Tonight a quarter moon floats in a white halo over the Tuskwater. As high clouds drift near the horizon, the water reflects the moon’s brilliance in a path of shimmering light. The night air carries a chill, encouraging Nibbs to snuggle tight into my back. Bats flutter above me as smoke crawls up from the barrel of my pipe. It’s good to have some time to appreciate the simple wonders of life.
I’m on my way back to Tatzlford after a week among the dwarves in Shrikewatch. The opening ceremony for the city obviously did not go as planned, but after a minor detour to a distant dwarven settlement, Ulgar seems to have brought the city back to a state of near normalcy. I lingered a bit longer to share herbs and drink with the travelers who had come for the ceremony. It was a good time and well-earned after the battle won.
I will never forget what I saw in the caverns that evening, a dragon swimming in molten stone and a towering pillar of crimson ooze. But that wasn’t all I saw. In the midst of our battle, Ulgar was blessed with flight and took off scurrying into the air. His short little legs pumping, he charged upwards to meet the dragon and struck it down with his hammer. I’m sure the stories will remember the final blow far more than the way it was delivered, but I for one will never forget the image of a dwarf spiraling upwards like a hairy, armor-plated balloon.
With the dragon defeated and the ooze burned to putrid slime by Nibb’s beak, Kifu was able to retrieve the dragon’s body from the river of magma. I was able to remove a few of the scales to take back with me, I’m sure I’ll find good use for them once I return to Tatzlford. It’s a shame to see such a magnificent creature cast down, but I know that there was no other choice. The beast was no friend of the moon.
It took us some time to remove the dragon’s hoard, which, while impressive, had little of interest to me. Its strange that dragons crave treasure with such appetite, including items of no possible use to themselves. I suppose that they’re similar to humans in that way, except humans tend to be far more covetous than they are greedy. They care less about what they have and more about what they perceive their neighbors are keeping from them.
Me, I’m happy with a warm friend on a cold night and a fragrant pipe. True wealth is not measured in gold or silver, but in simple measures of contentment. I wouldn’t trade a moment like this for all the gold in the treasury.
Still, it would have been nice if the moon had found me something useful to leave among the dragon’s hoard. Maybe next time I’ll be luckier.