4: The Dwarves << Back
breath rose in a steamy column above her head as she ran. "Are you sure
about this? These dwarves don't seem too friendly."
looked over his shoulder at their pursuers, then back to the curved,
iron-plated bridge before them. "No," he said finally, "but what choice
do we have?"
"We can make for the bottom of the valley." Cynn pointed to a path to their right. "Avoid these snow-dwellers altogether."
shook his head. "There are few places in the Shiverpeaks where we will
escape their notice. Besides, the Deldrimor dwarves have no love for
the Stone Summit. They will help us." The ranger swallowed hard. "I
The dwarven dwellings ahead of them were very
different from the last they had encountered. Instead of stone slabs
wrapped together by heavy iron chains, here the buildings had worked
metal roofs and intricately carved wooden doors. These were homes for
families, not barracks for soldiers.
A volley of arrows struck the ground around the running humans, and Cynn hissed a full breath through her clenched teeth.
elementalist came to a full stop and turned around to face the dwarven
archers. A line of blood ran down her shoulder where an arrow had
impacted and torn through her flesh.
"I don't care if any of
the dwarves in these mountains are our allies," she said, her eyes
turning dark and the jeweled tip of her staff turning a fiery orange,
"I'm through being chased."
both hands out in front of her chest, the elementalist spoke several
words of power. Her body was instantly surrounded by a nimbus of
glowing red runes, and her feet lifted off the ground. Suspended in the
air by the flow of magical energy, Cynn's voice rose and rose, growing
in intensity until Devona thought the sound would bring the glaciers
down from the mountaintops.
Then just as suddenly as it
started, the cacophony stopped, and the Shiverpeak Mountains fell
silent. The sky erupted in a riot of oranges, reds, and yellows. Huge
meteors of flame fell from the heavens, pelting the pursuing Stone
Summit dwarves. Plumes of snow flew into the air, momentarily obscuring
Devona's view of the chasing mob. Dwarves screamed as the flaming rain
burned through their heavy furs, searing their skin. And the telltale
hiss of fire meeting snow filled the valley.
Cynn's lip curled up into a smile. "Take that."
spun around, drawing her sword at the sound of hooves clomping over the
iron bridge. A pair of heavily armored and harnessed yaks came right
toward the humans. Behind them, attached to the harnesses by four thick
chains was what could only be described as a snow ship. The vessel had
a thick wooden mainmast and three billowing sails, not unlike the ships
Devona had seen off the Tarnished Coast. But where the sea-going
vessels had a deep V-shaped hull, this one was flat on the bottom for
traveling over the snow and ice.
"Well Aidan," said Devona,
moving to stand back to back with the ranger, "I hope you're right
about the Deldrimor clan." She tightened the leather strap holding her
shield to her forearm. "Because this doesn't look like much of a