As we begin revealing the histories behind the Red Dragon Inn characters, we found it fun to just do a bit of fiction to help work out how they interact with one another out in the dungeon.
Thanks to Cliff Bohm, Joseph Blomquist, Dave Kalis, and Sam Waller for smashing heads together and breathing life into Fiona, Dimli, and the rest!
“Fick,” the red-haired warrior maiden professed. Fiona normally stood nearly 18 hands, which, combined with her well-worn plate and bristling assortment of weapons could look surprisingly intimidating. At this time though, she was leaning down awkwardly, trying to sharpen the blade of her enormous two-handed sword. Her efforts were further hampered by only having dim light of four sputtering torches to work with. They flickered in sconces arrayed around the cavernous chamber.
“There’s an ‘L’ sound in there, lass… and a kh at the end,” her dwarven companion corrected in a fatherly tone. Dimli had assumed a casually guarded stance with his battleaxe, near the two massive wooden doors, the only feature besides the massive pillars that reached up into the inky darkness beyond the torch light. “It’s more like ‘Fillkh’.”
“Fillkh,” the girl repeated as she shrugged at her sword blade. It’s edge was the best she could hope for in the flickering light. With the quiet sound of plate armor shifting, she stood and echoed her companion’s stance – hands crossed over the pommel of her weapon. “So Fillkh is the dwarven name for the Dark God?”
“Nay. We call him the Devourer in the Earth, but it’s pretty much the same guy,” the dwarf gave a knowing smile. “It also means rutting.”
The warrior woman’s face flushed to nearly the same crimson as her hair. Before she could comment though, a loud crash came from the other side of the door they guarded, and a pale blue aura seemed to creep from the room beyond. “I still don’t know why Zot wouldn’t let us stay in there,” she said looking longingly at the light emanating from under the door.
The dwarf remained unfazed and said with a sigh, “Because last time, Fiona, you wouldn’t stop touching things and asking questions. That and someone had to keep guard.”
“He let Gog stay.”
“Gog just sits in a corner and keeps to himself when Zot’s doing his thing. He’s rightfully scared of sorcery.”
“None of us should be left alone,” he shrugged. Fiona knew better, though. While he respected Zot, it was no secret that Dimli disliked magic – almost as much as orcs.
Fiona pouted, but then remembered where she was. She was a professional warrior, and pouting was not fitting of such a woman. She resumed her stance beside Dimli.
After a moment of silence, boredom got the better of her, “Teach me another.”
“Sharrds,” Dimli said matter-of-factly.
“What does that mean?”
“In your common tongue… it’s sort of like ‘son of a whore.’ Sort of.”
“Like a bastard?”
“Aye,” Dimli admitted, “but it’s more of an exclamation than an insult.”
“Shar-,“ the redheaded warrior began but Dimli cut her off with a sharp wave of his hand.
“Hooves,” he hissed. “And big.”
The chamber only had one other exit, a long hallway wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side. The tunnel was pitch black beyond their four torches near the door. The party had intended to go unnoticed in the passages.
But the hulking shape that came into view – nearly twice Fiona’s height – had found them anyway. The minotaur was the color of burnt firewood with muscles that would put Gog to shame. He wore only a sword belt and a loincloth and held a broadsword that looked far too sharp and menacing to be in an enemy’s grip.
He breathed out hard and steam shot from his nostrils as they flared in anger. “A dwarf?! You DARE come here!?” the minotaur bellowed. The beast charged headlong, his wicked black horns thrust at the fighters, the rest his body trailing behind. It was clear that Dimli was his target.
Dimli barked a warcry in response as Fiona weighed her options. But just before engaging the dwarf, the minotaur shifted towards the girl. Fiona was prepared, rolling safely away from the charge with instinctive grace. The giant beast plowed into the towering column next to her. The force of the blow sent the column tumbling across the cavern and caught the dwarf unaware.
“Dim!” Fiona shouted as she saw the stone column land on top of the dwarf. With a growl, she gritted her teeth brandishing her greatsword and barked out her challenge, “Alright, fuzzball, it’s just you and me. I can do that!”
“GOOD!” the beast roared, brandishing his broadsword.
With a wailing warcry, Fiona slashed at the minotaur with a wild over head swing. The minotaur laughed and easily dodged her reckless attack and Fiona’s sword came down hard on the stone floor. Seizing the opportunity, the minotaur stomped his giant hoof down, his bulk snapping its blade off at the hilt.
“For Fillkh’s sake!” she spat as she drew the bladeless hilt back with disbelief. “That was my favorite sword!” Fiona backed away from the minotaur. Her pack, and arsenal of weapons she kept with it, was on the floor behind her adversary. It would be tricky to get around the beast and get to them.
She glance behind the minotaur to her companion. Dimli’s armor had held against the fallen pillar but he was trapped under the stone blocks – all his attention focused on attempting to heave them off his chest. But the glance cost her as her footing slipped, sending her onto her rear on the chamber floor.
“Just you and me, eh little one?” the minotaur snorted as it raised its broadsword slowly in what would certainly be a killing blow.
“Fi! Axe!” came Dimli’s bellow from behind the minotaur as the dwarf’s throwing hatchet – a smaller, one-handed axe he liked to use for more personal kills – slid under the minotaur and into the empty spot on the floor between Fiona’s legs.
Fiona grabbed the haft in both hands and drove it’s head skyward, her eyes squeezing shut just before blood splattered across her face.
The minotaur gave a horrible shriek, screaming in pain and rage. Fiona opened her eyes as blood soaked through the beast’s loincloth. The handle slipped from her fingers, the axe head still lodged in the beast’s groin. Without it she was in trouble, and the weaponless warrior had only one option left. Retreat!
A shadow fell from the inky darkness above and landed squarely onto the monster’s back. Without a sound, the green-clad halfling reached around the minotaur’s head with two daggers, and in a clearly practiced movement, plunged them both into the beast’s eyes. Fiona hooted with triumph as she watched her friend Gerki drive the blades into the beast again and again.
The minotaur – blind, bloody, and raging – yanked the halfling from his back, tossing him head over heels. With a heavy thud, Gerki struck a wall and fell in a pile.
Fiona tried to make a dash to her pack and a weapon she could use to put the beast out of it’s misery. The monster’s blind thrashing blocked her advance, but at least she was keeping its attention.
With a guttural cry, Dimli’s battleaxe came down on the minotaur’s neck. The massive head fell from the beast’s shoulders. Fiona barely scrambled away in time to avoid the monster’s body crushing her as it fell.
All fell silent except for the last haggard moan of the minotaur and the sounds of heroes breathing.
One of the doors creaked open as Fiona stood to dust herself off and the party illusionist, Eve, poked her platinum blonde head out into the hall. Without a moment’s pause she chastised, “Would you keep it down out here? This is a very difficult spell!”
“But,” stammered Fiona, covered in the monster’s blood.
Eve took a split second to take in the scene and muttered, “Oh, I see… carry on… I guess.” The door slammed closed before Fiona could even process a response. Dimli chuckled under his breath – it was rare to catch Eve admitting to a mistake.
“Oh, thank you for the new blade, Mr. Horns,” Fiona said, suddenly cheerful. With a smile, she picked up the minotaur’s fallen weapon and gave it a couple practice swings. It had barely been more than a short sword to the minotaur, but in Fiona’s hands it was only a little bit smaller than her greatsword. To be honest, this bastard sword was of far greater craftsmanship than her shattered blade – to which she simply said: “Pretty.”
“Aye,” Dimli said as he dusted off his helmet and put it back on his head. “Dwarven craftsmanship, that is.”
Fiona rolled her eyes. Everything that was even remotely nice, Dimli claimed was dwarven made. With a shake of her head, she belted the minotaur’s scabbard to her waist.
Suddenly she remembered something and looked over to where Gerki had been thrown. “What happened to Gerki?” she exclaimed.
“Shh! There are more coming,” came a tiny whisper from the darkness above, “And I’m fine.”
“Kol?” came a rough voice from the long, dark hallway and the sounds of two pairs of hooves. “Kol, we think there are humies down here in the maze. We found the orcs in da south all dead and-” The voice stopped just short of the light. “Kol?” There were two of them, Minotaurs. One armed with a massive battle-axe and the other with an orkish long spear.
Fiona brandished her new sword and Dimli knelt to pick up the hatchet. “Sharrds,” she breathed as they readied for round two.