*** I wrote the beginnings of this story when I was in college the first time (14 years ago) ***
“Hunt,” the word was spoken through teeth clenched in anger. As he stepped over the body of a friend, the man was visibly shaking. He had befriended this particular owlbear a while ago, and while not able to clearly show how much he cared for it during its life, it was obvious now.The man planted his staff and forced himself to his feet. Normally the death of an owlbear, friend or no, would not cause any reaction. However the druid had been lonely and the owlbear,Thistle he was called by the druid, had given him companionship. Now Thistle was dead, his chest ripped out and laying in ribbons.
The druid, Crick, looked to the beast that he had traveled with for many years now. “Tix, I commanded you to hunt, and yet here you stand. Does my anger delight you?” The beast lowered his head, accepting the scolding. “Then hunt!” Crick shouted, but Tix was already gone.
“I dunno,” the large man answered. He was huge, standing over seven feet, but more amazing than his height was his thickness. It looked as though he could simply snap a dragon’s neck. He cocked his head and looked at the leonine creature perched on the rocky slope above him, and repeated, “I dunno. Tell me the answer.”
“Time, my friend. The answer is, of course, time,” Delia spoke. Her words sent a the man into a series of laughs and knee slaps. Delia, a sphinx, looked absolutely superior as she rose from the rocks. She was truly majestic sitting on the rocks overlooking the small cottage that the two companions called home. It sat nestled in the hills on a small patch of flat treeless land. The cottage had been abandoned for a while before the companions had come upon it. A beautiful place to call home, regardless of race.
“Aye, I knowed that one long before you told us the answer. I just didn’t wanna make ole Simeon here feel as stupid as his kin,” Duluth protested. Simeon shot the dwarf a look, but as he saw the dwarf shrug his shoulders in a helpless gesture, he only laughed louder. “Well, I woulda figured it out anyway,” Duluth stammered, but all three knew the truth of it. In no time, all three were laughing.
Delia broke the mirth, “I expect the usual prize for winning. This time I want it to be an elven female. I will return for my winnings and for another round. Take care.” Then she was gone, flying off the wherever she could find more riddles or people to solve them.
“Bah, I don’t wanna be doing no elf, that’s fer sure.” Duluth snorted. He had already made a male dwarf, a human male, a lion, a dragon, and a ring out of stone. By his way of thinking an elf was too delicate and too weak to be chiseled out of stone. “I don’t work with silly flowers. I work with rocks, boy, ROCKS. Ye ever seen an elf that even remotely resembled a stone?”
“I’ve never seen a horse that looked like stone, but you love that piece,” Simeon protested. “And I must say that I have only seen two elves in my whole life. In truth, though, neither looked much like stone.” He perked up and looked at Duluth. “You are an artist though. This is what an artist does, he makes people see things differently than they normally would,” Simeon patted the dwarf on the back and sat up.
“An artist, yes, but I am far from a miracle worker. And that’s what it’d be, a miracle to make an elf from stone.” He went on and on long after Simeon had walked away. Although, throughout his whole tirade, his hands were instinctively feeling the small stones around him, searching for one that would best suit to make an elf. After all, he did not want to disappoint Delia. Duluth would make the elf because he, like most of his race, loved a challenge.
*** Stay tuned, more to come from my old days ***