And as the journey continues, we have a flashback to
Tarin Gazin gapes at the pile of gold and gems that the Military Major had casually dumped by upending the trunk onto the ground...along with the vast pile from TEN dragon Hoards. A dragon crushed beneath the overwhelming force of the angered Military, who had been fooled into believing that all of dragonkind was guilty of the attempted genocide of Terra's human population.
"..THIS is what he meant by reparations paid by the Dragons?!" whispers a white whiskered dwarven elder, still awed at the sight before him. "Could it be?.."
Could the rumors of the defeat suffered by Dragonkind be true? is the question running through almost all the assembled.
"Yes governors," the Military officer - a lady says in an almost Anglish (but not ) twang. "When we...had our rather unfortunate misunderstanding with the Dragons, we...er.. freed some of them of the need of gold."
The need for gold to keep them strong and LIVING, Tarin qualifies to himself, wincing slightly.
"We were able to...appeal to the Dragon's senses that perhaps reparations would be in order," the lady continued. "Now, this is just a small sampling of what the Dragons offer in reparations"
"Oh reeealllyyy?" a droll, sneering voice says from the back. A snarling dwarf with hate in his eyes steps forward. Balok storms forward as the dwarven crowd of Dwarven leaders part for him. "What is to say that we just take this treasure...and STILL finish them off?"
He begins to laugh scornfully, but cuts out halfway when he notices that the faces around him don't have the look he was...expecting. They aren't ready to welcome their long enemies, the one's that nearly drove them to extinction. However, there was a look in their eyes that...said that they weren't going to just right out of hand, reject the offered gold, either.
There is one constant in almost all of dwarvenkind... Tarin ruefully acknowledges to himself.
His jaw, along with the others, drop again. This time in utter shock as six strangely clad dwarves...the survivors of Camp Underhill, come into the meeting area carrying a large holy item. The human female officer smiles as all dwarves go down upon their knees, and she also bows her head.in respect if nothing else towards the pinnacle of dwarven metallurgy...One of the Eight Artifacts! In this case, the Sword.
The lady laughs silently at the rapturous look of awe and religious ecstasy upon each and every face of the crowd , including those of her "boot camp" division. Nonhuman in mind as a dwarf was, there still was something VERY understandable about them at the core of it all...if one was willing to try. Just as the six survivors she had personally (and now proudly admitted to those who asked) "pushed" through Camp Underhill . She had known that if she was able to keep at it long enough, she could win through the preconceptions and bigotry of her charges. Underneath it all, the dwarf was a warrior who admired anyone who could beat him or her in a straight fight. It had taken a few deaths (services to the dwarven gene pool...ridding it of faulty genetic material). It took a few.lessons..that broke permanently several dwarven spirits (once a dwarf's fighting spirit was broken...all that was left was a whimpering shell that pissed itself every time it heard a loud noise). Finally, in a flash the dwarves had learned that she and the others of the Military.at least (and the rest of humanity), could meet and match the dwarves in the skills of melee....of fighting.
Like the school bully who suddenly becomes very accommodating and friendly to the person who whips him, so to did her survivors.
When she'd shown them, and asked them to carry in this last piece of her...argument for peace with the draconian race...their deferential treatment of the Military had grown downright worshipful!
This would be a sure clincher for this deal! It was said amongst the Dwarves, if the gold was enough, could be talked into forgiving the very race that had almost laid them low. It had been a jest, but there was more than a kernel of truth to that. With the return of a lost relic, it would tilt the vote in the Military's favor...and the hatred between Dragon and Dwarf would at last be done!
It would stop a potential headache for the Military by stopping something of a religious jihad by the dwarves!
Religion, the oldest con! the woman laughed to herself, before a shaft of light fell upon her!
In a slow, thunderous voice, she spoke! Or rather, Something spoke through her
"AND SO IT WAS FORETOLD THAT A MESSENGER WOULD DELIVER ONTO THE FOLLOWER THAT WHICH HAD BEEN TAKEN," the Voice bellows forth from the human. "KNOW ALSO, THROUGH THE TRUE PROPHECY LOST WITHIN THE SEA OF TIME.UNTIL NOW . THE MESSANGER WOULD BE OF A PEOPLE THAT WOULD FIRST TEACH THE HOST OF DWARVES SUPERIOR METHODS OF THE ARTE OF METALLURGY . . . . .BUT WOULD WITHOLD THE NEXT LEVEL! THEN , AS A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME..OF THE PINACLE OF THE ARTE."
1/24/2000 6:13:50 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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