Chapter 4

Gurmble walked out with a smile on his face. As he passed Gravelhand he thanked him. This put Gravelhand a little off guard but Gurmble didn’t care at all. All he could do was think about the journey and getting to the goblins. He wanted to know why they were attacking now of all times. Gurmble was fully intending to go alone but got the idea of asking the others. He knew they all left their own homelands. Now maybe they will be up for a little adventuring with him. There was only one way to find out. Gurmble unconsciously started to pick up his pace as he headed for home. He just couldn’t wait to share the news and ask them if they would be willing to join him in an epic adventure. One that could possibly be shared with your grandchildren someday. With all of them, just maybe, they could foil the plans of the goblins enough to stop the attacks even if they didn’t survive it. Gurmble ran, as much as a hobbling dwarf could, to the cabin.

Gurmble burst into the building with force, huffing and gasping for breath. Everyone looked at him expecting the worst. Elderist half stood up almost expecting to have to fight his way out of the building. Joanan shook his way to his feet hiding behind Elderist fully expecting the goblins to come in chasing Gurmble. Flynn jumped up with her hand to the hilt of her sword. Spike, who was laying down just about to go to sleep, jumped up so high he hit his head with a thump on the table bottom. Spike landed on all fours with haunches up staring toward Gurmble. Gurmble just waved them back to their seats and sat down in the closest chair trying to catch his breath. Spike gave a low growl and turned around in a circle until he laid down again at Flynn’s feet.

“I have (gasp) a question (gasp) for you (gasp) all.” Said Gurmble as he huffed. Then he just put up a hand and said “Just (gasp) give me (gasp) a minute to (gasp) catch me breath (gasp)”.

They all sat there waiting for Gurmble to speak next. Elderist looked at Gurmble and said “Just like a dwarf, No endurance at all.”

Gurmble gave him a stern look and said “Look it here boy. I could out last you in any battle. Any day, any time.” Gurmble sucked it a deep breath and let it out slowly. He continued with more of an ease. “Now the things that happened out there were terrible. The worst thing about it is that the king does not want to send out troops to fend off the horde and kill the leader before they lead a mass attack on Minius. I tried to plead with him to give me a group so I could find out what is going on and possibly eliminate the threat. He again told me no. But he did give me permission to go out on my own. The question to you would be. Will you join me? It was an honor to fight with you all today. You are more than capable warriors. I would be honored to have you all protecting my back and I protecting yours.” Elderist pointed a finger in the air and opened his mouth to speak but Gurmble cut him off with a hand and said “Of course we will share in everything that is found.” Elderist smiled and seemed to be happy with the answer.

Joanan looked at everyone and said “Do you know where they are hiding?”

“Well it is my belief that they are hiding up in the mountains. Some say that they are living in the old Dwarven mines. The old halls have been abandoned for years. The story is said that the giants drove us down into the plains. Here we set up Minius and we got so used to it that we never set out to look for the old mines again. It seems after the dwarfs and gnomes finally fought back the giants is when the goblins took over our mines. The location of the old mines are unknown anymore. So we may be searching for weeks or even months” Gurmble said.

Kai said “Well I saw that you guys had a pretty extensive library here. Would there be any information in the books?”

“Maybe. I also have a lot of books in the back room. My father collected them from the old mines, he was one of the original dwellers but forgot the exact location or at least that is what he told me. We dwarfs like our secrets, you know. Also those are his favorite books. That might be a good place to start if you wanted to.” Said Gurmble as he pointed to the door right beside the bar. “I personally have looked through most of them. What I got was a vague idea that it is in the mountains toward the North West. Around a five days march from here. But feel free to look. Maybe you could extract more information than I.”

Both Kai and Joanan shared a knowing look. Kai said “I will take a look at the books you have in the back Gurmble. Sounds like the best place to start. Maybe I can find something that you might have missed.”

Joanan nodded in agreement and said “Excellent idea. I’ll take a look at the library in the city and see what I can scrounge up there. The rest of you might as well rest and we will meet up in the morning to see what we might have come up with.”

“Well, while you guys look at the books I can help build some armor for you if anyone needs repairs or even a new set. I have a great hammer and anvil out back. Does anyone want anything in particular?” Said Gurmble to everyone.

Flynn shook her head. “I will not put anything unnatural on my body dwarf. But if you can repair leather I may need a few adjustments.” Gurmble nodded as if to say he could.

Kai shook his head when Gurmble looked at him questioningly.

Joanan said “If you can I would like to have a new large shield and some chain mail armor.”

That’s when Elderist smiled and said “I could sure use some repairs on these sleeves Gurmble. For some reason they just fell apart. Might get more protection if it wasn’t flopping around in the breeze like your beard.”

“With your mouth nothing can protect you half-elf! Either way give it to me and I will fix it. Flynn I would be more than happy to fix your armor. I have worked with leather many times.” Said Gurmble. Then he eyeballed both Joanan and Elderist. “Looks like they both will not take long at all. Give me about a week. I think by than they will be finished.”

Everyone nodded and went on their way. Both Flynn and Elderist went to train while Kai and Joanan hit the books. That night they all met to find out what they discovered. Both Joanan and Kai shook their heads in resolution “Nothing found out tonight, but tomorrow is another day.”

This went on for several days. Both Joanan and Kai went off to read while Gurmble worked on the armor and Flynn and Elderist trained in the yard with Spike. About the fifth day Kai said something interesting. “I found this book about a wizard who disappeared shortly before the goblin wars. It is said that he was the most powerful wizard in the realms. He helped out all of the goodly races by going to them in their times of need and fixing their problems. The book talks about the locations he visited. I am hoping that one of them might be the old dwarven mines. I plan on staying up tonight to find out. Gurmble you don’t mind do you? I will be right outside your door.”

“No go ahead. My father used to read all the time till the wee hours of the morning” Gurmble said

Kai settled down with the lamp lit above him on the hook. The desk was a little short but he didn’t mind at the time. He was finally doing something he loved, the pursuit of knowledge.  Kai was so entranced in the book about this old wizard that he did not even know what time it was. This book seemed to be a collection of many stories from different races, as if someone went around looking for information on this wizard. He was reading a story from the Dwarven city. Kai read carefully to make sure he didn’t miss a thing. There was a description of the surroundings that the dwarf who was telling the story gave. A specific rock formation that the wizard seemed to sit alone at to think or study. Kai pulled out a map from a book the he previously read that was all topography around the time of the goblin wars. He was hoping that maybe he could find a location that fit the description.  It didn’t take him long to find a location that was the most likely spot. But there were no names on this map. Kai grabbed a more recent map and pored over it matching up the mountain peaks. It took him awhile, but he felt like he may have found the spot. He stood up and excitedly smacked the table as he smiled. Just as he heard the loud thump he cringed as he remembered how late it was.

Standing quietly now Kai patiently waited for the smashing of a dwarf coming out of the room not too far from him. It felt like an eternity until he heard a loud snore coming from behind the closed door. He let out a sigh of relief. Everyone would be excited to hear what he found but he knew it could wait until the morning. He just smiled looking down at the map. It was indeed to the North West just two days directly west of the current half-elf village. They can easily get close to the opening by going five days North West of Minius. Since Kai had nothing else better to do, and the adrenaline was pumping through his body, he decided to keep reading about the wizard.

He pored over stories that were collected from the gnomes that seemed to interest him. Some of the descriptions of the area felt familiar to him.  Almost like he had been there before. The gnome told the writer about a particular story of the wizard that he found very interesting. It was about a time when all the gnomes in the hollowed mountains that they made home were having trouble with their inventions and magic in particular. Just when the leader just died from an explosion the wizard showed up. Almost like he was called to them from the tragedy. The gnomes were having trouble in picking a new leader. There were several candidates for the position. The gnomes liked to pick their leader by their prowess in magic and building. No one had the talent of the last leader but several young ones showed promise but it was too early for them to really lead a nation. The wizard stepped in with the idea of taking the current candidates and having them build something and power it with magic. This startled the gnomes because they all knew that their magic was not working properly but the wizard said that he would oversee the building and implementation of the inventions to make sure no one got hurt. The wizard had to put out several fires and even stop one gnome in mid-air as he was falling from the failure of his invention “the crank-less elevator”.  In the end with lots of work from the wizard, who the story teller noted seemed to go off on his own several times a day and come back clammy and sweaty, all the inventions worked with no more problems ever with their magic again. They also noticed that the children, no matter if they showed talent in magic, could always cast certain spells. When the leader was picked, his first duty was to take the young ones that showed promise and teach them the ways of the gnomes. The leader noticed that when the wizard left one of the more promising gnomes disappeared as well, a young man who showed a lot of talent in magic and the great ability to ascertain information from written word. Many felt that he may have followed the wizard believing he could learn more with him than with his own race.

Kai found that last to bit to be very intriguing. Most young of all the races didn’t go off rashly, especially one that had potential of leading their people. He decided, instead of dwelling on it, to keep reading. The next story was from the human race.

The wizard showed up one day when the humans were being attacked by a large army of orcs. The story-teller told of a mountain pass where the humans were putting up their last stand. Kai remembered the place well. He used to hear stories from his parents all the time, funny how none of them ever said that the human wizard in the folklore was this guy. His name seemed to fade away from the story only replaced by his great powers.

The orcs were marching into the pass in thousands. The human army had been dwindled down to three hundred men. They looked to stop the orcs for as long as possible in hopes that a retreat of the village could take place. They knew they had to hold out for at least three days. The orcs marched to the mid-way point of the path and the leader stopped and smiled an evil sharp-toothed grin. The orc then pointed up as his smile widened. The three hundred men looked up to see the peaks were covered with orc riders and they knew all hope was lost. The leader brought his hand down fast and yelled a visceral scream of hatred and hunger. As the army ran toward the three hundred men from above and in front, the three hundred spread out in an arrow formation, hoping to prevent the orcs from above to have space to land beside them, forcing them to jump in the middle opening them up to attack from all sides. This would serve for a short time but they knew all was lost at that time and they could only hope that some would be able to escape the massacre.

The riders from above jumped in the air toward the middle of the formation. Just as they were about to hit the ground a bolt of lightning hit the first in the air then spread to two more of the riders and kept spreading as it hit from one orc to the other. Danger was no longer raining down on the three hundred only smoldering orc corpses. One of the three hundred ventured a look behind them and noticed a lone figure dressed in brown robes floating in the air. The figure floated up higher into the air as he gestured with his hands, mumbling something. Within a few seconds the man looked like he threw something toward the backside of the orc army. That is when an eruption of fire burst forth in front of them. The air stank of burnt flesh, and screams could be heard coming from the back of the orc ranks. With that the orcish army retreated from the pass and never returned. The story teller noted that there was a large banquet for the wizard, as he left so too did a young man from the three hundred. Again it was noted that everyone believed that the young man must have left thinking that he could learn more with the wizard than with what he was doing there in the village.

That is when Kai decided to look back at the other stories to see if they all had someone leaving with or right after the wizard. Sure enough every story ended the same way. The wizard left and a youth from the village left with him. Some females but mostly all of them were men. Some people even said that he was the cause. The people that were missing were always a promising youth in the community. It was not uncommon for them to travel away to try and find some riches and fame at that time, so it mostly went unnoticed except for these stories. Kai knew that with a pattern comes some suspicion. He quickly grabbed another book from the shelf in hopes of finding more stories about the wizard, maybe some indication of where he came from or where he lived or even if any of the missing youths turned up as wizard’s themselves.

Kai scanned all of the books that were within reach and none of them had any indication of the Wizard in them. No heroic wizards showed up that were old members of a community. It was if the wizard and the youths just disappeared. Kai decided to go back to the book with the story of the wizard and check to see if there were any indications of time frames. Maybe if just one of them indicated a youth with the wizard as if an apprentice he would feel better. He carefully read each story, intersecting important information of known history. That is when he got more confused. For all indication the wizard was a human but a lot of the stories were spanning several hundred years. Some indications were that he was the first wizard, the one who started it all. Kai kept reading as he slowly got tired. It was getting very late indeed but he just couldn’t tear himself from this book.

Kai kept reading until finally he passed out from exhaustion. He dropped face down in the book snoring. He slept so peacefully he did not see the figure that seemed to step out from a shadow just outside the reach of the light. The figure stood about six feet tall and was covered in a black robe. The robe had a hood that covered his face in shadows. His eyes seemed to be glowing a faint green from under the hood. His arms were folded and his hands were in the opposite sleeves making him look almost like a praying monk at midnight. From under the hood a tuft of a black beard could be seen from the flickering light. His lips were parted in a slight smirk as he looked down upon Kai’s sleeping form. That smirk looked like a father looking down upon a child but his eyes flickered with a sense of craziness. He looked as one would think a person who had just lost most of his sense of humanity, but still had some semblance of clarity at times when looking upon one of their children.

The figure unfurled his arms from his sleeves and took another step closer to Kai’s sleeping body. He bent down and whispered “It is time for you to take your true form my child. You have done well.” With that he stood back up and waved his arms over Kai’s body while chanting quietly. A brown aura seemed to start from his body that emanated into a darkness as it got further from his figure. The darkness threatened to take over Kai’s sleeping form but stopped just short. After a short time Kai’s body started to respond with a brown aura of its own. The auras came together mingling.

As the figure finished, he watched as the aura’s collided together becoming one. He watched as the darkness started to take control hiding Kai’s sleeping form. As the darkness subsided the figure smiled once more and stepped back into the blackness behind him, seeming to melt into the darkness.

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What is in a name Part 2

“Hey, Leroy. Do we have any more of those healing potions? I don’t know how much more I can take here” Garm said looking over his shoulder to a five foot six man in muddy full plate armor without a helmet. His hair was short, coal black, and he was supporting a five o’clock shadow.

Leroy patted his sides then took his pack off and jiggled it. “Nope, I think the last of ‘em were destroyed when I was inside that gelantius Cube.”

“Well, don’t you have any juice left to heal me just a bit? I don’t think we will be safe on this road for long. We have two more days of travel just to get to town” Garm said.

“Nope, used the last of it when Scroto caught fire while we were fighting that crazy fast kobold. Darn thing didn’t stop throwing those alchemists fire at us. I fit wasn’t for Anthrax’s skill at fighting we would all be goners by now” Leroy said. “Oh, that reminds me. Anthrax how you doing back there?”

“Oh, just peachy. That spear in my side cured the pain in my back from the javelin that Garm was so nice to throw to me” Anthrax said. She was a five foot nine woman with long brown hair that was falling freely around her face. She had a sharp square chin, thin muscular face, and cold blue eyes. She had a pack on her back and chainmail armor on. She carried a long sword strapped to her side and a shield slung on her arm.

“I said I was sorry” Garm said in Anthrax’s direction.

“Yea, that’s nice. Sorry’s heal all my wounds.” Anthrax replied. “Can you keep saying it? Maybe then I can stop bleeding!” She was looking around as she walked and complained. Her limp was very noticeable and there were bandages peeking out from under her armor and cloths.

“Hey it’s going to be dark soon. Let’s find a place to camp” came a voice from in front of Anthrax. “Anthrax just relax. Leroy will be able to help you tomorrow. His body just need rest before he can channel more healing energy. Anyways, you know Garm didn’t mean it.” In front of Anthrax was a halfling. He stood about four foot five with long reddish brown hair that was tied up in a knot on the top of his head.  His face was clean and looked a lot like a human child’s. He had on a pack that was brimming with items. Every stop he took there came a clinking sound. He had on leather armor with cloth peeking out in certain locations. The only thing that separated him from a human child was his arms, feet, and pointed ears. His hands and feet were covered in hair and almost as big as an adult human’s.

“If I remember correctly there should be a good place to camp just around this bend” Garm said pointing up the beaten path with his half spear. They were surrounded by trees and brush except for a winding ten foot beaten path. The path had clearly been traveled heavily at some point in time. There were wheel ruts that were getting grown over with grass and ferns. They were traveling down the middle of the path keeping a close eye on the brush line on both sides.

They came around the bend and were greeted with an unbroken brush line. Anthrax looked around real quick and said “Good job Garm. You messed up again.”

“I could have sworn there was a place right here when we were going the otherway. Maybe it is just around the next bend” Garm said.

“Let’s hope so Garm because I am so tired that I am about to fall asleep walking” Leroy stated.

“We are all tired Leroy. But he does have a point Garm. By the looks of it if there isn’t a good place to camp at the next bend then we will have to camp in the middle of the path. I will like to avoid that at all costs though” Scroto said.

They rounded the bend and found an opening. “See there it is!” Garm pointed and exclaimed.

“Alright finally” Anthrax said exasperated. “At least something good happened today!” She pushed to the front and walked into the clearing first brushing Garm aside as she did so.

The clearing was no more than a ten foot open space in the forest. The floor was littered with dead leaves and pine needles. There was a slight indent in the exact middle of the clearing. Garm entered the clearing followed by Leroy and Scroto. Anthrax dropped her pack near a large tree toward the end and flopped down leaning against the tree trunk. Garm dropped his pack at the furthest right of the opening. Leroy took the furthest left tree and settled down next to it.

“I’ll go get some firewood” Garm said walking straight into the forest as he layed his half spear and shield next to his pack. His pack had javelin points handing out of the top flap.

“Hold on Garm. No fire tonight. We don’t want the goblins to know where we are” Scroto said as he surveyed the clearing from the center.

“But we killed everything in that cave Scroto. What goblins are left? Like I said I’ll go get the firewood” Garm turned toward the trees and stared to walk forward once again.

“Garm, we can not guarantee that there weren’t any out scouting for other places or even scouting Antioch again. If there were they could be on their way back home now. Better be safe than sorry” Scroto said looking in Garm’s direction sternly.

“Yea Garm just relax will ya? I thought you said you didn’t know if you could take any more beatings. Best we not chance the fire. Oh, and will you please sleep far enough away from me that you can’t hit me with one of those javelins in your sleep? I really don’t want to be a pincushion in the morning” Anthrax said with her eyes closed and head back against the trunk of the tree.

Garm looked at Scroto then at Anthrax while they were talking and sighed audibily clearly giving up.

“Okay, now we have to figure who is going to take watches. I’ll take the first watch. Who wants second?” Scroto looked at the others in turn as he asked the question.

“I’ll take the second watch” Leroy said looking at Scroto.

“I’ll take the third!” Garm said excitedly.

“So, that leaves you for the last watch Anthrax” Scroto said looking over at her.

“Yea, yea. Let me get some sleep will you?” Anthrax curled up in a ball and turned over on her side.

Scroto dropped his pack as Leroy laid down. He walked to the opening securing some daggers inside his sleeves. Garm harrumphed and walked after Scroto. “Hey are you sure I can’t build a fire? If I go now I could get enough wood for the night” Garm said tapping Scroto on the shoulder.

“No, Garm. Just go and get some rest before your watch” Scroto said looking up at Garm.

“Alright. Fine. But, if you get cold tonight don’t come complaining to me” Garm said turning around and walking to his back to lay up against the tree.

Garm sat there for a while staring up at the darkening skies reflecting on everything that happened that day. “How did we live through that?” Garm muttered to himself. Garm laid back further down the tree as he stretched his arms behind his head so he could stare up at the stars that were starting to peek out through the black canvas of the night sky. Garm could only hope that all his adventures wouldn’t turn out this way. He fell asleep picturing the battle against the large Gelatine like creature.

Garm woke up to a foot in the rib. “Enhh, what is it?” Garm started to rub his eyes and stretch.

“It’s your turn to take over the watch my friend” Said a deep gruff voice in a whisper.

“Now? But I have only been asleep for like a minute. I should have longer still” Garm said opening his eyes and looking at Leroy bent over his body.

“No, Garm you have been snoring now for several hours. If is you turn so please get up” Leroy said giving Garm another gentle kick, this time in the legs.

“Uhh, Fine. Anything not worthy happen that I need to know?” Garm asked stretching again and sitting up.

“Heard some rustling in the bushes but it sounded a lot like a raccoon” Leroy said watching Garm stand up. “Just keep your ears open man. If you hear a lot of rustling and what sounds like feet approaching then wake us up. Alright?”

“Yea, I know how to do a watch Leroy. I did it on the way up remember? It is not like I forgot how to in a day you know” Garm said as he picked up his half spear and shield.

“Yea, just try not to fall asleep like you did that one time” Leroy stated as he dropped his weapons beside his pack and got comfortable again.

“That was only that one time Leroy. Relax will ya?” Garm said heading toward the opening. Garm had to step over the curled up ball of Scroto, who decided to just lay down in the middle of the clearing hugging his pack to himself. Garm found a good spot near the pathway and settled down for his watch. To keep himself busy he used his half spear to doodle in the dirt. His watch passed without too much happening. When he felt that his time was over he got up and quietly walked to Anthrax. Garm tapped Anthrax with his foot and jumped back slightly. He remembered the last time he had to wake her up. She lunged at him just after he shook her.

“Enh??? It can’t be my turn already” Anthrax said rolling over to her back. “Go away will you?”

“It is your turn Anthrax” Garm whispered loudly.

“Fine.” Anthrax simply stated opening her eyes and stretching.  “Anything happen?”

“Nothing really. I only heard some howling of wolves maybe two or three miles off toward the mountain we came from. But, I wouldn’t worry about that. Just wolves” Garm said as he bent closer to Anthrax so he wouldn’t have to talk so loudly.

Anthrax grabbed her sword and shield that were lying beside her. She stood up and strapped them on and walked toward the clearing. “Sounds good.”

“Welp, good night” Garm said as she passed him. He walked back to his belongings and laid back down. It didn’t take long for him to fall asleep to the dreams of battling goblins and kobolds.

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Some may be asking

So some people may be asking why I am posting chapter 3 when I said I would only post chapter 4 and stop there because of what happens to a main character in chapter four. Well I figured some things that happen in chapter 3 are discussed in chapter 4 and you would need some sort of reference so I gave you the whole chapter. Figured the right thing to do. Thanks for reading.

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Chapter 3

Chapter 3


            When Gurmble woke up he was being jostled by Joanan. Everyone was standing over him. Kai had a bandage on his head, Joanan had bandages on his arm, torso, and head, Elderist had bandages on both arms, and Flynn had a couple around her torso, Spike almost looked like a walking mummy wolverine.  “Well, what dwarf could ever ask for a more beautiful site when waking up?” said Gurmble gruffly as he slowly stood up. “Man that goblin could hit hard. Anyone know what the hell happened here?” Gurmble looked at them all. All of them in turn just shrugged. Gurmble turned around and noticed the battle seemed to be under control by the royal guards. The goblins were retreating and more dwarven guards were showing up.

Gurmble took one step toward the battle and his legs gave out. Joanan and Elderist were luckily right beside him and caught him as he fell. All three lurched forward but they were able to catch themselves. “I think our fight is over for today my friend” Joanan said straightening up. “Let us take leave to rest up. I have a feeling we are going to have a long day tomorrow.”

Gurmble looked up into Joanan’s eyes. “You are right.” He then smiled. “We showed them not to mess with us didn’t we?” Everyone smiled back at Gurmble.

“Hey Gurmble. I kept count I hope you did as well. My number is thirteen. Bet you didn’t beat that!” Elderist said as they turned around to limp back to the cabin.

Gurmble started to laugh but it ended in a fit of coughing. When he caught his breath he just said “Twenty kid I got me twenty. Looks like you need some more work. Set me down over here for a minute please?” He pointed to a bunch of rubble. The group limped over and sat down to catch their breath.

Joanan decided to look Gurmble over. He noticed a couple of spots where the blood was still wet and looked like it was fresher blood then everywhere else. “Looks like you took a beating just as much as you gave it Gurmble” he said. He took some bandages that he had hidden away under his cloths. “Luckily for you I was able to corner the medic from the guards and snuck a couple of bandages for you. Just in case.” He wrapped a bandage on Gurmble’s right arm and one on a particularly deep gash on his left thigh. “Any closer on this one and you would have been dead” he said wrapping the leg.

“Hey instead of using those bandages couldn’t you just magic my wounds away?” Gurmble said looking at Joanan as he finished wrapping his leg.

“I would if I could. Unfortunately my body cannot channel any more of my gods’ power. I would tear apart. So for now you will have to deal with these” Joanan replied.

Just as Joanan finished applying the last of the bandages the guard that was barking orders with the plumage on his helmet came up to the party. “Gurmble. What the hell happened here?”

“I don’t know I was hoping you would have an answer for me.” Gurmble said curtly.

“Weren’t YOU supposed to be patrolling this morning?  How could you miss that many goblins coming over the plans?” The guard snapped back.

“Look it was barely even sunup when this happened. You of all people know that the patrol doesn’t start until sunup because you can’t see otherwise. It would be better to ask the guards on the wall. There is one now maybe we should ask him how they missed the army of goblins marching over the plans.” Gurmble said pointing to a pile of rubble with a helmet sticking out between two large pieces of wall. Blood was spattered all around. “I don’t think you will get much out of him though. Unless you found a way to speak with the dead. I know none in the royal guard are wizards. But, hey magic could be a hobby of yours. I don’t know what you have done since I left the royal guard.”

The guard gave a harrumph and sniffed then turned toward a group of guards that were coming in through the opening in the rubble. These guards had on dark blue tunics over chainmail armor. Some carried crude swords and some had bows with a quiver of arrows strapped to their back. The guard immediately started to bark at them.

“Who was that Gurmble?” Asked Joanan as he was cinching up the bandage on his leg with a grunt and yank.

“Ack! A little tight Joanan! He is the captain of the royal guards. His name is Furbridge. Always has been a surly one. Even when I was in the guard he always seemed to be in a bad mood” Gurmble answered. Gurmble then tested his leg to see if he could move it. He was able to move it with only a little pain, seemed to be satisfactory enough so he turned his attention back to Furbridge whose voice was starting to get loud enough to hear even where the friends were sitting.

“What do you mean they were all of a sudden just standing out in front of the gates?! Why didn’t you signal the warning bell?! Don’t you know how to do your job!?” Furbridge was so angry that they could see the spittle coming out from his mouth with every word. His red beard was bouncing so furiously that it looked like family of squirrels were trying to hang onto his face in middle of a wind storm. “Well what hell caused this hole? Didn’t any of you nit wits do your job?! All you need to do is keep an eye on the plans and signal a warning when a threat is in sight!!! That is why you are not in the royal guards! Your incompetence! The easiest patrol and you find a way to foul it up!” With that Furbridge turned from the group with an exasperated wave of his hand and started marching back toward the companions.

“Don’t think you have escaped any responsibility in this Gurmble.” Furbridge stomped toward Gurmble and stood towering, as much as any dwarf could muster, with hands on his hip and a stern look on his face. “They just told me that a small force of goblins were seen at the front gates just prior to this.” Furbridge gestured to the wall and the rubble surrounding them. “You may have saved the city Gurmble but if you were out there to begin with this wouldn’t have happened. With a half a day’s warning that we would have had if you spotted them on the plans we could have stopped them even before they reached a wall. Didn’t you do a check last night?”

“Yes I did Furbridge. It was just before I went to make more weapons and armor at the blacksmiths. You know this because you should have gotten the report from the gate guards.” Gurmble said with exacerbation. “Did they at least know what caused this?”

“No. All they know is that when this happened, whatever it was the happened, the goblins that were at the gate started to hoot and holler and ran toward here.” Furbridge looked annoyed. The scar on Furbridge’s face, which ran from his eyebrow down to his cheek on the right side with only a small separation where his eye was, went white as he scrunched up his face in a growl. Just as he was turning toward the hole in the wall another member of the royal guard came running up.

“Sir! Sir! They are disappearing!” The guard had the stone grey tunic on that showed he was a member of the royal guards. His shield and sword were stained in blood. It also looked like a goblin was able to break under his guard and score a small line on the dwarfs’ side.

“What the fuck do you mean they are disappearing? They are fucking pig lovers NOT wizards!” Furbridge spat at the soldier. “They can’t disappear! Get out of my way! They are probably just hiding!” Furbridge started toward the hole in the wall to see what the soldier meant. Gurmble pushed himself up with care and started to follow but he was still too weak to move. Joanan and Elderist again held him up.

“Take me over there. There is something wrong and I want to know what it is” Gurmble told Joanan and Elderist. The other two looked at each other questioningly. “NOW! If we don’t hurry we may never know how they are doing this! This is my city and I would like to know why this happened as much as anyone else.”

Joanan and Elderist sighed and started to walk him toward the hole in the wall. Furbridge got to the hole first and looked out onto the plans. He saw the goblins running away then just disappear near a particular area. “What the fuck is going on. Get over there and investigate! NOW! MOVE IT!” He yelled at the guards nearest to him.

Just as Joanan, Elderist, and Gurmble climbed up the rubble to the hole in the wall they saw the last goblin seeming to disappear as the Dwarven guards closed in on its location. They all stopped short and looked around. One of the guards took it upon himself to keep walking toward where the goblins were. As he reached the spot where the goblins were last he to disappeared but with a scream. The other guards ran over to where he was. Another guard disappeared with a scream and the guard with him seemed to drop down with him. Shortly both guards popped back up from the long grass.

“So that is how they did it. Looks like tunnels.” Gurmble said standing there. “That explains why we didn’t see them. Now we just need to find out how they were able to create the tunnels.”

“Thanks for stating the obvious Gurmble!” Furbridge spat at Gurmble. He then climbed down to the ground below being careful not to fall from loose rubble. There wasn’t too much rubble on the outside of the gate. It looked like something hit the wall in. But with the scattering of rubble Furbridge and Gurmble knew that it couldn’t have been a trebuchet. Anyways there wasn’t a trebuchet around or even evidence that there ever was one. Furbridge got down and started barking orders as he walked toward the other guards. “Get that tunnel collapsed now. Collapse it and then let’s get this wall fixed.”

“Looks like our job here is truly done Gurmble. Let us get back and rest. We have all had a hard day” Joanan said.

“First I want to see the king. Don’t worry it is along the way. Just need to get to the castle. I think it is about time we strike back. This shows they are starting to get really organized.” Gurmble said looking up at Joanan. “I think I got it from here now boys. I am starting to get my energy back.” Gurmble then released Joanan and Elderist and began to slowly climb is way back down from the wall. He was the last one to reach the bottom. He then hobbled over to the rest of the party. “Hey I just want to make a quick stop before we get back to the cabin. You guys go ahead. I will get there later.” Gurmble didn’t wait for them to answer but hobbled on ahead.

The rest of the group looked at Joanan and Elderist for some sort of answer. They both shrugged as if they didn’t know why he wanted to do this all of a sudden. As they headed back to the cabin they informed Flynn and Kai in on the details of what they saw while looking down at the plans.



Gurmble stopped in front of a large wooden plank that had chains on it leading into a couple of holes in the side of a wall. He took a deep breath before heading over the bridge. Under the bridge was a black substance that Gurmble remembered would light with just the slightest of sparks. The wizards of the town worked with some highly intelligent alchemists to create this black substance that surrounded the court yard. It was a last measure to protect the king should anyone make it through the outer walls. He walked straight into a large court yard that was vacant at the time. The courtyard was made from green marble and it sparkled in the sunlight. Gurmble remembered many days on guard duty here. Not much of a bustling place to be. Few people spend time here unless it was one of the two days a week that the king heard all complaints from the citizens and ruled over any disputes. The court yard would be a sea of dwarfs as everyone tried to pile in to be heard. He kept walking toward the steps that led up to the castle.

The castle was made of a pure white marble. Rumor had it that when the dwarfs settled this land they had just enough marble to build this castle. Since that day it has been a beacon of hope, pride, and longing for their old homes in the mountains. Gurmble was stopped at the main doors to the castle by two well armored dwarfs hefting bardiches. The guards crossed their blades to prevent Gurmble from advancing and the one on the right turned and addressed him. “What is your business at this time Gurmble?” The guards wore exceptionally crafted plate mail armor with a stone gray cloth covering.

“I need an audience with the king Gravelhand. It is about the recent attack” said Gurmble.

“You know I cannot let you in when we are in middle of an engagement near the gates until informed the threat is over Gurmble.” Said Gravelhand. Gravelhand had a large black beard with beads adorning the ends of four braids. Each bead was different. He had a bead shaped like an axe on the end of one, a shield on another, a skull, and a fist holding stones on the last one. His face was red from being out in the weather all the time and his voice was deep and gruff.

“Just ask him if he will admit me. I know that can be done with protocol. Plus I was the first one in on the defense. I have information that he wants.” Gravelhand just shook his head at Gurmble. “Just go in and ask now Gravelhand or I will knock you out like I have done so many times before during training.” Gurmble gave the guard a stern look as he said this. Gravelhand gulped and looked away. Gravelhand knew from sparring with Gurmble how well he could use his hammer. He also knew that if Gurmble didn’t turn down this command position that he wouldn’t be where he was now. With a slight hesitation Gravelhand turned and headed into the castle.

Gravelhand stopped and turned around in the door way. “For you I will ask if the King wants to see you. But I cannot guarantee that anything will come out of it Gurmble. Just stay here and wait for my return.” With this Gravelhand turned again and headed into the castle closing the doors behind him. Gurmble waited patiently out front, with the other guard, grumbling into his beard. The guard just stood still, looking forward, with his bardiche still blocking the way.

After a few minutes of Gurmble grumbling and pacing back and forth Gravelhand returned. “Seems you are in luck today Gurmble. His majesty said he would like to see you. Follow me please” Gravelhand said. He turned around not waiting for Gurmble and headed into the castle. The guard holding his bardiche in Gurmble’s way removed the barrier and let Gurmble pass. Gurmble limped quickly to catch up to Gravelhand.

“If I were you I would have went straight home Gurmble. His majesty is not in a good mood” Gravelhand said looking straight ahead. Inside the walls of the castle there were tapestries in a large vaulted ceiling room. The walls were the pure white marble that was seen on the outside and the floors were made of a green marble that was shipped in from the north. It wasn’t pure like the white marble, Gurmble noticed the black streaks that swirled in the green. The tapestries depicted many fabled Dwarven warriors. The first tapestry on the wall was that of the Thirteenth Legion surrounded by leagues of goblins. Gurmble could pick out his father with his eyes closed. Right in the middle front of the circle they formed wielding his hammer, snarling an order, and streaked in red. It depicted the battle that took the heart out of the goblins. Just when the goblins thought they won the day the Thirteenth Legion stayed strong until the goblins had no choice but to give up. His father never really talked about that day other than to say how many friends were lost and how many good souls were never seen again.

“I can take it from here Gravelhand” Gurmble said simply as they walked through some more double doors that were made of steel.

“You know I can’t leave you here. I must escort you to the throne room.” Gravelhand kept on walking as he said this. This room was bigger and the walls were bare a large blue carpet ran down the exact middle. There was a large balcony in this room that had thirteen stairs, which were fifteen feet long, leading up to it. There were three doors on the far wall of the balcony. One large double one in middle and two smaller ones on each end. The carpet lead straight to the middle doors. On either side of the doors stood two guards adorned the same way as Gravelhand. Both of these dwarfs had stern looks on their faces as if they were having one of the worst days in their lives. Gravelhand stopped in front of the double doors and turned to address the guard on the right.

“Gurmble has arrived. Can you please announce him?” The guard straightened at Gravelhand’s requested. He then turned and entered through the large doors.

“Your majesty! Gurmble has arrived as requested!” The guard bellowed.

“Send him in” was the reply that came from what seemed like a mile away.

“Yes your majesty!” the guard could be seen bowing and then turned around with a fluid motion and came back out. “You may enter.” He said in Gurmble’s direction and took his position again. Gurmble walked straight through the open door that was closed right behind him by the guard.

Gurmble found himself in a large room with that blue carpet running directly down the middle. This room was completed with the pure white marble. The room was easily one hundred feet long and fifty feet wide with six pillars separating the large open space, standing twenty feet high, made of that pure marble with gold separating the stones used to make the pillars. It was lit by sconces that were hanging every twenty feet on the walls. On those walls between the sconces hung several tapestries, all depicting the kings before commanding an important event in their rulership. All the tapestries had their edges made with gold. At the end of the room were stairs that led to a raised platform. On that platform of marble stood two thrones made of excellently carved obsidian. Beside the thrones stood two more guards next to two sconces that were on pedestals lighting the area. Gurmble noted that these two sconces were the only ones that had smoke coming from them the other ones seemed smoke free. Only one throne was occupied at the time. In that throne was a young dwarf not much older than Gurmble himself. He was dressed in white mythral full plate armor. Beside the throne was a scabbarded sword and shield. Resting on the back of the throne was a pure white mythral plate helmet. Gurmble hobbled his way to the pedestal and knelt in front of the first step bowing his head with a slight wince.

“My lord, I wish to request something” Gurmble said with his head bowed.

“You may speak openly here my friend. Get up will you? I will never get used to seeing you bow down before me. Does are childhood not mean anything to you? Now rise and call me by name” said the king.

Gurmble winced as he straightened up and looked at the king. “I would appreciate…..” Gurmble was cut short when the door opened and a booming voice cut him off.

“Your majesty. A report has come directly from the royal guard captain, Furbridge. It is urgent” said the guard that announced Gurmble just moments before. Behind him came another dwarf who was dressed in the customary gray depicting him a royal guard. The dwarf was breathing heavy and moving fast to the throne.

The dwarf got to the throne, knelt, and bowed his head just as the door was closed. “Your majesty it seems the goblins dug a tunnel so they could be undetected. They went under the plans. Furbridge has collapsed the tunnel they used and we have also found this sir.” He held up his offering it to the king. The king got off his throne and took the offered substance. It looked like dirt but blacker. The king sniffed it and rolled it in his fist to get the texture.

“Smells a lot like rotten eggs. Why is this so important to show me?” The king looked down at the substance in his opened hand as he asked this question.

“We have never seen it before your majesty. It was close to where the wall was damaged. Furbridge thinks it may have something to do with it” said the royal guard still keeping his head bowed.

“Well, do you have more?” The king looked at the guard as he said this.

“Yes your majesty. They have been sent to the Wizards’ guild as well as the Alchemists guild” the guard said looking up at the king.

“Well, let us find out what this is later” the king said as he threw it into one of the free standing sconces. As soon as the substance hit the fire there was a cracking sound followed by a whoosh and the room was lite brightly for a brief moment and the sconce fell over as if pushed. “What the hell was that?” the king turned toward the fallen sconce.

Gurmble and the guard that were looking at the scene unfold jumped back slightly as soon as the powder hit. Both of them were standing there rubbing their eyes. “Ack, what the hell was that stuff?” Gurmble said as he opened his eyes stretching his mouth into a large O as he blinked testing his eye sight.

“Let us hope we find out soon Gurmble. Whatever it was if just that small amount can do something like that it is clear that a large amount could have easily been the cause of the wall collapse” the king said looking over at the carnage. “You are dismissed Beardly.”

“Thank you your majesty.” With this the guard that was still rubbing his eyes bowed and quickly departed, only slightly veering off course a couple of times. When he got to the end he ran into the closed door with a bonging of his armor. The guard on the other side opened it with a questioning look and watched Beardly slide down the stairs leading out of the castle. He looked back at the king and saw Gurmble was still there and closed the door once again.

“Now what was it that you wanted to ask of me Gurmble, my friend?” The king looked at Gurmble and sat back down in the throne.

“Your majesty I would like to be considered for the job of leading the group to go after those stinking goblins.” Gurmble looked the king in the eyes as he said this.

The king looked back at Gurmble and cracked a smile. “Well that is very generous of you Gurmble. But, as the state of the city stands right now we will not be pursuing the goblins. We need to refortify the wall and find out what the goblins are using that can do so much damage.”

“All we do is fortify and stay behind these walls! We need to strike back. They have been up to no good for a long time now. We should go out and destroy the enemy for what they have done to us and our homeland.” said Gurmble.

“Gurmble, you most of all should understand that the goblins are not much of a threat. They will soon disperse. They have dreams of grandeur but they are not nearly enough to bother our fair city. You know your father fought in the first great goblin wars and those times there were many more goblins then there are now” the king replied back looking as if he was getting bored with the conversation.

“Yes your majesty. That is why I think we should stop them now. Before they get help from other nefarious races like they did last time. Just send me out with one company. Just one sir. I implore you” pleaded Gurmble.

“No Gurmble. I cannot spare even one company for you. Plus I need you here to protect us from a second attack should it ever happen. The hero of Minioc! I need you here and that is final.” The king said starting to stand up.

“In that case I will like to get the favor you owe me from our childhood now, Dylornin” Gurmble said.

“How dare you bring that up Gurmble. I know you saved my life but how dare you turn to extortion for what you want! I would have never thought you would do something like that to me Gurmble. I thought you were a friend” Dylornin said. “Also I have been asking you to use my name forever but the one time you decide to use it is when you are extorting me!”

“I just about died fighting for this city and I want their blood. They killed good men that were on those walls. All of them were decimated by whatever they used. All you do is fortify but it is clear they have found a way around all the preparations. We need to show them what a dwarf can do when they are pushed. We should be going after them! NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!” Gurmble shouted.

“Your father fought in the goblin wars Gurmble. As well as my father. They both would never want to attack like the way you’re proposing. I will not give you what you want. I have no forces to give. So don’t ask again.” Dylornin sternly said to Gurmble as he started to turn his back on Gurmble and walk toward the back wall where a large tapestry hung.

Gurmble started to grumble into his beard as he turned to walk from the room clearly feeling dismissed. He then thought of something and turned back around. He shouted “Dylornin, I am sorry to ask for that favor. I did not mean to extort you. But, I implore you to let me at least go and explore by myself to find out what the goblins might be planning. Just grant me this one request as my friend, not as my king. If you so choose to command me to stay here to protect the city then I will do so.”

Dylornin stopped just in front of the tapestry with his head down. He stood there for what seemed like an eternity for Gurmble but was really one a few seconds. Dylornin picked his head up and looked straight at the tapestry as he said “As a friend I will be sad to see you go. You are the last of the descendants of the thirteenth legion. The city will be losing a great hero and I will be losing a better friend. Take care Gurmble.” Dylornin started forward and pushed aside an invisible seem in the middle of the tapestry.

As Dylornin was just about gone from sight Gurmble shouted “THANK YOU MY FRIEND! OH, AND I AM NOT THE LAST DESCENDANT OF THE MIGHTY THIRTEENTH! THERE ARE MORE!”

Dylornin heard that last bit as the tapestry closed behind him. He hestated for a minute and thought. Just as what Gurmble said hit him he turned around to find out more of what he meant. As he entered the throne room again he was in time to see the door at the end of the hall close. Dylornin sat there in the silence for a brief moment thinking of what just happened and what it could possibly mean.

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Part one of my short story

What’s in a Name

By Joshua Bradford


                He knelt over the small pond and reached in to take a quick drink of that crisp, cool, fresh water. He sat there for a while afterwards just staring at the ripples that he made. Watching them slosh toward the far end of the pond. Once the disturbance subsided he couldn’t help but notice the reflection staring back at him. His face was pocked from being out in the weather all the time. His raven black hair had flecks of dirt caked in and a straggling leaf was clinging to it on the side. He had the beginnings of a beard peeking through. He couldn’t help but notice how old he looked now. His pants had holes and his chainmail armor had bored holes into the leather shirt underneath.

He couldn’t help but notice how he already looked to be thirty year old even though his age was more like twenty-two. He left home four years ago seeking an adventure for himself.

“Garm let’s go! We don’t have all day” said a female voice from behind him. Garm stood up with a slight creaking noise from his right knee and peered out to the far end of the pond.

“Yea, I’m ready now. Let’s get everything on the horses first though Flurry” Garm said this as he turned around toward the voice. Trees surround this small serene pond, in the distance there was a sound of a babbling brook and the sun was still hiding behind some trees in the distance but still brightened up the forest they were traveling in. Garm was happy to find this place to rest in last night. Garm looked over at the thin elven woman who stood five-foot tall. Not too much shorter then himself. She had on plan cloths that were starting to fall apart at the seams, her long black hair was back from her face with a simple piece of leather. Garm knew her thin look was very deceiving because he saw her break the neck of a griffon before with her bare hands. She didn’t carry much for weapons but she knew how to use an opponent’s size against them. “Oh, and don’t forget the money!” Garm barked as he walked over to her.

“Yea, yea, I know Garm. We have been traveling together now for several years. I believe I can remember how to do this” Flurry said while picking up a full saddle bag and placing it with ease on the closest horse to her.

Garm stopped close to the remains of a fire pit and picked up a backpack laying there and swung it onto his back. He then grabbed a sword that was lying next to where the pack was and strapped it onto his waist using the belt and scabbard it was in. He then grabbed a shield, which was resting close by up against a log, and slung that onto his back as well. “I can’t believe we have to find all those items again. Not to mention all that platinum! I knew we shouldn’t have trusted that shop owner. No matter what he had that could’ve helped us picking up that sunken treasure. We should’ve just paid her for those potions. I could have died happy not seeing space EVER!”

Flurry looked up from the saddle back she was securing to the horse and just shrugged at Garm. “I know you didn’t lose much but that was everything I had! I was saving for a keep!” Garm said. Just as he said this a howling came from the distance. All five foot ten muscular body of Garm could be seen tightening up for action. He quickly put his hand to hilt and looked from side to side scanning the tree line. “I hate those things! Ever since that one time we got attacked by a pack of them.” Garm slowly straightened from the crouched position he assumed. With his arms being bare it showed a multitude of scars on both that looked very much like old bite marks.

“Well if you didn’t spend so much time on the ground I am sure you wouldn’t have bled so much” Flurry said matter-of-factly straightening up from finishing securing the packs.

“Shut up Flurry Fist” Yelled Garm. “At least I am not overly angry at faeries.” Garm looked at Flurry. As he said this Flurry tensed up at the mention of faeries.

“Hey they waist time! And throwing mud?! Seriously?! Who does that?! No one! That’s who!” Flurry spat back at him. “It ruined my cloths!”

They looked at each other staring daggers back and forth. After a short time smiles cracked their faces and they began to laugh. “We have been through a lot haven’t we Flurry?”

“Sure have Garm. I am surprised we are still alive.” Flurry smiled and grabbed another full saddlebag and tied it to the other side of the horse. “Let’s get going. We only have two more days before we get to the cave.”

“I kind of miss Oscar. I hope he is having a good time in the Dwarven halls of his god” said Garm as he jumped onto a second horse that was tied to a tree close by. “Hey, have I ever told you how I got my last name?”

“No, can’t say you did. Just thought your parents name was Fumblehand as well” said Flurry as she handed Garm the reigns of the horse she just packed. She began to walk out in front taking a right onto a beaten path. “Might as well tell me now. At least it will make the day go by quicker.”

“Well, first of all in my clan you have to earn your second name. My fathers was Headhunter and my mother’s was Icewind” said Garm. “I earned mine just about a month before I met you with your mud disguise. During the time I was traveling with a Leroy Jenkins, Anthrax, and Scroto. They all sadly met untimely and gruesome ends.”

“I can believe that one” said Flurry. “Been traveling with you long enough to know that wherever you go trouble always seems to be waiting.”

“Well, it all started shortly after we helped Alton out in Antioch. They were being raided from the north by some Goblins” Garm started. “At that time Scroto was holding all of the loot we got. He also held onto several vials filled with many different substances that can be thrown onto enemies. He had an affinity for Alchemists fire at the time. I was leading the party back from the cave we just cleared out…………..”


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The lack of updates

I know that I said I would put up a short story that I was working on. Well it seems the short story is getting longer that I thought it would be. Which is good but a little more time consuming than I hoped. But I wanted to say that after the holiday’s (I celebrate x-mas) I will be posting the first half of the short story. Also while writing my book I remember something really important happens to one of my characters which changes something’s for the future. So I will be posting Chapter 4 in it entirety. So have a happy holiday season everyone.

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Last of what I will post

Page 35 is the end of chapter two as well as the last of the posts from my book. I will continue to work on it as time goes but I will no longer post any more pages in hope to possibly see if I can get it published. If nothing comes to fruition when I finish shopping the finished product out I will then post the rest of it. In the mean time I will post a short story I have been working on.

Thank you to all who have been reading and I appreciate all the support that I have received so far.

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