Don't be alarmed, my building style hasn’t regressed - I’m doing some housekeeping, and that means breaking some older LOM entries into several parts for ease of reading. This MOC was originally posted on July 19, 2013.
About this creation
Steven Georges’ Son - Scruffy protagonist
William Farrer - One-eyed former helmsman
Igor - Steven’s rookie cousin
Sven - An expendable soldier
Norel - Druid and leader of his tribe
Argo - Archer
Elon - Mace-woman
Gib - Unbalanced stick guy
As novel as the old dwarf’s plan was, no one was prepared to argue… least of all the four men from the surface who hadn’t expected to find anything more dangerous than a bunch of diamond-running Mythronian criminals. An hour ago the dwarves and Rainosians had been brawling in the darkness, but Steven and his men had readily followed their hosts to their home in a much deeper and warmer layer of underground ruins. As everyone filed in, the dwarf druid, Norel, invited his guests to lay their weapons down. Both minds of Steven, like most of the warriors in the room, were not quite ready to part with their protection.
“What’s the reasoning here? You were going to kill us up there, and now you’re inviting us home. Pardon me, but I would like an explanation,” he objected. The younger dwarves seemed to share his trepidation.
“Reason? My reason is simple,” Norel replied. “I want to live long enough to see the sun again. If we can’t save ourselves with force, we might as well seek salvation another way.”
“Save yourselves? From what?” Igor asked.
The scruffiest of the dwarves, reclining on a leather mattress, laughed mirthlessly. Steven (or his cleverer mental stowaway) put half and half together. His eyes picked up details from his trip to Guaire - a dragonskin soldier’s pouch, a cut-off mace in the new, eight-toothed head - and a fifth bedroll rolled up in the corner.
“We aren’t the first Rainosians to come down here, are we?”
Norel followed his gaze to the fifth mattress and sighed.
“No, there was another giant. He took one of ours with him. There are so few of us left now…”
“Giants? That reminds me – how come a dwarf is using a bow? Hardly the weapon of choice for your people,” Sven asked in his slow speech. The question had an unexpected result.
“What did you call me, Rainosian?” the archer retorted, rising to his feet with a fighting gleam in his eye. Again the druid acted to prevent bloodshed.
“Argo, sit down! And you, you shouldn’t think that merely because we’re shorter than you and trapped in this hole that we are some kind of… dwarf.”
“Elves,” the longest-haired cave-dweller supplied with a note of surprised indignity.
Farrer could see that Igor was about to say something tactless, so he seized on another interesting phrase.
“What do you mean, ‘trapped’?”
“It’s a long story. I think it would go better over a meal.”
“Oh yeah, someone did mention dinner,” Igor remembered helpfully. The tension dropped noticeably.
Argo the archer walked over to a slimy pile of yellow slabs.
“Right… We have fresh Zila lizard slices. It hasn’t even coagulated yet.”
“Er… I think we brought our own food, actually.”
“Real food? From the surface?”
”This would go better with some ketchup.”
“Don’t talk about it, Sven; just try to swallow.”
“At least they’re enjoying themselves. You’d think they’ve never seen bread in their life, the way they dig in.”
“Hey, Gib, that baguette is big enough for five. Share some with us, would you?” the female dwarf asked.
When all had eaten as much as they could (for some because all available food was gone; for others because all edible food was gone), Norel apologized for his people.
“Forgive us,” he said, “it’s been so long since we have tasted the fruit of the sun and the sky.” Now that Steven knew their species, he was picking up hints. For one, his hosts’ ears were slightly pointed. For another, dwarves didn’t talk that way.
“Yeah, what are elves doing so deep underground, anyhow?” Farrer asked.
“And why are you so sh- Oof!” Igor added, with Steven’s elbow helping.
“They are lost,” the one called Gib said, speaking for the first time. All eyes turned to him. He had the soft tone of someone who lived in a private mental world because the real one was so scary.
“They have been for a long time,” the disheveled elf continued. His haunted eyes took on a deeper look, and focused on the wall as he began to recount a story from memory. “For who knows how many years. Orcs, zilas, giants, sickness. Three hundred fled into the darkness to escape the purges of the Mad King’s eternal reign. Some were born there, but mostly they all died. Orcs, zilas, giants, sickness. They will never see the light again.”
A calming hand from each of Gib’s companions stopped the grisly monologue, and nothing save the sound of distant dripping was heard.
“So you’re lost,” Farrer said, “but what if someone said there was a map?”