Rappan Athuk

Tavern Tales 3

Dirlum muttered to herself as she trudged along the road. As kin to the fallen Lagertha, it was her duty to write the clan and explain the manner of her cousin’s death. Doubtless, this would elicit another of the prolific family to venture forth to take up Lagertha’s axe and armor. But what should Dirlum tell the clan?

“She met an angrier person who hit harder?” Dirlum didn’t like that version.

“It has the benefit of being true,” interjected Kratos.

The dwarf looked up at the wizard who walked beside her. “I don’t know,” she waffled. “That doesn’t sound very epic.” She shook her head. “Wait! How do you know what… why?” She sputtered into silence at the wry look the wizard aimed her way.

“It’s quite elementary,” he said. “I merely divine from what I know of you, and what I know of dwarves in general, your most likely course of action. I observe, comment, and your reaction confirms my hypothesis: you’re wondering what to put into a letter home.”

Dirlum grimaced both at the wizard’s statement and at the thought of the letter. “You know,” she told her companion, “sometimes you’re too smart to be helpful.”

“If you want florid prose, ask a bard,” he replied acerbically. “And not within my hearing, if you please. I deal in hard truths. I thought dwarves did likewise.”

“Well… yes, but…” Dirlum sighed. “We do make exceptions.”

“Well then, perhaps you’ll do better with a few drinks in you,” replied the wizard. “Based on my past experience, that will loosen your tongue AND raise your volume.”

“That’s… actually a good idea!” Dirlum brightened. In one of those epic coincidences, they had just arrived at the door to the inn. She hastened forward and threw open the door, looking forward to… OK… anticipating many mugs of watery beer.

Inside, a burly female dwarf sat at their favorite table, quaffing the inn’s questionable brew from a wooden mug. She slammed the now empty mug down, and looked up, her face breaking into a wide grin as she spotted Dirlum.

“Cousin!” she bellowed. “I can’t believe you and Lagertha were keeping this place such a secret. The water tastes a bit like beer! By the way, where is my sister?”

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