The castle's turrets were just visible above the thick, early-morning mist; teasing their presence like baps peeking out of a maiden's bodice. Brekken spat and scratched his groin; he had half a mind to turn tail and head home. Castles: dull as dishwater! Princesses: stuck up and entitled! Quests: done to death! The Dwarf's knees ached dully and his stomach growled like a grumpy bear. His pack was devoid of food and his wineskin was down to its last, spitty tasting gulp.
Brekken entertained thoughts of every preferable activity and not one of them included rescuing a spoilt royal from a beastie. It all felt like a giant hassle. He picked his bulbous nose and flicked his findings toward the looming fortress before trudging down the winding path the way he came. The Dwarf whistled merrily; he could almost taste the meat and ale that he would jam in his gob at the first opportunity. There was a serviceable looking tavern, not a mile back; he'd spotted at least one busty ale-wench flitting about inside. The day would be saved if not the Princess. Then Brekken spotted the Elf.
All blonde hair and high cheekbones--the pointy-eared twat didn't even cast a glance at the Dwarf from atop his white steed. There was a curved sword strapped to the Elf's back and to make matters worse: ample looking saddlebags that were undoubtedly full of food and grog. Brekken bristled and visions of dancing bosoms quickly dissolved. How could he rejoin the Dwarf community after shirking a mission quickly reclaimed by a pale-skinned ponce? The Dwarf grunted before running toward the castle once more.
Before long, Brekken's stumpy but powerful legs had seen him gain on the Elf. He was sure to deliver the same icy neglect as bestowed upon him in kind as he passed. Drawing his ax dramatically, the Dwarf skidded to a halt at the portcullis. Not only was the entrance overrun with thorny vines, but standing either side were sentinels seemingly made of the same. One of the creatures raised a verdant arm and made to strike Brekken across the face. The Dwarf ducked, rolled and slashed at the thing with the grace of a court-tumbler. Sentinel number one went down and was quickly replaced with the second. Brekken hacked at the aggressor like a crazed gardener, sending tendrils and leaves flying.
At the despatch of the guardians, the enchanted barrier dispersed and the portcullis lifted seemingly of its own accord. Brekken massaged the bridge of his nose with grubby fingers. The Dwarf looked back at the Elf who was nearly upon him and tilted forward, allowing momentum to carry his bulk inside. Insidious cackling echoed through the front courtyard and Brekken's pulse quickened. Wonderful. This evil entity would almost definitely warrant a lot of running, dodging and grunting. How tiring.
The thick, ginger hair on the back of Brekken's neck stood bolt upright and he pivoted deftly. A long, ebony foot emerged from the shadows, then a leg, followed by the rest. The thing was armored from top to tail in shiny, obsidian plate, the like of which Brekken had never seen before. It stood at least five or six Dwarves high and two across with an impossibly long face under a skeletal helm. The air cracked and popped as though tortured by the existence of such a being and the Dwarf very nearly lost bladder control.
A welcome distraction came in the form of Brekken's competition filling the yard's entrance with his glowing visage. "Oh no you don't, you pretty twit! This job's mine!" The Elf languidly turned his head right and looked the Dwarf up and down before turning to take in the monstrous assailant slowly advancing to his left. He reached back with a willowy arm and pulled something from a white leather saddlebag. "Delivery for you," said the Elf as he proffered a tightly wrapped parcel to the villain. The dark thing took the package enthusiastically, slicing its binds with a razor-sharp claw. The box-lid snapped open and the thing lifted out an ornate glass bottle. The Elf nodded and about-faced his horse. "Wait! You're just making a delivery? You're the... The Postman?" The Elf did not respond or even look back.
Brekken didn't have time to react as the giant creature scooped him up with a hand as big as a row-boat. The thing popped the bottle's cork with a thumb and began to drench the Dwarf in red liquid with a pronounced spicy aroma. The empty bottle tossed aside, the villain flicked off its helmet casually to reveal a maw full of teeth and saliva. "I could have been drinking ale and nuzzling boobs right about now but no: I had to go on a quest," drawled Brekken in a sarcastic, sing-song voice. "Well go on then--get on with it! Hope I give you gas."