The Plateau of the Endless – Page 34


Plateau (34)

Perilous Jack knows the Dwarves value courage above all else. 

There is no doubt that it will take courage to attempt what Jack has chosen to do – to wrestle an Earth Elemental with nothing but his unaugmented human strength. Still, Jack senses that the Dwarves do not see this as a battle to the death. Even if Jack cannot overcome Old Stonefist, at least he can put up a good showing.

As Jack advances on the Elemental, the Dwarves watch silently. After a moment spent sizing up his opponent, Jack springs to the attack, attempting to lock Old Stonefist in a wrestler’s embrace. The Elemental moves with astonishing speed, clubbing Jack backward with a fist the size of Jack’s head. The hero collapses in a tangled heap, and a few Dwarves guffaw.

After the ringing in his ears and the double vision has subsided, Jack springs to the attack again, and again is rebuffed. Three failed attempts and a narrow escape with the edge of the stone ledge, Jack finally succeeds in grappling Old Stonefist. The Elemental has a harder time pummeling Jack this close in, but the warrior has gained little advantage. Straining with all his might, he barely succeeds in toppling the Elemental onto its back. This is all Jack can accomplish; he staggers back panting in exhaustion, his entire body battered and bruised.

Around him, the Dwarves cheer and applaud. Fearghal Notchblade leaps across to the ledge and signals to Old Stonefist to halt his advance. The Dwarf drags Jack to his feet and claps him on the back, causing Jack to wince.

“A mighty good show, lad! Even a Dwarf would stagger under such blows! Yer a creature of rare courage, no doubt of that! King Thorson will be glad to meet you.” The Dwarf eyes him critically. “Perhaps we’ll get ye cleaned up a bit first, eh?”

The Dwarves help Jack from the platform and take him to a private chamber where he is offered Healing Potions for his bruises and a hot bath. The Dwarves return his equipment and present him with a special token of his victory: a Silver Medal engraved with the emblem of Old Stonefist on one side and the crest of Clan Oakstump on the other.


Add the Silver Medal to the Pouch of Ghrul.


Add the following to Jack’s Journal: I have been gifted a Silver Medal by the Dwarves of Clan Oakstump. They seem to prize it highly; I wonder what virtue it possesses?


Turn to 53.