The Dwarf With Many Names - Episode 1

The Gardener and The Ankarch Desert Death Race (Mike GM - 1/20/09)

A racing crew from Steadhelm assembles for their seventh attempt at winning The Ankarch Desert Death Race, a feat in itself as no crew has survived even three attempts, but yet this one has managed to come back and compete for seven straight years.

Unfortunately all that means as six straight losses and more pressure than ever on the crew. Especially this year with the death of their beloved Queen…

They are:

  • Wicklef, The Driver.
  • Conrad, The Horsemaster
  • Lursol, The Knight.
  • And Gimthum, The Sacrifice.

The rules of the race are these:

* Cross the finish line with The Driver, The Horsemaster, The Knight, and The Sacrifice all in tow.
* The three representatives from the kingdom must be alive and in their positions. The Driver at the reigns, The Horsemaster shotgun, and The Knight atop the carriage with no ropes or anything securing him to the carriage.
* The Sacrifice can die during the race (especially if The Driver being of subpar quality) but such action automatically disqualifies a team from winning. None of the other participants may harm The Sacrifice until they cross the finish line. Only after a winning trial can that kingdom then make their sacrifice by killing the prisoner.
* If the team does not win and does not perish, The Sacrifice goes free.

As the racing teams take their positions, Gimthum, The Sacrifice thinks back to just how he found himself tied to the back of carriage as it is about to embark on The Ankarch Desert Death Race…

Gimthum was a gardener. He tended to the gardens of her majesty, Queen Charlan in The Kingdom of Steadhelm. A young, strapping lad such as himself would normally be recruited straight into the Queen's army, and attempts were made. However, service in her majesty's army was not to be, as though he met every physical and mental attribute his Queen could ask for, his rejection was simple:

"I want to be a gardener."

And rightfully so, as Gimthum showed quite the natural gift for everything green. Unfortunately for The Gardener, everything was turning red.

The Queen was known for her strict privacy. It was perhaps because of this that The Gardener was held in such high esteem. His skill with his craft was most likely the only reason The Queen allowed him to see her interact with her daughter. Ever since the assassination of The King, most tragically while The Queen was with their first child, she had never allowed any of her citizens to gaze upon her daughter, her only family left.

And with The Gimthum's high garden wall that he maintained with the diligence and skill of the military man that everyone once thought he'd be, The Queen was granted some small measure of security and peace of mind with her daughter. That is until the day The Queen was found brutally murdered, and her daughter missing.

Upon inspection, investigators (those that could stand to look at their Queen's body) deduced that she had been tortured for hours "Whoever did this," the lead investigator acknowledged, "Wanted answers, and by the looks of what he did to her, he got them."

"Along with the princess," another said ominously as he looked upon the tall garden walls. "And with these walls, there's no telling what he did to her… or for how long." He points to splotches of red grass far away from The Queen's body. "And it looks like that blood comes from someone else."

The lead investigator sighs and looks to the sky. "There's no telling what type of lead time the murderer is looking at here. He could have made it halfway to Mantaus by no-"

"I did it," a voice comes from behind the investigators. It is none other than Gimthum, the trusted gardener.

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