The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Nine: The Dwarf and the Giant
Just outside of Aathenaar is the mighty Naliar Hill, whose peak stabs the sky with foreboding. This foreboding is both figurative, owing to the hill’s dimensions, and literal, because the caves that look out over its highest cliffs have at various points housed a variety of evil and powerful monsters to threaten the town. Most recently, of course, is the dragon who lived there, but from whom (due no doubt to the heroic actions of our Baron) nothing has been heard for several weeks.
But some one hundred and thirty-two years ago, a very different menace made its home in the hills. A fearsome giant named Og made her lair in those caves. From there she would conduct raids on Aathenaar, stealing food or other goods or smashing and killing for mere sport. It is lucky that Og was lazy and her raids infrequent, or there would almost undoubtedly be no Aathenaar today. As it was, the town spent most of a decade casting a wary eye at the hill, from whence Og’s angry wails could be heard nightly.
Baroness Ballentine naturally called for the most steadfast warriors of the town to mount an expedition to dislodge Og. Several times did one or several of the town’s finest set out; not once did they return.
As the town drowned in malaise, an unlikely figure appeared. He was a dwarf named Dorgly. Dwarves worked the mines southwest of the town, but rarely if ever visited. Despite their isolation, however, rumor had reached them in the way that only rumor can of an imminent and deadly threat, and Dorgly had been dispatched to investigate.
Upon learning the situation, the clever dwarf immediately began working to address the situation. In three days, he constructed, using techniques which the dwarves hold secret, a catapult powerful enough to shoot a projectile to the top of Naliar Hill.
Dorgly’s plan was to hurl boulders at Og, and hopefully destroy her in that way. Unfortunately, though the rocks within Aathenaar were plentiful, they were also small, and none would even be noticed by the giant. There were, of course, boulders near the hill, but retrieving them would be deadly: Og was more than capable of throwing her own boulders down from her lair at anyone foolish enough to come near.
Dorgly’s solution was an accident. One of Aathenaar’s horses happened to wander into the basket as the dwarf was testing it, and the poor beast went flying up and into Og’s cave. Dorgly was furiously attempting to solve his predicament and had no time to mourn the poor animal, but he realized that Og’s wails were different that night. Instead of angry, they were annoyed, and even pained.
Dorgly suspected that he was onto something. So he gathered up all of the horses within the town and sent them, one by one, to their aerial fate.
By the time he’d finished, there was no more sound from the top of Naliar Hill.
Ballentine assembled 30 of the best warriors from the town guard and sent them, led by Dorgly, to investigate. What they found, once they picked through the carcasses of dozens of fine horses, was Og in great distress. She was covered in rashes, and having a difficult time breathing, clearly suffering the effects of allergies to the horses.
In this state, it was a trivial matter for thirty warriors to plunge their swords into her flesh.
Being a dwarf, Dorgly had no desire to stay in Aathenaar longer than necessary. But he was recognized with riches as befitted a hero of his stature and a baroness of Ballentine’s generosity. The loss of the town’s horses (which condition persists today) was a small price to pay for security.