The First Notch was the first short story ever written by R.A. Salvatore. Salvatore was writing the third book of the series titled The Halfling's Gem when Dragon magazine approached with the offer to write a short story. At the end of Streams of Silver it seemed that Bruenor had met his end and this story intentionally appeared to be a tribute to the dwarf.[1]


A young, beardless Bruenor Battlehammer along with three other dwarves, Feldegar, Khardrin, and Yorik, set out to avenge their dwarven kin who were killed by an ettin beneath Mithral Hall. Khardrin is left to guard the entrance of the tunnel while the other three go to find the monster. Along their journey, the dwarves encounter a small band of five goblins, in a cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites, who were sent to loot the ettin's lair. In the initial confrontation between the dwarves and goblins, a goblin was killed with a crossbow bolt through his heart, while the dwarf Yorik took a spear to the hip. The battle soon came to a standstill with the goblins surprised to be in the light of the dwarves and the dwarves hesitant to continue with Yorik injured. Bruenor attempted to flank the goblins, but before he could get to them, the ettin arrived through a large side tunnel.

The opposing bands quickly called a truce to kill the ettin. One goblin ran away in fright before the giant even appeared. Bruenor and the lead goblin Toadface tripped the ettin when it entered the cavern (the goblin by jumping on the giant's leg, stabbing at it futilely and Bruenor by shattering the kneecap and then hamstringing the other leg). Bruenor quickly ran up the back of the giant and drove his axe through the ettin's left head. The remaining head of the ettin took full control of the body, then struck at the goblin Sniglet who would have died if Feldegar hadn't pushed him toward the giant, inside the angle of attack. The goblin lay on his back terrified and planted his spear on the ground. Feldegar shot a crossbow bolt toward the monster and the ettin instinctively ducked down impaling its eye and brain on Sniglet's spear. After a short conflict typical among the two races, Bruenor convinced them all to hold to the truce and go their separate ways.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.