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Deadman's Inn

1

 

Schwump Shwump Shwump Shwump.

 

The windscreen wipers of the taxi erratically fought the torrential rain.

 

“So, a birthday party?” asked the voice from the front seat.

“Yeah that’s right a twenty-first,” replied one of the two passengers.

 

BLEEP BLEEP

 

The other dark haired passenger scrambled for his phone in his pocket.

“Ah...shit! Sorry drive can we change destination?”

“What’s the matter Ethan?” said the first passenger.

“They sent us to the wrong bloody address man, We’re supposed to be going across town,” Ethan answered chewing his lip.

Ethan told the driver of the taxi the new address. With a quick handbrake turn the cab span 180 degrees and faced the other direction.

“Sorry about that thought it might have been fun for ya,” the driver apologised realising it wasn’t the safest thing to do in this heavy downpour.

“No, no that was effing awesome man,” The first passenger bounced in his seat sweeping his long, tangled, brown hair from his eyes.

“Dan calm down,” expressed Ethan trying to calm his friend down.

They sped along the country road that they had just been driving down, when Dan noticed a crooked, dindgy looking building just off the road. Its cold glow still looked warm against the darkness that surrounded the car.

“Hey I didn't notice that the first time!” he said showing interest in the old looking building .

Ethan just shrugged his shoulders as he looked back down to his phone, replying to the previous text message. The glow from his phone illuminated his face as he finally looked up at Dan, who was staring out of the window as they flew past the old building. Dan turned to face front when he noticed something in the middle of the road.

“Watch out! What’s that?”

The taxi driver looked up from his phone that was being used as a sat nav, “Damn!” The taxi swerved to avoid the mound in the middle of the road but in the rain the wheels skid across the road. Trying to rectify the skid, the driver span the steering wheel into the turn and ultimately the car flipped into the air, rolling and crashing along the road. The car came to a stop upside down.

 

 

2

 

Ethan opened his eyes blood trickled up his face. He quickly realised he was upside down. He looked across to see his best mate unconscious, blood pouring from his nose, arms dangling lifeless. A sorrow filled his heart at the thought his friend was gone. A cough and Dan’s eyes flickered open.

“The hell happened? Ahh...why am I bleeding?”

“We’re upside down. The car flipped are you okay?” asked Ethan concernedly.

“Yeah...I’m okay I think. How’s the driver? Hey mate are you okay?”

There was no answer from the front. Ethan leant forward and shook the drivers shoulder. There was still nothing.

“HEY!!” Ethan shouted.

But there was still no answer. The two friends unbuckled their seatbelts, and dropped to the roof of the taxi. They managed to push and scrape the doors open and got out. Ethan looked down at his phone but the signal was non-existent.

“Dan we have a problem, I have no signal here.”

“Uhh...Ethan we have a bigger problem,” Dan was staring at where the mound in the middle of the road had been.

Ethan followed Dan’s eyes to the mound. It had moved. Slowly the mound came closer and the two friends could make it out to be a person. It pulled itself to it’s feet, there was a loud snap and the head twisted into place. The eyes glowed a faint and deathly green glow. The figure started to shuffle towards them. The ground around them started to move and from the wet earth, in the pouring rain, hands started to thrust from the ground.

“What the hell is going on?” Ethan shouted.

“To the house...thing. Come on let’s go,” Dan suggested while he started to run at full pace towards the direction of the house.

Ethan got to the building as Dan was catching his breath. Looking up and wiping the rain from his eyes he saw the sign ‘Deadman's stay Inn’.

“Cosy name,” Ethan said sarcastically pointing up at the sign.

They both looked back to see through the torrent of rain, what looked like an army of zombies. They both span around and started to beat on the door. Finally it was opened from the inside. Standing before them there was a large man with short blonde hair and a massively long beard. The light from inside flooded the area behind them. They both quickly took a glimpse back but couldn’t see anything.

“Can I help you?” the large man asked.

Heroes and a Halfling cover2.png

Darlunia

Heroes and a Halfling

Chapter One

Mr Inky

 

 

Fredgar Brandybottom is a halfling, some people may call him a hobbit. Like all halflings in Darlunia he enjoys relaxing, eating and gardening. Sat in a garden full of flowers and vegetables that he had grown himself, he basked in the late morning sun.

 

Crash!

 

A cat bolted out of the window onto Fredgar's lap, from it's mouth dangled an amulet swaying like a dead mouse hanging by it's tail.

When Fredgar regained his composure he grabbed for the amulet. It was too late, the amulet was gone. The black and white ball of fluff that had it, had jumped down and run off under the garden fence and down the road.

“Hey wait there!” he called after the cat.

Fredgar leapt up from his seat pushed the garden gate open and chased the cat down the main road in Fayapple.

Fayapple is a small town primarily made up of small bungalows and houses built into hills and mounds of earth. The population is mainly halflings, but there are other folk that live here including humans, dwarves and elves.

Fredgar jumped fences, stumbled through bushes and pushed his way through tall cornfields. Eventually he realised he had left Fayapple, but wasn’t quite sure where he’d ended up. In the distance he could see a black and white dot jumping over a hedge.

“Oh well! I suppose I’d better follow you if I want that amulet back,” he said to himself.

He scrambled through the hedge to be greeted by a stone column right in his face. His lip burst open and the blood streamed from his mouth. The cat appeared from behind the stone, meowed and darted off again.

Wiping the blood into his sleeve Fredgar grumbled and slowly followed after the cat again.

The stone must have been part of a castle or fort, he thought to himself. As he looked around he saw many stone columns and slabs jutting out of the ground. He then noticed the cat sat in front of a hole in the ground. Fred got closer but the cat disappeared. Fredgar lunged forward tripping on a piece of stone and landed face first on the ground. His fall was silenced by the sludgy mud underneath him. He looked up towards the hole and up popped two ears and a little black and white face.

“Meow,” it called to him.

Picking himself up the halfling brushed off the mud. He then proceeded to walk to the hole. He discovered it wasn’t a hole but a stairway leading down. At the bottom, in front of a door hanging off it’s hinges, sat the cat.

“I suppose you want me to enter this door then?” he asked the cat.

“Meow,” was the reply.

“You really are an inconvenience, I could be at home right now relaxing. I will call you Mr Inconvenience or Inky for short,” Fred said.

“Growl, hiss,” is all that came from Inky as he jumped through the crack in the door.

“Guess you didn’t like that name. Well I’m not particularly fond of you either,” mumbled Fredgar to himself.

He pushed on the doors but they wouldn’t budge. He looked about the area and found a wooden beam, must have been part of the structure to the fort. He wedged it into the crack and heaved with all his might. The beam creaked, the door screeched, then in an instant BAM! The door fell to the floor in a splash. Behind the door was a huge puddle and on the other side a wet Mr Inky not looking very amused.

Chapter Two

Tomb Raiding

 

 

The muddy, grimy water wept from underneath the door as Fredgar crossed it to get to Inky. He pounced at Inky to try to get his amulet, but he was too slow. Inky just jumped out the way. Fredgar’s feet hit the floor but fell away from beneath him, he slipped and fell against the wall. The brickwork started to move and scraped as it slipped back into the wall. The sound seemed deafening as it echoed around the room. Fredgar got to his feet and saw he’d pressed a brick into the wall. The scraping continued but the stone had stopped.

 

Clang! Clang! Clang!

 

Fredgar evaluated his surroundings and found himself in a long hallway. An ominous red glow filled the end of the corridor and was getting closer.

Fredgar spun on his heels and looked back towards the stairs. He began running. The hallway rumbled, a slab of stone came crashing down from above the stairs and blocked his escape. Trembling, he quickly looked for a weapon of some sort. Luckily he’d dropped the beam inside the hallway when he’d crossed the door. He picked it back up, armed and ready, he waited for the nightmare that was approaching him. The glow gleamed off the surrounding walls and highlighted the silhouette of a giant armoured creature.

“I remember stories about golems. Creatures created by sorcerers to guard treasures and important people. This one is made of armour and is carrying a huge hammer. It was probably made from the armour of the people the sorcerer kept as slaves and murdered”.

 

Clang! Clang! Clang!

 

The beam was heavy in Fredagar’s hands. He mustered all the strength he could and took a swipe at the golem. The halfing felt a shooting pain through his arms as the beam collided with the armour. Stunned, he looked at his hands, they felt as though they were going to shatter into a thousand pieces. The next second he was on the other side of the hallway with a pain in the left side of his head. The golem had launched the little man with a single strike. The golem strode towards the little adventurer and raised his mighty hammer.

“Meow!”

The golem's helmeted head slowly looked towards the noise to it’s left, it’s body followed and walked off into the darkness. The glow got dimmer and dimmer until the hallway was dark again.

The fear in Fredgar's body wouldn’t allow him to move. He eventually gained the courage and strength to venture on into the darkness. One of the many talents of halflings is they have good eyesight in the dark, but not as well as dwarves and elves.

Adventuring further into the ruin he entered a large hall. Set to the sides were huge stone boxes, long and about shoulder height. He ran his hands along the side of one and could feel indentations. Squinting hard in the darkness he could read “Here lies Hazendorf the mighty.” These were sarcophagi, coffins of fallen warriors and this must be the tomb where these heroes were buried.

“Forgive me Hazendorf,” Fredgar prayed.

The lid of the Sarcophagus slowly scraped aside as Mr Brandybottom pushed it open. Knowing that all great heroes are buried with their weapon, he tried to salvage one in case the golem came back. He was in luck, there lying on the chest of a halfling was a short sword and dagger. Fredgar reached in but his tiny fingers couldn't quite grasp them. He jumped and stretched, only to push the short sword down the side of Hazendorf’s body where he definitely couldn't reach.

“One last try. I might be able to get the dagger,” He thought to himself.

With that final try success, he grappled hold of the dagger and held it aloft.

“I thought Hazendorf would be a dwarf with a name like that, ah well.”

The dagger started to give off a faint yellow glow.

“I wonder what that means?”

“Meow!”

“Inky!” The halfling expressed with great surprise.

Inky just licked his paws, turned away and ran off down the hall.

“Not again,” he said with a moan.

Doorway after doorway, room after room they both ran until they got to a huge gated doorway.

 

Clang! Clang! Clang!

© 2020 by Illusjason