The Plateau of the Endless – Page 95


Plateau (95a)

The die lands and the Dwarves all around burst into delighted howls of laughter. 

Fearghal Notchblade slaps Jack on the back so hard the warrior staggers.

“Ye’ve warmed our hearts, lad,” the Dwarf says with a wink. All around them, the Dwarves lay their weapons aside and draw colorful pennants from their cloaks. Half of the pennants are emerald green with the image of a purple skull; the other half are olive green with a bright pink star. They face off in two groups waving their pennants at each other and chanting: “Roger! Roger! Roger!” on one side and “Teph! Teph! Teph!” on the other.

Fearghal draws out his own pennant and over the noise, roars in Jack’s face “I’m on Team Tephany myself! Ye’ll be representing us!”

Without further explanation, the Dwarves hustle Jack up the FloatStone stairs to a broad stone platform where a huge, shaggy beast awaits. The monster has green fur on its body and a purple mane arching from the center of its brow down its back. All four limbs are tipped with huge blunt digging claws, each one longer than the Dancing Dagger of Danzibar.

“That’s Roger!” Fearghal shouts. “His lady friend is Tephany; ye’ll meet her later. They’re Molebears, lad! Ye’ve heard of them?”

Jack recognizes the name although he has never encountered a Molebear. The Dwarves bring up the huge beasts to aid their excavations, as the Molebears are powerful diggers.

The Dwarves gather round to witness the spectacle, waving their pennants in the air and chanting the name of their champion. Fearghal adorns Jack with a sash in Tephany’s colors and gives him a friendly shove forward.

“Good luck, lad!” the Dwarf winks at him and retreats.

Plateau (95b)

The wrestling bout is fast and furious. Jack knows enough about Dwarves not to use a PowaShroom or other strength-enhancing magic – they will lose respect for him if he does. With nothing but his human strength to aid him, Jack locks in a wrestler’s embrace with the huge Molebear. Seconds later, he is flying through the air, only to land in a pile at the feet of cheering Dwarves. They drag him to his feet and shove him back in the direction of the bellowing Molebear.

Three more times Jack engages the huge beast and three more times Roger sends him flying. On his fifth attempt he succeeds in sweeping Roger’s left leg; the monster topples over on his back and Jack springs on top of him in an effort to score the pin. The Molebear bats him away with ease.

Jack crash-lands among the Dwarves again, and again they drag him to his feet. This time they do not push him back in Roger’s direction; instead they laugh and cheer, pound him on the back and shake his head. Fearghal Notchblade pushes his way through the crowd and takes Jack’s hand.

“Five times!” he shouts. “Only a Dwarf is that stubborn!” He claps Jack on the back.

The Dwarves help Jack from the platform and take him to a private chamber where they offer 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 Gold Medal engraved with the emblem of Roger the Molebear on one side and the crest of Clan Oakstump on the other.


Add the Gold Medal to the Pouch of Ghrul.


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


Turn to 53.