Scene Twenty Six
In which one of our heroes goes home, briefly
For the first time in almost twenty years, Greg smelled the cool Transylvanian air again. He breathed in deeply, savoring it like a noticeably tasteless wine, which nevertheless comes with many memories attached.
Tony Tony was watching him, “You’re happy” he said
Greg considered the statement; “Yes” he said “I suppose I am. By shear random chance we set up a good history with a group which might become very powerful in the future, and we got to where we were going with twenty two days to go”
Tony Tony was grinning, “Were you sure the whole time that the Dryads would keep their deal?” he asked.
“No”, said Greg, “I kept thinking we would have to steal parachutes again. But no, they were good businessmen, they kept their side of the bargain, and now we just have to lay low until the reading of the will.”
He realized that Free Flower was nudging him in the ribs. He turned around, almost gleefully, and then he saw what she had seen. “Well bugger,” he said, “They were good businessmen”
It could be a coincidence, he acknowledged the possibility; he just didn’t believe it. It was entirely possible that the place they had landed could just be a sacred site to the Dwarfs, and five hundred armed warriors, out on a training jog, were just hurrying towards them to explain that fact, but Greg thought it was more likely that the shrewd Dryads had realized that they had a valuable asset in Lord Redfox’s son, and found away to sell him to the highest bidder while still upholding their deal.
Greg was impressed by the Dryad’s business sense. He was also very annoyed, and resolved to never trust a talking apple tree again.
Still, as he understood it, his uncle had mostly ended the century’s long feud between werewolves and Dwarfs. He wasn’t sure what the Dwarfs wanted with him, but he had a feeling that the threat of violence was there to keep him in line, rather than to actually be followed through on.
This hope was lessened somewhat when the Dwarfs reached them and spread out into a well executed surround maneuver. Dwarfs disappeared behind rocks, and reappeared with guns trained on them, and suddenly Greg realized that no matter which way he turned he was staring into the barrels of a great many weapons.
Greg decided to go the diplomacy route anyway. “Well met,” he said, “To what do we owe this greeting?”
One of the Dwarfs;, who was clearly the leader, by merit of having the largest horns on his helmet, stepped forward. “Are you Redfox’s son?”, he asked, in a voice almost as gravelly as a Dryads.
Greg noticed three things in that sentence.
The first was the absence of the honorific. That really didn’t bode well; a werewolf Lord never appeared without his title, and Greg thought the name looked naked without it.
The second was the fact that the Dwarf knew that he was his uncle’s son. That meant that he had been right about the Dryads selling him away, he wondered how they had managed to conduct an auction without the ability to speak a human language. Maybe they could speak Dwarfish, he thought.
The third was that it was clearly ridiculous that the Dwarf would have a thoroughly modern automatic rifle slung over his back, while wearing chainmail and a horned helmet. He wasn’t quite sure about Dwarfish culture, but he felt sure that the chainmail at least wasn’t traditional.
He thought all this in the tiniest fraction of a second, considered it in the second, and acted on it in the third. “Technically I am, but I was never close to my father while I was growing up.”, he laughed, and he knew it sounded genuine, “Heck, until I was seven I couldn’t even remember his name half the time, people kept having to remind me.” He knew he was convincing, heck it was very nearly the truth.
Greg thought that he could see a couple of Dwarfs out of the corner of this eye, shifting uncomfortably, but he kept his eyes on the leader, who was clearly unimpressed. “I think you are lying to me, I think you are a filthy human liar.” He said.
Oh dear, thought Greg, certain aspects of the Dwarfen religion coming back to him, we’re dealing with a fanatic. Well, that’s reasoned debate out of the window, he looked around, and noticed that the follower’s guns were still being pointed at him in an efficient and professional manner, I really wish I had another option, he thought.
The leader had started to hum, it was a deep throbbing tone, his followers took up the pitch, and soon the whole cliff top was thrumming with the noise. The leader opened his mouth and began to speak.
And so Ka’tol the painfully tall went from the gaze of TAK and he knew his wife, who bore him a son, And thou came the birth of the three tribes of Hu’man. And as Ka’tol went from the gaze of TAK and was not a Dwarf, so were his son’s not Dwarfs, nor their son’s else. And all who trade with the hu’man, or give him bread, are not Dwarfs. for the Hu’man are hideous aberrations, and if they displease thou, thou must dash their heads against the stones.
The leader stopped speaking. Gradually the humming died away. There was a long respectful silence; even nature seemed to be holding its breath. Eventually Tony Tony spoke “I can’t help but notice that shooting us is not the same as dashing our heads against stones.”
The leader looked at Tony Tony, Greg saw madness in those eyes. “We tend towards an allegorical interpretation of the Dek’bul”
“But I thought that the Dwarfs and the humans were peaceful, and that’s been like that for centuries, it was only the werewolves that kept the feud going, and that ended-”
“PERVERTS!”, screamed the leader, and now Greg saw rage and madness in his eyes, they meshed well together. “They are PERVERTS and not Dwarfs! So says TAK! Werewolves and vampires, they are all human! We do not forget!”
“Forget what?”, asked a bewildered Tony Tony
“WE DO NOT FORGET!”, screamed the leader, apparently under the impression that saying something loud enough makes it automatically true, “The Dwarfs are nearly gone, but as long as we live, Dwarfs remain! WE shall prune the diseased branch, AND BUILD DWARFS ANEW!”
Greg noticed, with more sheer terror than he had felt in a long time that Free Flower was drawing her sword. Before he could even move, for the T time in the last week, everything went to hell.
 T is not a specific number; it is generally taken as any number which is clearly too much, plus three.