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I haven't written anything for ages, I just felt like doing so today. I hope you like it.
Thorbal Ironhard stood as still as the earth. Leaning heavily on his rune inscribed staff he looked his age; all three hundred years of it. The skin on his face was as cragged and rugged at the cliff face behind him, the pale tone slowly tanning in the sunlight, a slight hint of a ruddy nose could be seen, if one was to look at his face closely. Most did not. Thorbal was dressed in the traditional way of his order, the clerics and priests of Grungni, the god of mining and stoneworking. He wore a simple grey smock, a belt cinctured it at the waist, and the silver pick embroidered upon his chest marked him out as one of Grungni’s priests. The sunlight glanced off of the icon making it look like real silver. Unlike the rest of the dwarfs in the group he seemed to be unarmoured, except to the sharp eyed who could occasionally glimpse shining silver mail beneath the smock. Hanging idly from his waist was his runic hammer, Grim-Duraz it was known as in the dwarven tongue, in the crude manling language it would be ‘Unyielding Stone’. The weapon he made himself, it was a right of passage among his brethren of the priesthood, each must make and inscribe a rune onto their own weapon, and this meant that each priest held a unique weapon, with a unique rune upon them. His own weapon was carved from a single piece of stone, the rock coming from deep within the earth, the head of the weapon was a full four hands wide and from the but of the handle to the top of the head it measured three feet of wutroth wood – a wood that grew in small, isolated areas of the mountainside but was as hard as iron. A leather grip finished off the weapon.
Thorbal hated the surface. He felt lost, too open, dwarfs were made for the coldness of the ground and there they should have remained. Of course, there they would have if it were not for the ratmen and greenskins who eternally seek to oust them from their homes. He ground his teeth at these thoughts; his hatred for these races was as deep at the mountains roots. A slight cough to his left brought him out of his reprieve. A beardling, no more that eighty years by his guess stood quietly beside him.
“Master Thorbal, Ulfar asked me to inform you we are moving again”, the young voice of the dwarf was squeaky to his old ears but he knew that to others it would sound like two rocks being ground together. Nodding to the beardling he slowly turned and headed back to the rest of the group. Twenty-five dwarfs, each heavily armoured, guarded a small shipment of ore. They were trading it with a nearby hold, and as the Ungdrin Ankor was unsafe in these days, over the surface was the safest way to travel. But even then precautions were taken; heavily armoured and armed guards protected each shipment. The greenskins had proven in the past that they were more than able of living above, as well as below the surface. Slowly the group moved heavy carts ladened with ore ground deep furrows in the ground as the moved. The group ever watchful, many of the longbeards who made the trip shared a flagon of ale or some pipe weed among themselves, along with deep mutters and grumbles. Thorbal once more issued a pray to Grugni, the god of stone and mining that they might have a safe trip.
It seems Grungni was not listening today. Suddenly in front of him one of the guards pitched over onto his side, a black, badly fletched, arrow protruded from his neck, the deep red of his blood dribbled down his mail shirt. “GROBI!” came the cry from the dwarf group. Instantly, the guards turned to face the ambush shields held high or crossbows raised. Thorbal looked at the direction of the ambush, the grobi had the advantage. Higher up the slopes of the canyon they used the nature rises of stone as cover, Thorbal watched as a dwarf crossbow bolt bounced off the hard surface leaving nothing but a scar on the surface. To his right, another dwarf fell, two arrows jutted from his chest. Knowing if they remained put it would be the end of them, the group’s leader roused the dwarfs and pushed onwards. The patter of arrows on armour or hitting the ore itself sounded like a harsh rainfall. More dwarfs fell.
Grimacing Thorbal darted out from the heavily armoured column, ignoring the shouts of alarm he rushed to the cliff wall. Breathing deeply he placed his rough hand upon its surface and slowly began to chant a prayer to Grungni. Moving left and right his hand searched for something, moments past each one pregnant with the chance of an arrow piercing his body. His eyes closed he continued to search. Suddenly he stopped. Opening his eyes he drew a small piece of chalk from one of his pouches and marked an ‘X’ on the wall. Reaching down he unhooked his hammer, Grim-Duraz, bracing himself in a wide stance. With a prayer to Grungni on his lips he drew back and with an almighty swing he struck the cliff directly over the chalk marking. The sound it made was as if the mountain itself was in pain, the ground seemed to groan and judder, then with a crash that could drown out the loudest drunken giant the cliff shattered. Great tears and rents appeared in its surface, spreading like a spider web out from the chalk mark. Above them they could hear the fear filled shrieks of the grobi as they tried to grasp what was happening. Some of them were smart enough to try and get off the rock face, but it was too late. In an earth shattering crash the entire rock face collapsed, crushing the greenskins upon it beneath hundreds of pounds of stone. The dwarfs were amazed, for the section of the cliff that loomed over them had barely shuddered.
Thorbald pulled a pipe from his pouch and lit it. Blowing large, lazy, dark grey rings into the air, he muttered to the others “Let’s get this over with. I hate the surface, too many grobi.” The others chuckled, and it wasn’t before long that the train was moving again. Thorbald frowned and muttered a prayer to Grungni for the guidance and his skills in stone – good enough to challenge the best miners around. He also prayed that would be there quickly, he hated the surface.
A very enjoyable read - you should write more often. I'll elaborate with more comments latter, but just wanted to say well done.
Dovie'andi se tovya sagain (It's time to roll the dice)- Mattrim Cauthon
I'll second that. Not a bad read, and though I don't usually like dwarves you managed to make this one awesome!
Thanks for posting, Kuffy.
Thanks guys. I haven't really written anything in a long time, just really got the desire to do so last night. I'm glad you liked it.
I missed this when you first posted this Kuffy, its a pretty cool read, I enjoyed it. For once spam has had a use!
http://www.armyroster.com Check out my ToP WIP in the projects section!