Dale now boasted ten villages, collectively known as Ten-Towns. Each of the ten villages made their livelihood through fishing for the knucklehead trout which lived in abundance in the several lakes of the Dale. Good for food, the knucklehead troat was also the sole source of bone for the Dale's other well-known export, scrimshaw.
Dominating the landscape of the Dale is the sole mountain in the grand valley, a craggy peak known as Kelvin's Cairn. Many of the ten villages had been built with their back to the mountain, allowing it to form a natural barrier between the individual settlements, and forming a last resort of defense from the orc and giant hoards found in the northern reaches. Down below the mass of Kelvin's Cairn, lies another unseen settlement, unknown to the casual observer. The Battlehammer clan of dwarves, in exile from their traditional home of Mithril Hall. Bruenor Battlehammer is ruler over the dwarves of Icewind Dale, and known for his stubbornness. Beneath his gruff exterior is a kind heart, as is proved by his taking in of the young the young fostering, Cattie-Brie. Cattie-Brie's parents had been killed during a gobllin raid when she was just a toddler, and Bruenor had shown a compassion uncommon among his kind, taking in a human. A few weeks after Drizzt arrives in the Dale, Cattie begs to be let outside, her human spirit stifled by halls meant for dwarven sensibilities. Against his better judgment, Bruenor acquiesces, and allows her to go out for a time.
Cattie goes outside, and quickly runs across Drizzt Do'urden and his great panther, Guenhwyvar. For the first time in years, Drizzt is not met with instant fear and prejudice. Though wary because of all the stories she had heard about drow, Cattie does not run away, but remains open with the curiosity of a child. Making instant friends with Guenhwyvar, Cattie-Brie speaks with Drizzt for a short time, and then runs back home before her father can get worried for her safety. Drizzt knew he had made a new friend, and he hoped that the friendship would open other doors as well.
Meanwhile, Bruenor himself had just learned of the presence of the drow elf from the spokesman of Bryn Shander, Cassius. Fearing for the safety of his daughter, Bruenor forbids Cattie from going out on the Cairn again without his express permission. She tries to tell Bruenor she had already met the elf and trusted him, but was unable to do so, and was cowed into promising him she would not go onto the mountain again. During an uncharacteristic mid-winter thaw, Cattie=Brie realizes she could keep her promise to Bruenor by staying on the paths that skirted Kelvin's Cairn, and then call out for Drizzt. Bruenor never told her not to contact the elf, just to stay off the Cairn. Every few weeks, Cattie would venture out of the dwarven caves, looking for her new friend. They passed the winter, their relationship growing ever more closer.
For his part, Bruenor had vowed to confront the dark elf as soon as the winter snows began to recede. He had never met a dark elf himself, but he knew their reputation, and would no longer suffer such a dangerous foe so close to home. While climbing the Cairn and looking for the drow, Bruenor is attacked by an ice worm, one of the huge dragon-like creatures that inhabit the Dale. Though he is initially caught by surprise and knocked down, Bruenor quickly gets the upper hand with his battle axe, cleaving the head of the beast cleanly. Up above, Drizzt is silently watching. When Bruenor sees him standing there, he calls out to Drizzt, calling him a vile creature. Disappointed in the dwarf after spending so much time with Cattie, Drizzt's initial reaction is to give in to his anger and allow the hunter to come and deal with the dwarven king. Drizzt's true nature, the individual Mielikki spoke to in his heart, won the day, and so Drizzt slowly turned and walked away. The dark elf's departure confused Bruenor, and flew in the face of all he had ever heard of the drow species. Bruenor convinced himself that the being must not be a drow after all.
A few weeks later, Drizzt's enemy, Roddy McGristle enters Icewind Dale. Somehow, he had been able to track Drizzt from Lurkwood all the way to Bryn Shander. From there, he was able to follow the clues to the throne room of Clan Battlehammer. Bruenor, still not believing he had encountered a drow, says he had not seen a dark elf. In addition, he states that, "If yer drow's about, he's been no bother." McGristle goes into his usual diatribe about how Drizzt attacked and killed the Thistledown family, killed one of his dogs, and scarred his face. To these accusations, Cattie-Brie calls McGristle a liar, and then Bruenor throws the ugly human out of his Hall for upsetting his daughter. After Roddy is gone, Bruenor turns on his daughter and yells, "Ye've been to the mountain and seen the drow, haven't ye? Ye've disobeyed me! And now we learn the dark elf's a killer!"
Disbeleiving the accusations, Cattie-Brie runs out into the winter snows to confront Drizzt, and tells him of Roddy and the rumors of the Thistledown family. "So that story has followed me event to the end of the world." Drizzt is shocked, but not surprised, and as they discuss the situation further, Drizzt realizes that his troubles will not soon end. He sends Cattie-Brie home, telling her not to fear for his own safety. At that moment, Drizzt decides he has no wish to further battle Roddy, and so decides to leave Icewind Dale. As Cattie is headed home, she is assaulted by Roddy, who has followed her and seen her with Drizzt. He threatens her and tells her she will take him to Drizzt, but he drow appears behind him suddenly and says, "Let the girl go, McGristle." After a brief, but heated exchange, Roddy lets Cattie go, and attacks Drizzt. Easily evading the brutish attack, Drizzt succeeds in knocking the hunter down, and has the man at his mercy. Instead of choosing to strike the bigot down, he slams his scimitar's pommels against Roddy's temples, knocking him unconscious. Drizzt leaves him lying in the snow. Hours later, Cattie-Brie brings Bruenor to where Roddy lay. He tells Roddy that he should not have touched Cattie, and furthermore should not caller her a liar. He takes a leg from the hunter's remaining dog as revenge. McGristle and his now three legged dog left the Dale and never returned, neither did he ever bother Drizzt again.
Bruenor then climbs Kelvin Cairn and finally meets Drizzt face to face. He tells the drow, "All my life I been told drow are evil. But then one comes to my valley, and worse, me own daughter goes to him! She tells me he has a good heart, and I see in her eyes she's speakin' true, what then? I thought I knew, thought I had it all figured out, but I didn't know nothin'...but ye be keepin' yer eyes on me girl if she's so orc-headed as to keep visitin' ye! Be knowin' that I hold yerself responsible for her safety!"
Unsure at first what to make of the dwarf's tirade, Drizzt eventually realized that Bruenor had accepted him. The dark elf decided he would not leave Icewind Dale. After nearly two decade, Drizzt had finally come home.
Five years pass, and Drizzt has been accepted by Bruenor Battlehammer and his foster-daughter Cattie-Brie, and that acceptance has given Drizzt the ability to walk freely down the streets of the villages of Ten-Towns. Though he is mistrusted still by many of the locals, they too have accepted his presence, though somewhat warily. Drizzt has found a home, and he would do everything necessary to protect it.
Life was hard in the frozen tundra north of the Spine of the World mountain range, and the only civilization evident were there the ten settlements, Lonelywood, Termaline, Caer Konig, Caer Dinival, Bremen, Targos, Easthaven, Dougan's Hole, Good Mead, and the largest, Bryn Shander. The local economy was dependent upon the abundant knucklehead trout found in cold lakes. Besides being the primary source of food for trade and their own tables, the head bones of the trout were carved into intricate designs by local scrimshanders. Just north of Ten-Towns, lay the Dwarven Vale, and the mines of Clan Battlehammer. Trade between the humans and the dwarves was an important feature of life in the Dale. Even further north, above the Reghed Glacier, lay the homes of the Barbarian tribes who viewed their neighbors to the south with contempt. From his perch at the top of Bruenor's Climb, Drizzt Do'urden looked down on it all.
For his part, Drizzt still fought how the sunlight burned his eyes, even after so many years on the surface. The winter snows exaserbated the condition, but Drizzt would not let that deter him from protecting the Dale with all his heart, strength and skill. Among the duties he placed upon himself was the tracking down of the dangerous tundra yeti that roamed the snow drifts looking for local citizens to use as food. Drizzt did his best to thin the herd and keep the beasts away from the villages. On one particular day, while on his way to meet Bruenor, he is assaulted by two of the yeti, and only escapes certain death because of the timely intervention of the Battlehammer king. Unknown to the pair, Beorg and Heafstagg, clan chiefs of two the Barbarian tribes to the north, have called all the tribes together in preparation for a full scale assault on Ten-Towns.
Drizzt and Bruenor arrive at the dwarf's throne room and begin discussing how to go about rediscovering Clan Battlehammer's ancestral home, Mithril Hall. Drizzt agrees that someday they will find it, but for now more pressing matters required their attention. Drizzt has seen the Barbarians moving southward banging their war drums. "If Ten-Towns doesn't unite against them, the people are doomed." Bruenor sees that they will need his people's help to win the battle, but he refuses to do so if the towns remain divided. He will not throw away his people's lives in a futile effort. If necessary, he will seal the entrances to Clan Battlehammer's halls and wait for the bloodshed to be over.
Drizzt suggests that they get Regis to use both his position as spokesman of Lonelywood and his magic ruby pendant to bring the other nine spokesmen together for the defense of the people. Bryn Shander was the capitol of Ten-Towns, and so the Council gathered together. If Regis could get the two spokesmen of Targos and Termalaine to agree, the others would all fall in line. This was a near impossible task, as the two towns were the most prosperous of the area, and therefore fierce competitors. As the spokesmen on the Council argued among themselves and called one another liars, Regis stood up on the table to adress them. Though uncomfortable with using the ruby pendant in such a way, he knew that they survival of Ten-Towns was at stake, so he used the gem on Kemp of Targos, bringing him unwittingly into agreement with Agorwal of Termalaine. The alliance of Ten-Towns was assured, at least until after the battle was over. Soon, Drizzt began tracking the Barbarians as they moved out of the snow-covered passes and into the wider valled of the Dale. He reported back often on the tribes' progress, going directly to Cassius and the other spokesmen of the Council. Though Kemp and a few others still treated him with disdain, the others at least accepted him as an ally and a much needed resource if they were to keep tabs on events as they unfolded. As some of the villages are evacuated to Bryn Shander, Drizzt proposes a trap. A smaller group of Barbarians rush into the deserted town of Termalaine and are ambushed by a group of archers and warriors. It was a slaughter, the Barbarians falling dead to the ground before they could even brandish their weapons.
Meanwhile, the larger force of Barbarians surrounds Bryn Shander, believing the siege would be short lived. Caught between the combined armies of Ten-Towns inside the walls, and Bruenor's dwarven warriors combined with Bryn Shander's warriors on the outside, the northern tribes held no chance for survival. In the middle of it all were the blindingly fast blades of Drizzt, a seeming force of nature against which the Barbarians fled like frightened children. Until he was caught from behind with a mace to the ribs.
Nearby, Heafstagg finally realized that not a man of his would make it off the field of battle unless he called for retreat. As the Barbarians run from the battle, Bruenor is struck from behind with a wooden pole atop his head. He turns to see the culprit is a young boy, the standard-bearer of Heafstagg. "Fool boy,"
he yells at the child, "ain't ye never been told not to hit a dwarf in the head?"
He knocks the child unconscious with the back of his axe blade. Nearby, Drizzt meets with Heafstagg as he is running for his life. They engage in battle, and Drizzt is able to get a blade into the Barbarians shoulder, but is himself slowed by his earlier wound. Heafstagg backhands the drow, knocking him away. Heafstagg bears down on the dark elf, and the two of them trade blow after blow, until they both pass out from the blood loss. Heafstagg is carried away by his men while Drizzt is left for dead on the battlefield. Kemp, the councilor for Targos (whom Regis had bewitched with his ruby), and his men find Drizzt unconscious, and literally kick him while he's down. When about to strike a blow to kill Drizzt, Kemp is interrupted by by Agorwal, councilor from the rival town of Termaline. "Were it not for the dark elf, Termaline would be in flames,"
Agorwal exclaims. "Drizzt is under my protection now! And never again shall I, or my fellow men of Termaline, prejudge him by the color of his skin and the reputation of his kin!"
Kemp calls Agorwal a fool as the men of Termaline carry Drizzt from the field of battle. Across the battlefield, two men find the young boy who hit Bruenor on the head. Bruenor has his life spared, and asks his name. The boy replies, "Wulfgar,
and Bruenor informs him that he is now to be Bruenor's servant for the next five years.
Four and a half years later, Wulfgar, a boy no longer, having grown into a strapping young man, entering his fifth and final Spring in Bruenor's service. While he had been angry and bitter in his initial days, he eventually came to respect and love the surly dwarf like a father, and worked hard every day to please the old codger. Wulfgar had been given more freedom over the months and years, and had been taught smithcraft by the dwarven clan chief, becoming quite skilled at forging blades. In time, he came to see that he owed the dwarf a great debt for saving his life and making him a better man.
Bruenor then embarks on a quest to create his greatest work. Bruenor's father had told him, "If yer talent for the craft is keen, and ye're lucky enough to live long and feel the strength of the earth, ye'll find a special day. A special blessin'. For once, and only once, the very best of our smiths may craft a weapon of their choosing that outdoes any work they'd ever done. A weapon of legend."
Today was Bruenor's day. Aegis-Fang was given shape. Aegis-Fang, a weapon of legend, of power, one that would "change the course of history, and reshape all of Icewind Dale." During the long night of it's forging, Drizzt kept watch over the dwarf, never telling him he witnessed the birth of Bruenor's magnum opus
Later, Bruenor finally presents Wulfgar with two magnificent gifts, his freedom, and Aegis-Fang. From the moment Wulfgar hefted the hammer, it had been made for him, or better yet, he had been born of it by the gods. The only condition placed upon the gift, a vow which Wulfgar easily spoke, was that the great weapon never be raised against the people of Ten Towns. The next day, Bruenor introduces Wulfgar to his new instructor, the dark elf Drizzt Do'urden. The same prejudices Wulfgar held toward women were quickly exposed in the beginnings of his relationship with the drow.
Wulfgar quickly swallowed his pride and learned all he could from this adept drow warrior. He came to appreciate this quiet elf's sense of honor and dignity. By the end of the second week, the barbarian was in complete control of his great hammer, and could successfully block most of the elf's scimitar thrusts. He came to recognize not only his weak and open areas, but learned how to counter-strike after a successful parry. Soon, Drizzt was confident the man could fell a giant in a single blow, if only he could learn patience.
Later that night, as Drizzt and Wulfgar are running around the perimeter of the Dale, the big man questioned the dark elf's very presence in the cold north. Why was a creature of such skill and impeccible morality in such a place? And above all, why did he leave his people? Drizzt responds, "They kill without mercy. They kill without passion. Lolth, the demon goddess they serve, feeds on treachery and violence--leaving no room for anything else. That's why I'm here." When Wulfgar counters that he'll never see his people or his family again, Drizzt says that he has his own respect, and that is enough, leading Wulfgar to whisper to himself, "Perhaps we are not so different."
Drizzt halts their patrol when he smells the scent of fresh blood nearby. They run to see the bodies of the dwarves, Bundo and Dourgas, stuffed in the tree. Drizzt easily sees the giant footprints in the dirt, and deduces they are part of a much larger force. He send Wulfgar back to warn Bruenor and the others, promising, "I won't start the fun without you.' Wulfgar ran all through the night, pushing himself to his peak to warn Bruenor to rouse the clan. Then, he turned back around without resting and ran back north to where he left Drizzt, eager to finally put Aegis-Fang to good use.
Bruenor and his dwarves, meanwhile, are slowly but steadily marching, following the directions provided by Wulfgar. An advance scout reports sighting a large group of giants and ogres ahead, but Bruenor realizes they are not yet near the place Wulfgar indicated the giant's camp lay. Bruenor and his men set a trap for the advancing reinforcements and laid in wait, slaughtering nearly all the ogres and many of the giants with their arrows. The dwarves descended upon the dazed and panicked giants, killing them swifly and not allowing a single foe to escape. The battle, in the place known as Daledrop, was over in three minutes.
Bruenor, having kept one of the ogres from the battle of Daledrop alive, gets Regis to use his Ruby Pendant on the creature. They learn that all of the orc, goblin, ogre, giant and barbarian tribes have united under the banner of Adar Kessell, and they plan to shortly attack Ten Towns. Wulfgar is enraged, believing his people would never band with such creatures, but he and the others know the power of Regis' jewel, it cannot be lied to. Regis goes to Bryn Shander to warn the council, a task which takes several days since the leaders are all loath to leave their own cities again.
Spokesman Kemp, as usual, mistrusts the word of the dwarves, especially since they ally themselves with Drizzt. Even more, he feels them stupid for relying on the word of an ogre, eventually accusing Agorwal of concocting the plan so that he could draw the citizens of Targos away from their fishing so that Termaline's fishers could freely fish alone. Cassius calls on Regis to "persuade" Kemp, to which the Termaline spokesman balks, stating that Regis has some sort of magic about him which allows him to sway those to whom he speaks. At this, the unswayed members of the council grow suspicious of Regis, causing Bruenor to storm out of the council chambers, leaving the human settlements to fend for themselves.
From there Bruenor locks himself and his clan in thier hole to wait out the coming war. Realizing it was not the right decision he and his clans dig back out to help fight the golinoid army. Thier arrival proved cruical in turning back the army.
Once the new treatys were signed Bruenor set out with Drizzt, Wulfgar, and Regis to find his long lost home Mithral Hall. In this journey they traveled from Icewind Dale, to Luskan, to Silverymoon, to Heralds Holdfast before they found Mithral Hall.
Inside the hall was a great evil. The same evil that chased his clan out so long ago the shadow dragon Shimmergloom. There Bruenor battled the wyrm where he and the dragon dissapeared down the gorge.