The Elven Dwarf, a short story by CelestialDemoness. Date added: 2012-06-26. Times viewed: 539.
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High in the mountains ranges of Northanger there lived a band of dwarves of the clan Norhar; they forged swords and precious jewels and were famous throughout the lands for their craftsmanship! The master swordsman was Crugeon Sapphirege and he often travelled throughout the land repairing swords and making swords for the kings of the lands!
One day returning from land of the King Uther, where he had been repairing various weapons for the King’s armies, he came across a small encampment being overrun by orcs, wielding his great battle axe, he waded into battle and attacked every orc he could find. He believed that orcs were the scourge of the universe and since they had killed his beloved Miira some months previously whilst she was out foraging for herbs to heal a great sickness which had besieged the clan, he had no love for them!
After the battle, resting on his battle axe, he surveyed the encampment noting that it was a traveling campsite rather than a permanent site. From high above in the trees he heard a young male voice shout down “Master Dwarf, is it safe to descend?” calling back he shouted “Aye Laddie, it be safe!”
From above a small elven boy of about 11 descended and ran across to the old dwarf and politely said “I thank you Master, I am Terhali, son of Valendil, of the wood elven clan Valenda.”
The dwarf replied “Well met laddie! I am Crugeon Sapphirege of the clan Norhar, in the mountains of Northanger. Now where be your father laddie and why are ye so far from your clan and hearth?”
The boy replied “I was being escorted home, after spending time learning from the elders of our race in the home forest of Dunsinar, but the orcs came across us and killed all my escorts. They told me to climb the highest tree and hide until the orcs left!”
“Then laddie, I will escort ye home to ye father, I know these lands well. Come! Let’s be off before reinforcements arrive!”
Leading the way out of the encampment, the dwarf set up a fast pace hoping the laddie could keep up; he wanted to be well out of these woods before nightfall and to be able to drop the lad of with his father as he had been away from home for 3 weeks and was missing his wee lassie Aliaga, whose tenth naming day was a week away and he wanted to be home in time to celebrate with her.
A few days later, they arrived at the elven encampment of the clan Valenda, the boy sprinted ahead to inform his father that he was home safely and to order the elven guards not to shoot the dwarf following him. By the time the dwarf arrived at the base of the home tree, there was quite a reception waiting for him. Striding towards him was the father of the boy, so coming to a halt, the dwarf waited for the elf to speak first out of respect.
The elf spoke clearly and loudly “I am Valendil, leader of the Clan Valenda, and I welcome you Master Crugeon to my hearth. Let it be known that this dwarf Crugeon Sapphirege is always welcome in the home and hearths of the clan Valenda for saving the life of my son, your future leader Terhali!”
Shaking the dwarf by his hand his hand, and speaking quietly he said “Come Crugeon, let us retire to my hearth and you can tell me what I can do for you, for saving my son’s life!”
Following the elf up the great tree into a room carved into the massive trunk, the dwarf seated himself in front of the fire and told Valendil of his encounter with the orcs and how the boy had saved himself by hiding up a great oak tree. He apologised for not being able to give the escort a decent burial but felt it was imperative to get the boy to safety first.
Valendil spoke of great sadness for the escort, but as they were killed in battle, then their remains would left to soak back into the ground and to give life back to the forest, to purge the glade of the evil deed done there.
As the dwarf wanted to be on his way home, the Elf promised that he owed the dwarf a great debt and that he could claim it another time, so saying goodbye the dwarf made his way out of the encampment and made his way to the mountains to the north of the forest.
Entering the clan hall, he noticed a still quiet and sadness; hurrying to his chambers, he came across the healer preparing a vile concoction over his fire, “why are you here healer? Where be me daughter?”
Jumping the healer turned around spilling the concoction on the fire causing the flames to sear into the air. “She be ill Crugeon, I know of no remedy to heal her, but was preparing a draught to ease her breathing!”
“No! That cannee be so, I will not lose her” Rushing to her chambers, Crugeon begged the healer to get his daughter ready for traveling, he would be taking up his debt with Valendil sooner than he expected. The elves were renowned for their healing skills.
Traveling back to the encampment with his daughter, Crugeon made good time and was soon in the presence of Valendil once more. “I have come to ask thee Valendil to help cure me daughter of this great sickness, if thee can do this, then your debt is repaid!”
Valendil asked his healers to take the dwarven girl to their hearth and see if they can heal her, whilst he spoke to Crugeon about other matters regarding the orcs massing in the forests to the north, but as soon as they sat down at the hearth, a dwarven scout arrived in the camp summoning Crugeon back home as the clan halls were under attack by orcs, so leaving his only daughter in the care of the elves, and in the company of some elven warriors Crugeon goes to the aid of his brethren.
A few days later, a badly wounded elven warrior makes his way into camp and explains that the dwarves and the other elves were wiped out by the orcs who were bolstered in their effort by an evil warlock and that the clan halls are no longer safe for man or immortal to roam there.
Aliaga was cured by the elven healers but the ceremony had an unexpected effect on the dwarven lass, her looks and posture became more elven but her stature remained dwarven, which gave the girl a bewitching quality. Valendil shook his head and wondered what would become of this girl, but he took her into his home and renamed her Alluria. She was taught in the ways of a healer and possessed a rare healing ability. She trained in the art of archery and swordsmanship, but excelled with an axe, out stripping her teachers in a few short months.
High in the mountains some twenty years later, a solitary dwarf was making his way down an unused trail, when he came across an old Clan hall set deep within the mountain side, pausing to take a breath he wondered whether he should venture inside.
This dwarf was Hephtos Braveheart, a forerunner for the clan Stonesplitter. Often a lonely, yet satisfying existence, Hephtos is pleased, when his efforts result in a New Outpost, and profitable Ore to be gleaned for Kin and Clan, especially as the mines the clan were currently mining were running dry! Clan Stonesplitter offer swift, sharp blades, to those in need. Never one, to let his boots grow unused for long, he was once again scouting for new possibilities, and hearing a rumour of rich lands for mining in a tavern a few weeks earlier had brought him to this lonely mountainside.
Taking a deep breath, he entered the old hall and seeing skeletons scattered around, he began a search. Noting that most of the skeletons were dwarf, but here and there a few elves were scattered amongst the dwarves. Careful examination showed Hephtos that these elves had been fighting alongside the dwarves and not against them. Scratching his beard Hephtos pondered over this puzzle; venturing deeper into the hall, he came across rich veins of iron, silver and copper ores, which hadn’t been worked for years. Deeper into the mine, he came across an old abandoned orc camp, which was more recent then the massacre in the hall in the above; was this reason for the battle and why had they now abandoned the mine, when the veins were still rich! Puzzling indeed! Marking this area on his map, he decided to seek answers in the forest below; as late last night from his perch high on the mountain he had seen fires far below in the forest. Maybe they would have the answers he sought.
Following the trail down the mountain, it was almost dark as he reached the boundaries of the great forest, deciding to camp just outside the forest he would venture in in the morning after he was well rested. Just as he has sat in front of the fire with his bowl of stew, two elven scouts stepped into the firelight, one said “Well met dwarf! May we join you at your fire and partake of some food with you? And then you can tell us if you intend to enter our forest and what you are doing in these mountains?”
Offering them some meagre stew Hephtos replied “I be Hephtos Braveheart of the Clan Stonesplitter! I have been seeking new veins of ore to mine for me Clan and came across an abandoned clan hall and workings in the mountain high above! Would thee know anything about the battle that took place there, and where be the dwarves that once inhabited that hall?”
Looking across at his companion one elf contemplated how much he should tell this stranger, but remembering Valendil’s words earlier that day about Alluria, he replied “ Allow us to escort you to our home deep within the forest Master Braveheart and you will find the answers you seek there, from our leader Valendil”
Back at the elven encampment Valendil watched Alluria singing softly as she worked on a pendant for Terhali. It was an intricate work of art in silver with amethysts adorning the surface. No elf possessed anything of such quality and Terhali would indeed be pleased with the finished item for his bride.
Valendil pondered over Alluria future, as he had done often in the last years, he loved her dearly as the daughter she had become, but knew deep in his heart, that she was destined for something greater with her own kind. He had sent scouts out looking for any dwarves in the area, so he could ask a great favour from them, but he knew that Alluria would not be happy with the prospect of leaving the only home she could remember.
Hearing a commotion down below Valendil left the room and descended the tree quickly to find two of his scouts leading a dwarf across the clearing towards him. One of the scouts quickly came across to him and informed him that they had discovered this dwarf at the base of the mountain and remembering his words earlier that week, had brought him to the camp!
Valendil greeted the dwarf with respect “I am Valendil, leader of the clan Valenda, I bid you welcome to my home Master Dwarf!”
The dwarf rested on his great battle axe and replied “I be Hephtos Braveheart of the Clan Stonesplitter. I be honoured to be welcomed into ye home Valendil!”
Leading the way up the tall tree Valendil hoped this dwarf Hephtos would look kindly on his plan for Alluria, his spirited daughter!
Entering the room carved into the great trunk, Valendil noted with relief that Alluria had left the chambers, which would make his conversation with the dwarf much easier.
Seating themselves at the fire Hephtos watched the Elf pondering and decided to ask about the clan hall in the mountains. Valendil explained about Crugeon and the Clan Norhar and how they were massacred by orcs some twenty years ago for the jewels in the mine below the halls. That they were bolstered by an evil warlock whom had recently been slain by the orc chieftain and now the halls had been abandoned for the last ten years. Crugeon had been visiting the elves when the attack happened and Valendil had sent out twenty of his best archers to help the dwarves but only one had survived.
Valendil then explained about Alluria, Crugeon’s daughter; that she had been close to death when Crugeon brought her to the healers and that she had no memories of her life before the healers healed her, they weren’t sure if she had blocked it out, or the elven ceremony had taken her previous memories and destroyed them. But he had raised her since the massacre, but now felt that she should be with her own kind and hoped that Master Hephtos would take her with him when he left. The bonus being that the clan hall and the minerals contained within were Alluria’s by her birth right and would be her dowry should any dwarf be willing to marry her.
With some surprise, Hephtos thought: "Me...? A wet nurse? Bringin' a young child, from the Wilderness, all th' th' way back, to me Home?" Reluctantly, Hephtos agreed and after a brief meal of hospitality, Valendil called for the lass, who he simply introduced as Alluria, his adoptive daughter. Hephtos was stunned by the beauty of the lass; she was young, stout and comely with hair of burnished copper. Hephtos sighed... and said: "Aye, I'll take her for ye. Does she know th' trails here abouts, that can lead us safely past th' Orcs?" Valendil nodded. Hephtos then reached into his pack, and pulled forth a pouch. "Inside here, ye will find Dwarf - Made jewellery, an' ore samples from me travels. I offer it in Dowry, on behalf o' her Parents, long dead... an' in appreciation, fer carin' for th' Lass. Aye, I'll take her back to Kin and Clan, an' give her a Fine Home." Hephtos placed the pouch in Valendil’s Hand, and then spat soundly in his own, proffering it to shake upon.
Valendil examined the pouch, with a whistle of surprise.... "You would take Alluria as a Bride then?" Hephtos' gaze didn't waver. "Aye... if she'll have me. And if not," Hephtos shrugged, "She'll have a warm hearth, sweet mead, fresh meat and mushrooms, and a pick o' many eligible Lads. The Stonesplitters dinna take Slaves. An' we won't start now." Valendil smiled broadly, as did Hephtos... and the two shook heartily.
Alluria stood close off to the side, quietly out of respect, for the Strange Dwarf, and her father. She vowed, once she got him alone, she would beat him within an inch of his life! The audacity! Bride price! No Courtship?! To leave with him, a complete stranger? But... to live again, with others of her kind...already it seemed so very long ago. The promise of other strong, stout lads... and, if they looked near as good, as this bold-talking stranger... and, it brought her to safer lands... she could continue her priestess training... every Dwarven Hold, had a high Priest or Priestess in charge.
Yes... she trembled expectantly, more out of trepidation, than rage. She would go with him. But he would STILL get a knot on his head from her skillet, no mistake!
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