Leaving the Mountain

As it turns out, dwarvish gear, no matter how well made or big, was always a bit tight on Clemnilshala’s frame. While her eynnil sized cloak came down to her shanks and fit around her neck like a glove with a big hood that clothed her good horn nicely, the classically made gear of the dwarvish mountain scouts did not present a good way for the eynnil to battle the elements as normal.

There were only three requirements for making the gear that a mountain scout uses, one had to hunt the animals themselves that gave the leather that would become the clothes, the maker had to be monitored by the head of the scouting chapter as well as one other scout while it is being made, and it had to be practical and undecorated as it was up to the scout themselves to emboss their tales into the leather.

It became exceedingly clear that a party outside of the mountain, a leather maker trusted by Clemnilshala, would have to make it for her. It’d been more than thirty years inside the mountain, and ten more in travels from human village to human town to human village, but one name came to mind before all others. Every village and town had their leather maker, much like every village and town had their own smith, cobbler, and inn, but only one could be relied on to know how to work with animal pelt and be willing to help an exile, especially with the spread of lanhs over the land. Folruth helped write the request to Dāniff, Clemnilshala still struggled with dwarvish script, and within the month Daniel had put together the supplies for the journey that he would be joining in on.

They left at night, after a filling dinner, a clear night, where the moon was high and the wind was cold blowing snow over the great staircase. No trouble found them the whole of the way down, and into Milgan in the morning, to the station, the next station, a check point, through Fox eye, and through the access tunnels that once lead to an enclosed town that had a mighty bank that fell to barüff packs over the ages. There were many wooden signs hung on the walls through these tunnels where a light grew brighter the closer to the end. Blocking off halls and doorways into twin towns on either side.

The town of Thamdülthel was among them, as well as Alfgornthel, Clemnilshala kept her head low to the scratching and creation of passages by the barüff that existed in the walls of the mountain. Barüff were wolvish worms with long claws that dug and scratched at stone and turned it to sand and caused cities to become rubble. Thanks to the story of Higurna and Bosh there were no Barüff in Khalenthel. She listened, she breathed deeply for changes in smell, but walking next to Rigmol and Folruth meant her nose was filled with the still strange scents of dwarf-hair and stag hair. It was easier than it was before, but still difficult. In the firelight of the torches that were ever standing vigils against the dark, something new Clemnilshala noticed in Folruth’s hair, little specks of silver were thin threads amid his red mane. She kept this to herself as they emerged the other side.

A beautiful meadow with a great slope where the snow became the grass and the flowers that hung on vines down cliffs. Loops and bolts were set so that they could come down, lowering Rigmol then the pelt cart before themselves. They took breaks across the endless spans of grass and flowers and enjoyed the scenery; Dāniff was not without heart for the things that got crushed underfoot. Folruth stops to shoe his Clemnilshala a cool trick, with the pollen and petals from the flowers he spreads beautiful yellow color under her eyes and at her brow bones. Dāniff nearly gags at their taking a brief break to exchange kisses. He busied himself in picking up horse shoes from the horse herder village in the distance that they avoided.

All in all, through forests, swamps, and towns in the travels, it took nineteen days to reach the familiar wood where a cottage stood overlooking a stream. None other than Rewwer of the woods could be trusted enough with the task. He’d grown around the abdomen over the years, he had crops of beans now amongst other vegetables. He was knelt over the budding blossoms of squash, picking them and setting them in a bag around his neck while something small and pudgy scuttled around in the taller plants. Two tiny horns that carried song with them. So much of this place had changed in forty some years, the house was bigger.

Rewwer took notice, how strange, a one horned eynnil, two dwarves, and a stag with a cart had found this place?
“Hinala, go inside.” Rewwer said to his daughter, who poked out amongst the potato plants, and honored her father by going indoors with a toy stuffed with sawdust.

“Yes pa” she replied, waving at the dwarves the whole way.

“To what do I owe this visit?” He asked of the dwarves, standing up straight, looming down over them, nearly double their height. He looked to Clemnilshala.

“Rewwer.” She said, “Eh, et’s been a long time.”

“Your voice, I know it,” he rubbed his head. “Clemnilshala, you are amongst dwarves?”

A smile came to the corner of his mouth, something he’d seen in a day dream once while patting the head of a scared little exile. The fear had faded from her face, she too was not so little in his eyes, the exile remained. He rushed up to her and threw his great wide arms around her, picking her up and swinging her about where her back stretched and crackled and popped like fire. After setting her down he brought his hand to her head, patting her between the horns, slipping into his daydream once again for just moments before clemnilshala pulled away.

“No magic.”

“Ah, no magic still. Well, welcome to my home, honored guests, My daughter and I are happy to have you here.” He smiled brightly, reaching way down to shake the hands of Dāniff and Folruth. Clemnilshala introduced him to them, her commander Dāniff and her husband.

“Husband? You do not say.”

“Mmmhm, Noblehood, I am now Clemnilshala Noblehood.” She’d gotten used to saying it aloud, practicing in stables before buckets of water and in the reflections of fresh hoof plates.

“Two names! How splendid! Please please come in, I will warm some beans for you.” He waved his hand and brought them into the house, Clemnishala stayed behind and unhitched Rigmol to bring him to a more comfortable spot down by the stream. There were more mounds here too a graveyard of unmarked piles of sand and clay that never seeped into the water. Rigmol lowered his great crown of antlers while he went to drink water. Clemnilshala remembered one mound in particular, set perfectly between two trees. Mamala lay here. Guilt rose in her stomach as she considered the last days she spent here. She sat at where she assumed her head was, and began to speak aloud, drawing the attention of the great stag who twitched his ear. Clemnilshala didn’t say much, only blethering about this and that, whatever she’d seen since she last saw Mamala, feeling silly for speaking with the dead. She would have to return more often to see her.

She left Rigmol at the stream and approached the cottage house and pulled her cloak off and hung it on the wall before entering. Dāniff and Folruth were laughing at something Rewwer was speaking about over metal cups of tea. Hinala played on the floor, though immediately once she saw Clemnilshala she dropped her numerous toys and ran right up to her. She head butted her and giggled. Clemnilshala stepped back, looking to rewwer for guidance.

“Do not tell me you’ve never played with a lamb before. She won’t hurt you you know.” He said, raising his cup.
Clemnilshala picked Hinala up and spun her around, Hinala seemed very interested in Clemnilshala’s broken off horn and kept pulling on the teeth of the brass cap that protected it. Her squeals and laughter filled the room with joy, her little brown eyes were filled with nothing but playful energy. Folruth and Dāniff would wait until nightfall, after Hinala and her great many stuffed toys, were situated in her space in the upstairs stable before they elbowed Clemnilshala to speak to rewwer about why she had really come all this way.

“You’re the only leather worker that I know that can help me, Rewwer,” She said, nodding to the window, “I need you to make gear for me, like theirs, so that I can be a reliable mountain scout of Khalenglough basin. Its the last thing I need and, well, it’s proven difficult for anyone but an eynnil tae make leather for an eynnil.”
Folruth and Dāniff nodded in unison.

“We brought the pelts for you to work with, and anything you do not use is yours to keep and trade in the towns if you’d like. I’ve also, eh, brought money for ye.” She patted around her person for the aforementioned chips that jingled in her pockets.

“This, for you, I can do. So long as the three of you help out around here with Hinala and the chores while I work. I need my garden tilled and I imagine that stag out there could use some good exercise. If you do this for me, then you have yourself a deal my friend.”

And so a bargain was struck between two exiles and two dwarves for aiding one another in fairness.

One thought on “Leaving the Mountain

  1. The meeting of old friends! Its wonderful to see Rewwer and Hinala, who has grown so much in this time! Even not recognizing her at first, I was glad to see Rewwer giving a warm hug to greet Clem. And her acknowledgent at the grave, I felt that. I love that he was her best choice for making her mountaineering gear, its a great demonstration of showing the passage of time and also establishing the world that lives even while our protaganist is not there. I also enjoyed their journey there. There are constant dangers at bay that she has grown to be watcchful for, and the towns along the way are good testaments to that danger and its lasting effects. You weave good world details that make me wonder, but you don’t give all the details so it leaves a hunger for more… well done!


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