August 20, 2001 - The Secret of the Blue Mountains

Many years ago, I knew this young dwarf well - she was so young that she had practically no experience with fighting, much less attacking and defending herself and others. But blood of an adventurer she indeed had. After having spent many days with a much more experienced dwarf, who had showed her the surroundings of the Blue Mountains, she started venturing herself, first with exploring the mines and tunnels deep inside her home, the Blue Mountains.

As she became more and more acquainted with the mountain, she ventured further and further until one day, she found one mine, which seemed different from the two others she had found. It was like the smell was a bit different, the tunnels were slightly darker and more humid and the air stood still inside. She thought that after all, this was inside the Blue Mountains...and surely there must be miners down there, mining silver and copper - and perhaps even gold! We all know how Dwarves the love gold and their craving for this glimmering metal. So, she ventured further down, until the stairway stopped deep below the ground. A few cockroaches and rats ran around and about, squeaking and fleeing as she took a deep breath, shivering lightly before gathering all her courage, lit a lantern and walked into the darkness of the tunnels with only shadows following her. After walking a few minutes, the walls became slimy, the rats and cockroaches had disappeared of some reason and not a sound was heard except for a faint sound of water running. She froze for a moment, stood still and snuffed her lantern, listening...

What a peculiar sound, she thought. It certainly was not the sound of picks in the rock, nor the sound of rats or cockroaches - something larger, perhaps. A scraping careful sound coming nearer where she was standing, clinged against the moist wall. Now would be a good time to run back she thought, which she did - or tried to rather. It seemed that the walls and tunnels had changed, merged and cracked open at random as she had walked. She simply had lost all sense of how to get back to the staircase and she felt her heart starting to beat faster as she could hear the scraping sound behind her come nearer, following her as she ran left and right and her poor legs tiring of running on the stone floor. She passed a large sign with some warning, but did not stop to read - not wanting to loose precious seconds and ran further, passing an underground river and finally, her legs could not move anymore. She had to rest and she collapsed on the floor, leaning up against a cobwebbed wall. She realised that the web above her was not a normal web. The threads were thick... not just slightly thicker than normal, but close to being as thick as her fingers! She darted back, faced the wall and looked up, shuddering of fright as she examined the web. It was huge!

Meanwhile, the sound came closer, filling her body with fear, as she could do nothing but wait and watch. She cried for help, knowing that her feet could only bring her a few yards before collapsing again. The sound was very near now. She suddenly noticed a small room not far from where she was sat and hurried in, wielded her loyal battle axe and hid herself as well as she knew how to, hearing the sound of movement and a terrifying hiss just outside the little supply room.

The next things that happened went so fast that our heroine had problems remembering everything when she told me this story, so bear with me if I miss details please. What she saw filled her heart with terror - an enormous black spider was in front of her, it's evil eyes piercing at her and it's big hairy body moving towards her hiding place. Then she knew that it could probably smell her or hear her frightened breath and she jumped out of her hiding...aiming with her axe and hitting the disgusting creature at one of it's legs, making a large wound. But it just made the spider even more mad and our dwarf suddenly became aware of web sticking to her, making her moves harder and she struggled to get free, but it just seemed that the web entangled her more the more she tried.

Finally, she could not move at all - she was surrounded by a web, cocooned, just barely breathing as air came in through a little hole by her nose. She wondered what wound happen now. Would she be the breakfast of this creature? Would she just slowly die of hunger and thirst? She felt herself being lifted up, moved and roughly thrown to the floor somewhere. She laid there for a few hours, feeling her limps ache and her head starting to get dizzy, just wishing that the spider would kill her and get it over with. She suddenly heard noise... not the scraping hissing noise from before, but the faint sound of feet and wings clasping. She tried to scream, but was unable to because of the web. She heard fighting nearby - the sound of a bird and a sword and then a loud terrifying scream of death. She closed her eyes, hoping that it was the spider, which had died, and not the attackers. Again, she tried to scream and twist herself out of the web, but then saw a knife, cutting through the cocoon, ripping it open and she gasped for air as she was released, removing web from her eyes as she looked up. Imagine her surprise when she saw an elf standing there. He was tall and he had sparkling eyes, yet he was no warrior one could see - but had a magic aura around him. Behind him was the most beautiful bird, she had ever seen.

A snow-white eagle landed on the floor beside the elf and it almost looked as if it was smiling to her. 'Thank you' she said to the Elf and looked at the eagle again, drawn to the magic and almost god-like appearance of the bird. 'You have saved my life', our dwarf continued...'How can I repay you'? The Elf smiled and said in a language that she just barely understood 'That you live is reward enough for us. Follow me, and we will guide you out again'. The Elf had found a key in the corpse of the spider and apparently knew what it was for as they all headed back, stopping by what appeared to be an underground lake and suddenly the Elf told them to wait as he jumped into the water and dived down. Our dwarf was holding her breath as she waited for him to return and the few minutes seemed like hours before he returned to the surface with a gasp for air and a smile, leading them further and finally finding a room that she had not noticed before - there, with the help of the key they found the most magnificent amethyst ever seen, plus a mattock - a large one with a shaft reinforced with steel. They headed up with their treasures - our dwarf thought she saw a glimpse of something as they moved back through the dark slimy tunnels, but convinced herself that it was merely her fantasy.

The End.