Gliffbom marched the road ahead. How long would it be before his tired soul got used to the open sky? Even though he’d only been amongst the surface folk for a couple of months he felt like he could no longer remember home. His heart was heavy with the long and tired trek of life. Only in his despair, his body would not falter and his mind would not let him avoid duty for any purpose.
It was this dedication to his course of action that was his hallmark. For now he was the protector of a tax collector. A job well suited to him and even if beneath his capabilities for the current, it fit perfectly into the future he envisioned was his Karma. Still, even though the position offered little comfort and hope of true accomplishment, he would not falter. Gliffbom’s sense of duty would allow for no less.
While on his stoic face, dedication, and vigilance had earned him scorn from his fellows it had earned promotion from his betters. This new found success in his position only served to solidify his grumpy and course exterior bringing further resolve to his commitment to squash his emotions and place duty ahead of friendship to comrade.
As the road came back into focus from his daydream Gliffbom had a sense of warning that something was wrong. His axe arm instinctively raised and he bellowed out, “Atten Hut.” With that single command his comrades reacted and took up defensive positions and the wagon of his master pulled up short. The fog across the wetlands here made vision troublesome. Yet the young Dwarf suspected something and trusted his instincts.
Just as he turned to scan the other side of the road the brush exploded and Bullywugs leaped out and charged his men. The Dwarf bellowed his charge and rushed the nearest enemy. The Bullywug faltered for a second and was struck down by one of the men. But the ambush was well planned and his men started to fall. Gliffbom set to work to bolster his men. Singing out the Song of the Hall he began to swing and focus his troops.
But soon the group was being over powered and Gliffbom was hard pressed to block the blows. But just then from behind him a bellowing charge was heard. A wild battle cry and a rushing charge. As Gliffbom turned aside another blow all of the remaining Bullywug’s turned their attention to Gaaki. Landing with a bound next to Gliffbom she dwarfed the Warlord as thunder crackled all about her. Standing nearly two feet taller than Gliffbom Gaaki began to reign blows down. Even as she attacked he incorporated her into his tactics. As if they had always fought together her reactions were precise and effective under his trained commanding voice.
The tide of the battle began to turn and before long the Bullywug’s fled for their dank holes to lick their wounds and plan their next assault.
All around the Two warriors lay dead men. Gliffbom’s unit destroyed and the wagon’s door flapping back and forth in the wind. Still attached by both hinges the latch had been undone from inside as the fat man tried to flee. Laying on the ground a few feet from the wagon was the plump tax collector. His flabby body now with crater in the back of his head, caved in by a spiked Bullywug club. He had died just as his attempt for flight started.
The stoic dwarf surveyed the scene shaking his head with the despair of his failure building up. His knuckles were white where he held his axe with intense tension. His mind overriding his spirits desire to let loose a scream of anguish at the constant tragedy that befell his lot in life.
Gaaki, noticed his distress thinking he was simply sad at the death of his boss. She turned to him and patted him on the head saying, “Don’t worry about it shorty. Those plump city folk are all the time getting themselves kill’d out here. They never seem to notice that the last idiot to come out here never returned. As far as I can tell living in a city must make you stupid.”
Then as if she suddenly realized something about the dwarf and rhetorically asked, “You aint stupid! are ya!?”
Then she quickly took to work looting the dead enemies and appropriating anything useful from the dead guards and tax collector.
Noticing that Gliffbom just stood there she turned to him puzzled and said, “Come on shorty. I’ll buy you a drink you look like you could use one.”
The stunned Dwarf stared blankly at her, his mind frozen by her banter and candor, but as she turned to leave he followed her non the less.