Marv's Tale


Apr. 10, 2018 - 11:28 AM
# 934 ⌛ 5 - 6 mins.

Apr. 10, 2018 - 11:28 AM

Tink tink tink

It was a sound he'd heard so many times before. The sound of the mines where Marv spent his days. Countless other dwarves, not unlike himself, were scattered in the distance, each in a separate passage connected by a central mine shaft. Their picks caught the light of the nearby lanterns slightly as they swung rhythmically at the cavernous walls. Like ants building their home, the dwarves dug on.

Marv glanced at his pick. Old, and covered in soot, he rose it to strike again at the stone before him. The soot covered him as well, making the creases in his skin on his arms, face, and neck more prominent where the dust hadn't settled. His reddish-brown hair bobbed in a knot on top of his head as he worked with a few stray locks dancing past his sad eyes.

Marv had worked here almost as long as he could remember. Lacking the magical aptitude of the more scholarly dwarves, and the weapon skill of their soldiers, he took to the mines to support his family. He spent years of his life chipping at these walls and choking on dust, but at least his family was safe.

Three weeks prior he had put them on a boat to go to the new land that they were calling Daegal. As populations grew and different people groups fought over land, Marv's small mountain town of Hallum grew more dangerous. The town's mines supplied many of the ores and coal needed to craft the weapons the dwarves needed to protect themselves. Being a large supplier of the means to make weapons made them a target in their ongoing conflict with the nearby Saurian tribes. The town was put on high alert, and they moved as many troops as they could spare to protect it, but Marv feared that it still wasn't enough.

One more week. he thought to himself.

"Marv. You alright, lad?"

Marv looked up to find the source of the question, but he already knew who it was.

"Just ready to be out of here" Marv responded with the dampness in his eyes reflecting the light.

"Ay. I know, it can't be easy sending your family off to an unexplored land ahead of you. You're almost ready to go yourself though, right?" His friend said.

"Right. One more week and I'm out of this pit to join them." Softer and more to himself he repeated, "One more week."

"It sure is going to be boring around here once you leave. Who else am I going to prank the foreman with once you're gone?" Tarn replied with a chuckle.

After getting no response, Tarn continued, "You excited to explore the new land then? Where did it come from anyway?"

"No clue. Sailors from those parts are saying it wasn't there one night, and then it was the next morning. Whatever it is, it's a way out of this place. I just hope it's as safe as that captain said."

"Well, if I could find the coin to join you I would. Sure would be an advent...." Tarn was cut off by a scream. Both of their heads snapped to look the direction of the sound just in time to see a dwarf fly across the top of the central mineshaft, slam into the opposite wall, and then plummet into the darkness below. All that followed was a guttural hiss, and Marv's heart sank.

I'm too late.

Shouts of battle and the clanging of weapons echoed through the cavern.

After a few moments Tarn spoke up, "Marv, we need to get out of here!"

Marv stood firm, his forhead slowly creasing as he decided what to do, "No. No boat will bring me to Daegal without money. The treasury isn't far."

"You're going up there? Are you crazy? Those monsters are tearing the place apart right now"

Marv turned to face him without changing his expression, "That's my only shot at getting back to my family. Good luck old friend." With that, he turned disappeared around the corner.

Tarn stood looking back and forth between his escape and the direction his friend just ran. "Ah hell" he said as he chased after Marv.

The two dwarves charged up a series of metal and wooden ramps to that stuck out of the interior wall of the main circular mine shaft, running straight for the chaos. Roars, yells, and screams rang out.

A heat in Marv's chest welled up. It was something he hadn't felt in a long time, deep and utter fear. But it was not a fear of dying. It was fear that he might never see Talia's face again. A fear that he might never see Abigail grow up.

He knew those thoughts weren't helpful at a time like this, and pushed them out of his mind. Strength was what he needed now, and speed. He gritted his teeth, jumped across a lift that was temporarily completing the catwalk ahead of him and then halted in his tracks.

Before him stood a massive lizardfolk that had to be nearly 9 feet tall. The blue and orange striped Saurian growled at Marv in response. Slime-like saliva hung from its mouth then dripped onto Marv's face. Then the creature swung a crude, curved sword his direction.