The Hammer of Hu'Mod Part 35
by Joe Solmo
Grian sighed as he crouched near the building they were using for a communal dining hall. A pile of refuse almost as tall as him leaned precariously against the stone wall, its top was eye level with the dwarf. “Can’t people realize we need a solution to the growing trash without me telling them?” Grian said to Stone Spear. The desert folk looked at the pile with a lack of expression on his face.
“I will get a crew together. Keep the recruits busy when they aren’t practicing,” Stone Spear said with a grunt. “It will teach them discipline. We are not the savages your people think we are.”
“Not all of us feel that way you know. More of us dwarves have given up our legendary stubbornness every day and see your people for what they are,” Grian said as he looked down the alley. More trash lined the wall, older trash. The smell of rot reached his wide nose.
“The dwarves have been nothing but hospitable to our faces, but words are whispered, and heard, Grian,” Stone Spear said.
“Give me their names, I will deal with them,” the dwarf said.
“It is only a few, contained. For now. I will let you know if it happens again,” the desert folk spokesman replied as he piled some of the trash near the end of the alley.
A party of dwarves arrived at the end of the alley led by Jyr. He had a large grin pasted on his face, splitting his beard in two. Grian sighed again as he noticed his father had his hands behind his back. He didn’t have time for this.
“Son, there you are! Hiding in an alley, eh?”
“Father,” Grian replied wiping his hands on his shirt. ‘Have you brought me something?”
“You will never guess what we found on our journey, lad. Now close your eyes and hold out your hands,” Jyr said.
“Do I have too?” Grian asked with yet another sigh.
“Come on, now. Don’t take all day now,” His father said nodding at him.
“Ok father, have it your way,” Grian said and closed his eyes after giving Stone Spear a knowing look. A few seconds passed and Grian didn’t feel anything in his hand. He screwed up his face in confusion, and then he felt it. It was warm. His father started to snicker, and that’s when the smell hit him.
“Oh what the hell!” Grian said putting his hands down and glaring at his father. The older dwarf burst out laughing as he cut off his urine stream and tucked it back inside his pants.
“You are far too trusting, lad. But seriously I did find something. Once you clean yer self up, come find me,” Jyr laughed and headed down the street with his dwarves in tow, the sounds of laughter could be heard for quite a while.
“I know he is your father, but that dwarf is an ass,” Stone Spear said.
“Both statements are true,” Grian replied and tried to find something to wipe his wet hands off on, finding nothing else he wiped his hands in the dirt of the alley. He shook his head in disbelief in his father. He must either be very drunk or have found something very grand to do such a stunt.
Kregas passed the line of blacksmiths that lined the street now known as Ore Row. The rhythmic ringing sounds assaulted his ears and the smoke from the forges stung his eyes. He passed tent after tent, not looking at the wares or their makers as he made his way down the fresh cobblestoned street. Finally, he reached his destination, and he stopped and looked at the swords that rested in a barrel for sale. He pulled one out and inspected it, nodded his approval at the fine craftsmanship that went into it. He leaned closer to it, as if listening for something.
“Do you like what you see, Kregas?” came a voice from behind a tent flap. The stained burlap parted and out stepped a white haired dwarf, his beard hid his wrinkled, ancient face. His eyes still burning with youthful vigor.
“You have done well, old one. I am very pleased,” Kregas said. He put the blade back into the barrel. “Have you finished the one I requested?”
“Aye, come in. Too many eyes out here,” the old dwarf said. Kregas followed the man into the darkness of the tent, the only light came from the holes worn in the old fabric.
Once inside the old dwarf sat down with a grunt onto a three legged stool in front of an old sturdy chest that held three locks. “You know it took me many sleepless nights to work on this, since you wanted it a secret,” the old dwarf said looking up at the eager face of Kregas. He pulled out a leather thong from around his neck that held three keys. One by one he opened the locks that held the chest secure.
Kregas grew impatient and moved closer to the chest. He almost couldn’t stand it, he just wanted to take the keys from the old man and open the locks himself. The wait was killing him. Finally, what seemed like an eternity later the chest opened and Kregas’s eyes beheld what lie within.
“May I?” Kregas asked and reached into the chest without waiting for a reply.
“Of course, it is yours,” the old dwarf said.
Kregas reached into the chest and pulled out the Warhammer. It felt almost weightless in his hands. He turned it over and looked at craftsmanship that went into the making of the weapon.
“The metal, was it easy to forge?” Kregas asked.
“Aye lad, like I told you before. It’s a rare material, but can be found by the right people. My own sons mined it before we came here, as you requested to save time. The handle is made from the finest ash from the black hills. If there is a finer weapon in the land, then I am an elf!” the old dwarf said.
“Excellent, Valin. I am very pleased. Now, can you teach me the way?” Kregas asked, handing the weapon to the old dwarf.
“Come to me tonight, an hour after nightfall and I will show you the next step. But be warned, that weapon at your side may grow jealous, lad,” Valin said. Kregas nodded and turned towards the entrance to the tent. He looked back over his shoulder.
“Tonight then, we make the magic happen.”
After freshening up, Grian went to his father. He was still sore about the prank earlier, but he was curious as to just what made his father so confident he could pull such a stunt. He stood outside his father’s quarters and took a deep breath. He could hear his father’s drunken rant and several other voices, all cheering and celebrating. With a quick look around, he stepped inside and took in the sight.
Grian looked at his father, laying there on the floor of his quarters, a spilled bottle of liquor lying next to him. So far, the old dwarf hadn’t noticed his son standing there with a disgusted look on his face. Several of the crew, not only of the dwarves, but the desert folk as well lay about the chambers, obviously drunk. Grian cleared his throat. No one notice.
Once again the paladin cleared his throat, this time louder. His father’s eyes shot towards him. Recognition took a second or two. “Son!” Jyr said and tried to roll over and get up. If it was another time Grian would have laughed and joked with the old dwarf about how much he resembled a turtle on its back, but his patience was wearing thin.
“Father. You have something for me?” Grian said glancing around the messy room.
“Oh yeah. Brandin!” Jyr slurred.
“Right here boss,” a pile of wrinkled clothes called from next to the older dwarf.
“Get the thing!” Jyr ordered.
“The thing!” everyone cheered and took a drink, except Jyr who now noticed his spilled bottle with a look of sadness.
Grian watched Brandin stumble into the next room and he waited patiently, curious what had these men in such a good mood. A moment later Brandin appeared with a sack over his shoulder.
“This has to be something. Something important. A few of those beasts were guarding the cave we found it in. Maybe a Holy Relic,” Jyr explained taking the pack from Brandin. He grunted under the weight. “Weighs as much as yer ma,” he finished with a wink.
Grian sighed and opened the flap on the worn leather bag. He say something red and shiny inside. He reached in cautiously, feeling the power emanate from whatever it was inside. He pulled out what appeared to be a very large ruby. It was nearly the size of one of the watermelons that grew back home. He turned the gem over in his hands and arm’s length, wary to get too close. He thought he saw flickers of images inside, but it must be a trick of the light.
“Where in the forest did you find it?” he asked, barely over a whisper.
“It was near section 4A. Northern end of the forest. Near that mountain range with the real jagged peaks,” One of desert folk said. Rock Fist, if Grian remembered correctly.
“We stumbled on the cave by accident, while on break. Jyr kind of, fell into it,” Brandin said looked at Grian.
“We investigated, lad. And heard snarling coming from inside. So you know we had to check that out. We killed those foul beasts and found this on a pedestal in the back. No writing, no nothing, just sitting there. I swore it whispered to me, and it was before I got drunk,” Jyr explained.
“I can feel its power, but I am not sure what it does. I will take it to the temple and see what I can find. Good work, father,” Grian said and patted his father on the shoulder.
“Thank ye son. If you will excuse us, we have some partying to finish,” Grian said.
“Rest up. Your company leaves in the morning for patrol,” Grian said.
“But we just got back. You got to be kidding!” Jyr said.
“No we need to step up security,” Grain responded and looked around the place once more. “And clean this mess up!” he finished and walked out the door with the sack and ruby in hand. He swung the bag over his shoulder and headed for the temple deep in thought on what this gem was. As he passed the smiths he saw the old man he met just this morning watching him. He gave the ancient dwarf a friendly wave with his free hand.
The old man returned the wave, but never smiled. He just watched Grian with those youthful eyes as he crossed the square. Odd, Grian thought.
“He found it already,” the old dwarf whispered over his shoulder when the paladin left his line of sight.
“Things are progressing fast,” the dwarf’s son said from the tent’s entrance.
back to Fantasy