“So, not much happened to you then?” asked Trogdar.
“Not particularly,” replied Jandyr, “I spent most of my time above ground improving my herblore, and invested in a small start-up company I found up here. There’s not a lot on offer for an Elf in a City full of Dwarfs, but there’s a lot of trouble to be found if one goes looking for it.”
“Tell me about it,” said Trogdar, rubbing the scar on his chest.
“Yes, how did you get that?” asked Jandyr.
“Well, I get into a bit of an argument with a couple of Troll Slayers. Turns out that it’s impolite to ask a Dwarf if they’re female or not.”
“Aye, well one of them challenged me to a duel and… sort of.. won,” said Trogdar, bashfully. “Got lucky really, he could’ve killed me if I hadn’t slipped on some cow muck at the last minute. That’s why I bought me this leather armour. Quite nifty, innit? Though it does cover up me bodacious bod.”
Trogdar proudly showed off his leather jerkin which, as it was made for Dwarfs, was far too small to cover his entire chest. Never-the-less, it did appear to offer some measure of protection.
“So that’s the only reason you bought it?” enquired Jandyr.
“Of course,” replied Trogdar, puzzled.
“It’s not to cover up that hideous tattoo on your back then?” probed Jandyr.
“Ah, you saw that, did you?” said Trogdar, sheepishly.
“What does the inscription say?” said Jandyr, craning round for a better look.
“No, no, don’t worry about…” said Trogdar, hastily trying to turn away.
“Yes, well…” began Trogdar, “Never visit a Dwarf tattooist who doesn’t know how to write in Imperial when you’ve had a few.”
“No sign of the others then?” said Jandyr, solemnly.
“No, well, we didn’t part on the best of terms really, did we?” said Trogdar, testing out a new blade technique he had learned.
The voice startled even Jandyr, who turned to regard a man dressed in long robes made of the finest blue silk, inlaid with a weaving pattern of creeping ice. On his back was holstered an ornate crossbow, and he carried a large staff of purest white in his right hand. But it was his left hand where attention was drawn to, holding as it was a small wooden stick which had a bell attached to the end of it.
“Wizard?” asked Trogdar, half-expecting to be wrong.
“Indeed,” replied the Wizard with a beaming smile.
“What happened to you?” asked Jandyr in astonishment.
“My tale is long and…”
“Let’s get on then,” said Trogdar, hurrying off to the Great Hall of Karaz-a-Karak where they had an audience with the King.
“But what of Short-arse?” asked Jandyr.
“I don’t think she’s coming, do you?” said Trogdar plainly.
The Hall was decorated with much pomp and regalia, fit for the grand homecoming of the long-lost King Grimcrag Grunsson. The King himself sat on a High Throne, overlooking Dwarfs who scuttled this way and that, tutting at the Warriors as they made their way towards him. As they reached the dais, they bowed in front of it.
“Arise, my saviours,” boomed the voice of the King, “For I am indebted to you, and a Dwarf does not like to be in debt for long.”
At this, 3 treasure chests filled with Gold were brought before the Warriors whose eyes lit up like diamonds.
“But alas now that this debt is settled, I must ask to be so indebted again,” said the King. “An amulet of great worth to my kin was stolen while my foolish son Ironbeard sat idly by.”
There was a general murmur at the sound of Ironbeard’s name.
“He has renounced his claim to the throne and taken the vow of the Slayer, cast into the World to make good his debt to Karaz-a-Karak. I ask that you reclaim this amulet for the sake of our clan, for war is upon us, and I cannot spare a single Dwarven Warrior when such times await us.”
“You can spare one!” came a cry from the back of the Hall.
The Hall fell into silence save for the loud clinking sound of steel armour on marble floor as Short-arse strode across the grand floor to stand next to the other Warriors.
“We have discussed this in private council, I cannot allow it,” said the King, his face showing consternation.
“And I cannot allow you to send these brave men to their deaths for the sake of another lost artefact of our clan alone, my King. We must have representation if only to clear our family name.”
The Elf and the Wizard looked at Short-arse in shock at this last statement. Trogdar, who didn’t quite understand the ramifications merely said, “Yeah, what she said!”
Grimcrag slumped in his throne and sighed. “Very well,” he said defeated, “the four of you shall be taken to Mount Gunbad. There you must delve into the ruins of an ancient Dwarven settlement in search of the amulet. I must warn you, the place is said to be teeming with greenskin filth.”
“Very well,” said Trogdar, “We shall accept your quest!”
“Are we not going to discuss this first?” asked Jandyr.
“Not if we’re going to get more chests of Gold,” whispered Trogdar.
“I commend your enthusiasm,” replied the King, “You didn’t even haggle over a reward.”
“Damn it!” said Trogdar, somewhat more loudly than he meant to.
“Fear not, you shall be well rewarded for your efforts upon your safe return with the amulet,” replied the King generously. “You leave tomorrow, please ensure you have made necessary arrangements with your kith and kin.”
“What’s that mean?” asked Trogdar.
“It means make sure someone knows what’s happening if you don’t come back,” replied Short-arse.
“Ah,” said Trogdar.
“Oh, one last interesting piece of information we have gathered,” said the King, “We believe the amulet was taken by someone you’re familiar with. An Orc shaman known as Skabnoze…”