Foreword: I love The Hammer so much I just had to include him in this. Also, sorry if i accidentally misrepresent any of your characters.
After the quagmire with the Orcs Guntor felt Tense and jittery. He looked over at Peabody and saw that the poor manservant was practically reduced to a puddle; occasionally muttering things like, I’m going to die here,” and, “mother was right, I never should have left Neverwinter.” With that pathetic example as inspiration, Guntor decided that he needed to go out for a bit. He got up and brushed himself off then walked over to the rest of his companions. He couldn’t see Kheg, which wasn’t uncommon, Charlatan and Mizry were sitting together a few yards away, and The Hammer was putting on a hammer juggling display for Owly.
The Hammer thundered a chuckle and haughtily proclaimed, “HA! The owl is wide eyed in amazement at my hammers!”
“Of course he’s wide eyed, he’s an owl.” interjected Myrrdin with an unamused remark
“Then he’s um… Double wide eyed!… or super wide eyed?… Either way the owl likes The Hammer’s hammers.”
As if to prove that his display was impressive, The Hammer started adding hammers until he was at ten in total. Myrrdin did seem impressed, but he took a large step back- looked down and thought for a second- then took another step. Guntor walked over to Charlatan and Mizry who were talking intently with each other. Before Mizry noticed Guntor and stopped, he overheard a little of what she was saying; something about feeling cold and aching joints. Guntor thought that was a little silly, of course she was cold and achy; ‘it’s winter and when we’re not killing something we’re running from something trying to kill us.’ He dismissed these thoughts with a what-can-ya-do shrug to himself and a mumbled, “Southerners.”
“Yes Guntor?” asked Charlatan as Mizry looked down and seemed to be engrossed her own thoughts
“Well, I just wanted to let you know that I was going to go scout out the surrounding woods… Maybe do some hunting too. It should only take about an hour.”
“Are you sure that’s wise? The Orcs could b…” began Charlatan, but he was cut off by an, “Ow!” from the hammer. It was quickly followed by nine more and the sound of Myrrdin helping the dwarf to his feet.
Guntor quickly stated, “Don’t worry, I’m going in the opposite direction from their rock tower, or whatever it’s called. Besides, I can’t stay cooped up here any longer.”
“Ok,” Charlatan reluctantly agreed, but then quickly added, “One hour, only one then we’ll have to come look for you.”
“That’s fair.” Stated Guntor, already walking to one of the ropes, “Next time when you’re not so busy I’ll take you with me.”
Despite her lost demeanor Mizry chuckled, “Charlie hunting… That I’ll have to see.”
“Hey,” remarked Charlatan, and by then Guntor was already down the rope.
Guntor stood at the bottom of the rope and inhaled. He was already beginning to feel better, there was something about the earth motes that didn’t seem natural; Well, besides the chunks of earth floating forty feet in the air. They just didn’t feel right under his feet. Owly Peered over the side. Wearing, as close as his owlish features would allow, to a quizzical look. Guntor extended his thoughts to his flying friend and told him he could do what he wanted. Guntor knew Owly could find him if he needed to; anyway, he didn’t want tracking wildlife to be too easy, that would take out the sport of it.
He set off at a full sprint, shedding the day’s anxiety with every bound. It took him about five minutes to get to the edge of the woods. He stopped and got control of his breath. Pulling out his Bow he headed into the woods, It felt good in his hands and while he was walking he looked down at the weapon. His father had given him the bow when he decided to join the mercenary group. There, he had met Amon, Jack, Kheg, Reed, Dak, and Dain. He suddenly became a little troubled when he realized that he couldn’t remember most of their faces, but was comforted by the memory of all of them siting around a fire in the mercenary camp and deciding to escape their commitments to the mercenaries.
Guntor still felt a warmth in his chest, reminiscent of when Amon first spoke at that fire about how they could do so much more, adventure around the lands, become somebody, become heroes. Guntor twisted the bow to see the front of the thick flat wooden arms and ran his fingers over the small carvings scratched there with a small pick-like tool he carried around. Going out from the grip in both directions and sometimes two or three abreast was a small catalogue of what he had done so far. There was a tied up goblin; a cape that was painted red; Vola’s shield of Tier; a book Mizry called her “Spell Tome” under one of the many rings Charlatan wore; a nothic; a goblin, rump in the air, digging through a barrel; a dragon worshipers mask; a Green painted dragon head, Venomfang, which didn’t do the beast’s horrific beauty justice; a bugbears club with a crown on it; an owl; a hammer; a spider painted black; and most recently a floating earth mote.
Guntor couldn’t help but smile. This is what he’s accomplished, and there was still much more room left. His smile turned bittersweet when he twisted the bow back to its normal position and spotted the small names on the lower arm: Dain Ironfist, Amon Arkham, and Owly Cartographer I. His eyes were then drawn inexorably to the upper arm where there was a carving that was much bigger than the ones on the front. It was a campfire with a shadowy figure behind it, giving a speech about how he could do so much more.
Guntor hadn’t noticed when he had stopped walking to lean up against a tree, but he was pulled out of his thoughts by a light trotting on the forest floor. He looked up, suddenly alert, and stalked his way toward the sound. There, maybe twenty feet away, stood an elk. Guntor’s mouth fell open, Elk were rare on a good day, but with winter coming on he thought all of them would have made their way further south where the gloomy winter wouldn’t kill most of the plants they preferred. This elk was old, definitely past his mating days, but still young enough to survive the infamously dangerous forests. Guntor slowly pulled out an arrow, careful not to make a sound; He had heard thousands of hunters relate stories of how close they got to achieving a kill as worthy as this animal; only to botch it with a careless movement. The arrow was free of the quiver and immediately perched on the bow’s string. Guntor pulled the bow taught. Hoping that the care he took with his bow would keep it from even the slightest creek. The string was now to his cheek and the elk was still grazing, but it perked up its head by pure instinct and scanned the area. Guntor had seen enough animals do this to know what was going on, He hadn’t been careless and the elk didn’t know he was there, but like every animal- especially older ones- this elk was listening to a kind of sixth sense. He knew from past experience that if he was mostly obscured and kept perfectly still the creature would remain completely unaware of him. Guntor held his breath. He was mostly behind a tree. Perfect. As for staying still, Guntor felt as content as a baby bird asleep in its nest. The elk made an observable decision to not head its sixth sense and turned back to the ground to graze. Guntor allowed himself a half-gin. It’s a fine end to a noble beast he thought as he released the arrow.
He would have hit the elk square in the heart… He really would have, except at the exact moment he let go of the string there came from behind him a thunderously booming, “HELLO!”
Guntor jerked and the arrow that was intended to hit the elk soared into the sky. Fearing the worst he turned around as the elk took this opportunity to bolt from sight. Guntor was relived and slightly peeved but mostly relived to not see an orc, but instead, he saw a red bearded dwarf with a lump on his head stood there on top of the lump were a series of intertwined twigs.
“What are you doing here?” inquired Guntor out of pure curiosity. He wasn’t angry or annoyed because his brain was so confounded that it completely forgot about anger.
“The Hammer came to find you.” Said The Hammer.
“Find me? How did you find me? I’m in the middle of the woods!” he gaped; then he added, “and I’m hunting, being… you know, sneaky.” He admitted meekly.
“Oh, That’s what you were doin’ all serious like. Well, anyway, Owly lead me to you of course.” Claimed The Hammer, as if this were just a normal conversation in any pub. In confirmation Owly swooped down from a tree carrying a twig and alighted on the dwarf’s head. He then began furiously jostling the twig with his beak and a talon, trying to weave it into the nest he was making.
“Why is he making a nest on your head?” asked a mentally anguished Guntor.
“Because I told him to.”
“W…W…Why?” he inquired, now completely defeated and reduced to a stupor.
“Well,” The Hammer began, “he wanted to sit on my head and I told him ‘No!’” he explained, even doing a bad miming of his own voice. “So then, Owly said, ‘Who’ and I told him I didn’t know ‘who’s’ head he could sit on, but then I thought about it.” Which to Guntor seemed very unlikely. “Who has an Owl hat!? NOBODY!!” He proclaimed.
“And the nest?” asked Guntor, cringing in fear of the answer he might receive.
“Owly’s got sharp talons. I didn’t want to scratch my lump.”
Guntor was beginning to regain a little more mental capacity and conversationally stated, “Why not wear a helmet?”
The air around them seemed to explode with sound as The Hammer leaned back and gave the biggest belly laugh that Guntor had ever seen or heard. It lasted for a good two minutes and even required The Hammer to stop and gulp down a few breaths before continuing again. During which time Guntor’s brain once again short circuited as he tried to figure out what was funny; Had something happened? He was in the middle of giving himself a complete pat down to make sure that he hadn’t sprouted horns or other hilarious appendages; when, The Hammer finally stopped due to almost passing out.
He wiped big tears from his eyes and announced, “A HELMET! HA! A HEEELMEEEET! MEEEEEE, WEAR A HELMET! Ugh… You’re funny! A helmet… Why would I wear a helmet…”
Owly ‘whoed’ in annoyance after having to do head acrobatics to keep from falling.
At this point the shattered pieces of Guntor’s brain made a futile attempt at understanding and simply gave up; accepting the jovial dwarf’s logic. “So why exactly did you look for me?”
The dwarf’s facial muscles spasmed with whiplash as he suddenly became deathly serious. “I found out why people don’t wear owl hats…” he said in a macabre tone while gazing into the distance with sad unfocused eyes.
“You found out birds make their nest’s with poop.”
The Hammer gave a disheveled nod of acknowledgement and added, “Now he won’t leave the nest.”
“Owly…” reprimanded Guntor with a stern look.
“Whoooo?” came the faux innocent response, and if owls had shoulders they could shrug, Owly’s would have shrugged. After a few seconds of looking everywhere but at Guntor, Owly ‘whoed’ a sigh and left the lump nest he had fashioned. The Hammer, who seemed to have already resigned himself to a life of owl headedness, opened his eyes as wide Owly’s, as if a miracle had cured him. He casually brushed off the nest, which just a few seconds ago was an impossible action. He began plodding away, but turned around and remembered, “Oh, and everyone’s looking for you. You’ve been gone for about three hours now.” Looking relieved and confident The Hammer swaggered away without a care in the world, even stopping to pick a flower or swing a hammer at something.
Trepidation filled Guntor and fear froze him. ‘Charlatan’s gonna’ be mad…’ he thought, ‘and Mizry will kill me! Then Kheg will take all my stuff as I die…’ a shudder ran through his spine, ‘and worst of all, Myrrdin will keep me alive just to give me an hour long lecture on how to tell time with a stick some sap and a leaf.’ Guntor sprinted toward the earth motes. His only hope was to get there while everyone was looking and pretend to have been napping in some corner the entire time… It didn’t work.
Later that night a carving of an owl on a dwarf’s head was added to the bow.