AR 1212-05-20 Krunch and Tizzy mushroom hunt and talk history
It was nearly June and the mesa far above the hidden valley was full of grasses, brush and wildflowers all bursting with life taking advantage of the few days of summer and warmth available to them. A light breeze rustled the leaves and blew over small patches of snow still lingering in shadowed patches. It was these patches of late snow that were the best places to find the mushrooms but since they were nearly as white as the snow it took a keen eye to spot them.
“Hah! Found another!” Krunch reached down and plucked the mushroom, tossing into his sack “That makes an even dozen fer me.”
“Aye, but me sack is still more full” came Tizzy’s reply.
“Bah. Jest ‘cuz ya found bigger mushrooms does na mean anythin’”
“Oh it doesn’t does it? I can na’ help but wonder if ye’re changin’ the rules afore ye lose tha bet.”
Krunch put his hand to his chest “By Moradin’s forge do ya think I’d try ta renege on a deal? I’m a man o’ me word!”
Idly twirling her hair, Tizzy responded “Well, we could make it interestin’. Whoever the collects most – by weight – wins a favor.” She gave Krunch a shy smile “If’n ya close yer eyes perhaps we could seal tha deal.”
Closing his eyes, the young dwarf waited patiently. And waited. Finally cracking open one eye he looked around, only to see Tizzy crouched down by a nearby snowbank, putting several mushrooms in her pouch.
“Hey! I thought we was gonna seal the deal!”
Tizzy looked back with a wink and a smile “Aye! An’ I’m sealin’ me victory even as we speak!” Standing while dusting her knees off with a laugh she walked to Krunch and took his hand “An’ now we be even.” As she kissed him on the cheek.
“Damn cheatin’ ...” Krunch grumbled insincerely.
“All’s fair in love, war ‘n mushroom huntin’” came the reply as Tizzy dropped his hand and set off in search of more mushrooms “Unless o’ course ye’re given up already?”
A short time later the couple stopped for a lunch of cheese and crackers on the sun warmed side of a rock.
“So how did ye get permission from yer da?” Tizzy asked casually.
“Hmmph” Krunch responded through a suddenly full mouth “Good cheese. Mmmm”
Putting her own lunch down, Tizzy gave Krunch a look that brooked no excuses “Krunch …”
“Uhhh … I would na’ say I had permission per se” came the embarrassed reply.
“Ye said this area ha’ jest been patrolled … “
“An’ it was .. I double checked tha patrol logs meself, na’ jest this section but tha regions aroun’ as well”
Tizzy responded in a quiet, even tone that she used when she was truly angry “An’ ye did na think ta tell me?”
Krunch swallowed the glib reply, he instead tried to reach over to hold Tizzy’s hand.
“An’ do na’ think ye can sweet talk me.” Tizzy responded, poking Krunch in the nose with her first and index fingers “I’m na’ some floozy ye can distract with a few sweet words!”
The young dwarf, temporarily speechless did not get in a reply before Tizzy continued “Ye lied! I can take a lot o’ things but na that!” as she turned around, crossing her arms tight in front of her.
“Tizzy” the young woman tensed as Krunch tentatively placed a hand on her shoulder “I … I did na’ think of it like that.” With a sigh he continued “I did it so ye would na’ get inta trouble if’n we got caught. I did na’ mean …” he ended with a slight squeeze of her shoulder.
Leaning her head on his hand, Tizzy said softly “Ye really are an idiot sometimes ye know.” Turning towards him now, grabbing his hand in hers while her other hand went to the medallion that Krunch had made her that she had been using as a cloak pin. “Do ye think I’m some delicate golden treasure tha’ needs protectin’? Tha I’m a’ needin’ or a’ wantin’ someone ta save me from a little bit o’ punishment?”
A moment stretched into two as Krunch stared down at his hand in Tizzy’s and slowly folded his other hand over hers.
“Ye have it backwards.” Came a soft whisper, barely louder than the sound of the light breeze. Looking into Tizzy’s eyes he cleared his throat and spoke louder.
“Ye have it backwards. I’m na’ tha strong one. Ye’re the strong one here, Ye’re the one that I rely on ta protect me.” Glancing past the young woman, looking at only something he saw “I am na’ fit ta be tha son of a king. I’m na made ta be a leader like me da.”
Pulling the hand that had been holding the cloak pin into his own he stared deep into Tizzy’s eyes “Ye’ve always been there fer me. When I’m with ya there’s no question that I’m where I belong, or that I fit in.”
With a crooked smile he waved at his face “Although why ya’d want ta look at this mug is beyond me understandin’.”
Gently running a finger down the crooked line of Krunch’s nose that had been broken thanks to one of Ox’s over-zealous training sessions she replied “I do na’ have a problem with yer face” she placed her hand on his chest as she leaned in close “As long as yer heart is true.” followed by a slow gentle kiss.
A few minutes later the couple leaned back against the rock to finish their lunch and watch the scattered clouds. A piercing cry from a hawk flying high overhead pierced the silence.
“Hmm … red tailed hawk I believe.” Tizzy remarked absently.
“I did na’ know ye were inta birds.” Krunch mentioned idly.
“Oh, I would na’ be turnin’ inta Yari if ye’re askin’. But knowin’ ‘bout birds an’ other animals is part o’ me studies.” Tizzy responded “An’ hawks are fascinatin.”
Krunch chuckled “As long as ye don’t start collectin’ a menagerie. I do na’ think I want ta clean up after any more critters any time soon. Atween cats and wolves an’ crows…”
“Ravens. Yari’s been keepin’ Ravens na’ crows.” came the reply.
“Bah” Krunch grunted “All I know is tha’ they be big, black an’ collect shiny objects.” Pausing for a moment “Kinda ’ fit Yari though. He collected Verona quick enough”
“Ye still do na’ approve o’ the lass?” Tizzy asked.
“Oh, it’s na fer me ta worry about his choices. It’s jest I do na’ understan’ his thinkin’. She’s like one o’ those gold painted pieces o’ fake jewelry with tha glass rubies.”
“Ye have a pretty low opinion o’ her.” Tizzy mused “It do seem tha’ Yari’s been a good influence on her.”
Krunch was silent for a moment “I guess it’s jest her way o’ thinkin’ she deserves somethin’ fer bein’ born ta tha right folks. Rubs me wrong.”
Tizzy responded thoughtfully “It could be like a story I read a bit ago. Twas a costume crown like ye was sayin’. Nuthin’ but paint ‘n glass like ya said. But then one day a clumsy stage hand dropped tha crown.” Making a motion like cracking open an egg with her hands “An’ inside tha crown was another crown. This one made o’ platinum an’ diamonds.”
Krunch nodded waiting for the rest of the story.
“So it turns out that thar had been a real crown hidden in plain site, tha last place anyone would think ta look.” Tizzy shrugged “Or it could be like tha book that Trent was a makin’. I do na’ know why but he had written a new but wanted ta make it look old. Had me bring him some old records ta make sure he had tha look right. He said somethin’ about makin’ a ritual book look old.”
“That would be like ‘im” Krunch mused “An’ I suppose ye could be right about Verona. She deserves a chance ta change, even if’n I be thinkin’ it’s all an act”
“Speakin’ o’ heritage” Tizzy started out a little too casually. “There’s somethin’ I been meanin’ ta mention but never seemed ta be a good time.”
Krunch nodded for her to continue, which she did soon enough “It be yer heritage. I never told ye about how me family came ta be in yer da’s clan. They were from Ak’Dakkar ta tha north.”
Tizzy sighed “But I guess ya knew where it is. Tha thing ye don’t be knowin’ is that me folks were lore keepers, much like I be working ta be. But they had found that tha current line o’ kings have no claim to tha throne, an no claim to the elder over kings. A’ course that was not a popular thing ta find so they had ta relocate.”
Suddenly busying herself cleaning up lunch, Tizzy didn’t look at Krunch as she continued “An’ with the extra records that were bein’ stored here from Dronkarag I been trackin’ back tha lineage, ta determine the true heirs if’n it ever comes ta matter.”
She continued “As ye know there was once jest one dwarven kingdom, no’ scattered kingdoms as we be havin’ t’day. This kingdom, an’ I know ye do na care about such things, but it turns out that thar were two lines o’ overkings. It was set in such a way that thar was shared responsibility fer rulin’ an’ as kind o’ a backup. If’n one line died out, tha other would take over. Tha only rule was that tha two lines could never marry.”
“Tis an interstin’ story but …” Krunch tried to interject only to be waved off.
“Tha thing is that I need to be gettin this out an ye need ta be hearing it.”
Tizzy gave Krunch a stern look before going on “It be somethin’ ya need ta know.”
“Well as things happen, tha son of tha Kar’Darvim line Borem Stonehammer an’ the daughter of the Bryndrakk (the lost clan to tha south) Ofarra Rosemetal fell in love and wanted ta be married. This was thought ta be no issue acause Borem’s brother Thonak already had a couple o’ strong lads. An’ tha Rosmetal lines were secure in a similar fashion. So Borem and Ofarra got married an’ by tradition started a new line that had no claim to tha line. They settled in Dronkarag where tha two families often met fer council.”
Tizzy took a short break for a sip of water but didn’t wait for Krunch to respond “But then tragedy struck. It was a terrible time o’ troubles with dragons tryin’ ta control tha mountains. Many were lost, includin’ tha entire Bryndrakk clan. Communications were lost, the lines o’ shared government collapsed. When tha dust had settled, Bryndrakk was gone the Stonehammer line were all dead an’ Ak’Dakkar was ruled by tha Ironhouse family. Thar were rumors o’ foul play in Ak’Dakkar but none was ever proven.”
Krunch furrowed his brow and barely got in “But how…”.
“I’m gettin’ to it.” Tizzy in obvious frustration interrupted “Ye’d think ye were a human tryin’ te get all yer thinkin’ done at once!”
“Now, where was I” clearing her throat she continued “Tha clans were in bad shape an’ tha only claim to tha high kings was Borem and Ofarra, who had relinquished thar claim. An’ truth be told thar was little willingness ta fight fer the old kings. An’ Borem an Ofarra had already changed thar names ta Stonerose an’ had a child Karrum. Time passed an’ Karrum had Kalus, Kalus had Kalistar, yer grandfather.”
Krunch snorted “So I be on tha line ta tha high king o’ old? That’s jest what I need.”
Tizzy put a hand on his arm and said tentatively “An’ I only hesitated ta tell ya ‘cuz I did na’ want ya thinkin’ like Sparky an’ that I was only after ye’re heritage. I meant what I said about carin’ only about what’s inside o’ ye.”
Krunch grabbed Tizzy by the waist and twirled her around to her squeal of delight, eventually lowering her down to hold her close as he whispered in her ear “I plan ta hold ya ta that fer a very long time. We will have ta discuss all o’ this with me family when we get back.” After a moment of enjoying the warm embrace he pulled back and said with a grin “O’ course bein’ addressed Yer Highness might be kind a’ nice now and then.”
Krunch silenced Tizzy’s protest with a kiss that took away all thoughts of protest.
Katarina watched her nephew from a low bluff not far away, chuckling softly at how Krunch had taken a handful of mushrooms from his bag and put them into Tizzy’s bag without her noticing. It had been her turn to watch the children on their little adventure, although she was pretty certain her father had used the same “short straw” trick he had taught his grandson to get out of trailing them today. Her ring of invisibility kept her hidden, and it was good practice to hide outside instead of just in the caves.
She would have to consider what she had overheard about the family lineage. She had similar opinions about the importance of heritage as Krunch, but the political implications would have to be considered.
Distant thunder rumbled in the distance, but of the three dwarves on the mesa only one was aware of the oncoming storm.