Notes: similar to Eradicators, I feel like the ending could be stronger. Any suggestions?
Dalorhath, the king of the Dwarf gods, whose axe carved up the mountaintops and valleys, told his people that one day, Dwarfkind would face destruction. When that happened, the Glain, chosen hero of the gods, would descend and save them all. One day……………
"D-don’t kill me!”
I grovelled before the dwarf, abandoning all self-respect in my urge to survive.
“Please, I’ll do anything you say!”
The dwarf stared down at me in disgusted. She was only about my age, but at that moment, she was an almighty god of war.
“By the gods, you goblins make me sick! Just accept your fate like a man!”
“I-I’ll be your slave forever! I’ll wash your sandals! Whatever you say, ma’am! Just don’t use that axe!”
She lifted it menacingly. I groaned and cowered back. How had I gotten into this mess? Seeing the inadequacy of my horde’s new leadership, I deserted. I was in so much of a rush I hadn’t covered my tracks, and I was so nervous that I bumped into a dwarf! I should have known Dwarves would hang around these tunnels, but to literally bump into one so easily? I was starting to think me and my leader were more alike than I’d thought. A few swings of the axe and I was prostrating myself at her feet. Call me a coward, but I’d do anything to avoid a sticky end. The dwarf wrinkled her nose.
“All right, goblin filth. I could use help carrying the supplies. But when we reach my village, your fate will be in the hands of our elders. Frankly, I hope they choose death."
“Oh, thank you, thank you……”
I sobbed in relief, but she was having none of it.
“Let’s get going already!”
I straightened up, and she immediately saddled me with a thousand bags.
They were heavy. She stared pointedly at me, and I struggled to my feet.
“Just wipe that stupid grin off your face.”
And we set off. We walked for hours-I think. With the weight, I couldn’t keep track of the time, much less know the way through this labyrinth. Though the dwarf (Artin Barrelbraid, as I learned from the labels on the bags) carried way more than me, she still plotted our course and checked her numerous compasses regularly. Finally, I couldn’t take another step.
“Can’t we rest? I’m going to die of exhaustion!”
By now, I was even too tired to care about her wrath.
“We just began.”
A few steps more, I collapsed and wouldn’t get up. Artin groaned.
“I was hoping to reach at least Leb’s Pass by nightfall!”
“You can tell the time down here………?”
“Argh, fine." Artin sighed.
"I don’t want to deal with your corpse. We’ll set up camp.”
I was thankful my face was on the floor-Artin couldn’t see me grin. I lay down while Artin boiled some potatoes. They were becoming overcooked.
“Why don’t I do the cooking? I-”
She glared at me so hard I shrank back right away.
“You’re going to poison me, aren’t you? My cooking is perfect, thank you very much!”
“I was just trying to help………”
I thought to myself. Even I knew not to say that aloud. We ate quickly.
“My name’s Drook.”
“Couldn’t care less. I’ll tie you up; then we’ll sleep.”
I woke up early the next day. While Artin hadn’t been looking, I’d slipped the kitchen knife into my sleeve. If I had slipped out the moment she fell asleep, I wouldn’t have had the strength to escape. Now, with a good night’s rest behind me, I set it to work against my rope. It took a while, but at last I was free. As quietly as I could, I stood up and regained my things, even taking a little extra. Artin made a sound and I almost screamed, only to look up and find her still asleep. Should I slit her throat? I decided against it-something stayed my hand. Hoping I wouldn’t regret that, I ran.
It was like deja vu, except that my fear of Artin was way stronger than that of my horde. I stopped for water, gasping for air, and fumbled with the lid of my water bottle-why were they so hard to open? Whoops! I dropped it. All my precious water spilled away into oblivion. I began a curse, but it turned into a gasp as the trail lit up with a golden glow. It led into a tunnel I’d never been before. I wasn’t even sure if it’d been there on the way here. With a deep breath, I stepped forward. Artin awoke with a start. Where was the goblin? That piece of trash had escaped! She leaped out of bed, grabbed her stuff, and looked at the floor. He didn’t have a clue about what he was doing; a baby could follow those tracks. She tightened her jaw and ran after him. Staring dumbfounded at there spilled water, she followed the path through the tunnels. At the end, she saw something that made her blood run cold. Drook was standing in the room, a strange light shining upon him. He was looking at a silver greataxe, studded with jewels. She turned pale and let out an involuntary gasp. He turned around and jumped.
“The Glain, champion of the Dwarf god Dalorhath, who will descend when Dwarfkind faces destruction, was said to be found by following a path of gold. Light would be his raiment when he appears, and he would be bearing Dalorhath’s axe itself.”
Drook stared at her.
She closed her eyes and swallowed.
“You’re the Glain.”
At first, I denied it. How could a Goblin be the hero of the Dwarves? And why me? But Artin was sure of it, and in the end, impossible though it was, I guess it had to be true. When I followed the path and found the axe, the moment I’d picked it up, I’d heard all kinds of voices, old and young, male and female, reverberating through my head. For some reason, all though I didn’t speak Dwarf, I could understand them all perfectly. They were the spirits of all Dwarves who had been and were to come. I had felt something Goblins don’t feel often-a sense of community.
“The first thing we’ll have to do is get back to my village.”
In her words, I could feel Artin’s thinly veiled anger and disappointment.
“Then we’ll have to tell all the other Dwarf clans. Whatever disaster is coming, you’d better be ready for it, Glain.”
I wished I could say something epic, but it just wasn’t coming today. All I could do was shrug. Not for the first time in my life, I had no idea about what was going to happen next.