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The Sword and the Scone

The sun was still behind the bell tower, casting Fidgit Square in a morning bathrobe of shadow. A dwarf stood at the tower’s foot, the sound of a mallet echoing through the cobbled streets as he affixed a signboard to the wall with an iron spike. The sun emerged just as he finished, light catching the sign and causing it to blaze with color.

“THE DUNGEONEERS” it said at the top in bright green letters with little curly lines decorating them.

Then below that in a nice blue: “High Risk Artifact Recovery and Dungeon Sacking. No Job Too Big or Too Small. Reasonable Rates and Split. Inquire at Iron Mole Tavern.”

And finally, at the bottom, in letters that faded from orange to red and were painted to look a half-inch thick like they were coming off of the sign at you: “We’re Not Adventurers; We’re Professionals”

“Are you sure that a semicolon goes there on that last bit?”

A woman’s voice from behind him.

The dwarf turned. As a dwarf, he feared and respected the semicolon but if the truth were laid bare he wasn’t sure at all if it was correct or not. He hadn’t painted or written the sign. The woman in front of him was human and tall, which was oft the case from a dwarf’s perspective when it came to humans. She had pale hair and skin and wore a pale gown. She looked and smelled as if she’d just crawled out from a pond. Her gown hung heavy with water and rivulets from her hair ran down her face. A bit of lakeweed was curled around her head. While her appearance seemed incongruous to the dwarf he hesitated to mention it. Humans did inexplicable things sometimes. She was squinting at the sign.

“There’s quite a lot of small print there at the bottom,” she said and leaned closer. “’We do not perform Delivery Services, Extermination, Ingredient Collection or Kidnappings. Please Stop Asking.’”

The dwarf smiled. He had a scrimshaw tooth with a pair of tiny dice carved on it. “Dadger’s the name,” he said. “Dadger Ben. Can I help you, ma’am?”

“What if the artifact isn’t in a dungeon?” She pointed at the sign. “Would you still go recover it?”

“Well, ‘dungeon’ is a bit of what you calls a colloquial term, ma’am,” Dadger said. He was on surer footing than he’d been with the semicolon. “Could also be caves, burrows, old mines, pocket dimensions, that sort of thing.”

“What about a churchyard in the wood?”

His brow furrowed. “Is the trees grown together into a sorta maze thingy? Or the artifact guarded by a monster of some sort? Wood elves? It’s elves, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s just in the yard of the church on the edge of the wood, near the fairgrounds. No one is guarding it.”

“Why do ye not just go an’ take it yerself? What’s the artifact?”

“It’s a sword. It’s stuck through an anvil and into a stone.”

***

Most people expected The Dungeoneers’ “office” to be a table in the corner of a tavern somewhere. While this was technically accurate, the patrons and the entire tavern, for that matter, were theirs as well. This was an easy conclusion to come to as all of the other patrons were dwarves, saving one that was a gnome in a terrible dwarf disguise. The woman sat on the bench across from a dwarf named Thud, water dripping and pooling on the floor beneath her. Another dwarf was trying to surreptitiously mop it from behind her back. His name was Cardamon but this won’t matter until later. Dadger Ben sat on a stool next to Thud’s chair. Thud was the dwarf in charge. People had often asked Thud where his unusual name had come from but nobody ever asked twice. This was because Thud would cheerfully answer, telling them his name was actually Thaddeus but he didn’t like it much. Then he’d tell them the story of when he’d been a circus ringmaster and went by the name of ‘The Magnificent Pubert’ and just when he was getting to the part about the tigers and the clown the woman interrupted him.

“He didn’t see it,” she said. “The boy. I arranged events for him to come across it and he walked right past it, looking at a frog in his hand or something. He was supposed to see it and pull it out.”

“So you want to hire us to go pull it out instead?” Thud asked.

“I’m not sure you can.” The woman frowned. “At least you shouldn’t be able to. But I have to get that sword into his hands somehow. It’s his destiny.”

Thud took a sip from a mug that most would assume was coffee, given the time of day, though the foam on his mustache might cast doubt. “Usually people hires us to keep swords like that OUT of the hands of destiny. Y’know, to prevent frog-bearin’ boys from overthrowin’ their kingdom.”

“That’s just it,” the woman said. “The king died and there’s no king to overthrow until the boy has that sword.”

“Ah,” Thud said. “Putting a king on a throne sounds like it might be creatin’ a potential future client, eh?” He elbowed Dadger, almost knocking him off of his stool.

“The job sounds easy enough,” said Dadger. “But I ain’t the one makin’ that call.”

“What’s your part in all this?” Thud asked, turning back to the woman. “Can’t you just send the boy back to try again?”

“I guess you could call me an agent of prophecy,” the woman said.

“I ain’t callin’ you anything o’ the sort,” Thud said.

“Call me Nin, then,” she said. “I can’t directly interfere as I’m a key part of the whole mess. It was at the limit of my abilities to arrange events to bring him near it in the first place.”

“So we go get the boy and bring him back.”

Dadger shook his head. “I don’t think a strange dwarf showin’ up and sayin’ ‘Come into the woods with me, boy’ is gonna go over well.”

“We could thump him over the head and carry him.” This suggestion came from Cardamon, still futilely attempting to mop the puddle under the woman’s chair. He was particularly small, with dark skin and large half-lidded eyes, and had chosen the name Cardamon due to a combination of liking the sound of the word plus poor spelling skills.

“No head thumping,” the woman said. Her tone made it clear that she was pretty firm on this point. “Any direct interference could muddle the prophecy.”

“Did ye fall in the river on the way over?” Cardamon asked, finally voicing the unspoken question they all had. “Seems you woulda dried out a bit by now.”

“Comes with my position,” the woman said. “I’m the Lady of the Lake.”

This last pronouncement was made with audible capitalization and a clear expectation of awe. The woman’s voice had gone deep and gained an echo and the shadows in the room shifted as if the clouds had moved across the sun at high speed.

“So…what, ye carry a lake around with you?” Cardamon asked after a few seconds of puzzled silence.

“No, I live beneath the lake. I’m a water spirit of sorts.”

“Ah,” Cardamon said. He thought for another moment. “Do your fingers ever go all pruney?”

“’Agents of Prophecy’ might look pretty good on the sign, boss,” Dadger said, sparing a frown for Cardamon. “More draw for future clients.”

“We’ll do it, Nin,” Thud said. “Assuming we can make suitable arrangement. I get that this is important but we’re what you might call a ‘service industry.’”

Nin brightened. “Oh, that’s no problem. All sorts of treasures fall into mystical lakes. I’m sure I’ll have something you’ll want.”

“Well then,” Thud said. “On the condition that it ain’t a bunch o’ boots or some such, you’ve hired yourself a team o’ professionals.”

***

The sky lay a gray light of politics over the churchyard, promising rain while failing to deliver. A small cloud of steam hovered over Thud’s mug of tea. The dwarves were in a loose cluster amongst the headstones, standing around the artifact. Not all twenty of the team, though. Gong and the rest of his vanguard team were along the walls, acting as an overwatch instead of a vanguard, providing a field of crossbow crossfire. The support team was a safe distance away as an emergency reserve, a duty which currently involved sitting with the row of wagons they’d arrived in, having scones and tea. Thud didn’t expect an emergency reserve would be necessary but he liked covering contingencies and it kept them out of the way while maintaining a source of fresh tea. A bird called out from a nearby tree. One of the abrasive, raucous calls rather than one of the chirpy tweedly ones. The boulder in the center of the yard was near head height for the dwarves, dull black anvil resting on it. Atop the anvil he could see a golden colored hilt and about three inches of blade. There were words carved into the stone.

“Whoso Pulleth Out the Sword of the Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All the Land”

“If we gets that out of there is one of us gonna be king?” Thud asked. “That might complicate the contract.”

“On whose authority though?” Dadger asked. “Anyone coulda carved that there. Cardamon here coulda done that five minutes afore we got here.”

“I didn’t,” Cardamon said, his half-lidded eyes widening to one-quarter lid.

“That was just by way of example. Me meanin’ is that statuary inscription ain’t legally binding.”

“Enchantment don’t follow laws,” Thud said in a tone that indicated his disapproval of the practice. “Wear gloves just in case. No skin contact. Gives us an out under mythological regulations.”

“No traps on it that I can see,” Cardamon said. He’d been going over the stone inch by inch with a loupe. “You could have a picnic on top of that. Use the anvil as a table and that bit o’ sword there to slice yer cheese. It’s affixed in there solid. At the top at least. Don’t see anyone bein’ able to pull it out. Not sure how they got it in there in the first place without splittin’ the stone.”

“Understood,” Thud said. “Well, Nibbly? You’re head of the acquisitions team. Whaddya think?”

Nibbly was standing nearby. He looked impeccable in spite of the early hour. His robe was spotless white, his mustache waxed to a languid curl and his turban crisp though the jeweled sarpech looked flat and dull in the dim light. “Trying to avoid any contact is gonna make it take a lot longer as Cardamon can’t help.” Cardamon had a prized gift among dwarves, known as stonemelding. The hardest stone was like clay in his hands. His being on a dungeoneering team instead of in the mines was, Thud understood, a point of contention among his extended family.

“I could scrape around the sides some, maybe, stay away from the sword,” Cardamon said. He paused. “Yeah, that won’t help much will it? It’d be like a stone scabbard and we’d have to chisel it off. Easier to split the rock. Can’t do anything about that anvil either. Can’t work refined ores.”

“Well,” Nibbly said. “We could cart the whole stone outta here but that would be a lot of work and don’t really solve the problem.” He shrugged. “Only one viable way I can see. That’s a big lump o’ granite, though. Gonna take all morning and that’s if we’re lucky. The boulder is the easy part, though. Not sure how we’re going to crack that anvil.”

“One thing at a time,” Thud said. “Start in on the boulder and we’ll worry about the anvil later.”

***

Three dwarves stood in a triangle around the stone, sledges swinging in a staccato triplet. Three more knelt around the boulder’s sides, holding the drill bits, rotating them between each strike. Each strike rang out, echoing across the fields. The door of the church opened not long after the first blows fell, revealing a man wearing a robe, a frock and a frown. Thud caught Dadger’s eye and gave a jerk of his head. A practiced smile came over Dadger’s face as he spun to face the priest and moved to intercept him before he got too close, drawing his attention away from the crossbows now pointing at him from behind the graveyard walls.

“What’s all this then?” the priest asked. He had fuzzy white muttonchop sideburns framing a face that looked to have met its share of muttonchops as well.

Dadger gave a slight bow of his head. “Royal Department of Statuary and Monument regulation, Father. Was it you wot carved that sayin’ into the stone there?”

“No, of course not,” the priest said. He looked appalled. “It was the hand of the gods themselves.”

Dadger’s eyes widened. “What? All of them? Or just, you know, one or two? Maybe three? Was there an actual god here or just a big hand floatin’ aboot?”

“I don’t know,” the priest said. “It was simply there one morning. I didn’t see.”

“You didn’t see the gods do it?” Dadger asked. “How d’ye know it was gods then? Maybe ‘twas some ne’er-do-well having a laugh? Coulda been Cardamon over there.”

“It warn’t!” Cardamon said.

“It was the gods!” the priest said firmly. “No prankster is going to leave a sword, and anvil and a one-ton boulder in the middle of the night.”

“Well, gods or no, they don’t have any say in local governance,” Dadger said. “So we has to take that monument down. Ministry orders, y’know. Can’t have people thinkin’ a church-stone is a viable arbiter of monarchical lineage. Could be no end of trouble for you, having seditious statuary like this in yer yard and you’ll not be thankin’ the gods for that. We’ll be out o’ yer way afore you know it.”

The priest made a ‘hmph’ noise that conveyed his opinion on that matter without having to commit himself to vocalizing possibly treasonous wordage. He spent a moment glaring at the dwarves surrounding the boulder as if weighing his options before spinning on his heel and stomping back toward the church. His arms jerked back and forth when he anger-walked, like his shoulders were a horizontal axis that they rotated around, elbows akimbo.

“Look alive, lads,” Dadger said once the priest had disappeared back inside. “Not sure how long it’ll be until he starts wonderin’ why the Ministry is a pack o’ scruffy lookin’ dwarves.”

“He’s out the back on a donkey,” came a call from where Gong was directing the overwatch. “Off to fetch some trouble.”

“Figure it’s fifteen minutes to town and another fifteen back. Plus however long it takes him to find someone to come back with him. Step it up!”

A great chunk split from the boulder about half an hour later. The length of the sword was visible at the core, embedded as if it had formed within the stone.

“D’ya think the gods did put it there?” Cardamon asked. “Can’t think how else it mighta gotten in there.”

“Not our problem,” Thud said.

“If a god comes to complain though are ye sure we can just refer ‘em to the client?”

“Think if the gods were gonna start showin’ up and yellin’ about things, us breakin’ a rock apart is gonna be a ways down the priority list.”

Cardamon nodded, seemingly satisfied with that, and wandered off to take a nap on one of the wagons they’d brought. Usually he took his naps on one of the wagon benches. This time, however, he went for one of the hammocks strung between the axles. Thud wondered if it was for the purpose of potential smite protection.

“How strong do you think that blade is?” Nibbly asked.

Thud shrugged. “Artifact, ain’t it? Relic o’ the gods an’ all. Probably pretty sturdy. Rasp?”

“Seems well made at a glance,” he answered. Rasp was their blacksmith. He’d been spending the morning swapping out the drill bits. “Hard to say without touching it or being able to bang it against something.”

“Well in that case,” Nibbly said. He carefully climbed on top of the remaining half of the boulder and stood atop the anvil with one foot on either side of the hilt, back towards the exposed blade. “Hand me a sledge and get a pad on the anvil.”

Thud felt a cold shiver in his shins. Something about this artifact implied that breaking it would cause a lot of people to be upset with them. Slow and safe was the better bet.

“Priest coming back,” Gong called from his lookout spot. “Half dozen with him. Two city guards and some townies.”

So much for slow and safe.

Thud nodded. “Do it.” He and Rasp lay out thick leather straps and rope then spread a blanket over them on the ground next to the boulder.

Nibbly nodded and let the hammer swing down between his knees to hit the folded leather Rasp held against the anvil. There was a loud thump and a humming ring from the sword. One more swing and the sword sprang free, balancing upright for a moment, shimmering in the light as it vibrated from the blow, anvil still skewered just below the guard. It tipped and fell onto the blanket with a loud thump. Rasp wrapped it quickly, folding the blanket over and using the rope to knot it into a bundle. The anvil made it misshapen and awkward looking. Thud and Rasp hoisted the bundle between them on the leather straps.

“Oof,” Thud said. “Not sure I’ve ever moved an anvil before. Are they all this heavy?”

“Ah, this is a wee one,” Rasp grunted. “Hundred pounds or so. You should see the anvils in the First War Hall in Kheldurn. Half-ton each and the forgemaster still made us lift ‘em up to sweep underneath.”

They half-walked, half-waddled, the bundle swinging on the straps between them until they got to the straw-filled iron box waiting on the back of one of their wagons. It took a fair bit more grunting to lift it high enough to drop it in. Rasp let the lid drop with a clang then fastened the chains and locks. He finished by placing a bottomless wooden crate labeled ‘POTATOES’ over the top then piling a couple of sacks of feed-corn on top of that. The rest of the team had loaded onto the wagons as the sword and anvil were secured. Thud swung up onto the lead-wagon bench, clicked his tongue at the oxbear teams and they were off, rolling into the trees just before the priest and his reinforcements came around the bend to the view of an empty churchyard with a broken boulder.

Their escape did not last long. Fifty yards from the church was an old man standing in the middle of the road. He wore a tattered robe and leaned on a gnarled staff. There was a large sack tucked under one of his arms. Thud was instantly on alert. When you had an artifact in your possession, old men with staves were trouble, guaranteed. He glanced at Dadger, riding next to him. The dwarf’s eyes were narrowed, displaying the same suspicions.

“Is that a god?” Cardamon whispered from behind them. Cardamon liked riding where he could watch over Thud’s shoulder, the better to worry about the road ahead.

“Best hide under a blanket back there, just in case,” Thud advised. He let the wagon creak to a halt as Cardamon scurried for cover.

“Ah, hello there,” the old man called. “A fine day for travel, is it not?”

Cheerful and friendly? Definitely dangerous.

“Yes,” Dadger called back from next to him. “Though our progress seems arrested at the moment.”

“Ah, your pardons, I pray.” He began walking toward them but did so straight down the middle of the road. “Surely you will not begrudge an old man a ride into town on one of your wagons, eh?”

“Drop the act,” Thud said. “Say your piece.”

The old man looked at him sadly. “So soon?” he asked quietly.

“What is? Me gettin’ squirrely?”

“Not at all,” the old man said. He was smiling now. “The name is Marlin.”

“Like the fish?”

“Ah, you’ve heard of it!” He nodded happily. “That’s good. People often spell it wrong but if you know to spell it like the fish then you’ll never go astray.” His brow furrowed. “Provided you know how to spell the fish.”

“Still waitin’,” Thud said.

“M—A—R…”

Thud growled low in his throat.

“Very well,” Marlin said. He straightened as he let the facade fall. “I believe you have a sword.”

“Got a few, though it ain’t the dwarven weapon of choice. Got maces too. Axes, hammers, crossbows…” He let his sentence trail off dramatically, knowing that there was now a row of crossbows behind him. Gong was good at hitting cues.

The old man went on. “Recently acquired and perhaps even sought after by these fine fellows I see coming down the road.”

Thud glanced back just as a whistle came from the rear wagon to announce the new arrivals. The priest, the guards and the peasants. They spotted the wagons quickly enough and began marching forward, the priest’s sneering grin making it clear how he expected the meeting to go.

“Your turn to drop the act, perhaps?” the old man asked quietly.

“Fine. Aye, we may have recently come by a sword. What of it?”

“Excellent,” the old man said. “I’ll explain more once you’ve sorted this lot out. I’m certain it will be no trouble.”

“Hello the wagons!” A voice bellowed from behind them. One of the city guards. Thud gave Dadger a nod.

“’Allo yerself,” Dadger called back. He swung down, straightened his vest and began striding his way toward the rear wagon. “What can we do for ye?”

“Got a complaint about you interfering with the sword in the stone.” The guard crossed his arms. The priest sniffed haughtily from behind the guard’s shoulder.

“Which sword in a stone might that be?”

“The one that makes a king of whomever draws it,” the guard snarled.

Dadger’s eyebrows arched in surprise. “Why, it sounds like its entire purpose is to be interfered with, then.”

The guard paused to think about that.

“And furthermore,” Dadger went on. “If one of us DID have this sword then they would be the king, no? So either you’ve got the wrong dwarves or you should be down on your knees hoping we don’t behead you for insolence.”

“You cheated!” the priest yelled. “You used hammers!”

“Didn’t see any rules posted,” Dadger said. “Are you declaring yourself in opposition to the crown?” A note of incredulity rang in his question. “There are two guards here. I could have you arrested for rebellion.”

“Good sirs,” Marlin said, stepping out to where he could be seen. “There is no need for this. I was here to oversee the entire operation. Look.” He opened the sack he’d been carrying under his arm. “I even brought warm scones for everyone. Have some.” He held the bag out.

“Master Marlin?” the priest asked. He looked a touch pale at the cheeks.

“The blueberry ones are freshest, though the strawberry ones are quite nice. I’ve no cream though,” he finished sadly.

“Our apologies,” the priest said, looking none too happy about giving them. “The king will…someone will hear of this.”

“Oh, I’m sure,” Marlin said as the priest turned and stormed back toward the church.

“I’ll ‘ave one of the strawberry ones,” one of the guards said.

***

“So we just need to get the sword to Nin,” Thud said. “Get the boy to the lake and she can rise up out of the water all majestic-like and give him the sword.”

They were back on the road, everyone munching happily on scones.

“I’m afraid the Lady of the Lake is asleep under a cot in the inn,” Marlin said. “And will be for some time.” He gave Dadger a look of reproach. Dadger’s ear twitched the same way it did when he was bluffing a run of chains in a game of cards.

Thud could feel the purple-face coming on. “Don’t tell me you did some fool thing like see how much drink it took to make the water comin’ off o’ her alcoholic.”

“No, no,” Dadger said. “We just gave her pretzels. Wanted to see if we could dry her out or make her saltwater.”

“Did it?”

“No, just made her sick. Didn’t expect that. Doc’s seeing to her, though. Think he’s giving her lake water to drink.”

“Then we just wait until she’s better.”

Marlin shook his head. “The time has grown too short already. Removing the sword from the stone had the effect of lighting a metaphoric fuse. Every glimmer of magical energy in the land is bent on that sword finding it’s way into someone’s hand.”

“We have it bundled up pretty tight,” Thud said. “It ain’t going to just fall into someone’s hands.”

“Is it hidden somewhere that can be burned down?” Marlin asked. “Can it be broken? Could a thief find it with a thorough search? Magic finds a way.”

“So you’re suggestin’ what? That we just go and hand the sword to the kid? Thought we couldn’t do that.”

“No,” Marlin said. “The prophecy must be followed.”

“The prophecy was pulling the sword out of the stone, though, weren’t it?”

“There’s a back-up prophecy. Where the sword is received from the Lady of the Lake. It’s what got her involved in this in the first place.”

“And then she involved us so she’d have the sword to give him,” Dadger said. “And then we went and made it so she can’t do the prophecy. That’s irony right there.” He had a thoughtful pause then turned to Cardamon. “Is that irony? I’m never sure.” Cardamon looked up at him and shrugged.

“So now he needs to get the sword from a Lake Lady?” Thud asked. “First we need to figure out a way to get him to the lake.”

“I can do that,” Marlin said. “I can ask the boy to take me fishing.”

“Wait, you know the kid? Why didn’t you just take him to the sword and the stone to begin with?”

“That was not my part to play. Nin is, well, a bit of a lady-friend to me, you might say.”

”Might we?”

“Well, she used to be.” The old wizard’s cheeks were pink. “We had a bit of a falling out where she turned me into a tree. There’s a bit of awkwardness between us so we stay away from each other.”

Thud gave a dismissive wave. “Fine. You know, there’s a reason prophets is illegal in Kheldurn and I’m starting to understand it. Well, let’s go take a look at this lake.”

***

Dawn was orange and crisp. The lake was calm and silent, save the call of a heron from somewhere past the reeds. The boy sat at the oars of the little rowboat. Marlin sat in the stern, facing him as he rowed. He’d brought a fishing rod to maintain the ruse and had a few lures stuck in his wizard hat. He was trying to spot something in the lake without looking like he was doing anything more than admiring the scenery.

Ah.

“There!” he said. “Look!”

The boy turned and froze, oars hanging motionless as the boat drifted.

A sword, rising from the lake. It gleamed in the morning light. More so once it adjusted itself slightly in order to direct the reflection at their eyes as best as it could. The anvil seemed to float beneath, held by pale hands, attached to pale and stubby arms. The water trickling down them hid the bit of razor burn. Dwarven arm hair did not go quietly into the night. And was that…music? A choir of voices from somewhere that carried lightly on the morning breeze.

“Who’s sword is that?” asked the boy.

A head rose from the water.

Some suggestions had been made during the planning regarding beard shaving. Some responses were given that made it clear that this was not going to be the plan adopted. Reasoning that the boy had never seen a lady in a lake before they decided that they had room for creatively reinterpreting the role, as Thud had put it.

The head was a thick tangle of riverweed with a pair of fish filling in for where the eyes would be. Cardamon had felt they made the head look more ‘lakey’.

“It’s my bleedin’ sword,” the weedy-headed lady said. Not quite the line he’d had them practice but at least it might have been the voice of a human woman. Maybe one recovering from a nasty cold. It would do well enough for a water spirit.

Marlin watched as a strange look came across the boy’s face. It was a look of burning desire, not born of greed but born of seeing a piece of oneself that has been missing. The boy had not realized how badly he needed that sword until it had been denied him. The experience was quite like one Marlin had endured involving a toddler and a set of keys.

“But you can have it,” the voice went on. “If you give me a present.”

“Whatever you ask,” the boy proclaimed. “On my honor, I will give it if it is in my power to give.”

He rowed forward. The lady of the lake’s head had to move out of the way a little to avoid getting thumped by the bow but the boy managed to get the boat in close. He reached out slowly. The music ceased. The land held its breath. The boy took the sword, a ringing chime sounding as the blade slid free of the anvil. The voices soared in song again and once again, the land had a king. The anvil sunk out of sight and the hands disappeared under the water quickly, as if not wanting to hang around for the after-party. The boy held the sword in one hand, giving it a slow and gentle caress with the other. His breath fogged its mirror finish then swirled away as vapor in the morning air.

“Name your gift, Lady.”

“A keg of ale and a sack of pretzels. And a towel.”

***

The Lady of the Lake stood in the courtyard. She had a towel wrapped around her head, a thick robe and was sipping a mug of hot chocolate. Cardamon still lingered behind her with a mop. She watched as Dadger added a new amendment onto the Dungeoneers sign. Just after the bit about kidnappings and above the ‘stop asking’ bit. Dadger dipped his brush in the paint can then wrote.

“No prophecies.”

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