A elfin man weeps over an elfin women’s body lying on a bed. The bed sheets from her waist down are covered in red blood as the sounds of new born babies cries can be heard emanating from the other room. The elfin women name was Aeardis, she wore a smile on her face as her blue eyes remained looking off to the right towards the door frame. Her right hand lies off the bed as if reaching out towards the cries of the children. Her hair was the most elegant shade of black, that it almost has a glow in its shine. Her lips were once a pure ruby color, but now were faded pink.
The elfin man was named Gaerben, he had blond hair and crimson red eyes. Unlike most males in the noble families he had kept his hair short and tight. As the hair of the elves normally indicated the power of the nobility. As each house held a power over a different element. Water or ice was the house he had belonged too as he abandoned his house to join his wife’s house of fire. Gaerben soon found out that with the tragic loss of his wife his family would suffer for ever.
The bed frame matched the imagery of fire captured in the mask of wood. With fine detailed work of elves can be seen in every aspect of the home. The bedding itself was made from layered silk over fine sand base providing a soft yet firm retreat for slumber. The rest of the room was made out wood lightly chard to bring out the true sent of the wood, as well as making it easier for the tiny bits of hell’s ivy carved into the wood.
Gaerben covered his beloved’s face under the silk sheets of their bed.Tears turn to ice as they slid off of his cheeks, carefully he wrapped up her body and would wait for her relatives to claim her. His red eyes flashed as he swallowed his sadness and left to check in on his future hopes. Stepping through the door frame he saw a his sister in law looking down at the elflings as if they are cute but toxic keeping her distance.
Gaerben,” you came quickly Resha.”
Resha,” They are cute they look like her when she was born, ah I remember the day.” Resha was wearing a green gown with gold lace her eyes and hair matched her sister though she was older and a bit taller. Her face carried the scars and bruises of an abusive husband leaving his brand. Her hair had been singed and was shorter than it was suppose to be but still reached her shoulders, so still socially acceptable. Her voice had a permanent bitter cold tone of a breaking soul.
Gaerben,” Indeed, what do you think your father will do?”
Resha,” Have you named them yet?” Ignoring the question that she wished not to answer
Gaerben,” Snowy and Ash, Aeardis picked them”
Resha,” Picking the names from humanity? She was always a rebel….so which ones which.”
Gaerben,” that will depend on which house they take after.”
Resha,” Neither….mix houses never have the skills to remain among the nobles…yet you and my sister both knew this. With her passing I doubt my father will allow you to stay here for long. Never was to fond of the bond you two shared. ”
Gaerben,”Will he throw out his own grandchildren?
Resha,” yes, expectantly if they follow your house blood line. I suggest you return to your home land and take them with you. ”
Gaerben,” it’s not likely that my mother would allow our return either for turning my back to their ideals. ”
Resha,” I am truly sorry, you always did seem like a good soul; maybe a little unorthodox, but you did love my sister which is more than I can say for my marriage. Guess you can say I was jealous that my baby sister got to marry out of love instead of out of duty.”
Gaerben,” Tis the fate of most I am afraid.” he says with sincere tone knowing her husband was a warrior through and through always looking for a war, ” given the choice I wouldn’t change anything I have done. ….”
Resha,” Now then,” she pulls a spell book out of her left sleeve and hands it too him. “I know your fire skills are next to none, but should your daughters take after my blood line this is the book of our house. Teach them all you can for you will not always be around to defend them. Darkness will always find a way to touch all that can not produce light. ”
Gaerben takes the book looking over it as the cover was hot to the touch scattered with magical symbols of fire. Nodding he says thank you, before placing it in a bag of heirlooms. Also in the bag was his wife’s training wand and robes from her house, as well as robes and metal hand fans from his house.
Resha,” it is a rough path you are on, I do not envy the hardships you will have to undertake. Stay towards the mountains the nature of the earth elves and dwarfs should grant you safe passage to your home along the sea. As they tend to keep to themselves. May your strength guide you to safe travels. My father shall arrive soon and thus we will commence the burial I hope you will attend. ”
Gaerben,” We all will…” placing down a blanket he wraps the new born babies together with their heads sticking out. Placing it around his chest he hums a sweet tune of the sea to calm his daughters as Resha ties a belt around his waist and the blanket containing the offspring. Once finished he places his hands over the back pack tossing in a coin purse with his small fortune in gold and other coin as well as a dagger with some spare clothing. It was at this point that a fat white haired elf burst through the door rushing past Resha and Gaerben and straight into the room with Aeardis. With tears of loss and anger he kneels down next to the bed lifting up Aeardis in his arms uncovering her face.
Gaerben and Resha stay back as their king mourns over the loss of his daughter. Soon a younger male elf with black hair arrives. He was in his late middle ages for his kind. Carrying two wands on each hip that had be forged into the handles of long thin swords which was standard for a fire dancer warrior; their highest class of fighter.
Resha,” greetings Tagule the news is grave, we have lost our baby sister.” Resha bows to her brother as
Tagule,” Foolish child…..knew this would be the out come if they reproduced a fire body can not house water…” Tagule turned his attention to Gaerben.” Are you satisfied now that you slayed my sister? Forbidden your union was and the law you two just ignored it now look at what has come to pass, I should slay all of you right now, for spitting on the traditions of our house you have no right to this. ”
The King,” Silence your words Tagule…stave off your rage for later, we have business to attend to. ”
Tagule spits in Gaerben’s face before walking out of the house as the King exits the bedroom carrying Aeardis covered in a fresh thick blanket. Not even glancing at his daughters husband nor his grand children as he walks by nodding to Resha to follow him to the resting chambers of their blood line. Gaerben removes a small cloth from his pocket and wipes the saliva off of his face.
Resha followed and shortly after Gaerben. The wall of the tomb had figures of past leaders and those who had been burned to ash. In each of the statues had their hands held out to hold onto the ashes of those whose glory they mimic. The room smelled of fire and at its core sat an open pit from which the King placed his daughter fighting back the tears. It wasn’t long before the whole tribe arrived to pay their respects.
King,” Aeardis, was my last born. Suffering the same fate as her mother before her. She had her mothers heart so kind, and innocent few will ever match. Though she often strayed from our paths she never left our hearts. Aeardis my dear, you will be missed by all and the world has lost its brightest flame today. A flame that could never be tamed, that shall burn through our memories till the day we become one with the ash. ” It was at this point he began to chant causing the pit to burst into flames soon the rest of the clan joined in causing the flames to turn a bright gold color and increasing the heat to the point it was able to actually turn the body to ash.
Gaerben, joined into the chant as well causing the flames to give off a light blue tinge on the out most flames causing the King to glare at him. Gaerben did not care about the King’s disapproving gaze as his wife turned to ashes. Within an hour the fire faded and only ashes remained. The tribe began to disperse just like the flames soon all that remained was Resha, the King, Tagule, Gaerben and his two sleeping daughters.
Resha bent down to the ashes that out lined her sisters body, Placing a bowl down around the ashes that were once Aeardis heart. She then gathered the surrounding ashes, and placed them into an urn. The King and Prince loomed over Resha’s actions with curiosity.
King,”Resha what are you doing.”
Resha,” We both know…that her body, and blood were of our ancestry, but to lay claim to her heart would tarnish who she was. Her heart belongs to Gaerben and her children even. Tradition or not. ” Resha then places the ashes of Aeardis heart into a smaller urn, which colors reflect water and fire spiral.
King,” You have no right! ”
Resha,” I HAVE EVERY RIGHT!! I have always done what you thought was needed, beaten for the pleasure of the husband you demanded I marry, Abandoned the desires of my heart and soul, for the best of this family but make no mistake I may share your blood and flesh but you are not my family, only my ruler. Aeardis was allowed to live a life from which you yourself said you could not tame. She was given a life to make a family in spite of you. This is what she wanted, its whats right. Do as you see fit but for once know this…I will do what I feel is just. I will do what I want and you be damned father!” Closing the second urn she stands up shoving the larger urn into her fathers hands then she begins to walk towards Gaerben. Tagule goes to cut her off but the King after placing the urn sternly in his left arm pulls Tagule back with his right.
Resha,” May her heart continue to guide you and yours till the day you join her in the light. ”
Gaerben,” Thank you…”
King,” Make your peace sir and humbly leave my kingdom you have done enough to our reign. As for you Resha we will talk more about this tomorrow but the sun has fallen and we shall all follow its lesson.”
Gaerben,” For what its worth, my King, you will always be spoken of in a kind light to your grand daughters and I hope one day for your sake you can accept that life may not always meet your expectations but that it never was suppose to.”
King,” Your half wisdom means nothing here water born. ”
Tagula,” Keep this in mind, should I ever see you again. I’ll send you to the light and those murderous poison of children too. ”
Gaerben turns his back and exits the tomb holding onto the heart of his angel. The fire that will keep him and his daughters warm till the day they reach the light. Gaerben returns to his home looking over all memories and hopes him and his wife once shared. Grabbing his bow and arrow ties the quiver to his belt and carefully places the bow strap around his shoulder making sure the string doesn’t cross over the bare skin of his children. With a sigh he departs out into the world towards the mountains.
The night passes to day and Gaerben has made some good distance from the city. Upon the road towards the mountains he sees a body shaped lump lying on the ground in the middle of the way. Closing in on it he notices that its still breathing carefully he removes his bow and loads up an arrow covered in ice magics, he whispers softly a spell causing a thin barrier around him and his children. Taking half steps till he sees an empty bottle of rum just out of reach of the man. He also notices that the man is a human far from his home. Putting his bow up he kneels down next to the man trying to wake him.
The human remains unconscious so Gaerben flips him over noticing the man is carrying coconuts. Which reminds Gaerben of home but also tells him that his man is some sort of wanderer. Gaerben waves his hand around a bit to condense the water in the air into a small ball which he drops on the humans face, waking him.
Human,” Who what….ug…my head…”the man grabs his head before actually looking around to see a Gaerben standing above him confused by the site of a water elf male with two children strapped to his chest in the fire lands.” erm…Hello water elf?”
Gaerben,” Greetings drunk human? My name is Gaerben, what may I ask your doing out here? and what it is that you are called in your home country?”
Chuck,” Chuck, my friends call me chuck….you know, just one of those wandering monks you see every so often…guess I got a little sauced last night and wondered out here.” Chuck was in his early twenties and his head was shaved balled at one point and was in need of a new slice soon. His voice was friendly for the most part and a little horse from the shouting the night before. He wore well worn tan clothing and smelled of the night before. He smiled brightly standing up to eye the sleeping children then looking around he noticed that there was no company for the gentleman he just met.
Chuck,” I mean you no harm you can have the mother come out of hiding, your youngens look like they were born yesterday. They will be hungry soon. ”
Gaerben,” …..its just us, heading to the mountains how about yourself?” Gaerben had not even thought to pack milk or anything to feed the youngsters, though he knew back home that coconut milk was often used when a mother was unable to provide. Not a perfect match but might be useful.
Chuck,” Mountains, nah no thanks not my kind of traveling, but isn’t that a very rough way to go carrying two little ones?” Chuck was sort of alarmed by the mans choice of the mountains as trolls and rock devils were on the rise lately.
Gaerben,” Unfortunately its the quickest way back to our new home. Do you think I could perhaps purchase some of your coconuts for the little ones?”
Chuck,” erm….got anything to trade? ”
Gaerben,” only thing I can afford to spare is coin I am afraid.”
Chuck,”Alright then, I’ll sell you six or so should buy you some time to make it to a mountain market. 5 bronze chillings please
Gaerben,” Seems a little steep there monk.”
Chuck,” Your right but a mans gotta drink” Chuck snickers at his own comment as Gaerben hands him only 4 coins.”Alright fair enough.”
Gaerben,” Well, take care and safe travels my friend.”
Chuck,” may Poseidon keep you safe.”
Gaerben heads off towards the mountains as Chuck sits down tries to shake the feeling of guilt of not following. Once Gaerben fades from sight Chuck stands back up. The sun’s heat bares down on the land below causing no remorse for the dehydrated drunk. Chuck was not exactly sure of how far a town was from where he was at. Knowing that the fire elves would not harbor him with any kindness and the gnomes were still another two day hike at least. Sighing, he stands up and makes his way off in the direction of the mountains. Thinking soon he will run into Gaerben and the children.
A Few Days Later
“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 side 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….”Gaerben whispers in Chucks ear before shaking him. He is a rather tall and lengthy water elf with short blond hair wearing the robes from the elf fire nation. strapped to his back is two babies wrapped in a dark grey wolf skin blanket.”, 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 shoots up smashing his face into the ball of water. Gaerben disburses the water orb as Chuck coughs out some water and blows his nose all over his face before smearing it off with his hand and whipping it on his pants.
Cursing as he began 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 sky. 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 says in disgust,” 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.”
” 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 gives a shit eating grin after his very true statement.
Chuck,” Perhaps I spoke too soon…whats with the rush anyway.”
Gaerben states with a bit of urgency,”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.”
The babies snore in their 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. Gaerben begins to look out in the street and the busy streets. 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 am2 feet taller than you it wouldn’t fit. Besides I am monk we don’t use swords and spears.”
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,”
” Hey he didn’t win we tied I guess. ” Chuck says as readjusts his pants in the front.
Dwarf,” Aye My name is Grendel, now that we have all met, did either of you see what happened to my belongings. ”
” 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 states plainly,” Friends is a bit of a strong word for our relationship don’t you think.”
Grendel,” 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.”
Grendel begins to snicker, ” 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 agitated responds,”Fine then maybe the rumors are all false doesn’t mean staying put is the best option.”
” As prince of the Stonefoot clan I demand you tell me why an elf man of the water clan is wondering through my kingdom with a water elf and fire elf offspring. Also why the hell you chose the company of a Human “monk”…I have to assume you wish to leave my kingdom for the slave trade the humans have opened up.”
Chuck,”Prince….yeah right the only they your prince of is this ally.”
Gaerben,”Prince? Sorry I didn’t recognize you sooner I saw you as a child at a ball many years ago. Your beard has grown in nicely. As you asked, and I am in your lands I am required to respond. “He bows slightly agitated about the interrogation but he shares his story, but Chuck interupts and tells Gaerbens story.
Grendel having heard the story in the entirety nods then stands up. Looking over at the four. “Well that is indeed a story, Now if you four would be as so helpful to help me locate my armor.
Gaerben takes a few steps away from the two drunks in thought about how the theft of Grendel belongings is becoming his concern. Debating on just abandoning the two drunks and continuing on his path, but should the prince take offense it could create even more problems for him.
Chuck,” Well, you must excuse Gaerben, he has a lot on his plate right now.”
Grendel,”Water elves are so fickle to begin with surprised to see one in the mountains; let alone a dishonored noble.”
Grendel stretches and Gaerben decides to remain quite but to follow the two. Grendel 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 as Gaerben just watches. 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. 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 as Gaerben waits outside in the shade of a large boulder.
Chuck,” High class place you got here “Chuck looks around the small boulder made dwelling, he eyes 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? I thought you were a prince….this doesn’t look like luxuries a prince would have.”
Grendel,”I am on a pilgrimage, every Stonefoot when he comes of age must head out into the world alone and take on the challenges of the mountains. Not everyone returns. You going to put those on? Because 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 flat 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 the soiled garments and they head back towards town stopping off at a local merchant, to ask some questions. Gaerben tags along though remains distant from the two. As the two enter the merchant the elf man takes his daughters into his arms for awhile rocking them as they slumber. He smiles lightly moving the hair out of this faces with a gentle touch. He returns them to their carrier.
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 those Born to the Stonefoot 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.
“Well perhaps you have seen the armor we speak of.” 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 ignores the question about rope but does respond,” These days people want so much stuff for free….it costs money for everything these days. Information being one of the most profitable.”
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.” 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 a hold 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.
Grendel returns to Chuck who is currently and carefully pours some coconut milk into Ash’s mouth. Grendel could not find any lodging but did manage to get a hold of goats milk and some more coconuts. Grendel begins to feed Snowy and Chuck can not help but laugh at the current situation. They head to a remote path just outside of the village. This way; they thought they could avoid curious eyes. Just as night fell and their fire begin to smolder they were approached by a man with purple hair. The man didn’t speak a word to them yet tried to communicate using his hands.
Next thing either of the two remember is day break their heads ache as if they had drank all the ale a tavern had to offer. Looking around they see no sign of the babies nor the man they met the night before.
“WHAT THE FUCK, SNOWY, ASH WHERE ARE YOU,” Chuck shouts frantically. He begins to wonder around looking for any indication of which direction that man could have gone. The stone paths give no clues as to the rout the purple haired figure could have gone. Grendel joins the search and they head off down the paths out of town.
19 years later
“You couldn’t hit a barn door with an ax if your were standing at arms reach.” Says a rather drunk human Monk to an even drunker earth Dwarf. They had been drinking and arguing for days, mainly about their skills in various computations of “what if” scenarios. The monk was dressed in only tattered pants, bald head, and glazed over eyes. To his side a well crafted long bow and quiver. The dwarf was dressed in heavy armor from neck to toe, a pair of tower shields lay leaning against the table with the horn of a helmet holding them in place, but only just. The helmet had the design of the rock tribe on them as well as the horns from a cave owl a rather vicious and large creature that is closer to a bat than an actual owl consumes Dwarfs on a semi regular bases.
“Chuck, if that is true I would still be better off than you, who wouldn’t have been able to find the damn barn.” The dwarf says with a big of a sickly belch following.
“Ha ha ha, you wish Grendel, just admit it…” he belches even louder than the dwarf ” as long as I am around you will always be second best. Second best at drinking. ,” Takes shot slamming it down next to the four empty bottles of dwarf liqueur.” Second best in aim, “Lifts if his bow and grabs and arrow shooting it across the bar and through the empty part of the handle to a mug.” and last in charming the ladies, mainly because you insist on wearing that old collection of armor everywhere you go, and well you smell like molding flesh of the walking dead.” He stands and grabs a wench planting a kiss on her lips before spinning her away and smacking her on her ass. She laughs as she spins back bumping into the bar counter. almost knocking over a pitcher of mead. ” Ah yes that makes you First in stench….” he pours them both a shot which the dwarf takes reluctantly.
Grendel struggles to stand, but does so and pokes the monk square in the chest. “YEAH, your in-intelligence second if you can you think me beat,” Slams his elbow on the table and demands an arm wrestling match. It was at this time a group of three dwarfs walk up to their table. The monk slams his elbow down and grabs the dwarfs hand. They begin. Veins popping and teeth gritting their muscles flex. No clear winner to be seen. The crowd looks on surprised such a thin monk could contain enough strength to quell a dwarf of nobility.
“what kind of dwarf grammar was that?” Chuck asked as he slowly begin to use his reach to advantage.
“Gentleman,” said the dwarf who was the center of the three that had just arrived. He was dressed in an apron and had some flour on his pants. As the other two were royal dwarf guardsmen suited in armor and armed with spears. They however were ignored by the two drunks and their contest; which was the current important matter. Sadly the dwarf would not understand this.
Grendel shouts,”Shut up, you gargoyle raping piece of horse shit,”
The Dwarf who was in all honestly the owner of the establishment was taken back by the statement he assumed was directed at himself. The store owner now pissed slams his hands on the table and gets the drunks attention.
The store owner shouts,” GENTLEMAN CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION”
“Excuse US we are having a friendly match here, give us a minute it will be over soon,” Just as Chuck responded his arm had managed to pull Grendel’s position into his favor and swiftly ended it. They turn and look at the three dwarfs next to them. Chuck spewing out a few more words,” Don’t think he liked your calling him gargoyle raper or a piece of horse shit…”. He leans over and smells the top of the owners head,” Though you were right….this man could very will be a piece of shit, or is hygiene something they do not teach dwarfs. ”
Grendel,” Aye,…well…fuck you for starters..I am not the one who hit on a gargoyle..and what in the Gate do you three want.”
The guard on the right speaks up,” Prince Grendel, the roads to the south have reopened your brother the king would like you to help reestablish the routes to the the closest towns. ”
Store owner adds,” AND PAY YOUR DAMN BILL YOU DRUNKS, MONK just because your a friend of the prince doesn’t give you the same authority,”
Chuck was taken back about the being called a friend,” Friend nothing I am his spiritual council and self appointed private guard, and as such you should serve me as well as you serve him….and as freely. ”
Guard on the left places his hand on Chucks shoulder then chimes in,” The King says your also cut off till you finish your appointed task. So, you will have to pay your bill on your own tonight. ”
“I will do no such thing, respect the blood line of the Stonefoot clan, we shall pay for nothing within our kingdom…” Grendel protests,
Guard on the right begins again,” Just a reminder the kings wife is with child and your the last of 14. 8 of which have a claim to the throne before you. You’re royal blood is without question, your usefulness to the kingdom however is under the kings advisement. Most of the other bars and taverns in town have already barred you two from them. I suggest you pay up or I by the kings orders I shall have to bring you in.
“Ooooo…..you and your pointed stick could try. “Chuck says with a bit of a smirk as Grendel raises his hand to Chuck.
Grendel pulls out his coin purse and begins counting, “one….two…three….what what do we owe?” Grumbling as last thing he wanted to see was his older brother and his precious throne room.
“56 gold pieces for the last three days of food and drink,” the dwarf owner says with a bit of pleasant surprise to see a coin purse out.
Grendel’s eyes widen as he just turns his coin purse over pouring out forty or so making it hard to count as some roll off the edge of the table and else where. Grendel grabs his helmet and shields holding one with each arm. Monk and him make their way to the exit as Grendel shouts,” AND keep the change. “The store owner begins picking up all the coins as they exit into the large mountain village.
The village itself was built in a dead volcano and light rained down from the massive opening above. Inside the village were many different buildings chiseled out of massive stones or walls. The ground had been carved to form roads and paths leading too and fro. The outside of the mountain had some of the best defenses any realm had ever seen. From avalanche traps, archery stations and flaming catapults set up throughout the sides. Shops and homes lined the walls of the great hidden city and around them was one of the longest stair cases. The stair case wrapped around the inside of the volcano a total of five times. Giving access to the city as well as the embedded buildings. The buildings were spaced about 80 feet from each other as well to allow for more growth if needed and to prevent armies from using the small edges of the buildings to reach the strong holds as the stair case was set to collapse in the event of a siege.
Only way in and out was the very top and the paths leading those up, out and in were all set to crumble with a pull of a cord that leads to the Kings throne room. The Village of Volcano Pass was the largest of the dwarf tribes topping off at just 27,000 most all of which were armed and trained. As was tradition being this close to the Gate, which resided on the other side of the vast mountain range. The city had been struggling with the raids of supply roads though the dwarfs were good at defense, open combat always proved a challenge, often they would rather starve then be slaughtered in combat. Though the village had large storage abilities their remote location made it hard for them to properly stock up.
Another thing that set this village apart was the kings palace. Made from one 6 story tall diamond and width had yet to be determined. It once jutted out of the wall of the volcano as a misshaped mass. Generations of craftsmen have molded it into a palace that the other kingdoms covet. Not only was it in a precious stone but the detail work of the history of the realm and tribe line the pillars and walls as you make your way to the throne room. The throne room itself had massive chandlers that reflected light causing vibrant displays of color. The throne itself looked elegant but standard to sit in the front but behind it was a porcupine style display of jagged diamonds in a cluster type order. Spiral stair cases lead up to the kings personal lodgings and behind the throne are several pillars dedicated to the royalty that has lost their lives over the ages. Each pillar dictates the life and glory of the royal blood. The room stretches on for longer than eyes can see. Though they are currently in construction of widening the area.
Do to this diamond it has awarded them a lot of advantages, from diamond edged weaponry to a steady supply of wealth. Most in the village work on individual crafts doing their best to prefect their skills. The King is often well praised by the people though every ruler has those who disagree, Grendel once attempted to challenge for the throne when his brother decided to end the treaties with the other mortal clans. Their were many political issues; from improper distribution of trade of goods from the elves and the humans continued trade of slaves, formed around this decision and it did put a mark on a rather glory filled reign. Shortly after the elf clans broke apart returning to their homelands. The hostility towards the Gods grew after many suffered from the fracturing alliances, their prayers never being answered.
“Well, days of heavy drinking shall make this adventure extra special. ” Chuck says on a sour note.
Grendel lets out a sigh,” Suppose your right anyway the sooner we leave here the quicker we can return.”
“Well since we were not given a degree by the king we shouldn’t have to do anything, perhaps that guard is just sending us to do his duties.” Chuck says doing his best to sober up before heading to the crude elevator system they have established.
Grendel snorts,”Either way it will give us some praise and thus keep the king and others off our backs. Even perhaps earn us a few months of free ale.”
“Who can turn down free ale….remember when we met?” Chuck asks as he tries to sort out the details after years of burring the memory with bottle after bottle.
“Yes, and we did what we could to find those babies that were taken so many years ago.” Grendel steps on to the elevator followed by Chuck who stretches his arms. Grendel pulls on a small rope that dangled down, beyond ear shot of the two a small bell chimes near the mouth of the former volcano. A few dwarfs groan as they push a mass of rocks that were netted and tied as the counter weight to elevator off the edge of a cliff. This action forces the elevator to lift off the ground at a semi rapid pace,the dwarfs at the top wait for the arrival of the elevator.
“Yes but I can’t even remember what they looked like anymore, perhaps instead of just re-establishing the trade routes we should venture out again and try and attempt to regain our honor. I only say this cause we haven’t ventured out in almost two decades.” Chuck says trying to find a more pressing purpose to their soon to be travel.
Grendel leers over at Chuck before giving his response,” Our honor is intact it was never our duty to look after those children. Honestly after their father met his end we should have turned them in to the King and let him decide their fate. Yet you convinced us to waste four years searching for children no kin to us. We gained nothing to show for it and while we were gone my father died and my brother took over. If we hadn’t returned when we did I would have lost more than just the respect of the family for traveling with an outsider and missing the memorial. Making it to see my brother crowned as the new King. Finding those children would not reinstate their favor, but fixing the trade routs will, and thus we shall return home.”
Chuck face gave no shade to his anger over the round about denial of his suggestion. “Fair enough my friend, perhaps after we fix the trade routes I will move out on my own, the stench of dwarf has left its mark on my nose anyway. Some fresh air and traveling will do me some good I think. ” He says this as he remembers holding a dying mans hand as he asked him for his help. Help he failed to provide. Chuck thought for a moment perhaps he drank so much because of this, as a monk a man’s dying wish is not something to be taken lightly.
Grendel looks a bit bewildered from the monks proposal. ” You wouldn’t make it three weeks without me. Things have changed from then to now, people have grown intolerant, and darklings have begun to organize. The world will fall into war again but this time it will be everyone for themselves. Not to mention the creatures that call this world home.”
The elevator reaches the top and they step off. They turn to the dwarfs manning the elevators pulley systems they all grab a hold of one massive rope that is attached to the rocks and help pull the rocks back up to the top forcing the elevator to descend. Chuck,”Oh didn’t take you for the kind to worry about outsider living or dying. You are welcome to tag along but honestly I will be fine.”
Silence befalls both of them as they concentrate on lifting the rocks. Once finished Grendel pats Chuck on the back,” You are not going to let this go are you?” Chuck shakes his head and they make their way over to some sleds and they head over to a smoothed out groove leading down the side of the volcano. Chuck goes first down picking up great speed before it levels off at the base he pulls the sled out from under himself. Grendel thinks to himself about the past….wondering why that water elf’s death wish means his only friend that he would head out on the prayer of death. Grendel and Chuck began to remember the first day they met, and the story of that day that changed their lives forever.
Grendel hears Chuck shouting from the base of the volcano, snapping out of it he climbs onto the sled and meets up with him. He pats Chuck on the back again. “I will go with you my friend, perhaps we can find Tagule if nothing else and make him pay for the three lives he ended.” Grendel says this assuming his babies died long ago as well.”
Chuck just nods having not given up faith that the children are alive, yet admits to himself the odds are slim and is grateful that Grendel has decided to join. They head out and hit several mountain cities and the City of the Sea, where the water elves lived informing them of the trade routs being reopened. After several weeks they finally exit the mountains into the plains, where men reside. They were told a few large roaming hoards of Orcs remained the the area, but through their travels to the first small village they saw no sign of current movements. They are hit by a cloud of dust which leaves coughing and covered in white soot.
They begin to brush themselves off before heading towards the town. Their first thought and desire was to see if they could get some fresh food and ale. They head to the local tavern which is erupting with good cheer, they find walk up to the bar dropping their belongs beside them. It was at this point that the Chuck would notice a large man and two girls sitting at the bar, not seeing Kross hidden on the other side. They watch Cecil Kross the room and plop down next to them. For the first time in ages Chuck smells the scent of coffee in the air and his mind fills with memories of the sweet young girl that made him into a man. They had drank the coffee to recharge, and thus continued. It was the first and last time he had ever smelled that curious aroma till now. He watches as the coffee is passed out by the small group. Jealous he became tapped Grendel on the head as he was in mid order with the bar tender about food and ale.
Chuck bursts out,” BAR KEEP GIVE ME SOME OF THAT COFFEE!” Before stomping up to the group startling the girls getting Argos attention whom sees a dusty bald monk wondering forth. They turn and look at him. Argos gets up and Kross begins refilling his cup. Chuck however takes no notice to anything but the girls. A bit of tear begins to form in his eyes as he reaches over and grabs both the girls in an unexpected embrace. Argos brings his fist down on Chucks head, knocking him out cold. Causing the girls to shriek as they are pulled off their chairs by the now unconscious chuck.
Grendel stands up and rushes over to his friend and the group. “Wait….hold on there giant, my friend means you and yours no harm. By chance are the names of you two girls Ash and Snowy.”
Argos answers for the girls,”It might be but what concern is it of yours.”
Grendel,”Well the man you knocked out was friends with their father. He has been looking for them for a long time.”
Chuck begins to drool on the ground as he is a misshaped unconscious mass on the ground. Snowy and Ash look at each other confused as Kross looks over at Cecil who is still sipping his coffee.
Kross with a leer and disgruntled tone in his voice,” Don’t think this gets you out of telling us what you mean by the end of the world, but do to recent events we can wait till later….”
Cecil very coy responds,”Ah yes please do tend to that…”
Kross stands up with a cup of coffee and kneels down next to Chuck. Grendel tells the hole story to Group as Chuck comes around do to the aroma of the coffee. Kross hands the cup to Chuck once he is sure that Chuck can drink it safely as it was still very hot. Chuck takes it as he rubs the welt that has already formed on the top of his head.
Snowy looking at Ash and Ash looking at Snowy both state the same thing,” SO we are sisters? Twins?” they both reveal a smile either never having any sense of a biological story.
Ash with respectful tone,” Thank you, Grendel….Thank you Chuck…It is a pleasure meeting you both again.
Snowy with an over excited tone,” SISTERS, YES……wait….our parents our dead…and our uncle killed our father?…..
Chuck with help from Kross stands,” Yes yes I have some things that belong to you both….” stumbling slightly as his makes his way over to his belongings…he opens up his bag of random items. He pulls out an fire elf sorcery book, and a pair of ice daggers as well as cloaks for each…he walks back over and hands them to snowy and Ash. Ash is drawn to the daggers and snatches them before Snowy has a chance to even look at them. Snowy following in suit snatches the book. Chuck places the Cloaks on the bar counter.
Chuck smiles and says in a relieved tone,” Yes, these belonged to your parents. The book is written in elfish, and contains some very powerful noble magics. As those daggers are enchanted. The cloaks will help you manage your abilities as they grow. I was hoping to find you many years ago, but now is better than never.”
Snowy looks over at chuck, and gives him a hug, thinking maybe the cloak could help her contain her fire.
Kross now turns his attention back to Cecil,” Alright, now Cecil explain. what you meant?”
Argos is wary of Chuck and Grendel trying to figure out what they could possibly mean to do now with the girls. As he would not let Ash wonder off with strangers regardless how convincing their stories are. Slave traders are always on the look out for young girls of various races. This being said Chuck and Grendel move over to join the group to find out more about what the girls had been up too over the years. The girls introduce them to Argos and Kross. Though neither Agros nor Kross are fully paying attention to them as Cecil sighs and then begins.
“You know how people hate the Gods right…well…Lets just say they found a way to silence them forever. There are these 12 beings that have been given the ability to kill Zeus and the rest, they well have decided to complete their appointed tasks after dispatching those who gave them the ability to do so. ” Cecil explains. “They each have unique weaponry, skills, and magics. They are very very dangerous and honestly their plans for the realm will end it. I am limited in the level of involvement I can risk at this point. So I have a big favor to ask of EACH OF YOU HERE,” raises his voice to get the attention of the Girls, Grendel and Chuck.
“Save the Gods..Save the realm…or I fear the world will be plunged into endless war and darkness.”
Kross coughs,” Save the GODS are you fucking kidding me….Gods don’t just die. ”
Cecil responds calmly,” Wish you were right….but soon the sky will rain blood, and Their city will crumble and fall from the heavens.”
Argos shrugs off the concept and questions,”How could you possibly know this? Ares would never fall in battle, nor would many of the other Gods. You spin good tales my friend but tales are all they are. ”
Cecil hesitates but then states very plainly,” The Wind tends to share a lot to those that will listen, matters not if you believe me or not…for tomorrow you will see for yourselves. So enjoy your evening for now, I on the other hand have had too much to drink and I need to lay down. ” Cecil gets up and walks out of the tavern as the rest stare at each other a moment.
Grendel speaks up,” Aye saving the Gods would bring much glory to the Stonefoot Clan, that is if they actually need saving.”
Chuck yawns,” Honestly who believes a blind imbecile that listens to the wind. The wind doesn’t speak to anyone. It’s only the wind. ”
Argos chimes in,” Well that man saved this town…I owe him my thanks and even if this all turns out to be false I can at least look into it for him.”
Ash nods to Argos statement,” We owe him our lives this being said, I will follow you Argos.”
Snowy looks to Kross who states,” Well then all I know is in the last 24 hours I have seen more unexplained and amazing things to fully deny the possibility that what he says is true. Has unfathomable as it may be. Saving Gods isn’t a wise use of my time though…No profit in it.”
Snowy gives very disappointed eyes to Kross who can not help but look away,” Well then I shall go with you Sister!!!”
“I made a promise to look after you two so I guess I am coming also,” Chuck says having rediscovered a sense of integrity.
Kross now the odd man out debates briefly separating ways though he often doesn’t trust anyone, leaving the one that he does is a pain he is not willing to bare. With head held low he speaks,” Alright if you all want to go on a fools errane I shall join you on the greatest con ever known. Now where do we begin?”