Serpent's Skull

My Travel with the Slayer - The Deep Jungles Entry 16

As we traveled deeper into the mines we encountered more salt wights but they fell easily to our blades as they only attached in small groups. As we neared the point where they miners had broken through to another mine we found a large smooth dome of rock, it looks as if someone had polished it smooth. As we neared it we could make out a crack in the side and a strange blue mist was coiling around it, this surely must have been what caused the miners to vanish as Kev announced the object was radiating and evil aura. With those words the Slayer knew what must be done and hefted his axe and moved towards it at which a large number of the wights poured out of the shadows and the dome itself to attack us. A pair of the creatures seemed to be leading the others and moved with more grace and intelligence. The slayer moved to block the largest horde of undead and he became surrounded by them, he laid about him like a farmer threshing wheat and limbs and parts of bodies began to fly but when he tried to attack the leader the creatures body folded over as if it had no spine. With lighting speed the creature lashed back and opened a gash in the slayers hide that didn’t bleed for it had drained the water from his body. With a roar and redoubled effort he caved in the skull of the final Wight assailing him and launched all he had at the creature. It was only a matter of seconds and the slayer lunged in stomping his food down on the creatures leg pinning it in place and putting his axe through its rotting head, with each death we noticed that the broken orb glowed a unearthly blue. With a roar snorri flung himself at it and brought his axe down in a smashing strike that shattered it as it if were made of glass. With a grunt he snagged a chunk of the broken and stone and shoved it into his pack, as we moved on we found other domes mostly sealed in rock still but it was very clear that no living person should enter these mines again.

On exiting we found the strange druid we had met on the other side and discovered it was her parents who owned the place, they must have perished when she was very young and she was raised by the wilds. We explained what we had encountered an warned her away from ever entering and with that took our leave. It was another couple of days when we spotted a wagon circle ahead of us and approached it. It was a merchant caravan who had setup for the night and they welcomed us in with a warning that if we sought trouble their bully boys would deal with us and I wanted to snort as I sized them up. The group as a whole may have posed a slight threat to the slayer but overall I was not worried. As we moved around the camp checking out wares and resupplying we learned they were going to hold a cock fight and betting was allowed. I knew the Slayer would bet and would do so poorly for all he heard was that he could double his money and that was the end of it. Many people mark dwarfs as being greedy and hoarding gold like a dragon and I have found that they are not too far off the mark save that what drives them is a stronger need them simple greed. For dwarfs the need to hold and possess gold is as strong a need as breathing is to most people. In their language there are over fifty two different words for gold. Snorri once told me that a favorite pastime of longbeards in his clan was to gather and try to name all of them while drinking, truly creative dwarfs could win by making up new words for gold as well and as such the number was ever climbing. Sadly in the end the rooster the slayer bet on failed to win and he was so angry I thought he would leap the fence and have it for dinner.

As we turned to walk away a couple of the guards started to laugh and mock him which is never a good idea if you wish to see the next sunrise. One of the men, a rather large fellow missing a few teeth and wielding a large mug called out insults. After a moment the slayer turned to glare at him, his fists bunched up and veins throbbing in his neck, but before he could act another guard rushed forward and grabbed the man. “Norik are ye a fool! Ye dare to mock a dwarf slayer!” with those words the man’s friends took small steps back as they looked closely at snorri. They could feel the killing rage rolling off him in waves and knew they wanted no part of this, with some shoving and cursing the group broke up and vanished leaving the slayer standing there alone. With a spin he whirled around and headed for his own wagon and as he passed one of theirs he lunched a punch that sounded as if a mace had struck the wood. The wagon rocked visibly and a dent marred the side, I threw a glance back at Norik and noted his face had gone very pale.

However not everyone appeared to want to keep eating solid food for the remainder of their lives as a group of thugs approached us all carrying stout clubs. The Leader thrust the tip into the Slayer chest to halt him and sneered down at him and demanded he pay up his gambling debt. I knew the man had lost his mind then and there but before I could speak Kalypso appeared beside us and tried to enlighten the thug as to the nuances of dwarven culture. The man would not see reason and when he slammed his club into the Slayers head with no effect I knew it was going to end badly for him. Despite the eight very large men with him the fight lasted only a few moments thanks to some help from the others and the men were left bleeding and groaning in pain. Angered beyond words Snorri stomped his way over to Rickets who paid these men and smashed the chair out from under him and snatched up the coin box hidden there. But it was Azura who called out before I could speak “Are we now honorless bandits Snorri?” he had to say it twice before the slayer slammed the box down and cursed the crippled man before heading our way. He paused as he passed and glanced at our esteemed wizard “When a manling speaks wisdom to a dwari they have to speak it twice.” With that he kept going. That was as much of a thank you as I have ever heard from him before. It appears that the others are learning how to travel with a Slayer.



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