Ordurin and Orban

By René Dario Herrera

Ordurin awoke. Darkness all around. Not the familiar darkness of an underground Dwarven fortress. Not familiar like his ancestral home of Mahakam. It was dark and damp. He was on a small boat. “About time you’re awake.” announced the resonate voice. “I didn’t think such a small dose of chloroform would knock you out for so long. But then, you are small. Even for a dwarf.”

Orban gazed at the smaller dwarf. Orban huge for a dwarf, nearly as tall as a short human and twice as intimidating. When he picked Ordurin from the pub as his next victim, he had assumed the small dwarf, who was drinking and smoking his weight in gold, would have had a decent sized coin purse, but it had only two coins remaining after the night of debauchery. Feeling disappointed in wasting a chloroform dose, Orban decided to double down and kidnap the smaller dwarf. Now, with dawn approaching, the victim has finally awoken. Orban spoke, “Where did you get the crowns to pay for all that ale?” adding extra emphasis to the word crowns.

Ordurin, laughing so loud it shook the boat, “Laddie, did you not see that I was stealing coins from the human merchant at the end of the bar? You must have noticed this from where you sat at the top of those trees you call legs?”

Ordurin, beginning to realize the danger may yet pass, continued, “You see, I travel the continent. I drink ale. I smoke the finest tobacco. No one notices the simple looking dwarf. I can get close to my target and liberate their crowns when they least suspect it. Those humans can be careless with their coin purses. Your height must have made you blind to the obvious. Now turn this boat around and get us back to shore before I cut myself loose and toss your overgrown hide overboard.”

Orban, feeling annoyed at his own mistake, was not ready to turn the boat around. Deciding to continue his plan to shake down the small dwarf, he said, “No. If you’re such a successful thief, you must have a stash of treasure somewhere nearby. Take me to it. Or it’ll be your puny hide that gets poked full of holes and tossed overboard for the fish.”

“Laddie,” Ordurin began, “I’m a thief. Just like you set out to be. But I’m not foolish enough to keep any more coin on me than I need. I’m smarter than that. Now, untie me and be done with this foolishness.”

Feeling disappointed that his threat lacked the intimidation needed to coerce the small dwarf to give up his treasure, Orban said nothing. Instead, he began to row the boat back to shore, defeated. It was not very far and after a few minutes they were back within a few meters of the water’s edge. Where, in the breaking darkness of morning, Orban spotted a group of armed humans waiting for them.