The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 2

By Dwayne MacInnes

You may have heard the old verse: How much wood could a Wood Elf shelf if a Wood Elf could shelf wood. The answer of course is as much wood as a Wood Elf could if a Wood Elf could shelf wood. It is a silly little human rhyme, for of course Wood Elves can shelve wood. Furthermore, if I were a High Elf I am sure I would have taken offense if the rhyme were about High Elves. However, I am not -- and it was not -- so I recited the little rhyme as I rode along the road towards Krator.

I received many strange looks from humans as they witnessed a Wood Elf upon the back of a fine black mare singing a silly children's song. That was not something you see every day in the Empire. It only took me three days to reach Krator upon that fine steed.

The citizens of Krator were a bit surprised to see me ride in alone. I guess they figured that I would hire some fellow adventurers and then share the reward amongst the party. The thing about being a wealth adjuster (or as you may call it, a thief) is that we tend to work better alone. Your typical warrior, mage, or priest can make enough noise trying to be stealthy to wake the proverbial dead. That is not including the times when they are not trying to be stealthy. In addition, many of the above are a bit clumsy.

Which reminds of the time a warrior, mage, and priest walked into a bar. The thief nimbly tumbled beneath it. Sorry, that really gets them at the taverns.

As I was saying however, it is far better for a thief, if you will, to operate alone. Parties tend to bicker over wealth distribution and frown on service fees for unlocking locks and disarming traps. I have also heard of thieves being turned into beastly creatures like lizard-men by getting themselves involved with parties.

It took a little convincing of the elders to prove that I was indeed the arena rat they were looking for. I provided a poster of myself. Of course, it was more stylized and the artist took a great many liberties with my body. I certainly do not have large breasts nor do I ever fight that scantily clothed. I do not know what humans have for large breasts but such things would be a great hindrance to successfully firing a bow. Secondly, it is a little ironic to have "The Arena's Acrobatic Archer, The Black Arrow" emblazoned across the poster and then show me (big breasts and all) holding a severed head in my left hand and a gore covered sword in the other.

Fortunately, a few miners had been to the arena and they knew me by sight well enough to vouch for my authenticity. I suppose I could have just jumped from my mare, done a flip over an elder's head, and kick him behind the knee. Nevertheless, I feel that that would not have made my case for me.

Once the elders were convinced that I was the genuine article, they took me to the entrance of the mines. It was a heavy wooden door with the words "Mine closed" and "Danger" written all over the surface. A sturdy lock sealed the entrance. I waited while an elder fumbled for the right key to open the door.

He looked rather embarrassed as he examined every key on his key ring. He could not figure out how he could have misplaced that key. Well, it was easy for me to figure out because I had already lifted it. Now, to say I knew what key to lift would be a lie. The fact I lifted the key in the first place was mere coincidence. I had helped myself to the elder's money pouch (I do have to stay in practice) and amongst the ten Silver Crowns, I found the key.

Things were not starting too well; the elders and the crowd were becoming uncomfortable. It did not look entirely well to hire a hero to fix your problem and then be unable to facilitate said hero toward the said problem.

"Excuse me your grace," I said as I bent towards the ground and produced the key. "I believe this fell as you pulled the ring out of your pocket."

Relief broke out upon everyone's face. I had already proven myself a hero in one small regard. That of being able to find the missing key to the locked mines of Krator.

Soon the heavy door was unlocked and I found myself inside the cavernous maw of the silver mine. The town provided me with an oil lamp before they quickly slammed the door shut behind me and proceeded to lock it.

It had never been discussed how I was supposed to get out once I finished my job. But these tended to be simple folk, and spooks -- real and imagined -- play upon their minds. I can only suppose that they had as much faith in me succeeding as I did. After all, I came to rid these mines of ghosts and ghouls. The fact, that it was the most successful silver mine in the empire had nothing to do with it. Well, maybe it was not quite nothing.

My first official act as hero was to extinguish the lamp. A thief with a lamp is not much of a thief. Now, it is well rumored that elves can see in the dark and to a certain extent, it is true. High and Wood Elves can see in low light and our subterranean brethren the Dark Elves can see in pitch-blackness. However, the interior of a mine favors pitch-blackness to low light.

Fortunately, I had learned a simple spell for seeing in the darkness. A few whispered phrases and *presto* night sight for one minute. Thankfully, it was a spell that did not take a lot of energy to cast. Imagine trying to cast that every minute for an hour. As it were, the routine of reciting the whispered phrases were tasking enough.

Shortly after gaining my dark sight I began to make my way stealthily down the mine's shaft. The town was at least kind enough to offer me a map before they locked me in. My bow with an arrow readied was in my hand.

Now, you are probably asking what good my arrows would do against a phantasm. Well, the fact that immediately after casting my simple spell the tripwire I spied stretching across the tunnel ahead of me told me that these ghosts were more corporeal than anyone suspected.

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1 Comment

"How much wood...", "lizard-men", funny stuff!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on January 24, 2007 8:53 PM.

"Nebrion's Quest" - Chapter 19: The Quest Ends was the previous entry in this blog.

"Montana MacInnes and the Reunion of Doom" - Chapter 1: Home Again is the next entry in this blog.

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