Lanny Gilbert: The Elves and the Dwarves (fiction)
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I know what a #2 washtub, a #9 turner and a come-along are. I also know at least 3 ways to prepare chicken for Sunday lunch without going to a grocery store for the bird.
If that’s not Southern, then grits ain’t groceries.
The Elves and the Dwarves
When the sun finally arose over the snow-covered mountaintops into the azure sky, it was a dull red color. A damp chilly fog, which had formed overnight, covered the top of the mountain and put a chill in the air over the campsite of the Company of the Chosen. The Chosen, 20 warriors handpicked from the Thoriel council of Elves and Dwarves, had traveled far from their home into this strange land. Their quest: to find and bring back the Sacred White Stag of Gorranor, which had been stolen from the land of Thoriel by the evil Troll Gar-Wen.
Medgor, Elder of the Dwarves and leader of the company, peered from his tent into the early morning light. Seeing no one awake, he slowly crawled from his tent and went to awaken the sentry who had fallen asleep during the night watch.
“Sentry!!” Medgor bellowed. “Bloody hell, can you not watch one hour without falling asleep? What if Gar-Wen finds us while we sleep? He could rip us to shreds in five minutes if we have no defenses. Consider yourself on report!” The sentry trembled before Medgor, who was now nearly red-faced with anger.
“Now, wake the others and make us some breakfast.” Medgor continued. “This could be the day that we confront Gar-Wen, defeat him, and take the White Stag back to Thoriel, for the glory of King Hogarth. We’ll need all our strength to confront Gar-Wen, so make our breakfast a hearty one.”
The sentry quietly slipped away, found his bugle, and played the wake up call. Almost at once, the others of the Company began emerging from their tents and cursing, upset at having being awakened at such an early hour. After seeing that everyone was awake, the sentry built a fire, took a rasher of bacon from the pantry saddlebag, and began cooking breakfast.
Upon smelling the bacon cooking and the coffee brewing over the open fire, the Company’s demeanor improved considerably and they ceased their complaining to line up for some food. They ate the bacon and coffee, together with some coarse black bread and ur-brier, the Thoriel berry that gives strength.
Medgor finished his coffee, cleared his throat, and stood to address the others of the Company. “Dwarves and Elves of Thoriel,” he began. “We, out of the many citizens of Thoriel, have been chosen to bring back the Sacred White Stag. I feel that today we shall at last meet the accursed GarWen in battle and retrieve the Stag from his evil, bloody paws. Many of us may not live to see the end of the battle, but do not let that stop you in your quest. Fight bravely, men. Now, let us pack up the camp and be on our way.”
Once the campsite was cleaned up to Medgor’s satisfaction, the Company began the day’s trek by departing camp in a westward direction. After walking for about an hour Medgor signaled the company to stop and be quiet. Then, ever so quickly, he motioned for one of the Elven archers to join him at the front of the march formation.
“Archer,” Medgor whispered, “I believe I saw Gar-Wen just ahead in the top of yon oak tree. Do you see the glint from his steely scales?”
Noting the archer’s affirmative reply, Medgor continued his command. “I want you to loose an arrow into yon shiny area. After we hear Gar-Wen shout from the pain, I will signal the company to form for battle.”
The archer retrieved a bow from his quiver, drew the bowstring tight, and let an arrow fly toward the top of the tall oak. The arrow found its target, but instead of the howl of pain Medgor expected, he heard a voice yell, “Hey!! Who the hell just shot an arrow into my deer stand? They ain’t no deer up here, you dumbass.” The Company then heard the sound of someone, or something, quickly sliding down the sides of the oak tree and they went into battle formation.
Instead of an attack from Gar-Wen, the Company heard the same strange voice again. This time it spoke from the bottom of the tree and said, “Hey, Bubba. Tie that deer you shot to the hood of the truck and come help me. My brand-new deer stand got shot and I’m gonna wup somebody’s ass for it!”
The Company, braced for battle, heard another voice reply, “Ah-ight, Bobby Ed. I’ll be over in a minute. Lemme make sure this thang ain’t gonna run away. I’ll brang my gun, too.” Bubba finished tying the deer to the truck, picked up his .30-06, and went off to find Bobby Ed. He found him hiding behind the oak tree in which Bobby Ed’s deer stand had just been shot.
“Hey, let’s go out there and see what’s up,” said Bobby Ed. The two hunters stepped into the clearing to see not another couple of hunters, but an armored company of the strangest things they had ever seen. Small, human-like varmints, but some were stumpy and covered with hair, while the others were tall and almost green in color. Bobby Ed’s earlier anger and arrogance had paled, and both he and Bubba were quaking in their hunting boots.
“Hail,” said Medgor. “Art you fellows among those who seek the Sacred White Stag?”
Bobby Ed, still shaking from head to toe, managed to stammer out, “Uh, no..uh, sir..uhh, your highness. We is just a couple of deer hunters. We was just about to make back for camp when one of y’all shot my deer stand. But, that’s OK. I mean, I know you probably had a good reason for it and if y’all don’t mind, me and Bubba will just head on out.”
“Halt,” shouted the sentry of the Company, trying to get back in Medgor’s good graces. “Thou hast not been released by Medgor, Elder of the Dwarves. Only when he hath granted thee leave may thou return to the hunt.”
“Oh, shit”, Bubba whispered to Bobby Ed. “I told you there wasn’t no such thing as an albino deer. Them guys are after that buck I just shot. Oh, man. Look at them swords they’re totin’. We’re dead.”
Bobby Ed, still trembling but more composed than moments before, whispered to Bubba that they needed to high-tail it out of there. “Amen, budro. Let’s just slowly back away from here, get in the truck and drive that thing wide open until we are outta these woods”, Bubba replied.
Medgor, beginning to get a little suspicious of these two previously bold gentlemen, addressed them further. “Again, I hail thee, fellows. We have been sent my ruler, King Hogarth of Thoriel, to retrieve the Sacred White Stag. I ask thee a second time, hast thou seen this most sacred of beasts?”
“Uh..no.. we ain’t” Bubba said, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible while moving slowly backwards. “We ain’t seen no kinda white deer with golden hooves around here.”
“I don’t recall mentioning golden hooves,” Medgor replied. “How didst thou know that the Sacred Stag has golden hooves?”
Immediately, Medgor gave the company orders to begin battle. “Fight bravely, men” Medgor cried. “These two interlopers have joined with Gar-Wen to deprive our land of the most majestic beast to ever walk the earth.
Bobby Ed and Bubba looked at each other and began running as fast as they could. “Don’t run in a straight line,” Bubba yelled. “You’re easier to hit that way.”
Bobby Ed yelled back, “I’m just worried about outrunning you right now” and kept speeding through the woods.
As the Chosen formed for battle, Medgor gave the order to ready the catapult. “Fill the launch bucket with the boiling pitch we’ve had ready for Gar-Wen. These two fellows must be taught a lesson, that lesson being no one shall toy with the army of Thoriel and get away with it.”
The catapult men readied the pitch and awaited Medgor’s command. After seeing all was ready, Medgor gave the order. “Fire!” he said. “Fire the catapult and let the burning pitch consume the enemies of the Chosen and our great King Hogarth.”
Bubba and Bobby Ed, being quite out of shape, had slowed their running pace by this time and looked back to see what was going on. “Look, Bobby Ed”, Bubba said, “them guys are about to catapult something at us.”
“Scratch that,” said Bubba. “They’ve already launched it and here it comes..
Luckily, the catapult men had calculated the distance incorrectly and the hot load of burning pitch flew safely over their heads, landing squarely on the hood of Bubba’s new 4-wheel drive truck. The truck immediately burst into flames as Bubba stood watching, helplessly.
“Dang it”, he cried. “I been working extra shifts at the chicken plant so
I could buy that thing and now look at it. It’s burnt to a crisp”
“To hell with that”, Bobby Ed said. “Now how are we gonna get away from them varmints back there in the woods? Did you forget about them? They’ve got swords, and bow and arrows, just in case you forgot.”
“No, I ain’t forgot.” Bubba was almost blubbering now. “Even more, they got that deer that I just shot.”
“Yeah… They sure did that all right” said Bobby Ed. “They burnt that nice buck all to… Wait a minute… You still got that white handkerchief on you?”
Bubba, crying too hard to reply, held the handkerchief out to Bobby Ed.
“Stop that sissy squalling and come with me. We gonna get outta this.”
Bobby Ed told Bubby confidently.
Bobby Ed tied the handkerchief to a long stick and waved it high in the air.
“We give up,” he shouted, hoping the Chosen could hear. “We’re coming back.
Don’t shoot us.”
Medgor commanded the company to stand down from battle readiness. “Hold fast your arms, men. It seems that we have won yet another victory.”
Bobby Ed walked up to Medgor waving the flag, with Bubba tagging along all teary-eyed. “Sir”, Bobby Ed began. “We have found your Sacred Stag.”
“Behold, thou hast brought me wonderful news. Tell me, where might we find the Stag so that we might take it home?” Medgor asked expectantly.
“Well, I don’t believe he’s in much shape to make the trip. You see, when you boys were trying to burn us up with that big ol’ ball of tar, you hit the Stag and there ain’t enough left of him to make a decent sized sandwich.
Sorry ’bout that, cuz”
“The White Stag? Dead? By my hand? How can it be?” Medgor queried. “We have braved a journey of many miles seeking this stag, and to think that I gave the orders which killed it.. I cannot return to Thoriel. King Hogarth will have me sent away in disgrace at the best, beheaded at the worst.”
“Listen, budro” Bobby Ed continued. “What you and your pals here need to do is to come with me. I’ve got a couple cases of beer back at our deer camp and we’ll just go have a few. Everything will look better after a little drank and then y’all can go home happy.”
“I cannot go home” Medgor replied sadly. “I have killed the Stag and
Gar-Wen still stalks the forest. I must at least slay him for stealing the Stag before I may return home”
“What does this, uh, Garwin I think you said, look like?” asked Bubba, finally coming out of his lachrymose stupor.
“Gar-Wen is a large scaly beast. He hath a hairy face, long shaggy arms, and his odor is like unto a slaughterhouse in the summertime” said Medgor.
“Hmm… That sounds an awful lot like that boy my sister’s been datin’ for the last few days. I thought he looked kinda weird, but long as it gits my sister outta the house, it’s fine with me” Bubba said.
“If that be the case” said Medgor, “thou wilt need more than beer to comfort thee. Come, let us drink some flagons of mead together.”
They proceeded to get likkered up big-time, the hunters and the Company of the Chosen together, and they all lived happily ever after.