CHAPTER THREE: Crossing the Rabbit's Path

     The deep crevasse that delved into an all-too welcoming, (not to mention unbelievably jagged), ravine was an unsettling sight. Grom was standing at a safe distance as he peered over its edge, enjoying the rise of a new day’s sun. He had witnessed many breathtaking sunrises from the foot of Redwing Peaks, but nothing compared to the way each icy slope was washed in gradual waves of gentle sunrays. The air was cool and crisp from that height, and he drew in a long breath that escaped him as visible mist. “Are we almost there yet?” he shouted to Bornen.

     “It won’t be long now. Maybe another league or so,” he replied impatiently. “Hurry up Grom, you're worse than Dhumond was!”

     Grom shook his hips and readjusted his trousers, then hastily returned to the pony’s side in order to resume the journey. “What was he like, Papa?” he asked, kicking the clumps of snow off of his boots.

     “Your father?” Bornen said eagerly, preparing another trip to the past, “He was as thoughtful as they come, and earnest too. You’ve heard me talk about him before Grom-”

     “Yes, but Mam never let you really talk about him. I meant what was he like as an adventurer?”

     “Well,” he shrugged with modest pride, “he was foolhardy, but smart. Yes, very smart. Clever enough to be honored as Dhumon Gianthammer, that is. He never did tell me how he managed to kill them both at once . . .”

     “Big Toe and S-uh, S-S . . . the giant?”

     “The same fight,” Bornen remarked to himself as he combed his beard, “I just don’t understand . . . Anyway, before he was ever Gianthammer, he was known as Dhumond Ogrebane. He had a talent for sniffing out ogre lairs – I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. His intuition was as sharp as dragon’s teeth. And, and, before that,” he added with mounting giddiness, “he was Dhumond the Quake.”

     “I think you mean to say the Quick, Papa,” Grom interjected helpfully.

     “No, no,” he chuckled, “there’s nothing quick about us dwarves! Other than our wits, I suppose, or our appetites. He was definitely Dhumond the Quake, I remember that much. You see, he was responsible for causing a rockslide that toppled and buried the hecta-headed hydra . . . what was it called again? Blast, I just had it on the tip of my tongue.” He cast a thoughtful glance to the clouds. “Hmm.”

     “He slayed a hydra once?” Grom inquired in awe.

     “Shagath! That’s right,” Bornen said rhetorically, “the brute’s name was Shagath . . . Seven Snakes. With all of those pairs of eyes you’d expect it to see boulders barreling down cliff sides. And right on top of its seven heads too! They say that the Realm trembled for miles as it tumbled down the gorge.” He ventured to laugh, but he choked on a dry cough instead. “I suggested he go with something more traditional,” he mentioned conversationally, “like Dhumond Snakemaster, or Rockshepherd, but he always strove to keep the titles short and simple, you know. Speaking of snakes, have I ever told you about the time-”

The End

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