Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Campfire Council

Mathron held the yellowing parchment in his grasp, unsure if he could believe what was contained therein.  The text described a container which had the power to produce a never ending supply of a certain substance- something Mathron had been searching for a better part of his years.  A chalice of immeasurable standards, a literal Holy Grail- The Mighty Thor's Ale Horn.  It had been lost to centuries untold, but here he held a parchment describing with unmistakable detail the item which Mathron had seen so frequently in his dreams.  The problem, Mathron realized now, was the same problem he had always had: Finding it.

"You no doubt see something that captures your fancy, Sir Master Elf." Gilorhem said, a sparkle in his eye.  "The words on the parchment are all true, and I can even lead you to the dungeon that contains the relifact you seek...but not for free."  He smiled a wide toothy grin that simmered Mathron with a cold rage.

"What is your price, Dwarf?"  Mathron regreted the answer before he heard it.

"Oh, nothing much, simply shall I I pursue another magical item of my interest.  And the help in gathering a competent team to aid in the recovery of these artifacics."

Mathron did his best to not frown, or rather not frown more.  "I am a solitary person.  I do not think I could tolerate others, much less guarantee their safety."

"Who said anything about their safety?  Fuck their safety!" The Dwarf swore loudly. "Just keep me alive, that's all!" He threw back his head and cackled wickedly.

"I agree then, with one condition." Mathron said standing. "I shall protect you to my dying breath 'til our deal is done, but know this, 'Mad Dwarf', I am Thor's servant first and foremost.  Give me but one reason to think you are in league with the Trickster," Mathron paused, and leveled his hammer at the Dwarf's face, "And I shall smite you so violently it will be hard to tell from whence the crater of smiting destruction ends and the Dwarf begins."  Mathron's gaze was cold steel and his voice a clash of thunder as he spoke, swearing the words. 

Gilorhem quickly rose and took Mathron's hammerless hand into his own, speaking in exctited tones.  "Oh yes, Lord Paladin Elf Sir, oh yes."  His toothy smile again appeared. "We shall be wonderful friends."

This time it was no rage that seized Mathron's heart, but icy black dread of what was to come.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meeting in the Dark Wood

Clad in dirty unwashed robes of musky earth colors, Gilorhem eyed the approaching Elf warily.  Gilorhem crouched low in the dense shrubs, attempting to blend in as he observed Mathron.  A bright red cape wrapped the Dwarf's stocky form, making him appear eerily flamboyant and slightly diminishing his ability to hide and appear sane.  A twisted smile formed under his scraggly knotted beard as Gilorhem reached into his cloak, withdrawing an ornate hourglass.  Briefly studying the gently glowing sands within, Gilorhem mumbled and nodded to himself.  "Yes, yes.  He's the...Yes."

Mathron had pitched his tent and unrolled his bed roll by the time Gilorhem entered his camp.  It being the dead of night, Mathron instinctively reached for his hammer upon hearing the raspy voice of Gilorhem call out, "Hello Master Elf!"  The tone was jovial, but the voice sounded like it had been smoking heavily for the past several decades.  "Mind you no malice, Friend Elf!" Gilorhem continued, tittering anxiously, "Here, let us have a fire."

Gilorhem gestured and placed his hand on the ground, causing portion of the Earth to suddenly be stripped bare.  In but a moment a ring of stones appeared and lined the now exposed dirt, then were soon accompanied by a mass of split logs dropping from the sky.  Gilorhem pulled a bucket of water from behind his back and splashed it on the wood, causing it to burst into flame.  Seeing a slightly confused expression on Mathron's face, Gilorhem remarked, "My magic.  Best if left unexplained.  Ah, but if that isn't warm though." 

"Who are you?"  Mathron said, eying the Dwarf warily.

"Me? A friend.  An ally. A--"

"Your name."  Mathron interrupted, speaking flatly.

"Gilorhem is my name, though most call me the Mad Dwarf, that having nothing to do with my temperament.  But enough about me.  What of you?  Strange thing to see one raised in the Elf lands following a Northern God."  The Dwarf said, gesturing to Mathron's symbol.

"I am not from the Elf lands." Mathron replied, his interest in this discourse waning.  He wondered if the Dwarf would just leave if he ignored him long enough.

"I can sense you don't think I'm worth your time."  Gilorhem remarked, reaching into his cloak and withdrawing a scroll.  "Perhaps this will change your mind."  Passing the scroll to Mathron, the Elf silently unrolled the parchement, read a few lines and swallowed hard.  His mouth had become painfully dry.

"Is this true?"  Mathron said after some moments.

"Ah, to have a captive audience."  Gilorhem said, idly staring into the fire.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Showdown at the Inn of the Welcome Wench, Part 2

Wood scratched against wood as chairs were pushed back and several locals staggered to their feet.  Mathron felt his jaw tighten as he realized he'd now be facing an entire bar of inebriated angry men who were set upon mashing his face in.

"My quarrel is with only the man who deprived me my meal."  Mathron stated bluntly, but saw it did little to defuse the situation.  Mathron sighed, and reached for his holy symbol.  The followers of Thor do not run from any fight, and if these men wished for battle, Mathron was willing to oblige.  As the mob began to close around him, Mathron whispered magic words, praying for his God's might in the up coming skirmish.  His prayer seemed to be answered almost immediately as the Elf began glowing with a pale white light.  This however did nothing to stop one of the attackers from crowning Mathron with a wooden chair, which broke over the paladin like a wave crashing upon the shore.  Strangely, Mathron seemed unaffected.

Mathron felt his training take over has he shifted his weight and pivoted to meet his now chairless attacker.  Taking a quick step into the man's proximity Mathron landed a sharp cross on the man's jaw, dropping him.  With a swift step back the mob was upon him, clambering over themselves to try and get a swing off at lone 'protagonist'.  Mathron back pedaled, ducked and weaved avoiding blows.  When the perfect moment struck Mathron lunged forward and connected with several telling blows to the closest drunk.  The man's face distorted under the rapid blows from Mathron's fists, and soon the man was trampled by a now frothing mob more intent than ever upon tearing the Elf to pieces.  Mathron deflected blows from all angles, only occasionally finding blows coming through to him while he continued to break teeth and ruin faces.

After several minutes of heated blow exchanges most of the mob had been serviced in the face repeatedly by Thor's justice.  Many realized they were severely outclassed by this wandering warrior and staggered back to their drinks, while others crawled off dragging near unconscious comrades.  Mathron approached the prone and trampled drunk who had started all this business.  Placing a hand upon the drunk's forehead, Mathron gently whispered a request to his mighty God, causing the wounds upon the drunk to glow with a bright light.  The man stirred as his wounds closed with unnatural celerity, slowly regaining consciousness.  He opened his eyes and saw Mathron.

"You owe me a meal and an ale.  Do not make me beat you again."

About a half hour later, Mathron walked out of the Inn of the Welcome Wench, content and full of hot lamb and ale.  Leaving town, he made for the woods to set up camp.  It was here that he crossed paths with Gilorhem, the Mad Dwarf.