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Heroes and a Halfling



J L Rees

Chapter Ten - Fayrun Forest

The halfling set off for Thorngarum.

Thorngarum was a small town just beyond a small forest called Fayrun forest. It was to the east of his hometown of Fayapple. The inhabitants of Thorngarum were mainly of dwarven decent, although there were also a few halfling families that had settled there. A river passed through the town, the river came from Korkhaldur and flowed into the Fractured River. The surrounding lands were boggy and swampland. Thorngarum's inhabitants made a living by hunting small swamp dragons, harvesting these creatures for their scales. Using the scales, they would create armour and weapons, selling these at Tradestrand at the western coast of Quaydosia. The town’s main import was food and other supplies that weren't easily available.

Fred split Frostfire apart to create the two daggers Axium and Aquium. Axium being the hot headed, fire side and Aquium the cool and clever, ice side.

"Who are we fighting?" Axium said excitedly.

"Nobody, yet" Fred replied.

"Why have you separated us?"

"I get bored travelling on my own. I thought we could chat on the way," Fred said.

"I think you need to get some friends," Axium said harshly.

Fred's shoulders slunk down, his head dropped to his chest, and he felt silly. He knew the dagger was probably right.

"Ah! Don't listen to him," Aquium said encouragingly, "he's just trying to sound tough. Axium actually likes adventuring with you."

"He does?"

"I certainly DO NOT," Axium said, "well okay, maybe a little."

Fredgar and the daggers came to a bridge that crossed the river Fayrun, in the distance they could see the forest they have to pass.

"I hope there's something to fight in there," Axium said.

"Well, I hope it's nice and peaceful," Fred hoped.

The sun beamed down as they crossed the bridge, the sound of the water rushing underneath the stone bridge was relaxing. The forest got closer. They entered the forest, the shadows cast by the trees was welcome. The sun had been blazing down on Fred for almost an hour, but it felt like a lot longer.

"I should be relaxing in my garden right now, not sweating and trudging through the country," Fredgar huffed.

"It is warm," said Aquium.

"Warm? It’s freezing," said Axium.

A breeze blew through the leaves above, they rustled, and a few dropped on to the path in front of them. The wind died down. A shadow glided above them. There was a roar.

"Dragon!" cried Fredgar.

"It's fine," said Aquium, "it will head back north."

The dragon circled above them and headed north just as Aquium had said.

"How did you know what it was going to do?" asked Fredgar.

"I could sense the way the wind was moving, so I could guess how the dragon would react," Aquium answered.

"That looked like Dranthar," said Axium.

"Who's Dranthar?" asked Fred.

"Do you remember the inn you stayed at in Illindor?"

"The Fizzy Dragon," Fred answered.

"Well, that inn as you remembered correctly, was called the Fizzy Dragon. It was based on a story. The story of a drunken dragon that got so drunk its breath and vomit turned fizzy. That dragon was Dranthar," Axium said telling the story with considerable pride.

The forest was starting to get stuffy; the air had seemed to have stopped moving.

"I can't breathe in this forest," said Fred, wiping the sweat from his head, "I think I'm starting to hallucinate. Did something move over there?" Fred pointed off the path into the trees.

"It's just the heat," answered Aquium.

A few steps later a bird landed on the path in front of the halfling. It took a few jumps and flew back into the trees. Fred's eyes followed the path of the bird, his eyes met the pale-yellow eyes of something hiding in the undergrowth. The eyes blinked then seemed to vanish. Fredgar looked about. More eyes appeared; four pairs of eyes stared back at him.

"I think we have company," said Fred.

"Let's get to it then," said Axium.

Fred's arm shot forward. Axium glowed. A stream of fire shot from the tip of Axium into the shadows. There was a shriek one pair of eyes had disappeared.

The other eyes came forward revealing who they belonged to. Three green creatures stepped out, with crooked noses, pointed ears and wearing simple cloth and leather armour. Each goblin had a large stick except one, he was holding a small dagger.

They charged forward. Fred sliced at one using Aquium, leaving a sparkled, misty trail behind it. The dagger made contact with the goblin's arm. Black blood gushed from its wound. The goblin retaliated but Fred dodged the goblin's attack. The other goblins shifted around in the shadows, then the other club wielding goblin jumped forward prepared to attack. Fred stabbed at the hurt goblin but missed, he did however catch a clubbed strike to his shoulder, then another to his head. The little halfling dropped to the floor and tried to roll away but the hurt goblin stepped on his shoulder.

"Argh!" Fred screamed in pain.

With a quick, swift chop Fred caught the back of the goblin's leg with Axium. It must have been an artery. The goblin's leg sprayed black blood everywhere. The goblin fell to the floor. Fred promptly got to his feet as the other goblin's club beat the floor where Fred once was laying. Side stepping to behind the goblin Fred used both daggers to slit the creature's throat.

There was a cry from the trees, the dagger holding goblin vanished back into them.

"I think we should follow him," Aquium said, "goblin's usually have a lair nearby, looking by the ground it's starting to get boggy; we could be near the swamps of Thorngarum. Maybe the goblin's have a lair there too."

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