The Door

In the deep valleys of the North Kershak Mountains, the rain pelted down like an angry god’s tears. The native flocks of hardy mountain sheep sought what meagre shelter they could in the weather-beaten remains of a campsite, their long woollen coats, matted to their stocky frames as they shivered in the cold winter’s night air.

Denbar and his brother, Pelkin, were unaware of the weather though, having spent the last several hours following the abandoned mineshaft deeper and deeper under the mountainside. The two dwarves carried their picks readily in their hands, the digging tools also their primary weapon of choice for fighting in the close confines of the tunnels. Although they had seen no evidence that the mine had been recently inhabited, the surrounding mountains were renowned for several roaming tribes of goblins and even some of their larger cousins, orcs. None of which would take kindly to a pair of dwarf explorers wandering through their claimed area.

It was approaching midnight as the tunnels began to take on a more natural appearance. “Looks like this is as far as the miners came down” whispered Pelkin, his voice breaking the oppressive silence. Denbar’s only response was a simple nod of his head as they continued onwards warily.

Their caution paid dividends moments later as the tunnel they were following opened into a larger chamber and the guttural sound of goblin voices could be heard ahead. Neither brother understood the goblin tongue but by the rhythm and tone it appeared that several goblins were chanting. As quietly as they could, the brothers took their shields and helmets from their packs, extinguished their small lantern, and prepared to ‘greet’ the goblins.

Moving further into the chamber, they could see half a dozen goblins prostrating themselves before a curtained section of the chamber wall, their backs to a small campfire.

With cries of “Moradin”, the dwarven god of battles, the brothers charged in, picks flailing away at the slow to react goblins. Three of the gangly creatures lay sprawled on the cavern floor, their skulls broken open in the initial assault, never to rise again.

The remaining greenskins grabbed their crude wooden clubs, ready to retaliate against the hated dwarves. Without any thought to an organised assault they charged in, thousands of years of racial hatred blinding them to any chance of using their slight numerical advantage.

The fight was short but bloody, ending predictably with all the goblins lying dead on the floor while only Pelkin had suffered any injury, his nose bloodied and broken by a lucky shot from a goblin club.

Denbar checked the goblins meagre possessions for anything usable, pocketing the few coins he found but discarding the rotting pieces of unidentifiable meat the filthy beasts kept for food.

When they were ready the brothers cautiously approached the curtain. Now they were nearer they could see that it wasn’t fixed to the wall but simply draped over something protruding from the chamber wall. Denbar faced the hidden object of the goblins adoration as Pelkin stood to the side and grasped the filthy curtain. As both brothers counted to three Pelkin tugged the curtain free. He looked to his brother to see if any danger was imminent, but Denbar stood staring ahead, arms held limply at his sides and slack-jawed.

Pelkin rushed to his brother’s side, thinking something was wrong but Denbar simply whispered “It’s beautiful”, as he stared ahead. Pelkin turned to see what his brother was referring to and instantly understood.

The curtain had come away to reveal a large double door fitted to the chamber wall. It was easily ten foot square and made of solid mithril silver, the most prized metal known to dwarven-kind. Such a large amount of the precious metal would be enough to excite any red-blooded dwarf but the surface of the magnificent portal had been exquisitely carved with scenes of dwarves working in tunnels, fighting goblin-kind, and working at their forges. But above all of this was a large, central symbol of a large stylized diamond within a huge mountain, the symbol of the dwarven god Dumathoin, keeper of secrets under the mountain. The brothers fell reverently to their knees before it, basking in the reflected firelight and totally unaware of anything but the beauty of the craftsmanship before them.

Ugluk called his comrades to a halt as they neared the chamber entrance. The seven orc warriors instantly obeying and crouching low in the corridor as they awaited his instructions. The tracks they were following led into the chamber, and the tell-tale glow of firelight ahead meant their quarry was near. After checking all were ready, Ugluk led his warriors at a loping run into the chamber and hacking the defenceless dwarves apart with their serrated-edged swords. As his warriors went through the dwarf’s belongings, Ugluk looked with pride at the mighty carved doorway, proclaiming the glory of the orc god, Grummsh one-eye.

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