Well, its February 22nd. Time to present Chapter 7 of my Gauntlet Dark Legacy fic, Legendary Hereos. From this is the second chapter that was purely written from the notes I had set up back in 2002. Here is the link to the previous chapter, and I hope you enjoy this chapter as well.
(This story is based off characters from the game Gauntlet: Dark Legacy. The events of this story take place before the game.)
Chapter 7: An Ogre Problem
One of the harshest of the eight realms is the Ice Domain. It has the coldest temperatures of all the realms, and only the toughest races can survive it. It is for that reason alone that the dwarves have thrived there. Their short stature, thick skin, and long beards make them the most suited for survival in that realm. Other races will visit, but the dwarves remain, mining the land.
One of those mines was headed by the dwarf named Smithy. As was the nature of dwarves, they all called the head of the mine Smithy, since that was their title. For Smithy, however, it was also their name. This mine also had been one of the deepest that the dwarves had, since it reached down to actual lava. Smithy had even thought that the lava was the most dangerous thing in mine.
Smithy found those thoughts to be wrong one fateful day. It happened when Smithy's foreman came up and said, "Smithy, we found something in the deep mine. Some sort of green rock, and its doing something weird."
That caught Smithy's interest. "What kind of weird? Is it radiating cold air. Is it making the creatures docile? Is it turning the gold into garbage? You have to be more specific." Smithy had seen stones do all sorts of strange things, more than what had been mentioned. One had to know for certain what was happening before acting on it.
To Smithy's displeasure, the foreman just shook his head and motioned for Smithy to join him. "You have to see for yourself, Smithy; but you best be careful. The bears started acting funny." Now that made Smithy worry. The dwarves always got along with the bears, since both enjoyed the underground. If a bear was in the area, they worked quietly, or made sure they had some fresh fish to feed it. For the bears to start acting odd, there had to be something weird down there.
Smithy nodded, and started following the foreman. As they made their way down, Smithy looked around, noticing something odd about some of the barrels that were about. They were all green, and a sickly green mist was around them. Something was definitely not right with the ore.
As they moved over the catwalks branching some areas of mine, Smithy recalled something about the history of the area. "Aren't we in the area where that strange rock crashed through the ice?" When the foreman nodded, Smithy started having serious misgivings about mining in the area. "That's not good. That was the area that cursed Yeti was in. We don't need to risk waking that abomination again."
Smithy was thankful when the foreman responded with one positive thing. "The ore we needed is in this area, so we have to take the risk. We made sure we had the scroll made by Tarkanna. The fire still should burn the fowl beast." Smithy hoped that it would be enough as they went deeper in the fissure.
There was one thing that became more noticeable as they got deeper into the fissure. The sounds of the miners working were gone. There were no pickaxes, hammers, or other implements for mining ringing out their jobs. It was a very disturbing thing to be in the middle of.
Even the foreman seemed on edge. They were looking around, noticing the utter silence. That, coupled with the increasing green glow from the heart of the fissure, made the mine feel creepy. All it needed was the roar of the Yeti, and thankfully that wouldn't be sounding out. That foul creature had been gone since the time of Skorne.
It was at that point that Smithy noticed a figure rising up from a hole. At first, Smithy would have figured that it was one of the miners, but the figure was too tall, and didn‘t look right. The figure looked like it wasn‘t even alive, but the way it hefted the tool in its hands, Smithy knew the figure knew how to use it. Unfortunately for the figure, Smithy also knew how to use their own weapon, and decapitated the creature.
Once it fell, the foreman finally spoke. “That miner, they were changed. It must have been the ore we were mining. They weren‘t even dwarf anymore. If that stone did that, then it could…” The last words were cut off then an unearthly roar went through the mine. While neither of them had heard it when the creature was first in the mine, the sound broke though to an ancient fear all dwarves had.
Smithy was first to react, grabbing the scroll from the foreman. Smithy then looked around, trying to spot where the creature was emerging from. It was actually easy to spot, since only one cave in the mine seemed big enough to house the creature, and Smithy ran to it, preparing to open the scroll.
In that instant, several things happened. First off, Smithy‘s stride appeared to increase. This was due to the fact that Smithy‘s body was shifting out of dwarf form, and into that of something similar, but more powerful; an ogre. The second was that the Yeti had emerged, and a manic look crossed the creature's face. Smithy was also surprised to hear the creature speak. "So, Tahranna's descendant manages to still exist. Your foul flame won't stop me this time."
Smithy had been so shocked by hearing the monster speak that when the Yeti let out a powerful, icy breath, the scroll blew out of Smithy's grasp, and the magical flame that started to emanate from the scroll was carried away on the wind. It was even carried all the way out of the deep chasm. Smithy knew that there was no choice now but to flee.
While Smithy didn't want to do it, Smithy turned and ran as the Yeti started throwing huge boulders of ice. Smithy knew they would not survive being hit by one of those. As Smithy ran, ice stalagmites erupted from the ground, and one even knocked the foreman to the ground.
Catching and helping the foreman run, Smithy said, "The Yeti's back, and more powerful. We need to abandon the mine, and get help." The foreman's face had a look of horror on it, as if what they were looking at was more horrible than the Yeti. Smithy couldn't understand this reaction, but was thankful that the foreman kept running towards the exit.
The two had dodged more mutated miners, as well as huge ice worms. It was all the two could do, as well as call out warnings to any of the miners able to flee. "Abandon the mine. The Yeti has returned. Monsters are invading." As they neared the exit, they had been joined by many more dwarves.
Once they were out of it, they saw that the camp was in chaos. Wolves had invaded as well as more mutated miners and ice worms. It was made worse by the fact that some of the fleeing dwarves were being mauled by one of the crazed polar bears, and even a pack of wolves. It was a nightmare, and if Smithy hadn't been so certain that they weren't already awake, Smithy would have been wanting to wake up.
The group of dwarves managed to make their way out of the camp, and all the way to the docks. As the dwarves spoke amongst themselves, the foreman turned to face Smithy, and to Smithy's surprise, said, "You need to leave. You brought back that evil creature. You even became one. If it wasn't for the fact that you are a woman, I'd run you through."
She staggered back in shock at the words. Smithy had never been isolated like this, since all dwarves looked the same. The only way to definitely tell the difference between the two genders was when a dwarf ate food. Other than that, a worker was a worker, and all were equal. She then said, "You know I didn't bring that thing here. I even saved your life. If I was in league with that creature, I wouldn't have done that."
To her horror, the foreman shook his head. "You did not save my life. Ogres don't save lives. I saw you show your true colors. Besides, you don't have the scroll." Smithy could not believe what she was hearing. She had realized she had transformed when she saw her reflection in the ice. Unfortunately, while ogres were not seen for years, with the last one in the time of Tahranna, there was still an unknown prejudice; one she was falling victim too. The loss of the scroll now would not matter. They were blaming her.
She then looked towards the one odd feature on the ice. The ethereal tower that belonged to the great wizard Sumner. Rumors had said that Sumner knew about the time of Skorne. Maybe the great wizard would have answers about what had happened.
Smithy didn't glance back at the foreman. She knew it wouldn't matter if she said what she was going to do or not. She was going to help her dwarves, even if they didn't want her help. Smithy shook her head, and started towards the ethereal tower. It was the only course of action that could rid the Ice Domain of the Yeti, and of Skorne's influence. It might even lead to her reinstatement in the mine.