Bounties of Dorn #3

As always, check out the link above for the rest of the story.

The ancient tree stump swung away on its hinges, just one entrance to Dorn’s tunnel complex.  He ignored the ladder and dropped in, landing in the perfect outline of his boots imprinted on the dirt floor from years of ignoring the ladder.  An edgy prickle on the back of his neck alerted Dorn to a problem.  He was not alone.  His eyebrow fold deepened in agitation, his mouth, turned down in a perpetual frown, frowned harder.  Dorn readjusted his brown cap, formless from the many times it had been squashed, stepped on, lost in rivers, and mended.  Far from pointy, the end of it drooped forward, sagging nearly to his forehead.

Where was the intruder?  Dorn squinted and strained with the effort of hearing all within his echoing tunnels.  Not a sound.  That he could not locate them due to heavy-breathing or squirming increased Dorn’s assessment of the danger.  A professional?  Who had he pissed off this time?

“Ahhhhrrrrrrrrmmmm,” Dorn cleared his throat, an indicator to whomever or whatever trespassed that the jig was up.

“Keeeeeeyeeeee!” whooped the minuscule green blur as it zipped across the floor.  Disgust filled Dorn with anger.

“Bloody piles o’ snot!  Green demons!” he cursed at the thing.  The blur went airborne a yard in front of him and flew toward his throat.  Dorn dodged to the side, allowing the neon green streak to smash into the wall.  While the tiny gnome was dazed, Dorn unhooked a nearby lantern and captured it.

“Can’ have peace in min’own home!  Scourge!  Think that ’cause yur small you can go everywer!  No privacy these days.  Now talk, ya blasted criminal,” he said, shaking the lantern.

“Please that’s makes me nauseous,” said the gnome.

“Ya’re already nauseous!  This makes ya nauseated, dolt!  What say ya?”

“I was sent by the Green Gnomes,” said the little man.  He sat to avoid falling over as Dorn held the glass up to his face.

“I knew tha’.  What fer?”

“You were poking around about our new wizard.  Chief don’t like it,” said the gnome.

“Ya know wha’ I don’ like?  Armin’ the kind o’ scum tha’ would blast me in the face with dead-makin’ fire!  I’m coming after ye now.  Held off this long at the request o’ the guard, but if they won’ stop ya, I will.  Tell your Chief,” said Dorn.

“You mean, you aren’t going to kill me?”

“Kill me messenger?  What would be the poin’ o’ tha’?”  Dorn trudged up the ladder, banging the lantern against every rung as he went.  He opened it on the grass and shook out the assassin.  The inner lantern had been covered in tiny bits of food.  Dorn grimaced.

“Ya know, painting yurselves that stupid color makes ya an easy target,” he said to the apple-sized man.

“Chief… says… it’s distinctive,” the gnome wheezed.

“Distinctly bad.  Fin’ a nice girl, an’ settle down,” said Dorn.  He slammed the tree trunk shut.

~ by Rachel Francis on July 26, 2012.

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