The Haunted Mines of Krator

Part 4

By Dwayne MacInnes

I listened to the two humans speak to each other for a good ten minutes. I learned that there were about five or six of them and that they all used to be miners except for the hedge-wizard they hired. The leader, as usual, had his dwelling furthest in the mine.

It does not matter on the species or race, but one thing always stands out. The leader is always furthest from the opening in any dungeon. How I would just love one day to sneak into a dungeon see the leader of the group taking a snooze on the doorstep. I could kill or subdue him collect my reward and leave town. Most bands of ne'er-do-wells tend to breakup after their leader is out of the action. Very few actually vow revenge and try to hunt down the do-wells who had taken care of their leader.

However, I digress. It also turns out that this little party of miners had used the tragedy of the mine collapse as a means for smuggling out silver that they were still mining. The best way to ensure that no one would bother them was for the mines to become haunted. The fence, to whom the miners smuggled their loot, was one of the townsfolk. In fact, he was a former miner by the name of Gunter.

The small party had hired a hedge-wizard from another town to help conjure up, literally, the ghosts and ghouls the other miners saw. The poor legionnaires who were to investigate the haunting fell victim to the traps that lay scattered about the mine. The miners were so kind as to dispose of the legionnaires bodies by tossing them into a deep chasm.

A funny thing about the Mages Guild is that they do not tend to care about the evil schemes in which their members may partake. Their only rule is that members cannot kill one another. Say what you will about the Thieves Guild, but at least there are strict rules for its members. The first is never to kill anyone you are robbing unless it is in self-defense. Another is -- it is strictly forbidden for members rob the poor or other guild members. In fact, it is highly recommended that members help the poor, after all the paupers and beggars are the best informants around. Now you know why I prefer the title 'wealth adjuster' to thief.

I knew that I had gained all the information I was going to get when the two sentinels started to talk about arena bouts. One of the louts even had the audacity to say that my tactics in the arena were not fair and that if he were in the pits he would know how to put an end to me. The second came to my defense, so I killed him first with a clean shot from the shadows.

The first human rose up from the table when his friend slumped forward with an arrow in his back. At first, he just stared in surprise. It took a couple of seconds for it to register that there was a trespasser on the premises.

I had plenty of time to kill off this man, but I stayed my hand. It was a matter of pride. For this human to state that my tactics were unfair really riled me. Did I not go up against adversaries who were not only better armed and armored than me, but also two to three times my strength?

Many would consider the following very poor judgment and I would agree. Except that, I had already spied out the terrain and laid out my plan. This was not just some revenge for an insult. No, I did plan to let this man attempt to prove his point.

I stepped out from the shadows. The human now had his sword drawn and was rushing to meet me. I waited for his advance and at the last second, as his blade swung towards me, I simply sidestepped and kicked the man behind the knee. The huge lug toppled as his leg gave out -- leaving him sprawled out on the floor. Further, his sword went sliding away across the rough floor.

I simply smiled at the man as he regained his feet and then I did a back flip onto a tall rock outcrop. The man's eyes nearly popped out of his skull as realization struck.

"Y-you're the Black Arrow!" he exclaimed in disbelief. I smiled and nodded.

The man recovered his sword. I was now waiting for him to recover his nerve. I also kept a close eye on him just in case he wanted to cry out an alarm. Before he could draw in a deep breath for a yell, I would have an arrow through his throat.

The man must have realized this and composed himself. He screwed himself up for the fight and a mask of rage broke out upon his face.

"Okay," he said silently as he waved for me to come down. "Let's finish this."

I watched the man closely and studied his stance. People rarely realize that they signal their intentions before they actually do them. This man had seen some of my bouts, and he knew about my leaping attack.

It would have been folly for me to leap over his head and kick from behind when he clearly intended to skewer me in mid-flight. So, I did the only thing I could do. I leaped. However, I aimed for ground in front of him. I tucked and rolled behind him and then as I quickly regained my feet I turned and fired an arrow that caught him square between the eyes as he turned to meet me. The expression of surprise froze on his face as he fell backwards; the sword fell from his limp fingers and clattered to the ground.

I helped myself to some of the miners' possessions before I hid their bodies and resumed my "ghost hunt". Unfortunately, all they had on them was a couple of cheap swords and worn armor. The sixty-seven Silver Crowns did not seem worth the effort, but I took it anyway.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on February 7, 2007 6:20 PM.

"Montana MacInnes" - Chapter 2: Meet Montana MacInnes was the previous entry in this blog.

"Montana MacInnes" - Chapter 3: Meet Me at the Lemonade Stand is the next entry in this blog.

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