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The Forge - Part One: The Orcslicer Tavern

Zen Wolfang a.k.a. The Zen Master
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The near drunken dwarf slumped back into his chair that was situated in the middle of the only tavern in Waterdeep that was restricted to dwarves, although the occasional human, or even elf would wander in. When the barmaid came near his table, he grabbed her posterior to get her attention, which definitely got it; and got him a slap across his bearded face.

�What�re ye wantin�, ye durned blasted fool?� the waitress asked, not even trying to hide her agitation.

�What be it that I�m wantin�?! I�ll be tellin� ye what I�m wantin�, wench! I�m wantin� ye to go an� fetch me a mug, woman!� He replied in his near drunken stupor. �Now go an� get it, afore ye make me mad!�

�Yer already mad, ye drunken idiot.�

�I be not drunk, ye damned wench!� And with that, she punched him square in the face, shattering his nose, and sending him into unconsciousness. She began her rounds again as if nothing had transpired.

Baruk Firehammer saw it all, albeit from a distance, so he couldn�t hear what was said. He came to this certain tavern because he knew his contact wouldn�t try to disembowel him if he didn�t like what Baruk had to offer. He patted his warhammer, which was enchanted by powerful magics upon its creation. The warhammer was the weapon of his family, passed down to each Firehammer when he was of age. He started thinking about his contact, and if he would survive when he entered The Orcslicer.

Just then, his train of thought was severed, just like the nerves in the drunken dwarf�s nose. �Can I be gettin� ye anythin�, ye cute lil� one?� The barmaid asked him with a semi-seductive look on her face.

�No, thank ye, lass, but I be fine fer now,� he told her. Once he told her away, she put a heartbroken gaze upon him, but he made a shooing movement with his hands. When she departed, to try again to find a paying bedmate no doubt, he continued to watch the door, wanting to be sober for what was to come.

A few minutes later, when Baruk was getting increasingly agitated, the door swung open and in walked an elf. An elf! Of all the races on F�erun, he had never expected to see an elf walk into The Orcslicer Tavern. When the initial shock had run its course, he realized that this was probably his contact. He noticed that several of the other dwarves had gotten up, most likely to pummel this newcomer. Knowing that he had to stop it, Baruk got up and walked over to the elf, making an effort to serve as a dwarven blockade.

Before he could get to him though, he saw an axe soaring through the air towards his prospective contact�s head. Before he could do anything, the elf uttered a few words that were spoken too quietly for him to hear. The next thing he knew, the axe disintegrated inches from the now-obvious mage�s face. Every dwarf in the tavern gasped at that, for that was the tavern champion, Belaern Goblincrusher�s magical throwing axe, Headsplitter, that was just destroyed. An enormous battle-cry could be heard from the back of the tavern, signifying the rage that Belaern was feeling at that very moment and he started to charge straight at the elf. Another dwarf tossed him a giant maul, which he caught in mid-stride, nearly losing his footing, which would have been tremendously embarrassing, considering that most of the patrons looked up to him as a hero. The enraged dwarf wasn�t the only one taking action, however, the mage was casting numerous protection spells upon himself. When the charging Belaern took his first swing at the elf, the maul hit his skin as if it had hit a magically enhanced brick wall.

The elf, who�s name was Vendui, knew that if he killed this dwarf, he would soon have the entire tavern to deal with, so he only cast protection spells upon himself, but not risking any of the higher level spells. His plan was to just let the tavern champion wear himself out, then announce that he was looking for a certain Baruk Firehammer. He was starting to doubt the wisdom of his choice, for it was plain to see that if Belaern didn�t succeed, then they would all jump on him. He realized that he had the perfect spell for this certain situation. It would magnify his voice by ten times.

While the diminutive dwarf pounded away feverishly at the mage, trying to get past all of the protective spells, Vendui collected enough energy for the spell, and released the energy in the form of the required spell.

�I come seeking the one called Baruk Firehammer!� He called in his now godlike voice, which caused the entire room to fall silent, and a lone dwarf to step forward.

�I be the one yer looking fer, elf,� he stated. �Mayhap we mightn� be takin� a seat o�er yonder? Away from yon crowd, aye.�

Staying away from the crowd was going to be extremely difficult, seeing as how an elven mage had just walked into their midst. Most of the dwarves moved respectively aside when Vendui stepped forward, knowing that he could obliterate them all at any second. There were a few arrogant ones, though, that had to be pulled, or dragged away, thinking that they could take on the formidable battle-mage.

When Vendui made it over the table, he noticed that his contact had his axe in his hand, although it was under the table itself. He motioned toward it with his slender head, with its high cheek bones, and Baruk brought it out onto the table, setting it down with a loud thud. Vendui, somewhat reluctantly, took the seat that Baruk had pulled over for him, setting his iron staff on the tabletop, right next to the dwarf�s axe. The two sized each other up, knowing that they were not expecting anything like the other one. Baruk, standing four feet even and about half as wide as he was tall, with brownish-red hair that fell to the bottom of his beard, which was around his mid-section, was expecting a human warrior, maybe topping six feet. And Vendui, standing five and a half feet, with hazel eyes and golden, shoulder-length hair, was expecting someone a bit ruder, maybe more flatulent, and of course drunk. In reality, Baruk was more civilized than Vendui had thought possible with a dwarf, even though his experience with the race was limited.

�Now, what be yer name, elf-mage?� Baruk asked with hint of disgust in his tone.

�I am Vendui Oakshadow, Master Firehammer. I have come here at your request,� he replied with more grace and dignity than was needed.

�I didna ask fer no elf, �specially not no elf-mage.�

�That is irrelevant, my good dwarf. You asked for the help of one of my affiliates, and when I read your case, I knew that I should take this on myself.� He replied with the know-it-all tone that elves are known for.

�One o� yer �affiliates�? What organizations do ye have yer dainty lil hands in, ye wee elf?�

That made his elven contact pause for a moment. How many groups do I have my �dainty lil hands� in? he thought.

�Honestly, I do not know,� he replied with sincerity. �Perhaps someday I will count, perhaps not.�

�Like me dear ol� dad used to say, �Ye should always remember yer allegiances, along with yer enemies.��

�Wise words. How did that advice serve your father?� the ever inquisitive elf asked.

�He was murdered most horribly by the general of his army,� Baruk replied with a dour look on his face.

�I mourn your loss, Master Firehammer. Although it is a bit ironic.�

�Aye, that it is, elf,� the stout one said, holding back his tears.

�Let us not dwell on past occurrences, for we need to consider the future, and what it will bring us.�

�Aye, ye may be right, ye durned elf,� the undersized figure responded with a bit of unpleasantness in his voice.

�There is no need to be nasty, dwarf,� said the mage, showing Baruk but a small fraction of his cruelty in his voice.

�Yer right, elf-mage, but mayhap we�ll see who be the one who shows the most brutalism on the battlefield.�

�Is that a challenge, dwarf?�

�Nay; not jus� yet, anyhow,� he replied with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

�Tis a good thing, Baruk, for I would dislike having the entire dwarven populace of Waterdeep trying to decapitate me.�

�Aye, aye, I guess ye would.�

�Well, let us get down to business, as it were,� said the ever-impatient elf. �I think that we should set off for Mithril Hall immediately, if we are to reach our goal in a reasonable amount of time.�

��Our goal�? Since when in the Nine Hells did it become �our goal�? I�m guessin� that ye�ve decided to assist me then, elf?�

�Ye-You are correct, Baruk, in thinking that I shall join you in your quest to retrieve your father�s body.� I can�t believe it, he thought, the dwarf�s got me doing it.

�Very well, elf, let�s get goin�, I�m sure his body ain�t getting any younger.�

And with that, the two adventurers picked up their weapons and left the Orcslicer Tavern, much to the delight of everyone present. As they walked out of the inn, they were confronted by several dwarves, the leader being Belaern. Each had some sort of poorly made weapon, mostly axes.

�Ye broke me family�s most prized possession, ye damned elf!� Belaern screamed at the bemused elf.

�You threw it at my skull, good dwarf,� replied Vendui in the most apologetic he�d ever used.

�That be not the point! The point be that ye disintegrated it with yer damned magics!� yelled the extremely stocky, and extremely irate dwarf.

While the short one was yelling, the mage was whispering the arcane words to another spell, this time causing a mysterious glowing door to appear right behind the two companions. Vendui grabbed Baruk by his meaty arm and pulled him through the dimension door, which was about five and a half feet tall and two and a half feet wide. They came out three blocks away, to the north, in a dark alley.

�What in the Nine Hells was-!� Baruk blurted out, but was cut short by his elven partner�s hand over his mouth.

�Quiet yourself, dwarf, else they find out where we are,� the irritated elf-mage snapped. �I opened a dimensional doorway that transported us to an alleyway three blocks away.�

�Ne�er do that again, elf, else I�ll take me axe an� cleave yer scrawny head offa yer slender shoulders,� the incensed dwarf said in the most threatening voice Vendui had ever heard, and he sincerely doubted that he was bluffing.

�Very well, I shant do that again. My humblest apologies if you were in any way inconvenienced, but I am certain that we would have been overwhelmed if we had stayed any longer.�

�Let�s just get goin�, ye durned elf,� said Baruk, who was completely infuriated about the whole thing.

With those last words, the two adventurers set off on the journey that would change their lives forever.


The Forge - Part 1: The Orcslicer Tavern © Zen Wolfang a.k.a. The Zen Master

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