Chapter 12: DwarvesA Chapter by Zorina
Agmund's and Saya's eyes had widen at the sight of the entrance of Barias and Zerlinda had to admit that it was a grand sight, if a little intimidating.
They had stopped at the beginning of the large, black stone bridge that reached across the dip between the mountain that they were on and the mountain that Barias was built into. The entrance was made out of the same dark stones as well as the gigantic closed double doors. There was a path going up agains the entrance walls that led to the stables about the entrance. Small, rectangular window glowed with flickering orange light.
The dwarf guards that were lined along both sides of the bridge eyed the three elves suspiciously as they passed, but didn't move from their spots. Zerlinda ignored these looks as she led them up one of the paths and a different dwarf -- obviously not a guard as he was dressed in thick, warm leather -- greeted them at the top. Or, more accurately, greeted Zerlinda at the top where they dismounted their horses.
"Hullo, Zerlinda!" He said. His voice was rough, but not unkind. "How are you?"
"Hey, Nalguk," greeted Zerlinda. "I've been better, how about you?"
The dwarf, Nalguk, let out a hearty laugh.
"Haven't we all?" He replied and turned his eyes to Agmund and Saya as he led them inside the stables. "Friends of yours?"
"Yes, this is Agmund and Saya. This is Nalguk -- the horse master here at Barias and probably the best I've ever seen."
"It's nice to meet you," said Saya, stretching her hand out and smiling. Nalguk shook it and repeated the action with Agmund.
"So, how are things with the elves?" Nalguk asked Zerlinda gruffly, opening three empty stall doors for their horses.
"As bad as ever," answered Zerlinda disgustedly. "The orcs invaded West Wood and Achan led them off to fight in the Sacred Clearing, but allowed the army to drink their wits into oblivion."
"Yeah," agreed Agmund, tossing Zerlinda and Saya brushes so that they could start grooming their horses. "Actually, I think Achan was one of the first ten elves to pass out drunk."
"He was the first elf to pass out drunk, Agmund," she said.
Nalguk laughed again.
"You elves don't have enough meat on your bones. That's the problem; you're light-weights! We dwarves know how to handle out alcohol; we're small, but sturdy."
"That's certainly true," admitted Zerlinda. "I've never seen anyone to match a dwarf drink for drink before passing out."
"Of course not!" Nalguk exclaimed. "We're masters!" And, once again, he let out a gleeful laugh before changing the topic. "I'm guessing you're here for your yearly visit?"
"Partially," said Zerlinda. "We're also here looking for some documents that might tell us something about a massive amount of elf murders or executions -- big enough to wipe out an entire generation of elves."
"Well, you'd find anything like that in the library. How long are you staying?"
"A week; that's why I brought company. There will probably be a lot of documents to go through in a short amount of time and a couple extra pairs of eyes will help make sure I don't miss anything."
"Why don't you stay longer?"
Nalguk nodded, giving her a knowing smile.
"Then I guess you three better get to it," he said. "I'll look after these fine steeds for you."
"Thanks, Nalguk. I'll see you later."
Just outside the stables, Zerlinda showed them a staircase that also led down into Barias. Lit torches illuminated the dark stairwell and the stairs were shorter than they were used to considering they were made for dwarves and dwarves were a little more than half the height of the average elf.
"He's one of the more trusting dwarves," Zerlinda told Agmund and Saya and they descended down the stairs. "We got on real well when I first came here. He has a huge passion for horses, so I just sat up there with him and talked. Anyone who abuses a horse -- or any animal for that matter, but mainly horses -- better not let him find out."
"He'd make a good elf," commented Saya.
Zerlinda looked at her sharply to get her to be quiet.
"He makes a good dwarf," she corrected. "Don't say stuff like that unless you want to get off on the wrong foot with dwarves."
"Then how do we get off on the right foot?"
"If you won't insult elves, then compliment the dwarves' skills ... and don't take any of their insults or jokes personally."
"What skills?" Agmund asked and Zerlinda gave him a sharp look.
"Saying stuff like that will get your head copped off with a battle axe in a heartbeat," she warned him. "Dwarves are very proud of their architecture and armor, but extremely proud of their weapons. They've perfected the art of hardening metals to an amazing degree, but rarely let any other race buy them and never lets another race discover their secret. I'm probably the only elf who has dwarf-made weapons and it took seven years to achieve that."
"The dwarves made your weapons?"
"Not all of them," she said, shaking her head. "Just my daggers and I love them to death."
They crossed through the threshold at the bottom of the stairs and Agmund's and Saya's jaws dropped for the second time that day and, again, Zerlinda had to admit that it was an impressive sight.
Barias was also called Stone City and it didn't take long after one stepped foot inside to figure out why. All of the buildings were made of stone, carved by the dwarves' ancestors from the same rock that made of the inside of the mountain. They buildings actually looked like they had sprung from the mountain's floors and walls. Countless numbers of dwarves bustled around, chatting and attending to their shopping. The only thing that distinguished the stores from the houses were the signs that hung about the doors of the shops which was a crucial thing for someone who didn't grow up there because all of the shops and house were mixed together.
"Come on," Zerlinda said, snapping her friends out of their reveries.
"I feel like a giant," muttered Saya and Zerlinda smiled at her remembering that she use to feel the same way.
"Where are we going?" Agmund asked, his shoulders hunched over a little as he also felt abnormally tall in spite of the fact that all of the buildings towered over them and the ceiling was well above the roof tops.
"To see the dornar." Agmund and Saya gave Zerlinda perplexed looks and she elaborated. "The king."
"Do we have to?" Agmund asked, a high pitch whine entering his voice and Zerlinda narrowed her eyes and glared at him.
"Yes, if we want to use his library."
"Isn't there a public library that we could use?"
"There is," agreed Zerlinda patiently. "But it's small and probably won't have what we're looking for which is old documentaries, remember?"
"I've got a question."
"That's a shock," quipped Zerlinda before she could stop herself and Agmund glared at her.
"How is it that you know all of these royal people?"
"It's easy enough if you're a different race -- the 'royal people' as you put it, will more than likely speak with you if you ask and sometimes when you don't ask. With elves ... it helps to be a friend of a member in an elf royal family."
"Seriously?" Agmund asked. "That's all there is to it?"
"Most of the time," shrugged Zerlinda.
"Who's their dormar?" Saya asked.
"Barlrin. He's a good king. A bit on the strick side, but good; he keeps his head and know's what's good for his people."
"Are we staying at his castle?"
"Dwarves don't have castles -- they have, what they call, eovarn; eternals."
Agmund's brow furrowed.
"Why do they call them that?"
"Because they're so big, they seem to go on for an eternity. At least, that's what Nalguk told me when I asked."
"Why don't they have castles?"
"In the minds of the dwarves, Agmund, the mountain they live in is their castles. Eovarn are just the dormarz home."
"So are we staying in the dormar's eovarn?" Saya asked.
"It's dormarz," Zerlinda corrected. "The dwarves put a 'z' at the end to make something possessive instead of an apostrophe 's' and it would just be eovar. If you put an 'n' at the end, it makes it plural and Barlrin only has one eovar; dwarves like it when you at least try to learn their language. But, yes, we'll be staying in the dormarz eovar; unless you two want to sleep in beds that are too short.
Agmund rubbed his temples.
"How do you know so many things about their language and stuff?" He asked.
"Zerlinda shrugged her shoulders.
"You pick up on a few things," she said. "And I've got a couple of books on and in their language back at the cabin."
They approached and area that was separated from the rest of the city only by a couple of stairs and four large columns spead in a wide half circle.
"Do eovarn not have walls?" Agmund whispered as they walked through the columns.
"They do, but this is just the throne room," Zerlinda whispered back."Now, dwarves are really casual, but bow to show respect."
Her friends did as instructed when the reached the throne as he dwarf who had been stting on th throne, jumped off and walked toward them. His hair was as long as his beard which reached down to his hips. The clothing he wore was simple, common even when compared to something you'd expect a king to were; just a deep red leather jacket with brown leather trousers and boots. The only thing that set him apart from the rest of the dwarves outside the eovar was the stone crown he wore around his head.
"Well, if it isn't Zerlinda," said Barlrin in a gruff voice that most dwarves had -- male or female. "My favorite elf. Who are your friends.
"Saya and Agmund," introduced Zerlinda. The dormar nodded a greeting to which they returned likewise. He then turned his attention back to Zerlinda
"How are those daggers treating you?"
"Better than a charm," grinned Zerlinda. "You're blacksmith didan excellent job; not thtat I expected anything less than perfect with a dwarven weapon."
"As you shouldn't!" Barlrin agreend. "Now, tell me, is there something specific you need, or is this just for pleasantries."
"We need your documents on elven historydating back to the ancient days to the end of them."
"That's quite a request. What are you hoping to find?"
"A period of time where an elven king or queen ordered a massive amount of executions or when a massive amount of murders took place."
"Just how massive are we talking about?"
"Enough to wipe out the ancient elves."
Barlrin sat back on his throne and stroked his beard thoughtfully.
"I vaguely remember discussing something like that back in my school days," he said. "But it's all a blur; you'd have a better chance attempting to read those old, faded documents." His eyes cut to Agmund and Saya. "Do you need extra rooms>"
"That's not necessary, Dormar," said Zerlinda. "We'll just share my usual room."
The dormar nodded several times before dismissing them and Zerlinda led them through a door to their left. As they walked down the hall, Agmund and Saya turned their heads every which way, trying to take in everything about their new surroundings.
"What do those words on the top of the wall mean?" Saya asked, looking at theflittering gold letters. The font wan't a fancy, curly font like the elves typically used. It was more straight and bolded and very few of the letters had a single curve, but it was still kingly.
"They're names of every dormar that has ever lived here. The dwarves engrave the names into the wall before filling them with gold."
"How deep do they engraved them?" Agmund asked, staring up at the names in awe.
"About half a meter," said Zerlinda. "The deeper we go into the eovar, the less recent names of the dormarn will appear."
"That's amazing," breathed Saya.
Zerlinda smiled at her.
"That's the kind of stuff you want the dwarves to hear."
© 2012 Zorina
AboutHobbies: Dancing (mostly jazz and lyrical, but I also do a ballet techniques class), writing, drawing, painting, reading, singing, doing puzzles, sudoku, word finds, fill ins Movies: Harry Potter, .. more..