Friday, September 21, 2007

The Lummossey

part 1

"Papa, tell us the story about how you beat the dragon again."
"Well," the dwarf said, leaning back in his chair, "it was not I alone that beat the dragon. Remember, I did have some help with that fight. And that was only a small part of the adventure."
As the story unwound, the dwarf though back on the days that had led him to this one.
He gazed upon his beautiful wife and grinned as the memories overtook him:

Aerin had brought them back to Verbobonc as soon as they were safely away from the carnage and destruction of the battle to keep Tharzidun locked in his prison.
The party had been through much, but as time wore on, each decided it was time to depart and go their separate ways.
After some rest in their home in Verbobonc and after bidding the city guard a fond farewell, he sought his companions to say his good-byes.
Kilminsk had disappeared the night they had returned, but Lummox had already given him his farewells as well as one of the hammerspheres.
Aerin was busy setting up "shop" in the city and had little time for the dwarf, but they parted with a handshake (that undulated strangely in Lummox's palm) and a little well-wishing. As the dwarf was walking away,Aerin called to him.
"I want that arm back, by the way." Lummox grinned.
"Over my dead body," he called back.
He was never sure, but he thought he heard Aerin mumble something like, "That can be arranged."
When he returned to the house, he found Degolar, wicked glint in his eyes as ever, standing in the doorway.
"You," Degolar said, grin in place, "look like a dwarf on a mission. I guess you'll be leaving us soon too?"
"I'm gonna miss you, you pervert," Lummox said with a wry grin. "We had some good times."
"Who knows," Degolar said mischievously, "we may again." They embraced and wished each other a farewell. That night, Lummox left a gift in the bard's room. It was a drum he had been making in secret out of the hide and bone of one of the mindflayers the bard had saved him from. Lummox would remember that day for the rest of his life. The bard, who he had always considered a bit of a deviant, had taken control of his mind to release the grip the mindflayer had taken. He could have kept control and could have had the dwarf as his slave, but instead, he freed him with no lingering effects. A new level of respect grew for the bard and their friendship had grown. Lummox just hoped the bard would like the gift and appreciate the sentiment behind it.

As he headed out to the stables to feed his pet griffin, Fluffy, he heard some rumblings from the hay loft. He moved closer to hear a little better and heard a silvery peel of laughter and the deep rumble of chuckling answer it. He picked up a pitch fork and pounded on the boards overhead.
"Hey, you two," he called up to Leelu and Torias, "get some damn clothes on and get down here." There was a long silence and then the pair broke into hysterical laughter. Lummox grinned wryly and headed off to tend to the griffin.
The first to appear was Torias, shirtless and sweaty. The deep scars that covered his skin was a sad reminder of the way they had found him in that damned place of evil and of what was done to him there. He stepped up next to Lummox and grabbed a grooming brush. They brushed away the dust and hay from the creature as she purred her delight. After some time,Leelu joined them in the barn. They finished grooming and feeding Fluffy and stepped into the yard. Lummox turned to Torias and smiled sadly.
"Lad," Lummox said, "you are a fine warrior. I wish you well in the future and hope for the best for you." He reached to the urgrosh on his back and presented it to the young man. "This is for you. It isn't much, but I want you to have it. It has served me well, as I hope it does you. Take care of yourself, or I will be forced to beat the tar out of you." They shook hands and then embraced for a short time.
He turned to Leelu, and for the briefest moment, his eyes glinted with tears. He blinked and they were gone.
"You, my dearest, I will miss the most. You have come a long way, not just in distance but from the scared, angry child you were. You have become a very brave and very noble lady, and I am proud to call you my friend. As much as I would like to stay and remain your companion on your journeys, I believe you have found a much more appropriate guide." He nodded and grinned at Torias . "I wanted to give you something special but could thing of nothing that could let you know how much you have meant to me. Nothing seemed right, and then it hit me. Can I borrow one of your knives?"
"What makes you think I am carrying one?"
"I have known you far too long for that." She must have seen something in his eyes, because she sighed and pulled a slim dagger from behind her (to Torias ' great surprise) and handed it to the dwarf. Lummox took the knife and looked at it for a moment then did the last thing anyone would have expected. He cut the hair of his beard above the symbol of Moradin until the bottom half of his beard was dangling from his fingers, the symbol of Moradin swinging back and forth. He handed the knife and the lock and symbol to Leelu, looking a little silly with such short whiskers.
"This is yours child. Remember me fondly."
Leelu knelt to hug him, but he stopped her and gently put his hands on the sides of her face and drew her near his. He kissed her lightly on the forehead and then pulled her into a warm hug that lasted quite a while. When they released one another, he patted her shoulder. "You keep the brat, over here..." motioning to Torias, "you keep him out of trouble."
He turned and walked into the house and then out the front door again into the streets of Verbobonc.

When he reached the temple of Pelor and asked to speak to Saint Hadrian, they looked at him as if he were something they had stepped in.
"You are out of luck, little 'friend,'" the closest priest said, "he was here only briefly and has left us for greater things." The two Pelorians turned there backs on the dwarf and continued their conversation. Lummox left and made a mental note to see if he could train his griffin to relieve himself in flight. He was not worried about seeing Hadrian today. He was sure their paths would cross again one of these days.
He decided that he would make one last stop before leaving. He headed to the gnomish district and sought out Mia, the dragon slayer. He found her resting on a door stoop and smoking a pipe.
"I didn't know you smoked."
"When the mood strikes me, you grumpy old dwarf." From anyone else, this would have been an insult, but from Mia, it was a great compliment.
"I brought you something." He grinned and produced a wand crafted of willow and presented it to Mia. "Now you don't have to cast dancing lights for a while. This will do it for you. Well, for 100 times at least."
"Cute," she said, with her tilted smile.
They exchanged their goodbyes and shook hands and as he walked away, a shower of lights pranced and twinkled around Lummox.

On his way out of the city, he looked over his shoulder and wondered how soon he would be back to the city that had encapsulated a large chunk of his life and how soon he would see the people who filled his heart. He turned forward again and urged Fluffy into flight and lifted away from the city and off into the wilderness on his search for the lost Saltheart clan.

to be continued...


Hadrian said...

Very nice.

Degolar said...

Many thanks for the drum. I'll make sure to use it any time I have an audience to influence.