A Mighty Tankard

Core, All Grins, and I walked the empty corridors of the old dwarven home. It had become infested with very large, hairy spiders and giant worms. It was kind of neat hacking through them all. Traps of all kinds wound through our way, but Core was able to help us get past them.

Then for the last stretch. Core stopped.

"Mord, I need you to stand in the circle--not now, when I tell you--and grab the chains and pull with all your might. Well, most of your might. Don't break them. But pull them tight. AllGrins, once he has done that, you need to run as fast as you can to the far end and grab the Tankard. Run back. I will be defending Mord. And, Mord, I am sorry, but you are going to have to trust me."

"Trust you, old dwarf? You hold the chains; I can defend you."

"I am sorry, Mord, but only I know the sequence of attacks that will be placed and I know how to counteract them. Plus, I can easily raise you from the dead if you die. So there is that."

"What if I run down the hall while AllGrins stands here. I am a good runner."

"Alas, Mord, AllGrins needs to be kept alive. I cannot resurrect him."

"Why not?"

"His hammer, the Hammer of Moradin, can only be wielded by a champion of Moradin. And a champion cannot be healed or helped by any god other than Moradin. So you see, it is better that you die than him. Also, only a dwarf can touch the tankard without ill effects."

"Old dwarf, you always have a reason, don't you? I just don't trust you,"

"Look Mord, have I ever let harm come to you? Oh, right. Have I ever led you astray? Oh, yeah, that death thing. Okay, have I ever put your life in danger? Oh, yeah, that whole lava escapade. Well, trust me this time, you are in good hands. This is the only way. It is a three dwarf operation and we only have two, but that's okay. Let's do this thing."

AllGrins asked, "Um, why does Mord have to hold the chains, anyway?"

"Well, the passage in front of us has a great stone hanging above that is designed to fall if anyone goes beneath it. The chains hold it up. You have all your strength, right, Mord?"

AllGrins gulped. I slapped AllGrins on the back with a big grin on my face, grunted, and walked into the circle grabbing the chains. AllGrins ran while Core looked around. I could see sweat dripping off his face.

Then I heard it, the whirring, the pinging. I could see Core hitting small silver objects flying right at me. He was dancing in a very strange way, but his aim always landed true. Well, except for one. One of the daggers hit me in the chest, biting deep into me, and I could feel it burning. I held onto the chains, but my knees buckled. The hall began to spin. I could hear Core crying out to hold it for just a little longer. And then all was dark.

When I awoke, I could see AllGrins holding the tankard and Core with great relief pulling me up.

"See kid, nothing to worry about. My reflexes are as sharp as ever. Just a flesh wound with a little acid and poison mixed in there. Didn't you have the food of Kord today? No? Oh, Mord. Take his bounty everyday."

The Tankard was the largest dwarf tankard I had ever seen. It was strewn with mithral and gems.

And then Core wanted to go up one more level. We went with him. Again a series of traps and again Core knew just what to do. And then we found it. The throne room. And behind a hidden door, the royal vaults. And inside the vast, empty vaults, a secret door leading into a chamber with a very complex object whose top had a single red button.

"This, my friends, is the detonation room. Once we charge this object up, we can blow the whole mountain down around the giants. We will just need, let's see..." And he went around the object, pushing this, pulling that, and suddenly a big door opened up. He put his hammer in it and asked AllGrins to do the same.

"Don't worry AllGrins, these hammers will have this object charged by morning. Then you can have it back."

AllGrins glared at Core, frowned, and then did so. He refused to leave. So we stayed there, sleeping in the detonation room. Until morning.

Mords of Wisdom: Those in the know are not the ones in danger.