“Alright stone dwarf…..that’ 24 shots too ya!.” Chuck says fighting back the urge to burp but knows its a losing battle. He is sitting at a table in a brothel having a drink with a stern looking dwarf who is slightly drooling on himself from the right of his mouth. Between the two is a large bottle with a skull and cross bones drawn on it and under the drawing an inscription that reads “Black Diamond”. Black diamond was a powerful yet common drink among the mountain folk, it has many uses other than just getting snickered. From lantern fuel, goblin/bat repellent, medical treatments, cooking and cleaning.
Chuck slouching but keeping his composure speaks at a semi serious tone to the dwarf, ” You give yup yet?”
Dwarf,”Yeah like I would ever give in to a middle lander like you.” The dwarf pulls himself a shot of the Black Diamond liquid and slams is back letting out a belch. The two had begun to draw a crowd as they continued their drinking contest, some even began to place bets, but when the shot number hit 35 the dwarf and the monk both fell backwards off their stools and landed on the floor out cold. Displeased by the lack of a winner the crowd dissipated.
Gaerben,” Chuck….” he whispers in Chucks ear before shaking him. “, Chuck…wake up….it seems you pissed yourself again…” Frustrated Gaerben forms a small ball of water to begin dripping on chucks face similar to that of rainfall. Some time passes before Chuck rises his back, face and hair soaked.
Chuck fighting back the extreme pounding in his head opens his eyes only to get water droplets in them. Cursing as he rose rubbing his eyes trying to get a look at where he is exactly. Seems someone had tossed him into an alley next to bar he was the night before it was well shaded. Looking around he could see the sun had yet to reach the top of the mountain. Still a bit drunk he stands up looking over at Gaerben with his two daughters.
Chuck, ” Aye, whats the big idea waking me up before the sun has even risen.”
Gaerben,” Just get yourself cleaned up you stink. Honestly, I don’t know why I just don’t leave you in a pile of your own waste.”
Chuck,” its simple its cause you’re a good guy for the most part. Leaving me to my own devices would not be what a good guy thing to do…..” Chuck looks up and opens his mouth as Gaerben dispels his magic causing the ball of water to splash all over Chucks face mouth and forces water up his nose. Chuck begins coughing up water, before glaring at Gaerben,
Chuck,” Perhaps I spoke too soon…whats with the rush anyway.”
Gaerben,”Rock golems are on the move again this town is most likely their next target. ”
Chuck,” You need to relax some I know you have some kids to look out for but jeeze we have only stayed one or two nights at a time in this mountains, I mean seriously come on now, everywhere you go people say they are in danger from something. Hate to break it to ya but the world is not a safe place you can’t keep running every time some joker says the worlds going to end.”
It was at this moment that Chuck noticed a pair of large feet attached to a short stubby legs. Standing up Chuck looks past Gaerben. Chucks eyes bring the being in focus he sees the dwarf he had been in a contest with the night before out cold face down in the the dirt with a bit of blood covering both pairs knuckles.
Gaerben says something about rather being safe than sorry, but Chuck isn’t paying attention as the dwarf from the night before was fully dressed in armor and weaponry, now was in nothing but under garments. Chuck pats Gaerben on the shoulder and points over at the dwarf sleeping soundly. Gaerben turns to look over at the dwarf shrugging and looking back at Chuck.
Chuck,” ya that is all good and all.” responding to whatever comment Gaerben made before directing the conversation over to the unconscious company. ” So, no wet awakening for my competition?”
Gaerben, ” Seems someone robbed him didn’t want him to think it was us, dwarfs have a tendency to smash first and ask questions later.”
Snowy and Ash snore now having been wrapped up in a wolfs skin carrier attached to Gaerben’s back. Chuck looks down at them as he passes picking up a twig off the ally floor. Using the stick Chuck begins to poke the bare feet of the dwarf, causing the dwarf to giggle in between gentle breaths. Chuck smiles in amusement and continues to prod the feet as Gaerben sighs knowing there was no talking Chuck out of the things Chuck does. The dwarf begins to try and kick the stick in his sleep forcing his feet to collide with one another. Chuck then jams the end of the stick in between the toes of the dwarf forcing the dwarf to wake up with a forceful laugh. Rolling over the dwarf sits up seemly unfazed by the night before.
” Good morning champ, seems you lost time to pay up!” Chuck says with a welcoming grin.
The dwarf looks at the monk with a bit of a glare on his face before seeing the two sleeping elves attached to Gaerben’s back. Before saying anything the dwarf looks down noticing he was next to nude and that all his armor/weaponry was missing.
Dwarf, ” Damn the Gods…..You didn’t win last night you drunk fool, my memory serves me correctly I won and you owe me but more importantly, I’d like you to return my belongings.”
Chuck,” What use would I have for armor that fits a dwarf I am like 2 feet taller than you it wouldn’t fit. Besides I am monk we don’t use weapons.”
Dwarf,” Hmmm….you Elf women return my stuff!”
Gaerben sighs again before turning around to look at the dwarf. The dwarf looks confused as a water elf man stands before him. Gaerben speaks in a bit of a harsh tone,” Look here dwarf, I didn’t take your stuff, and you both passed out last night at the same time, you at least didn’t piss yourself so I think that would make you the winner. Now my name is Gaerben, these are my girls Snowy and Ash. That monk is named Chuck,”
Chuck,” Hey he didn’t win we tied I guess. ” Chuck readjusts his pants in the front.
Dwarf,” Aye My name is Grindel, now that we have all met, did either of you see what happened to my belongings. ”
Chuck,” I woke up a bit before you did thanks to my friend here ” The monk wraps one arm around Gaerben who glares at Chuck till chuck removes his arm.
Gaerben,” Friends is a bit of a strong word for our relationship don’t you think.”
Grindle,” Ah so that is a no then.
Chuck,” Now that is not nice, who gave you coconuts to feed your children? Helped you and your family climb to the top of the mountain.”
Gaerben shakes his head,” Point made now can we get you cleaned up so we can move on before the Rock Golems arrive.
Grindle, ” Rock Golems ha ha ha ha.” The dwarf busts out laughing. “Now they have been resting for thousands of years. Who told you that nonsense. Besides we would feel the ground shake long before we could see them.”
Chuck,” See told ya! ”
Gaerben,”Fine then maybe the rumors are all false doesn’t mean staying put is the best option.”
Grindle,” I’d as what a water elf is doing with two elf-lings but honestly doesn’t concern me, now I have a thief to find and kill. If you two come up with any leads I’ll give ya some gold for the help. ”
Chuck,” See elf man, dwarfs are not all that bad, you need money to travel so lets help him out.”
Gaerben,” Fine we will help your drinking buddy but after that I am heading out of town your welcome to join me if you like otherwise good luck to you.” Gaerben heads off out the ally and heads out to the market to question some of the locals that he recognized from the bar the previous night.
Chuck,” Well, you must excuse Gaerben, he has a lot on his plate right now.”
Grendel,”Water elves are so fickle to begin with supersized to see one in the mountains; let alone a dishonored noble.”
Chuck,”not exactly sure of the full story the man keeps pretty quite about his wife and past; best I can tell his wife was a fire elf..their children are mixed, honestly don’t think he has much of an option. ”
Grendel stands and stretches. He begins to dust himself off as the smell of urine finally hits his nose. He turns and looks at the monk in his soiled clothing. Chuckling to himself Grendel leads Chuck to a small hut on the edge of town. To call it a hut was a generous observation as a large piece of rock metal sat across four large boulders forming some sort of roof door to a spacing in the middle of the rocks. Grendel and Chuck climb up a boulder to the top. Grendel lifts up the metal rock handing the weight over to Chuck. Then Grendel jumps down into a small hole. A few moments later Grendel Yells out to go ahead and close the top. He was scouting the mountains a bit and learning of the trade routes to his city home this allowed for few luxuries. Grendel lays his shoulder into one of the boulders and with a couple of big pushes is able to slide the boulder out of the way to make an entrance. Chuck jumps down and enters.
Chuck,” High class place you got here “Chuck looks around the small boulder made dwellings seeings a nap sack and some spare cloths. the dwarf tosses some small pants to the monk. “Think these are a little wide and short for me. ”
Grendel,” So wear shorts and find some rope or something. Either way if your going to help me then give my nose a break. ”
Chuck, ” Huh?”
Grendel,” by mid day your piss pants will be so sour no one will want to be anywhere near you. ”
Chuck,” Oh right…thank you?” Chuck turns his back to Grendel as the dwarf searches his cabin pushing another boulder wall a bit to uncover a small hole containing a hatchet and a small knife and a bit of spare gold. Chuck changes though the waist size of the new pants are very large compared to the athletic tone body of the monk. Chuck looks around for something to tighten them with, but fails to see anything useful.
Grendel,” Ready? ”
“I guess,” Chuck replies holding up his pants on either side like a child who is wearing their parents clothing.
Grendel,” Ha ha ha….you look a bit odd, but It will do for now.”
Once they exit Grendel pushes the boulders back in place making sure the metal stone was secured on the top. Taking a quick look around before Grendel finds an arm sized stone, and orders Chuck to drop his piss pants on the ground. Once Chuck does comply; Grendel drops the stone on top of them and they head back towards town stopping off at a local merchant, to ask some questions.
Merchant,” Welcome to ‘Whendom’s Wears’ my name is Whendom how may I assist you?”
Grendel,”Well someone stole my armor last night has the Stone Fledglings symbol on it, for the Born of Stone clan.
Whendom,” I don’t know I see many armors of different clans in my shop…” his voice is cocky as if he knows something in particular.
Chuck,”Well how about you share some of your sightings with us.” Chuck says with a smile and happy tone.” You wouldn’t happen to have some rope you would be willing to donate to a worthy cause would ya?”
Whendom,” These days people want so much stuff for free….it costs money for these type of things. ”
Grendel,” Well how about this, ” Grendel says as he slides two gold coins over to the man
Whendom,”That does help, there were two human teenagers here not too long ago the youngest was wearing the armor you mentioned. They bought a canteen and some climbing gear.”
Grendel,” Didn’t happen to mention which way they were heading did they,”
Whendom,” My memory is a bit unclear on that matter,”
Chuck,” Well, what will it cost to get some twine?”
Grendel slides a third coin over to Whendom but keeps his finger pressing it down with most of his strength. Whendom goes to grab it; although realizes quickly that the dwarfs hand wasn’t moving.
Whendom,” Said they were heading to the sea because they had never seen it before. Not exactly sure what city they are heading too, though I doubt they will get very far with that Water elf chasing them down.” Whendom attempts to take to coin again as Grendel nods over to Chuck, and with a sigh the shop keep cuts off about three feet of twine placing it on the counter. Grendel lifts his hand off the coin so Whendom can collect it as Chuck grabs the twine.
Chuck,” thank you sir for your donation.”
Grendel,” Donation….yeah.” Grendel says as he turns to leave with a smart ass tone to his voice.
Chuck ties the string through the four loops in the “pant’s” waste line. Tightening the best he could before double knotting a bow on the front. He turns and follows Grendel out of the wear shop before they both head down the path towards the sea. There was only one trail leading to the sea, but most wouldn’t consider it much of a path. It was known as the Sharp Canyon Passage way. Renamed after the last major war of the mountain tribes, do to the canyon walls being mostly destroyed by magic users verse the Stone Throwers. Both tribes still live on either side of the Canyon neither one cared much for the other living opposite of them. Do to the war large shards of stone reach towards the sky all over the canyon bottom, its not uncommon for ropes and flesh to be shredded as people try to climb down to the bottom. In fact most dwarfs take a series of chains and a sturdy hammer. The chains didn’t normally break, and the hammer was used to chip sharp edges down as they made their way to the bottom.
As Grindel and Chuck approach the drop off for the canyon they see Gaerben up ahead he is looking down a thick rope attached to a rock leading over the edge. Below the Children dangle dangerously over several spiked rock outlets. The rope so far seems to be holding up to the weight and movements of the kids. Snowy and Ash begin to wake up and make cute sounds to one another, as they try and wiggle their arms free.
It was at this moment that that Tagule had caught up to Gaerben unsheathing a sword and spear of flames. The gems embedded in the weapon glow bright orange and can clearly be seen through the flames. He spins through the air kicking Gaerben in the chest knocking him down. Tagule cuts the rope and Gaerben grabs it before it slides off the edge, lowering the babies closer to the death below. Tagule uses this moment to shove his spear through the chest of Gaerben. Grendel gets ready to charge Tagule as Chuck slides next to Gaerben also grabbing ahold of the rope. Chuck begins to pull the babies up as Gaerben chokes on his own blood..
Gaerben coughs out blood but speaks to Chuck,”Go…take them…run…they wont ever be safe…please…i beg you protect them.” Chuck continues to pull the babies up and once they are up he turns to Gaerben who final breath gurgles out in a bloody mess.
Tagule knocks Grendel down and makes his escape as his mission was complete. The man who murdered his sister is dead. Grendel makes his way over to Chuck whom leans over to pick up the babies. Shocked Chuck looks down at the babies who burst out into tears, but with a little rocking and mild humming he tames their screeching. He looks down to Gaerben,” I will do my best…,”he monk vows.
Grendel and Chuck bury the babies father, they make their way back to town as the sun begins to set. Chuck rocks them both trying to get them to sleep, as Grendel works on finding food and lodging for the night.