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Devahammer by Allen Stover

For Roxanne, Kacie, Jeff

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Chapter 1

It started out as a quiet morning for the ranger Dorm Silverfalcon. A man in his late twenties; standing at six foot with brown hair and green eyes, Dorm was seated downstairs in the lobby of the Elven Dagger inn, getting some morning ale. The Elven Dagger was located in the small town of Hopeful. It was normally a spot where bards would share stories about the battles of the gods and the heroes who had fallen in those battles.

However, on this particular morning, the Dagger was empty, which didn't really bother Dorm. He and his companions Timer and Roxi had stopped in Hopeful two days earlier.

As he drank his ale, Dorm stared around the inn, admiring the finely crafted wooden walls and the carvings of bears, cats, and dogs. The ranger stroked his clean-shaven chin and reflected on his days as a Steel Legionnaire. Along with the elven thief Timber and the half kender Roxilandra, and other heroes from around Ansalon, Dorm was part of a small group of Steel Legionnaires who patrolled the southern lands of the continent. Dorm had been associated with the Legion of Steel since he turned sixteen winters, but all of those days ended when the group's commanding officer decided to split the group.

All Dorm had left of those days were his two friends who had been journeying with him for most of his adult life.

"Don't hoard all ale for yourself," Timber remarked as he walked downstairs, and slowly moved towards the area where Dorm was sitting.

Dorm watched as the elf was gracefully walking towards him. Like many elves, Timber sported a slender figure that was covered by the elf's dark colored leathers. He wore his long blond hair in a ponytail and had light blue eyes.

With a smirk on his face, Timber sat next to Dorm, then reached over and brushed his bony fingers across the ranger's dark blue shirt. "Silk shirt, and silk pants made in Solomnia, what's the occasion?" he asked in a soft voice

"No special occasion," Dorm remarked in a calm manner, sipping his ale, "and if you remember, I bought these in Nereka."

Timber shook his head in a disapproving manner. "Thatís right. Now what have I always told you Dorm. Consorting with dark knights will always get you in trouble. Remember what happened after you bought those clothes?"

Dorm finished his ale and crossed his arms. "We would have gotten out of the marketplace if you hadn't put your hand's in that one dark knight's bag of steel."

The elf turned with a laugh, and then ordered some ale. Dorm looked at the stairs, seeing Roxi admiring a wooden carving of a dragon. Roxilandra, or Roxi as her friends called her, was a soft-spoken half kender in her early thirties with blond hair up in a topknot and blue eyes. She had spent years as a scout and bodyguard in the Legion of Steel. Shortly after she, Timber, and Dorm parted ways from the rest of the group, the goddess Mishakal appeared to the half kender, giving her a long blue colored staff with an eagleís head carved at the top and a blue silk robe that Roxi now wore with pride. Roxilandra had always been interested in the gods since the days of the Second Cataclysm. On the day Mishakal appeared to her, Roxi had pledged her life to the goddess and became a devoted cleric.

Dorm stepped out of his chair and quietly walked over to the cleric. Timber glanced over into their direction, then grabbed Dorm's ale mug and asked the beautiful barmaid to fill it for him.

Standing just a few inches below Dormís height, Roxilandra saw the ranger approaching out of the corner of her eye. She threw back her hair and turned in his direction. "Tis a beautiful morning isn't it? Mishakal has blessed us."

Dorm nodded his head. Roxi certainly appeared more human than kender. She didn't quite have the problem of "finding" other people's belongings like all full blooded kender, but her natural innocence and optimism she inherited from her kender mother were always nice to have around. Especially in a bad situation.

"It is a beautiful morning," the ranger said softly," Did you sleep well?"

The cleric sighed. "As well as could be expected. Are we going to be traveling to Barter this day?"

Dorm bit his lip. He hadn't thought about that.

Barter was a small town west of Hopeful. Dorm had gotten word from a merchant that Barter's mayor was looking into hiring bodyguards. Dorm's original plan had been to travel to Barter days earlier, but an ogre raid forced Dorm and his two companions to stay in Hopeful and help the townspeople drive out the ogres. Part of him wanted to leave Hopeful later in the afternoon, but the ranger felt he still had some business here in the small town.

"Probably in a day or two at most," he responded after a moment of silence.

"No big deal Dorm, I was just wondering." Roxi walked down the stairs and over to the bar. Dorm peered out of the window that sat opposite of the carving of the dragon, seeing the townsfolk move through the streets. He then spotted two dark knights dressed in black armor walking over to three dwarves dressed in leathers.

Dorm watched as a blond haired knight stepped in front of one of the dwarves. "What would Knights of Nereka be doing in Hopeful?" he murmured, drawing his long sword he called Silverwind.

At the bar, Timber's ears picked up the faint sound of Dorm's voice and quickly drew his rapier. He looked at the cleric, who was hunched over a small plate of eggs and softly spoke," Do be a dear Roxi and watch over my ale while Dorm and I attend to go outside for a minute."

)( )( )( )( )( )(

Borowin and his bodyguards Vash and Brunhilda studied the two dark knights, who now stood in front of them. They both appeared to be twice as tall as the average dwarf and very muscular underneath their black plate armor.

One of the knights attempted to step closer to Borowin, but Vash and Brunhilda drew their weapons and stood in-between the dark knight and the mystic. "Is there something we can help you with?" asked the strawberry blond haired dwarf Brunhilda in a soprano voice. She wore steel plate armor and was stout like most dwarves, but her face lacked the beard.

The dark knight with blond hair spoke. "I am Dexter, Knight of the Lily. I have come on behalf of my commander Unther Swordbreaker, who is also a Knight of Nereka. He wishes to speak with you three. Particularly the one who is traveling to the Plains of Dust."

Borowin clenched his fists. The knights must have somehow figured out about his quest to find the Devahammer. "I am sorry Sir Dexter," Borowin answered quietly from behind his bodyguards," but we are just travelers from Thorbardin. We have no idea what you are talking about."

The two dark knights looked at one another and grabbed the hilt of their swords, knowing that the dwarf was lying. They knew other ways to make stubborn dwarves talk.

The knights were ready to attack when Borowin spotted two strangers walking towards them, one elf and one human. They both had their blades drawn and were walking at a quick pace.

"Well, what do we have here?" the elf remarked.

"Gentlemen, I hardly think it's polite to interrogate travelers on the streets, wouldn't you agree?" added the human.

The knight Dexter turned to the strangers. "This doesn't concern you. Move along, or else we'll have to use our weapons against you."

Timber looked at Dorm with a smirk on his face. "These don't look like ogres, but they kind of smell like them."

Dorm let out a laugh. Leave it to Timber to provoke an attack. "You appear to be harassing these dwarven travelers," the ranger said to Dexter and his comrade. "As self appointed protectors of the town of Hopeful, I must ask you to cease your actions."

A crowd of townsfolk started to gather, which made the dark knights take their hands off of their weapons. "We do not wish to cause a scene in front of the citizens of Hopeful," Dexter said aloud," but we won't forget this. Come along Marcus."

Dexter and Marcus quickly walked away from the dwarves. Dorm caught a cold glare from Dexter's eyes.

The ranger turned to the elf. "That was easier than I thought."

The elf nodded. "A little too easy if you ask me. Something tells me we haven't heard the last of this."

Borowin stepped beside Dorn and bowed politely. "I appreciate your help, but we could have handled ourselves."

Dorm and Timber looked at one another, wondering if the dwarf was thanking them. "Why were those knights after you?" Dorm asked.

Borowin sighed. "My bodyguards and I had come from Thorbardin. We are traveling to a temple located in the Plains of Dust."

"Why would you want to go to a temple hidden in the Plains of Dust," Timber asked before accidentally bumping into the two bodyguards, causing them to drop their belongings.

"That doesn't concern you now does it elf?" Borowin said coldly.

Timber ignored the mystic's words, throwing a smile at the blond haired female dwarf as he bent down to retrieve her pack.

After the elf helped pick up the bodyguard's belongings, he stepped back and politely bowed to Brunhilda. Borowin looked up at Dorn and quietly said," We must be traveling along the East Road. Farewell."

The dwarven mystic and his bodyguards quickly walked away from Timber and Dorn. "I hope they make it safe," the ranger said under his breath.

Timber patted his friend's shoulder. "I'm sure they'll be fine." The elf rogue reached behind his back, pulling out a small brown bag. "They might be missing a few coins though." He reached into the bag, pulling out a few steel pieces. "Next round of ale is on me."

Dorm smiled. He looked down at Silverwind for a moment, then made a rash decision. "Keep the drinks warm for me Timber, I'm going to follow those dwarves."

)( )( )( )( )( )(

Borowin, Brunhilda, and the red bearded Vash quietly walked down the East Road. The mystic didn't mean to offend the ranger back in Hopeful, but he also didn't have time for idle chitchat. He had a quest to complete.

Vash scouted ahead. A cool breeze brushed his long and heavy red beard. He didn't see anything on the road that appeared threatening. Just a couple of brown squirrels running around.

Brunhilda walked quietly in front of the mystic, keeping her axe over her shoulders. She ran her fingers along her beardless chin, humming a quiet tune to herself.

Keeping himself as quiet as possible, Borowin reached inside his back and pulled out the map Cole had given him. The East Road was marked on the parchment, as was the town of Hopeful and Hall of Angels. The mystic saw a faint blue line on the map between the East Road and the outer area of the Plains of Dust.

Before Borowin could study the map more, he heard Vash's cry of "dark knights" coming from the front.

Borowin drew his morningstar, moving quickly to the front. Brunhilda tried to keep him held back, but the mystic pushed through his bodyguard. He looked forward, seeing seven men in black armor. One of the men Borowin recognized was Dexter. The dark knight drew his sword and ran up to Vash, making a quick slash across the dwarf's chest.

Borowin's eyes widened in anger as he watched Vash's body drop to the ground. "Don't worry, your companion is still alive," Dexter said in cold voice. "I knew I would run into you again. My commander has need of you, so if you value your bodyguard's life, and the lives of you and your female companion, then you will come with us."

Borowin gritted his teeth in anger. He had no other choice.

<--- Prelude 

Chapter 2 ---> 

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Last Modified: Friday October 27, 2006

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