Dark Wizard Cursed Part Seven

Chapter 6: The Holnhold Darnuth

Leshac had been trudging through the snow followed by Quil fluttering behind for some time in awkward silence, or at least Quil found it awkward. She was glad of the warmth charms on the inside of her robes, though the coldness of lack of conversation was getting to her, finally out of boredom, she summoned her courage to speak with Leshac.

So uh, you know where you are going?” Quil cursed her own tongue, what kind of question was that?

Leshac held up his glowing dragon waycharm, he answered that they needed to visit a village or some-such for some supplies.

Quil looked up in the direction that Leshac was facing. There was quite obviously a huge cold mountain looming ahead of them. Ghastly winds tore around the mountain. There was a slim possibility that the charm was reacting to a settlement inside the mountain, more than likely it was feeding from Leshac’s desire for a bluetear rose.

Er, that isn’t the direction of the nearest settlement” Quil said, scratching the back of her head.

Leshac let out a slightly disappointed noise. Quil put her face to palm.

Urg, this is weird, look, just, follow me alright?” Quil said, pulling on Leshac’s back.

Leshac nodded, and with that, Quil closed her eyes, a thin wave of green magic burst from her, and she glowed slightly.

Right, know where we are now” She commented, opening her eyes. “Over this way”

Quil flew off, Leshac following.

Eventually, they stopped over what appeared to be a snowy clearing, not a tree or snow dune or rock in sight. Leshac questioned why they had stopped, seeing as there was nothing about. He was utterly unprepared for Quil barrelling into him and for a pillar of fire to rise from the ground where he had been standing moments before.

What in Sceach’s name possessed you to stand on the entrance? Aren’t your kind supposed to be good at seeing hidden things?”

Leshac expressed utter confusion.

We have arrived at a small holnhold, oh one of shadowy insubstantial thoughts!, Name of Darnuth, mostly some dwarves and boggarts, maybe a few minotaurs, it’s nearly more an outpost than a village, but I know a guy who could help, he uh… kinda owes me”

Holn, refers to any place underground really. There are many races in Kigan that either have to live underground or prefer to. Dwarves being a race of short wide people who eat rocks, naturally have a fondness for living underground and mining away for all kinds of rock, gems and ores. The men of dwarves are renown for their braided beards, and the women for their extremely long beautiful hair. The hair of a dwarf grows fast. There are many different sub-races of dwarves.

Boggarts on the other hand, are strange humanoid slime beings. They have a love of dark damp places like caves and swamps, but they also like warm wet places. Minotaurs, the strong bull-men descended from the experiments of the mad mage-king Minos, unlike dwarves and boggarts have no particular affinity for underground, though in spite of this they find themselves beneath the earth far more than they would like, a impulse left from their ancestors’ days as maze guardians.

Quil knocked upon the portal of the holnhold. A shutter grinded back, and Leshac and Quil found themselves greeted by the lamp-like eyes of a gwearn dwarf, a fortress dwarf, their kind came about as smiths and defenders during the Eclipse War. Gwearn can heal their wounds with earth.

Hoh, Quil, back again, nobody is going to play cards with you again you know, we can only get humiliated so many times” A gruff voice emitted, then the gwearn caught sight of Leshac.

Strange company you keep these days, what is he, some poor escaped mage experiment? Mages, filth all of them, well I’ll let you in now, if he’s with you he can’t be any great harm” The gwearn complained, Quil decided not to remind him that she was an apprentice to a magus and a budding enchantress herself.

There was a clanking and screeching and grinding, and the portal flung open. Leshac and Quil descended into the holnhold Darnuth, the gate gwearn tipping his helmet to them.

Darnuth was not large, a hollowed out cave, with but two main streets. One street, went from the entrance to the mines, the other went through the hold to underground root and fungus farms either side of Darnuth. Large tunnels might be a more apt description of the streets, but they were wide and tall, various houses were built directly in the walls, there was a market square, at the intersection of the two tunnel-streets, the hold well was at the centre of this, guarded by a dwarf and a minotaur, both encased in armour. There was a single inn, a plain temple to the aryaith, a smithy, a tradestop and public bathhouse, probably heated by the smithy next to it. There was a dwelling with a more ornate front, the townhouse and storehouse, a place like Darnuth was usually ruled by a council. There was no Magician’s guild or such. Most of the people living here were probably either miners or farmers, or both, a lot of them probably knew each other too.

Smaller side tunnels bit into the sides of the dwellings. Runed Crystals on chains illuminated the main streets with bluish light, but these smaller tunnels were lit by smokeless braziers. Leshac was watching all the dwarves, boggarts and the occasional minotaur go about their business, so he almost missed Quil slipping down one alley. He followed her until she stopped in front of a dwelling with a sign in front of it that read “Nagar’s Emporium of Fine Wares” so it seemed there was another shop in Darnuth, though this was quite out of the way.

I know the guy who owns this place, we should be able to get what we need for climbing the mountain fairly cheaply” Quil explained herself.

Leshac nodded, and entered the emporium.

The place was lit by a orange orb suspended in the air of the ceiling. Leshac glanced over all kinds of supplies, rations, mountain climbing equipment, charms, mining equipment and such-like. There was certainly an interesting variety of things. There was a box with all manner of strange nic-naks in it, from rabbit-foots and skulls to chained crystals and hearthstones and what was obviously junk. This box was unsurprisingly labelled artefacts. There were a few barrels with various weapons thrown in them.

In one corner there was a suit of dwarven armour, which at one stage must have been a shining bronze colour, now was looking the worse for wear, the helmet was in the shape of some fierce subterranean beast. Hanging on it was a wooden placard that read “Cursed Armour, half-price buy now!”. The emporium was certainly whatever an aspiring adventurer or foolish traveller could want.

Leshac turned his head as an foreign sounding voice spoke out.

Welcome and good day? Is it day? I can never tell when underground, well welcome honoured customer to Nagar’s Emporium, where there is nothing that is not not a bargain.”

For a moment, Leshac got the feeling he heard two nots voiding each other, it must have been his imagination. Nagar himself was a red boggart, strangely he wore a orange turban a green and brown jacket and baggy pants in the style of some merchant from the hot southern lands of Erimael. Though a boggart may be a slime being, they are not always slimy, infact usually they are more jelly like, though as much as they object to people putting things in their body, they’ll often use their own body for storage purposes.

If Nagar was living in Erimael rather than Nortrieln, he would certainly not be wearing that much clothing, for although boggarts are usually not that slimey, great heat makes them ooze far more than normal and makes it hard for them to retain shape, as a result boggarts that live in hot places usually wear only as much as modesty requires.

Hello, Nagar, still pretending to be an exotic merchant from warmest Erimael eh?” Quil greeted Nagar with menace.

Nagar almost deflated into a puddle of slime, only barely managing to keep his form.

Ah, it is you!, how much are you going to ruin me this time?, Spawn of Ippa’s mischief!” Nagar accused.

Quil smiled wickedly and waved a tiny chitinous finger in front of Nagar.

Now, now Nagar, no need to be like that, me and this gentleman here just need some supplies and equipment to climb an icy windy peak”

Nagar pulled a bundle from below his counter.

Here, now, get out of my shop, you plague to honest business!” Nagar protested.

Honest?” Quil objected.

Leshac grabbed the bundle as he and Quil were chased out of the emporium by a fuming Nagar.

…AND DON’T COME BACK!” Nagar shouted as he slammed the door behind them.

As Leshac walked away from the shop, and Quil absent-mindedly landed on his shoulder, he was about to ask Quil what all that was about, there seemed to be quite the history behind her and Nagar. At that very moment, a dark figure coalesced from the shadows and spreading forth a obscured claw, spoke a deep word and zapped the bundle of mountain equipment. Leshac tossed it from his hands even as it was consumed by darkness, leaving naught a trace behind.

What is THAT?!” Quil exclaimed pointing at a figure of Chlan countenance.

The Figure was hidden inside a heavy robe black as foulest smog, two round baleful white eyes glared deep from within the hood, which was lined with a dull metal, the same that made the runed metal mantle of the robe, which flared across the shoulders, raven-like feathers formed a ruff from the collar of the mantle. The rest of the robe was lined with opulent navy fur. The robe seemed familiar to Leshac. It could be nothing other than the Dark Wizard he had fought, so he thought.

You shall never escape my curse, changeling!” Its’ voice was weak and crackling, but filled with spite and meance.

The Dark Wizard pointed a black claw at Leshac, who just barely rolled out of the way as a crackling dark javelin tore through the air. Quil for her part clung onto Leshac and wailed. Leshac leapt to his feet and rushed at the Dark Wizard, swiping his own claws at it, but the Dark Wizard simply fell into shadow, and appeared behind Leshac, bringing a claw wrapped in vorpal magic down towards Leshac’s back.

Leshac however, flipped out of the way, and cartwheeled off. Standing on his feet, Leshac prepared to run out of the alley, it was much too tight of a space to fight the Dark Wizard here, even if it was a minotaur wide. The Dark Wizard, seeing this, pulled a shadow from its’ place, and forming a spear, threw it. Leshac, jumped out of the way, and the spear sunk into a shadow in front of him, Leshac laughed, thinking himself clear, but then to his and Quil’s horror, the shadowy spear came back, out from Quil’s shadow, and right into them.

Leshac shielded Quil with his body as they tumbled forcefully through Awarth.

Author: SnowyMystic