Of Suspicions and Elves
So the next few days were rather uncomfortable. Word of the escape spread. A prisoner vanishing from a locked, guarded room. Something magical occurred and my abilities in that regard are well-regarded.
I took a trip up to visit Weakling. He would have nothing to do with me publicly, but privately he told me that there were whispers everywhere about my disregard for dwarf laws and customs. He asked me point blank if I had done it. I said he need not concern himself with the truth of the matter. He seemed less than satisfied with that answer.
But then he started saying that the rumors of what we had done with the giants were also going around. We were heroes of a sort. All Grins was an honored dwarf, to be sure. But the rest of us, well, most want it to be the dwarves that take care of the giants. They are both impressed and grateful for our help, but also saddened and angry that our help is required. Dwarves are a proud people and we were not helping their pride.
I shook my head, understanding. Our stay with the dwarves was clearly coming to an end. I asked him how he was getting on with his Kordian studies and work. He told me that he had a few other young dwarves that were interested in the Kordian tales. I had brought him materials from the Kordian temple in New Ardlord. I even introduced him to our clerics down there a while ago; they were keeping in contact with him.
But he said that soon he would go journeying. The lands to the far north are wild and offer much in the way of challenges. Or he might travel down to see the elves and New Ardlord by foot. I smiled and gave him my old training gear. He would be ready soon.
On my return to the Carrot clan, A Brick summoned me. "Mord, I know that there is no evidence that you liberated Starg. Personally, I don't care. But publicly, you are guilty. And you must realize that many want to take you down. You and your friends have done amazing stuff and my people are ashamed. They turn at you in anger. And this gives them opportunity. Indeed, I think this is why some of the councilors argued for Starg's execution. Either you would free him or you would let your friend die. Either way, you become an object of shame and ridicule. That is why I had you followed, to make sure there was evidence of your innocence. Unfortunately, it is not enough. And the crowds are getting rowdy. Soon you may be in danger. So I want you to take time off and leave the dwarves. Nowhere is safe for you in these lands right now. Go visit the elves for awhile. Contact me in a week; I will do what I can to generate new rumors."
"Yes, A Brick. Elves, yes, they have fun sport down there."
And so I left to visit the elves, my friends staying behind to do the important work. They were suspicious too, me thinks. Of course, I was guilty.
The travel down to the elves was fun. I walked for a bit in the cool fall air. Not so long ago, we had gone north. And here I was again. This time, I could travel through the night. It was nice.
But on the second day, I was restless and flew down to the elves. I felt outcast by the dwarves and that bothered me. Besides, I should get to Starg soon. But my sword was getting dull. I had been attacked by a spider and my sword practically bounced off its body. I was thinking they could sharpen it.
"King Fella, you once offered me a reward. I have noticed recently that my sword is a bit dull. Do you think you could get it sharpened for me, to stay sharp permanently?"
"Of course, Mord. That is quite the easy request. Let us have a feast while the swordsmith does his magic."
And so we feasted and he told me of how the elves were having a fine season. No more deaths since that last bit of unpleasantness. The people had gone back to living a carefree life.
I asked him what he thought of the giant-dwarf problem. He sighed. He did not know. The giants had largely been quiet, peaceful folk in the distant past. Not much was known of the recent crop. Something sinister was going on, but what, he could not say. He told me to have some more fish.
After a night of merriment and rest, I came back in the morning to pick up my sword. The sword was indeed sharper, I could do much deeper damage with it, I could tell.
"I am Mord. I serve my lord Kord with this great sharp flaming sword," I cried as I swung the sword around and tried to light it. It didn't. I tried again. "Flame sword, flame." Nothing. I shook it. I banged it. I talked to it sternly. Nothing.
"Um, what happened to the flame?"
"Oh, so you-s-a- wanted the flame? I jus' thought, you know, flames are so common nowadays. Now a sharp, gleaming sword. That's nice, don't you think? Real classy."
I gave the smith a pained look. "I want flames. I have a flaming sword. I am trying to make an image here. Fix it."
"Um, well, you see, I don't know how. Really, the flame stuff was very complicated. And well, I just sort of ground it off when I sharpened the sword. It was, um, an accident. Maybe you can take it back to its creator?"
"No, I cannot do that. Well, at least, it is very sharp."
So much for elven craft. Hit-and-miss, it seems. Still, the sword almost sings as it whizzes through the air. Yes, yes, this will do nicely.
Mords of Wisdom: Be modest in victories and expectations.