Birth and Early Life
On the night in 1297 DR that Drizzt Do'Urden was born to Matron Mother Malice Do'Urden and the weapons master Zaknafein, House Do'Urden was in the process of eradicating House DeVir to become the ninth House in the hierarchy of the underground drow city of Menzoberranzan. Drizzt was the third male child of Malice, and by all drow laws should have been sacrificed to appease Lolth, the Spider Queen, the evil goddess of the dark elves. However, at the time of Drizzt's birth, Dinin, Malice's second son, drove his sword through the heart of Nalfein, the first son, substituting him as the sacrifice and thus sparing Drizzt's life. The newborn Drizzt was found to be unique by having lavender eyes, an extreme rarity among the drow.
Meanwhile, as part of House Do'Urden's elimination plan, the wizard Alton DeVir was attacked by Gelroos Hun'ett, also known as the Faceless One, one of his masters at Sorcere, the school for mages in Menzoberranzan. Alton was saved from death by Masoj Hun'ett, the younger brother of Gelroos and an apprentice at Sorcere, who killed the master with a crossbow bolt. Masoj then turned the same weapon on Alton, but the now Houseless mage saved himself by making a bargain with Masoj. In return for his life, Alton would assume the Faceless One's identity and mentor Masoj, as well as ease the apprentice's way through his magical studies at Sorcere. To ensure that the illusion was complete, Masoj scarred Alton's face with acid, and the new Faceless One remained at Sorcere, where he began to plan his revenge on the House that had massacred his own.
For the first few years of his life, Drizzt was cared for by his sister Vierna and taught that he had an inferior place in drow society because he was a male. During that time, Drizzt was mostly assigned the never-ending task of cleaning House Do'Urden's private temple to Lolth. However, he proved to be stubborn and was determined to complete tasks assigned to him to the point of exhaustion. Drizzt mastered levitation, an ability that all noble drow shared, at an uncommonly young age and carried an innocence that set him apart from the rest of his race.
At sixteen years old, Drizzt was admitted into the noble ranks of his family as Secondboy and met Zaknafein, unknowing that the renowned weapons master was his real father, not the current House patron, Rizzen. At their first meeting, the uniquely honorable and kind-hearted Zaknafein took an immediate liking to Drizzt, forming a bond of companionship that was not a wise move according to Malice. In front of the matron mother and a few of the other Do'Urden nobles, Drizzt then proved that he was a warrior belonging to the fighters' Academy of Menzoberranzan by displaying his above-average agility and hand-eye coordination. Having proved Malice's original idea for the boy to study magic wrong, Zaknafein took Drizzt to his new quarters, a tight training hall that resembled a chapel. When Zaknafein then showed him the armory, Drizzt was stunned by the amount of different weapons that there were and started practicing with all of them until he ultimately chose dual scimitars.
For the next three years, Zaknafein trained Drizzt and developed his skills as a warrior. Zaknafein taught Drizzt how to think creatively in a fighting situation and train his muscles to respond to such thoughts. The weapons master insisted that this improvisation was the mark of a skilled warrior. Through Zaknafein's tutelage, Drizzt developed the dual-wielding fighting style that was common among the dark elves and became an incredibly talented fighter for his age.
As Drizzt neared the end of his training with Zaknafein, one of the lesser Houses of Menzoberranzan unsuccessfully attacked another. Drizzt, his family, and the other drow nobles gathered together to witness the city's Ruling Council command the instructors and students of the Academy to immediately destroy the House that had launched the failed assault, not because they had assailed another House, but because they had been unsuccessful. Drizzt was horrified by the brutality of the Ruling Council's so-called justice and the lesser House's annihilation, and he would forever hold this against drow society. Noticing Drizzt's disgust at the lesser House's destruction and seeing it as a sign of weakness, Malice decided to put him through a trial to form him into a true drow warrior. The matron mother magically disguised a goblin slave as a dark elf and forced him and her son to fight to the death. Drizzt easily defeated the goblin, but only after enduring Malice's goading did he go against his virtuous nature and kill his opponent.
Over the years since his House's destruction, Alton had continually tried to learn the name of those whom he desired vengeance against, but he repeatedly failed. Eventually, Alton's identity was discovered by Matron Mother SiNafay Hun'ett, but he was accepted into her House and came under her protection. SiNafay also revealed to Alton that it was House Do'Urden that had slaughtered his family, and he immediately began to anticipate the moment when he would have his revenge. Soon after Malice's challenge, Drizzt was accepted as a noble into Melee-Magthere, the school for fighters in Menzoberranzan, with the highest honors from his family, and he quickly made friends with Kelnozz Kenafin of the fifteenth House. At the entrance ceremony, Hatch'net, one of the masters of the Academy, intimidated the young drow class with stories of the surface, and they thus began their training in lore. The new class listened to days of hateful rhetoric directed against the drow's many enemies until finally the series of lectures was completed and the Grand Melee occurred, an annual contest in which the students battled each other for rank. Drizzt allied with Kelnozz and defeated many of the other students, but near the end of the competition, Kelnozz, showing typical dark elf loyalty, betrayed Drizzt, leaving him eighth place in the class.
Learning that the youngest Do'Urden was now training at the Academy, Alton decided that Drizzt would be the first target for his revenge. However, his eagerness was quelled by Masoj, who notified him that SiNafay had plans to eventually remove the threat that House Do'Urden posed to all of the other ruling Houses and that Alton would have a significant role when that time came.
The Academy held many disappointments for Drizzt, particularly during the first year as the many dark realities of drow society gradually revealed themselves. Drizzt would measure the masters' lectures of hatred and mistrust against the very different logic that had been taught to him by Zaknafein. Drizzt tried to find the ambiguous truth, but all the while he remembered that the only treachery that he had ever witnessed had been at the hands of his fellow drow. The physical training was more to Drizzt's liking, since that was where he could free himself of the disturbing questions of truth and perceived truth. He excelled at that part of his training, until eventually a year went by and it was time for the second Grand Melee. Drizzt swiftly found and defeated Kelnozz during the contest, avenging his classmate's betrayal from the year before, and he went on to become the champion of his class.
While Drizzt took little pride in his victory that second year, he took great satisfaction in the continued growth of his fighting skills. He won the Grand Melee in his third and fourth years, so the next year his instructors entered him into the competition with students who were three years his senior; a Grand Melee he also won. Drizzt's years at Melee-Magthere continued to pass in this manner until by the end of his eighth year, he and his classmates had begun conducting practice patrols in the tunnels and caverns that surrounded Menzoberranzan. These patrols allowed the drow class to encounter the many dangerous creatures of the Underdark, and during one such fight, Drizzt killed two hook horrors single-handed, a feat that not even Zaknafein could have easily achieved.
After nine years at Melee-Magthere, Drizzt finally completed his training there and began his six months of magical study at Sorcere under the tutelage of Masoj. SiNafay had arranged for Masoj to be the young warrior's tutor, and the wizard was determined to find some weakness in Drizzt that he could exploit if their two Houses ever fell into the expected conflict. Drizzt actually found studying under Masoj's guidance to be the most pleasant of his time at the Academy, and he discovered that he was quite proficient in the ways of magic, being able to manage a few lesser spells after only a couple of weeks. For his part, Masoj observed Drizzt very closely and several times saw an opportunity to eliminate him, but SiNafay's instructions had been explicit and Drizzt was not to be harmed. Masoj was not fool enough to disobey a matron mother, but Alton did not exhibit such self-control, and when he and Drizzt met at last, the wizard attempted to kill the young dark elf. Alton was stopped by Guenhwyvar, the magical panther under Masoj's control, and the Hun'ett mage convinced Drizzt that the attack had just been a lesson.
If Drizzt's six months at Sorcere had been the most enjoyable of his time at the Academy, then his last six at Arach-Tinilith, the school for priestesses of Lolth in Menzoberranzan, were the least. His study there was filled with an endless series of eulogies to the Spider Queen and the rewards that she bestowed upon loyal worshipers, though Drizzt thought that the term "slave" would be more appropriate. He suffered through the teachings until his graduation finally arrived, and a ceremony was conducted in which the students inhaled mind-fogging drugs and subjected themselves to the sensual pleasures of the female students of Arach-Tinilith. However, Drizzt, being the unique drow that he was, rejected the offer, and he was then brought to the land of the driders by Vierna as a punishment for refusing a priestess. Drizzt survived the ordeal and was released with the caution to follow Lolth and obey the females of drow society or face death.
Drizzt graduated with the highest honors in his class and suspected that none of those present at the graduation ceremony even remembered that he had left. After all of his years away at the Academy, Drizzt finally returned to House Do'Urden, where, out of all his family, the individual he feared seeing most was Zaknafein. Once, Drizzt had thought that Zaknafein would be his salvation against the dark realities around him, but that was before his family informed him of the pleasure that the weapons master took in killing other drow. These revelations also convinced Drizzt that even though it seemed that Zaknafein pretended to be what he was not, he was actually just like every other dark elf, a fact that both confused and angered Drizzt more than he had ever thought possible. However, Zaknafein truthfully did detest the evil ways of the drow, but he saw no means to escape his fate, so survived by following the same codes that were so hateful to him. Zaknafein thought that the Academy had corrupted Drizzt and felt great regret at what he thought was the loss of his innocent protégé. With her entire family now together, Malice discussed with them the rumors of a coming war against their House. Malice ordered them all to attempt to learn who their hidden enemy was and be prepared for an attack at anytime.
Drizzt only spent two days at home before joining one of the many patrol groups that kept the caverns around Menzoberranzan safe. Drizzt was joined in the patrol group by Dinin, Masoj, and Guenhwyvar, and the young Do'Urden and the magical panther became close friends after they fought together in many battles. For one of the missions assigned to the band, Drizzt and the others were sent to the surface in a raid on the surface elves. For most of the drow, their first experience of the surface was a time of fear, but for Drizzt, it felt like something far different as he beheld the sights and sounds of this new world. During the patrol group's attack, Drizzt became sickened by the gruesome violence and non-existent mercy that the drow showed toward the defenseless surface elves. To cover his disgust, Drizzt pretended to kill an elf child, but he actually saved her by smearing her with blood from her mother's corpse.
However, Drizzt's honorable action cost his House the favor of Lolth, a situation that could result in doom for House Do'Urden. When SiNafay discovered that Lolth had withdrawn her favor from her enemies, she quickly made preparations to take advantage of their weakness and strike. Upon his return to Menzoberranzan and with the awful memory of the surface raid haunting his thoughts, Drizzt met with Zaknafein during a short visit to House Do'Urden. Believing that Drizzt had slain the elf child, a furious Zaknafein challenged the young dark elf to a sparring match, but both of them knew that it would actually be a fight to the death. Drizzt accepted the challenge with the hope that by destroying Zaknafein, his greatest disappointment, he could remove himself from the evil of the drow race. Since Drizzt's patrol group had already been ordered to investigate activity in the tunnels east of the city, he and Zaknafein planned for their duel to occur in a week.
When the patrol group reached the tunnels east of Menzoberranzan, they discovered that a small mining expedition of svirfneblin (deep gnomes) had strayed too far into drow territory. During the dark elves' attack on the svirfneblin, Drizzt engaged an earth elemental that the leader of the gnomes had summoned. With Guenhwyvar's assistance, Drizzt defeated the elemental, but near the end of the fight, Masoj tried to strike them both down with a lightning bolt. The attack failed to kill Drizzt, but the drow warrior was then captured by the fleeing gnomes. Dinin and the rest of the patrol group quickly tracked down Drizzt with the help of Guenhwyvar and proceeded to slaughter the gnomes who were holding him captive. Only one gnome, Belwar Dissengulp, was allowed to live and return to the svirfneblin city of Blingdenstone through a disguised act of mercy by Drizzt, but Dinin did have the gnome's hands cut off.
House Do'Urden Dishonored
Malice and her daughters soon summoned a yochlol, a handmaiden of Lolth, in an attempt to discover which House was preparing to attack them. The yochlol refused to give the priestesses any direct answers, but did reveal that the enemy House was already known to them. Only after the Do'Urden priestesses gathered the rest of the family together to demand answers did Drizzt realize that Masoj had attempted to kill him with his supposedly misaimed lightning bolt. With the knowledge that their hidden enemy was House Hun'ett, Malice and the other priestesses once again summoned a yochlol in order to learn SiNafay's standing with Lolth, but instead they discovered that a recent action by a member of their family had invoked the wrath of the Spider Queen. Meanwhile, Drizzt and Zaknafein began their duel and fought ferociously until they eventually admitted their secrets. The bond between the two grew even stronger with the understanding of their shared uniqueness among the dark elves and Zaknafein's revelation that he was Drizzt's father. However, unbeknownst to Zaknafein and Drizzt, Malice and her daughters had been scrying the entire fight and now knew the reason that their House had lost the favor of Lolth.
Although Malice had specifically ordered all of the family to remain in the House Do'Urden compound due to the fear of an assassination attempt by House Hun'ett, too much had happened to Drizzt that day for him to obey. Drizzt needed time to think away from the mayhem in his House, so he set off to work through his inner turmoil in the more peaceful tunnels of the Underdark. Learning that Drizzt had journeyed from his House alone, Masoj decided to try to slay him once again, but this time the mage ordered Guenhwyvar to find and kill the young warrior. Unbeknownst to Masoj or the magical panther, Drizzt's inner thoughts had distracted him to his dangerous surroundings, allowing him to be ensnared by a cave fisher. When Guenhwyvar found Drizzt near death, her concern for his safety briefly overcame Masoj's orders and she helped him slay the cave fisher. Drizzt then helped Guenhwyvar understand that she was her own master and could overcome the commands given to her by Masoj. The panther led Drizzt to Masoj, who with the assistance of Alton, tried to kill the young Do'Urden, but the ensuing battle resulted in both of the mages' deaths. After the fight, Drizzt made a vow to never kill another drow again, and he took possession of the magical statuette used to summon Guenhwyvar before returning to Menzoberranzan.
While Drizzt had been battling in the tunnels, Zaknafein had been confronted by Malice and her daughters. The priestesses explained that Drizzt's actions on the surface had cost him his life, so Zaknafein volunteered to be sacrificed to Lolth in his son's place, an alternative that Malice accepted. Drizzt soon returned home to find that his family was preparing for war, but upon learning of Zaknafein's sacrifice, he was overcome with grief and deserted House Do'Urden. Accompanied only by Guenhwyvar, Drizzt left Menzoberranzan in search of a life outside of the city and the ways of the drow.
- Drizzt Do'Urden
- Alton DeVir • Belwar Dissengulp • Berg'inyon Baenre • Briza Do'Urden • Byuchyuch • Dinin Do'Urden • Ellifain Tuuserail • Gelroos Hun'ett • Ginafae DeVir • Guenhwyvar • Hatch'net • Kelnozz • Malice Do'Urden • Masoj Hun'ett • Maya Do'Urden • Methil El-Viddenvelp • Nalfein Do'Urden • Rizzen Do'Urden • Shar Nadal • SiNafay Hun'ett • Vierna Do'Urden • Yvonnel Baenre • Zaknafein Do'Urden
- The Legend of Drizzt: Homeland graphic novel
- Eric L. Boyd et al.. Presenting . . . Seven Millennia of Realms Fiction. Retrieved on 2014-2-28.