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Monday, June 11, 2007

3.1.5.2. The Dwarf's Story (Deleted Chapter)

The Dwarf's Story

Robert, Christopher and Carolyn arrive in their lodge in no time, with the unconscious dwarf. They lay the dwarf in front of the fireplace, and about two hours later, the dwarf regains his consciousness. But, on seeing three human strangers in the lodge, the dwarf becomes alert. He tries to get up and grab his battle axe, but his strength is failing him – he cannot get up. Then he mutters in a hoarse, weak voice.

'C'mon, kill me. You got me off guard.'

Chris becomes surprised and then answers, 'Oh, no, no. We don't want to kill you. We found you in the field and carried you here. Please, calm down, little sir.'

Instead of being calm, the dwarf becomes angrier.

'Don't call me "little", you no good punk!'

The dwarves are really a proud race. One insult upon them, and they'll instantly chop your head off before you can say sorry. So in this case, Chris is extremely lucky to keep his head intact. Now it's time for Robert to take over the conversation.

'Please, sir. Forgive this young fellow here and pray tell us your name and why did you get lost around here.'

The dwarf changes his attitude at once into a friendlier manner, and starts to talk feebly and slowly.

'Now that's a lad who knows his manners. Well, my name is Rollo, and I'm from The Dwarven Realm of Grad. And how I became like this, well…'

He pauses for a moment, trying to recall something, and then he continues.

'Well, I was with my comrades, Pungli and Banzi, we were on the way home from the capital of Escudia, Galacia. We were carrying a valuable artifact, The Mythril Greaves of Grad. Of course it was a secret – we planned to bring the greaves to Grad to make a full set of Mythril Armor and give it a new name. The King of Escudia gave us the greaves as a token of goodwill and friendship between the two Mythril-producing nations and to prevent war. But alas! On the way, we were attacked by a band of bandits, about twenty of them, and among them were very skilled fighters, especially a woman with two swords.'

Rollo pauses again briefly – with terror in his face. Then he sighs and continues his story.

'It happened so fast. We fought them hard, but they were too many… They slew Banzi and Pungli, only I escaped. And they took away the Mythril Greaves. Damn it! Damn it!'

Robert is thoughtful. He thinks,

'A woman with two swords? I'm sure I've heard about her somewhere, but I better ask around in the tavern, people around here might know something about the bandits.'

Then he speaks, 'We'll investigate it for you… if you don't mind accepting our help.'

Rollo answers, 'Of course, any help is welcome. But I can't offer you anything as a reward, except a dwarf's friendship.'

Robert answers coolly, without a smile, 'That'll do.'

Without any delay, Robert sets out to the tavern in Uvarse. Carolyn stays at the lodge to get Rollo back to full health, and Chris continues his sword training.

At the Ingvhus tavern, the filthiest, the rowdiest – and the only – tavern in Uvarse, Robert drinks from his cup of warm ale and begins to ask around. The bartender is first.

'Excuse me, ma'am…'

'Call me Frida, lad. How's the ale?'

'Not strong enough to make me drunk, but hot enough to make me warm. It's just what I need.'

'Ah, good. Can I help you with something else?'

'Well, do you happen to know anyone who knows anything from the bounty hunters community? I need some information.'

'Hahaha. My lad, just look in front of you, and you'll see her. Yes, I do know a bit about the hunters, bandits, mercs and politics. Now what do you want to know?'

'Have you heard about a bandit, a female who always wield two swords? I thought she is very well known in this business, and I would like to meet her if I have a chance.'

'Hmmm, I see. Yes. Hmmm… oh – sorry, my lad. I don't know anything about her. Maybe you better ask somebody else. Wish I could help, but, well – sorry.'

'Oh, okay. Thanks. I think I better get going now – it's night already. Oh – how much is it?'

'Four zennies.'

Robert puts four bronze coins on the table, and then walks out from the tavern. Frida watches him, and as Robert is out of sight, she calls a man sitting in the corner of the bar table.

'Hoy, Angus! Come here now.'

Angus, a man who looks like a ruffian, comes closer to Frida. Then Frida talks to Angus in a very soft voice, almost like a whisper.

'Angus, just tell Sheena that a man – a handsome but suspicious man – is looking for her. Tell her to be extra careful with that young man with silver hair and a kiliji. He can be a bounty hunter with Sheena as his target, or he is attracted with her beauty and wants to marry her. Go, and make haste.'


Want not, waste not! Tee hee hee

Andry Chang
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