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Posted by on 2000 Jan 11 |

Ramblins from a naked dwarf

(Crossing, Zoluren: 93 Lirisa 360)

Baresh hears slow footsteps and glancing at the door. He sees the bald, scared, copper skinned head of a dwarven barbarian all hunched and covering his face with gloved hand. Notwithstanding this, the wet leather and Viper Oil smell announces the newcomer’s identity…

"Solrac Nabori… back already from the funeral. How is your brother, Otsenre?" Baresh asks.

With painfully slow movements, the barbarian peeks thru his fingers at Baresh. Baresh can see hate and pain in the black eyes.

With a croaked voice the still hunched dwarf answers, "Baresh, I know you do not need my business or my stories, but I would appreciate if you never mention that name again, I have heard of the stories he told you… I will only clarify one thing, if I may, I never wanted to stay as a clown at that wretched circus."

Solrac jumps on a faintly blood tainted stool and mumbling through his gloved hand, he asks Baresh for a Spiced Rum. Baresh silently serves him and goes around serving other clients and making a show of cleaning the glasses…

After eyeing his drink for a long time, and fumbling badly at trying to drink it with a hand still clasped to his face Solrac finally lets out a sigh a removes his hand from his face to drink the shot of rum in one quick gulp and again cover his face. Baresh, sharp as always, gasps after noticing the short stubble covering the face of the Dwarf who until last month at least proudly strode around with a long beard carefully braid in three long braids.

Solrac flinches as if hurt when hearing the gasps and with a look of resignation removes his hand and with shame full eyes glances at Baresh.

"Yes, I lost my beard, that and a few memories and experiences… but the beard actually hurts the most. Give me another shot of the spiced rum, I have still some money this time!" And the strangely naked face twist in an agonizing grin before exploding in a sad laughter.

"I went for the preparations and burial of Odnalor’s ashes, my father had expressed to… him … that he wanted to be buried by my mother. I opposed to that, but my father wishes had to be carried out. If there is any justice, I must say I was much surprised to find next to my mother the tomb for the pony blamed for her death…" Solrac interrupts himself for a drink of rum.

"But let the death fight the death, or forgive them if so they prefer… we the living only have our memories, nightmares and to relentless search for our own death!" the dwarf empties his glass and eyeing his reflection in the mirror behind Baresh sights.

"My beard you must be wondering… where did I leave it? Oh yes… The gods took it as part of my reparations to them before allowing me to return among the living… Since returning from the funeral I have busied myself with all these war doings. Hey! A man must look for some consolation, and since unfortunately Naresha is not always at hand to make me remember that life can be worth living, I have participated in a few skirmishes."

Baresh replenish the dwarf’s glass with spiced rum, avoiding to look at his face, there is just something strange on the fleshy, almost obscene face.

"Thanks Baresh. Yep I am the proud veteran of two battles, and when in the future my kids ask what I did during the war I will be able to say… Die!" Solrac explodes in laughter, "That should scared them silly!"

"A few things I have learned, to recognize the approach of my own death, to sheath my weapons and wear my shields prior to dying and then, if possible, to withdraw and attempt to heal myself. There is just no point in blindly trying to fight to the last second, you only make a nuisance of yourself by later requesting drags from a dangerous battle spot, screaming and making the combatants confused. Use your last moments to move to a quieter place, even if one is still unable to steer clear of death, one can from there better obtain help in raising or glyphs before departing."

"So Baresh… I might not know enough about fighting as to pretend to teach anyone… but in dying I am becoming an expert!"

The dwarf barbarian removes some coins from his leather coat (one of those favored by Rock Trolls) and pays Baresh. He gets up from the stool and starts staggering towards the door with his face covered. Just as he leaves he yells at back Baresh.

"One last thing, tell those esteemed battle leaders to take in account the Barbarians Roar… that is why my deep, melodious, movingly sensual voice is so harsh tonight…" The thunderous laughter of Solrac starts again and with this Baresh can hear the barbarian singing some sad song about his having a little frog…