The Obsessively Delving Dwarven Barbarian
A man sits beside himself in a dimly lit room, the only source of light coming from a single candle resting in the middle of a table; the dim flame making shadows dance along the walls. The man nervously sits with his wrists shackled — his palms resting flat on the table’s wooden surface and his eyes fixed on a door with a barred window; the only way in and out of the room.
The man starts breathing frantically as he hears footsteps and the clink of keys outside the door. He moves his hands from the table to his lap, leaving imprints of sweat as a dark figure enters. The figure sits across from him, dropping a heavy set of keys on the top of the table, and leans forward.
“What do you know of Thraegor Swift-Spade?”
The man’s eyes widen, recognizing the name immediately..
“We know that you came into town with him. If you want out of those shackles; you’ll tell me what you know.”
The man shakes his head in frustration.
“I knew I shouldn’t have hired that Dwarf… He’s been nothing but trouble…”
The figure sits still, waiting for the man to continue. The man sighs nervously..
“He was part of my group. We’re treasure hunters from the Mojitovilla (moe-hee-toe-vee-ah) Isles, we needed a local to guide us through that frozen hellhole you people call the Bitter Spine Mountains. We heard there were caverns there, littered with precious gems, and ancient treasure and who better than a Dwarf as your guide?”
The man shakes his head in disappointment.
“That’s what we thought… We met him at a small mining town just outside the skirts of the mountain. He claimed to be an “excavator” and who were we to think otherwise? He had the digging tools and well… He’s a Dwarf…”
The figure nods, urging the man to go on.
“He led us through the mountain alright and even helped to fight off a pack of Orcs. We got to the cave and all he could talk about was digging… “Let’s dig this up” … “I bet if we dig here we’ll find something” … “I think we’ll get through the cave quicker if we dig through this wall” …”
The man shakes his head in frustration.
“It was like he had a nose for treasure though… Despite him being easily distracted, it was like he could lead us right to it. It was odd though…”
“What?” The figure asks.
“He wasn’t really interested in any of the treasure itself. This is pretty odd for a Dwarf, for any race that I’ve encountered for that matter. He was more interested in the old junk, like the pottery, and an old rusted dagger that he found sticking in the dirt.”
The figure leans forward a bit more, his eye visible in the light.
“It sounds like you should have left that place a rich man, what happened?”
The man sits back in his chair, rolling his eyes.
“I suppose it doesn’t matter now, but we weren’t there for just the treasure. We were looking for an ancient Conch Shell. We had a buyer on our island looking to dish out some major coin for it. I’m not much of a historian, but apparently it belonged to a city of Merfolk. Tale has it, a prince among their people looking to make a name for himself, attacked a Viking warship, it didn’t end well for the prince and he was captured. The king of the Merfolk was able to buy the prince back with the Conch, which was encrusted with gold and pearls. I don’t know much after that, other than they brought it back home and my buyer was willing to pay big for it.”
The man smiles, but it quickly fades from his face.
“We found it too… The Dwarf led us right to it, a shell that would have gotten us more treasure than those caves filled with gold… He insisted on carrying it though and who were we to argue with someone we witnessed ripping the bottom jaw off of an Orc?”
Both the figure and the man sit in silence for a few moments before the figure urges him to go on.
“He led us out of the cave though and brought us back here, he insisted on sailing back with us, he said that he wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth for his services. He seemed honest… But when we got up this morning, he was gone, and so was the shell. You asked me where he is. I wish I knew and what I told you is all I do know… Why are you looking for him?”
The figure grabs the man’s wrist and unlocks the bindings; he leads the man out of the room and outside. The man squints in the light — the figure turning from a dark shadow to a blur and then finally a man wearing guard armor. The guard gestures over towards a large manor with a garden in view. The guard points towards a large hole.
“He dug up some of the Mayor’s shrubbery and left this massive hole…”
Meanwhile, Thraegor stands at the stern of a ship holding the conch shell to his ear — wind blowing through his beard. He looks on as waves from the ocean crash into the ship as it sails along. He holds the shell to his face.
“Back to yer home then.”
Thraegor heaves the shell back and with all of his might, launches it into the ocean.