A Chapter by Isemay

Sirruil was walking among those working the forges with an awed look on his face and Syr came to sit on the bench next to Orefinder with a grin, “We always loved to sit here and watch them work. Kaduil especially.”

“That seems right for an elf, watching while others work.” 

“Half-elf, we weren’t terrible at it when they let us try to work the forges. I’d expect an elf to wilt like a piece of their soft bread.” She grinned at him as the dwarf broke into laughter. 

“Syreilla Hammersworn wasn’t terrible, I’d like to see you try your hand at a task.”

“You think they’d let me?” She looked wistfully out at the forges. “I could use a spare boot knife.”

“I was thinking something…” He paused and she turned back to look at him curiously, “grander.”

What Odos had said about his friend trying to give her an impossible task leapt to mind and she let the wide mischievous grin spread over her face, “What do you have in mind, and what do I get out of it?”

“Now I see your father in you.” He smiled smugly and it was her turn to laugh. “You want something from us, that can be your prize.”

“I need something from you, or rather, Uncle does. I’m here to ask politely but I don’t mind doing a task or making a wager to get what’s needed.”

The grin that graced the dwarf’s face was almost malicious. “He didn’t warn you?”

“The old man said to charm you, if I asked for a task you’d try to set me an impossible one, but I’ve never found an impossible task and I love a challenge.” She widened her grin until it hurt her face and held it.

In the depths of Orefinder’s eyes she thought she saw a hint of doubt. He looked her up and down, “Where is your stone?”

“It’s not mine.” She let the smile drop as she pulled it out of her front pocket, letting him see it before tucking it back into place, “The old man lent it to me.”

“What do you need?” The dwarf looked more comfortable seeing she wasn’t secretly wearing it. 

“Uncle needs to borrow the three stones that the dwarven gods have stored power in. It’s a lot to ask, I understand that, it’s part of why no one else is being asked.” 

“It would need to be a large task then.” He smiled slyly. “There is one I’ve always wanted to see done, Thyldind Trueshield once bet me that it wasn’t possible.”

“So if I help you win the bet, you’ll give me the three stones?” She put her wide grin back on. “What’s the bet?”

“That no one could turn a mine upside down.”

“That shouldn’t be too-”

“It still has to be navigable, walking on what should be the new floors, lights, working forges, everything in its place.”

“Ah.” Syr sat back and steepled her first three fingers, tapping her index and middle fingers idly while keeping her thumbs together as she considered the task. “Filling it with water would make it navigable. I think I could make something work for lights as long as they don’t have to work for weeks at a time… The forges… the fire might be too hot to make anything like the quality of their usual work but…” She tilted her head looking into the middle distance. Hammersworn whispered that the hardest part would be moving the stone and she whispered back that he’d never said she couldn’t ask for help and she was certain they had two uncles who would enjoy turning a dwarf mine upside down.

“Rook?” Orefinder was looking at her with narrowed eyes.

“I can do it. It will take time but I can do it. Not this mine, though, I promised to cause neither trouble nor harm and turning it upside down will be both. What about Bhiraldur?” She gave him a bright smile.

“How much time?” He folded his arms.

“For it to be perfect, everything in its place? A hundred years-”

“Two weeks.” He grinned as if he were winning something and she broke into laughter and held out her hand.

“Two weeks. I’ll turn Bhiraldur upside down and you’ll give me all three of the stones. It’s a deal.” She thrust her hand at him, grinning widely.

He didn’t take it. “You haven’t asked what happens if you fail.”

“I don’t fail. You can rely on a Rook.” She met his gaze without flinching, holding her wide grin, her hand out for him to take, and another dwarf with fiery red hair grabbed him by the collar pulling him aside several feet. 

Syr let the grin slip slowly, deliberately replacing it with a look of disappointment as she watched them. Both came back and Orefinder looked a little flushed. 

“You’re the Golden Rook?” The red-haired dwarf asked, looking at her sharply.

“I am.”

“Khiril Orefinder is not permitted to wager all three stones, only his own, and Bhiraldur is not to be gutted, flooded, and have the forges ruined with dragon’s fire.”

She inclined her head, “What sort of task would grant Uncle the lend of them? I don’t steal from dwarves and I’m here in good faith.”

“Teach young Sirruil how to use the circlet,” the dwarf looked mollified, “and give me your word you won’t destroy any mines.” 

“I’ll gladly do both, may I ask who I’m giving my word to?”

“This is Thyldind Trueshield, Rook.” Orefinder folded his arms. “I still don’t think she could have done it.”

“I give you my word, Thyldind Trueshield, I’ll teach Sirruil to use the circlet to the best of my ability, and I will never destroy a dwarf mine as long as I live.” She offered a bow and a grin. “And you shouldn’t doubt me, Orefinder. You never said I had to do it alone. I have two uncles who would leap at the chance to help me turn a dwarf mine upside down and if I asked nicely I might even be able to borrow some people from one or two of Uncle’s punishments to help get small things moved quickly and kept in place. There is no task that cannot be completed with enough time, thought, and hands.”

Trueshield gestured at her, “If she were a dwarf she’d have been one of mine.”

“Oduil Flameborn bears watching, Sirruil is mine.” Orefinder gave her a sour look. “I suspect you’d have been quarreling with Fellforger for her.”

“Fellforger already claimed Flameborn.” Thyldind stroked his beard, “What about the daughter?”

“Someone needs to look after Kaduil.” Syr gave them both a sour look and Trueshield grinned. 

“She keeps order in the house?”

“I suspect Kyrilla is better at it than Hammersworn ever was. She’s got her father’s sweet nature.”

“What does she have from her mother,” the red-haired dwarf eyed her with amusement.

“Her golden hair.” Syr inclined her head with a genuine smile. “Kyrilla is beautiful.”

“Golden…” Trueshield smiled and asked, “Why was she named Kyrilla? You expected her to make trouble?”

Tilting her head, she listened to the memories of naming the girl, “No, Syreilla Hammersworn was her mother’s name, and Kaduil insisted their daughter be named after her. The compromise was naming her after both of them.” Letting her gaze refocus, she gave him an impish grin, “She got all of her troublemaking out of the way in the womb, Hammersworn says from the moment she was born she was as sweet as her father and never a moment’s trouble. Before that, she tried to kick her way out through her mother’s ribs.”

“That’s who you were talking to!” Orefinder scowled, “You were talking to Hammersworn about the task.”

“She and I used to be the same person, that we’d consult on how to turn a mine upside down shouldn’t be a surprise.”

“You didn’t try to consult with your father?” The brown-haired dwarf eyed her sourly.

“No. He and I see things differently. You can’t give me an impossible task, I’ll find a way to complete it. The old man, he’ll find a way around your task and leave it undone. I love him but he’s… unreliable. I’m not.”

Trueshield gave her an approving look. “If he bets his stone on a task with you he deserves to lose it.” He gave her a curt nod and stepped away, disappearing amongst the other dwarves.

“Let’s find Sirruil. We’ll see about finishing my tasks before I start prodding you for the lessons you offered.” Syr gave him a bright smile and pulled the stone and chain out tugging off a glove to wrap it around her hand.

“You prefer to keep it hidden?” Orefinder frowned at it.

“The old man should have had it done in a more wearable way. I liked the circlet, this is useful but not easy to wear. Wrapping it around my hand and putting a glove over it means I don’t have to worry about it snagging, clanking, swinging or falling off.”

The dwarf blinked and looked at her now gloved hand more speculatively. “You can’t wear it around your neck?”

“How? It has no clasp and tying chains-” 

He snorted, “Come here. Trust an elf not to know how to do something simple.”

“Half-elf. And if you keep calling me an elf-”

“What?” He grinned at her. “What will you do?”

Syr dusted off her dwarvish with a grin, “I’ll start pointing out every dwarf with a better beard, clucking like an old woman about how you really ought to at least try taking care of yours, or maybe learn to braid the scraggles…”

His face reddened and he started swearing under his breath, stepping closer as she broke into loud laughter. 

“I loathe elves, Orefinder, there are dwarves who like elves better than I do, and you know it! If you want to provoke me I’ll provoke you right back. One thing the old man taught us, was to always give more than we got in a fight. You have a choice, Orefinder. Stop trying to get back at the old man by provoking me and trying to push me into causing trouble, or find yourself on my bad side. Rooks can be friendly birds, but if you cross them they have long memories and they’re f*****g vicious.” She grinned at him as he folded his arms sourly.

“I catch glimpses of the old man in you but you’re a different woman, it’s true. You’re worse than he is.”

She offered a mocking bow.

“I was watching the work…” Sirruil came over with a curious frown, “and this area grew dark like it was filling with smoke.”

“That’s often how I see a general sort of danger, a grey fog or smoke.” Syr smiled and nodded at him, “A situation is volatile and there is no safe path. Set your mind to walk into the flames.” She pointed at a forge.

He looked and then took a step back. “Yes. It’s darker though, more…” 

“You can find safe paths through dangerous situations if you look, you just have to be willing to adjust your expectations and know your limits.” Looking over the stone hot enough to make the air shimmer around the forges, the sparks, the dwarves moving with glowing metal, the one massive hammer working with its unstoppable cadence… she could see the way to demonstrate. “If you wanted to run through the forge area and roll beneath the hammer, could you?”

Sirruil studied everything for a moment, “No. I can move through, run through, but it stops dead at the hammer.”

“If you rested before attempting it?” 

She heard him laugh softly, “Yes. I understand. I have to understand what I’m asking, what I’m looking for.”

“Exactly. Be aware that someone else will see things differently because their skills and abilities are different. Try to see the paths I can take.” Without hesitation she darted forward, leaping up and springing from the hot stone of the tops of the forges following the safe path and then diving and rolling beneath the hammer coming out the other side unscathed. With a grin she wove her way more sedately back through the busy forge under the annoyed gaze of several dwarves who’d noticed.

The young dwarf was looking at her with awe and saying something to Orefinder as she approached.

“You promised not to cause trouble, Rook.” Orefinder eyed her speculatively as she came close enough to hear.

“Did anyone drop anything? Hit their thumb instead of their steel?” She spread her arms and shrugged.

“No.” Sirruil grinned.

“Then I’ve caused no trouble, have I? A little annoyance now and then never hurt anyone. It keeps you on your toes.”

“My mother used to say that when people complained about me getting into things.” He glanced at Orefinder with a wry smile. “She said the only thing I have from my father is my dwarvish good looks.”

With a snort, Orefinder beckoned them both to come with him, “Let’s see what kinds of paths you can find in the treasure rooms.”

“We walk the outside first. Think like a thief, Orefinder. Never rush your preparation, look at the job from every possible angle first.”

© 2021 Isemay

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Added on February 1, 2021
Last Updated on February 1, 2021
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods

Golden Rook


By Isemay


By Isemay


By Isemay


By Isemay




Spent some time away from here but I've come back to peek in and post again! Review my writing and I will gladly return the favor! I love reading other people's stories, and I try to review hone.. more..

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A Chapter by Isemay

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A Chapter by Isemay

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A Chapter by Isemay