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Out of the Frying Pan and into the Lugian Mines

The morning sun rises over the eastern hills, bringing its warm light to Holtburg and chasing off dawn's bitter chill. I occupy my usual breakfast location, kneeling in front of the cow corral, waiting for the next spawn. I moisten my lips with my salivating tongue, the thoughts of a tender steak and ale for breakfast causes a waterfall of drool to stream from mouth and soaking my tunic.

"Umm… Unlaiden Sir. Patron Swallow, umm Sir." Jiggles McMankleman, my loyal midget vassal chimes in behind me. "Isn't 3 cows and a firkin of ale enough for breakfast. We could go on an adventure or something today. I hear a lot about the dungeons below Holtburg from people in town. It sounds very exciting."

The word adventure made me cringe. Adventure means I would have to get up and move around today. "Why don't you venture up to the pub and roll me down another firkin, you squeaky little dwarf. The lands outside this town are far too dangerous for the likes of you. Remember that you can get plenty of experience and excitement from assessing others' abilities and identifying non-magical gems at the jeweler." The lad is lucky to have such a caring and protective patron as myself.

Jiggles trots off towards the tavern just as the cow materializes before me. She looks at me and bleats nonchalantly then sniffs around for a bit of hay to chew on. I circle around her fenced quarters to place a section of that wooden rail fence between my meal and me. I have found from my vast cow slaughtering experience that it is safer to kill through the fence than inside the pen.

"Hey street puke. You get more experience if you face your foe rather than kill it from safety." A young adventurer calls from behind me. The group of studded-leather clad men with him begins to laugh. I hate humor I cannot understand.

"Then you have never felt the anger of an injured bovine, pubeless." Ah I love a good comeback.

The young group loses interest in my kill and my concentration returns to the unsuspecting heifer before me. From within an outer pocket, I produce a handful of grain. The cow's ears perk up at the sight and smell of the golden millet and she begins to prance and snort while I pour sweet honey onto it. I wave the honey grain at the cow and lure her close to the fence. Nervously she leans in and begins to lick the grain from my palm. I draw out my practice knife and while she is nibbling at the sweet treat, I pierce the blade deep into her fat neck. A thick stream of warm blood squirts from the wound, covering me with her vital fluids. I wipe the blood from my eyes and finish the kill, slicing the cow's neck from ear to ear. The lifeless bovine collapses at my feet.

"Woohoo!" I yell, holding my arms above my head, stretched out to make a 'V' symbol. I rip my tunic from my chest and climb up onto the fence surrounding the slain cow. "I am the king cow killer of Holtburg!" I begin rubbing my blood soaked hands across all three nipples and belly. I then bend over and while tugging on one of my nipples, I spank my bottom. The blood soaking my hands and pants sends droplets of blood with each slap, speckling the surrounding area. The sanguine fluid covering the post I'm standing on causes the surface to be very slick. I lose my footing due to one of the ass slaps and slip off the fence, falling into the cow pen, face first into a steaming pile of cow excrement.

The crowd surrounding my victory dance breaks out into laughter. "That's the third time this week that fat bastard fell off the fence and into crap!" "I can't believe he did it AGAIN!" I stand up and wipe a handful of the defecation from my face and fling it into the heckling crowd. The grouping onlookers scatter, leaving me to finish my breakfast in peace.

Carefully I cut out a large chunk of beef from the side of the cow and section it off into individual steaks. I pull out my iron skillet and place it over my crudely constructed campfire to heat up. The crusted remnants from the previous cooked meals begin to smoke and bubble. The salivation from my drooling palette dribbles onto the heated surface, hissing with protest. Oh, this is going to be a good steak.

Jiggles McMankleman, my allegiant midget vassal, rolls the firkin of ale from the pub down the street and towards me. Ah, perfect timing. Jiggles stops at the pen and sets the barrel of beer on its end, using it as a stool. He looks at my half naked blood stained body and crap-crusted face with disapproval. "I see you did your dance and fell off the fence again."

"Huh? Oh, no not this time Jiggles", I say, scratching a section of my neck clean. "Um, while you were gone… Umm…" My eyes dart around the area, looking for a good excuse. "While you were goofing off at the pub, I uhh… I was attacked… Yeah, attacked by a group of golems. Six of them came in here and they uh, they started attacking the town and were stomping about. Um, yeah 3 blood golems and 3 mud golems. Yeah, umm… I wasn't going to stand for it so I attacked the blood golems first. And, umm… after they sprayed their blood everywhere the mud golems came over, stomping things and such. One threw a clump of their smelly mud at me, landing in my face… yeah, and that only angered me. I killed them too." Once again, the art of deception flows from my tongue like a cornucopia filled with sweet cream.

"Yeah, well here's your drink." Jiggles pats the firkin beneath him. "You must be thirsty after such a tough battle."

"You know me too well." I throw a steak onto the grimy skillet, its flesh screaming out in protestation. "But this meal is missing something…" I scan the area for anything to cook up with the sizzling beef. In one corner of the cow pen lays a single cow pie. Growing on that pile are 4 pale mushrooms. I glance around to see if anyone is watching and quickly pluck the fungi from their moist nest.

"These should to the trick." I dice the mushrooms up and toss them into the skillet.

"Uh, sir… I don't think…"

"Bah! A novice should never question such a master chef as myself." I remove the hot skillet filled with beef and mushrooms from the fire and set it in the dirt in front of me to cool. Just the thought of a good steak and fried mushrooms makes my mouth water and scrotum tingle. "Crack open that barrel, it's time to eat!"

Jiggles fills my favorite oaken stoup with cool ale as I cut a piece of the cooked flesh with my stained knife. I toss the seared meat into my mouth and wash it down with a long draw from the wooden mug. As I'm consuming my meal, I overhear some warriors speaking of a hollow sword crafted from the mined ore from some distant dungeon.

"And my patron is on his way to open a portal to the Lugian Mines," One lad says, looking at each other adventurer in the group. "There, we can get the ore used to create the hollow sword."

Hollow sword? To me that sounds like a bigger piece of crap than the one dried to my forehead. I pull out my practice knife and tap it against the skillet. Sounds solid to me. Who would want a hollow weapon? What are those people going to use it for, a straw? I go back to my steak and mushroom feast, ignoring the rest of their conversation.

The hallucinogenic properties of the cooked mushrooms begin to kick in and take over my body. I stand up and look around at the people and buildings in my immediate area. The walls of the wooden structures seem to breathe inward and outward, the doors slowly take the shape of misshapen mouths and the windows metamorphosize into evil dark eyes. The people in the streets begin to stretch and shrink, each one a different color, some shape shifting into spiders and others into chubby gophers. I stumble into the crowd and notice all the gophers recoiling in my presence. Then appearing before me is a large purple flower, its petals spin around its inviting dark center.

"Portal to the Lugian Mines is open." I hear some distant voice echo in my head. Ignoring it I examine the mysterious flower closely. I lean in to smell its alluring fragrance and a large hand reaches out and pulls me into the flower's center. I am being dragged through a long winding tube, my belly retracts and expands with the gravitational force, and exhuming everything I ate this morning. Around me are droplets of oddly colored liquid, mixed with brown chunks. Eventually the pulling stops and I am thrown from the grasp of the tunnel and onto a dirt floor. The liquid and chunks that were following me in the wormhole exit and drench me, covering my body with its odd colors and fleshy lumps of meat.

I pull myself to my feet and look around. The building I was transported to is massive. The ceiling is at least 50 feet above my head. The walls are constructed of massive slabs of granite. My head begins to clear, the chemical that was once fogging my brain now covers my clothes. I have no idea where I am and how I get back to my beloved Holtburg. The townspeople will be distraught if I never make it back… and my vassal, oh how he will miss my stern guidance.

Around me, others begin exiting the portal and filling the room. Each one stumbles out of the portal and quickly away from me, clenching their nostrils shut. I look down at my bare belly and pants. I thin glaze of bile coats my skin and clothing. Suspended in the vomit are small chunks of cooked steak. I pick a few of the larger pieces and pop them back into my mouth, chewing hungrily. I hate to waste such a delicious meal.

"Is everyone ready to mine the ore?" The obvious leader of this gathering calls out and looks around at the group of fighters. "Everyone stay close and we should be ok. Uh, everyone but the fat stinky guy there." She looks at me with disgust. "He needs to stay back a bit, uh, way back."

I look at the woman who will be leading this party to gather some sort of ore. She is fully dressed in jet-black platemail. In one hand, she holds a sturdy metal round shield and the other hand she is wielding a scary looking spear, its shaft and tip crackle with electricity.

"Uh, excuse me." I call to the female leader. "How is a trollop like yourself, prancing around with that sparkling toothpick and jiggling your breasts in that black tin can you wear expect to lead a group in what appears like a very dangerous place?" I knew that if I were to survive the dangers that lie ahead of me, it would be best to sweet talk the guide. "I mean, if all you are is the bell cow, then that's fine. But if you feel that a amazon bink like yourself can keep this group protected as well, I'd like to know how."

An angered look exchanges itself with her once sweet face. "Ok, everyone, let's head out." She points the lightning spear towards me, pricking my third nipple with it, sending a mild jolt through my chest. "And if you don't like me leading this party to the ore, you obese monkey, you are more than welcome to walk in front of the group."

For some reason, women just can't get enough of me. "Nay, nay busty harlot. Lead on, and please shake that ass a bit of yours too when you walk. I need some distraction from this drab dungeon."

The brave lady warrior storms off, each member of this ore gathering party follows closely. In the distance, I can here large crashing noises and painful screams. What matter of man or beast would occupy such a massive building? I didn't want to find out but I better play it safe. I draw my knife from a pocket and hold it firmly in one hand.
The group rounds a corner and before us is a steep ramp leading down into what appears to be a network of crudely dug caves. The crashing sounds become louder and pained screams fill the air. I plant one thumb into my mouth, sucking it like starving baby clamped to its mother's teet. I knew I shouldn't have eaten those mysterious mushrooms growing in the cow excrement, but my appetite speaks louder than my common sense.

As we reach the bottom of the sloped pathway, a massive human-like beast appears before us. The monster stands 25 feet tall and is wielding a two-bladed battle-axe. "Mommy!" I yell and fall to my knees, urine pooling around me. I grab the armored leg of our fearless female leader with one arm and continue suckling my thumb.

"Get off me!" She yells, kicking her leg while trying to fend off the monstrosity before her. She boots me to one side and begins her attack. The long spear of electricity pierces the beast's skin and doing noticeable damage. After a few moments and with virtually no harm caused to the group, the monster plunges backwards, crashing to the hard dirt floor. A victorious cheer comes from the group, I run in and try to get a few high-fives but fall 2 feet short of the nearest hand slap.

"Good job team," I say, smiling at our well-fought victory. "Well, OK job team, and a damn good job to me. You all probably missed it because of my fast speed and lightning reflexes, but the death blow I landed on that creature will be the warning for all other giants that want a piece of us." I extend one hand above my head, waiting for a flood of high-fives.

Mumbles of twit, jerk, and idiot roll through the group. My sentiments exactly. Our fallen enemy was a complete idiot to mess with me and my adventurers. "Let's press on!" The leader calls and we continue down the dark, damp cave.

To my horror as we press on deeper into this dungeon was the amount of human bodies that littered the pathway without being rifled through for money. I was amazed that no one stopped and looted the corpses. We pass one fallen warrior, a young female lying lifeless in a pool of her own blood. The scantly donned leathers red soaked and cut. I stop at the body as my party continues on. I kneel at her body and hold her cold, stiff head in my hand. Softly a press my lips against her blood crusted blue lips. "Too bad we weren't alone." I whisper into her half-chewed off ear and stand back up, running to catch up with the advancing party.

Just ahead of us, the cave dead-ends and a large deposit of ore protrudes from the back wall. In front of it stand 2 more giant beasts, brandishing their axes and guarding their precious chorizite ore. The party rushes towards the guardians, swinging their weapons. I slink around the battle to examine the ore. I wonder what this is used for and why a band of people would risk their lives for a chunk of it. I drag a large pickaxe to the ore deposit and break off a large piece, quickly shoving it into my pouch.

The battle with the beasts rage on. Slowly the 2 giants fall, lifeless they crumble before the attacking group. When the last monster collapses, I jump into the crowd and embed my knife into the back of an already dead giant. "Gather your ore before the Lugians return." The lead female calls out, wiping the thick blood from her spear. I yank the knife from the slain Lugian and hold it above my head. It feels good to be in control.

The black armored female knight announces to the group that the ore must be refined in a fort to the far northwest prior to getting it forged into a weapon. I hold the purplish chunk of chorizite ore in one hand and my practice knife in another. Ah well, I have come this far, I might as well at least see what this desired weapon is all about. And from my experiences with this group so far, I couldn't leave them to do it on their own. I'd better continue to extend my helpful hand or this party may perish before reaching its goal.

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