And There Were Three: Chapter Fourteen

Fiction By Clare Marie // 4/19/2009

Chapter Fourteen


It was Elinor who finally persuaded Anya to allow herself and Eltar to resume the latter's journey, much to Hogo's wonder The twins were to leave the following morning, as planned. Anya set about packing their bags with red eyes and a wet handkerchief. All of Elinor's family were sorrowful, and the younger twins-the two year olds-often asked "Why?" in their baby voices. Elinor could only reassure them that she would come back soon, but she felt as if she were telling a falsehood.
Poor Eltar had to endure the tearful goodbyes again, at the time when the grief from his previous parting was healing. He tried to keep his countenance cheerful, but could not, and his lip quivered as he embraced Anya and shook hands with Hogo. Elinor on her part wept terribly, resulting in a headache; her loudest lament was that she would not see the baby when he was born.
So Eltar took on his quest once more, this time with more than Beesa for company. He wore his traveling outfit-now stained-and Elinor wore hers. Her outfit was a dress of deerskin, similar to that which we are familiar with, but more shapely and beautiful. A belt of similar sort was tied snugly round her waist, with the dried sword lily stuck in it; and from it hung a canteen and a knife. A pair of intricate earrings hung from her ears and a necklace of the same was around her neck. A sturdy pack was slung across her back, as well as her quiver full of arrows, and she held her bow in her hand. Mym walked proudly beside her.


They had been traveling for a few hours when they reached the top of one of the bordering mountains. Looking back, the white farmhouse was to them a small dot, with the blur of Anya and Hogo standing in front of it. Elinor sniffed and wiped her eyes.
Walking South, they passed through lands unknown to Eltar, but his sister was familiar with them. They walked slowly, shoulders bent as if the weight of their sorrow rested upon them. Thus they covered only a few miles that day, and Elinor was not yet unacquainted with the land (it still being Rosteran), when they rested for the night.


+++


Tortei was a dwarf who lived with his tribe in the Black Hills, a dark, dreary mountain range South of Rosteran. Though to strangers the mountains were foreboding and unsettling, to Tortei's tribe they were a realm of cavernous beauty; a place of feasting and ale; a stony palace of haunting music and great folk. For these dwarves mined deep in the roots of the mountains, bringing forth sparkling, precious jewels and costly gold and silver. They built underground fortresses, where after a hard day's work they would gather to eat and drink, to converse and to play the mysterious music of their people. This was their life, and they were happy.
Tortei, though not the chieftain of his clan, was high in rank and honor. He was the Master Carver: it was he who cut diamonds and gems and carved figures of gold and silver. He made crowns and jewelry, scabbards and belts. His was a royal art of which he was extremely proud, understandably.
The Master Carver was scanning the steep slopes of his mountain home one day in Mid-Summer. Dwarves, though they spend the greater part of their time underground, step into the outside world frequently, usually on errands; for it is a rare dwarf that walks outside merely to gaze at the sky, or the trees, or the flowers. Tortei was searching for a stout stick that day. The handle on one of his carving tools had snapped in two, so he needed a new one. He examined many such branches, but none had the shape required to meet the demands of his critical eye. He tossed them aside in disgust and after hours of such labor, he sighed in exasperation. (He was evidently a perfectionist; many dwarves are when it comes to their work.)
Then to his sharp ears came the sound of branches crackling, as if somebody was walking through the brush. He paused, listening. Thinking it was another dwarf, he returned to his job of stick-examinations. He heard the steps coming closer; and he was shocked to see not a dwarf, but two humans with two dogs come pushing through the trees.


Eltar and Elinor were quite amazed themselves to find a stout bearded dwarf staring at them intently (of course they were the ones who caught Tortei by surprise). Mym barked, and Beesa looked stupidly astonished.
“Oh!” exclaimed Elinor. But Eltar was more collected.
“Greetings, sir,” he said to the dwarf, catching Beesa's collar as he spoke. Tortei recovered himself, and sweeping off his brown and gold hood (his whole person was covered in brown clothing gilded with gold), he presented to them a low bow.
“Good morning, weary travelers,” he answered in his gruff voice, and as politely as he could. “Welcome to my home, the glorious Black Hills. I am Tortei, the Master Carver.”
“I am Eltar,” said Eltar. “And this is my sister Elinor.” Elinor curtised. The twins each kept a hand on their weapons, for they were not sure that this dwarf was an ally. Tortei bowed again, and Eltar returned the courtesy.
“Are you folk from the South?” asked Tortei, the question sparkling in his black eyes, and a fierce glare beginning to fix on them.
“No, we are not,” replied Eltar, disconcerted. “We are Northeners.”
“Oh?” said the dwarf, unable to hide his surprise. “Yet your accent is...Well. Forgive me for being overly curious. 'Curiosity lost the dwarf', or so we say in our kingdom. Much good it does. Now, I suppose you both shall want to stay here awhile?” He looked at them again with goodwill and courtesy.
“Oh yes!” cried Elinor, before Eltar could answer otherwise. “We have been on the road some weeks now and are in great need of rest.” If Tortei's countenance were not always grim and lined with care, he would have smiled. Anyway, his eyes were welcoming as he invited them to come and be presented to his king, Bettle.
“There,” said the dwarf, “you shall be assigned to a household where you may stay for a while. So come now, and follow me!” He turned swiftly, and with a queer rocking gait, trotted towards the mountain door. The twins quickly followed, their dogs a shadow behind them.
“Elinor, are you crazy?” whispered Eltar frantically to his sister. “Did you see the look he gave us? How do we even know that he's friendly?”
“He only glared at us like that because he thought we were Southerners,” hissed Elinor, sure of herself. “Doesn't that make him our friend? Besides, my Papa has talked about these dwarves in the Black Hills before; I've heard him. He says they're good people.”
“Well...”
“Eltar, trust me.”
“Fine then, if you're sure.”
“Positive.”
The two then turned to scrutinize the Master Carver as they walked behind him. A gold tassel hung from his hood, and stiff grey hair stuck out from under it. A rather dirty leather belt was tied round him, but no weapon did he carry on it-only tools. His boots were large and black with his trousers tucked in snugly. His white beard swung from side to side as he moved.
They passed through stony ground, watching their steps carefully. A path lay about ten feet in front of them, well-trodden and tended. The path wound steadily up the mountain, until it ended at a stone door many feet high. Tortei walked up this path with ease, his boots clomping softly on the worn road. The children noticed queer lamps running along the side of the road. The lamp itself was made of a clear red glass or stone, cut with holes like lace; this hung from a long, decorated pole attached to a tall post, stuck in the ground.
Arriving at the door, the twins saw it was made of solid rock, carved with pictures and symbols. Out of the wall stuck a bell tied to a rope. Tortei pulled the bell, and its hollow tones rang deep within the mountain. A high window opened in the door, and a dwarf poked his head through it.
“WHO is it?” he shouted. With a pair of round glasses and a squeaky voice, he seemed an owl.
“It is I, the Master Carver,” cried Tortei, rather loudly.
“WHO are those creatures with you?”
“They are two human children, travelers from afar.” The owl stuck a horn in his ear.
“WHO are they?” he asked. “Elves? I've told you before, Tortei, I don't like elves.”
“NO! THEY ARE TWO HUMANS!”
“TWO humans? What do they want?”
“They are travelers!”
“What?”
“TRAVELERS!”
“So?”
“SO THEY WANT TO SEE THE KING, AND REST! OPEN THE DOOR, YOU OLD COOT!” The owl still looked puzzled, but he closed the window, and soon the door was drawn up slowly, like a drawbridge. The old dwarf was standing there, grinning and bowing.
“Welcome, O travelers from distant lands,” he said courteously. “My name is Chot, the Gatekeeper.” The twins introduced themselves to the dwarf.
“Are you from the North?” he asked pleasantly. “We don't get travelers from the South at all, so I figured-”
“Come, come,” interrupted Tortei, impatiently. “We must see the king. Where's Ropsy?”
“WHO?” asked Chot, holding a hand to his ear.
“Never mind,” Tortei answered with a snort. He motioned the children to follow him. Chot waved a hand after them.
“Good bye, good bye,” he said, beaming. Eltar and Elinor looked at each other, and stifled a laugh.


Tortei now led them through gloomy halls, where the only light came from lamps similar to the ones outside by the road; but these had deep yellow glass instead of red. They passed by dwarves walking hither and thither, too intent on their business to notice the humans. Many doorways-sprouting off the main hall where they walked-showed more halls, more dwarves, and thousands of stony rooms. Ever rose the sound of hammers and shovels and picks, and eerie music issuing from deep dwarven throats. Often they passed rooms overflowing with sparkling gold, silver, jewels, and gems, and magnificent cups, plates, swords, crowns, and the like; a dwarf usually could be seen dumping a load of similar sort from a wheelbarrow onto the glittering piles.
Tortei suddenly hailed a dwarf who was examining a jeweled sword across the hall.
“Ropsy!”
The other dwarf glanced up, and seeing Tortei, he laid the sword aside and trotted over.
“Tortei!” he exclaimed. “Good to see you, as always. What can I do for you?” Tortei began to tell him about the children, and while they were making conversation, the twins were able to examine the dwarf named Ropsy. A dark red shirt richly gilded with gold he wore, and breeches and a hood of the same sort. Five tassels bobbed from his hood, and a brilliant red ruby was placed in the hood's center. Brown boots studded with gems were on his feet, and a belt-also studded-was on his waist; a magnificent axe hung from this. A formidable patch lay over one of his brown eyes but the rest of his face was merrily solemn. His hair and beard were a midnight black with no grey, braided with strands of gold.
Ropsy came and smiled upon the children, bowing; and he welcomed them warmly. Tortei explained that Ropsy was the emissary and personal secretary of the king. Eltar and Elinor again introduced themselves and shook hands with Ropsy. After asking some friendly questions, the Royal Secretary (as Ropsy was called) told them all to follow him to the king's throne room. They did so, and it was with beating hearts that the twins stood before the throne room's stone door, waiting to see the king.

Comments

Dwarves!

Nice. I like Dwarves.

James | Mon, 04/20/2009

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Dwarves! I wonder why they

Dwarves!
I wonder why they don't like southerners.
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
"I wish I could fly, like dandelion seeds
Following currents, floating in the wind
Leaving behind the old and tormented
Seeking a place to start anew
I wish I could fly like dandelion seeds..."
~Unknown

Sarah | Mon, 04/20/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Like the description of the

Like the description of the dwarves. Very nice.

"Borrowed, borrowed without permission. But with every intension of returning?" Jack Sparrow

Alecia | Mon, 04/20/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister

I love Chot. He's so funny.

I love Chot. He's so funny. All that WHO business.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Bridget | Mon, 04/20/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

I like this chapter! The

I like this chapter! The conversation between Tortei and Chot reminded me of the one in The Silver Chair between Trumpkin and Glimfeather. Only this time the owl was deaf and the dwarf was not! Good work!
*************************************************
I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun
rising; not only because I see it, but because by it I see all things- C.S.Lewis

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 04/20/2009

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Dwarves! Now why didn't I

Dwarves! Now why didn't I think of that?
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Mon, 04/20/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Ooooooo!

This chapter was great! I liked the owl too. I can imagine Tortei perfectly, you described him so good.
-------------------------------------------------
"My brains, his steel, and your strength against sixty men, and you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy?"--Westley

Kendra | Mon, 04/20/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

James: I like them too.

James: I like them too. :D
Sarah: Well, I'll try to explain in a later chapter, but by Southerners I mean the people who live in Zolph'yana, which is the realm of the wicked Gladio. Like Sauron, his arm has grown long...
Alecia: Thanks! :)
Bridget: Chot is hilarious. From the moment I met him, I just loved him. :D
Laura: I hadn't even thought of that part in "The Silver Chair", but now that you mention it, they are similar. ;)
Anna: I kept on hoping you would have dwarves in SOL...but maybe in the next book, right? :D
Kendra: Thank you!!

I was highly amused that so many of y'all were like "Dwarves!" :D Thank you all, so much. :)
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Mon, 04/20/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Actually, I was going to

Actually, I was going to focus in on stars and mermaids...
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Tue, 04/21/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Any plans for a third book,

Any plans for a third book, then? :P

[Btw, I think it'll be totally awesome if you focus more on stars and mermaids. :D]
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Tue, 04/21/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Heck, Anna, you could write

Heck, Anna, you could write a whole series.

"When reality sucks, try insanity." - Unknown

Bridget | Wed, 04/22/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Navigation

User login

Please read this before creating a new account.