A meeting tomorrow afternoon at the stones. The stones were closer to the castle than the dwarven camp, but we were still obligated to report to the king first.Which was why Dunsa and I found ourselves in a most embarrassing situation.
"Yes Dwarf?" replied Araanea.
I shuffled my feet and then looked up with all the dignity I could muster.
"In order to alert the Dwarven king and prepare a detail of guards before tomorrows meeting... His Highliness The Dwarven King Harute Axebreaker's delegates require... an alternative means of transportation.
The elf stared at me. Then looked away. When he turned back towards me, I could see he was stoically trying to hide a smile.
"So... what you are saying... Master Dwarf... is that you and your compatriot wish to... accompany my comrade and myself back to the encampment... on... horseback?"
There are many constants in the world. One of which has something to do with Dwarves and Beer. Another quite different constant says something regarding dwarves' responses to being the butt of a joke.
"YES ELF. THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT I AM SAYING! Even though we are two very competent... and" I stressed this next word, "dangerous dwarves, we humbly realize that we do not have a chance of making it back to the encampment on time, traveling as we usually do."
Araanea nodded and spun towards the stable, but not before I caught his concealed smile grow into something that stretched across his face, and shook his shoulders.
We left within the hour. Dunsa rode with Araanea, more for Araanea's benefit than for Dunsa's. I rode with the she-elf called Celesta.
We stopped to make camp, had a small meal, then went to sleep with minimal chatter.
When we arrived at camp the next day, the elves allowed to hop off before we reached the camp. They rode in ahead and we followed a few minutes later.
We made a beeline for the King's tent, and made him aware of the situation.
"HE WHAT?" shouted Harute.
I glanced at Dunsa and continued. "He wishes to form an alliance against-"
"HE EXPECTS US TO FIGHT THE DRAGONS?" The King's tone dropped but the fire was still in his eyes. "Does that snot-nosed brat realize that the dragon's wrath was awakened as a result of HIS OWN KIND?"
"Yes. I made it quite clea-"
"Yet he has the audacity to ask us to join with him to fix a mistake that should be his to fix? I refuse to deal with this fool. We should continue to ally ourselves with elves, and let the human's worry about the dragons thems-"
"Shut up!" I shouted.
During the deafening silence that ensued, I looked at Dunsa and saw him staring at me in shock. I decided to continue talking before I the king recovered.
"I apologize my lord, but Dunsa and I are merely the messengers. We are obligated to work with this human King, even if he is incompetent. As I'm sure you realize, the dragons are a threat to all of us. A meeting may be in our best interests. We have to be at the stones in less than two hours. I do not presume to tell you how to run things my lord, but I suggest you find two other men for your personal detail."
With that I turned and strode out of the tent, hoping that my outburst might be forgiven once the king was in a clearer state of mind.
"Did you really mean what you said in there?" Dunsa asked me.
"Not at all." I replied. "But I had to say something to make him think about his problem with the humans and not his problem with me."
We walked in silence for a minute, then we both began to chuckle.