Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Dwarves returning a favor|
We walked into the stone walled town and I smiled when I saw all the Dwarves. The caravan yards were on the other side of the town beside a wide stream. I unharnessed the horses and turned them loose before Ellie took my hand and we walked back into the town. The dwarves seemed to go out of their way to avoid us.
We bought a few supplies and went back to the wagon. I was inside putting things away and pulling out the clothes we needed to wash. The wagon creaked and I held still as there was a loud groan. I turned to climb out and there was a loud crack and the wagon lurched. I tumbled out and rolled before turning to look at the sagging wagon.
Ellie turned from the horses and walked to me as I moved to the wagon. I knelt and looked under the back to see the axle snapped. The whole area around the springs on the left rear was rotten and the supports had cracks. I sighed, “great.”
Ellie bumped my shoulder, “this is a town of dwarves.”
I sat back and looked at her as she grinned. The blacksmith growled as he came to look at the wagon before saying he could fix it. I let Ellie bargain with him as I began unloading the wagon. The blacksmith and several helpers returned as I was pulling out my fishing rod and putting it together.
Ellie had organized everything from the wagon and made us a place to sleep. The blacksmith watched as I looked towards the stream and started walking. The fish were large and seemed more than eager to bite. I was enjoying myself and threw several back before keeping two and cleaning them.
When I walked back to the wagon the blacksmith was grinning, “that looked like fun.”
Ellie snorted as I grinned, “well, I enjoy it.”
He glanced at the stream and then at me, “we had word passed about a man. He is a fierce warrior and surprisingly they say he is a good smith. He also taught some of our cousins to... fish?”
I smiled as I squatted beside the fire Ellie had going and handed her the fish, “That would probably be Bris.”
He grinned, “yes, they say you helped my people in the mines too?”
I nodded, “necessary but not welcome work.”
He nodded again and I thought of the burrowers. I grinned, “do your people go through the gap?”
He shrugged, “sometimes but the burrowers are nasty.”
I grinned, “and good to eat.”
He looked at me and smiled, “how would you catch them without being eaten?”
I held up the fishing pole, “by fishing for them. Use strong cord and meat as bait. Since you are dwarves you know about rock. Make a stone platform out of blocks or use poles to make a platform well above the ground. Throw rocks out until burrowers come near and then use the bait and cord. Pull the burrower up onto the platform and cut off the head. Use its guts as more bait for the next one.”
I looked at him as he stared and suddenly started laughing and slapping his legs. I glanced at Ellie and she grinned and shook her head. It was a minute before the dwarf stopped laughing and grinned, “that would be the fun way to hunt them.”
I nodded, “and safer.”
He chuckled as he looked at his helpers, “I’ll have to make me a fishing pole.”
They pulled the wagon away and we sat to enjoy a nice dinner and each other. I finally looked around and frowned, “where is Little One and Charles?”
Ellie snickered, “Little One is flirting with the local toms and Charles is trying to get a few of the ladies pregnant.”
I grinned and shook my head before pulling her close. I was a little worried about Burrowers but Ellie tapped the huge piece of slat our bed was on and pointed out nothing had bothered the dwarves animals. I was up early while she slept in with the two cats for company. I thought I might catch a few fish and smoke them to see how it would turn out.
Somehow I wasn’t surprised to see the dwarven blacksmith. He grinned from the bank, “We are going through the gap with a few wagons.”
I looked at him before turning back to watching what I was doing, “going to make a stone platform?”
He chuckled, “Yes.”
I grinned as I thought of fishing for the Burrowers, “I’m tempted to join you.”
Ellie laughed as she walked to the edge of the stream, “They could make stone way stations all the way across the valley. It would open the way up again and they could make money on a toll.”
The blacksmith looked at her and grinned, “now that sounds like an idea. We could even sell roast burrower meat to the travelers.”
I grinned as I pulled in the line and waded ashore. Ellie laughed again and kissed my cheek, “don’t get eaten, the cats and I will wait here for the wagon to be fixed.”
I dressed and took a small pack besides the super long and my pistol. The dwarves had moved quickly and I had to trot to catch them in the gap. They had several heavily laden wagons and carried long poles. A few hours later we came out and the dwarves shook their heads at the remains before moving passed them.
The next thing I knew they were all busy leveling an area. I set my pack aside and went to find a good sapling before I started helping. Almost as soon as a wagon was unloaded it headed back through the gap. Thick flat stones were fitted together with a type of mortar or cement and slowly the large area was covered.
I still wasn’t sure it would be safe as the sun headed for the horizon. A second set of wagons appeared as the dwarves started another layer on top of the first. A dozen stayed after the wagons left and I brought my pack to the center where several had stacked wood for a fire. As it started to get dark I realized they hadn’t brought any meat for bait and sighed.
I ran towards the wreckage of the closest wagon and dug through it for rags. When I was back on the stones I wrapped them and tied a heavy hook to it. I was using a strong cord and squatted close to the edge as the dwarves grumbled and glanced back, “if you start the fire I’ll catch the first one.”
Greg the blacksmith grinned and pushed a younger dwarf, “start the fire.”
I had added a stone in the middle of the bundle and started tossing it out and dragging it back as a few of the dwarves came closer to watch. The first burrower was a surprise and grabbed the bundle before the sun had set completely. I yanked and the fight was on. It wasn’t like fishing since the burrower could only pull and fight from the hole it was in.
It had strong muscles though and kept pulling as I slowly worked it out of the hole and then it wasn’t hard to pulled it across the ground and onto the stones. I gestured as it got close, “when I get it on the stones someone take its head.”
After it was dead I cleaned it and cut it into chunks to be cooked before using its head and guts as bait. The dwarves were jumping up and down each time they caught one and yelled and laughed. I moved to the fire and ate burrower and pulled out my pipe and watched the dwarves. Greg was laughing when he walked to me and squatted down, “this is fun.”
I grinned, “as long as you stay on the stones.”
He nodded as he dug out his pipe and sat. He looked around, “this will give the town a purpose too.”
I nodded, “and help clear the burrowers from this valley.”
By the time the sun was rising they had caught dozens and were talking about methods to smoke or cure the meat. We started walking back through the gap and the dwarves kept talking. It was past noon when we walked out of the gap and headed towards the town. When I walked into the camp we had made, it was to see Ellie with a dozen dwarven maidens sewing dresses.
She grinned and pointed towards the stream, “bathe.”
I grinned and went to collect my things and pet and caress Little One when she came to see me, the water was cold but refreshing. I knew the dwarves would be going to cut more stone to make the stone platform larger. I spent the day with Ellie and we settled into bed holding each other and looking up at the stars.
I snapped awake to a horn and rolled to my feet. I looked towards the town to see the thick gates closing. I quickly dressed with Ellie and a few minutes later heard more horns and yells. I saw something coming around the town wall and knelt as I used the night sight on my super long. I almost cursed, “orcs.”
I began shooting as more swarmed around the wall and started moving towards us. I kept changing magazines as Ellie cast a light spell into the sky above us and then lightning into the rushing orcs. I was down to the last magazine when the town gates crashed open and dwarves poured out with curved axes.
Crossbows sang from the walls above and bolts slashed into the orcs. I dropped my rifle before pulling my sword and moving to meet the orcs, “To me!”
I shifted and brought my sword across to take an orcs head before stabbing another. It wasn’t long before the dwarves fought beside me as I slowly moved forward and killed orcs until my hands and arms were red with their blood. Finally the last few were running away and we stopped to catch our breath and check the wounded.
Luckily the dwarves wore thick leather chest armor and bronze bracers so there were few serious wounds and Ellie helped with those. It was awhile before things calmed and they told us the orcs had come through the pass. I shook my head and told them about what had happened in the valley.
I grinned, “what you need is a thick, very tall wall they can’t climb over.”
They looked at me and the blacksmith snorted and then laughed, “across the other end of the gap where the burrowers can eat them as they claw at the wall.”
Everyone laughed and started talking. It took several days to get rid of all the bodies and finally I woke to Ellie rubbing my chest, “a wagon is coming out the gate.”
I sat up and turned my head to look before grinning, “about time.”
We dressed as the blacksmith and dozens of others came to watch. They hadn’t just fixed the old wagon, they had made a whole new one with two types of springs and wider wheels and a step to climb into the back. The wagon had tall sides with poles that made a frame for the top. I turned to thank the blacksmith and he grinned and bowed, “our gift to repay you.”
Ellie went to him and kissed his cheek before the rest came wish us well. The inside was designed perfectly and our things seemed to fit into place with ease. The horses were as ready to leave as we were and started off at a strong walk. I held Little One as Ellie held Charles when we waded across the stream.
The hills were almost gentle as we followed the old trail away. Ellie grinned after we put the cats in the wagon and held my hand as we walked, “much better.”
I nodded as I tried to get back into the habit of watching everything around us.
Read 4218 times | Rated 95.4 (260 votes)
Please rate this text:
:: Comments have been disabled on this story ::