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Summary: Pre-PotWK. Entreri and Jarlaxle find themselves on the road in Damara when a blizzard hits. Fluff.
Wordcount: 1638

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Despite the locals' assurances that winter storms were still a month away and the brisk chill in the air was normal for autumn, Entreri and Jarlaxle soon found themselves covered in fluffy white clumps of snow. It clung to Entreri's hair and Jarlaxle's hat.

Sunlight dimmed as grey clouds swept over the horizon, leaving everything dark and grim. Snow fell faster as the wind picked up, and soon Entreri realized that they should have reached the road by now.

"We're lost," he yelled to Jarlaxle, who had pulled his hood up and stowed his hat in a pocket, lest the wind snatch it away.

Jarlaxle nodded and said something, but the wind snatched his words away before they could reach Entreri's ears. He took a step and leaned closer so his lips were only inches away from the human's ear.

"We should get shelter. That tent of yours, perhaps."

Entreri shook his head. "No. We could wake in the morning and find ourselves buried." He'd heard stories of it happening to people who used extradimensional spaces to hide from sandstorms. Blizzards were likely to present the same issue.

Jarlaxle frowned, but nodded in agreement.

"There was a cliff in that direction." Entreri pointed at where he thought south had been before the clouds had taken over. "It will protect from the wind."

It took longer than he anticipated to reach the cliff. The wind warped their sense of direction and they came at it from a diagonal. By the time they got there, the sun had set completely, leaving the wind with a colder bite.

Jarlaxle pulled something out: the dimensional hole. Entreri shook his head but Jarlaxle grinned and pointed at a higher point on the cliff. It was right next to tree that hadn't lost all of its autumn leaves. At the height Jarlaxle was pointing at, getting buried wasn't much of a risk compared to freezing to death.

Jarlaxle levitated up, placed the hole, then dropped a rope. Entreri climbed inside, pleased to note that the branches of the tree outside offered a small amount of shelter from the wind.

Jarlaxle had curled up at the far end of the hole. "Now I understand why most drow that come to the surface stay in the southern climes," he said, rubbing his hands together and placing them against his ears.

"Most?" Entreri settled next to him with a glare. Jarlaxle shrugged.

"There remains a handful of insane rogues who favor the north. You were acquainted with one. I am sure there are others."

"I think I'm sitting next to one. We're in this frozen wasteland at your insistence, if you will recall." Entreri pulled off his cloak. It was soaked through with melting snow and he thought it might do more harm than good at this point. Jarlaxle's own cloak must have been enchanted, because it looked perfectly dry.

"That was before I got acquainted with the weather." Jarlaxle stuck his hands into his armpits, looking perfectly miserable.

"So we are going back to Calimport after this?" Due to the rounded nature of the floor, he was already sitting quite close to Jarlaxle. He eyed Jarlaxle's cloak and inched closer.

"I'd imagine everyone in Calimport still wants to kill us."

"They are welcome to try," Enteri said, wincing as the wind shifted direction and blew directly into their shelter. He inched closer, disguising the movement as an exaggerated glance outside. "It would still be an improvement on our current situation."

"Perhaps. But there is plenty of opportunity here if we look for it."

Entreri gestured at the sky. The snow had turned the view outside to nothing but a dark grey blur. "Do you want to go looking, or shall I?"

"We'll find it in the morning. Is there a reason you're sitting so close?" Jarlaxle grinned at him. "I'm not objecting, I'm simply curious." Of the two of them, Entreri was far more guarded with his personal space.

Entreri sighed, realizing he'd have to explain himself. "Calimshan nights get very cold. Not this cold, but still enough to be dangerous. Sometimes people sit closer together to conserve body heat."

"Very well, I'm convinced." Jarlaxle held out an arm, holding half the cloak up in invitation. His shoulders shook with laughter. Entreri ducked under the cloak with a scowl.

Jarlaxle curled around Entreri's side and jammed his icy hands under the assassin's shirt. Entreri growled at him, reconsidering this whole plan.

"Please, abbil?"

He was feeling warmer, despite the chilled fingers against his stomach.

"I still believe we should look elsewhere for your 'opportunities.' This place is cold and muddy." And ruled by a so-called holy crusader, he added silently.

"True opportunities are more difficult to find than you imagine, my friend." Jarlaxle's voice was warm and wistful against his ear. "There is an absence here. Finding a void and filling it is the best way to succeed."

Entreri turned to look at Jarlaxle skeptically.

"Is that what you think you did in Calimport?"

"No," Jarlaxle admitted. He stretched, rearranging himself so that Entreri was between him and the open cliff. "There wasn't a power void there. Quite the opposite."

"Were your scouts so inept, that you didn't think you would have competition?" Bregan D'aerthe had barely any competition in Menzoberranzan. At the time, Entreri had assumed the band had destroyed any other mercenaries, but perhaps that wasn't the case. The wind pulled at the cloak, which was spacious for one person, but slightly too small to be shared by two. He held onto the edge to stop it from flying away.

"We knew. It was one of many reasons Rai-guy and Kimmuriel urged me to choose a different city." Another gust of wind came whipping through, dusting them and the cloak with chunks of ice. He grinned. "The sunlight was another reason. Knowing what I do now of surface weather, I clearly made the right decision."

"And it worked out so well for you. You should have gone to Luskan instead."

He could feel Jarlaxle shrugging. "It worked out well enough."

"So well that you are now lost in a blizzard. If this is how you define success, we may have to part ways in the morning."

At some point Jarlaxle's arms had wrapped around his chest. Now they tightened for a moment. The drow's voice was soft in his ear.

"If you are defining success as mere survival, then perhaps it is your definition that's wanting."

Entreri felt an unsettling tug in his chest at Jarlaxle's words. He realized his hand not holding the cloak had settled against the drow's knee and pulled it away, crossing his arms.

"Not survival alone, perhaps, but it is the prerequisite for succeeding at anything else," he said.

"Ah, but we are surviving, abbil. The storm will pass in a few hours. We can go back into the world and get our bearings and decide where to go next."

"Somewhere with sane weather." Even with the wind biting at their exposed faces, both of them were warmer now. Under the cloak, Entreri could feel the ice-water that had soaked his shirt beginning to melt away.

"Sanity is overrated."

"Fine. Then we should go back to Calimport. If you think this is exciting, you will also like sandstorms. They're like blizzards that can tear off your skin."

"Everyone in Calimport wants to kill us."

"You are drow. Everyone wants to kill you anyway."

"And yet I'm not dead."

"That's because I'm saving your murder for a special occasion."

Jarlaxle chuckled against his neck. Entreri half-turned, hoping to see Jarlaxle's face and better read his expression, but he only got the side with the eyepatch. The wind howled against the cliff.

"Do you truly want to return to Calimport?" Jarlaxle asked softly. "You could. I believe most of the hostility there would be directed at me. You could point out the nature of dark elves, claim you had no choice but to work with us. It would even be true."

It was true. Entreri could return to Calimport, to his old life. Even with what happened to the Basadonis, what happened with the drow, there were still a dozen guilds who would gladly take him on. All he'd have to do was leave Jarlaxle behind.

He closed his eyes and leaned back against Jarlaxle, trying to look annoyed.

"Perhaps someday," he said. "After you try to betray me and I leave your corpse in a ditch as retribution."

"See, but then you won't have to return to Calimport. You'll have proven your value to the good citizens of Damara by ridding them of an evil drow. Perhaps the paladin king will grant you a medal."

Entreri shuddered dramatically, then took advantage of their proximity to jab an elbow into Jarlaxle's ribs.

"And with that, you've given me new motivation to preserve your life," he said, ignoring Jarlaxle's squawk of protest.

"How fortunate for me."

Jarlaxle got his revenge by pressing the cold tip of his nose against Entreri's neck. Entreri yelped, but he couldn't escape without losing the warmth of the cloak. He tensed, considering his options for further retribution.

"Truce?" Jarlaxle offered before he got the chance. By the tone of his voice, it was clear he was grinning.

"For now."

Neither of them truly slept, too aware of each other's presence and the dangers of sleeping in the cold to do so, but there was calm silence, punctuated by the dull roar of the wind outside. Eventually the wind fell and the sun started to rise, leaving sharp glints of light along the untouched snow and ice-frosted trees.

Jarlaxle winced at all the light. "Must we?"

Entreri stood up and pulled the cloak away from him. Jarlaxle scowled and tugged it back.

"Come along. If I have to deal with the light and snowdrifts, then so do you."

Jarlaxle blinked up at him, then smiled. He stretched like a cat and rolled to his feet.

"Very well, my friend. Lead the way."

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