As the racers lurched away from the underground dock, Khayd’haik casually reached out and touched Gimor, secretly casting a Little Feets spell. It worked, but took one 5-second turn to cut in.
Meanwhile, Tmuwo skidded around the corner, had an evil thought, and stopped cold. He could hear the pounding of Shadowjack feet right behind him, and at the last second, he stuck out his arm and cloths-lined SilverHorn. SilverHorn was taller than Tmuwo, but he still took the blow right in the neck, and went down like a head-slugged chicken, collapsing into folds of billowing cape while his hat continued on down the tunnel without him.
“Gotcha!” chortled Tmuwo. He then kicked it into gear and charged off down the left tunnel.
SilverHorn was still lying there, trying to catch his breath, when Rrraff rounded the corner and stepped in the middle of SilverHorn’s stomach. This threw him off his stride, and he wound up somersaulting down the tunnel up to the edge of the right entrance.
Middleclaw flapped around the corner and saw the two entrances . . .
Mahrundl and Taran thundered around the corner, and stumbled over SilverHorn. Now there was a three-body pile-up at the corner.
Gimor came to the corner, stopped, and shouted back toward the dock. “Hey, you stupid guards, this is what I think of you and your arrows!” He turned his back on them, elevated his naked rump, and did an obscene little dance, mooning them but good. He didn’t think that he was also mooning the Trollgod, the Death Goddess, and all the rest of the spectators. Blowing a last raspberry at all those behind him, he calmly stepped around the corner, trod of Taran’s hand, and then sprinted forward with renewed speed.
Groaning, SilverHorn, Mahrundl, and Taran got to their feet. “I’ll get Tmuwo for that,” said SilverHorn, kicking himself back into a run. He headed off into the left tunnel.
Rrraff picked himself up and entered the right tunnel. He slowed to a walk. These tunnels were darker, and it was harder to see.
Taran and Mahrundl pounded up to the two entrances . . . Gimor was ahead of both of them now.
Meanwhile, Tmuwo found himself in a very long, down-sloping corridor. It wasn’t exactly a straight line, but it only zigzagged a little. Slowing down to about half speed, he still extended his lead. By the time SilverHorn entered that tunnel, Tmuwo was out of sight . . .
Rrraff found himself in a tight twisty passage that zigged and zagged all over the underworld. He had to take it cautiously.
Tmuwo jogged along the tunnel until suddenly it opened up into a wide grotto. It was a grotto liberally strewn with bones of all sizes and shapes. There were also three fountains of clear cool water gushing forth from the stone of the floor. In front of the first fountain, he saw there was one skull; in front of the second, two skulls; and in front of the third, there were 3 skulls. Tmuwo saw all that water and immediately felt thirsty, but he was cautious. The skulls gave him pause. The bones gave him ideas. He prowled through the grotto looking for an exit and finally he found it. It was time for a decision . . .
Rrraff found the passage that he was in very twisty and turny indeed, but working at a steady walk, he made his way through as quickly as possible. Suddenly, the passageway widened out into a kind of circular room. Sticking out of the walls on the far side was a couple of long thin things that looked like levers. But when Rrraff got closer, he found that there were two swords set into the stone. One was a relatively small short sword, and the other was a very large two-handed great sword. Runes carved into the rock beneath the small one said, “Hopeless.” Beneath the big one, it said, “Hero.”
Rrraff instantly knew that he had found some magic swords. The trouble is they were stuck halfway into a wall of rock. Still, having a sword would be an advantage, if he could get one. He looked all around. There seemed to be no other way out of the room other than the way he came in . . .
(to be continued)
Racer Profile Number Three
Gimor Ironfang – “Know-Yer-Foe”
Named for his really bad dental work; he won’t say if it was done in the USSR or the UK (not that there’s much difference). Renowned worldwide – at least in his own mind – for his outrageous boasting – usually true, though – and general disdain for anything ‘politically correct‘: “cuz PC ain’t – I’m offended that you’re offended by something that didn’t offend the person it was directed at!” Self-proclaimed “Keeper of Lost Lore” for all of Trollhalla!
Official talent: Forgotten Lore