by Rick Goon
The forming of a dwarven clan
|The Dryad's Curse
Dwarf clans are families and are organized in a very militaristic fashion. Each clan has its speciality, weapons armor jewelry even farming and many more. My clan was the clan humans saw most, of all the mountain dwarf clans. That because we were the merchants of mountain dwarves. You may be asking how this came to be it is because of the Dryad's curse.
A few thousand years ago the founder of our clan left his home at the great forge in search of a good spot for him and his bride to settle down. He traveled for several days till he entered a huge clearing at the base of a mountain. Close to the mountain but still in the clearing stood a lone tree. Now the legends say that around this tree were hundreds of goblins all pushing towards the tree with axes at the ready. At some point my ancestor saw something beautiful in the tree crying. It is said that the sight of this creature was so powerful that he went into a berserker rage pulling his hammer and pick out of his pack he charged into the goblin horde bashing left and right. When the berserker rage left him, he was standing in front of a tree about a foot in diameter. All around him there was carnage. Goblin bodies laying everywhere all broken, twisted and bleeding.
It is said that as he stood among all that carnage the most beautiful creature he had ever seen stepped from the tree and came running to him.
"Thank you thank you thank you." Said the dryad throwing her arms around him.
"Ah get off me, I didn't do it for you." He stammers "I just can't abide goblins any where near where I plan on settling my clan."
"Ok what ever as long as you don't bother my tree."
" don't you worry I won't be bothering your tree." He grumbles
"I don't you are as grouchy as you seem and as a reward" she leans forward and kisses him.
He feels a tingle flow from his lips to his toes accompanied by a soft glow that start at their lips and envelopes the two of them. She breaks the kiss and he lingers a moment hoping for more.
"There you the go the Dryad's Kiss. Now everyone that you encounter will find you even more charismatic."
"Do you mean even more people will want to talk to me? How will I ever get any work done?"
He he he "because of the great favor you have done for me my blessing will grow and become even more powerful for as my tree grows. My blessing shall be passed down to all your blood kin for all eternity."
"Ya mean curse so now not only me but all my kin will be pestered for all eternity. Gee thanks."
He started cutting in to the mountain and using the blocks to build his house. It was slow going and he took his time he set snares in the morning cut a few blocks place them had lunch check the snares fish cut a few blocks eat supper and after setting the fish and other meat he wasn't going to eat to smoke. He would sit by the fire and carve things from wood.
That's how the first couple weeks went and when the the blocks were all placed and he started thatching the roof. He saw his first visitor besides the Dryad who would appear with fruit or other treats for him. She didn't talk much just smiled and left. He kept an eye on the tree.
As the sun begins to set he hears the sound of a wagon bouncing around. Keeping his pick close he waited. What he saw was an old human. The old man seeing the dwarf pulls on the reins "hello there would you mind if I shared your camp site with you?"
"This isn't my camp site it's my homestead."
"I'm sorry I was just trying to find a faster route between towns."
"Well since you are already here you may as well camp here."
The old human unhitched his horses and hobbled them a little ways away before taking a basket out of the wagon. "I have some semi fresh bread cheese and fruit I'd be willing to split what I have if you would share one of those rabbits you have cooking. He agreed and they had themselves a small feast.
When the meal was done our dwarf friend started carving while the human dug out a couple pipes, tabac and a small barrel of Brandy. While enjoying a good smoke and a mug of brandy the human looked over the carving. He then went on to explain that he was a traveling merchant and he would like to buy his carvings, because he was thinking they would be a big hit with the kids.
The merchant wanted them all and a promise for him to hold on to them for him. He would buy as many as had he carved on his next trip through. The dwarf agreed and they bartered a price. The merchant left with over 100 carvings and left behind a handful of silver the rest of the brandy a pouch of tabac a pipe and the basket with the remainder of the bread and fruit.
A week later the merchant came back through traded for what carving he had completed and informed him the a stone mason would be coming by before the first snow to trade for the stone he had.
When the mason came he offered him a pouch of gold and some live stock, (six piglets six lambs and a dozen baby chickens). The mason loaded some into his wagon and promised to be back for the rest when the ground froze and he could use his sledge. He also promised to buy any more blocks he could get at a fair price.
The dwarf put the live stock into the sheep fold attached to his house and made a coral for the animals to graze in.
That evening he went and sat under the oak and talked to it as if he talked to the dryad herself. He talked about missing his young wife and his brothers. Now he had responsibilities here and he can not go himself to fetch his wife.
"Oh my great savior maybe I can help.
I am unable to stray far from my tree for long but maybe I can find some one or thing to help. Write your wife a message and I will find you a messenger.
As he finishes his dinner the dryad steps into the fire light. "I have found you a messenger" from the shadows next to her steps a gnome like satyr with shaggy hair and beard going everywhere. "He is a Korred and is the last of his kind in this area possibly the world. He has agreed to take your message to your wife."
"Are you sure I can trust him? What does he want in return?"
"I trust him with my life, if you trust me you can trust him. He was doing it as a favor......"
The Korred interrupts with some guttural sounds and gestures.
"He wants you to call him Dak and asks that for delivering your message, you give an axe from your people."
" the dwarf stands up walks inside and comes right back out holding a finely crafted dwarven war axe and two rolls of parchment." He hands Dak the axe and says " will this suffice? I crafted it when I was trained at the forge but I prefer the pick and hammer that were passed down to me from my father. I can use them in the mine and smithy as easily as battle."
More guttural sounds accompanied by a lot of head nodding.
"He says yes more than acceptable."
The dwarf takes the axe back "after you bring me the message from my wife." He hands him the smaller parchment " a map showing the route from here to there and back." Handing the parchment "a letter and map for my wife along with another map. When you return with confirmation from her,. the axe is yours."
The Korred nods and disappears into the forest.
The days pass and turn into weeks snow falls just after he made a paddock for the livestock attached to the house. Everything went on as it had before. Work the storm on its way the merchant paid him double the usual and said he would be back to continue the business when the snow cleared. Good to his word once there was good snow cover the mason showed up with a team of six huge oxen pulling an even bigger sledge and a couple muscled helpers. Once he was loaded he paid gold for the extra blocks he loaded and said to keep it coming he wil buy what ever the dwarf has on his next trip in about a month weather permitting.
Half way through the third week of his leaving Dak returned and handed Brutis a parchment from his wife Hilda. She basically said that she didn't care about waiting for the snow to clear as soon as the boys could modify and load the wagons she would leave, her sister the cleric would be coming till the baby was born and she said she had adopted Claudia and Ollie when there parents were killed during a drow raid. She also went on to talk about the young ladies who would be our sons betrothed. That when she arrived she would put things to right in preparation for spring equinox. We will be having a fest and the parents from our sons betrothed will present them to you with their dowry. I am led to believe one is a brew mistress and the other has a natural affinity for the growing of plants.
A couple weeks later right after he sets some snares. He returns to the home stead just as a sledge with eight mountain ponies comes out of the tree line. He recognizes his wife standing at the front whip in hand keeping the ponies going In the right direction looking like she is ready to give birth any moment. The twins marching with crossbows one on either side trying to be alert for any problems. Sitting on the back swinging her legs with out a care in the world must be her sister and pulling up the rear has to be the kids ( boy have they grown he thinks) they are herding half a dozen sheep and half a dozen goats with a couple of big dogs.
The moment the sledge stopped Hilda took charge. The boys she sent straight to the mountain to start cutting bricks. Ollie (the young boy) was responsible for herding the sheep and goats into the paddock with the other sheep and after putting the new chickens in the coup he took care of the horses. After a quick greeting to Brutis, Hilda shows him where she wants her inn to be and has him start marking then digging the foundation. Her and Claudia start unloading the sledge and putting the little cottage to rights for the coming weeks till more accommodations are ready.
As the weeks went buy the family worked hard and the inn went up quick and when it was complete Brutis put his energy into the crafting of the furniture. In the evenings he still had his pipe and carved his little figures while Hilda spun wool, then wove and knitted all sorts of clothing. The boys project went from inn to stable to cottages for them and their betrothed. The stable that was Ollie's responsibility since the animals seemed listened to him and he loved taking care of them. He split the stable in two parts. Twenty stalls up front for inn patrons and stalls for the ponies out back and I big stall for sheep and goats that allows outside access for grazing the chicken coop was off the back of the stables and gave him access from the inside to gather eggs. He made a double loft the lower for feed and the higher for his living quarters. Hilda's sister willow spent almost all of her time praying right at the base of the Dryad's tree.
When the winter snow finally melted they were ready for merchants. At the edge of clearing to the Dryad's tree a sod hit pushed itself out of the ground forming a fully furnish burrow like home with stone benches lined up in front of it. No one worked on it it just pushed it self up out of the ground, a gift from the God Silvanus if Willow was to be believed.
With the arrival of spring came the arrival of the brides to be and a pair of body guards each. The twins and the brides were impressed with the arrangements. The welcome feast was simple but out side on a perfect night. The dryad made an appearance after the parents and Ollie had gone to bed. The Korred came out with a couple of satyr friends and the dancing began. A couple other Dryad's appeared and even a leprechaun and some sprites. The merriment went on till day break and the kids stumbled off to bed.
When morning dawned on the clearing
It looked like a great orchard had been planted over night of all kinds of fruit trees and as a border fruit bushes of every type imaginable all where the party happened continuing to the edge of the forest. It was an engagement gift from Silvanus blessing the engagement. If you listened to Willow.
The girls early arrival was to help prepare for the festival and meat their husbands and their family. As long as the parents were happy plans would commence and on the spring equinox they would be married at their new home. The brides family will be arriving just before the celebration.
The preparations were coming along nicely until one evening days before the Equinox. As everyone gathered for the evening meal their time of peace came to an end.
On a beautiful spring evening just before the Equinox, the new clan was gathering around the fire. Hilda just had time to wonder where Ollie had gotten to when a horn sounded and the nets began to fall from the Sky.
As it neared supper time Ollie was in the forests edge looking for game trails and possible blinds. Laying on a bush he spots a small flying creature with what looks like a mangled wing. Gently picking up what he believes is a Sprite he heads out in to the clearing and towards Aunt Willow's house. That is when the yelling starts, He sees nets falling from the sky capturing his clan. He turns and starts a mad dash for the forest, that is when they see him and start yelling. Giving it every thing he has and all of a sudden he is hit across the shoulders, there is a great pressure and he is buffeted by a gust of wind and dirt. Slowly he starts to rise into the air till cradling the Sprite in his hands. When the dust clears he is high above the ground and in claws of a giant eagle. It flies over the forest and furls its wings dropping through a hole in the tree tops. A foot from the ground the eagle spreads its wings and comes to a jarring halt. Ollie's heart and stomach drop down to his toes. The eagle drops him to the ground, and lands on a nearby rock. Ollie collapses to the ground out of breath. The dryad and Dak the Korred rush over to make sure he is ok he holds forward the sprite. They take it and after he catches his breath he looks to the eagle "What a rush, next time could I ride instead of being carried?"
The eagle just squawks
Ollie looks at the dryad "please tell me the Sprite is ok I thought it's wing was broken and thought willow could heal it, but then I got carried away."
"She will be fine " the dryad whispers a quick prayer and the wings start to flutter, with curtsy and a thank you the Sprite flutters its wings and is gone.
Looking at the dryad do we know where they are keeping my family, why they did this, who are they, how many are there?
The dryad shakes her head "we don't know." She answers.
"I'll have to go check and then try to come up with a plan." With that he takes some charcoal from his pocket blackens his face and shirt making sure his daggers are where they are supposed to be, tells the dryad and Korred he'll be back. He crawls in to the bushes and shadows that circle the clearing he moves as quietly as possible.
On his scouting mission he find out that these bandits are slavers and they are planning on hanging around. There is thirty of them. They think the eagle carried him off for dinner not a rescue, and they are keeping the dwarves chained in the stable.
Watching the stable there looks like three bandits one constantly moving. If I take out the roving Guard I should have a few minutes to free some help to take out the other two. He just needs to keep the other twenty seven busy somewhere else. By the time Ollie made it back to the dryad the moon was reaching its peek. He told the dryad who then filled in the Korred just in case he didn't understand something.
Well when it got to the part that the dwarves were to become slaves Dak let out a great yell that came from everywhere at the same time. "NUR MOI WILLOW." He took a horn from his pouch and gave it a loud blast then followed it by two more. The woods come alive giant eagles griffons unicorns a few centaurs satyrs leprechauns sprites and brownies every sylvan creature in the area came to the all. The Korred start to rumble orders handing nets out of his bag to the eagle and griffons.
The dryad looks at Ollie "He says you have one hour to get into position. When you hear Dak's war cry release your clan and tell them only hurt the humans. Take this rope throw it at who ever attacks you. It will entangle them now go and be safe."
Ollie he works his way back to the stables and slides into position behind the water barrel at the back, just as the roving guard comes around the corner. When the guard gets to the barrel Dak conveniently gives his war cry and like he had springs for legs Ollie launched himself up dagger first guiding it up through the bandits jaw an into his brain before he even new what was going on. He takes a set of lock picks out of an inner pocket and picks the lock on the back door.
Looking around he sees the dwarves up against the wall in the sheep and goat pen chained in place, those who could were looking out the window to see what was going on. PSST "papa I'm gonna unlock your shackles then go down the line I need you to grab the weapons off the dead human at the back door."
"Ah about time you showed up little one." Grumbles Brutis "I was beginning to think you got yourself killed. I'll do my part just get me free" in a whisper he adds "and it is nice to see you are using those other skills." He winks "Yes I've known for awhile, we can discuss it later."
Ollie gets to work releasing the next dwarf's shackles and Brutis returns with a buckler and short sword. He hands the sword to the newly freed dwarf and signals towards the door.
They almost reach it when there is a shout at the back door the front door opens and Brutis bashes the gaurd with the buckler while the other dwarf guts him, the newly freed twins charge the guard at the back, they dive one high one low and after a brief struggle with the guards head twisted at an odd angle Tonka stands holding a crossbow and quiver and his brother a dagger and keys. They free the rest of the dwarves and scrounge what they can for weapons mostly crude clubs and head outside with the instructions only hurt the humans. Not entirely understanding they go outside and from a triangle formation. With Ollie in the place of honor at its head, they started moving towards the noise. It was crazy the forest had come alive and every creature in it had come out to save the dwarves. The dwarves headed to the Dryad's tree dispatching any bandits that looked like they would cause trouble. Seeing a group of bandits swinging at the griffons just out of reach the dwarves pick up a charge that the bandits didn't see till too late. The dwarves split the group in half and anyone left standing the griffons took great pleasure in shredding any survivors. Looking around the battle ended the forest creatures seem to be leaving or chasing down the last couple bandits. The Korred comes charges over scoops up willow spins her around and Starts to dance holding her high. He doesn't stop till he hears a soft rumble almost like far away thunder. Well they form up ready for anything and from the east the merchants big wagon comes rolling out of the forest and from the north west comes a two double square dwarven formations. About eighty dwarves, they all stop merchant and dwarves between the Dryad's tree and the inn. Once the tale is told all the dwarves start to clean up the battle field Hilda leans over to Brutis now that the fightings done can I give birth. I don't think the little one is going to stay in much longer.....
So that is how Dryad's home and our families curse came to be, and two days after the battle they celebrated a victory a birth two weddings and the new festival for all dwarven kind so clans could gather trade compete, arrange and have weddings.