As written by Drizzt Do’Urden, in the novels by R.A.Salvatore.
Eye Of A Warrior
In any language, the word has a special ring to it, as much, I suspect, from the reverent way in which it is spoken as from the actual sounds of the letters. Courage. The word evokes images of great deeds and great character: the grim set of the faces of men defending their town’s walls from raiding goblins; the resilience of a mother caring for young children when all the world has seemingly turned hostile. In many of the larger cities of the Realms, young waifs stalk the streets, a braving of hardships both physical and emotional.
I suspect Artemis Entreri ought such a battle in the mud-filled lanes of Calimport. On one level, he certainly won, certainly overcame any physical obstacles and rose to a rank of incredible power and respect.
On another level, Artemis Entreri surely lost. What might he have been, I often wonder, if his heart had not been so tainted? But I do not mistake my curiosity for pity. Entreri’s odds were no greater than my own. He could have won out over his struggles, in body and heart.
I thought myself courageous, altruistic, when I left Mithril Hall determined to end the threat to my friends. I thought I was offering the supreme sacrifice for the good of those dear to me.
When Cattie-brie entered my cell in House Baenre, when, through half-closed eyes, I glimpsed her air and deceivingly delicate features, I learned the truth. I did not understand my own motivations when I walked from Mithril Hall. I was too full of unknown grief to recognise my own resignation. I was nit courageous when I walked into the Underdark, because, in the deepest corner of my heart, I felt I had nothing to lose. I had not allowed myself to grieve for Wulfgar, and that emptiness stole my will and my trust that things could be put aright.
Courageous people do not surrender hope.
Similarly, Artemis Entreri was not courageous when he came with Cattie-brie to rescue me. His actions were wrought of sheer desperation, for if he remained in Menzoberranzan, he was surely doomed. Entreri’s goals, as always, were purely selfish. By his rescue attempt he made a conscious choice that coming after me was his best chance for survival. The rescue was an act of calculation, not of courage.
By the time Cattie-brie had run out of Mithril Hall in pursuit of her foolish drow friend, she had honestly overcome her grief for Wulfgar. The grieving process had come full circle for Cattie-brie, and her actions were motivated only by loyalty. She had everything to lose, yet had gone alone into the savage Underdark for the sake of a friend.
I came to understand this when first I looked into her eyes in the dungeons of House Baenre. I came to understand fully the meaning of the word courage.
And I came, for the first time since Wulfgar fell, to know inspiration. I had fought as the hunter, savagely, mercilessly, but it wasn’t until I looked again upon my loyal friend that I regained the eyes of a warrior. Gone too was my resignation and acceptance of fate; gone was my belief that all would be right if House Baenre got its sacrifice – gave my heart to Lloth.
In that dungeon, the healing potions returned strength to my battered limbs; the sight of grim, determined Cattie-brie returned strength to my heart. I vowed that I would resist, that I would fight the overwhelming events, and would fight to win.
When I saw Cattie-brie, I remembered all that I had to lose.