Dwarven Aid

After a long night of searching a tired and nervous Caleb stopped when he came upon a place he could sit and rest his feet. As he relaxed, he deliberately began pulling his weaponry out and giving it a thorough examination. So far as Caleb tried to follow the path when he last crossed paths with the Dwarves all he managed to do was avoid vicious wildlife. With each successful examination, Caleb returned the weapon he found that his nerves calmed down. Once finished Caleb got to his feet and continued his attempt at following the path his last hunt. Unfortunately, this world’s terrain was still too familiar, but Caleb knew the colony required him to succeed in his assignment. With a sigh of frustration, Caleb resumed his search.

As the day wore on Caleb rubbed at his eyes as he forced himself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. He needed to find the dwarves, he knew that without their aid the settlement couldn’t stand up to the massing threat. As Caleb stumbled into a tree, he shook his head and resigned himself to look for a place where that he could secure to get a few hours of sleep. Just as he altered his search, Caleb finally caught sight of tracks that didn’t belong to the natural wildlife. The discovery forced the exhaustion out of his mind and with a newfound vigor he started following the tracks. Unfortunately as Caleb followed the tracks his nerves began to fray as they rapidly began diminishing.

Silently he cursed at the situation, and he quickly doubled back so he could follow the largest set of tracks. When he found it, he resumed his search giving extra care to where Caleb stepped and what he rustled as his search appeared to bring him closer to his goal. Yet with each step, Caleb’s mind worked hard to figure out what he could say once he managed to locate the dwarves. During his last encounter, Caleb only met a handful of them, and their leader Fitik explicitly told him not to seek them out. Though they seemed like a stout people with a strong sense of pride. Caleb hoped that his assessment proved accurate and that the sheer mass of enemies threatening his home would inspire these stout warriors to their aid.

After following the main set of tracks for an hour, Caleb felt His exhaustion threatening to overtake him. He rubbed at his face, but with the end of his search so close he couldn’t sleep now, so he reached into his vest pulling out a small bottle and removed two capsules. As Caleb stared at the little red pills, he thought about putting them back, but the exhaustion loomed, so he forced the pills down his throat. Instantly he felt more alert just as if he woke from a good night’s sleep, of course, the capsules only simulated sleep, he would have to wait until the settlement was defended to sleep. Embracing the renewed alertness, Caleb continued his desperate search and quickly managed to catch sight of something in front of him.

Caleb pulled his rifle into his shoulder and looked down its sights and slowly approached the source of movement. With each step, Caleb steadied himself preparing for whatever might be hidden in the dense foliage. After a few minutes he called out to the moving shadows, and they instantly spun around surrounding Caleb immediately. Swallowing the nervous lump in his throat, Caleb lowered his rifle as the shadows emerged. He looked into each pair of eyes staring into him, and when he caught sight of Fitik’s eyes Caleb’s eyes lit up with joy as he called out, “Fitik, you have no idea how happy I am to see you.”

With a stern glare, Fitik barked, “You were told not to look for us, now what do you want, Caleb?”

“Our settlement needs your help,” Caleb pleaded as he took slow steps towards Fitik.

The stout dwarf sighed and looked away as he replied, “We’ve already told you that we would have to think about it, Caleb.”

“There is an army of trolls, goblins and other creatures massing near our walls,” Caleb quickly added.

“Massing?” A skeptical dwarf asked.

Caleb tried to latch his eyes upon the dwarf who asked the question, but he couldn’t find the inquisitive dwarf. So, he spoke so they could all hear him. “There are so many of the creatures swarming that they seem to be a raging river stretching to the horizon.”

With that news, Fitik’s eyes went wide and murmuring began to echo around Caleb. Even though Caleb couldn’t pick out much of the conversations occurring around him, he realized that they fiercely hated the trolls and goblins. He slowly returned his attention to Fitik and realized that the dwarf was deep in thought with his fingers running through his thick beard. It took a few more agonizing moments, but when Fitik looked up, Caleb knew that Dwarves would help. “So Fitik, what’s the news?”

Fitik smiled and closed the distance to Caleb offering his hand as he spoke loudly, “It seems our friends are in dire need of our help.”

Caleb smiled as he took the dwarf’s hand and pumped it vigorously. “Thank you, Fitik.”

“Thank you for inviting us to a cleansing of troll filth, but we’ll have to go gather the rest of the clan,” Fitik replied through a smile.

“Do you want me to wait here?”

“We wouldn’t force a friend to wait in the middle of nowhere while we gathered the clan,” Fitik said pulling Caleb deeper into the forest.