Villain Spotlight: Artemis Entreri
Happy Holidays Evil Geeks! It was a scorcher of a 4th yesterday but Arthur knows what you all need, a little bit of the calm, cool and collected. Luckily for you, I have all of that, plus a side of scruffy beard. I introduced a new column the other day called “Let Me Put My Suggestions In You” where I not so subtly suggested you all get into the Forgotten Realms universe consisting of the great Drow Elf Drizzt Do’Urden. Today’s Villain Spotlight comes from the same universe, and is literally one of my favorite characters of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, get out your gold and prepare to hand it over, because the assassin Artemis Entreri is coming to town, and he has a life sucking dagger with your name on it.
Artemis Entreri is somewhat of an enigma. Amidst so many demons, halflings, Drow, Balors (freaking Errtu!!!), evil magic enhanced items (oh Crenshinibon, how I miss you) and legions upon legions of other creatures, how is a lowly human to survive? By killing everything and anything that gets in his way, that’s how. Entreri is one of the only human style characters who is capable of going toe to toe with almost anything that is thrown in front of him, even going so far as to kill most of them. He is a hired assassin who made his way on the streets of Calimport as a child, and eventually grew up to become widely feared by the general populous. The best thing about that, is that he doesn’t even really exude that sort of menace, unless he is in direct battle. Always the professional, he does not let his emotions or his personal attachments get in the way of getting the job done. That is the way it should be with assassins, and that is the way it was….until he meets a certain someone who completely upturns his life. That man…is the man I introduced you to the other day; Drizzt Do’Urden.
Imagine this…you have literally never lost a battle before in your life. You have escaped things that would have shred a normal man to ribbons, and have prevailed where others have failed miserably, then some dick from out of nowhere comes up and beats you…..how would you handle that? If you answered with an unhealthy obsession to ruin that person’s life and the lives of everyone around him, you would be correct, and a sociopath (don’t worry, Arthur still loves you). This is what happens to Entreri. After being beaten by Drizzt, he is incapable of doing anything, and dedicates himself to finding him and beating him in a battle between the two, and my life is dedicated to witnessing this battle. Anyways, we’ll move on for a bit so I don’t get a battle-boner (I accept and expect all royalties to those bands who will now call themselves Battle-Boner…you’re welcome).
Entreri is first introduced to us in the 1988 novel The Crystal Shard, which is part of The Icewind Dale Trilogy (GO BUY IT! Its amazing). Only appearing for a little bit, he makes up for his lack of time with sheer menace. Before he is even properly introduced, you just know that he is not someone to be trifled with, and immediately invokes a sense of dread and fear. Sinestro would be hard pressed to find a more suitable member for his Corp. Charged with bringing back the Halfling Regis, who has in his possession a ruby of hypnotizing power, Entreri first encounters the Companions of the Hall (I haven’t written or said that in quite a while, and it makes me all nostalgic) in his mission to capture Regis. This is accomplished, but as all things, the heroes save the day and Regis is brought back by Drizzt after a serious battle with Entreri. This was when he tasted his first sense of defeat, and the obsession was born. People often like to refer to him as the Anti-Drizzt, which is rather accurate I would say. Whereas Drizzt gives in to his feelings and gathers strength from his friends, Entreri gets his strength from training and working alone. Not to say the Drizzt hasn’t gone through rigorous training, he had freaking years of it in Menzoberranzan. Entreri is just that hard and that focused that he gets the job done without help from anyone. However, this isn’t to say that he hasn’t had a few “friends” over the course of his adventures, mainly the Drow elf Jarlaxle (quite possible the most stylish and awesome Drow besides Drizzt). Entreri is known more to use people to his own ends, but he was quite fond of Jarlaxle, and they became somewhat friends, although most dealings with Drow elves do not stay for that long.
Entreri learned to trust in his weapons and training more than anything else. His dagger, a green jeweled vampiric dagger, was almost just as famously feared as he was. People knew not to fuck around when they saw that dagger flash and show itself. People understood that even a small cut from it could mean death, and could also mean a rejuvenated Entreri. The dagger would suck the life from whoever it touched, and it has saved Entreri’s life quite a few times. Much like Drizzt, Entreri’s weapons are just as much a part of him as his own eyes and ears. None more so than Charon’s Claw. People, if you want to get into Entreri, or even know what makes him so awesome, this is the way to do so, and I am going to explain to you how and why. Time for another imagine session!!
Imagine this: there is a weapon, a weapon held by a very high ranking boss of organized crime in the Forgotten Realms, and you want it…very badly. Most of us would just say shit, it’s too well defended or it’s too much of a hassle. Most people would go about their lives and forget it. Now let’s say you heard that this weapon tests you in a brutal battle of wills if you grab it without wearing a special gauntlet, and 99% of people who get into this battle of wills, wind up with their head and brains liquefied….would you still feel like you needed that item? Fuck yeah you do! And fuck yeah Entreri does. He pursues the weapon, gets it, and then proceeds to beat the shit out of it in the battle of wills and become its dominant master. Eventually even losing the gauntlet, and still being able to control the weapon, this is the sort of man Entreri is. His sheer focus and total domination of any emotion or notion of feeling, is simply something to behold. It’s absolutely crazy how professional and how well tuned this man is. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is for an author to give us this sort of character. Kudos to R.A. Salvatore for making him so great.
Entreri’s only weakness I would say is the fact that he is human, and much like all humans, he tends to slow down with age. However, this is something that considering we are in the Dungeons and Dragon’s universe, can be remedied, although with slight consequences. At one point, Entreri, battling for his life against a Shade (picture the weird guy from Eragon or dark wizards who have escaped from a shadow realm) and wound up stabbing it with his jeweled dagger. The lifeforce sucked up from that shade has given Entreri enhanced life and can now live well past the standard age of humans, albeit at the cost of looking almost like a shade himself. Greyish skin, somewhat gaunt but still muscular. It was a nice touch in my opinion, and gave it the measure of not being a cheap copout. Being a D+D universe, many a thing could cause someone to have extended life, but this way is more permanent and not due to some magic potion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and also gave us a sense that we will not see Entreri be outlived by most other characters.
In conclusion, I really hope you all enjoyed this week’s Spotlight as much as I enjoyed writing it. Entreri has always been a character that I loved, and I hope that you all are intrigued enough now to go searching for him. Although, much like most who seek him out, you may not live long enough to tell the tale of a meeting with the master assassin. Let’s just hope you don’t see the light flash off of a jeweled dagger or a trail of smoke left by a murderous sentient weapon. If so, it was nice knowing you.
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