Medievia Mudslinger

July 21st, 2003

Best Laid Plans by Krandor



"Come on Krandor, let's do this," said Dolph, as he stood above a large hole that opened the ground. Faint wisps of smoke rose from the hole. They drifted into the trees, caught by a light morning breeze.

"No," Krandor said, as he walked up beside Dolph and looked into the hole with distaste.

"Why no?"

"Because I have no desire to go crawling around in a filthy hole, just to get my head bitten off for my troubles."

"Look, its not even home. Dragons always cover their lairs when they're home."

"Seriously Dolph, you don't know that. How many lairs have you actually seen?"

"Well none, but that's beside the point. Think of how much gold is down there. We could climb down, fill our bags, and get out before the dragon gets back. Krandor? Are you thinking about it?"

Krandor picked up a rock and idly played it across his fingers. "Actually, I'm thinking about how every time we go through with one of your plans, we either get in trouble or I get hurt. Besides, we have jobs waiting for us at Tasnica as soon as we get there. So, my answer will have to remain 'no'. Let's get on the road, for we have a long ride."

"Such a baby," Dolph sneered.

"Ok fine, I'll give you ten minutes. If we don't find any gold down there in ten minutes we, leave. Deal?"

"It's a deal as long as I get to say 'I told you so'."

"No."

Dolph laughed as he walked off towards the road. A few minutes later he returned, carrying two large sacks and a long coil of rope. Setting the sacks down beside Krandor, he turned and tied one end of the rope around a nearby tree. Then, taking the coil of rope, he walked over to the edge of the hole and dropped it into the darkness. Dolph turned to Krandor and said, "Well, you first."

"Naturally," said Krandor, as he took the rope in his hands and swung over the edge of the hole. Slowly, he slid down the rope until he felt soft earth under his feet. The smell of sulfur assaulted his nose, and smoke burned his eyes as he looked around the cavern. A large tunnel stretched off to the north, burrowing deeper underground. Suddenly, a sharp cry sounded from above, and Dolph fell to the ground beside him. The rope came tumbling down the cavern wall and fell in coils on top of Dolph. Dolph scrambled to his feet and muttered some curses.

"That was some fine knot-tying there buddy," said Krandor.

"Shut up."

"Oh yeah?" teased Krandor, trying not to laugh at his friend. "Where are your bags?"

Dolph quickly looked on the ground around him, but his bags were nowhere to be seen. He stared up at the cavern mouth high above them. "Damn, I must have left them up there," he muttered. "Oh well, let's make the best of this and see what we can find."

"By all means, lead on," chuckled Krandor.

They had stumbled down the dark tunnel for several hours, guided only by the pale radiance of Dolph's magical diamond orb, when Krandor finally called a halt. A few feet in front of them, the tunnel opened into a vast cavern which Dolph's light could not penetrate. Krandor leaned against the earthen wall of the tunnel and asked, "Where did you get that light?"

"A glabrezu was kind enough to part with it," said Dolph.

"You mean you stole it," said Krandor.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. He won't be needing it anymore in any case."

"I see," Krandor said, as he stood up from the wall and walked to the end of the tunnel. "You know something Dolph?" he asked as he looked into the cavern. "There doesn't seem to be any gold here, just a whole lot of dark. By the way, you're well past your ten minutes, so I suggest we head back and find a way out of this hole."

"Fine, just let me check out this last cavern before we go," said Dolph.

"Sounds like a plan."

Dolph led the way from the tunnel to the cavern floor. The slope was rather shallow, and the ground was soft dirt with very few rocks, making their passage quite easy. Within a few breaths time, they stood upon the cavern floor. The faint sound of dripping water echoed from the darkness.

Krandor looked around and said, "Doesn't look like there's anything here either Dolph. We need to go, by the time we get back to the entrance and find a way up the cavern wall we'll have lost an entire day to this foolishness." He turned and headed for the tunnel entrance. Dolph took a last look around the cavern and turned to follow his friend. As he started to move, he caught a faint glimmer of light at the edge of his orb's radiance.

"Wait," Dolph called. "I found something." As Dolph approached the object, his orb's pale light splashed over a huge pile of gold coins, crowns, bracelets, and other treasures so numerous that Dolph couldn't even begin to count them. Dolph whistled softly.

"Well, isn't it a shame that someone forgot their bags," Krandor said, walking up beside Dolph.

"Yeah, shut up."

"Alright, you can say it."

"I told you so! Here, hold this." Dolph handed Krandor his orb and then began to stuff his pockets with gold. Krandor picked up a ruby the size of his fist and examined it.

"Did you by chance stop to think why this treasure is still here?" asked Krandor.

"I'm telling you, there's no dragon in this hole."

"How do you know?"

"I have a feeling."

"I've learned from the past that your feelings are less than reassuring." Krandor played the light over the treasures. Suddenly, at the very edge of the orb's reach, he caught a glimmer of motion that vanished into the darkness. He took a few steps closer, but whatever had moved was gone.

"Hey," Dolph called. "Bring that light over here. It's hard to see."

"I think it's time to go," said Krandor quickly. "I just saw something move out there."

"It's just your imagination," replied Dolph. "There's nothing here but us and this gold." They both heard and felt the large thud of something heavy hitting the ground behind them.

"You were saying?" pressed Krandor.

"Yeah," replied Dolph. "I was saying that I think it's time we left."

A blast of hot air struck them from behind, slamming them into the treasure. Krandor scrambled to his feet and peered into the darkness.

"What were the words?" Krandor asked. "Oh yeah, 'There's no dragon in this hole'."

"Don't mock me," Dolph retorted. "Besides, now is not the time."

"Figured I'd do it one last time," Krandor said.

The instant Krandor finished speaking, a gout of flame burst into life. It illuminated the entire cavern, revealing a massive red dragon that stood towering over the two men. Dolph closed his eyes and screamed as the dragon's head hurtled towards him and Krandor. Thinking quickly, Krandor grabbed his friend's shoulder and chanted a few arcane words. With a flash of light, the two men disappeared just as the dragon's head slammed into the treasure where they had been standing.

"Dolph, stop screaming," said Krandor. "People are staring."

Dolph opened his eyes and looked around. He stood in a spacious courtyard, near a large marble fountain. Several commoners around the fountain gawked at Dolph as if he had suddenly sprouted a second head. Dolph felt his face flush bright red as he asked, "Where are we?"

"In the City of Medievia," replied Krandor. "Luckily, I was able to pull off that transport with less than a second to spare. Hopefully, we can purchase some new horses tomorrow and be able to set out for Tasnica before noon. Go find a place to stay the night, and for Vryce's sake don't get in trouble."

"Hey, it's me," Dolph said with a smile, as he turned and headed for the nearest tavern.

"Yeah, that's what worries me," Krandor thought, as he sat down on the edge of the fountain, letting out a huge sigh of relief.

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